Posted Aug 14, 2012 12:44 pm CDT
Law students looking for real-world experience negotiating deals and counseling clients have a virtual sandbox thanks to a Drexel law professor whose innovative start-up has won backing from the National Science Foundation.
At the end of July, the NSF awarded Prof. Karl Okamoto $500,000 to expand his Web-based LawMeets, which the Philadelphia Inquirer describes as similar to moot court but with teams competing to offer the best business deal or answer.
LawMeets allows users to film themselves acting out responses to various scenarios. The user then can review the video, vote and receive feedback from other users and experts offering critiques.
This isn’t the first NSF grant for Okamoto’s projects. In total, his projects have received $680,000, an unusual amount for lawyers because, as Okamoto tells the Inquirer, the legal field doesn’t typically get involved in technology pursuits.
But incorporating technology into the legal field, and especially legal education, is exactly what Okamoto aims to do with his education company ApprenNet, which is expanding thanks to the grant money.
A news item on Drexel’s law school website notes that faculty at 48 law schools have asked to test LawMeets exercises in their classes after Okamoto, who was a partner at Dechert and Kirkland & Ellis before going into academia, presented the model to the Association of American Law Schools this year.