Curriculum in Law and Technology
Education at the intersection of law and technology in the heart of Silicon Valley
Teaching law for practice.
UC Hastings is committed to the changing nature of law.
The law and technology curriculum at UC Hastings prepares students to be the kinds of future facing lawyers that will shape the future of law in both the private and public sectors.
Concentration in Technology and Innovation
in the Practice of Law
The Technology and Innovation in the Practice of Law concentration prepares students to challenge the status quo as technology and globalization accelerate change in the delivery of legal services.
Learn more about the concentration and its requirements on the UC Hastings website. You can also download a pdf of the concentration requirements. If you have questions, please reach out to Concentration Advisor Professor Alice Armitage.
Courses in law, technology, and innovation are available to UC Hastings students in their 2L and 3L years
Professors Alice Armitage and Drew Amerson | Fall Semester
Legal operations (or "legal ops") provides the strategic planning, financial management, project management, and technology expertise to support and strengthen the delivery of legal services. In this course, students will learn about the economic forces currently impacting legal departments and law firms. Leading experts in the field of legal operations will be making presentations on a specific topic in many of the classes. These guest instructors will bring their own examples of real-world problems they faced and ask the students to solve them.
Professor Alice Armitage | Spring Semester
This course focuses on teaching students the entrepreneurial mindset and business principles that underlie the formation of a startup. Students will learn by doing: design thinking, lean startup, team building, agile development as well as business model canvas and value proposition creation methods will first be studied and then used by students to develop the fundamentals of their own legal tech startup. The final for the class will take the form of a pitch competition by each student to a panel of legal tech entrepreneurs and experts.
Professor Alice Armitage | Fall Semester
This course will teach problem-solving for complex issues, using legal research, design thinking and other interdisciplinary techniques to delve into complex legal issues. The course will be based on a current real-world problem in our justice system.
Startup Legal Garage (coursework component)
The Startup Legal Garage provides startups with legal resources, free of charge. The program provides students with hands-on experience working directly with startups and attorneys serving the startup community.
Fall or Spring Semester
Transformative technologies will continue to reshape how we live, work, learn, and play. In this course we will study how the law has evolved around new technologies. In particular, we'll explore the present and future impacts of automated driving systems, 3D printing, transportation network platforms, commercial drones, and blockchain. We will also challenge ourselves to think creatively about how regulatory landscapes should be built.
Professor Lothar Determann | Spring Semester
California privacy law is constantly evolving and leading the United States and other countries. In this course, students will be introduced to key aspects of U.S. Federal and California privacy law and explore this interesting field by working through research and writing assignments relating to the instructor's handbook, California Privacy Law - Practical Guide and Commentary, 3d Ed. 2018. Throughout the semester, students will work through reading, research and graded writing assignments.
Fall or Spring Semester
The recent expansion of electronic discovery in civil litigation raises a host of practical, technical and ethical issues for both lawyers and clients. The volume of potentially discoverable electronically stored information (ESI) is growing exponentially. Much of that ESI is stored on widely dispersed, unconnected, outdated or downright inaccessible systems. As a number of recent, high profile cases illustrate, the stakes for both lawyers and clients are high. This course covers up-to-date developments in the doctrines governing e-discovery, as well as the practical, technical and ethical issues discussed above.
Fall or Spring Semester
This seminar will survey key legal issues in Internet law, including intellectual property ("Who owns your MySpace?"), electronic commerce ("Is a click a contract?"), content regulation ("What if a kid sees that?"), privacy and anonymity ("Who can tell I'm reading Perez Hilton?"), unauthorized access ("When is hacking a crime?"), and Internet governance ("Who's in charge here?"). Readings will focus on the latest developments in each of these areas. No technical background is required; supplementary readings will be available for those without basic knowledge of Internet technology and intellectual property law.
Professor Chimène Keitner | Spring Semester
This colloquium offers students the opportunity to hear from and interact with experts in the fields of national security law, cyberlaw, and social media regulation, while providing a forum for students to produce papers based on their individual research interests within these fields. The colloquium will cover topics related to Russian election interference, cross-border regulation of speech and data, and international law in cyberspace.
Professor Rachel Proffitt | Spring Semester
This course will focus on the role of venture capital in the organization and development of the startup technology company, with emphasis on both the legal and business perspectives of this subject. The course will feature a number of guest speakers to share their experience from a real world perspective, including venture capitalists from Silicon Valley-based venture capital funds, executives from existing venture-backed technology companies, attorneys from local law firms that concentrate in the technology area, and others
The course will focus on the study of the technology and the impact it is having on the law and the delivery of legal services is called "Legal Informatics." After we have acquired an understanding of the traditional methods of delivering legal services and the economic and technological changes impacting the legal industry, we will explore in more depth the legal technologies designed to increase the efficiency, productivity and accessibility of the law.
Professor Heather Fields | Fall Semester
This course will introduce students to fundamental business, economic, and finance concepts that lawyers need to know in order to advise their clients effectively in a wide variety of practice areas, including civil litigation, public interest law, family law, estate planning, real estate and environmental law, healthcare law, intellectual property law, business law, and tax law, among others. NOTE: Students with strong business, economics, or finance backgrounds should not enroll, and students who have taken or are enrolled in Corporate Finance may not take this course.
The course is comprised of three parts. The first surveys privacy law foundations, including relevant constitutional, tort, and consumer protection laws. The second part examines personal information protection regimes, including GDPR, CCPA, and other relevant state & federal laws. The final part looks at sector-specific privacy issues, such as employment privacy, medical privacy and educational privacy.
This seminar will examine recent developments in data privacy law in light of ever-increasing data aggregation and cybersurveillance practices by corporations and governments. The seminar will weave in discussion of statutory, common law, and constitutional frameworks are currently being applied in legal challenges to these activities, including federal and state wiretapping laws, biometric collection statutes, the tort of intrusion upon seclusion, and constitutional privacy issues. We will consider current critiques of privacy law as conceptualized by practitioners, as well as suggestions for navigating the future of privacy rights as it relates to our increasingly digitized lives. This seminar is not a survey of privacy law. Instead, it will focus on the conceptual underpinnings of privacy rights in light of current privacy litigation, critiques of pervasive privacy law-related practices, and prescriptive questions of what privacy law should be, both now and in the future.
Fall or Spring Semester
Technology which uses personal data to provide novel services raise questions about how to balance privacy against innovation. Artificial intelligence ("AI") plays an increasingly prominent role in how we live, work, and die. It irresistibly multiplies our ability to innovate and produce. But we cede control of our society's future if we fail to create meaningful rules for the technology that rules us. The first half of this course will introduce students to foundational legal and policy issues arising at the intersection of AI and privacy law, including algorithmic bias, profiling, and data subject rights. In the second half of the course, students will explore the privacy and regulatory implications of new AI technologies used by tech companies to detect and prevent (1) harmful content, such as child exploitation imagery and hate speech, and (2) harmful behavior, such as violent crime and suicide. Students will also examine how competing regulatory approaches toward novel uses of AI implicate tradeoffs in privacy, safety, innovation, and other values.
Fall or Spring Semester
This course surveys approaches to privacy regulation around the globe, including a comparison of regulatory frameworks and different policy solutions. The course also introduces the major international privacy regulatory and enforcement institutions. Core lecturing will focus on the European General Data Protection Regulation and how it compares with US law. Core concepts include controller/processor, personal data/personal information, data subject/consumer, cross-border transfers and processing which will be approached through lecture from a comparative perspective.
Fall or Spring Semester
The course prepares students for an in-house, product and high technology practice, with an emphasis on product development, identifying and understanding supply chain risks, and working effectively to advise and counsel engineers in a technology environment. The objective of this course is to equip students with the tools and skills needed to step successfully into legal positions from start-ups to top technology companies after law school. Students will draft, review and negotiate actual business and technology agreements such as (1) NDAs; (2) Product, Hardware and Manufacturing Supply Agreements; (3) Engineering Services, Design and Development Agreements; (4) Software License Agreements; and (5) Joint Development Agreements. Additionally, students will consider issues that arise during the contract lifecycle, handling business disputes, transactional ethics, dealing with stress & deal fatigue.
Fall or Spring Semester
Satisfies Experiential Learning requirement. The Corporate Counsel Externship is a two-unit, weekly class that covers a range of topics and competencies essential to legal practice in corporate counsel offices. Topics include the role of in-house counsel, upholding confidentiality and ethical standards, learning the client's business, effective business communication, contract review, risk assessment, and solving problems to further the client's strategic goals. To maximize each student's growth over the semester, the seminar teaches students how lawyers learn from practice, set professional development goals, build strong supervisory relationships, and reflect and self-assess. Students write reflective papers, make oral presentations, and complete other work as required by the instructors. Enrollment in the course is limited to those students acting as externs for one of the Program's pre-approved company partners, and earning 4-5 units of credit through the Corporate Counsel Externship Fieldwork for working at least 16 or 20 hours per week. Admission to the course requires the prior approval of the instructor. A separate application process runs early in the semester before desired enrollment.
Fall or Spring Semester
Satisfies Experiential Learning requirement. This program provides students with the opportunity to participate in an approved externship at a government agency or non-profit legal organization. The program has an academic and a fieldwork component which must be taken concurrently. The academic component focuses on skills training, developing the ability to learn from critical self-reflection, and draws on students' experiences in their placements to advance not only their understanding of basic principles of substantive and procedural law relevant to their placements, but also of the role of lawyers and legal institutions in society. For the fieldwork component, students work either 12, 16, or 20 hours per week (for 3, 4, or 5 units) in a placement that must be approved by the Director of Externships. Students who wish to work for academic credit in a public defender or district attorney office, not focusing on a clean slate or sentencing project, must first take the Criminal Practice Clinic. 4th, 5th, or 6th semester students only.
COMPLIANCE & RISK MANAGEMENT FOR ATTORNEYS presents the law, standards, and practices organizing the burgeoning area of compliance and risk management. We will explore what it means for large, complex organizations to comply with the law and the unique role attorneys play in the compliance process. The class will start by examining the structures of corporate governance and how they relate to issues of compliance and risk management. We then explore how compliance functions are operationalized in large, complex organizations. Next, we map the many and varied sources of compliance pressure on organizations, focusing on how different actors enforce law, rules, and norms: regulators, prosecutors, whistleblowers, gatekeepers (e.g., attorneys and accountants), plaintiffs' attorneys, activists, and community groups. To illuminate these concepts, we will analyze case studies in key compliance areas, including: information security, foreign corrupt practices, money laundering and terror financing, and sexual harassment in the workplace.
This course will provide students with an intensive overview of how corporations comply with several privacy and data security regulatory requirements. The focus will be on internal corporate structures, subject matter experts, and department silos for privacy compliance, but we will also address the interaction of corporate personnel with government officials, outside counsel, and customers. Students will examine distinctions between privacy and data security requirements, and model compliance frameworks to support a secure infrastructure for both. In class, students will role-play CEO, CTO, CPO, and CISO roles in addition to GC and other legal functions in hypothetical companies. Students then will engage in tabletop exercises designed to work through hypothetical problems in privacy compliance that are aligned closely with recent and pending privacy failures covered in the media, case law, and agency prosecutions.
This course will provide students with an intensive overview of the management and regulation of financial risk. The management of financial risk is of profound importance to a wide range of stakeholders including investors of all sizes, corporations (including financial institutions), and regulatory agencies. We will focus on the major forms of financial risk: credit risk, market risk, liquidity risk, and solvency risk. We will explore how these risks arise, how they are measured, and the potential consequences if they are not managed properly. Further, we will consider both external regulation from the perspective of supervisory agencies as well as internal regulation from the perspective of senior management and the risk management department. The course emphasizes developing an understanding of the underlying rationale for regulations related to financial risk and how they are interpreted and implemented by firms. Accordingly, students will engage in exercises that stress identifying financial risks and determining what actions should be taken to manage these risks.
From Atari to Oculus, Pokemon cards to Pokemon Go, The Wizard to DOTA 2 tournaments, and AOL to smartphones - the relevant law often remains the same while the technology undergoes dramatic transformation. Digital Entertainment is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States alone. Likewise, social networks have become a primary way for people to find and use such entertainment as interactive content migrates from consoles and the PC to mobile devices, the web and beyond. Together, we will explore the legal principles underlying how interactive digital entertainment is developed, distributed, and enjoyed by consumers. We will focus on legal doctrines from the perspective of counsel working with the content developers and publishers. Throughout the course we will assess the role that intellectual property laws play in fostering or inhibiting creativity and innovation within the industry. Together we will explore new and emerging technologies and discuss how to advise clients on these new technologies using the existing law available to us. The course will include regular in-class discussions and assignments in addition to a final paper. For your paper, you will be asked to select a legal issue in the area of emerging digital entertainment (such as augmented reality, virtual reality, location based entertainment, or esports) where you believe the technology has developed faster than the legal jurisprudence. You will be asked to identify the technology, the gap in the law, and your analysis on the how the law should develop, and why.
ENERGY LAW will provide an in depth review of the basic principles of energy law, focusing on the regulated electricity and natural gas industries. It will survey both federal and state law, and will cover important federal-state jurisdictional issues grounded in the Commerce Clause and Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Students will learn basic principles of the regulatory scheme in the United States, including cost-of-service ratemaking, modern market-based rates, and experiments (not all of them successful) with deregulation. A segment of the course will cover key developments in the emerging area of renewable energy.
Fall or Spring Semester
This is a survey course which covers the substantive law of trade secrets, patents, copyrights and trademarks and may also cover additional aspects of unfair competition and state publicity rights. It is meant to provide students with a general working knowledge of the various intellectual property doctrines, and an understanding of how the individual intellectual property doctrines compare, contrast and may be used to complement one another. It is recommended for students who wish to explore intellectual property generally, whether it be to prepare for a general business or civil litigation practice or to specialize ultimately in any of the particular intellectual property subject areas. Students who expect to specialize in one or more areas of intellectual property practice may choose to take one or more of the three more specialized classes offered by the College: (1) Patents and Trade Secrets, (2) Copyright, and (3) Trademarks and Unfair Competition. Each of these 3-unit classes addresses the subject matter indicated in its name in greater depth than is provided in the Intellectual Property survey course. However, because there is substantial overlap, a student who has already taken two of the specialized courses will not be permitted to enroll in the Intellectual Property survey course. Enrollment in both Statutory: Intellectual Property (178) and IP Survey (412) is not permitted.
STATUTORY: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY introduces first-year students to the major Federal intellectual property regimes - patent, copyright, and trademark - through the lens of statutory interpretation and administrative agency action. For each regime, the course is structured around (1) The statutory boundaries of each regime - the subject matter Congress has declared eligible and ineligible for intellectual property protection; (2) The process of obtaining rights - the statutory requirements for protection, and (3) The process of enforcing rights - the statutory definitions of and exceptions to infringement. For each segment, the course considers the interaction between the prospective rights-holder and the administrative agency in question, and the division of responsibility between court and agency in defining the law.
This class provides in-depth coverage of United States patent law, concentrating on the requirements of patentability and the process of enforcing patent rights. In addition, it covers aspects of patent prosecution practice and procedure, as well as limitations on patent rights imposed by other bodies of law. This class is recommended particularly for students planning to specialize in patent law because it covers the subject matter in greater depth than the Intellectual Property survey courses.
Trade secret law is one of the four core areas of intellectual property law, along with copyrights, trademarks and patents. Trade secret law is particularly important in Silicon Valley and other high technology regions based on small start-up enterprises, high rates of employee movement and venture financing. Students who plan to work in technology-related fields will face trade secret issues just as surely as they will face copyright and patent issues. This course will cover trade secrecy, with a focus on California law under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. It will also cover the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016. It will also cover a number of related doctrines that regulate use of information between employers and employees, including non competition covenants, non-solicitation covenants, invention assignment agreements, fiduciary duty and the preparing to compete doctrine, and the Work for Hire doctrine under the Copyright Act. Much of trade secret practice in Silicon Valley and other technology regions is not reflected in the case law. To give students a sense of how the law might arise in practice, the course will provide examples such as venture capital due diligence, planning for a start-up company and so on. Key conflicts in today's trade secret practice - inevitable disclosure, identification of trade secret claims, and preemption of common law claims - will be explored in greater depth, along with public policy concerns - like employee rights and innovation policy - that inflect all areas of intellectual property law.
This course is designed to help students develop crucial career skills, including: projecting credibility and confidence; giving and receiving feedback, better handling of difficult conversations; gaining a better understanding of their strengths and a plan for addressing areas in need of development; understanding the importance of strong professional networks and learning the skills to build one; understanding the different roles lawyers play and which are a best match for their interests and skills; and identifying their career goals and writing a business plan to achieve them. Students will make two presentations, write five reflection papers and create a business plan.
Satisfies Experiential Learning. NEGOTIATION & MEDIATION PROCESS & PRACTICE is an introduction to the theory, process, and practice of negotiation and mediation, to help students improve their skills as negotiators and develop a framework for self-learning in the future. In addition to group discussions, classroom instruction will rely heavily on simulation, videotaped demonstrations, and small group work assignments. There will be required readings for most classes and a number of short written assignments related to particular classes and outside-of-class simulation exercises. NOTE: Students who enroll in this course may not enroll in Negotiation. Likewise, if you took or enrolled in Negotiation (838), you cannot enroll in this class.
Fall or Spring Semester
This course explores the legal and business issues raised by video games and video game platforms. The course will devote substantial time to the various intellectual property issues associated with the development and commercialization of video games, and we will also cover related topics such as licensing and consumer rights. In lieu of a traditional exam, students will write several short memos in which they will play the role of IP Counsel at a video game studio and will "advise the CEO" on legal and business issues related to the launch of a new game.
Certifications Available to Students
UC Hastings students can supplement their coursework with a privacy certification
Privacy Pathways Program
UC Hastings is one of a select few law schools to partner with the IAPP to offer this credentialing program.
Administered by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), the CIPP certification is the global standard for expertise in privacy laws, regulations and frameworks.
Through the Privacy Pathways program, current UC Hastings students are eligible for a deeply discounted student certification package that includes IAPP membership, training materials, and registration for one certification exam.
Interested students should contact the Director of LexLab, Drew Amerson.