This is an archival version of Coding the Law's Fall 2020 course site.
Click the green flag to start. Game by smelly_hobbit. See original. This game was made in Scratch, an educational programming language. We introduce coding with Scratch in Level 4 if you want to try your hand at making something similar.

Coding the Law
Suffolk Law School: Fall 2020
by @Colarusso

A self-guided LegalTech Adventure for folks with or without prior coding experience.

Notes on Pacing

It is worth noting that this course is intentionally front-loading project work so you will have the skills and time you need to complete your final project. That is, we are starting with a sprint and then mindfully slowing down. For example, the last few levels will focus on reading discussions and guest speakers and will not include any programming missions. The time you "save," however, is intended to free you up to work on your final project. So as the time spent on weekly projects goes down, the time you spend on your final project should go up.

The Document Assembly Line Project
15-30 min. Protip: You can watch YouTube videos at more than 1X speed.

Optional Media. If you want to learn more about some of the topics discussed in the video above, and you have some free time, you might enjoy the following.

~ 3 Hours

Knowledge Base

Everyone comes to this adventure with a different background. So this section is designed to be a menu of sorts. If you already know a topic well, you can skip the relevant material. Just answer the questions below, and section(s) will disappear accordingly. That being said, if a section doesn't disappear, you should do it. Any time you save skipping a topic, however, should be spent working on your final project or reading ahead in either Weapons of Math Destruction or How Not to Be Wrong. FYI, we will be reading all of Weapons of Math Destruction and all but parts III and V of How Not to Be Wrong.

All of that being said, let's see if we can pare things down.

Do you feel comfortable creating basic Community.Lawyer Apps?

Community.Lawyer Introduction
Video: 3 Minutes.
Tutorial: 27 Minutes.

The video below (~3 Minutes) introduces Community.Lawyer's App Builder. After viewing this, you'll be asked to read and work through a short tutorial (~27 Minutes). If you don't already, you should create a Community.Lawyer account.

Work your way through the first three sections of this tutorial (i.e., From Zero to Live App, Advanced Variables, and Automating Documents). FWIW, you will be putting what you learn to use in the mission below.

Optional: join the Community.Lawyer Slack team, a great way to see what they're up to and get free help on building apps. Honestly, it's a really great community. Also, you can find additional video tutorials here.

Introductory Docassemble (OPTIONAL)
~1.5-3 Hours. Protip: You can watch YouTube videos at more than 1X speed.

This section is optional. However, if you are thinking about working on the Document Assembly Line for your final project, you should take some time to look at this as you would be working in docassemble. You don't have to work through it right now, but if you end up working with the DocAssembly project, you'll end up working through this.

To sign up for a docassemble account (needed if you want to work through the examples), create an account here, then DM me, and I'll promote you to a developer.

Here is the Hello, World exercise referenced in the video below.

Ready to Go?

Before we add to your mission, let's make sure we're on the same page, and don't worry. Your answers to these questions are only saved to this device. It's just a self-test to make sure you know what you need to succeed on your mission. This is by no means an exhaustive test of what you need to know, but if you find yourself missing something, take it as a suggestion to revisit the materials above. If you pared things down based on an answer to the Knowledge Base questions, consider changing the answer and reviewing the material.

Within a Community.Lawyer app, how does one frame a variable contained in a Word template?

Your Mission: Automate This
Video: ~2-4 Minutes. Protip: You can watch YouTube videos at more than 1X speed.
Work: 1 Hour and 40 Minutes

You should activate your app to the LIT Lab's Student Work Community. Before you can do this, I'll need to add you. Just DM me with your Community.Lawyer account info, and I'll add you.

ICYMI: (1) Create and activate a Community.Lawyer App that produces multiple versions of a document in .docx where said versions are logically conditioned on the user’s input (e.g., they say X is true and section Y is added to the document); (2) Be prepared to discuss where you think such an app could be useful to the firm and when you think it could be a good idea; and (3) Be sure to add a disclaimer to the screen on your app and the first page of your output!

Self-Reflection and Logging Your Work
~20 min

As we do at the end of every level, we ask that you take a few minutes to reflect on how things are going. I've also included a set of reading questions to queue things up for our synchronous discussion. Your answers will be shared with me and it will let me know me know that I can look for any project work you may have posted. That being said, you've almost completed Level 3. Tell me how it's going by completing the form linked below.

Synchronous Meet Up, AKA our Class Time
1 hour | September 14, 2020 @ 4pm Eastern

If you're an enrolled student, we'll be meeting at this link on Monday September 14th at 4pm via Zoom. If you don't have the password, and you are a registered student, DM me on Slack, and I can give you the password. If you're not an enrolled student, I'm afraid you can't join us.

We will use this time to: (1) troubleshoot any issues folks might have had working through the knowledge base; (2) look at and talk about your mission; and (3) discuss the readings.

Time estimates are just that—estimates. The assumptions used to calculate reading time are as follows: 48 pages is assumed to take roughly an hour to read. When working with non paginated texts, it is assumed that a page is roughly equal to 250 words. Videos assume both 2X and 1X viewing. Estimates for coding are based on past experience. Each level should include about 6 hours and 40 min of work.