Part I: A Leader in Privacy and IP  •  Part II: Alumni Stories

On a Monday afternoon in late spring, a group of NYLS students was doing something unusual: studying a math equation. The equation was a basic formula for how machine-learning algorithms generate output, and the lesson was part of the Innovation Center for Law and Technology’s new Technology for Lawyers Working Group.

Technology for Lawyers is a series of workshops co-taught by outside experts and Professor Ari Ezra Waldman, Director of the Innovation Center and creator of the series. The machine learning session featured Jonathan Frankle, a Ph.D. candidate at M.I.T. who has worked for Google and Microsoft. The goal of the series is simple: Lawyers in cutting-edge fields should understand the basics of the technology that drives their work. Other Technology for Lawyers events have focused on anonymity on the internet, bias in artificial intelligence, and encryption.

Technology for Lawyers is one of many ways NYLS is training students to lead in privacy and intellectual property law. And though the Innovation Center’s programming covers a range of cutting-edge issues, it is united by a steady focus on the social impact of technology.

The Center’s new TechJustice initiative, for example, allows students to blend interdisciplinary courses like Internet Law, Information Privacy Law, and Race, Bias, and Advocacy.

NYLS’s privacy and IP-related clinics—housed in The Joe Plumeri Center for Social Justice and Economic Opportunity—also seek justice for marginalized groups. The School’s Cyberharassment Clinic, which is the nation’s first and only law school clinic dedicated exclusively to helping victims of online harassment, just completed its second year. The clinic is led by Adjunct Professor Andrew Santa Ana, Director of Legal Services at Day One, a nonprofit that works to end dating abuse and domestic violence.

Two IP-focused NYLS clinics are affiliated with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and allow students to gain crucial experience while aiding entrepreneurs who could not otherwise afford counsel. The PTO Trademark Clinic is taught by Adjunct Professor Kimberly Maynard, counsel to the Trademark & Brand Management and Intellectual Property groups at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC. The clinic recently completed its first full year. Meanwhile, the PTO Patent Clinic, taught by Adjunct Professor Michael Marcin, a partner at Fay Kaplun & Marcin, LLP, completed its third year. NYLS is one of only a handful of law schools at which students can perform both trademark and patent work with the PTO.

The School’s interdisciplinary, people-centric approach to IP and privacy law echoes a driving theme in Professor Waldman’s new book, Privacy as Trust: Information Privacy for an Information Age (Cambridge University Press, March 2018). In the book, Professor Waldman, who has a Ph.D. in Sociology in addition to his law degree, asserts that privacy must be viewed in the context of social compacts and trust. He advocates for data privacy law that treats people with respect. In April 2018, Professor Waldman testified before the House Judiciary Committee about how social media companies monitor their users, urging policymakers to more forcefully protect people from invasions of privacy.

Because IP and privacy issues are inherently global, NYLS expanded its 2018 London Study Abroad program to not only include fundamental corporate law and human rights courses but also unique offerings such as Cybercrime, International Data Privacy Law, and International Intellectual Property Law. The program, which remains highly popular among students, operated at the University of London in Bloomsbury and was led, for the first time, by Professor Waldman.

IP and privacy professionals frequently visit campus to share their expertise with students. In March 2018, NYLS hosted the Internet Law Works-in-Progress Conference, which drew scholars from universities in China, Israel, Greece, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Germany to workshop projects and papers at the crossroads of law and technology.

A robust network of alumni advisors provides key support. The Innovation Center’s Advisory Board Co-Chairs are intellectual property powerhouses Marylee Jenkins ’91, a partner at Arent Fox LLP and Chair of the New York office’s Intellectual Property Group, and Errol B. Taylor ’87, a partner and Chair of the Biopharma Patent Litigation Practice Group at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. (Taylor is also an NYLS trustee.) Other distinguished Innovation Center advisors include Karen Artz Ash ’80, a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP who teaches Intellectual Property Law Licensing and Drafting at NYLS; Steven R. Harber ’92, an executive responsible for legal partnerships at Seal Software; and Charles E. Phillips Jr. ’93, CEO of Infor and an NYLS Trustee.