Update on Law School Innovation Initiative

Dear Silicon Flatirons Friends and Supporters,

The future of the legal profession, and the work of law schools to prepare students for meaningful legal careers, is a continuing part of our work at Silicon Flatirons. This initiative can be traced back to 2010, when Silicon Flatirons convened a roundtable on Law 2.0. More recently, Silicon Flatirons held an impactful Law School Innovation conference, with keynote speaker George Kembel, founder of the Stanford D(esign) School. These discussions have inspired both the University of Colorado Law School and a wide range of stakeholders to join the conversation and adapt to the changing times.

As I make plans to step down as Dean of Colorado Law in July 2016, I am reflective of the progress we’re making and recognition we’re receiving by leading commentators on the future of legal education and the legal profession. Silicon Flatirons continues to influence this innovative thinking in a variety of ways:

  • Reports from our Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Public Policy Roundtables

Through a series of roundtables, Silicon Flatirons has developed and published reports that examine the changing shape of legal education. Two notable recent reports are Ongoing Innovation in Legal Education, authored by Bill Mooz and Andy Evans, and Different Shapes, Common Patterns: Emerging Approaches To Teach Innovation Within Higher Education, authored by Andy Evans. Both reports built on earlier reports, The New Normal and the Challenge for Legal Education, authored by David Bennett, and Law 2.0: The New Continuum of Legal Education, authored by Therese Kerfoot.

  • Other Outreach and Activities

Silicon Flatirons promotes and partners with others to encourage student participation in various classes and programs that move beyond traditional law school courses. Examples include the Colorado Law Venture Capital and Philosophy of Entrepreneurship courses, the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic, the Tech Lawyer Accelerator, the Deming Center Venture Fund, the Venture Capital Investment Competition, CU’s New Venture Challenge, Tech Policy Challenge, and other competitions that provide project-based learning opportunities and encourage innovative approaches to problem-solving.

With the support of Silicon Flatirons, Colorado Law provides a laboratory where the impact of these ideas is visible. A core goal of Silicon Flatirons is to prepare students interested in technology and entrepreneurship for thriving careers. What we’re seeing, and supporting, at Silicon Flatirons, is that legal education can change to meet the demands and realities of a changing environment. The unique opportunities we are offering to law students is to develop cross-cutting expertise, whether in technology, business, or both, that complements their traditional legal training and enables them to thrive as “T-shaped professionals.” With the benefit of such opportunities, I am enthusiastic about our continued ability to adapt and thrive in a changing landscape for the legal profession as well as to provide valuable thought leadership that supports and helps to guide others developing similar innovative approaches.

Phil Weiser
Executive Director
Silicon Flatirons

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