Jay P. Kesan

What incentives would foster more collaboration between the law and STEM fields, in either academic or business/entrepreneurial settings?

There is a clear need for professionals who are both educated and have professional work experience in science/technology and in law. Providing educational opportunities (both degree and non-degree) to increase the number of people who fall into that interdisciplinary category will result in greater collaboration between science/technology and law.

Provide an example of a situation in which a Law–STEM collaboration aided a project or where the lack of collaboration between these two disciplines impeded a project.

I have taught two courses—Digital Forensics and Privacy and Security—both of which have been true joint collaborations between law faculty and computer science/engineering faculty.

In Digital Forensics, we created a cross-listed course with extensive interdisciplinary content involving law, psychology, sociology, and computer science, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and open to both computer science and law students. The course offered laboratory work that had to be performed by law and computer science students. The laboratory work required students to complete hands-on assignments by employing digital forensic tools such as EnCase, electronic discovery tools, and the like. The laboratory work also involved legal laboratory assignments such as comparing and contrasting expert reports from the parties on both sides in a case involving digital forensic evidence and testimony. The digital forensic experts and the attorneys on both sides of the case were involved in the laboratory assignment.

The lab work was accompanied by classroom lectures involving the legal issues, such as the Fourth Amendment, rules of evidence, reliability of scientific evidence, the Daubert standard, and relevant legal statues such as Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA); psychological topics like exploring the psychological aspects of cybercrime; and computer science aspects of digital forensics.

The end result was an extraordinary appreciation among both the law and computer science students for the other discipline and for the knowledge and insights necessary to be a skilled practitioner in each discipline.

We are now working on developing a similar course on Privacy and Security that would involve an exploration of the relevant legal and policy issues, but would also involve an in-depth exploration of data mining, cookie technology, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and anti-virus software.

Technological change recently has altered business models in the legal field, and these changes will continue to affect the practice of law itself. How can we, as educators, prepare law students to meet the challenges of new technology throughout their careers?

As lawyers and policymakers, understanding technological change will help us manage that change and respond to social problems created by technological change through meaningful policy intervention and legislation.

I would like to take a broader perspective on the impact of technological change, going beyond the legal profession, and considering its impact on all of society and the social fallout from technological change that may necessitate legal and/or policy intervention.

Technology has created or enhanced the major revolutions in our times: (a) the computer and communications revolution (from broadband access to cheap computing and communication devices to the upcoming Internet of Things), (b) the life science revolution (from personalized medicine and gene therapy to analyzing the human, corn, soybean, and bovine or porcine genome to genetically modified food), and (c) globalization—the free flow of money, raw materials, goods, labor and capital.

Humans are increasingly looking to advanced technology to address the “grand challenges” of our times. In order to provide safe drinking water, access to medicine, adequate health care, universal education, eradication of poverty, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and so on, we are relying on the capabilities of the technology revolutions noted above.

Yet, all this technological development has brought about social problems and exacerbated some others. Currently, American society is experiencing a general upheaval that is the result of economic uneasiness, cultural anxieties, and dissatisfaction with political processes. Part of the economic uneasiness is a result of globalization, automation, and increased efficiencies brought about by information technology. The ability to vividly perceive events and circumstances through rapid communications, social media, and personal digital devices has served to increase cultural anxieties, create entrenched constituencies, and precipitate political gridlock.

In order to meaningfully address these overarching social issues, we must develop public policies and craft legislation that understand the changes brought about by technology and, at the same time, harness solutions to these problems through the careful deployment and use of technology.

Such an approach requires the next generation of lawyers to understand and embrace science and technology to solve problems in all areas of legal practice.

Jay P. Kesan is appointed in the College of Law, the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (CIRI), the Information Trust Institute (ITI), the Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL), the College of Business, and the Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At the College of Law, he directs the Program in Intellectual Property & Technology Law and co-directs the NSF-sponsored Illinois Cyber Security Scholars Program (ICSSP). At CIRI, he is the Principal Investigator of a research effort studying cyber insurance and cyber risk assessment. His academic interests are in the areas of technology, law, and business. Specifically, his recent work focuses on patent law and policy, cybersecurity and privacy, and biofuel regulation. He is best known for employing empirical, computational, and analytical methods in his research.