SMU Law Students Create Apps to Help Legal Aid Lawyers

The students worked with drag-and-drop software to create apps for legal aid lawyers to better represent their clients.

Mary Sommers, Josh Paltrineri, Alexandria Rahn, professor W. Keith Robinson, and students Courtney Luster, Caroline Shivers, and Christopher Cochran

Three teams of Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law students learned about new legal technologies and social justice in the fall semester as they designed apps help legal aid lawyers better serve their clients.

The school added the course “Technology, Innovation, and Law — Designing Legal Apps” to its curriculum to acclimate students to technologies that are being integrated into modern law practices. Not only did the students learn about programming being used, they had the opportunity to use Neota Logic’s platform to design their own legal app.

“There’s no other law schools in the state currently doing something like this.”
W. Keith Robinson

“There’s no other law schools in the state currently doing something like this,” W. Keith Robinson, a Southern Methodist law professor who taught the new course, told Texas Lawyer. Robinson is co-director of the Tsai Center for Law, Science and Innovation, which is responsible for the new course.

“Not only do students get to learn a marketable technology skill, but these apps will allow legal aid organizations to provide their clients with better services,” Robinson said.

Students worked to create apps for Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit focused on revising unjust laws; Force for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (F.I.R.E.); and SMU’s own Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center For Crimes Against Women.

legal aid

Dedman School of Law student Courtney Luster presents during the app presentation.

Neota Logic’s platform is a drag-and-drop app that simplified the app-creation process for the law students.

Learning the technology will be helpful in the future, students said.

“I also think the technology with have application. I see it as something that we will encounter,” third-year law student Mary Sommers said in the article.

Texas Lawyer said the class will be offered again the fall 2018 semester.


Photos courtesy of SMU.

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