We seem, at the Berkman Center, always to be looking for more great people to join our team. A new opening: a clinical fellow in cyberlaw. The posting is here. The job would be great for an entrepreneurial lawyer who would like to teach law students applied cyberlaw in innovative ways through our clinic. The students are extraordinary. A major added benefit is the chance to work with Prof. Phil Malone, the director of the clinic, and Dena Sacco, a wonderful lawyer and former AUSA who is also co-directing our Internet Safety Technical Task Force.
The Harvard Law School just announced the promotion of Phil Malone (in cyberlaw and intellectual property) and Wendy Jacobs (in environmental law) to the full-time faculty as clinical professors. Phil Malone has been the director of the Berkman Center clinical program for the past few years, first with Jeff Cunard and Bruce Keller as co-directors and recently as the sole director. He’s an extraordinary lawyer and teacher. It is our great good fortune at the Berkman Center that Phil has accepted HLS’s offer to join the faculty as a Clinical Professor of Law. Hooray!
If I could start (or otherwise will into existence) any non-profit right now, what it would do is to develop and apply code for non-profit organizations that are under-using new information technologies for core communications purposes. The organization would be comprised primarily of smart, committed, young coders and project managers, primarily, who know how to take open source and other web 2.0-type tools and apply them to connect to communities of interest. (Perhaps some coders would volunteer, too, on a moonlighting basis.)
There are a bunch of problems it would be designed to solve. There are lots of non-profit organizations, such as public media organizations or local initiative campaigns or NGOs in fields like human rights, for instance, that would like to leverage new technologies in the public interest — to reach new audiences for their work and to build communities around ideas — but have no clue as to how to go about doing it.
I think the stars are aligned for such a non-profit to make a big difference at this moment of wild technological innovation. There are lots of relevant pieces that are ready to be put together. Ning and many others have developed platforms that could be leveraged. SourceForge has endless tools for the taking and applying to solve problems. Blogs, wikis, social networks (think of the Facebook open API), and Second Life (or whatever you’d like to experiment with in the participatory media space) are also easy to put to work, if you know how. Most small organizations know that Digital Natives (and many others) are spending lots of their lives online. There are others who do things like this — consider the wonderful Tactical Tech in the global environment, as well as those who do development for political campaigns, like Blue State Digital — whose learning might be leveraged here. There is plenty of “pain in the marketplace,” as venture guys might say. There are smart coders coming out of schools who want to do well enough by doing good in a mission-driven organization (think of the geekiest members of the Free Culture movement). The goal would be to take these technologies and making them work for carefully targeted customers in the non-profit space.
The non-profit would require a reasonable pile of start-up capital to get set up and to have ballast for lean times, but it would have a revenue model. It would charge for its services, on an overall break-even basis. It would not develop things for free; it would develop things for cheap(er) and with real expertise for non-profits that need access to the technologies. (One could imagine a sliding scale based upon resources and revenue and so forth.) It would also have a training services arm. Clients would be required to pay for some training, too, so that the organization would have an internal capacity to keep up the tool that’s developed for them.
I could imagine it loosely based in a big, open, low-rent space in Central Square in Cambridge, right between MIT and Harvard, with collaborators around the world. I suspect there are others doing something like this, but I am constantly surprised by the number of times I am at meetings or conferences where prospective customers tell me they don’t have a provider for their needs.
I’ve got an op-ed in the National Law Journal this coming week on technology and the law school curriculum. It’s a hard problem. No law school has yet solved it.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, one of Boston’s cultural gems, has released the first-of-its-kind museum concert series podcast, called The Concert. The good people there — including Catherine and Charlotte, who did a TV spot this morning — have decided to use a Creative Commons Share Music license. They’ve had the pro bono assistance of the Berkman clinical program in putting together this release. We’re proud to be associated with their innovative work to bring their music series to many more people than those who can attend in person at the appointed hour (though they highly encourage people to come to the Gardner to hear the concerts all the same!).
We are hiring for a teaching position in the Berkman Center clinical program for this coming fall. The job is a fun, dynamic, interesting one — teaching Harvard Law School students the applied side of cyberlaw. You’d work closely with me, with Phil Malone (former US DOJ senior lawyer, former HLS Kramer fellow, several years as co-director of the Berkman clinical program), and other Berkman team members, including Bruce Keller and Jeff Cunard, partners at Debevoise & Plimpton, who have been co-directors of our clinical program for the past few years as well and have been teaching in the HLS curriculum. We collaborate with some of the other terrific cyberlaw clinics out there from time to time as well, like Boalt (Samuelson Clinic), Stanford, and so forth. We work with terrific organizations like Creative Commons. We’re looking for someone with practice experience in the Internet law, IP, and/or related fields who has a strong interest in law teaching. More on the clinical program at the Berkman Center can be found here.