Clinics

Technology Law and Policy Clinic

LW.12148 / LW.12149
Professor Lee Rowland
Professor Aaron Williamson
Brett Max Kaufman, Fellow
Open to 2L and 3L students
Maximum of 12 students
Fall semester
6 credits*
Pre-requisites/Co-requisites: None, but courses in privacy, intellectual property, or First and Fourth Amendment law will prove useful.

Introduction

With technological advances driving greater social, economic, and political change—from access to information, health care, and entertainment to impacts on the environment, education, and commerce to facilitating greater surveillance by law enforcement agencies—issues related to privacy, consumer rights, free speech, and intellectual property are becoming increasingly critical and complex.

The Technology Law and Policy Clinic is a semester-long, 6-credit course that focuses on the representation of individuals, nonprofits, and consumer groups who are engaged with these questions from a public interest point-of-view. It involves a mixture of fieldwork and seminar discussion ranging from technology law and policy to the ethical challenges of representing public interest organizations.

Course Description

Fieldwork

Approximately one-half of the students in the clinic will work with the teachers of the clinic and the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project and National Security Project on issues or cases currently on the Project’s docket. Representative matters include:

  • Challenging suspicionless searches of laptops at the international border. The ACLU has been involved in two lawsuits, House v. Napolitano and Abidor v. Napolitano, arguing that the government’s policy of conducting purely suspicionless searches and seizures of laptops and other electronic devices of travelers at the international border violates both the First Amendment right to free speech and the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
  • Filing public records requests and lawsuits to inform the public about government surveillance programs. For example, the ACLU has litigated Freedom of Information Act requests to force the disclosure of records regarding the warrantless tracking of the location of people’s cell phones and regarding new methods and technologies for disrupting large-scale protests.
  • Developing ACLU policy priorities and state legislative strategies for ensuring that new laws regulating access to digital assets after death are privacy protective.
  • Contributing to various criminal and civil cases, through direct representation or amicus support, that challenge government national-security surveillance.

The other half will work on representing individuals, not-for-profits and other public interest clients on matters primarily focused on intellectual property. Past representative matters include:

  • Counseling the New York Public Library on the legal rules and risks associated with open source software production; and
  • Filing amicus briefs in key copyright, patent, trademark, and other intellectual property cases.

Seminar

The seminar will include readings and discussions, student presentations of projects for discussion and problem-solving workshops, guest speakers on relevant topics, and other exercises designed to expose you to the practice of technology law in the public interest.

Qualifications for Applicants

Students in the clinic should have a passionate interest or curiosity about the impact of new technologies on public policy and the law and a desire to support and represent the public interest in these matters.

Application Procedure

Students should submit an application, resume and transcript on-line via CAMS. Applicants should submit as lengthy a response to Question 4 of the standard application as they feel necessary and may ignore the 300 word limit. Applicants to this clinic are asked to answer two additional questions to complete their applications, available on the Forms page and in CAMS. There will be no interview. If you have questions about the clinic, you may direct them either to Susan Hodges or to Brett Max Kaufman.

Students who enroll in the Technology Law and Policy Clinic for the fall semester may have the opportunity to join the Advanced Technology Law and Policy Clinic in the spring semester. There is no formal application process for the Advanced Clinic. Those students will be contacted about the application process prior to the Spring enrollment period.

Student Contacts

The following students who took the clinic in 2014 are available to discuss their experience:

Megan Briskman
Matt Callahan
Philip Cernera
Megan Graham
Karen Kiley
Rafael Reyneri
Aimee Thomson
 


* 6 credits include 3 clinical credits and 3 academic seminar credits.