Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 15

GEORGETOWN MERGES LAW & TECH
TO TRAIN FUTURE POLICYMAKERS
By Sarah Kellogg

T

ransformative technologies
such as facial recognition
software, algorithmic learning,
and behavioral biometrics have
inspired enormous change and as
many legal quandaries in recent years,
quandaries that have been as hard
to understand as solve.
The runaway bullet train that is emerging technology has left many in the legal community
dazed and a bit confused, struggling to keep up
with the pace and breadth of the change and its
broader implications for society and the law.
Georgetown University may have a solution.
The university has launched a cross-disciplinary
effort known as the Initiative on Tech & Society,
a venture that brings together scholars from
across the university to study the intersection
of technology, ethics, public policy, and the law.
"This is an interdisciplinary approach to solving
the tough issues that technology presents,"
says Bill Treanor, dean and executive vice president of Georgetown University Law Center. "It
will both produce cutting-edge research and
educate the next generation of policymakers."
The initiative will be housed at a new facility
on Georgetown Law's campus on Capitol Hill,
and it is scheduled to open in February 2020.
Foundations and private individuals are providing much of the starting capital for the initiative, with some limited backing from corporate
donors.
A November 2016 white paper published by the
World Economic Forum described the current
state of global technological transformation as
the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is marked
by constant technological and social change.
The paper noted that the regulatory response
- legislation and incentives - shouldn't come
solely from government. "These [responses] are
likely to be out of date or redundant by the time
they are implemented," the report noted.
Even more problematic is that civil and criminal
attorneys are forced to operate in a legal landscape where technological complexity increases
exponentially and on a daily basis.
"We're all learning as we're going along. We're
building the airplane while we're flying it," says

Roy L. Austin Jr., a partner at Harris, Wiltshire &
Grannis LLP and a former White House adviser
who coauthored a report on big data and civil
rights. "Very few people really understand how
most technology works. It has real impacts that
are affecting real people's lives. I don't think we
fully have our arms around it yet."
The technology industry has created new
pathways to improve everything from the
delivery of information to law clients to the
democratization of access to the courts. That is
good news for clients, but they need tech-savvy
lawyers to be able to use and deploy these tools,
a goal of Georgetown's Initiative on Tech &
Society.

''

We need better informed
policymakers who can write
better and more up-to-date laws
and can provide better oversight.
ALEXANDRA GIVENS
Georgetown Law Institute
for Technology Law & Policy

"One of the ways that some people are trying
to tackle technology is by creating a new school
for this or that," says Alexandra Givens, executive
director of Georgetown Law's Institute for
Technology Law & Policy and an adjunct professor of law. "But we feel that just creates fresh
silos. Ours is an integrated building that leverages the power of the network. It no longer
works to only operate in a legal silo."
Most of Georgetown's technology-focused
programs will fall under the initiative's umbrella.
For example, the Georgetown Ethics Lab brings
a creative approach to learning ethics through
novel exercises and tools. The Center for Security
and Emerging Technology studies the security
implications of tech advancements, and the
Institute for Technology Law & Policy scrutinizes
technology's varied effects on public policy.
The initiative will provide room for students from
different departments throughout the university
and from other institutions to work cooperatively on projects that are policy-driven as well as
transactional. Eventually, the university expects
to add more cross-disciplinary degrees there to
deepen its impact.

Georgetown envisions the initiative to become
home to a number of innovative learning
programs, such as one that allows law students
to create legal tech tools to improve the operation
of the civil justice system. Students participate
in coding classes and work collaboratively with
computer science engineers to create apps
or software.
"What we need with all these new technologies
is to have a group of people who have some
understanding of what's possible and what the
issues are," says Treanor.
The initiative also moves beyond tech products.
Georgetown has recently linked its law students
with computer science students from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology to write
privacy guidelines, policies that will be strengthened by the contributions of both disciplines.
"We need better informed policymakers who
can write better and more up-to-date laws and
can provide better oversight," says Givens. "They
need to know what questions they should be
asking and what those answers should be."
Georgetown isn't alone in realizing the importance of developing stronger ties between
the legal and technology sectors. Law schools
around the country are looking for ways to
integrate technology into their curriculums in
various functions and forms.
For example, the University of California Berkeley
School of Law offers a multidisciplinary research
center similar to Georgetown's. The Berkeley
Center for Law & Technology explores the
juncture of technology law and policy. The
Michigan State University College of Law's
Center for Law, Technology & Innovation has
taken a practical approach, training law students
to operate more effectively in the tech sector
by using tech tools and solutions in improving
legal access.
At Stanford University Law School, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and technologists are uniting under the
umbrella of its CodeX program to develop computational law. This offshoot of legal informatics
examines the codification of regulations in a
manner that is accessible for computer programs.
Technology has markedly transformed civilization in the last two decades, and education
leaders believe it is imperative that universities,
particularly law schools, address these evolving
technologies that continue to test the very structure of society and the law.
OCTOBER 2019

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WASHINGTON LAWYER

15



Washington Lawyer - October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - October 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Coding Out Implicit Bias With Ai
Rewriting the Rules on Data Privacy
Compromised Devices: Hardware Hacking Dangers
Taking the Stand
Member Spotlight
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask the Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effect
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Coding Out Implicit Bias With Ai
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 14
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 16
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Rewriting the Rules on Data Privacy
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 20
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 22
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Compromised Devices: Hardware Hacking Dangers
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 25
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 26
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 27
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 29
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 31
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 32
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 33
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 37
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Ask the Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 41
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 43
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 45
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - October 2019 - Cover4
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