Law clinic names new director
24 Jan 2001 | Deirdre Mulligan, an attorney and leading advocate for free speech and individual privacy rights on the Internet, is the new director of the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at Boalt Hall.
The law clinic, which opened Jan. 22, will provide a moral voice and public conscience for Silicon Valley and for cyberspace in general.
Much of Mulligan's background is in this area.
The daughter of a social worker and a nurse, 34-year-old Mulligan grew up with a strong belief in public service. While attending Georgetown University Law Center, Mulligan worked at the American Civil Liberties Union's Privacy and Technology project where she honed her interest in preserving and enhancing civil liberties and democratic values.
After law school, she became a founding member of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a high-tech, civil liberties public interest organization based in Washington, D.C. For the last six years, Mulligan has been staff counsel at the center.
She has worked with federal lawmakers, governmental agencies, the judicial system, public interest organizations, and the high-tech business community, with the goal of enhancing individual privacy on the Internet, thwarting threats to free speech on the Internet, and limiting governmental access to private data.
"This is an incredible opportunity," Mulligan said. "Through the clinic, Boalt will be one of the first law schools to offer students the experience and skills necessary to serve the public interest in the dynamic area of new technology."
Law school faculty members selected Mulligan as clinic director following a national search.
"Mulligan's experience and insight into the Washington policy process will be a great asset to the high-tech clinic," said clinic founder and Boalt Hall law professor Pamela Samuelson. "More and more, young lawyers need to understand how to do legislative lawyering as well as transactional and litigation work. She's one of the top people in this field."
Samuelson, an expert on cyberlaw and intellectual property and a former MacArthur "genius" Award fellow, funded the clinic last spring. She and her husband, Robert Glushko, an engineering fellow at Commerce One (an electronic commerce services and software provider), donated $2 million to endow the program.
In addition, Mitchell Kapor, founder of Lotus Development Corp., donated $300,000, and the New York-based Markle Foundation, headed by Boalt Hall alumna Zoe Baird, donated $300,000.
Samuelson clinic staff members will take on a number of public interest matters. Law students will file friend-of-the-court briefs, write model legislation, comment on proposed legislation and provide legal assistance to individuals filing lawsuits against corporations and governmental entities.
Mulligan said she has always had an interest in teaching and is looking forward to teaching Boalt Hall students more than substantive law and traditional legal skills.
She wants students to gain skills that are essential in the environment of high-tech law - the ability to combine legal and technical computer knowledge, build coalitions, and craft solutions to public policy concerns.
"We know that Deirdre Mulligan will build a fine clinical program that will be a credit to its founders," said Jerry Berman, executive director of the Center for Democracy and Technology. "She has the vision, expertise, and skills to lead students into the world of Internet and digital media policy and contribute to the development of Internet law and policy embodying democratic values."
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