CALI Author

Some of Slaw’s readers may know of CALIThe name was originally an acronym for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction., that venerable institution that is

[a] non-profit consortium of law schools that researches and develops computer-mediated legal instruction and supports institutions and individuals using technology and distance learning in legal education. CALI was incorporated in 1982 and welcomes membership from law schools, paralegal programs, law firms and individuals wishing to learn more about the law.

During my many years of teaching I flirted with CALI, greatly enjoying their annual conferences, from time to time making use of the few lessons aimed at Canada, and even trying my hand at constructing an “automated” lesson or two.

CALI Author” is their authoring tool. It’s a free program that lets you create a structured, branching lesson, and, if you wish, to test the students as they go through it. And it strikes me that law firms might consider using it to develop their teaching/learning materials — the price is certainly right, and, as I recall, CALI itself is eager to help if trouble arises. The resultant lesson can be run on a local machine or via the web. It’s just barely possible that firms might find that the ability to point a tyro to a canned lesson would relieve them of some of the burden of “customizing” new hires.

Does your firm ever make use of computer-assisted lessons? Have you considered constructing them, and if so, what authoring tool have you used or thought about using?


  1. I’ve always thought CALI was just available to academics who are part of the consortium. I’ve enviously watched Jim Milles using some of their tools in his courses.

    So, they do make them available to others?

  2. Connie, from what I can gather on their site, the authoring tool is free for all to use. The courses that they offer are available only to members — but firms can join, of course. Although, very very few do.