Talk of the Law School
Engelberg Center Hosts Legal Madness
Last November the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy hosted Legal Madness, an open mic event in which actors told stories, collected anonymously from real-life lawyers, about strange and awkward moments at tech companies and start-ups. Hard-hearted CEOs, T-shirt fires, mystery dogs, and clogged toilets, among other challenges, figured in the monologues. “These stories are entertaining on their own, and also shed light on what it is like to work in-house at a tech company,” says Engelberg Executive Director Michael Weinberg.
Clinical Trial Data Revealed
Christopher Morten ’15, supervising attorney at NYU Law’s Technology Law and Policy Clinic, secured a judicial victory on February 24, 2020, with a ruling in Seife & Lurie v. US Department of Health and Human Services et al. that required the federal government to collect and publish 10 years of undisclosed clinical trial data. The judge closed a long-standing loophole created by federal agencies that had allowed sponsors of clinical trials for prescription drugs and medical devices to withhold unfavorable trial results for certain studies completed between 2007 and 2017.
Legislative Win for Family Defense Clinic
In April 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed budget legislation that included major reform of the state’s Social Services Law. Drafted by NYU Law’s Family Defense Clinic, the legislation raises the standard of proof required before allegations of child abuse and neglect can be added to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. According to Chris Gottlieb ’97, co-director of the clinic, the maltreatment allegations are often connected to poverty and disproportionately affect low-income people of color.
The new legislation, which goes into effect on January 1, 2022, raises the standard of evidence required to substantiate an abuse or neglect case from “some credible evidence” to “a fair preponderance of evidence,” so that an allegation will limit employment only when the evidence indicates it is more likely to be true than untrue. Under the new law, when family courts dismiss allegations, parents will not need to separately litigate to clear their records in the register. The reform also gives parents who challenge their records the chance to show rehabilitation and that allegations are not relevant to working with children. Finally, the legislation shortens the length of time that employment opportunities are limited by providing automatic sealing of neglect records after eight years.
A Conversation on de Kooning
The fluid red and blue curves of Willem de Kooning’s The Key and the Parade (1985)—on loan from the Willem de Kooning Foundation—were the subject of and inspiration for a discussion of the painter’s technique and artistic vision by artist Joan Levy Hepburn and art historian Richard Shiff.
Work and Progress
In Bostock v. Clayton County, the US Supreme Court established that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars employment discrimination against LGBTQ workers. The June ruling consolidated three cases; alumni Gregory Antollino ’93, Gabriel Arkles ’04, and Ria Tabacco Mar ’08 each played a major role in one or more of them.
Pitbull Chronicles Trademark Victory in NYU Law Journal
The NYU Journal of Intellectual Property & Entertainment Law published an article co-authored by Grammy-winning musical artice Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez) about receiving the first registration of a sound trademark in the principal register for musical sound recordings by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The trademark victory recognized Pitbull's well-known “Eyo” yell (known as a grito) in his songs and live performances.
New Engelberg Site Expands 3D Digitization
In May 2020, the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy launched a new website, Glam3D.org, that aggregates the resources needed for a GLAM institution (Gallery, Library, Archive, and Museum) to digitize and make available the 3D objects in its collection. According to the center’s executive director, Michael Weinberg, while many institutions have digitized parts of their collections and made them available under open licenses, those digitizations are almost all 2D images. Glam3D.org provides resources and best practices for launching a 3D open-access program, from choosing the objects to scan, to performing the 3D scanning and storing the data, to licensing and making the files available.
McKenzie Wins Distinguished Teaching Award
NYU recognized Professor of Law Troy McKenzie ’00 with a Distinguished Teaching Award. One of six NYU professors to receive this year’s award, McKenzie teaches courses that include Bankruptcy, Complex Litigation, Procedure, and Supreme Court Seminars. In the classroom, McKenzie says he finds great benefit in using the Socratic method not as “an instrument of terror, but a means of opening up materials to careful, thoughtful, lawyerly investigation.”
Marking a Milestone
In 2019, for the first time, law reviews at 16 top schools were led by women editors in chief. At NYU Law, that leader was Maia Cole ’20. A commemorative joint publication, Women & Law, features 14 essays by influential women in the legal profession, including Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law Melissa Murray. In her words, Murray’s essay examined “the progress that women have made in the legal profession over the last 50 years, while also considering areas of concern for women’s professional representation.”
Professor of Philosophy and Law K. Anthony Appiah received the Getty Medal, established by the J. Paul Getty Trust to recognize contributions to the arts and humanities. “Anthony Appiah’s writings on culture and identity are of the greatest importance as we confront increasing populism and ethnic nationalism in our daily lives,” Getty Trust President James Cuno said in announcing the award.
NYU Law Professors Offer Free IP
The primary rationale for intellectual property protection is that it incentivizes people to create expressive work, to invent, and to market products. But some NYU Law IP professors are demonstrating that—at least when it comes to legal textbooks—such incentive isn’t always necessary. In July, John M. Desmarais Professor of Intellectual Property Law Barton Beebe released Version 7 of Trademark Law: An Open-Source Casebook, which he makes available for download at no charge. First published in 2014, the book is now being used in whole or in part at more than 50 law schools. This summer also saw Professors Jeanne Fromer and Christopher Jon Sprigman publish Version 2 of Copyright Law: Cases and Materials, similarly available for free online, and now in use at over 30 law schools.
Law textbooks can be expensive, and saving students money was a major objective for all three faculty members. “It means a lot to me to receive random emails from around the world thanking me for making the book available for free,” Beebe says. Those who prefer hard copies of the books can order them from Amazon for essentially the cost of printing—$19.17 for Beebe’s textbook and $15.08 for Fromer and Sprigman’s.
Friedman to Aid in Assessment of NYPD
On June 10, 2020, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the appointment of NYU Law Professor Barry Friedman as a special advisor to guide and support her investigation into the recent interactions between the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and people engaging in protests across the city. Former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch will also serve as a special advisor. The announcement came after the killing of George Floyd by a police officer and subsequent violent clashes between police officers and protesters sparked outrage and more demonstrations nationwide. The NYPD is among police departments across the country facing scrutiny for its response to protests.
“My work is dedicated to promoting public safety through transparency, equity, and democratic engagement,” said Friedman, the founder and faculty director of the Policing Project at NYU Law, in a statement. “We know that our communities are best served and protected when all stakeholders have a seat at the table, not just those in power. It’s clear New York is ready for an in-depth look at our policing policies, and I appreciate the opportunity to work with Attorney General James on this investigation.”
In Love and Law
Did you find love at NYU Law? For these couples, the Law School holds special memories of blossoming romance while earning their degrees.
Taina Bien-Aimé ’91 and Veronica Jordan ’91
Where they met: An NYU Law orientation for incoming students of color
“Our favorite place was Vanderbilt Hall, in which so many rich events, conversations, and celebrations, including with our beloved BALSA family, occurred during our time at NYU Law.”
Matthew Cantor ’95 and Jill Rubenstein Cantor ’94, LLM ’97
Where they met: Mercer [now Hayden Hall]
“Our favorite NYU Law hangout was Tre Giovani pizzeria on LaGuardia…. Jill would often find me eating lunch at Tre Giovani several times a week, reading the sports section while there.”
Hillela Simpson ’16 and Shana Knizhnik ’15
Where they met: An OUTLaw Alumni Reception
“As first- and second-year law students, the majority of our time was spent in or around the law library, where we got to know each other over Gchat as we studied, sometimes unsuccessfully stifling giggles and getting dirty looks from other students.”
Fernando Jesus Filártiga Cantero LLM ’14 began serving a five-year term on the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Paraguay in January 2020.
On February 22, 2020, Just Mercy, the film based on the memoir of the same name by Aronson Family Professor of Criminal Justice Bryan Stevenson (see “Double Feature”), took home four NAACP Image Awards, including the award for outstanding motion picture. “This film is for the thousands of innocent people in jails and prisons in this country,” said Stevenson in his acceptance speech.