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About this text book

The aim of this living "textbook" is to help you, the student, to learn the fundamentals of legal technology. You may read this "book" completely on your own or with a professor in a formal setting.

This is meant to be a collection of material covering the very wide and diverse topic of legal technology. As such, any given class may zero in on a small subset of the material. For the most part, the materials are aimed at "doers", but there are plenty of links and materials aimed at thinking about legal technology.

You can use this material to to learn how to become a developer in an open source expert system called Docassemble, as well as view links to materials for learning other platforms, including A2J Author, QnA Markup, and HotDocs.

There are plenty of practical tips for becoming an effective developer of expert systems and document automation platforms: from design thinking to project management and using plain language.

You can also learn about the theory and principles that we feel every legal technologist should know. For example:

  • What is the access to justice problem, and how can technology help address it?
  • How do existing legal service delivery models serve users of the legal system?
  • How does law regulating lawyers address legal technology?
  • How can technology be a tool for perpetuating and exacerbating existing injustices?
  • What special risks come with legal technology that aren't present in one-to-one representation?

By the end of a class or a self-guided learning session using the materials here, you should be a confident legal technologist. You will have a sense of where to go next in your learning journey. Legal technology is an exciting field; an area that changes constantly in a legal industry that is otherwise built so much on the past.

Quinten Steenhuis is the author and editor of almost all of the content as of 2020, so the material reflects his interests and biases. However, he hopes to encourage collaboration from many sources, and the material will start to become a centralized library reflecting many overlapping goals. Several people have contributed thoughts and ideas on this Trello board.

All content is released under a Creative Commons Non-commercial Attribution/Share-alike license.

Quinten Steenhuis, June 2020