Since 2016, the Georgetown University Law Center has offered a three-credit course in "Computer Programming for Lawyers" to train lawyers-to-be how to become computer programmers and to explore how practicing lawyers can write computer programs to become better, more efficient practitioners.

This blog will introduce both Georgetown insiders and outsiders to this course. It will also contain the occasional musings about the intersection of computer programming and the law of Professor Paul Ohm and invited guests.

This post, describing the philosophy of the course, is probably the best introduction for any audience.

Prospective students will also want to read these posts about the textbook, the problem sets, and the side-effects of the course.

Teachers and administrators at other law schools thinking about adding the course will also want to read these posts about the administrative costs of the course, the pros and cons of hosting the course within a law school versus across campus, and the problem sets.

Practitioners might be interested in an argument against merely outsourcing programming to trained experts.

Side Effects May Include...

Now that I have presented the goals for this course–making lawyers more efficient by teaching them how to code–let me distinguish other goals that are not my central goals for this course but may be pleasant side effects of becoming a computer programmer. To be clear, I don’t have any problem with these admirable goals. Deep down, I hope many of my students will achieve these goals as a side-effect of this course, or because this course spurs future study. [Read More]

The Philosophy of the Course

Every time I teach Computer Programming for Lawyers, I start with the same first line, “This is an argument in the form of a course.” The argument, I explain, is that every single lawyer–regardless of area of substantive speciality or style of practice–could become a more efficient lawyer if they learned some rudimentary computer programming skills. The argument builds on the observation that every lawyer processes information as a part of their job. [Read More]

Hello, World!

My name is Paul Ohm. I am a professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, in Washington, DC. Since 2016, I have taught a course called “Computer Programming for Lawyers”, which trains future lawyers to be (barely competent) computer programmers. The course is a joint creation with the inimitable Jonathan Frankle, now a Ph.D student at MIT. The course has been very popular, always filling every seat and generating long waitlists. [Read More]