The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


Technology is creating massive structural change in the delivery of legal services. Experts have predicted that firms without an innovation plan in place in the near future will simply become redundant. Legal Innovation and Design examines the changes to the legal system, legal services, and access to justice as a consequence of technological change. The course will increase the technological literacy of students, to understand the impact of technological disruption on the law. Students will gain experience in methods to enhance innovation and design thinking, including the use of technology to better address legal challenges.

Availability2020 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Differentiate between the different market models used by the legal profession, such as the difference between new law start-ups versus the traditional legal service model.

2. Work independently and collaboratively to critically analyse the technoloical trends transforming legal practice, in particular the efficiency gains from adoption of information technologies such as artificial intelligence.

3. Apply cognitive and technical skills to generate and evaluate complex ideas and concepts relevant to information technology and artificial intelligence programs insofar as they are relevant to the law.

4. Explain the importance of technology in the 21st century, and how it impacts on the legal profession and the judiciary across Australia and internationally.

5. Investigate, analyse and reflect meaningfully on complex information pertaining to coding, prototypes and software used in the development of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics in law.

6. Identify the role of lawyers in the use of technology, and the role of lawyers in the development process of such systems through design thinking and other models for innovation.


The content in this course includes the following:

  • Technology and the future of law - including legal services, access to justice and the legal system
  • Disruption and changing legal practice
  • Technological impacts on the legal system and on lawyering – including artificial intelligence, blockchain, smart contracts, and cryptocurrencies
  • Innovating, design thinking and managing change

Assumed knowledge

Students will be generally familiar with legal principles and structures. They will be expected to be proficient in reading and interpreting legislation.

Assessment items

Participation: In-class and online participation

Project: Innovation Project

Written Assignment: Research Paper

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

This course consists of 36 hours of lecturer-guided instruction per teaching period via online preparation, workshops or self-directed learning and independent study.