Georgetown University Law Center announced the Nov. 4 launch of the Institute for Technology Law and Policy, a new initiative geared toward examining emerging issues in technology ranging from cybersecurity to intellectual property.
The institute aims to convene conferences and workshops on technology issues as well as assemble a team of technology law and policy scholars seeking an immersive experience in the field. Later this fall, the institute will also launch the Georgetown Technology Review, a new student-led journal that aims to provide legal analysis and news in the world of technology policy.
Executive Director of the Institute for Technology Policy Alexandra Reeve Givens most recently served as chief counsel for IP and antitrust on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary while working for Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) (GRD ’64).
GULC Dean William Treanor said the institute was created to consolidate the existing programs that delve into technology policy.
“In each way technology is transforming the practice of law and the law school has a number of faculty members and a number of centers that are focused on part of that issue,” Treanor said. “But we wanted to create an umbrella organization that would bring everyone together and look at issues in the broadest context.”
Treanor added that the legal field had evolved greatly as a result of technological advances over the past few decades.
“A few years ago, cybersecurity or data privacy were not issues of great significance. Now they are issues of fundamental importance,” Treanor said. “When I graduated from law school and even 10 years ago, new litigators would spend most of their time reviewing documents by hand. A computer algorithm can now do in nanoseconds what it took thousands of hours of lawyers to do in the past.”
Reeve Givens said the institute will equip a new generation of lawyers with the tools necessary to remain competitive in the changing legal field.
“Going forward, every company is going to be a technology company and every lawyer and adviser needs to be equipped with the skills to provide advice in a new digital economy,” Reeve Givens said. “We are really trying to integrate the training of our students to make sure they feel prepared to serve the 21st century market place.”
Reeve Givens said the institute’s launch has been met with enthusiasm from the student body, particularly with the creation of the Georgetown Technology Review.
“The response has been great so far,” Reeve Givens said. “The editors of that opened up the application process for student participation and they had 85 applicants within the first two hours.”
Reeve Givens said what separates Georgetown’s offerings in technology from other institutions is their location and ability to utilize D.C.’s resources.
“For us, from the law school, Congress is five blocks away,” Reeve Givens said. “What we want is our students understanding the technology but then spending significant time with the policy makers who affect the technology industries to get exposure to ideas and the type of debate that happens in D.C.”
Stephanie Goldberg (GRD ’19) echoed this sentiment, affirming her belief that the institute’s location in the District will allow for the inclusion of leading figures in technology policy.
“I’m a student interested in this area, so personally I am excited to see this sort of development occur, especially because I think we will be able to bring in really top-level officials just being in D.C.,” Goldberg said. “This is really the nexus for policy, so we can really access officials at different agencies and it really allows us to assert our position in being a top law school.”
Kelly Singleton (GRD ’17), who currently serves as a research assistant at the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology, which will be part of the new institute, said the program will strengthen GULC’s existing technology-based classes.
“We are the perfect place for lawyers, policy makers and technologists to come together and contribute to advancing privacy and civil liberties concerns associated with new technology,” Singleton said. “It’s going to concentrate all our efforts into one space so that students are able to take advantage of the resources we already have at Georgetown.”