Kevin Lee writes for the Martin Center about the impact of “big data” and technological change on law schools.

Law is experiencing a revolution. Several changes are occurring, but they are all tied to the impact of information and communications technology (ICT), which is altering the nature of law at a fundamental level. This has happened in the past. Before the commercial printing press, for example, law was mostly simple legal treatises and maxims. The complex, massive legal regime of today could only be achieved with steam-driven presses and then computerized word processing.

But, today, ICT takes on a new form: powerful artificial intelligence (AI) that links the law, a type of data, directly to other types of data. Since today’s best AI finds patterns beyond human perception, this change means that AI has a growing capacity to enhance human legal reasoning, automate some aspects of legal work, and decrease the demand for licensed lawyers, even as the demand for legal services grows.

In response to ICT’s growing capacity, legal education needs to adapt to the changing world and prepare its students accordingly.

The immediate consequences of ICT are new technologies for legal practice. The rise of predictive machines is transforming traditional lawyering. The dawn of the information revolution in law is slowly emerging—but the changes are coming.