The University of Chicago Legal Forum is one of the Law School's fantastic student-edited journals that includes articles by academics and practitioners as well as comments by students. The Legal Forum is unique from the other journals in that each year the editorial board chooses a new legal topic on which to focus that year's volume. Past issues have examined immigration law and human decision-making processes in the legal context.
Each fall the Law School hosts the The University of Chicago Legal Forum Symposium, a two-day conference preceding publication of the upcoming year's edition, during which the various scholars present talks and participate in panel discussions with their colleagues on the current year's topic. Not only is Legal Forum a great opportunity for our students to immerse themselves in a single area of law but it is also a fantastic way to interact with the top scholars in that field. This year's Editor-in-Chief, 3L Devon Hanley, gives us a recap of this years event:
"The University of Chicago Legal Forum Symposium, 'Law In a Networked World,' took place on October 26th and 27th at the Law School. Participants, all leading scholars in their fields, gathered to discuss how law is and should be evolving to address advances in communications technology. The discussion among the panelists was lively and stimulating, and I thought the entire symposium was very successful.
On Friday, October 26th, we opened the symposium with a panel discussion of the varying aspects of regulation in the networked world. Professor Frank Pasquale of Seton Hall Law School, took up one side of the net neutrality debate, presenting "Internet Nondiscrimination Principles." Professor Christopher Yoo of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, argued the other, perhaps less orthodox side, in his presentation "Network Neutrality, Consumers, and Innovation," positing that deviations from network neutrality might actually benefit consumers. Professor James Speta of Northwestern Law School professed himself tired of the ongoing net neutrality debate and discussed regulation, and hopes for reform of the U.S. spectrum allocation policy.
The keynote address on Friday by Cindy Cohn, Legal Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF"), spoke to a theme that would run through any of the weekend's presentations, the rise of the power of intermediaries. Ms. Cohn presented examples of this phenomena in some of the cases EFF recently handled (you can listen to her address here).
Saturday morning, Professor Susan Friewald of the University of San Francisco Law School discussed the impact on the Fourth Amendment protection for e-mail, in the wake of the Sixth Circuit's June 2007 decision in Warshak v. United States, a case in which an amicus brief was filed by Professor Friewald as was a brief by fellow participant Cindy Cohn's organization, EFF.
Professor Paul Ohm of the University of Colorado Law School explored an area between the extremes of perfect privacy and complete surveillance, arguing that we want to be somewhere in the middle, perhaps with privacy tools that are very good, but difficulty to use or obtain. Professor Jonathan Zittrain of Oxford University and of Harvard Law School, discussed what he foresees as the next wave of threats to privacy arising out of Web 2.0, or an internet environment dominated by user-created content.
The final panel contained, as one speaker put it, 'those of us who don't fit in any other panel.' Generally speaking the participants' papers related to changing forms of participation and content on the internet, and the problems and questions those changes create. Professor Danielle Citron of the University of Maryland Law School, presented a proposal for open source code information systems for administrative decision-making, arguing that such a change would enhance our ability to have transparency, accountability and the input of experts. Professor Brett Frischmann of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, explored how the emergence of the digital networked environment, and some of the pressure for government regulation to which it gives rise, may reveal how the First Amendment functions from an economic perspective. Professor Orin Kerr of George Washington University Law School, a visiting professor here at the Law School last fall, discussed how, if at all, criminal law should apply to players in the virtual worlds of computer games such as Second Life. Professor Tim Wu of Columbia Law School discussed the possibility that copyright rights should be vested in authors instead of distributors.
Overall the symposium was very entertaining and thought-provoking, and both the participants and attendees seemed to have a good time. In light of the paper talks and the conversation between participants, we look forward to a great volume 2008, which should be out in time for next year's symposium!"