When I arrived at New York Law School, I was tasked with building a technology and the law center and curriculum from scratch. I created the new Innovation Center for Law and Technology, raised money, developed many new initiativees, hosted several conferences, and built an infrastructure to serve students for years to come. You can see some of the Innovation Center’s accomplishments here (2015-2016) and here (2016-2017).
Building an Academic Center from the Ground Up
Working closely with the NYLS administration, I created the Innovation Center for Law and Technology. I recruited a diverse advisory board of distinguished alumni. I hired two staff members, a graduate fellow, and two student fellows to help run the Center’s programs.
I created four initiatives under the umbrella of the Innovation Center. The Institute for CyberSafety focuses on fighting cyberharassment, sitting at the intersection of privacy and social justice. A broader TechJustice program exposes students, faculty, and members of the community to technology and social justice issues, including implicit bias in machine learning, discrimination in artificial intelligence, behavioral manipulation by technology design, and race, gender, and sexual orientation discrimination. The Data Privacy Project is a center for student and faculty research on social networks, privacy and design, and notice. Through this initiative, I applied for and received several research grants to study sharing personal information, fitness trackers, and the design of technology products. And the Fashion Law Initiative addresses vanguard privacy, technology, and social issues posed by new technologies in fashion law, from wearable fitness devices to RFID tags.
A First-Of-Its-Kind Effort to Combat Cyberharassment
I am the founder and director of the Institute for CyberSafety, a technology and social justice initiative. The Institute is an unprecedented effort to fight cyberharassment and includes the first and, to date, only law school clinic representing victims of cyberharassment. In its first year, Clinic students served many clients (a “revenge porn” victim, a lesbian victim of cyberstalking, and a public school student caught “sexting”) and learned trauma counseling skills, interview and intake procedures, research and writing, and litigation skills. Most of the victims of cyberharassment are women and members of the LGBTQ community or other marginalized groups. As such, this program helps underserved populations.
The Institute also includes a policy arm, which I run. We focus on social science and legal research on cyberharssment, policy advocacy, and support the clinic’s work with amicus briefs. I am now researching the impact of state and local anti-bullying programs on LGBTQ students. I regularly consult with Congresswoman Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, one of the House’s leaders on fighting cyberharassment, on this work.
I spend considerable time raising funds to conduct important research on privacy and build institutions that will raise the profile of NYLS, its students, and its faculty. This has resulted in several successful grant applications, including:
For the Northeast Privacy Scholars Workshop ($5000 per year, from Microsoft, 2017)
For research related to cyberharassment and the Institute for CyberSafety ($25,000, from the Tyler Clementi Foundation, 2016)
For research related to privacy by design ($15,000, from various NYLS alumni, 2016)
For the Institute for CyberSafety ($35,000, from AT&T, 2015)
Academic conferences can help raise a school’s profile within the legal academy. I host several of them. I co-host the Internet Law Works-in-Progress Conference. Last year, I welcomed more than 80 scholars from around the world, with 53 talks on topics as diverse as privacy, IP, online harassment, robots, AI, and so much more. I This year, I created the Northeast Privacy Scholars Workshop. The Workshop is open to privacy scholars (including law, computer science, social sciences, philosophy, etc.). The first Workshop will now be on October 20, 2017 at NYLS. I also organized the Internet Safety Conference, which gathered scholars, cyber safety experts, educators, and survivors of harassment to launch the Institute for CyberSafety.
Technology for Lawyers Reading Group
I believe strongly that lawyers need to embrace technology and have a functioning understanding of the technology world from which many of their clients will come. Technologists also must understand the ethical and legal context in which they work. Therefore, I created the Technology for Lawyers Program at NYLS. It includes two components. First, a series of discussion seminars that familiarize lawyers with hot topics in technology, including data tracking and online advertising, encryption and cybersecurity, internet functionality, data flows, and related legal contexts. Second, I proposed the creation of a technology for lawyers 3-credit seminar, where students will take their technology education to the next level, learning coding and computer programming, statistical analysis, and design. This program is based on one created by Paul Ohm at Georgetown.
New Opportunities for Students
For students, I put together an Technology Law Practice lecture series, ranging from informal networking lunches to master classes to discussions of ongoing federal litigation, that brings leading practitioners to speak with students. These events offer students insight as well as fantastic networking opportunities. I revamped the technology law curriculum and proposed several new courses, including “Post Data Breach Counseling” and “Litigating Copyright and Trademark Cases”. Both of these courses put students in the shoes of practicing lawyers, learning how to represent clients who have experienced data breaches and violations of the intellectual property, respectively. These and other advanced, practice-oriented simulation courses take students from the very beginning of a matter all the way up to the eve of trial. I am particularly proud of our Innovation Fellows mentorship program, an initiative that matches each student affiliated with the Center with both an experienced and more recent NYLS alum. This two-on-one mentorship program has helped students find jobs and ease their transition from school to practice. Center-affiliated students also have access to a series of technology law competitions and internships/externships, many of which I developed by building relationships with area employers. I also created several certificate programs for students.