Coastal Law has created The Center for Law Practice Technology (CLPT), a focused unit within the school that will offer certificates in legal technology and law practice management. According to Coastal Law administrators, the CLPT is designed to prepare students for a new and evolving legal marketplace that increasingly demands knowledge and skills related to technology and innovation.
Richard Granat and Stephanie Kimbro, acknowledged leaders in the online legal technology movement, have been appointed as Co-Directors of the CLPT. They will also serve as affiliate professors at Coastal Law.
“At its core, the certificate offered through the center will ensure students graduate with the technological competence all lawyers need in light of the demands of the profession, namely how to leverage technology to serve clients more effectively and efficiently,” Granat said. “However, we also understand it is perhaps even more important to prepare students for new positions in the burgeoning market of companies offering technology solutions for legal services, including electronic discovery, legal process outsourcing, law practice management software, automated document assembly and more.”
For those interested in pursuing more traditional career paths, Coastal Law Vice President of Strategy and General Counsel Terri Davlantes said students earning certificates through the CLPT will know how to create a virtual law firm that provides 24/7 access for clients, how to automate frequently used legal documents, how to leverage social media to develop a law practice brand, and the legal ethics surrounding the delivery of online legal services.
Davlantes added the CLPT furthers Coastal Law’s mission to provide “service to the underserved.”
“Many Americans cannot afford a lawyer or they do not qualify for the limited legal aid programs that may be in place in their communities,” she said. “The legal profession faces a delivery problem in that we have failed to develop sustainable models for delivering legal services that are affordable and accessible to all.
“We must evolve and innovate how we deliver those important legal services and the CLPT is a step in the right direction.”
Bios of Co-Directors
Richard S. Granat, M.S., J.D., developed one of the first virtual law firms in the United States and is the founder of a company, DirectLaw, that provides a service to solos and small law firms that enable them to deliver legal services over the Internet. He is Co-Chair of the eLawyering Task Force of the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association. He is the recipient of the 2013 ABA Keane Award for Excellence in eLawyering, the 2010 ABA Louis M. Brown Lifetime Achievement Award for Legal Access, and was named a “Legal Rebel” by the American Bar Association Journal in 2009. Mr. Granat was also a member of the original task force that created the US legal services program and President and Dean of the Philadelphia Institute for Paralegal Training, the first paralegal training school, which established the paralegal profession in the United States. He has taught the subject of law practice management and computer applications and the law at many law schools. Mr. Granat is a graduate of Lehigh University, B.A., Columbia University School of Law, J.D., and University of Pennsylvania, M.S.
Stephanie Kimbro, M.A., J.D., was the founder of a company that created one of the first virtual law firm platforms for law firms and recently launched a venture to create “legal games” to engage citizens in the legal system. Ms Kimbro is presently a member of Burton Law LLC, where she maintains a virtual law practice, and the recipient of the 2009 ABA Keane Award for Excellence in eLawyering. She is the author of Virtual Law Practice (2010), Limited Scope Legal Services (2012), and The Consumer Law Revolution: The Lawyer's Guide to the Online Legal Marketplace (2013). Ms Kimbro is presently a member of the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association and is also a member of the ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services.