Ulster University works with legal and tech industry leaders to develop new law and computing programme

  • Ulster University’s Legal Innovation Centre, in partnership with legal and tech leaders in Northern Ireland, has come up with a new solution to build the law graduate of the future.

    The new, and first of its kind programme in Ireland or the UK is the LLM/MSc Corporate Law, Computing and Innovation programme.

    This novel course, based at the state-of-the-art, enhanced Belfast Campus, is uniquely designed as 50% computer science and 50% corporate, financial and tech law, with the Schools of Law and Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems collaborating under one umbrella, for the first time. This allows for the development of a truly multidisciplinary graduate: a tech-savvy lawyer or a computer science graduate who has a unique appreciation of legal and financial services.

    This is a course which has truly been designed with industry employers, their support has been three-fold: in provision of placements and ultimately, employment for students, in sharing of knowledge via guest lectures from international industry leaders and in prizes for outstanding performers. 

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    Multi-national corporate partners (many on the Advisory Board of the Legal Innovation Centre) have offered support, in one form or another, including: Citi, Allen & Overy, Baker McKenzie, Herbert Smith Freehills, A&L Goodbody, Pinsent Masons, Factor Law, Allstate, iManage RAVN, Thomson Reuters, HNH, Davidson McDonnell, Grant Thornton, KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PWC.

    Citi has been one of the very generous supporters of the programme, sharing insights on the ‘ideal graduate’ needed in order to shape the course, providing two 11-month fully paid placements for students, a prize fund of £7,000 for extraordinary students and guest lecturers from thought leaders: Citi’s eminent expert on Smart Contracts lectured all the way from San Francisco. While Allen & Overy welcomed a student on an 11 month placement and offered one prize-winning student the opportunity to spend a week in their i2 (Innovation) lab.

    Speaking about the new programme, Stephen Bartlett, EMEA Regional General Counsel & Global Co-Head Markets and Securities Services Legal, Citi, said: “The delivery of legal services is evolving quickly, and depends increasingly on the overlapping disciplines of data science. Ulster University’s new ‘Corporate Law, Computing and Innovation’ course is an exciting opportunity to acquire the practical knowledge and skills that are much in demand, as legal practices of all types equip themselves with the resources they need to support markets, commerce and society in the new data-centric era.”

    Modules include corporate law, derivatives and financial markets, technology and internet law, professional software development, data science and business intelligence. In fact, the Legal Innovation Centre is currently working with A&L Goodbody's litigation team, Grant Thornton's e-Discovery team, members of the bar counsel, judiciary and international online litigation experts to develop a new cutting-edge 'Innovation in Commercial Litigation Module', reflecting the rapid pace of developments in machine learning technology tools and online litigation.

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    Skills and knowledge gained from these modules mean graduates learn computing, data science and business intelligence principles and how to apply them to legal practice, consulting, banking, and professional services. They also receive instruction from experienced lawyers across corporate law, finance and derivatives,  intellectual property, technology and internet law, artificial intelligence and machine learning. They develop the toolkit to work within project teams across multiple disciplines essential to contemporary business.

    The graduates of the course have a range of career opportunities which they can pursue, including: law, banking, technology and financial services. Full time or part time, they can also choose to exit the course with an MSc, LLM, Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate or some of those already in a profession may choose to join to upskill in a specific module.

    Source: Written from press release.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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