Profile of Lincoln Alexander

Lincoln Alexander School of Law

Today’s law school graduates are being hired into positions that require understanding how clients use technology and how client technology and data are used by others. We believe the next-generation lawyer should be equipped with sufficient knowledge that would allow them to have meaningful conversations on the topics of technology and data. We developed a legal curriculum with this objective in mind.

Scroll below to see where students explore the intersection of law and technology at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law.

Course Descriptions

The following courses are offered at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law:

Societal change is demanding innovation in the delivery of legal services, interaction with clients and the development of new technological tools. In this module the emphasis is on recognizing who the client is, identifying problems and generating multi-faceted solutions. Students gain reinforcement in basic concepts in file management, communication and interviewing, problem recognition, data analytics, and knowledge generation software. They have opportunities to apply the fundamentals of design thinking.

Innovation in today’s legal environment encompasses technological, business and social innovation. This module focuses on developing skills in legal project management, analytics, process engineering and technology while allowing students to apply these skills in an innovation project that stresses one or more of these types of innovation mentioned above while gaining their Six Sigma yellow belt. The goal is to enhance students’ capacity and ability to evoke change in the delivery of legal services.

This course offers a general overview of three core areas of intellectual property law in Canada: copyright, trademarks, and patents. Students are introduced to the legal frameworks governing intellectual property law and the fundamental principles needed to understand the vital role technology plays in intellectual property, the different policy perspectives engaged by intellectual property, how the law protects valuable intangible resources, and how the law facilitates and incentivizes artistic creation, useful inventions, and market information.

In this module, students learn to identify barriers to justice and critically evaluate solutions. Using a comparative approach, international solutions (including in other sectors e.g. access to health, access to banking) are explored and global similarities identified. Students distill this learning into a toolbox of approaches which, using an emphasis on accessible technology, they then use to develop local solutions to make legal services more affordable for individuals and organizations of limited means.

This course discusses the private and public legal frameworks governing privacy and cyber-crime in Canada and internationally. Current issues and problems related to technology, privacy and data protection such as online commerce, social media, cyber-bullying, the workplace, national security, law enforcement, genetics, health care and freedom of information are analyzed to understand the role of privacy in an increasingly data-driven technological world.

This course explores law and healthcare in Canada, including the structure of the Canadian healthcare system, the regulation of healthcare professionals, powers to deal with health emergencies, and other legal dilemmas. Topics covered include: healthcare delivery in Canada; the regulation of the medical profession; the liability of healthcare professionals, institutions and the State; under-resourcing of the healthcare sector; consent, substitute-consent and end of life decision-making; infection prevention and control; emergency powers; and new medical technologies. 

This course provides an overview of the myriad legal and business issues that frequently arise for entrepreneurs as they work to turn their ideas into a successful business. Topics include organization, financing (angel and venture), talent, intellectual property, risk and regulation, exits (acquisition, IPO) social entrepreneurship, and other legal issues that arise for entrepreneurs as they launch their new businesses. Students will gain a practical understanding of the legal and business environment that entrepreneurs face everyday.

This project-based course builds on the thinking and skills developed in Access to Justice Solutions during fourth semester. Students break into teams to develop and refine a solution to a challenge set by outside organizations and subject-matter experts. After building a prototype of their solution, the student teams participate in a pitch session in front of external experts, law firms, government and community representatives who assess the feasibility of their work.

This course examines the social and legal problems created by Big Tech and how to regulate it in the public interest. Blending regulatory and social justice perspectives, students learn how different forms of regulation construct relationships between law and society and how to critically evaluate different forms of regulation. Through theoretically-informed case studies, students will learn about the concepts, principles, and cases that shape legal problems and social inequities in the Big Tech regulatory space. 

Building on the foundation of Privacy Law, this seminar focuses on the intersection of privacy, technology and society. The impact of technology on privacy and contemporary society, and the effective regulation of technology in order to preserve the norms and values protected by privacy, will be analyzed through a discussion of relevant issues. Students are strongly encouraged to take JUR 210 Privacy Law prior to enrolling in this course. 

This five-day intensive course is an opportunity to explore and experience through workshops and seminars some of the technologies and innovative business practices that can help a lawyer succeed in the age of the consumer. It initiates the process whereby students gain the necessary skills and understanding of the innovative processes to successfully compete and thrive in a marketplace being rapidly disrupted by technology, consumer expectations, and globalization.

This five-day intensive course focuses on several coding languages. Students gain a quick overview of HTML and CSS, the backbones of all websites, and spend time learning the fundamentals of Python, now widely used for applications in data analytics. After gaining basic proficiency in this program, students use it to complete a group project. They are also introduced to tests that help them assess their own proficiency in the fundamentals of legal technology.

“The [Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Toronto Metropolitan University] has undertaken extensive curricular reforms aimed at engaging with technology as a central requirement of legal practice. These reforms reflect an undertaking to develop practice-based education and an undertaking to teach students to think critically about the impact of automating and mechanizing legal information. Teaching students to identify how to use technology, how to design it, and how to challenge its effects are key to providing a systemic approach to law and technology. This is an approach that teaches students to identify how law and legal services can be fundamentally altered by computational analysis.”

Dr. Sari Graben
Associate Dean, Research and Graduate studies; Associate Professor

Student Experience Opportunities

The following experiential opportunities are available for students at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law:

Harold G. Fox IP Moot

The Harold G. Fox Moot provides students with the opportunity to interact with jurists of the Supreme, Ontario, and Federal Courts and experienced practitioners of intellectual property law.

Slingshot Clinic

The Slingshot Clinic hosted by Gilberts LLP assists low-income and under-represented clients to develop their startup companies and ideas. This expanding partnership involves law students working with and in the community under the supervision of experienced lawyers in the startup and commercial law space.

DMZ Startup Legal Support Micro-General Counsel

A work-integrated education that provides startup legal support to early-stage tech founders based at the DMZ. Students support the advancement and commercialization of Canada’s tech ecosystem by helping startup founders navigate the legal landscape.

Legal Innovation Zone Clinic

The Lincoln Alexander School of Law is partnering with TMU’s Legal Innovation Zone (“LIZ”) to provide students with the opportunity to work closely with a start-up and support their legal and entrepreneurial initiatives.

Business Transactions Practicum

In their JUR 201 course, students work in a virtual firm environment, where they produce transactional documents such as incorporation documents, shareholder agreements, and share purchase agreements.

Civil Procedures Practicum

In their JUR 203 course, students gain hands-on practice-based exposure to the Rules of Civil Procedure through interactive exercises, which include drafting and preparing pleadings and motion materials.

Westin Scholar Award

The IAPP, a leading global privacy community, collaborates with academic institutions to recognize future leaders in privacy and data protection. As part of this, the top student in JUR 210 will receive the prestigious Westin Scholar Award.

Why Should Law Students Take These Courses?

"The [Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Toronto Metropolitan University] has undertaken extensive curricular reforms aimed at engaging with technology as a central requirement of legal practice."

We live in a data-driven economy. Today’s largest companies are technology companies that hold mostly intangible assets: non-physical assets that include things like software and data. Students who intend to practice law and advise companies in some capacity will be expected to understand their clients’ businesses, and very few of those businesses will be immune to technological disruption. 

Further, despite all the benefits we are reaping from advances in technology, it has also brought on challenges. Issues such as algorithmic bias are making the news with increasing frequency. When it comes to algorithms, data collection, and data regulation, the important conversations are really just beginning. Students interested in policymaking or regulation will certainly be well-served by increasing their level of tech and data literacy. 

Why Coding?

Whether aspiring lawyers ought to learn how to code is a popular topic for debate. On the one hand, coding can be viewed as but one narrow aspect of technology, and even among those interested in developing legal-tech solutions, the necessity to learn coding might be lessened with the emergence of “no-code” or “low-code” platforms.

On the other hand, as topics such as machine learning and artificial intelligence continues to disrupt our industries, government policies, and way of life, it is becoming increasingly important to appreciate what these machine learning algorithms are doing beyond a superficial level. We want our students to understand that the performance of these algorithms, and the potential for algorithmic bias, are inextricably linked to the quality of the data that we feed them.

A minimum base level of coding knowledge allows our students to acquire some hands-on experience with data. This is intended to help them intuit how the quality of training data directly impacts the performance of these algorithms. Introducing law students to coding and algorithms is just a means to an end: to help aspiring next-generation lawyers better appreciate why the data matters.

Learn more about Lincoln Alexander School of Law