Technology Law and Policy Clinic celebrates 10 years of cutting-edge legal work

On November 10, Professor of Clinical Law Jason Schultz, director of NYU Law’s Technology Law and Policy Clinic, and the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy welcomed a host of current and former clinic students to Greenberg Lounge to celebrate the clinic’s 10th anniversary. The all-day event included four panels in which past and present clinic participants discussed different aspects of the impact the clinic has made on them and their work.

Jason Schultz
Jason Schultz

Introducing the event, Jeanne Fromer, Walter J. Derenberg Professor of Intellectual Property Law and vice dean for intellectual life, talked about the importance of the clinic to the NYU Law curriculum. “The clinic’s work has enabled a robust education here at NYU in intellectual property, information law, and technology law by giving students a hand in working on and advancing cutting-edge issues in the field,” said Fromer, “and enabling them to apply the intellectual property and tech law offerings that they have in the non-clinical space…to real-world situations.”

Expressing marvel at the range of the work that the clinic has taken on, Fromer cited projects such as counseling the New York Public Library on laws related to open-source software production and its e-book lending app; filing public records requests and lawsuits to inform the public about government surveillance programs; supporting an artist in a copyright case involving appropriation art and fair use; and working with PrEP4All, a volunteer group of activists challenging patent monopolies on life-saving HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 drugs. 

“There’s a misperception oftentimes of technology law and policy and intellectual property as being a private law subject,” Fromer added. She offered the Technology Law and Policy Clinic as a counterexample: “Exhibit A is the work that this clinic does, because it underscores how enmeshed the public interest is in these fields.”

In his own remarks, Schultz recalled how, as a 2L at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, he had joined other students in petitioning for an IP and technology clinic, making a case to the faculty for why such an offering was important. Schultz went on to teach the clinic at Berkeley Law before being invited to NYU Law. During his visit at the Law School, he met with a group of students who had initiated the same sort of petition, and Schultz was convinced to come to NYU Law to start a clinic there. 

“If dozens of students show up on a Saturday morning for anything other than an exam review,” he said, “you know that this is something that actually matters to them.”

During a panel of clinic alumni who have become clinical teachers, Peter Steffensen ’17, now a law fellow with the First Amendment Clinic at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, explained how, in the NYU Law clinic, he had found “people who were the model of lawyer that I wanted to be and sort of showed me what was possible in terms of bringing care and empathy and compassion—not just into the actual legal work, but into the way that you treat each other.”

The anniversary event hosted four panels of current and former Technology Law and Policy Clinic students. 

Panel 1—TLP Alums: Perspectives from Clinical Teaching 

Moderator: Jason Schultz

  • Megan Graham ’15, Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Brett Max Kaufman, American Civil Liberties Union (co-taught the Technology Law and Policy Clinic from 2014 to 2022)
  • Amanda Levendowski ’14, Intellectual Property and Information Policy Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center
  • Peter Steffensen ’17, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law

Panel 2—Current TLP Students: Perspectives from the Classroom

Moderator: Melodi Dincer ’20, NYU Law’s Technology Law and Policy Clinic (supervising attorney)

  • Kiana Boroumand ’24
  • Batya Kemper ’24
  • Talya Nevins ’24
  • Talya Whyte ’24

Panel 3—TLP Alums: Perspectives from the Private Sector

Moderator: Jake Karr ’18, NYU Law's Technology Law and Policy Clinic (deputy director)

  • Samanatha Fink Hedrick ’19, FullStory
  • Ethan Lin ’21, Brown Rudnick
  • Ava McAlpin ’13, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
  • Florina Yezril ’16, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Panel 4—TLP Alums: Perspectives from Government and Nongovernmental Organizations

Moderator: Brett Max Kaufman, American Civil Liberties Union

  • Patrick Holvey ’15, US Department of Justice, Civil Division—Commercial Litigation Branch’s Intellectual Property Section; American University Washington College of Law
  • Santana Jackson ’21, Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • Dillon Reisman ’21, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey
  • Charlotte Slaiman ’14, Public Knowledge

Selected remarks by panelists:

Megan Graham ’15, clinical supervising attorney in the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law: “One of the things I learned in [NYU Law’s Technology Law and Policy Clinic]…as frustrating as it was for me, is sometimes at the start, you don’t know what the best path is. And that’s part of being a lawyer, part of being in the clinic. And I just spend a lot of time with my current students being like, ‘It’ll be OK. We will figure it out. Are we making forward progress? Are you listening to your clients? Are you thinking through creative solutions?’”

Kiana Boroumand ’24: “So much of what my clinic partner and I did when we were brainstorming our argument for our brief was figuring out how we felt about electronic communications and how we felt about intent over online media and what it meant to put something out there, but also what it meant to receive it. And having those conversations, really about gut reactions and values—…going into it, I thought [they] didn’t really have a place in legal argument, but…I found actually [they] were really meaningful as a threshold step in getting to that legal argument.”

Posted December 6, 2023