Skip to the main content

Practical Lawyering in Cyberspace: Seminar - Fall 2008

Fall term, Block J
W 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Clinical Professor John Palfrey and Mr. Phillip Malone
2 classroom credits LAW-98141A

Using a variety of cyberlaw-related case studies drawn from recent, actual controversies, along with targeted readings, court filings, real-life testimony, deposition videotapes and other actual demonstrative materials, the seminar covers the practical lawyering skills essential for the successful and effective representation of clients in a wide variety of disputes in the field of Internet law. The seminar's subject matter will cover issues including intellectual property, speech, privacy, competition and other core Internet law themes. This seminar will condense and weave together a broad range of experiences students ultimately may encounter in the actual practice of law in this burgeoning area with the core doctrinal and theoretical principles of the relevant areas of law. Accordingly, special emphasis will be placed on decision-making and counseling skills; clear and persuasive writing, drafting and negotiating skills and, most importantly; critical and strategic thinking and analysis. During the seminar, students will become familiar with the fundamentals of practical lawyering in the context of cutting-edge substantive issues drawn from actual litigation and reported cases, many of them still unfolding as the seminar progresses. At appropriate moments in the term, outside specialists may be brought in to enhance the students' understanding of the complex interplay between substantive and practical issues. (During previous semesters, for example, Facebook's chief privacy officer discussed legal issues facing the company and the nuances of the relationship between in-house counsel and outside counsel; a top Justice Department official responsible for cyber-crime, an experienced Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecutes major, high-tech cases, and the head of the Massachusetts Attorney General's high-tech unit led students through the complexities of investigating and prosecuting crimes in the Internet and intellectual property areas; and a noted computer scientist who has testified in major antitrust and patent cases helped explore the role and challenges of expert witnesses in Internet-related litigation). This seminar is particularly appropriate as an offering for those students who intend to take, or have taken, the Clinical Program in Cyberlaw at the Berkman Center.