Information for Students
In this clinic, students learn to shape technology policy in the direction of justice.
While each student’s experience will vary depending on their project(s), students typically:
- conduct legal and factual research
- draft different types of documents, such as comments, briefs, letters, and memos
- meet and strategize with clients and allies, and
- attend meetings with agency or congressional staff.
Students take substantial responsibility for their cases under the supervision of faculty and fellows. Projects in the clinic often involve issues of administrative law, privacy law, communications law, advertising law, and the First Amendment. Students have opportunities to communicate and strategize with clients and allied organizations; advocate for their clients in meetings with agency staff; gather facts; research statutes, regulations, and case law; and analyze how the law applies to specific circumstances. Students draft a wide variety of documents including letters to clients and agencies; comments on proposed rules; administrative appeals; complaints and requests for investigation filed with administrative agencies; and memoranda to clients. Students in the clinic typically work on projects in pairs, and are frequently advised to consult with each other and review each other’s work.
Students in the clinic also attend and participate in a seminar that meets twice weekly to help develop skills needed to conduct effective tech policy advocacy. The seminar covers skills such as persuasive writing, face-to-face advocacy, one-pagers, oral presentations, legislative advocacy, and recent developments in law and technology. As part of the seminar, students have the opportunity to deliver presentations before their peers, discuss their projects, and occasionally attend hearings and conferences on law and technology topics.
- Credits: 12
- Duration: One semester
- Number of participants: 6-8 students per semester
- Open to: 2L/3E/3L/4E (at least 30 credits)
- Average time commitment: 42 hours per week
- Prerequisites: None, but students will benefit from having taken one or more of the following classes: Administrative Law, Communications Law, Information Privacy Law, Law of Advertising, Technology Law and Policy Colloquium, The Color of Surveillance Seminar, and/or any of the courses in the Intellectual Property, Entertainment, and Technology cluster.
- Participation in this clinic does not require student bar certification.
Expected learning outcomes:
Knowledge of substantive communications and technology laws implemented and enforced by the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission. In the seminar component of the clinic, students are exposed to a variety of communications and technology laws, and also learn about these agencies’ structure and function. Students typically also have the opportunity to work on matters before the FCC and/or FTC, and through their advocacy, gain a deep understanding of specific laws and regulations pertaining to their cases.
Ability to plan, organize, and draft a persuasive written policy argument. Students devote substantial time in the clinic to writing skills. Over the course of the semester, they will have an opportunity to draft various documents (examples from past semesters include letters, memos, administrative comments and other filings, informal administrative complaints, amicus briefs, internal memos, client-facing memos, model legislation, and one-pagers). Students will learn and practice new techniques to improve organization and persuasiveness at the structural, paragraph, and sentence levels.
Ability to plan, organize, and deliver a persuasive oral policy argument. Students give oral presentations to other students and sometimes to clients, agencies, or legislative staff. They receive feedback on presentations from faculty, fellows, and other students. Students also learn techniques to effectively use presentation aids such as one-pagers and slides. By having multiple opportunities to make presentations and to get feedback, students become more comfortable with oral policy arguments and other oral communications.
Understanding of the goals and motivations of a range of stakeholders active in tech policy debates, with a focus on historically underrepresented stakeholders. Students learn to prepare an advocacy plan for a policy project, and as part of that exercise, they learn to analyze the likely positions of stakeholders with an interest in the policy outcome. Students typically also have opportunities to attend meetings with people and organizations that have an interest in their case, as well as to attend relevant public events and hearings.
Understanding of the professional habits and obligations of an effective policy lawyer. Students learn critical professional skills such as planning and facilitating meetings, developing agendas, managing up and sideways, evaluating their own performance, establishing a practice of reflection, and developing and maintaining relationships with colleagues, clients, and other attorneys.