MLS, MinterEllison, Maddocks, KWM and Josef team up for a pop-up course with a difference

Looking into the future of legal education

Melbourne Law School has collaborated with Josef to deliver a pop-up course led by Associate Professor Gary Cazalet in partnership with leading Australian law firms Maddocks, King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) and MinterEllison.

The 5 week pop-up program has been running for four years, designed to give students a taste for legal technology, human-centered design and access to industry experts

Gary Cazalet, Associate Professor

Gary Cazalet, Associate Professor

The course begins with an introduction to human-centered design and its importance in the delivery of legal technology. Next, the firms provided the two teams a challenge to build a Josef bot, based on a unique problem statement.

Not your everyday legal exam, to say the least.

“I think what excites me is the myriad of possibilities for law graduates. In the past when you graduated law school, your options seemed to be limited to becoming a solicitor or a barrister… Now, they’re working in alternative legal structures and graduates can play to their best abilities rather than try to fit themselves into a particular box.” said Cazalet enthusiastically, when asked what motivated him to lean-in to incorporating legal technology in MLS’s curriculum.

What the firms said…

Lani Beer, Innovation Manager at KWM was similarly passionate about the firm’s commitment to encouraging the next generation of lawyers to embrace legal technology.

“Legaltech is crucial for the next generation of lawyers because it can increase the efficiency and accuracy of legal work. It can free up lawyers’ time to focus on more complicated and strategic work by automating repetitive tasks like document review and legal research.”

The pop-up represented an opportunity for the firm to engage with that next generation of lawyers, making it a win-win for all parties involved.

“We took part in the pop-up because of the countless opportunities it presented. We were able to work with participants from different backgrounds, allowing us to collaborate and develop imaginative solutions,” said Lani. 


Similarly Katy Zhu, Senior Associate at Maddocks explained the firm wanted to be involved because the course aligned with their culture of innovation and it wants to play a role in the next generation of tech-forward lawyers, saying:

“The course challenged participants to apply human-centered design thinking and create technical solutions to difficult legal issues.  This is a skill we think all future lawyers should develop.”


Innovation Lead at MinterEllison, Amber O’Meara admits that a large part of the firm’s enthusiasm to be involved is because it also represents a learning opportunity for them about the next generation of legal professionals.

“If I’m honest, every time we’ve taken part in this course, the ideas have been exceptional. And we have really senior people go and judge those nights and without a doubt, all of us just walk away mind blown about the things that they come up with over such a short period of time,” she says. 

“It's exciting that there's a myriad of possibilities for future law graduates as they are now working in alternative legal structures, so they can play to their best abilities rather than try to fit themselves into a particular box.”
– Gary Cazalet, Associate Professor, Melbourne Law School

What the students said…

One of those participants was Alan Xu, representative of the winning MinterEllison Team – who created a bot that helps employers meet their obligations towards employees on sponsored visas.

“With the current developments of AI and GPT, legal tech seems to be a term which gets mentioned but none of us really knows what it is referring to. This pop-up course gave us a good insight into what exact legal tech is, what it can do and the possibility of starting a career in legal tech,” said Alan.


The opening of eyes to the incredible breadth of opportunity in the legal industry, emerged as a theme amongst participants. Irene Sun was the representative of the winning KWM team who created a Volunteer Company Secretary Aid Bot. Irene had similar epiphanies to her classmate. 

“By providing hands-on experience in building bots for specific use cases…The course allowed us to understand the practical applications of legaltech in real-world scenarios. This approach can help bridge the gap between traditional legal education and the rapidly evolving legal landscape,” she said. 

Sadhvi Sood was the representative of the winning Maddocks team who created a bot helping users make a valid FOI request. Her key takeaway from the course was centered around access to justice. 

“People interact with law on a daily basis, without even realizing it because law continues to be an area which has remained mysterious and difficult to understand for laymen… Legal tech is also going to assist in reducing this gap in between laymen and their access to law, legal solutions and justice systems,” she said.

Law students are getting ahead of the curve. You can too.

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