TLS Curriculum - Spring 2021

For students interested in a career in Tech, Law & Security, below is a carefully curated list of upcoming Washington College of Law courses that TLS highly recommends. Feel free to contact us at

Core Courses

National Security in the Digital Age:  Cyber and Information Conflict

LAW-795NT, Gary Corn

In a rapidly evolving environment, the development of legal and policy parameters for governing state behavior in cyberspace-domestically and internationally-have failed to keep pace with the threat. Legal advisors charged with reviewing and advising on the legality of cyber operations are continuously called on to address difficult issues of first impression. This course identifies and considers some of the more challenging domestic and international legal issues raised by the conduct of cyber operations both in the gray zone between peace and war, and in the conduct of hostilities. The course will examine the national security implications of the emergence of cyberspace as a domain, the use of cyber capabilities and operations as new means and methods of statecraft, and the evolution of US strategy and policy before turning to a selective study of the attendant domestic and international legal and policy issues and challenges.

National Security Law: Use of Force

Law-635-001, Rebecca Hamilton

Welcome! You have chosen a seminar in which we will grapple with some of the most contested issues of our time, focusing on the state’s use of force for the purposes of national security. We will begin the semester with an overview of the constitutional separation of national security powers. Laying the foundation for our subsequent discussions we will look at the various sources of national security power and the constraints upon it. National Security Law is an expansive (and ever-expanding) field. Rather than providing a superficial survey, this course will offer a more in-depth analysis of the use of force, as well as the detention and interrogation power of the U.S. government. Grades will be based on an open-book final exam, completion of CANVAS postings regarding the readings, and class participation – included a mid-semester simulation of a National Security Council Deputies Committee meeting. Please see the syllabus for further details.

Tech, Law & Security Policy Seminar

Law-795TH, Ya’ara Barnoon, Alex Joel, Corin Stone

This scenario-based course will teach students about the policymaking process at the intersection of technology, law and national security. Students will explore all sides of the key issues confronting the nation, such as end to end encryption, content regulation on social media, and the ethical development and use of artificial intelligence. The course will teach both law and practical lawyering by asking that students adopt the roles of key players, such as government officials from national security, law enforcement, and regulatory agencies; technology and social media companies; and advocacy organizations. The course will include input and participation from a range of experienced practitioners, who will help guide students as they take on their roles to develop and advocate for their positions. Students will be given a space to explore how effective policymaking requires that complex tradeoffs be made among political, social, economic, military, legal and ethical goals and values and how lawyers affect policy formulation, implementation and outcomes.

Technology and Privacy in Global Perspective

Law-795TP, Alex Joel

New technologies have created a tidal wave of data that, depending on how they are collected and analyzed, could deliver important societal benefits, or pose critical risks to privacy. Such data could be essential for protecting national security, developing innovative products and services, and generating breakthroughs in scientific research. At the same time, they could reveal more personal information about our private lives than at any time in history. The private sector is moving forward quickly to develop and deploy new technologies, while legal frameworks lag behind, often driven to respond to the last crisis, which may not be adequate for the next. This seminar will explore the regulatory and oversight structures that countries are putting in place to ensure that society realizes technology’s promise while managing its privacy risks.

Cybersecurity Law

LAW-795CS, Matt Bodman

This course will explore cybersecurity technology and law beginning with a brief introduction to the basics of the Internet, core concepts and terms of cybersecurity, and an overview of the current cybersecurity threat landscape. Following a review of foundational legal principles, the coverage will shift to anti-hacking laws, government institutions with cybersecurity authorities, state breach notification laws, industry specific cybersecurity requirements, privacy, network monitoring, public-private cybersecurity partnership, vulnerability disclosure programs, and incident response.

Internet Technology and Governance for Lawyers

Law-795IG, Kathryn Kleiman

The Internet connects four billion people to communication and commerce, yet few know how it works or who governs it. This class will focus on the operation of the Internet and the private organization that runs it. While beneficial for any future lawyer, the class is ideal for students preparing for a practice in intellectual property law, technology law or communications law, and looking to practice in a law firm, as in-house counsel, with a public interest group or as a government attorney. No previous technology background required. The course is intended to help students understand the technical infrastructure of the Internet; introduce students to the private organization, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), that runs the Internet and its cooperative model for policy-making with businesses, technologists, public interest groups and governments all having equal standing; and explore some of the global rules created by ICANN which impact speech and commerce, along with millions of domain names and a billion websites on the Internet every day.

Regulation of Emerging Robotics Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Law-795ER, Kenneth Anderson

Regulation of Emerging AI and Robotics Technologies is an intensive writing seminar course, limited to 16 students. It will not have a final exam; students will do research papers on some area of emerging law, regulation, or ethics for emerging AI or AI-driven robotics technologies over the course of the term. The course can be used to satisfy the ULWR; those not doing the course for ULWR credit must still write a research paper, but it will can be shorter in length. Students will also be required to submit weekly “reaction papers” on assigned weekly reading. The weekly course readings will cover basics of artificial intelligence algorithms, including basic concepts of AI, machine learning, the history of development of AI, robotics using AI (e.g., self-driving vehicles) and other essential background. Basic normative issues raised by emerging AI technologies (not just in law and regulation, but extending to the ethics of algorithmic design, design ethics generally and in the design of the human-machine interface, and questions of societal values and ways in which AI design should take account of them) will also be introduced at the beginning of the course. A variety of emerging software AI and AI robotics technologies will be considered over several weeks, such as sessions devoted to self-driving vehicles, various AI software applications in data analytics, etc., with consideration given to both emerging law and regulation, as well as broader normative questions. Legislative proposals for AI regulation broadly as well as specific areas of emerging regulations in US law will be examined, along with proposals for the US to formulate a national strategy for emerging technology, as some other countries, such as China, have done. The last part of the course will address issues related to the social, psychological, and cultural relationships of humans and (arguably) unique aspects of AI applications that might justify special regulatory regimes; the last weeks of the course will also consider business models and the tech industry in the introduction of AI technologies, including issues such as impacts on jobs and employment, regulation of the tech industry itself in relation to concerns about AI technologies, and the business models for emerging AI applications. Students are free to choose any research paper topic broadly related to emerging AI, robotics, automation, etc., in relation to any aspect of norms, ethics, law, or regulation relevant to the technologies. (The one area where students may not write is on blockchain technologies, as there is a separate course on that topic.)

Other Courses

Constitutional Powers of the Presidency

Law-795PY, Mark Rotenberg

This course analyzes the constitutional scope of presidential authority, particularly when it conflicts with prerogatives of the legislative and judicial branches. Topics include war powers; military tribunals, detentions, and torture; intelligence gathering and surveillance; control of foreign policy; impeachment; presidential appointments, removals, and control of "independent" federal agencies; executive privilege and immunities; checks and balances and separation of powers theory.

Administrative Law

LAW-601-001, Andrew Popper and LAW-601-002, Jeffrey Lubbers

A study of the structure, powers, and processes of administrative agencies that are the source of much of our nation’s law. Topics include the delegation of power to agencies, the constitutional right to a hearing, agency procedures of adjudication and rule making, information law debates, judicial review of agencies, and administrative reform.

Health Information Privacy and Data Security

LAW-719FKirk Nahra

The law of information privacy and data security is growing at enormous rates around the world. Virtually every industry is impacted. Nowhere is the set of legal and business challenges more complicated and important than in the health care industry. This course will review the core elements of the emerging law of information privacy and security, through the lens of the health care industry. We will review not only the law but also the core policy issues affecting health care businesses as well as the key strategic issues for businesses that use or share health related data. We also will explore emerging areas for privacy and information security, including new enforcement principles, issues related to security breaches and breach notification, and the emergence of "non-HIPAA" data as a new challenge to the privacy and data security regulatory structure. The goal for the class is to understand the key principles of the developing law in this area, but also to teach what a lawyer actually does on these issues and the need to combine legal knowledge with practical analysis and an understanding of business implications.

International Law

Law-660, Robert Goldman

This course introduces students to basic rules and principles that govern the conduct of contemporary armed conflicts. Particular attention is devoted to how to identify and classify armed conflicts and their applicable rules, how to distinguish civilians from combatants, when civilians and civilian objects become lawful targets of attack, the duties of both attackers and defenders to protect civilians, how IHL deals with terrorism, how IHL and Human Rights Law interrelate during situations of armed conflict, and whether the US’s ongoing War on Terror is an armed conflict under existing IHL. Students may elect to write a 35- page paper of publishable quality, which can satisfy the Upper-Level Writing Requirement, or take the 24 hour, open book, take home exam.

Programming for Lawyers (formerly Computers & the Law)

LAW-795CO, Alan Delevie

Programming for Lawyers teaches computer programming as a legal skill. Students will learn to code (no prior experience necessary) using the Python programming language, and write software aimed at improving legal practice. Students will gain a practical skill that may improve their practice of law and make it more efficient, as well as an understanding of software from an implementer's perspective, which will aid in the legal analysis of emerging technology issues.

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