Law Library

Big Data and Big Challenges for Law and Legal Information - A Symposium in Celebration of 125 Years - January 30, 2013, Georgetown Law, Gewirz 12th Floor

Panelists and Speakers

Margaret O. Adams, Electronic and Special Media Records Service Division, National Archives and Records Administration

adams_peggyData-PASS: Its Origins and Accomplishments

Ms. Adams will speak about the Data Preservation Alliance for the Social Sciences – how it came to be organized and what it has accomplished. In doing so, she will offer a brief survey of the history of data services and talk about the data services community.

Margaret O’Neill Adams is a Supervisory Archivist in the Archival Electronic Records Operations Division, Research Services – Washington, D.C., [U.S.] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Peggy came to the custodial program for electronic records at NARA in 1987 after a variety of professional positions, including as an academic data archivist and information manager. She holds an M.A. (History) from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Ms. Adams has presented at professional meetings and published widely on electronic records topics. She is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists and earlier this year received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association for Social Science Information Service and Technology (IASSIST).

Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown State and Federal Climate Resource Center and Visiting Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

arroyo_vickiGeorgetown Climate Center’s Strategic Use of Data

Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center, will present how the organization is using data and data platforms to strategically position the Center as a “go to” resource for policy makers, consumers, and reporters on climate, energy, and transportation issues, and the effectiveness of the strategy to date. The Georgetown Climate Center uses publicly available data for its policy analysis, such as emissions data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to support the goals of its state and regional projects, such as the Northeast Electric Vehicle Initiative. The Center is also the developer of the Adaptation Clearinghouse, a database of resources designed to help policy makers and planners prepare for climate changes.

Vicki Arroyo is the Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center of Georgetown University Law Center, where she is also a Visiting Professor. She oversees the Center’s work at the nexus of climate and energy policy, supervising staff and student work on climate mitigation and adaptation at the state and federal level. She teaches “experiential” environmental law courses to both law and public policy students at Georgetown, and has taught courses on environmental policy and climate change at Catholic University, George Mason University, and Tulane Law School. She previously served at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, most recently as the Pew Center’s Vice President for Domestic Policy and General Counsel, and practiced environmental law with Kilpatrick Stockton and other private firms. She also served in two offices at U.S. EPA, and has recently served on California’s Economics and Allocation Advisory Committee; on the National Center for Atmospheric Research external advisory committee; and on a National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board Committee on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. She holds a B.S. in Biology, high honors, from Emory (double major in philosophy), a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard (top honors in program), and a J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown Law.

Josh Blackman, Assistant Professor of Law, South Texas College of Law

Josh BlackmanAssisted Decisionmaking: Big Data and the Law

Professor Blackman will talk about how viewing the law as data can facilitate the analysis of how courts work and how courts decide cases. With this foundation, he will explore how attorneys can use this technology to improve the representation of their clients and how non-lawyers can obtain easier access to justice.

Josh Blackman is an Assistant Professor of Law at the South Texas College of Law, in Houston, Texas. Josh is also the founder and president of the Harlan Institute, the founder of, the Internet’s Premier Supreme Court Fantasy League, and blogs at He clerked for the Honorable Danny J. Boggs on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and for the Honorable Kim R. Gibson on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Josh is a graduate of the George Mason University School of Law.

Spiros Dimolitsas, Senior Vice President for Research and Chief Technology Officer, Georgetown University

Spiros Dimolitsas Keynote Address: Leveraging Georgetown University’s Strengths to Create Opportunities in Big Data

Spiros Dimolitsas is Senior Vice President for Research & Chief Technology Officer at Georgetown University. He leads Georgetown’s development of innovation alliances and partnerships with industry, universities, and national laboratories to address complex socio-technical problems in such fields as health, security and sustainability. Prior to this role, Dr. Dimolitsas served for ten years as Senior Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer of Georgetown.

Before joining Georgetown University, Dr. Dimolitsas served as Senior Executive for Engineering and Associate Director of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, and also held a variety of management positions at the Communications Satellite Corporation (Comsat) where he pioneered technology related to voice and data communications over fixed and mobile networks.

Dr. Dimolitsas holds a B.S. in Theoretical Physics with Honors from Sussex University in England, an M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Imperial College and Queen Mary College–London, and a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Sussex University. In 1992, he received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers outstanding achievement medallion, and in 1995 was elected Fellow of the Institute. He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers and holds eight patents in the field of data and encrypted mobile communications.

Francine E. Friedman, Senior Policy Counsel, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Francine FriedmanFederal Proposals Regarding Data Security and Privacy Regulation

Francine Friedman will bring her years of experience as an attorney and consultant on privacy policy to explain ongoing governmental efforts regarding privacy and big data. Through her presentation, participants will learn about overlapping initiatives on online privacy, mobile device privacy, and data security or breach notification. She will review why Congress has recently declined to address these issues and how federal agency action may be able to address the changing world of digital privacy.

Ms. Friedman has over a decade of government affairs and lobbying experience. The focus of her practice at Akin Gump includes advising clients on policy issues related to the collection, use and sharing of consumer and other data. She also represents clients on a variety of issues including tax policy, involving housing, energy and new markets tax credits; financial services reform; data security; privacy; education policy; trade; and energy issues.

Ms. Friedman has previously served as senior vice president of Parven Pomper Strategies (PPS) Inc. and as counsel in the government relations group at a global law firm. In 2005, she was instrumental in the establishment of the GO Zone housing tax credits after Hurricane Katrina, and worked with the IRS and Congress to encourage common-sense solutions to regulatory roadblocks impacting rebuilding in the Gulf States. Ms. Friedman has also led efforts to educate Congress on the appropriate point of regulation of natural gas liquids under a cap and trade regime, and has represented numerous client groups and coalitions on a variety of tax credit and tax preference issues with a focus on energy and low-income housing tax credits. She holds a J.D. from the College of William and Mary School of Law and a B.A. from Georgetown University.

Carole Roan Gresenz, Professor, Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies

Carole Roan GresenzInnovative Use of Data: Health and Health Care

Dr. Gresenz will describe several examples of innovative uses of health and health care data and use these to highlight high-level issues associated with “big data.” She will discuss ways in which novel data and data analysis informed the allocation of tobacco settlement funds in the District of Columbia, and use this as an example of the tension between privacy concerns about geocoded data and the richness of information available to inform policymaking. Dr. Gresenz will also discuss opportunities and challenges associated with the use of health and health care data collected for business purposes, including but not limited to health insurance claims data, for research and policymaking. She will discuss issues related to maximizing institutional efficiency in the collection and analyses of these data.

Carole Roan Gresenz is the Jacobs Professor in the Department of Health Systems Administration. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Brown University and a B.A. in Economics from Loyola University Maryland. She joined Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies after nearly 20 years with the RAND Corporation, where she most recently held the positions of senior economist and Director of the Health Economics, Finance and Organization program. Her research interests and expertise include health care organization and finance, health disparities in medical care, and access to and quality of care among vulnerable populations, including low-income individuals and families, the uninsured, and individuals with disabling conditions. She has worked closely with city and county governments in the greater D.C. area on evaluations of local health care systems and programs. Dr. Gresenz is an adjunct senior economist at the RAND Corporation and serves on the editorial boards of Health Services Research and Medical Care Research and Review. She is also the former Associate Director of RAND’s Institute for Civil Justice.

Mark E. Herlihy, Deputy Director, Institute of International Economic Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Mark Herlihy

The Use and Abuse of Comparative Law in “Legal Origins” Theory – A Cautionary Tale

In the mid-1990s, four economists, La Porta, Lopez-de-Silanes, Shleifer and Vishny, whose publications have become known under the rubric “LLSV” (authors’ initials) began to publish a series of papers offering analyses of different legal systems, based on the concept of “legal origins,” as regards the comparative utility of those systems with regard to matters relevant to law and finance and corporate governance. Although the methodology and theoretical underpinnings of those papers has been roundly and widely criticized from many quarters, this project remains highly influential, and has attracted significant institutional buy-in in terms of research funding and the allocation of other financial resources in the academic world. A fundamental criticism of the LLSV project has been its appropriation of concepts from comparative law studies. The presentation will address some of these controversies, and lessons for the legal academy that can be drawn from them.

Mr. Herlihy earned his B.A. in Philosophy in the Honors Program at Boston College and his J.D. at the University of Chicago Law School. A member of the New York bar and the bars of the Supreme Court of the United States and of several federal courts, he was for several years a trial and appellate litigator with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Returning to the academy, he earned his LL.M., with distinction, and the WTO Certificate from the Institute of International Economic Law, at the Georgetown University Law Center; he was also a Student Fellow at the Institute, and has served as chair of the Fellows’ Workshop. He is an active member of the International Studies Association, the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities, and the American Society of International Law. He is a member of the Executive Committee of ASIL’s International Legal Theory Interest Group, and has acted as rapporteur regarding the activities of the OECD on behalf of ASIL’s International Organizations Interest Group. He has served as an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown since 2009, and was appointed as the Institute’s Deputy Director in 2010.

Leslie Johnston, Acting Director, National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, Library of Congress

Leslie JohnstonBig Data: New Challenges for Digital Preservation and Digital Services

What is the biggest insight that we have learned in fifteen years of building and stewarding digital collections? That we can never guess every way that our collections will be used. More and more researchers want to use collections as a whole, mining and organizing the information in novel ways. Researchers increasingly use algorithms to mine the rich information and tools to create pictures that translate that information into knowledge. Datasets are not just scientific and business tables and spreadsheets: our collections are now considered data, and they are Big Data. This presentation will cover case studies around data collections, and discuss potential new preservation and access service models for libraries.

Leslie Johnston has over 20 years of experience in digitization and digital conversion, setting and applying metadata and content standards, and overseeing the development of digital content management and delivery systems and services. She is Chief of Repository Development at the Library of Congress, which includes managing technical architecture initiatives in the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. Previously, she served as the head of digital access services at the University of Virginia Library; Head of Instructional Technology and Library Information Systems at the Harvard Design School; the academic technology specialist for Art for the Stanford University Libraries; and as database specialist for the Getty Research Institute. She has also been active in the museum community, working for various museums and teaching courses on museum systems.

Bill LeFurgy, Digital Initiatives Manager, National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, Library of Congress

Bill LeFurgyStewarding Big Data and Public Policy: Perspectives on Public Access to Federally Funded Scientific Research Data

In November 2011, the White House asked for public comment regarding “the specific objectives and public interests that need to be addressed by any policies” relating to access to digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research. This provided a major opportunity for libraries, archives and other institutional data stewards to provide input about what the future should look like for the massive quantity of data generated through the support of the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies. This presentation will discuss a high-level summary of the major points made in connection with data preservation and access.

Bill LeFurgy has worked for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the Library of Congress since June 2002. He leads the NDIIPP Communications Team, which interacts with a broad range of people interested in preserving access to digital information. In former lives, LeFurgy dealt with electronic records at the National Archives and Records Administration and served as Baltimore City Archivist and Records Management Officer. While he has memories of punch cards, monochrome monitors, and 30-pound portable computers, he is also an enthusiastic creator and consumer of social media. He has a B.A. degree in History from McGill University, as well as an M.L.S. and M.A. in History from the University of Maryland.

Paul Ohm, Associate Professor of Law, University of Colorado; Senior Policy Advisor, Federal Trade Commission

Paul OhmBig Data’s Problems for Privacy

The rise of powerful Big Data analytics will force us to rethink the way we regulate data privacy. Today, most privacy laws and regulations focus on the data companies store in their databases. For example, privacy laws require those who maintain databases containing sensitive information – such as health, financial, or education records – to implement special security protections. Using Big Data techniques, however, companies soon will be able to infer sensitive and personal facts about us, without ever receiving those facts directly from us. Can and should privacy law respond to this challenge?

Paul Ohm is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Law School. He specializes in information privacy, computer crime law, intellectual property, and criminal procedure. He is currently on leave from the university serving as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Federal Trade Commission. In his scholarly work, Professor Ohm tries to build new interdisciplinary bridges between law and computer science. Much of his scholarship focuses on how evolving technology disrupts individual privacy. His 2010 article, “Broken Promises of Privacy: Responding to the Surprising Failure of Anonymization,” 57 UCLA Law Review 1701, has sparked an international debate about the need to reshape dramatically the way we regulate privacy. He is commonly cited and quoted by news media including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and NPR. Prior to joining the University of Colorado, Professor Ohm served as an Honors Program trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. Before that, he clerked for Judge Betty Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Mariana Pfaelzer of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. He earned his law degree from the UCLA School of Law and undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from Yale University.

Joshua C. Teitelbaum, Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Josh TeitelbaumRisk Preference and Risk Type: Aggregating Data from Multiple Domains

How much risk are you willing to bear? How risky are you? Researchers have long been interested in these fundamental questions. Recently, however, they have turned their attention to asking whether the answers are context-specific. For instance, recent studies have analyzed whether a household’s choices over different insurance products (e.g., auto and home) or a worker’s choices over different benefit plans (e.g., health and 401k) exhibit systematic patterns. By aggregating data from multiple domains of risky choice and risky activity, this research hopes to uncover the extent to which a person’s risk preference and risk type are domain-general.

Professor Teitelbaum joined the Georgetown faculty in 2009. His research interests lie at the intersection of law, economics, and decision theory, and his work has appeared in journals such as the American Economic Review and the Journal of Legal Studies. Professor Teitelbaum is co-director of the Georgetown Law and Economics Workshop and an associate editor of the International Review of Law and Economics. Before coming to Georgetown, he clerked for Judge Richard M. Berman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, practiced corporate and securities law at Cahill Gordon & Reindel, and was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Cornell Law School. He holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and Ph.D. in Economics from Cornell University.

Kathy Zeiler, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Kathy ZeilerThe National Practitioner Data Bank: Breakthroughs and Challenges

Studying the impact of the medical malpractice liability system on physicians and patients has been difficult due to the scarcity of claims data. In the late 1980s, Congress authorized the government to collect information related to sanctions applied by state licensing authorities against health care practitioners. A few years later, practitioners were required to report every closed medical malpractice claim. The purpose of the Data Bank is to facilitate a comprehensive review of the credentials of health care providers. While the Data Bank was created for use by insurers, hospitals and other entities that contract with providers, researchers have begun to use it to study the impacts of the liability system. Recent developments, however, have created challenges that provide a glimpse into general issues surrounding the use of government-collected data sets that researchers should keep in mind.

Professor Kathy Zeiler teaches Torts and Economic Analysis of Health Care Law, and co-directs the Georgetown Law & Economics Workshop. Her research focuses on health care law and economics, medical malpractice liability and insurance, disclosure regulation, experimental economics and behavioral law and economics. Before joining the faculty in 2003, she received a Ph.D. in Economics from the California Institute of Technology and a J.D. from the University of Southern California. She has been a visiting professor at NYU and Harvard Law School and has served as a Senior Academic Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center. She was a member of the board of directors of the American Law and Economics Association from 2010-12. She is currently a member of the Max Planck Institute’s Scientific Review Board for Research on Collective Goods.

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