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First professionals obtained their certificates Legal Technologies: ‘It was intensive, fun, and enlightening’

Last week, the first seven professionals successfully completed the new Leiden Legal Technologies Programme (LLTP). They received their certificates during a festive ceremony. Smiling faces all around for founder Jaap van den Herik, Programme Director Nikol Hopman, and The Hague alderman Saskia Bruines. ‘We, as a society, have a large transition ahead of us when it comes to digitalization, data driven approaches, and AI. This programme is an important step in the right direction’, said Bruines.

The Legal Technologies programme is designed to build a bridge between the legal world and the world of IT. The legal professional of the future cannot function without technology and many of the daily chores that they are currently doing manually, will soon be automated. During the course, legal professionals (e.g. from the Ministry of Justice and Security, municipality of The Hague, Public Prosecution Service)  participated in four modules and completed the programme with a Capstone Project - a plan of action geared towards their own organization, in a report written as if it were an academic paper. They presented their Capstone Project before the ceremony.

Lightbulb moments

Karin Bruinenberg, coordinating policy maker at the Ministry of Justice and Security, is one of the seven professionals to successfully complete the programme. ‘It’s my job to shape policies in such a way that legal tech will be accepted and implemented, which is why I was eager to enrol in this programme. The experience was overwhelming. Super intensive, challenging, but it was definitely worth it.’

The interaction with other students certainly played an important role, according to Bruinenberg. ‘You all bring relevant work experience to the table, especially in the legal field. And there were also a few techies present.  There were lots of moments from both sides when you could hear the penny dropping. You can learn so much more about the theory of the subject because of the questions others are asking. ’     

Applying theory within their own organisations

Gijs van der Zee works as a prosecutor at the Public Prosecution Service. It had been a while since he last walked into an classroom. ‘I had indicated with the chief prosecutor that I wanted to attend some courses. This was a totally new experience for me. There are a lot things happening in this field within the police force, but very little inside the Prosecution Service. I’m convinced – and I have mentioned this in my Capstone – that we should be doing more, technology has the future. I’ve learned a lot, especially about the technology side. The interaction between the students and teachers was really good.’

While writing his essay ‘Wie wat vindt heeft niet goed gezocht’ (He who finds something hasn’t been looking properly), Van der Zee noticed that he enjoyed applying the theory within his own organisation. ‘It really started to come alive and the pieces of the puzzle started to fit.’ Just like Bruinenberg, Van der Zee found the programme to be intensive, fun and enlightening. Van der Zee believes that within the Prosecution Service, case files can be processed faster and more accurately using technical applications. ‘I’ll definitely try to make it happen.’

Proud of this cohort

Jaap van den Herik is smiling from ear to ear, while mingling with the students during the photo session and drinks afterwards. ‘This programme was developed at CPL (Centre for Professional Learning) with the help of alderman Saskia Bruines and I’m very proud to be standing here with the first cohort of professionals who will hopefully apply their new knowledge of legal technologies in practice.’

More information regarding the Leiden legal Technologies Programme can be found here

Text: Margriet van der Zee

Images: Arash Nikkhah

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