This episode is the TLP Alums: Perspectives from Government and NGOs panel from the Technology Law and Policy Clinic at 10 event. It was recorded on November 10, 2023
Brett Max Kaufman (moderator), American Civil Liberties Union
Patrick Holvey, U.S. Department of Justice
Santana Jackson, Institute of Museum and Library Services
Dillon Reisman, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey
Charlotte Slaiman, Public Knowledge
Welcome to engelberg center live a collection of audio from events held by the engelberg center on innovation Law and Policy at NYU Law.
This episode is the TLP alums perspectives from government and NGOs panel from the technology Law and Policy clinic at 10 event. It was recorded on November 10 2023.
Brett Max Kaufman 0:31
All right, thanks, everybody. I'm really excited about getting them to host this one. And I just wanted to say off the top, like, it's just been so great to have this day. And I'm really grateful for everything Jason and Susan, and Katrina and Jake did. And many others, I'm sure to bring everybody together. And you know, I've said this to a couple people. But for those of those, those of us who have clerked, you, you sort of have this sort of clerk family. But that's really about the judge, because you just really know the people right around you, and, and everybody does lots of different things. But this feels even more like a family to me, because we have so many overlapping experiences, the fellows and then going to work at different places where then you see former students. And one thing that's, I think, cool, you know, especially thinking about the last panel and this one, about the clinic is that somehow it actually is one clinic, you know, some people are really into contracts. And some people are really into surveillance litigation. And yet, somehow it all makes sense. And we all share something, maybe going back to some of those values, but also an approach to legal work and thinking about the importance of tech and society and the law together. So I do think it's a really, really unique and special group. And I'm grateful that we all got to come together today. So starting there, I mean, Jake, refer to this as the public interest panel. But I think one thing we all know is that on day one of clinic, we talk about what is the public interest. And even for people who do not take a traditional non public interest job. It's something that animates all of the work that happens in the clinic. And I think that ties us all together and caring about that. So these are former clinic students who do work in nonprofit entities, all of all kinds, and do some really, really cool work. So I'm excited to have them share a little bit about that with you. I figured to start off, what might be cool is if you can tell us, one, what you thought you're gonna you were gonna be doing when you came into law school, what you thought you'd be doing when you took the clinic, and then what you're doing now, just to kind of show the evolution of some of that. So let's just start here with Charlotte.
Charlotte Slaiman 3:01
Cool. Great. Thanks so much for having me, Brett. I'm excited to see everybody. So I think what I thought I wanted to do before going to law school was work in Congress. I have worked in Congress before going to law school, and I wanted to come back and like actually be running things. And then it might have been in the clinic that I learned more about organizations like mine, that are working closely with Congress, but on the outside. So I sort of added that to my idea of what I might want to do. And that's what I'm doing now.
Brett Max Kaufman 3:32
And where are you working? Now?
Speaker 3 3:34
Yes, I work at public knowledge. It's a nonprofit that does advocacy in Washington. My focus has been on antitrust and competition. So I'm advocating for new antitrust laws, stronger antitrust laws, better antitrust enforcement, stronger antitrust enforcement. But the organization also works on a variety of tech policy issues. And I'm now the vice president. So I'm responsible for all of these issues now. And I'm supervising the members of the policy team. But we also have three lobbyists on staff because we want to be very focused on advocacy and what is relevant with Congress and with our federal agencies. We don't want to fall into being a think tank, which is a very important role as well. But we really want to be focused on advocacy and making sure that all of the writing and thinking that we do is relevant to push a public policy forward.
Dillon Reisman 4:34
Hi, everyone, my name is Dylan. I am a current staff attorney at the ACLU of New Jersey and before law school well my like coming to Jason story is actually starts before law school because I was working with Jason as like a computer scientist, researcher type. And I had a data privacy background and I was getting into like AI and algorithmic justice and public interest work. And Jason was a big part of why I landed at NYU Law before we even start being put in the clinic,
Brett Max Kaufman 5:00
and an agreement and coming to the race and T shirts made.
Dillon Reisman 5:06
But, and but like that's still like, so I knew that I wanted to, like I knew that I was like passionate about privacy and increasingly, like interested in tackling problems of AI and algorithmic justice and like how technical infrastructure works and how we can deal with it, and how we can avoid it harming people. But I didn't know what like I'd be doing because like, that isn't what I described isn't a job, like, or at least as far as I was aware, it wasn't a job. So I didn't go in knowing what I do. And then But then in the clinic, and working with like, and then I had known Jason and I met people like Brett and Chris. And I was like, oh, like, these are the lawyers who do those sorts of things that I could be doing one day, I guess being a clinician is the what is the job to do it. But then fortunately, I still didn't like besides that I didn't know what else I could do. But I ended up designing like a project based public interest fellowship. So I had a two year fellowship after law school. And I basically pitched it to the ACLU of New Jersey as like, you know, it was focused on Medicaid and due process and algorithms used to apportion health care. And it was something I had studied a bit in law school and had met practitioners before who've done it and I was like, I could bring this to New Jersey, I love New Jersey, I'm from New Jersey. And I, but like, it still isn't like a job. Like it's a, it was a fellowship. But like, that's term limited. It still is not like there is no algorithms lawyer. But then sure enough, like I got to stay as a staff attorney, and now it's like, it's because of this clinic. And because of like, this community of people that these jobs and these type, this type of work is more legible to like other practitioners and to people who see the need for it. And so it's like, thanks to like the work Everyone here does that like this work is relevant? So it's funny like to answer your question, it's like, I would not, I didn't, I guess like, I hate this idea that I knew exactly what I wanted to do, because I didn't but at the same time, with where I'm at now, it's actually exactly what I could have hoped for before law
Brett Max Kaufman 7:10
school. Amazing. Santana.
Santana Jackson 7:13
Hi, everybody, my name is santana. Before I came to law school, I wanted to do criminal justice reform, which is how I got interested in this space, I went to a talk that was hosted on campus. And Ruha, Benjamin was talking and she was talking about how the carceral and the carceral in the legal system impacted and interface with technology and surveillance and all these other issues. And it just really lit a fire under me. And it got me interested in a whole range of things, which is how I ended up taking all these classes with Jason. And I'm all the different professors that I see here. And when I was in the clinic, I thought I really wanted to do legislative work. And that's something that I still would like to do in the future. But currently, I'm an Assistant General Counsel at a small federal agency that nobody probably ever heard of, except for two people in this room is called the Institute of Museum and Library Services and where the primary Okay, people know, let's go, that's amazing. We're the primary federal funder of libraries and museums across the nation. So I feel very honored to be able to do that job and to bring the skills that I learned from Brett and Jason to that agency. Great,
Brett Max Kaufman 8:17
Patrick Holvey 8:18
So I'm Patrick Hovey. And when I started law school, I was coming from an engineering grad program. So I wanted to be a patent attorney. That's why I went to law school and I was a Patent Agent, and showed up at NYU and NYU is very good about putting hard science background people into the patent attorney track. And so I took all the IP courses, and barely anything beyond that, and then took this clinic. And when I took the clinic, it was really my first broadening exposure to life beyond patent law, and maybe like strict classical IP, which turned out to be a theme because after the clinic, I ended up clerking at the Federal Circuit, which has a lot of administrative law, which I did not take in law school, which turns out is fascinating. And I loved admin law. And that was real focus for a period of time. And I went down to East Texas and I clerked for Judge Gill strap for a period of time and then I went to the Department of Justice where I did not see myself when I started my clerkship, I was gonna go to Southern California and be a patent attorney on the coast and it was gonna be lovely. And years later, I find myself it's still in DC. I was most recently in the IP section of the commercial litigation branch doing patent litigation, copyright and trademark litigation on behalf of the government. But as of about two and a half months ago, I've changed jobs and now I'm in the DC US Attorney's Office as an Assistant US Attorney in the capital ch section, prosecuting January 6 cases. So the earlier there was a student who asked if you were going to be confined to a particular career, and the answer is no you can pivot at any time in any direction. So yes, so the broadening really started with the clinic. And I credit the clinic opening my eyes that there was more than just patent litigation, even though that has been a mainstay of what I've been doing while I was at
Brett Max Kaufman 10:11
the government. Great, thank you. I don't know that anyone had prosecuting January 6, people are on the DLP bingo card. I want to start just ask everybody to talk about the clinic project they worked on, shout out your partner, and then maybe some kind of lesson that you took with took after completing that project into your practice. So Charlie, and I started off
Speaker 3 10:37
awesome. I still think this was the coolest project. So we were working on an amicus brief in the Oracle v Google case, when it was at the Federal Circuit. You know, what I learned is you hear that Oracle v. Google, you might think, what is the public interest in this question, right? These are two huge companies fighting against each other? Why is it in the public interest to submit an amicus brief on behalf, you know, on the side of Google in this litigation, but that's often the situation that I'm in actually, a lot of these antitrust cases seem like a fight between two giant corporations. But the public interest kind of get lost in there. And we were worried that the public interest was gonna get lost in this case. And so we put together the computer scientists brief, Eff, we worked with the FF and they were the client. And we, you know, built this coalition is probably too strong a word, because I think this was the only thing that that group did. But we built a group of computer scientists. And that was a great, like, very relevant experience for the work that I do now is basically it's sort of like a sign on letter, which I really do all the time, finding all of these computer scientists who were interested in how important it is to be able to re implement an API and get them to sign on to this brief, and also to write the brief in a way that we were going to get them to sign on and in a way that was going to be useful for the court. So that was all really relevant. But I think that lesson of the two big companies are fighting, let's not lose sight of the public interest and representing the public interest in figuring out what is the public interest in in that seemingly, you know, two companies situation that I'm also doing all the time now.
Dillon Reisman 12:33
So in terms of,
Speaker 3 12:34
I supposed to say my partner, my partner was Sam Zeitlin. We had a great time doing this project, and he works at Google now.
Dillon Reisman 12:47
I'll start with my clinic partner, because one of my clinic partners one Tiffany Huang, not here, but great person. Second, the just generous kind of spirit. Tomic, Brian, give it up for Tom. Which was I mean, honestly, something that like, it was really like, it's a small thing. But we went to school during COVID. And we were and it was, we had the clinic in the spring of 2020. And so we started in person, but didn't end in person. And but like, Tom was like, a key friend. Like, it was really hard to make new friends in that time in law school, and Tom and I are good friends. And it's like, great. But the in terms of our projects I worked on, worked on a the two things that really stand out, worked on a amicus brief, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania was considering was had like a special masters report on the use of pre trial risk assessment. And so submitted, drafted a brief for nonprofits about the challenges of pre trial risk assessment, the racial bias issues, the age bias issues that come with it. And then the other but the bulk of the semester was actually occupied with a public right of access to courts brief of actually two kinds of parallel briefs. One was for ACLU, and a Facebook. Like either national security letter Warren's case, and one was for in a very different context was a was patent litigation in front of Judge Gill strap I remember actually, because the docket like there was patent trolls case, and a lot of private and a lot of alleged like trade secret and confidential information was being oversold in the docket. And this was actually very much to the patent trolls advantage and definitely violated First Amendment and common law rights of access to courts. And to do it in like I was not an I was just talking to Barton before I was like, I was not an IP person coming into the clinic but being like, oh, like they're all these intersections with like IP issues and national security surveillance issues, because there's all of this secrecy and no transparency and there's this just core value of transparency that works. Writing for that was really cool to see up close and actually get to work on and. And now when I work in New Jersey, the Appellate Division of New Jersey, the Intermediate Court has no public access at all to their dockets or to their briefings or to their recordings. And I'm always sitting there, and I think back to my clinic, and I'm like, man, we should really sue them about this. We don't for I think, strategic reasons, but
Brett Max Kaufman 15:24
you gotta be careful in Jersey Sanatana.
Santana Jackson 15:27
So I did two semesters of the clinic, and I had friends, my attorney supervisor for both of my projects, I work with the ACLU. The first project was the amicus brief, and the facts of the case where there was a defendant and the police had a warrant to his computer, they actually made a copy of his entire hard drive. And they accessed it when they had the warrant. But then they went back and access it again and accepted access it again. So it was a fourth amendment issue, in terms of whether that was another search or another seizure. So that was really interesting. In the second semester, I had the same partner and the same supervising attorney. And then we added one more person to the little group. And we filed a complaint at the FTC for apples use of their maids, which are the mobile advertising IDs on your phones. And Google's, theirs are called the advertisers for identifiers for advertisers. So it's pretty much the same thing. So these are tracking devices on your phone, where marketers and advertisers can see your use on apps across, you know, across your use of your use of all these apps on your phone and tied back to this number. So we were saying that that was unfair and deceptive under the FTC act. So that was very interesting as well. And yeah, Eli Hadley was my first partner. And then the second project was Eli and Celine.
Patrick Holvey 16:51
So when I was in the clinic, one semester, I worked with my partner, Joe Ireland, who figured out a way to be an entertainment attorney out in LA and live the life that I thought it was going to live. So he and I were
Brett Max Kaufman 17:06
going to trade it for a year or something.
Patrick Holvey 17:08
Exactly, right. It's Bob. And so he and I worked with the illustrious Lee Rowland in the ACLU on the Henry Tam, slant straight trademark litigation before the Federal Circuit, which eventually went up to the Supreme Court and was affirmed after they got rid of the disparagement clause portion of the Lanham Act, which was fascinating. And one of my kind of first introductions to very deep writing, and loads of edits from Lee, who pulled no punches at any time, which was a great experience generally, and really set me up for later experiences.
Brett Max Kaufman 17:41
Yeah, lead not wanting to pull punches. Let's give it up for Leroy.
Okay, great. So, you know, this is the public interest panel, you guys have had, you know, really interesting, diverse careers now. So
I'm wondering how your conception of the public interest, which is something we talk about a lot in the clinic has evolved over time as you've gotten into different kinds of practice, and just kind of, you know, live lived your life. So Charlotte?
Speaker 3 18:10
Yeah. So I think what it means to be working in the public interest is that you are, you know, thinking about what is the public interest as you're making the decision about what to do? But that doesn't mean that the answer is always obvious. You know, certainly we have other organizations that we're working with that disagree with us about what is the public interest? Sometimes within our organization, we disagree about what is in the public interest. But I think what makes it a public interest job is that when we're having those disagreements, we're having them over what's in the public interest. We actually don't have clients, right. You know, we sort of think of consumers as our client in a way, you know, we try to think of the public interest as our real obligation. And so we are trying to learn from organizations that have more of a grassroots component, what people really want, and what people really need. But we are ultimately making that decision of what we think is in the public interest, and, you know, doing that and pushing hard for that, which I think is awesome, and fascinating and the best. But it does mean that you're not always sure. You have to be always questioning. Is this really in the public interest? I think where it becomes really especially hard is, as you know, working in Washington and trying to advocate for legislation, we're often presented with a compromise. That isn't what we were really fighting for. And the toughest question is, is it in the public interest for us to endorse this compromise? Should we accept this and throw our weight behind this and fight hard for it even though it's not exactly what we want? And I think it's such a you know, fact specific determination about that. I want to weigh how much power do we bring We have like, can we really achieve that, you know, full, better solution that we want. Or sometimes I think we have an obligation to accept the compromise, because that's really going to be an improvement in people's lives. And the, you know, full solution that we really wanted isn't realistic, and you can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. But it really depends on the amount of power that you've demonstrated whether you should keep fighting for that perfect. So those are sort of public interest questions that that we're always thinking about?
Dillon Reisman 20:34
Um, it's like a good question. Because it's like, it's so I mean, like, we all care about the public interest, right? Like, obviously, but like, what that actually like means is there? I mean, I mean, right, come on, like, we'd all say it, but like, what, like, what that actually means is like such is, is the question and I think we all like, it's easy to slip into, like, just not actually thinking deliberately. And I think it has like, a procedural component, and like, a substantive component. And like, procedurally, it is things like, how do I actually go about my work? Like, okay, I should, to work in the public interest, as opposed to like, maybe private sector, not that it's not at factor, as we talked about in the last panel, it is a factor but like, not as directly, like it's less about literally having a client and their needs, but being like, what clients do I take? Or what causes do I advocate for? Well, I guess, procedurally, you start with, like, the values of why you became a lawyer, like what values actually animate that will taking this case or advocating for this cause advanced those things, and like, going from there, and just trying to remember why you're doing this work as a lawyer. But I think like, it's important, and I think, especially in this day, and age, these times, it's like, important to also be clear about like, the substance of those values, which obviously, we don't always all agree with, but like, I know, what animates me. And it's like things like the rights of workers or racial justice, or create or like ensuring that we're not instituting like surveillance systems that are the tools of fascism. Things like that, like really, like serious real things. And I think that like, in terms of like, what is that, like, if I had, like, what is the public interest? Like, I think lawyers are taught to be very shy about that question and think about procedure. And I think as lawyers doing your work, it is important to remember, like, you are not just a machine that pumps out briefs and handles like different things. But it's actually like, you're doing this for a reason. And maybe it's your maybe it is client work, maybe it is actually the public interest aligns with your client or the public interest is representing clients, even if you don't agree with those clients goals, specifically, like that could be your public interest. But like, I think lawyers are much too shy about not aligning themselves with movements or not aligning themselves with specific causes. And I think the public interest is actually thinking about what those things really are.
Santana Jackson 23:03
Yeah, so I have a really easy answer, like, obviously, the public is my client. So I'm always thinking about the public interest when I do my job. And this is something that was hard for me in my former job, when I was a big law attorney, I felt very, I feel very stressed about the work that I was doing and how I felt like it was undermining some of the values that I had and undermining what I thought would be the public's interest. So I had wanted to switch to a job where it was, you know, pretty clear, like I was looking out for the public and trying to do a job that was further and goals that we're in line with my values. So obviously, I'm not defending clients. I'm not doing litigation. I'm in a general counsel's office. But by looking after the public interest, I make sure that our notices of funding opportunities because we're primarily a grant making organization, making sure they're accessible by all different kinds of parties, making sure you're reaching out to tribal nations, or you know, people that might be a more rural counties, making sure they have access to grants as well, making sure that our awardees know how to use their money so that these libraries and museums can do the work that we're funding them for, and they can be a place for community to gather. So there's a lot of ways that our work touches on the public interest. And I'm always trying to think about how to do my job better for the sake of a collective public interest.
Patrick Holvey 24:21
I forgot to clarify at the beginning that I'm here my personal capacity. And obviously, my comments are not necessarily the Department of Justice that he was trained from. So, you know, I think that, from my perspective, you know, the public interest has kind of shifted from the various roles. Its role dependent, its position dependent, is role dependent. It's client dependent. When I was clerking at the Federal Circuit, Judge Newman's views were always how is this decision going to affect America's innovation economy? That was kind of the main One thing that she was going to be concerned about in rendering the decision, that is a very different form of public interest than I think some people would view the nation's patent system. But that's where her perspective was coming from. When I was with Judge Gill strap. His view was different as a trial judge in terms of how he valued what the work that he was doing in service to the judicial system. No less valid, just just a different perspective. When I was with the IP section for the Department of Justice, it's it's different. At that point, yes, you're with the department and the client is United States. But the clients also the department, the department is the litigating arm of the federal government, and it decides what the government is going to litigate on about and how, and even though you have client agencies, you know, potentially the library arm if we needed to represent the that Institute, they can counsel the department on what they think their institutional goals are, but the departments will making the decision at the end of the day. And with the patent litigation and trademark and copyright litigation that I was involved in, a lot of it was defending the public FISC someone's coming after the government for money that the Treasury is going to pay out. Is it appropriate for the Treasury to pay this out? Are these funds that are going to or that are obligated that we should pay out? Or is this someone who's not entitled to the funds? So for those cases, it's very easy, I think, to see where the public good lies, we're protecting the public's money, the taxpayers money and the public. FISC other aspects of the department's IP litigation is different, right? Like should we be more forceful in vindicating federal intellectual property rights? A good question, a policy question one of well above my paygrade. But certainly a different question that the department would ask itself. And, you know, today, as a Assistant US Attorney, it's a different form of public interest. And one that I'm still coming to terms with in terms of what it means to be a good Assistant US Attorney.
Brett Max Kaufman 27:08
Right. Thank you. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask and you know, one, one thing that is cool about teaching in the clinic is realizing how much of just being a lawyer and mid you know, once you get past the first few years is actually teaching because you're working with younger lawyers all the time. And I'm wondering in your roles now, if you do, and I'm sure you do supervise younger lawyers or students as interns or whatever, whether what what kind of lessons from the clinic itself and the work that you did, or the interactions you had or the conversations we had, as a group, sort of inform how you go about playing that role, either as a mentor or supervisor and your current work.
Unknown Speaker 27:56
Should I keep going first?
Patrick Holvey 27:58
Let's hope Patrick. Yeah. So I've had a lot of interns with the IP section over the years. I love having interns. They're fantastic resources, not only in terms of doing in depth research that maybe I'm not able to find the time to do, but also in terms of the perspectives they bring to the work. I've drawn a lot from Lee wrote the lessons I learned from Lee Rowland, she was very good at setting out the initial project, the parameters, what she expected, when, how and in what format. And giving that type of granular expectation, not necessarily guidance is key to helping young lawyers and interns find their voice and find a way to contribute meaningfully in that project. Also, I just want to make a plug for any current students who are doing an internship. Internships matter. And the work that you do matters a lot, especially for larger organizations like the department, the department keeps track of who interns and if you apply for a job later, they query where you were, and were like, Hey, remember this person and the work that they did. And if you found it in, and you didn't follow that you didn't meet deadlines, and you're just away and not responsive, it's going to come back to hurt you because the attorneys do not have time to handle that situation. And the department itself is very leanly staffed and cannot hire people who are not going to really advance the mission. So take it seriously. And for those of you who are professors who have students, you can counsel please tell them to take it seriously because sometimes I think that that message is not necessarily heard.
Santana Jackson 29:38
Yeah, I definitely second everything Patrick just said. But something that I learned from Brett that I take into now supervising law students is really giving constructive feedback on writing because writing is obviously so critical to whatever type of legal job that you do and writing a amicus brief for Brett was like one of my first times really putting together I'm legal writing, and he gave a lot of good harsh criticism and critique. But it was really helpful. And it was the first time that I really understood you know, how to make a persuasive argument, and how to structure papers and such and briefs So, and how to change for which audience you know, like for the audience that you're trying to cater to. So, I try and give really good advice in terms of writing. And then also, like you said, just getting really clear expectations and goals and being very engaged, because as much as they give to you, you want to be able to give something back to them. So I try and ask them what their career goals are, how I may help them how my friends might be able to assist them. And really make sure that I form a relationship outside of them just like doing some research for me, and then me giving them feedback, but actually creating a relationship with them.
Dillon Reisman 30:47
I agree with everything you just said, especially with the writing stuff, like, I feel like working with Brett to, like, not we're not like singling you out. But like, it's like, I think like learning the art of like, being a really thoughtful like, commenter and like giving really thoughtful commentary and feedback and not like dancing around it and treating it like with the professionalism and seriousness but also being like, just because it's like going to be like, we're gonna work on making this brief the best. It's not a referendum on like your abilities as like, this is just this is the job, like the job is, is working with each other to edit it and being like a good colleague. And so I think like, that's helped me a lot with like working with interns, but more so than also just the writing just also shout out to Chris Morton, who's not here. But Chris was another one of our clinic supervisors. And, yeah,
Unknown Speaker 31:39
that's great, like,
Dillon Reisman 31:40
but like, in all seriousness, like Chris, Brett and Jason, like, I feel like they were the first people most who I met as lawyers in law school, who were like, this is like, you can be like, a nice human being about it too. And like, that's such a, like, such a powerful thing to like, have, especially hearing horror stories from like other friends or colleagues or people who've had other experiences, and just being like, actually, no, like, it is not required that you be like a jerk to be a lawyer. And that I think, is like, the number one thing I tried to take forward, like working with insurance is being like, we're gonna do work I want like, good like, we this is, like, like, we're giving you this work, not as make work. But like as like, we need this. And, and, but also like, at base, like, we're not going to be like jerks about it. Like, we have to work with each other at the end of the day.
Speaker 3 32:37
Thinking about the clinic for the way that I work with law students today, just think about that capacity that we had at that time. And I'm like, kind of far away from it now. And so I remember we were trying to make a decision about should we work with a clinic on some comments to the FTC that we were going to do. And I knew that they could handle it. We are like so picky in our own organization about writing these comments and making it go through so many levels of review, so that it's really good. But I knew that these law students would be able to do it, and they did a great job. And I still refer back to their section of the comments, like yesterday. So there's great capacity there. And organizations can really benefit from those type of relationships. I also think about in terms of managing Junior attorneys, which is now part of my job is movement building. So I really want to build that capacity so that we have access to that in the future, which can sometimes feel at odds with trying to win. Last Congress felt like very urgent, and every single thing that we were doing was like the last chance and everything had to be just right. But even in that kind of time had to remind myself, we are also growing these people who will be working on the movement tomorrow. And so you may think that you need to have the most experienced person do this really important thing. But actually, we should take the extra time that it might take to bring a more junior person along and give them those opportunities because we need to be building our movement for the future.
Brett Max Kaufman 34:14
Great, thanks. Just because I got put on the spot a little bit. For real, I just wanted to shoot like one thing I wanted to say it's not something I learned in clinic but from as a young lawyer on writing specifically, was just the simple task of just asking yourself and asking your colleagues or students, what are you trying to say here? I like sentence by sentence or paragraph by paragraph. And it's amazing, especially when you work with students who haven't had a lot of practice doing it. The words that come out of their mouth are different than the words that are on the page. And just the simple trick of just saying well, why don't you write that down? It just like opens up a whole world for Sue. I have found what Like, there's a reason that I, this isn't the first time I heard this, you know? So I do I do. Like, I do think it's really, really important thing. And I do hope that that does kind of carry on to people that I that I get to work with in the clinic. So okay, so let's hear about like the coolest thing that you've done in the tech policy world in your current job. Can I start with you, Charlotte? Yeah.
Speaker 3 35:25
So it's really cool. But the result was that we didn't win. Last Congress, I was fighting hard for some new antitrust legislation to take on the power of big tech. It was called the American innovation and choice online act, from Senator Klobuchar. And it just felt like we were so close to making this huge change in the law. And it was so exciting. We had an incredible coalition come together to fight for this legislation. And I learned after the fact that so much money was spent against this legislation, it was actually more than was spent against Obamacare. So I'm not saying that's, you know, the reason that we lost, but it's really hard to have a bunch of nonprofits going up against that kind of money. But it was so exciting. And I think we really did build a movement that is continuing to fight today. So we're continuing to fight for that legislation, but also other legislation. There are these great antitrust cases coming out of our antitrust enforcement agencies that I think will help we still need legislation, but that I think can make a difference. So that's like, the coolest tech policy stuff that I got to do.
Brett Max Kaufman 36:46
Dillon Reisman 36:50
I'm hoping for future good wins, but but I'm actually something that was really cool that I got to work on, but only as Amicus, but it happened in New Jersey. And I was really, and there was a lot of like, really positive energy. So it felt really good was we had a facial recognition case called State v Arteaga, which was a fake a case of man who was identified as the suspect of a robbery, an armed robbery. Through facial recognition, no other corroborating evidence. Unlike other cases that have come up, such as in Detroit, and also New Jersey, this case didn't have like, didn't and he was he was, at the time of the case, it was still a criminal case, it wasn't a civil rights case, like he was in detention, this was the this identification was the only thing linking him to the crime. They then had it in a photo, right, so they had the two of the witnesses identify him, but that was like they did the procedure wrong. There was a lot of reason that it didn't have like the sort of veneer of any sort of validity. And it was sort of like clear case where it's like, really like you look at the picture, and you're like, I really do not know if this was him. And then that's it really. And to have that hat in to have that happen. is like really scary, but like we got the chance to work on it. We worked with ACLU national and the Innocence Project on an amicus brief of New Jersey's Office of Public Defender was representing him and they, they are great. They have like a great forensics unit and like, so that so they like, it's the sort of thing where it's like we came in, and it was cool to be a part of it. But like they had to cover it like they, they were doing such a great job. And then we I often don't think of my state as being a place that's very sophisticated when it comes to thinking about tech at all or anything. And so we didn't have much faith in the court to like, tease it out great in a great way. But they wrote a really good opinion about it. And, and like we got really good lot of it. And it's like the, as far as we're aware, it's like the first appellate level decision and the country addressing it's like about discovery, it was specifically about discovery and Brady issues and facial recognition tech. And it's just like, it's a really, it was like a good moment. It was like a good momentum builder. And so like looking for those wins was like really cool. And to have that like the wind beneath our sales. So now we have more facial recognition work going on. So it's great.
Santana Jackson 39:17
So working in a smaller agency is a great opportunity. I think, you know, a lot of times you want to go to these big institutions and big nonprofits, bigger companies. However, working in a small General Counsel's Office, you get the opportunity to do so many things. So I've kind of been tasked as the person that's in charge of like privacy and IP, and anything related to data at the agency. So I get to do touch a lot of different things. But one thing that I've really enjoyed is getting to work and put together our privacy impact assessments, which is something that they do in the private sector as well. But I work with a lot of incredible colleagues. Some of them have like ran their own libraries. Some of them have been museum curator, so getting to sit down with them. them and learn about like the systems that they're using what they're using it for while they're collecting this information, and put together an assessment and figure out how we're maintaining this data, deleting it, and ensuring that we're doing it all with the public in mind has been really interesting and a great way to get to bond and get to know my colleagues a little bit better, which I've really enjoyed.
Patrick Holvey 40:22
The big litigation that I was involved in with the IP section was the government's first major assertion of a federal patent, or a series of patents against private entity. We sued Gilead Sciences over HHS patents for PrEP, which is the preventative prophylactic medication you can take to prevent HIV transmission. We sue them in 2019. The litigation concluded with a trial in Delaware in May of this year, it was a big deal for a number of reasons. This was the first major assertion of federal vindicating federal patent rights. And there was real question as to whether or not the government was able to do so. So we had to fend off a statutory challenge whether or not we were enabled to do that under the vital act. So real questions of statutory authorization. Could Gilead even raise certain defenses against the government because we're the government act in a sovereign capacity. So it's just a sovereign immunity, a lot of very interesting topics played out in this litigation, I thought, unfortunately, the government was not successful in May the jury found against us, and then validated all of the patents that were asserted. There are other patents in the family. So licensing continues. But that was kind of the the capstone of of my time in the VIP section. And I was very grateful for that opportunity to be part of that team. So and it was hilarious to see my colleagues from the tech Law and Policy clinic, constantly showing up on around the litigation, including Dr. Chris Morton, who managed to send some letters to the court saying complaining about the amount of sealing that was happening in the case, which resulted in me having to deal with a lot of redactions, on redactions. So, you know, that was, it was, it was interesting to see how, how deeply this clinic has affected so many parts of kind of cutting edge tech law and policy. And how many of the alumni are still in that Ambit?
Brett Max Kaufman 42:27
Cool. Very cool to hear about Chris putting our taxpayer dollars to work. I count. So the next question I'd like I'd love to hear a tech policy issue that is important to you that you do not work on that you would like someone else in this room to help fix coming up. So something that doesn't come up in your own practice, but that you just genuinely care about, and maybe there's someone here who actually can do something about it. Patrick, can I start with you? Sure.
Patrick Holvey 42:56
So, you know, there is a lot of discussion about what the government can and can't do in terms of pharmaceutical pricing and pharmaceutical access. And certainly, there have been a lot there has been a lot of interest in terms of using the 28 USC 1488 statute, which is the statute that authorizes the government to basically take a compulsory license to patents and copyrights, not trademarks, trademarks, were just apparently like a private party for whatever reason, and can be enjoined, which is terrifying, for a lot of reasons for government agencies, but for patents and trademarks, were authorized to copy and to infringe. And this was largely a war material situation, because during World War One, this was not clear whether or not the government could have defense manufacturers basically produced war materials that potentially infringed there was a gentleman, I understand it to be a gentleman's agreement that we were just going to win the war and then deal with it later. And congresses all through 1498 1498. Let's primarily defense contracts, procure on behalf of the government, and then for the government's use, and then we work out the royalty at a reasonable rate on the back end in the Court of Federal Claims. There has been a lot of very interesting discussion, I think, among the academy and public interest groups about how and whether that can be used for pharmaceutical purposes. And currently, you're seeing some chatter about 1498. In the COVID vaccine context, the government filed a certificate of letter of interest or stick of interest in the Maderna, Pfizer litigation or sorry, in the Maderna are beauteous litigation, saying that Maderna was protected under 1488. The government had liability and the court in Delaware rejected that and said that the government actually didn't. The use of the vaccines wasn't for the governor. It was for the public and not the government, which was interesting. So that appears to be an ambiguity that could use some clarification from Congress one way or another. Pairing that I would, if someone's going to lobby Congress, I would love for someone to consider clarifying 1498. And how Congress today wants it to be used, because there was some use pre the FDA regulatory regime on importing regulation on importing medications, but then also, what the role of federal inventions are in terms of assertion in the Bible act, because that was a question in the Gilead litigation, the government said, we are totally allowed to do this. And I think that the court was right in saying that we could, but the fact that it was a question at all, is not great. And the Bible could be a little clearer on the enforcement powers of the government, and maybe what the Congress expects from the licensing. For that, again, this is my personal opinion and opinion of the department. So just some stuff to think about one way or another.
Brett Max Kaufman 46:07
Thank you, Patrick Santana, in your personal opinion,
Santana Jackson 46:11
yeah, this is my own personal opinion as well. But obviously, we're all aware of how government surveillance is issue and the police haven't surveillance technology that they utilize on communities that are marginalized, etc. But I think that what my next issue that are really, you know, curious about and I want to raise awareness of is how there's like so much lateral surveillance now that we're complicit ly in like affirmatively signing up for so like ring doorbells. And there's another instance of this kind of surveillance technology that people opt into, called flock safety. I don't know if you've ever heard of this company, but they have. It's a private company, and they partner with homeowners associations, and different, you know, private parties, and they have license plate readers that they'll just put at the front of these neighborhoods, and the neighborhood consented to this. And so anybody who comes into the neighborhood, if they don't have your license plates stored in their database, as somebody that lives there, you know, and might set off an alarm, and they have like, all of these uses where they are working with the police and giving them this information as well. So obviously, they can track license plates across a lot of different jurisdictions. So I think what I would be interested in and what I would hope everybody can maybe do in their own personal capacity is just like talking to your family and friends about what kind of issues this poses to our not only to your communities, but also to our democracy when we are so like, bent on having surveillance because of this fear. That's either been, it's I might be real, but some of it is pursued and used for commercial gains. And so I think just raising the awareness in your communities about why this might not be something that you need to do is a really big issue that we could all like maybe work on.
Dillon Reisman 48:02
My answer was not going to be used with Santana's, but to piggyback off Santana's on that subject of like, what, because like, part of me is like, I deal with surveillance tech all the time. And like, yeah, we deal with like ALPR is and like, we want to challenge them and things. But the thing I've learned in trying to challenge these things as like a civil rights attorney, is that actually, maybe one of you is this and can do it, you need to like a municipal land use attorney to like start dealing with some of those things, because they involve things like zone like home home, like homeowners and zoning and planning boards and like really like nasty local issues. Because like they're not like it's not traditional like for like, there could be a fourth amendment hook. But like, it's not obvious. And there are a lot of barriers to that. But at the same time, like it's all happening, thanks to like municipal land use. And you have to just talk to some like attorney who has been doing municipal land use and does not think about surveillance at all, if one of you fits the bill, like call me. But the two, the two things I was going to say was the I don't work on but I hope some of you work on is the like classic like power of big tech companies and the big platforms. Like I'm glad there are people who work on antitrust and like things like that, because it's like, at the end of the day, like the Amazons selling ring cameras and also selling me like my groceries and like my Champoux like that it is like a scary world to be that, like so much power is concentrated in the hands of like the toys of a few billionaires. And that's like, I'm glad there are people who work on that and I don't get to work on that. And if I were, I like my path, but if I were to do it all over again, that's something I would also take another look at. And also obviously like someone had to raise it and no one did. And we're at like a tech law thing. Like generative AI like you know, like as, but like it is like it's it's you know, I think it's one of those things where it's like, it's fine like people always ask like me Like, oh, like, is it impacting your work today, and I'm like, not as much as you might think. But like I actually very imminently expected to, and like, that's an ongoing problem. And the thing that I definitely don't work on we were talking about like, like the sag strike, like the actors strike and the writer strike and things like that. And like, as a consumer of media, and our who thinks that everything we do in life, is because we should all be able to just consume art and not worry about anything else. But we have to get there. But like, these tools, and tech and infrastructure that are basically kind of questioning, like what kind of society we're gonna have, like it, like, it's so foundational, and, and I hope some of you are working on that.
Unknown Speaker 50:41
So I'm working on all that stuff.
Speaker 3 50:47
You know, this has come up a few times. But access to courts is something that I don't work on, but I have been frustrated by recently. So I'm going in person, when I can to watch the DOJ case against Google, because I live in Washington, DC, but I have a lot of other stuff to do. You have to be there in person to see it. And a lot of it is sealed. So you know, one of our attorneys that PK was there one day and got kicked out with all the other members of the public, because the rest of the testimony was going to be sealed, it's really difficult to access the exhibits, I really think that there needs to be an audio feed. And, you know, people were fighting for that. But the judge said at the very beginning, his hands are tied, the court doesn't allow him to make that decision to offer an audio feed. I think it's also a real problem with how newsrooms have been decimated. So I talked with reporters frequently. And there are some outlets that you might expect would be covering this trial. And they can't, because it's so logistically difficult. They only have one antitrust reporter that person's in California, because that's where most of the antitrust stuff is happening. Flying him to DC every week is too expensive. And so they're just not covering it. Or if there's another antitrust story, which is such an embarrassment of riches, but they're like multiple antitrust stories happening on the same day. You know, most outlets don't have multiple antitrust reporters to cover those two stories. And so then you don't have coverage of the trial that day. So there is legislation in Congress because I was just researching this, because I'm so frustrated by it's not something that we worked on. For cameras in the courtroom. That's, you know, some members have been pushing for that for years now. But that would be an important thing for somebody to work on.
Brett Max Kaufman 52:30
Great, those are all great. So we're just past time now, the drinking hours, and I. So I think we can wrap it up. Unless there's any questions from the audience? Yeah.
Speaker 7 52:42
Ask it from here. It's gonna pull back to your question earlier, Brett, about what the public interest is one of the things I always think about, especially in the tech concepts, is how do you hear the public voice? And Whose voice is that? And how do you sort of get that in the conversation? And how do you prioritize it? What's important, what is important, and specifically, how to get it into the spaces where you're discussing? Okay, this is how we think section forward in this context, because it's going to affect all these people a certain way. But whoever, who are all these people, and how do we get them to how do you get them?
Speaker 3 53:21
Yeah, this is a question that we think about all the time, I think it's so important. So we're very aware at public knowledge that we don't have grassroots connections to real people. So the way that we do it is that we work in coalition with organizations that do. So it's sort of I think of it like a grass tops strategy, like where communities were trying to build close relationships with the folks who have those grassroots organizations, and they are really telling us what they're hearing from the public. But I also think that we need to be communicating with the public. That's why I'm talking to reporters to try to make these issues real to people so that people will get involved and care about them. Because otherwise, we have no power in Washington, like just me, Charlotte Sleeman. They don't really care what I have to say. It's because we have this coalition with people who, with organizations that are representing real people that we have any power at all.
Dillon Reisman 54:14
Yeah, like kind of on a similar note, it's like, the way like, it's like, there isn't like some magic or like some like special format for it to happen. It really is just like, and it's hard because like ACLU is like an ACLU organization. One thing I learned in clinic is to be very honest about the organizations you're a part of. And so like both the good and the bad of the ACLU, like ACLU gets a lot of credit for a lot of things, but it's not a grassroots organization. And like, but at the same time working in a place like New Jersey, which is not a small state, population wise, but doesn't get much media attention and a lot falls through the cracks. And there actually is like, there are some really dedicated advocates and a lot of spaces but like, it's not a very broad bench of advocates. Like I think the thing in terms of like incorporating voices. It's like We're recognizing that a part of being a lawyer isn't just is like a huge part of public interest legal work is actually just talking to people like and just like in actually just like becoming, joining meetings that you're not necessarily going to have anything to say in and actually just showing up and being there, and having people be, and having a reputation of not being a jerk, and being like a good listener, and someone who is just will freely talk to people about things that are important to them. And like, that's like, that's kind of like a weak answer to your question. But like, it's, it's a sort of thing. It's like, I don't know any other way like you like, there is no other way. Like, there isn't some magic database of like people's problems out there that you can pick up and be like, I'm gonna be your lawyer, and you're gonna be my client, like, you have to actually just kind of be a part of the movement and at some point, and short of that, like, it's all just going to happen without us regardless. So we better show up, I don't know.
Santana Jackson 56:03
Yeah, for the federal agency, obviously, some of the public interests, and what we should be thinking about is determined by the administration, OMB sets out a lot of guidelines in the privacy space, and that's who we have to follow. So sometimes they'll tell us what they think is in the public interest. But in my own personal role, we definitely try and make sure projects that we fund are openly accessible, that we're making sure that our grants are accessible to people making sure that people who might not speak English as their primary language, we can translate it for them. So it's just making sure that our services are accessed accessible by as many people as possible. And we're doing that in an equitable
Patrick Holvey 56:39
fashion. I think Santana was right in terms of the administration guiding aspects of it, but also like political appointees, and setting policy. Over Over the years, policies develop. And if they're good policies, they are kept and kind of like that voice carries through to the mission of the organization. And if it's not a good policy, then it gets reversed or changed in some manner. And then that voice is removed from the conversation. So like, if you look at, I'll say the department loads, policies, tons of policies are all public, you read through them, you can see kind of the the chorus that has evolved over the years of how the department views its role in various aspects. And I think that's a very powerful thing in terms of representing the public's interest, being public being forthright about where it sees itself, and how those policies have come together to develop.
Speaker 7 57:24
Recognize one last thing, sure. Just one of the things I got the most from my clinic experience, was all the listening I got to do. So I had issues that I was interested in, I came and I was able to sort of learn more about those issues. But for example, now, who was my partner and is not currently here, like now, I had so many interests that you just talked about all the time that I hadn't thought about. And now once I heard heard you, I want to talk to my friends who were like, Oh, I never thought about that. Either. They want to talk the difference and like, oh, wow, I didn't even know that was happening. And that, to me, is kind of one of the answers to the question I just asked you guys is that whether it's in the private sector, or the public sector, other people who aren't in the tech space, bringing up how technology affects their own industries, or affects the way that they do the world, or the things they have to do it everyday basis, is how I think we get more buying and more voices about how we should progress.
Dillon Reisman 58:26
Absolutely. So just to say, like, I guess, like the last plug to like, because I'm glad you brought it up. Because I think being in a space like this, everyone who has been a part of DLP or as affiliate with DLP thinks that there's this like rich conversation happening, and there is, but it's happening in a very siloed place. But it's not like meanwhile you go to like a random, like other advocacy group that doesn't is not traditionally a tech advocacy group. And they have no idea what's going on in that space. And it's like, you have to be able to bring that to them in a way that's like meshes with what they're currently doing.
Santana Jackson 59:03
Oh, one quick thing. To piggyback off of that. I think a good way to relate it to a lot of different industries and a lot of people is to show how this tech industry sometimes is driven by commercial and profit maximization and power centralization. And that is a through line through a lot of different industries. And that's a way that sometimes when I think about tech, I'm like, it's so overwhelming. It's so new. It's so complex, how will we go fight against it, but like, if you think about it at that macro level, there are people that have been fighting against those same type of ways that this has shown up in society and they have won sometimes and they have and there's like a lot of lessons that you can learn there and talk to people across different industries and bring it into your own work. Great point.
Brett Max Kaufman 59:49
Cool. I think we should wrap it up there. So thank you, everyone for being here all day. fantastic panelists. I will see you at the bar
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