By Danielle Taylor
As we have just recently passed the one-year anniversary of the global shutdown brought on by the Covid-19 virus, I believe we can confidently say that if it was not clear before, it is clear now that technology and the law are inextricably linked. From Zoom trials and Zoom classes to completely remote internships, lawyers and law students alike have been challenged to take on a new skill set many likely thought they could avoid. However, any contention – before Covid 19 or after – that technological fluency is a skill that can be avoided should be heavily reconsidered by all who intend to practice the law.
Research has highlighted a growing need and desire for lawyers who embrace technology. “Clients want bold, open-minded, and tech-savvy attorneys” and law schools are critical in the effort to meet that need. In recent years, a number of law schools have broken new ground in their attempts to prepare their students for the changing job market. In 2019, it was determined that at least 10% of law schools in the United States were offering resources for students to learn about the use of AI and countless others had begun offering technology and innovation courses for credit. In addition to understanding that knowledge regarding technology and innovation is a necessary means of remaining competitive in a rapidly changing field, many law students have embraced these resources and courses offered by their schools out of pure interest – and where they do not find these resources, they create them.
In the last few years, student-led technology clubs have grown in popularity at law schools. This Spring, The University of Richmond School of Law welcomed its very own Technology and Innovation Society, started by 2L, Rebecca Pinsky. I sat down with Rebecca to get some insight into her decision to start the club and her plans for its future and hopeful impact on Richmond Law.
What was your motivation behind creating the Richmond Law Technology and Innovation Society?
I’d like to go to practice with a technology- focused firm after graduation and I wanted to connect with like-minded students while I was here. When I went to join the club, I saw that there wasn’t one. It didn’t exist, so I made it myself!
What are your hopes for the club’s future?
I’d like to bring in speakers, host panels, and organize workshops. I think our speakers should be a mix of attorneys and technologists… I sent out a pulse survey to students who said they’d be interested in joining and some feedback I got was that people would even be interested in coding bootcamps. They want to learn about technology even if it is not directly related to law.
What other campus clubs and organizations would you like to partner with?
There are so many interesting crossovers worth exploring. I’d like to do a joint event with the Academic Success Program (“ASP”) about how you can use technology to help you study. I was really pleased to learn that a lot of productivity software is free for students.
I would also love to partner with some of the more politically leaning clubs to discuss technology and policy. I can appreciate that everyone may not want to work in tech law but it’s great to be informed about how policy surrounding tech regulation impacts our everyday lives.
What impact do you hope the Technology and Innovation Society will have on Richmond Law?
I was talking about this recently with our Faculty Sponsor, Professor Kubicki… I came to Richmond Law knowing that it did not have a super strong focus on my interests. I think there are students like me who pick their law school for very pragmatic reasons and then there are students who pick based on a school’s course offerings. Attracting students interested in tech is kind of a chicken-and-egg problem—there usually has to be enough infrastructure in place to draw them in. The Technology and Innovation Society is one piece of a bigger picture.
Richmond Law students should be on the lookout for more on events and information coming from the new Technology and Innovation Society. Any student interested in joining or receiving emails should complete this survey.
“… proper education can change the course of your career, giving you the opportunity to keep up with the times.” – Valentine Pivovarov 
 See INSIGHT: Tomorrow’s Lawyer Must Embrace Innovation, Bloomberg Law (Apr. 8, 2020) Technologyhttps://www.bloomberglaw.com/bloomberglawnews/us-law-week/X7DG3A08000000?bna_news_filter=us-law-week#jcite.
 See Valentine Pivovarov, Future Law School. What Does It Look Like?, Forbes (Feb. 12, 2019) https://www.forbes.com/sites/valentinpivovarov/2019/02/12/futurelawschool/?sh=43e54f2a6a84.
Image Source: Rebecca Pinsky, L’22 and Ian McDowell, L’22