Big data, distributed ledger and blockchain technology open doors for lawyers in the world of data analysis.  Lawyers are usually trained in small-data analysis, a critical skill for problem solving. However, the explosion of data in recent years means lawyers have the means to analyze questions that were considered unanswerable a short time ago.

Computational Legal Studies Course by Daniel Martin Katz and Michael Bommarito. This course teaches an evolved vision of law in the digital space.


On the path to learning data science, there is an obvious, bite-sized starting point:  SQL, or secure query language.  SQL is not a programming language. It’s the language humans use to interface with data in databases to add, delete or compare information.

SQL has been around a long time, and most of us have used some form or another. If you use a time/billing or case management system in your firm you are using some version of SQL, even if it’s hidden behind a layer of point-and-click user-friendliness. SQL allows manipulation of data, and learning it gives a cognitive framework that trains the mind to begin thinking about information as data.

The good news about SQL is it’s easy and fast to learn. I used Codecademy.com‘s “Learn SQL”, which takes under 3 hours to complete.


Coding education resources:

Free online sites:

Command-line skills are a must.

Open-source university courses offer free computer science classes taught by experts. My two cents is that these classes are great for orientation, like thinking in base two and in boolean terms, but the coding skills are easier to learn by doing than by watching lecture. I followed the first half of Harvard’s CS50 for a little handholding before moving to experiential learning tools like Codecademy.

Khan Academy scales its effective math curriculum to computer science.

Codecademy is easy to use and doesn’t require download of special software.

The Open Source Data Science Masters collects courses from diverse sources that track to data science competencies. This curriculum assumes basic coding skills.

Coursera, Udemy and edX offer free and paid courses, with optional certificates of completion.

UVA crypto course teaches students to use blockchain technology. This class assumes some programming experience.