Georgetown Fellow Drew Simshaw Receives Breunig Humanitarian Award for Work to Improve Communications for People Who Are Deaf & Hard of Hearing

By Jaime Petenko, Research Fellow, Institute for Technology Law & Policy at Georgetown Law

This weekend, Drew Simshaw, who until this month served as a clinical teaching fellow at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Public Representation, will receive Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc. (TDI)'s biannual H. Latham Breunig Humanitarian Award for his work on behalf of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. TDI is a national advocacy organization that promotes equal access in telecommunications and media for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, and deafblind.

We spoke with Drew about his work in Georgetown Law’s Institute for Public Representation Tech and Communications Clinic. Responses below have been edited for clarity and length.

You have been a fellow for the past two years at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Public Representation. What types of cases does the Institute handle and how are students involved at the Institute?

IPR has sections specializing in civil rights, environmental law, and communications and technology law. In the communications and technology section, we are involved mostly at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), participating in rulemakings and adjudications. We are also involved in litigation of agency actions, either supporting the FCC for rules that it adopts or suing the FCC if its action is harmful to consumers.

We take six to eight students per semester who work full-time at the clinic. We really operate as a small law firm. The students operate as the junior associates, the fellows are more like the senior associates and the directors are like the partners. The students get a lot of great hands-on experience and get to take actual cases. For example, we have had students assist with briefs supporting efforts to cap prison phone rates and advocating for media ownership rules that promote opportunities for women and people of color.

You’ve received this award for your work with TDI—Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Can you describe your work with them?

TDI is a nonprofit organization that advocates for improved access to telecommunications, media, and information technology for Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. TDI works with a coalition of consumer groups concerned with disability access to ensure that all individuals can be part of the telecommunications revolution and can have access to new technologies and communications. Our clinic represents TDI at the FCC on issues such as TV captioning, IP-captioning, advanced communications services, user interfaces that are covered under the Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, and the adoption and deployment of Real-Time Text Technology.   

Often times, TDI is the only group to provide comments for waiver of the FCC's accessibility rules that have been put out for public comment by the FCC. We will draft the comments on behalf of TDI and circulate the comments to a larger contingent of consumer groups concerned with disability access, many of whom will sign onto the comments. Our work reviewing and commenting on these petitions is one example of the broad coalition at work.

You mentioned a number of issues that you focus on for TDI. Is there one issue in particular to which you devoted a considerable amount of time?

The biggest issue I worked on over my two years was the FCC’s transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology. TTY machines are basically old, very bulky machines that allow people to communicate over landlines by typing. People who are deaf and hard of hearing could communicate with loved ones or businesses that also had a TTY machine in a way that resembled, but was not nearly as effective as, text messaging today. Industry petitioned the FCC to replace the requirements that their networks accommodate TTY with requirements for Real-Time Text Technology. Real-Time Text Technology is basically a feature on your phone where you can type and read messages in real time, so the text shows up on the recipient’s device as it is being typed.

Our role helping to facilitate communication between consumer advocacy groups, industry, the FCC, and academics was critical during this time. The transition was also occurring right around the change in Presidential administrations. The Order that officially initiated the transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology was the only item to be unanimously approved by the full Commission at the FCC at a meeting during the transition, when it was really hard to push any measures through. It was really great this Order passed; it is going to do a lot of good. It could have been bogged down for years. 

Why is this transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology so important?

Real-Time Text Technology has a lot of benefits. It is more conversation-like: people can interrupt each other and the back and forth has a flow, as opposed to traditional text messaging where you are sending everything as a block of text. It is also really important in emergency communications, when every second counts, and since the person on the other end won’t need to have purchased a TTY machine. The technology will be on the phone and hopefully automatically be enabled. Also, this feature won’t just be for consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing. This feature will be available on all phones.

Has working on disability access issues influenced how you think about technology?

For a lot of people, technology is a convenience or a form of entertainment. And certainly a lot of our work in Georgetown’s clinic is to ensure that people who are deaf and hard of hearing have the same access to that convenience and those forms of entertainment. But in a lot of cases, technology represents so much more. It represents a lifeline in emergency communications. It represents the ability to conduct everyday communications that a lot of people take for granted. Looking at these issues through the lens of disability access, does change the way you look at technology, the way you look at regulation and the way you look at how we govern.  So it is great to help bring to light the needs of all consumers, who might not otherwise have such an active voice at the FCC.

Tell us about your background and how you became interested in technology and the law.

One of the things that took me to law school was seeing how technology could empower people if used effectively and with proper policy. I had done two terms of AmeriCorps service, working with at-risk youth at the local government level. Working with youth, I could see how they were using technology to connect with each other and to connect with resources and opportunities. Seeing the local government and city being able to reach out and offer services and to connect to people was very empowering. Much of this, of course, depends on all people having access to technology. After AmeriCorps, I wanted to go to law school in order to have a role in this process and to be able to shape policy that could enable empowerment.

In law school at Indiana University, I was on the Federal Communications Law Journal where I developed an interest in emerging technologies and communications law. After law school I was involved in interdisciplinary cybersecurity and privacy work at Indiana University, looking at emerging technologies -- both the good that could come from them with effective policy, but also harms that could result if technology was used in a harmful way.  From there, I came to Georgetown Law and got to be in Washington D.C., at the heart of where the policy is developed, and had the opportunity to work with the law school's tremendous faculty and talented students.

What are your thoughts on receiving TDI’s H. Latham Breunig Humanitarian Award?

The TDI Board selects the recipients for these awards every two years. It was incredibly humbling to go back and look at the past recipients of their awards; they are people who have done just amazing things throughout their career. It’s really a great honor. I am also very happy because the award is a testament to the work of our students and the commitment of the clinic and of Georgetown to public interest work. I had some great fellows before me who laid the groundwork and established this great relationship with TDI and its partners. Most of all, I think it is a great recognition of how the consumer groups and academics have worked together to a degree that I have not seen elsewhere through my career. It is great to recognize all that we have achieved and all that we still have to do.

Drew Simshaw, Recipient of Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc.'s biannual H. Latham Breunig Humanitarian Award 2017

Drew Simshaw, Recipient of Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc.'s biannual H. Latham Breunig Humanitarian Award 2017

June 26, 2017 - Prof. Laura Donohue Publishes Report on Reforming Section 702

The Tech Institute's faculty advisor Laura Donohue today published a comprehensive report on the need to reform Section 702 of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, which governs the domestic interception of foreigners’ communications, when the targets are believed to be outside the United States.

Prof. Donohue's report comes amidst extensive Congressional debate on whether and how the FISA Amendment Act should be reauthorized before it expires in December. Section 702 is one of the law's most controversial sections: as Donohue notes, although directed outside the United States, it is being used by agencies to monitor, collect, and search U.S. citizens' communications for foreign intelligence and criminal activity. Donohue proposes four reforms Congress should implement to address constitutional infirmities.

Prof. Donohue's report, published by the Council for Foreign Relations, comes a day before the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the topic. 

You can read the full report on the CFR website here.  

A brief excerpt follows:

"Controversy marks the renewal debate. The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) states that the interception powers are vital to the intelligence community’s ability to protect the United States from foreign threats. About one quarter of the counterterrorism reports from the National Security Agency (NSA) include information derived from section 702 intercepts. Renewal is the intelligence community’s top legislative priority for 2017.
In contrast, civil liberties organizations consider the current use of section 702 to be unconstitutional. These groups, along with legal analysts and members of Congress, criticize the sheer number of Americans whose communications the NSA collects—a figure that privacy advocates estimate to be in the tens of millions. Revelations about the interception of Donald J. Trump’s campaign workers’ communications with Russia have generated further concern about the potential use of surveillance for political gain.
Section 702 is an important tool in the intelligence community’s arsenal. But the statute should be amended to bring it within constitutional bounds. Section 702 violates citizens’ rights, creates a situation ripe for abuse, and undermines the balance of power between the branches of government. Congress should use the renewal of section 702 to restrict the NSA’s ability to obtain certain kinds of information and to retain citizens’ communications. Congress should also reinstate the “primary purpose” test (which mandates that an intercept be for foreign intelligence purposes), prevent section 702 intercepts from being used to find evidence of ordinary criminal activity, and prohibit collection of communications about (not just to or from) targets."

Read the full report here.

Tech. Institute Faculty Advisor Professor Laura Donohue

Tech. Institute Faculty Advisor Professor Laura Donohue

May 18, 2017 - Communications & Technology Clinic Petitions FCC and Prepares for Oral Argument in the DC Circuit

Georgetown Law's Communications & Technology Clinic is one of the oldest clinics in the country dedicated to supporting public interest communications law. Led by Professor Angela Campbell, Benton Senior Counselor Andy Schwartzman and talented graduate teaching fellows, students spend the full semester working full time on behalf of pro bono clients. 

Spring 2017 was a busy time. The clinic's core projects included:

Broadband Privacy:  The Communications and Technology Law Clinic filed, on behalf of New America’s Open Technology Institute, an opposition to multiple petitions for reconsideration of the FCC’s broadband privacy rules.This filing supported the rules adopted by the FCC last year as necessary to protect the privacy of broadband consumers and opposed weakening or repealing the rules.

Limits on Television Station Ownership:  The clinic filed a petition for reconsideration of and a motion to stay an FCC decision that would allow large media companies to acquire even more local television stations in excess of limits set by Congress. The clinic also opposed Fox Television’s request for an additional “temporary” waiver allowing Fox to exceed ownership limits on television stations and newspapers.

Prison Phone Rates:  Clinic students helped prepare Andrew Jay Schwartzman, the Benton Senior Counselor, for an oral argument in the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Shortly before the oral argument in February 2017, the FCC informed the court that it would no longer defend certain key aspects of its order lowering telephone rates for calls to and from prisons. Because the clinic represented prisoners and their families supporting the reduction in telephone rates, Schwartzman was able to step in and defend the FCC’s decision. Clinic students attended both the moot court and the actual oral argument. We are awaiting the court’s decision. 

Low Power FM Radio:  On behalf of it client Prometheus Radio Project, the clinic filed a petition for reconsideration of an FCC decision that failed to consider the detrimental effect that a new rule regarding AM radio would have on noncommercial, educational FM stations.

To learn more about the clinic, contact

May 16, 2017 - Renowned Public Interest Advocate Gigi Sohn Joins Tech Institute as a Distinguished Fellow

We're thrilled to announce that Gigi Sohn is joining the Tech Institute as a Distinguished Fellow. 

A renowned public interest lawyer who has worked in communications and technology policy for nearly 30 years, Gigi recently concluded three years of service as counselor to then-Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler. During that time, Gigi played a central role as the agency formulated and adopted key policies relating to net neutrality, broadband privacy, broadband access and other matters.

Gigi’s work at the Tech Institute will focus on the vital role of open, democratic, accessible and affordable communications networks, media and technology. During her appointment, Gigi will publish articles, convene public events and contribute to Georgetown’s academic community.

“We are thrilled that Gigi is joining Georgetown Law to further the conversation on public interest internet and communications policy,” said the Institute’s Executive Director, Alexandra Givens. “Gigi is a leading voice on promoting accessible, affordable communications networks that are available to all Americans. We are proud to join her in this work.”

“Gigi is a giant in our field who has been fighting for the public interest in telecommunications and technology policy for decades,” said Paul Ohm, Professor of Law at Georgetown and one of the Institute’s faculty directors. “We are so lucky to have her join us.”

Prior to joining Georgetown Law, Gigi spent three years as Counselor to then FCC-Chairman Tom Wheeler. In that role, she advised the Chairman on a wide range of Internet, telecommunications and media issues, representing Wheeler and the FCC in a variety of public forums around the country and serving as the primary liaison between the Chairman’s office and outside stakeholders.

Before joining the FCC, Gigi was the Co-Founder and CEO of Public Knowledge, a leading communications policy advocacy organization. She was previously a Project Specialist in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts and Culture unit and Executive Director of the Media Access Project, the first public interest law firm in the communications space.

Gigi has held academic positions at the University of Colorado Law School, the University of Southern California Annenberg Center, the University of Melbourne Faculty of Law Graduate Studies Program and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. In 1997, President Clinton appointed her to serve as a member of his Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters.

Gigi’s work at Georgetown Law is supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation. In addition to her role at Georgetown Law, Gigi is an Open Society Foundations Leadership in Government Fellow and a Mozilla Fellow.   

Gigi’s contributions will add to Georgetown Law’s strong focus in public interest communications and technology law. Our Communications and Technology Clinic, one of the oldest student law clinics in the country, has long represented non-profit clients before the FCC, FTC and in court to ensure that communications and technology are used in ways that serve the public interest. Our Faculty Director Paul Ohm has been a leading voice on broadband privacy protections, testifying before Congress in support of meaningful rules. Laura Moy, Deputy Director of Georgetown Law’s Center for Privacy & Technology, recently testified before the Maryland Senate Finance Committee about potential state law reforms to protect consumers’ broadband privacy. Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology, headed by Alvaro Bedoya, is at the forefront of current policy debates involving consumer privacy.

Gigi will be available to meet with students and will participate in Tech Institute events during her time here. You can reach her through the Tech Institute at or via her website,

The full press release announcing Gigi's arrival is available here.

Welcome Gigi!

Tech Institute Distinguished Fellow Gigi Sohn

Tech Institute Distinguished Fellow Gigi Sohn

May 10, 2017 - Institute's Executive director Alexandra Givens Addresses National Women's Business Council

Alexandra Reeve Givens, co-founder of BEACON: The D.C. Women Founders’ Initiative and Executive Director of the Institute for Technology Law and Policy at Georgetown Law, joined the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) today at the U.S. Capitol for a conversation about entrepreneurial ecosystems and their service of women entrepreneurs in cities across the country. Givens participated in a panel discussion at NWBC’s May 2017 Public Meeting along with representatives from Atlanta, Boston and New York City.

“A supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurs requires access to resources, meaningful pathways to capital, opportunities to showcase their business, and a connected community where women support one another,” said Givens. “I was proud to share information about BEACON’s work to improve resources for D.C.’s women entrepreneurs and to engage with other city representatives about how we can strengthen regional ecosystems for women entrepreneurs to succeed.”

BEACON: The D.C. Women Founders’ Initiative is a community-led campaign to make Washington D.C. the most influential and supportive city for women entrepreneurs in the United States. It launched in fall 2016 through the efforts of a group of women entrepreneurs, local leaders, and policy advocates who are committed to supporting diverse women’s entrepreneurship in our nation’s capital.

Among other projects, BEACON manages a community website that contains D.C.’s first and largest database of women entrepreneurs, creating a platform for women entrepreneurs to connect with and support one another. The organization also curates resources for D.C.-area entrepreneurs and manages a community calendar. The website was unveiled as part of Washington D.C.’s programming on inclusive innovation at SXSW this spring.

During her remarks, Givens noted that BEACON will soon be launching a grant program supported by the D.C. Mayor’s Office to fund local organizations that direct resources and support to D.C.’s women entrepreneurs. The grant program will launch at the end of May.

NWBC recently released a new report about entrepreneurial ecosystems entitled Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and their Service of Women Entrepreneurs. The research outlines a model that can be adopted by local stakeholders to evaluate their regional economy, identify significant actors and activities, and consider how to strengthen the system of support for women business owners. This report served as a backdrop for today’s Public Meeting – From Neighborhoods to National: A Closer Look at Ecosystems for Women Entrepreneurs – which also from a panel of NWBC Council Members sharing their experiences of finding support in local ecosystems.

“NWBC’s entirely new ecosystem model can be used as a tool to evaluate how different components of an ecosystem work together to engage, advise, and drive the growth of women entrepreneurs. Privately held women-owned businesses number almost 10 million according to 2012 Survey of Business Owners, and employ 8 million people, including more than 26,600 people in the District, but they are still an underrepresented segment of the U.S. economy,” said NWBC Council Member Rose Wang. “Access to capital and access to markets remain persistent challenges to women business owners, and conversations at both the regional and the national level, like today’s discussion about ecosystems, are critical to ensure that we continue to put policies in place to further women’s entrepreneurial participation and to help women-owned businesses grow and thrive in D.C. and across the country.”

The National Women's Business Council Report on Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

The National Women's Business Council Report on Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

May 9, 2017 - Tech Institute Welcomes Adam Neufeld in Joint Appointment with Georgetown's Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation

The Tech Institute is pleased to announce the arrival of Adam Neufeld as a Senior Fellow, in a joint appointment between the Tech Institute and the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University.

Adam brings extensive experience as an innovator in the public sector to Georgetown’s campus. Through his fellowship, Adam will contribute to the University’s thought leadership in technology policy by producing original articles, opinion pieces and convenings. Adam will apply his unique expertise in big data, tech policy, and government innovation to projects that explore innovative mechanisms to reducing barriers to technology in government, such as implementing effective legal frameworks for sharing data across sectors, and analyzing the regulatory environment of new technology.

Prior to joining Georgetown, Adam worked as the Deputy Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), where he was the second highest official at the 11,500-employee agency with an approximately $25 billion annual budget. At GSA, he was critical in charting the agency’s transformation over the past several years, playing a vital role in reorganizing and streamlining the agency, increasing efficiencies of government acquisition, and helping agencies transform their space into more efficient, mobile, open offices.

Adam has been at the forefront of efforts to bring innovative new approaches to the federal government, including the Presidential Innovation Fellows and 18F (a 200-person office of coders and designers that work with other agencies), a unit of behavioral scientists, and human resources reform. He also helped reduce federal contracting barriers for innovative technology companies, transition the Presidential Innovation Fellows program to GSA to ensure its long-term sustainability, create an agency-wide data platform, and develop legislation to help finance agency technology modernizations.

Before GSA, Adam served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of Management and Budget, and as a consultant at McKinsey & Co., with a focus on serving the federal government. Previously, he was an honors attorney at the U.S. Department of Labor and as a special assistant to the Chairman of the Federal Election Commission. Adam is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School.

“With the world changing at such an exponential rate, it is critical that we build a more innovative and flexible policy environment that can adapt to rapid technological change. Adam has worked at the forefront of this movement, and we are thrilled to apply his expertise to our research,” said Sonal Shah, Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation.  

Alexandra Reeve Givens, Executive Director of The  Institute for Technology Policy at Georgetown Law added, “Adam’s expertise across the public and private sector will bring a powerful perspective to the Institute in advancing the conversation on technology law and public policy. We are honored to have him on board and look forward to sharing his expertise with the larger Georgetown community.”

You can reach Adam via the Institute at

Welcome Adam!

Tech Institute Senior Fellow Adam Neufeld

Tech Institute Senior Fellow Adam Neufeld

April 28, 2017 - We're Hiring! Student Research Assistants & Recent Graduates Wanted

The Tech Institute just announced several opportunities for student research assistants and recent graduates who want to contribute to our policy work and events this year!  

To view all this listings, visit our Jobs page at

Some highlights here:

  • Student Research Assistants--Tech Institute (current students at Georgetown Law). The Tech Institute has spaces available this summer (including part-time) and during the 2017-2018 academic year. RAs will work under the supervision of the Institute's Executive Director, Alex Givens, in partnership with the Institute's faculty, fellows and staff.  
  • Student Research Assistants--Privacy Center (current students at Georgetown Law). The Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law is looking for Research Assistants who are interested in technology and the communities it affects -- and who are ready to take an active role within the Center.  RAs conduct legal and policy research, support Center litigation, and help staff Center events.
  • Full-Time Job Posting: Access to Justice Partner Fellow (open to Georgetown class of 2017). Georgetown’s Institute for Technology Law & Policy and the Self-Represented LitigationNetwork (SRLN) are seeking a fellow for a two-year access to justice project that will have a transformative effect on the accessibility of legal services across the country. 
  • Full-Time Job Posting: Partner Fellow in Law and Computer Science (open to Georgetown class of 2017). Our Faculty Director Paul Ohm and Prof. Kobbi Nissim (Georgetown Computer Science) are hiring a Georgetown '17 graduate to spearhead a new, interdisciplinary research project at the intersection of privacy, computer science, and law.  

Applications for many of these opportunities close next week. Please apply - we hope you can join us!

Image courtesy TheWMatt/CreativeCommons

Image courtesy TheWMatt/CreativeCommons

April 27, 2017 - FTC COMMISSIONER TERRELL MCSWEENY (L'04) KEYNOTES as Georgetown Law & MIT Students Present Proposed Privacy Legislation

On Thursday April 27, law students from Georgetown Law and engineering students from MIT presented proposed privacy legislation to a distinguished panel of judges in the culmination of the Georgetown-MIT Practicum "Privacy Legislation: Law & Technology".  

The course, taught by Georgetown's David Vladeck and Alvaro Bedoya and MIT's Danny Weizner and Hal Abelson, brings together students from Georgetown Law and MIT to explore current issues in privacy policy and technology. Interdisciplinary teams, consisting of law students and MIT students, prepare a detailed legal assessment of policy questions and draft legislation to address the problem.

Thursday's presentation event began with an opening keynote by FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny (L'04).

Students then presented their proposals to a panel of judges featuring: 

  • Jay Edelson, Founder & CEO, Edelson PC; 
  • Alex MacGillivray, former Deputy Chief Technology Officer, The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy; former General Counsel, Twitter; 
  • Betsy Masiello, Communications & Public Policy, Uber; 
  • Maneesha Mithal, Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission; and
  • Michelle Richardson, Deputy Director, Freedom, Security & Technology Project, Center for Democracy & Technology.



Full bill text and explainers for each proposal are available here, along with further details about this unique course.  You can also check out the event's Twitter coverage here.  

  • Predictive Policing - The Suspicion-Enhancing Tools of Predictive Policing Systems (STOPPS) Act
  • Police Geolocation Tracking - The Geolocation Information Privacy Protection Act (GIPPA) Act
  • Fake News - Best Practices and Guidelines for Fake News Mitigation 
  • Commercial Face Recognition (Team A) - Commercial Face Recognition Act (CFRA) 
  • Commercial Face Recognition (Team B) - California Biometric Information Privacy Act (CalBIPA) 
  • Driver Privacy and Data Transparency - The Autonomous Vehicle Information Act (AVIA) 
  • Always-on in-home listening devices - The Always-On Device Data Protection Privacy Act of 2017 

For more information about this course and the exciting work being done by Georgetown's Center on Privacy & Technology, please contact the Center's Executive Director Alvaro Bedoya or Katie Evans, Associate.

FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny (L'04) kicks off the Georgetown-MIT Privacy Practicum at Georgetown Law, April 27, 2017.

FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny (L'04) kicks off the Georgetown-MIT Privacy Practicum at Georgetown Law, April 27, 2017.

April 26, 2017 - "Edge Technologies" Colloquium Concludes with Presentation on 3D BioPrinting

On April 26, Georgetown Law's semester-long colloquium on emerging technologies concluded with a presentation on 3-D bioprinting by Kai Rajan and Robert Wells of the law firm Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner.

3D printing is increasingly permitting the direct digital manufacture of a variety of materials. Triggered by a manufacturing revolution, the developments on 3D bioprinters are stratling. While 3D bioprinting uses some of the additive manufacturing principles of 3D printing, it also has many advancements of its own. In their talk, Mr. Rajan and Mr. Wells discussed how 3D bioprinting uses highly specialized biocompatible materials, sometimes called "bio-inks", that can include new polymers and even living cells. 

Kai Rajan practices patent litigation and prosecution for a wide range of clients, from startups to established companies. His patent prosecution practice focuses on drafting and prosecuting patent applications in a broad range of technologies, and he additionally focuses on IP issues of emerging technologies such as additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing. Prior to joining Finnegan, Mr. Rajan gained six years of experience as a patent examiner at the USPTO, where he negotiated patentable subject matter for mechanical, electrical, business method, and software technologies in the healthcare fields. 

Rob Wells focuses his practice on developing value through creating and building strategically developed patent portfolios.  Mr. Wells has extensive experience with patent litigation and patent prosecution, as well as portfolio management, licensing, and client counseling involving various intellectual property issues. He works with a wide variety of technologies, including 3D printing, robotics, optoelectronics, and other computing technologies. He is an active member of Finnegan's 3D printing and robotics working groups. Mr. Wells currently serves as IP Practice in Latin America committee chair for the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA).

Mr. Rajan and Mr. Wells were the culminating speakers of Georgetown Law's Legal Studies Colloquium on Edge Technologies, a Spring 2017 course taught by Professor Laura Donahue that focuses on new and emerging technologies that are transforming how we think about the law. If you want to learn more about the class or see the readings from this week's lecture, please contact

April 26, 2017 - Georgetown's Iron Tech Lawyer Competition showcases student apps for justice

On Wednesday, April 26, the Institute and our Faculty Co-Director Tanina Rostain hosted Georgetown's eighth Iron Tech Lawyer Competition.

This signature pitch competition evaluates student-designed apps that promote access to justice and support pro bono legal services.

The competition featured apps that help parents represent their children in suspension and expulsion administrative procedure; facilitate intake at a non-profit facility by informing clients of the documents they need; identify signs of elder abuse and employment discrimination; and help government contractors check if they are receiving the correct wages and benefits under the Service Contract App.

A full list of the featured apps -- and the pro bono clients they were created for -- is available here.

Thank you to our pro bono client partners, our sponsors Thompson Reuters and NeotaLogic, and our panel of judges: Katherine Alteneder, the Executive Director of the Self-Represented Litigation Network; David Curle, Thompson Reuters; and Patrice Lyons (L'69), General Counsel of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives. 

Congratulations to our student participants!

You can read more about the competition and view past winners here.

April 19, 2017 - Dr. Gary Marchant Speaks on Nanotechnology, Neuroscience, Biotechnology & the Law

Emerging technologies, including advances in genetic medicine, biotechnology, nanotechnology, synthetic biology and neuroscience raise many important and controversial ethical and social issues. On Wednesday April 19, Dr. Gary Marchant of Arizona State University spoke at Georgetown Law on these issues. His lecture discussed the new window of opportunity to reject process-based biotechnology regulation, risk management principles for nanotechnology, and the law of neuroscience.  

In particular, his remarks focused on approaches to regulatory decision-making for emerging technologies -- an issue we study closely at Georgetown Law.

Gary Marchant, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.P., serves as the Regents’ Professor and Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law & Ethics, and Faculty Director of the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University (ASU). He also serves as a Professor at the School of Life Sciences and Distinguished Sustainability Scientist at the Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU.

Professor Marchant’s research interests include the governance of emerging technologies, legal aspects of personalized medicine, use of genetic information in the legal system, legal aspects of risk assessment and risk management, and the application of science and technology in the legal system. Professor Marchant frequently lectures about the intersection of law and science at national and international conferences. He has authored more than 100 articles and book chapters on various issues relating to emerging technologies. Among other activities, he has served on five National Research Council committees, has been the principal investigator on several major grants, and has organized dozens of academic conferences and workshops on law and science issues.

Professor Marchant appeared as part of Georgetown Law's Legal Studies Colloquium on Edge Technologies, a course taught by Professor Laura Donahue that focuses on new and emerging technologies that are transforming how we think about the law. If you want to learn more about the class or see the readings from this week's lecture, please contact

Dr. Gary Marchant

Dr. Gary Marchant

April 12, 2017 - Drew Endy, Founder of the Field of Synthetic Biology, Speaks at Georgetown Law

On April 12, Professor Drew Endy of Stanford University spoke to Georgetown Law students about the field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology is quickly becoming one of the hottest engineering areas of biological science research, with a guiding principle that genes and cells can be programmed like computers. The class outlined the major challenges and the future of synthetic biology, which will have a profound effect on the law--one that has yet to be realized.

Bioengineering professor Drew Endy is widely credited with founding the field of synthetic biology. He developed the world's first "fabless" genetic engineering teaching lab in the new Bioengineering program at Stanford and previously helped start the Biological Engineering major at MIT. His Stanford research team develops genetically encoded computers and redesigns genomes. He co-founded the BioBricks Foundation as a public-benefit charity supporting free-to-use standards and technology that enable the engineering of biology ( and co-organized the International Genetically Engineered Machines ( competition.

Professor Endy serves on the US Committee on Science Technology and Law and is a new voting member of the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity. He chaired the 2003 Synthetic Biology study as a member of DARPA ISAT, served as an ad hoc member of the US NIH Recombinant DNA Advisor Committee, and co-authored the 2007 "Synthetic Genomics: Options for Governance" report with colleagues from the Center for Strategic & International Studies and the J. Craig Venter Institute.

Esquire named Endy one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century.

Prof. Endy appeared as part of Georgetown Law's Legal Studies Colloquium on Edge Technologies, a course taught by Professor Laura Donahue that focuses on new and emerging technologies that are transforming how we think about the law. If you want to learn more about the class or see the readings from this week's lecture, please contact

Professor Drew Endy

Professor Drew Endy

April 7, 2017 - Institute Hosts Experts on the Use of Technology in the Criminal Justice System

On Friday April 7, the Tech Institute's regular Tech Speaker Series featured two experts on the use of technology in the criminal justice system:  Dr. Clarence Wardell III, former co-lead of the Obama Administration's Police Data Initiative, and Jason Tashea of Justice Codes.  The event was moderated by Georgetown's Laura Moy.

The wide-ranging conversation covered technologies from police body-worn cameras, to gunshot detecting technologies, to tools that assist individuals in expunging their records, to the use of algorithms to influence decisions about parole and sentencing. The speakers addressed the potential benefits of such technologies while also noting challenges and risks, such as over-reliance on cameras or algorithms to capture "objective" truth, and the problem of government procurement policies that give third-party companies an outsized role in law enforcement capabilities.

Both speakers called for further education and public awareness about the opportunities and challenges presented by new technologies, especially within the defense bar and criminal justice communities.

The use of technology in the criminal justice system is the subject of a new class in Georgetown Law's tech policy curriculum for fall 2017: Criminal Justice Technology, Policy, and Law.  The class will take the form of a project-base practicum, teaching students how to design, build and understand technologies that affect criminal justice processes and policy.  The class will be taught by Mr. Tashea and Keith Porcaro, CTO and General Counsel of SimLab

From left: Georgetown's Laura Moy, Dr. Clarence Wardell III and Jason Tashea discuss the use of technology in the criminal justice system.

From left: Georgetown's Laura Moy, Dr. Clarence Wardell III and Jason Tashea discuss the use of technology in the criminal justice system.

April 6, 2017 - Georgetown Law's Laura Moy Testifies on Broadband Privacy

Laura Moy, the Deputy Director of the Center for Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, testified today before the Maryland Senate Finance Committee about potential state law reforms in the wake of Congress's repeal of the FCC's rule to protect consumers' broadband privacy.

Laura's testimony read in part:

"Because of their position as the consumer’s gateway to the Internet, ISPs have broad, unfettered access into nearly everything the consumer does online. . .  That information can be incredibly revealing. It’s not difficult to imagine how a complete record of the websites a consumer visits and the applications they use, especially in combination with details about the timing, duration, and volume of traffic, can be used to determine their medical conditions, employment status, family status, political leanings, romantic and sexual preferences, sleep habits, and more. [...]

"Consumers are already paying for their Internet connections in dollars—handsomely. They do not also need to pay through their personal data. . . Making matters worse, many consumers cannot switch providers if they dislike the privacy practices of their ISP. . . Nor is there much that the average consumer can do to hide their online activities from their ISP. 

"For these reasons, state legislation to protect consumer privacy from ISPs is needed—legislation such as Maryland’s Internet Consumer Privacy Rights Act of 2017—and it is needed swiftly."

In recent weeks Laura has been featured as an expert on this topic on CNBC, Democracy Now! and other news outlets.  You can read her full testimony here

Georgetown Privacy Center's Laura Moy on CNBC's Nightly Business Report, March 31 2017

Georgetown Privacy Center's Laura Moy on CNBC's Nightly Business Report, March 31 2017

April 5, 2017 - Lt. Colonel Alan Schuller Speaks on Autonomous Weapons Systems

On April 5, Lieutenant Colonel Alan L. Schuller of the U.S. Marine Corps, a Military Professor at the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law, spoke at Georgetown on the use of autonomous weapon systems and international humanitarian law.

Autonomous weapon systems (AWS) may be the most militarily significant yet legally elusive challenge to international humanitarian law since the proliferation of cyber operations. From a technological perspective, what does it mean for a machine to “decide” to kill? What unique problems, if any, are created when machines are programmed to “learn?” Are legacy weapon systems different in kind rather than degree of automation from reasonably foreseeable future AWS? 

Lieutenant Colonel Schuller currently serves as a Military Professor in the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. His article, Inimical Inceptions of Imminence: A New Approach to Anticipatory Self-Defense Under the Law of Armed Conflict, was recently published in the UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs. 

Lt. Col. Schuller appeared as part of Georgetown Law's Legal Studies Colloquium on Edge Technologies, a course taught by Professor Laura Donahue that focuses on new and emerging technologies that are transforming how we think about the law.

Lt. Col. Alan Schuller

Lt. Col. Alan Schuller