LegalDecember 24, 2019

Wolters Kluwer announces winners of second annual Leading Edge Prize for Educational Innovation

Two winning teams receive a $10,000 award each for innovation in legal education ideas.

Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory today announced the winners of the second annual Leading Edge Prize for Educational Innovation, which rewards teams with $10,000 for the best educational and professional solutions for law students and new legal professionals.

Designed to drive legal industry innovation, the prestigious Leading Edge Prize unites law schools, companies and agencies from across the legal industry to collaborate on projects to benefit today’s law school students. Through this process, teams deliver proposals to address a challenge facing legal education, such as access to justice, diversity in law schools, cost of law school, practice readiness, student wellness, and bar passage rates.

The competition was launched in 2018, in honor of Wolters Kluwer’s Annual Leading Edge Conference, an invitation-only gathering of U.S. legal education thought leaders to discuss key issues and brainstorm actionable strategies. Through the Leading Edge Prize, Wolters Kluwer is helping to create an environment for thought leaders in legal education to develop innovative solutions for law students across the country. This year for the first time, the Leading Edge Prize was open to two types of teams, one consisting of Leading Edge Conference attendees, and another consisting of faculty from any law school in the U.S. 

“We are thrilled to award the Leading Edge Prize to teams that demonstrate their vision for enhancing the future of the legal industry,” said Nicole Pinard, Vice President & General Manager of Legal Education at Wolters Kluwer’s Legal & Regulatory U.S. “Wolters Kluwer is dedicated to improving legal education through actionable strategies, and the winners of this year’s competition represent the level of creativity needed to foster new ideas and turn them into successful experiences that will help students thrive, not only in law school, but in their future careers.”

One of the winning teams, The Underrepresented Experience: How Low Income and Minority Students Successfully Navigate the First Year of Law School, seeks to better understand the Council on Legal Education’s CLIC program, a group admission model for underrepresented students from non-traditional backgrounds that provides scholarship funding and continued academic support for students in the program. Led by Carla D. Pratt, Dean and Professor of Law, Washburn University School of Law and Camille deJorna, deputy for legal and global higher education at the Law School Admission Council, the team will interview CLIC students and use these interviews to analyze how navigating legal education with a small cohort of students with similar backgrounds contributed to their law school success.

“We are grateful to Wolters Kluwer for the opportunity to attend their Annual Leading Edge Conference where this important project was first envisioned,” said Pratt. “Winning the Leading Edge Prize will enable us to study how a cohort of students succeeded in the first year of law school, despite having had less preparation for law school than is generally expected,” said deJorna.

The other winning project, How Can We Educate 2L and 3L Students to be Better Equipped for Practice? aims to educate, empower, and equip law students about the impact of artificial intelligence, legal process automation, data analytics, e-discovery, design thinking, and other technological innovations on the delivery of legal services. Led by Chancellor John Pierre of the Southern University Law Center and Dean Hari Osofsky of Penn State Law in University Park, the team will develop a webinar series, “Tipping the Scales,” to equip law students for a future in legal practice that is increasingly shaped by technology and innovation. This training will also help future lawyers address the access to justice gap and support diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. 

“We are honored to help law students and other members of the legal ecosystem gain critical skills for success in a rapidly changing legal marketplace,” said Pierre. “This award will allow us to build on a concept initially developed by NetApp, Inc., in partnership with the Southern University Law Center and enhanced by the efforts of Penn State Law, which led to the creation of an innovative summer webinar certification program.” 

“This opportunity will allow us to serve law students and advance critical diversity and inclusion and access to justice goals,” said Osofsky. “Both Penn State Law and Southern University Law Center are committed to working collaboratively with deans, tech leaders, corporations, law firms and other legal practitioners to prepare law graduates with the skills and knowledge to be successful in their careers.”

For more information about the Leading Edge Conference and Prize, visit: www.wklegaledu.com/leading-edge.

About Wolters kluwer

Wolters Kluwer (WKL) is a global leader in professional information, software solutions, and services for the health, tax & accounting, governance, risk & compliance, and legal & regulatory sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized technology and services.