UNSW Sydney, Allens and the Law Society of New South Wales announced the opening of the Allens Hub for Technology, Law & Innovation, sitting within the UNSW Faculty of Law.
The hub aims to tackle some of the “increasingly complex challenges presented by digital and other technological transformations and their impact on lawyers, law and the legal system”.
According to a statement released by UNSW, the Law Society of NSW will collaborate with UNSW to generate a separate stream of research to consider and respond to the recent questions raised by the Law Society’s The Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession (FLIP) report, surrounding the future of the legal industry in the digital age.
Commenting on the launch of the new hub, dean of UNSW Law Professor George Williams AO said the benefits and opportunities for students, the university and industry that would flow from the new Hub and FLIP Stream were enormous.
“This is incredibly important and necessary work that will have an impact upon some of the most important debates facing the community and the legal profession. The key is driving meaningful change and policy development for the real world,” Professor Williams said.
“I would like to thank Allens and the Law Society of New South Wales for their generous sponsorship which will see UNSW Law continue to set the standard for Australian legal education, research and public engagement.”
NSW Law Society president Pauline Wright also noted the importance of the hub, saying that technology could be deployed to fill the “access to justice gap” for vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the community, including Indigenous people and those living in rural, regional and remote areas.
“Supporting initiatives like this are important to ensure that any innovative new solutions embody ethics and design principles that are premised on improving access to justice for the needy,” she added.
The new hub will see staff from Allens explore the disruptions facing the legal system now and into the future, “such as the reliance on data-driven decision-making, new kinds of biological, artificial and legal ‘persons’, and threats to cyber security”.
Anna Collyer, partner and head of innovation at Allens, said the firm was delighted to be working with UNSW on this market-leading work to address the impact of disruption on the legal system.
“Technological advancements are causing significant disruption at all levels of our economy, with the law in many cases unable to keep up with the pace of change. We are seeing major impacts on the regulatory landscape, the challenges faced by our clients and the way lawyers do their work,” Ms Collyer said.