The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law announced Thursday that it will offer a Data Law Initiative program this fall, with the goal of graduating tech-savvy lawyers to help businesses and law firms as more of the world’s data and communication moves online.
Students in the program will take existing Cardozo Law courses in e-discovery, digital evidence, social media law, computer forensics, corporate internal investigations, technology policy and other areas. The school will help them obtain internships with law firms and in-house departments of technology and e-discovery companies.
“Data law is growing at an amazing pace right now, and not a lot of fields of law are growing that way,” said adjunct professor and program director Patrick Burke, who is counsel to Reed Smith and part of its records and e-discovery practice group. “More and more things are going to be automated. But we still need lawyers who are able to understand computers.”
Adjunct professor Denise Backhouse, a Littler Mendelson shareholder who focuses on e-discovery, will serve as associate director. The school is seeking state approval to offer students a certificate upon completion.
The law school’s expanding specializations in intellectual property and technology law has attracted a growing number of students, Burke noted.
“Building the Data Law Initiative on top of that makes for a really good fit,” he said, adding that he wants Cardozo Law to be a “feeder school” into an industry that traditionally hires people with computer science backgrounds but needs employees with law degrees.
The launch dovetails with the introduction of Cardozo Law’s tech startup clinic this fall, which will provide legal advice to city technology firms on legal issues unique to early-stage companies.