National firm partners with UoN for ‘cutting-edge’ project

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National firm partners with UoN for ‘cutting-edge’ project

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Sparke Helmore Lawyers has joined forces with the University of Newcastle to conduct a research partnership that looks to shine light on the future of the legal profession.

The Legal Design and Innovation Project will explore the intersection between law, design and technology, “and what digital disruption means for the future of law students and lawyers”, a statement from Sparkes confirmed.

The official launch date for the project is set for tomorrow, 13 November, and will be headed up by Professor Lisa Toohey and Conjoint Associate Professor Sara Rayment.

Run out of the University of Newcastle’s NewSpace building, the project will focus on how to better understand the nature of legal innovation, “including how the mindsets of lawyers impact these developments, how new technologies (such as artificial intelligence) can make the law more or less accessible and how the legal system as a whole can facilitate user-friendly innovation”.

Professor Toohey said UoN is proud to partner with Sparkes on this “cutting-edge research project”.

“The Australian legal sector is just beginning to understand the future technological challenges facing the profession, but the real question is how to meet those challenges while simultaneously delivering better access to justice,” Professor Toohey added.


“We are focusing on the important pre-condition for successfully integrating technology into legal practice – the innovation and design process.

“Newcastle Law School is already helping our students develop an innovative mindset, cementing our reputation as a leader in clinical legal education. This partnership will give our students the opportunity to apply their skills to real-world innovation case studies.”

Commenting on behalf of the firm, Sparke Helmore’s director of know-how Sonja Swansborough said: “We revel in opportunities such as this – to have a positive impact on the future of the legal profession”.

“Sparke Helmore has an exceptional resource of forward-thinking lawyers and we are constantly looking at ways to advance, improve and future-proof our systems and processes. It makes a lot of sense for us to be involved in this project,” she noted.

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan is the deputy head of editorial at Momentum Media and editor of its legal publication, Lawyers Weekly. 

She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism).

Email Emma on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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