Kauffman Foundation Awards Grant to Michigan State Law for ReInvent Law Laboratory

Media Contacts:
Kent Love, 517-432-6959, kent.love@law.msu.edu, MSU College of Law
Barbara Pruitt, 816-932-1288, bpruitt@kauffman.org, Kauffman Foundation

(Kansas City, Mo./East Lansing, Mich.) Aug. 28, 2012 – The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation announced today that it has awarded a $150,000 grant to Michigan State University College of Law to support ReInvent Law, a law laboratory devoted to technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

ReInvent Law aims to tackle ineffective delivery of legal services within the American legal profession. The project will cultivate innovative partnerships among MSU Law and other university departments, industry, nonprofit organizations and government agencies; address access-to-justice issues and create new legal service delivery models through research and experimentation; and equip law students to use creative approaches in their future practices.

"This program will expand access to legal services by creating a new vehicle for the delivery—including lower barriers to entrepreneurial entry into the legal system," said Dane Stangler, director of research at the Kauffman Foundation. "This grant derives from Kauffman's Law, Innovation and Growth initiative, which supports research on how best to shape the U.S. legal system so that it promotes innovation and growth."

"ReInvent Law is part of our focus on where law is going, not where it used to be," said Joan Howarth, dean of MSU College of Law. "Support from the Kauffman Foundation for this vision affirms we are at the leading-edge of education on innovation and entrepreneurship in the delivery of legal services."

"One of our main goals as educators is to cultivate learners who will invent the future of law practice," said Renee Newman Knake, associate professor of law and co-founder of ReInvent Law. "The Kauffman Foundation grant will go a long way toward supporting innovative curriculum and career development opportunities for students who see themselves as entrepreneurs in law, technology, and the delivery of legal services."

In addition to supporting programs related to entrepreneurship in the delivery of legal services, the Kauffman Foundation grant will help fund educational events for students and the public. One such program is a ReInvent Law Start-Up Competition, in which students will pitch innovative ideas for legal service delivery. Winners will receive mentorship and other support to incubate their ideas into new businesses.

"The grant represents a major commitment to our vision for innovative legal education and the entrepreneurial practice of law," said Daniel Martin Katz, assistant professor of law and co-founder of ReInvent Law. "We are so thankful to the Kauffman Foundation for supporting our action-oriented efforts."

Professors Katz and Knake also co-direct MSU Law's 21st Century Law Practice Summer Program in London, a first-of-its-kind study of technology, innovation, and new delivery models in the wake of deregulation of legal services in the United Kingdom. In spring 2013 they will co-teach Entrepreneurial Lawyering, a new course on the economic pressures, technological changes, and globalization of the modern legal profession.

Professor Katz's scholarship focuses on how technology can contribute to the legal profession. He recently presented a talk entitled "Quantitative Legal Prediction – The Data Driven Future of Law Practice" at LegalTechNYC 2012 and will be publishing the underlying paper in the Emory Law Journal in 2013. Professor Knake's scholarship focuses on the ethics and professional responsibility of 21st century lawyers. She recently published "Democratizing the Delivery of Legal Services" in the Ohio State Journal of Law.

Michigan State University College of Law, a leading institution of legal education with a long history of educating practice-ready attorneys, prepares future lawyers to use ethics, ambition, and intellect to solve the world's problems. Michigan State Law offers comprehensive interdisciplinary opportunities combined with a personalized legal education, and is on an upward trajectory of national and international reputation and reach. MSU Law professors are gifted teachers and distinguished scholars, its curriculum is rigorous and challenging, and its facility is equipped with the latest resources—all affirming a commitment to educating 21st-century lawyers.