Clinics

Technology Law and Policy Clinic

LW.12148 / LW.12149
Professor Jason Schultz
Professor Brett Max Kaufman
Deputy Director Christopher Morten
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

Technological advances are driving greater social, economic, and political change—from access to information, health care, and entertainment to increased surveillance by law enforcement agencies to impacts on the environment, education, and commerce. These advances, however, raise increasingly critical and complex questions about privacy, consumer rights, free speech, and intellectual property.

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:

  • 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.
  • Unsealing court records related to government surveillance techniques and methods.
  • Contributing to various criminal and civil cases, through direct representation or amicus support, that challenge government surveillance and hacking.

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:

  • Advising the Open Source Hardware Association on its trademark certification program;
  • Representing “appropriation” artists who comment or criticize the work of other creators;
  • Researching the legal implications of artificial intelligence for NYU’s AI Now Institute;
  • Counseling the New York Public Library on the legal rules and risks associated with open source software production;
  • Challenging a major pharmaceutical company’s effort to extend its patent monopoly on life-saving HIV drugs, on behalf of an HIV/AIDS activist group;
  • Suing the government to compel it to disclose more data on clinical trials of prescription drugs and medical devices;
  • Counseling a documentary filmmaker on fair use; and
  • Filing amicus briefs in key copyright, patent, trademark, and other intellectual property cases, including
    • Google v. Oracle (U.S. Supreme Court)
    • Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader (U.S. Supreme Court)
    • Hassell v. Bird (California Supreme Court)
    • In re Tam (Federal Circuit)

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 law and public policy, as well as 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 to Susan Hodges.

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 are available to discuss their experience:

Fall 2019
Jacob Apkon
Ariella Barel
Laurel Boman
Jesse Kirkland
Ethan Lin
Tom McBrien
Neha Mehta
Caitlin Peltz
Joe Rabinovitsj
Tori Stringfellow
David Wechsler    
Tiffany Wong

Fall 2018
Enoch Ajayi
Iman Charania
Melodi Dincer
Austin Gillette
Michael Pizzi


* 6 credits include 3 clinical (fieldwork) credits and 3 academic seminar credits.