Future Law Project

The Future Law Project (FLP) produces a forum for leadership conversations about ongoing transformations in two areas. 

One is the future of law as a field of expertise and information. By tradition, that’s the legal profession, but traditions are changing.  Amid massive and continuing disruptions in economic conditions, technologies, and social and physical mobility, both locally and globally, what is the future of legal education?  What is the future of law firms, nonprofit organizations, and other legal services providers?  Courts and other dispute resolution institutions?  The bar?  Systems for providing access to law, legal information, and justice itself? 

Two is the future of law as a source and expression of social order and law as political, economic, and cultural infrastructure amid massive changes to economic, technological, and geographic conditions. What is the role of law in harnessing the productive promise of computing technologies in a diverse and changing world?  How are those technologies changing the character of law?

Policy and action in each area should be informed by thoughtful cross-field and multi-field research. The FLP offers settings for high-level, stimulating conversations among researchers and scholars from multiple scholarly traditions:  from law to sociology to economics to engineering to public health to philosophy, rhetoric, and history.

The FLP’s mandate to convene makes it uniquely suited to host those gatherings.

Meet Our Faculty & Research Affiliates 

FLP research, scholarship, and collaborations focus on three overlapping topics:

The FLP’s Governance projects highlight the ongoing research and scholarship of Professor Kevin Ashley on the uses and applications of artificial intelligence in legal reasoning and Professor Michael Madison regarding the roles of commons governance in knowledge, information, and data contexts.Learn more at Professor Ashley's Learning Research and Development Center page.

Learn more about the workshop on Governing Knowledge Commons.

The FLP’s Expertise project highlights the increasing salience of leadership skills and related critical attributes of success in law and for lawyers, including emotional intelligence, resilience, strategic visioning, project management, and collaboration. Professor Michael Madison has taught leadership to Pitt Law students since 2012.  The FLP is growing that investment via new courses for students and partnerships with colleagues elsewhere at the University of Pittsburgh and worldwide.

The FLP’s Economics project highlights the rapidly changing character of the fundamental institutions of the law:  law school, law firms and other legal employers, courts and other dispute resolution institutions, and legislatures and other law-making institutions. In 2018, Professor Michael Madison launched Future Law Works, a global collaborative gathering place for thought leaders and innovators in legal and higher education. In 2019, Professor Madison launched the Future Law Podcast, a series of conversations with legal innovators worldwide.