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Bloomberg Law Recognizes OU Law’s Digital Initiative

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Bloomberg Law Recognizes OU Law’s Digital Initiative

The University of Oklahoma’s College of Law was recently named among 12 finalists in Bloomberg Law’s Innovation Program. The nomination highlights the college’s standing as a pioneer in the advancement of legal education through its relationship with technology and other innovative practices.

OU Law’s recognition by Bloomberg Law echoes past accomplishments. Apple first named the college an Apple Distinguished School in 2017 – a title that OU Law still holds as the only Distinguished Law School in North America. In 2018, National Jurist’s preLaw magazine named it among its 20 Most Innovative Law Schools.

This progressive education can be traced back to the commitment made by the College of Law in the form of its Digital Initiative.

With the vision and leadership of then-Dean Joseph Harroz Jr., in 2014, the OU College of Law became the first law school in the nation to launch a comprehensive college-wide Digital Initiative. This initiative consists of four pillars: providing a technology platform, providing a law practice-oriented technology curriculum, providing technology-forward facilities, and providing access to and exploration in emerging technologies.  As part of these pillars, the Digital Initiative guarantees that every Juris Doctor-seeking student enrolled at the OU College of Law receives an iPad, allowing for an immersive learning experience. Along with the helpful technology, tech-training courses are required credits to ensure OU Law graduates are prepared for their careers.

“Many schools have a lot of talk about legal technology, but OU Law has created the Digital Initiative, which mandates a certain level of tech training for students,” said Director of Technology Innovation Sean Harrington. “OU Law is very unique in this regard.”

At the heart of the Digital Initiative is the Inasmuch Foundation Collaboration Learning Center in the Donald E. Pray Law Library. This physical space allows OU Law students to put their tech-education to use during their studies in a collaborative and technology-forward environment.

All this is aimed at not just making sure every student has a passing knowledge of modern-day technology, but to prepare OU Law students to lead in their future careers. The Digital Initiative deems that tech-education is essential in equipping future lawyers with vital legal technology skills.

“A recent survey of AMLaw100 firms highlights that a majority of lawyers recognize the necessity of integrating technology, with 73% planning to use A.I. in their practice within a year,” Harrington said. “Legal technology not only boosts efficiency, profitability, and client service but is also key for risk mitigation and competitive advantage.”

With the legal profession constantly evolving in the direction of technological reliance, prowess in the use of technology is no longer viewed as an optional bonus skill. Rather, it is becoming a fundamental requirement for new lawyers. The Digital Initiative helps OU Law students stand above their counterparts nationally.

The response from law students has been overwhelmingly positive. A recent survey conducted by the OU College of Law revealed that 97% of students felt the Digital Initiative better prepared them for their professional careers.

Since the launch of the Digital Initiative, OU Law has seen seven classes graduate – seven classes of new lawyers prepared to lead the profession.

2024 lines up to be another huge step for the OU College of Law’s standing in the world of legal education. Current students selected by Harrington to represent OU Law will be attending the ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago, the biggest legal tech show in the nation.

“We achieve a baseline competency for all students with the tech tools attorneys use daily that is unparalleled,” Harrington said.


By Brady Trantham

Article Published: Wednesday, February 7, 2024