Starting in the spring of 2018, Cornell Law School students will have the opportunity to take a variety of specialized classes which blend law and technology at Cornell Tech.
Dean of law school Eduardo Peñalver ’94 spoke about the rationale behind the program.
“The motivation is to provide our students with an opportunity to gain access to an enriched curriculum around information law that the Cornell Tech campus makes possible,” Peñalver said.
Peñalver also elaborated on how this program will broaden the impact Cornell Law School.
“It definitely deepens our curriculum in the information law area. It allows us to gain access to scholars and lawyers in the field who are not able to make it up to Ithaca to teach our students,” Peñalver said.
With Cornell Tech located in New York City, the program grants the law school a presence extending beyond Ithaca.
“It raises the profile of the law school in an important legal market and in an important emerging field in law where we have not been as active,” Peñalver said.
Courses on financial technology, such as BitCoin and BlockChain, as well as courses which tackle the legal questions implicated by autonomous machines, are examples of the type of classes which will be offered by this program.
“We think all these new technologies raise important questions about existing practices and issues that the law is going to have to grapple with. We think it is important for lawyers to gain an understanding of those questions,” Peñalver said.
Peñalver also described faculty hiring and current resources the law school has in place for this program.
“We already have two faculties now who are permanently based at Cornell Tech, they teach in our Master of Laws program, and they will now also teach some J.D. courses,” he said. “There will be adjunct faculty and visitors from other New York law schools who we will be hiring for this program.”
While Cornell Tech already offers a Master of Laws Program, this program is noticeably different.
“The Master of Laws is a law school degree taken at Cornell Tech. This is not a degree program, this is just coursework that a law student can take,” Peñalver said.
In its current form, up to 20 law school students will be able to participate.
“There are no prerequisites, all we are seeking are law school students who have a demonstrated interest in technology law,” Peñalver said.