Jeff

Symposium Spotlight: Jeff Ward

By: Daniel Norton

Jeff Ward is the Associate Dean for Technology & Innovation at Duke University School of Law as well as the Director of the University’s Center on Law & Technology (DCLT). As part of the DCLT, Jeff oversees the Duke Law Tech Lab, a program that advises legal technology start-up companies about legal topics including, but not limited to intellectual property protection and licensing, and commercialization’s strategies. Jeff’s goal for the DCLT is to bridge the access-to-justice gap by guiding legal technology entrepreneurs to address areas the law has typically underserved. To that end, Jeff has organized competitions for legal tech start-ups for the past two years whereby the start-ups compete for funding by participating in an acceleration program before presenting their business pitch to a panel of judges. The winner of the most recent competition was the start-up company Hello Divorce which aims to serve the 85%of people who do not have legal representation in divorce proceedings.

Jeff also oversees the Access Tech Tools initiative which encourages participants to utilize human centered design thinking concerning developing legal technologies. An example of this encouragement was Big Ideas: Designing Creative Legal Solutions for a Better Tomorrow. This was a class Jeff offered in October to the community encouraging participants to think of alternative billing models for lawyers than the traditional hourly rates. The class was attended by law school students, entrepreneurs, professors, and attorneys with decades of experience.

In addition to his other responsibilities, Jeff also teaches classes Law & Policy Lab: Blockchain and Frontier Robotics & AI: Law & Ethics at Duke University School of Law. Outside of his positions with Duke, Jeff continues to run his own law practice which counsels start-up companies.

Jeff will be speaking from 10:40 am to 12:10 pm on the Legal Design panel with Vanderbilt Professor Cat Moon and moderated by Raina Haque.