Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law Named Finalist in Bloomberg Law's Inaugural Law School Innovation Program

Amy Emerson

VILLANOVA, Pa.—Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law has been named a finalist in Bloomberg Law’s inaugural Law School Innovation Program, which recognizes law schools that have implemented instructional programs that advance new approaches to legal technology implementation and legal education. The University was chosen as one of 10 finalists from an applicant pool of more than 60 institutions nationwide.

The Leveraging Technology to Promote Access to Social Justice course, developed by Associate Professor Amy Emerson, JD, MLS, engages students in self-regulated learning to build legal tech solutions for community partners. Throughout the semester, students produce tangible work products designed to systematically improve access to justice for the underserved. By using logic and analytics to determine a course of action, students employ technology to drive functional change in the legal profession.

“Professor Emerson’s Leveraging Technology course is an example of the best in curricular innovation,” said Andrew Lund, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. “It serves at least two purposes—introducing students to the cutting edge of legal technology using AI and programming while at the same time using those tools to promote access to justice among communities in need. Moreover, this is all done in the context of real legal work with students getting real-world experience in the service of clients and the greater good. We are so excited by Amy’s hard work and look forward to all the projects that come from this.”

“The world is rapidly changing, and lawyers need to understand how technology is impacting the practice of law so that they can continue to represent clients competently,” Emerson said. “This course is important because it not only provides law students with functional skills in designing and building technology, but also opens their minds to how technology can be used to increase access to justice on a systemic level.”

Applications for the inaugural award were evaluated by a team of practicing attorneys, legal technology and legal operations professionals, in-house counsel, recent law school graduates, and Bloomberg Law experts. Finalists were recognized based on the criteria of innovation, impact on students, ability to advance the legal industry and replicability.

Charles Widger School of Law's broad-based legal education is grounded in academic rigor; practical, hands-on training; and a foundation in business that primes graduates for diverse and rewarding legal careers. Through innovative coursework, six clinics and 330+ externship placements, Villanova students learn by doing—and graduate with the knowledge and skills needed for success in today’s competitive job market. 

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit