2023: A Year In Review

December 31, 2023

As 2023 draws to an end, we invite you to join us in a look back at the ways we are helping students, scholars, alumni, policymakers, and practitioners face the most urgent questions at the intersection of technology, law, and policy.

Who We Are

On the staff front, 2023 marked the first full calendar year at the Tech Institute for Executive Director Natalie Roisman and Academic Program Director Mary Pat Dwyer, and we rounded out the on-campus team with the additions of Program Coordinator Samantha Simonsen (CAS’23), Justice Fellows John Eagle Miles (L’23) and Charlotte Schultz (L’23), and Senior Institute Associate Jon Brescia. We are grateful for the continued leadership of the faculty co-directors, Georgetown Law Professors Julie Cohen, Paul Ohm, and Tanina Rostain.

What We’re Doing on Campus

After several years without any in-person Tech Institute activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2023 we hosted multiple events each month! These ranged from large public gatherings to invitation-only student and alumni events to private scholar and policymaker convenings. Serving as a hub for critical discussions, the Tech Institute regularly brought together the Georgetown Law community, often with a focus on creating opportunities for current students and recent alumni to enhance their developing substantive expertise and build their professional networks. The highlights include:

Kicking off the year in January with a full house for a visit by Assistant Secretary of Commerce Alan Davidson, who announced the opening of an NTIA rulemaking proceeding on privacy, equity, and civil rights, followed by a panel discussion featuring civil rights and tech policy experts.

Launching in February the Tech Law Scholars Distinguished Speakers Series, chaired by Douglas Emhoff, Distinguished Visitor from Practice and Distinguished Fellow of the Tech Institute. (A second installment of this series took place in October, featuring journalist Kara Swisher (SFS ‘84)).

Hosting in March Senator Ron Wyden for a discussion with faculty on perspectives in algorithmic accountability. That same month, as a contributing member of the Georgetown University Tech & Society Initiative, we organized several Tech & Society Week events, including the panel Tech for the Public Interest: How Tech Jobs Can Launch Careers in Civil Rights, Social Justice, and Public Service; a roundtable with the Chief Technologists of the FTC, the DOJ Antitrust Division, and the CFPB; and a student conversation with Ashkan Soltani, Executive Director of the California Privacy Protection Agency, former FTC Chief Technologist, and Distinguished Fellow of the Tech Institute.

Holding spring and summer events that included fireside chats with Haksoo Ko, Chair of the Korean Privacy Commission; Senator Sheldon Whitehouse; and Representative Ken Lieu (L’94) and Representative Ken Buck.

Reviving in August a signature event of the Tech Institute, Tech Foundations for Congressional Staff, a multi-day program for congressional and federal agency staff to learn from academics, technologists, and practitioners through a series of substantive modules breaking down complicated and timely topics, and then putting them back together with key next steps.

Professor Kristin Henning and Halimah Delaine Prado stand in front of a window

Professor Kristin Henning and Halimah Delaine Prado

Opening our fall semester events with the Georgetown Law Summit on Emerging Technology Policy, presented in collaboration with Perkins Coie. The Summit featured a keynote fireside chat with Halimah Delaine Prado, General Counsel at Google, followed by a full day of panel and interactive discussions designed to foster student and alumni engagement on women in space policy, data privacy and cybersecurity, AI, and the changing regulatory landscape for tech.

Concluding our in-person events for the year in November with the Georgetown Law Trade Secrets Symposium, presented in collaboration with Baker McKenzie. Organized by Tech Institute faculty advisor Professor Jay Thomas, the Symposium convened intellectual property thought leaders from government, industry, and academia, including Burton Davis, VP and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft, and Maximilian Haedicke, Professor at Freiburg University and a judge at the Unified Patent Court.

Spotlight on Students

Over the course of the year, in addition to the Tech Law Scholars seminars and Tech LLM convenings, we organized a number of student-only events. These included the Tech at Georgetown Law mixer, tech law careers networking events, a community lunch conversation on digital inclusivity with Francella Ochillo, Technology & Society Fellow at Georgetown University and former Executive Director of Next Century Cities, and a discussion with Clint Smith, Chief Legal Officer at Discord. Tech Institute Executive Director Natalie Roisman also hosted a series of networking breakfasts this fall for students to meet and seek career advice from lawyers working at the intersection of technology, law, and policy. Our “Student Spotlight” series is available here.

How We Connect Off Campus and Around the World

While jumping back into live events with enthusiasm, the Tech Institute continued to convene discussions virtually, ensuring access for scholars and alumni throughout the United States and around the globe. Online events included a webinar on Feminist Cyberlaw in partnership with the Women’s Bar Association of DC (led by Tech Institute faculty advisors Professors Amanda Levendowski and Meg Leta Jones), multiple sessions of the AI Governance Series organized by Tech Institute faculty advisor Professor Anupam Chander and Non-Resident Fellow Kyoko Yoshinaga in partnership with the Yale Information Society Project, and presentations by student finalists in the Iron Tech Lawyer Invitational (founded by Professor Tanina Rostain).

Advancing and Translating Scholarship

The Tech Institute’s research agenda also grew in 2023 with the work of two access-to-justice programs, an ongoing initiative to reinvent the administrative state to govern the information economy more effectively, and the launch of a new lab-based, interdisciplinary course to shape the future of technology and society.

Technology Impact Lab Offers Experiential Learning Opportunity

The Tech Institute recently announced the Technology Impact Lab, an exciting new initiative aimed at shaping the future of technology through interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. The lab, helmed by Tech Institute faculty advisors Professors Paul Ohm and Meg Leta Jones and directed by Jon Brescia, is a unique merger of project-based research and seminar instruction that will level up the next generation of tech policy professionals. The first official section of the course, cross-listed at Georgetown Law and the CCT graduate program, will meet on campus in the Spring semester of 2024.

Redesigning the Governance Stack Series Publishes First Preliminary Concept Paper

The Redesigning the Governance Stack Series, led by Professors Julie Cohen, Paul Ohm, and Meg Leta Jones, with support from Senior Institute Associate and Fritz Fellow Brenda Dvoskin and Fritz Fellow Smitha Krishna Prasad, convened several times in 2023 as part of a multi-year project to reinvent the administrative state so that it is equipped to govern the information economy effectively and in a way that centers public values. Their May workshop on regulatory monitoring in the information economy led to publication of their first preliminary concept paper. More convenings will follow in 2024 on topics including policy mechanisms used by the administrative state.

Judicial Innovation Fellowship Enhances Access to Justice in State Courts

The Judicial Innovation Fellowship, under the direction of JIF co-founders Professor Tanina Rostain and Program Director Jason Tashea, launched its first three court partnerships this year. Fellows are working with Utah State Courts to improve usability of divorce information (Fellow Verenice Ramirez); with Kansas State Courts to design a user-friendly efile portal (Fellow Emily Lippolis); and with the General Sessions Court in Hamilton County, Tennessee to use court data to improve court efficacy and efficiency (Fellow Kat Albrecht). In October, JIF won the 2023 American Legal Technology Award in the Courts category.

South Carolina Justice Navigators Network Trains Social Service Providers in Legal First Aid

The South Carolina Justice Navigators Network launched this year under the direction of Professor Tanina Rostain and Program Director Deborah Freel Mihal, MSW, to train social service providers in the Charleston, South Carolina area in “Legal First Aid.” This training allows social service providers in the Charleston area to identify their clients’ legal problems at an early stage, create accurate, timely referrals to legal service providers, and facilitate community members’ use of existing tools and self-help materials. The SCJNN trained 123 social service providers from 20 organizations in 2023.

Fellow Research Offers Insight into Non-Lawyer Court Navigators

This fall, Non-Resident Fellow Mary McClymont published Non-Lawyer Navigators in State Courts: Part II — An Update through the Tech Institute, building upon the research published in her 2019 report, Non-Lawyer Navigators in State Courts: An Emerging Consensus. Both reports investigate the efficacy of trained, non-lawyer legal advocates in assisting self-represented litigants with civil legal problems. The 2023 report also offers guidance for creating new non-lawyer navigator programs.

What’s Coming Up

On January 30, the Georgetown Law Technology Review will hold its bi-annual symposium. This year’s event, entitled Artificial Lawyering — Law In the Age of Artificial Intelligence, seeks to answer questions about how the use and/or disuse of AI and generative AI in the legal profession will affect the law and the profession itself. Speakers will include legal academics, government technologists, practitioners, philosophers, librarians, and media experts. Register for the event here.

Speaking of AI, we look forward to sharing more information in early 2024 about our new AI research initiative, partnering with the Center on Security and Emerging Technology and the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, with the guidance of Tech Institute faculty advisor and Associate Dean for Research and Academic Programs Professor Neel Sukhatme.

Be sure to keep an eye on our website and follow us on LinkedIn to see announcements and learn about more upcoming public events. Contact us if you or your organization are interested in joining for student networking or other non-public gatherings.

Support the Tech Institute

A special thanks to all who helped make this year possible, including dedicated alumni leaders from the Board of Visitors and Law Alumni Board, event moderators and speakers, guest lecturers, adjunct faculty, mentors, academic year and summer research assistants, and especially the individuals and organizations without whose financial support the Tech Institute could not serve the Georgetown community and beyond.

We hope that in the year to come you’ll engage with the Tech Institute in one or more ways – with your help, we can grow as a hub for research and dialogue, expand the ways we help train policymakers, and enhance the experience and career prospects of students and alumni at the intersection of technology, law, and policy.

To learn more about support opportunities for individuals and organizations in 2024, please contact Executive Director Natalie Roisman at nr671@georgetown.edu. Or click here to make a gift and designate “Institute for Tech Law and Policy” where indicated.

Warm holiday wishes,

The Tech Institute