Legal stories to follow in 2023

The law was at the center of the biggest stories of 2022 — and WCL professors published leading research, testified before Congress, and offered their analysis to national media. 

We asked three of these experts, Hilary Allen, N. Jeremi Duru, and Rebecca Hamiltion, to look back at 2022 and what they will be following in the coming year. 

The crypto reckoning 

Allen, Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Scholarship, has long been skeptical of some of the claims made by cryptocurrency backers. She published her latest book, Driverless Finance: Fintech’s Impact on Financial Stability, in the spring, shortly after cryptocurrencies hit record high valuations. By year’s end, several of the biggest trading platforms had gone bust and Allen was testifying before Congress about impacts on consumers. 

What Allen will be watching in 2023: 

I'll be watching with interest developments in crypto legislation.  After the failure of Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX, there is intense interest on the Hill in implementing a legislative response.  Most of the legislative proposals that we've seen so far, however, predate FTX's collapse and are very friendly to the crypto industry - Sam Bankman-Fried was even lobbying for some of them.  I'll be looking to see if new legislative proposals emerge.

The lawsuit that shook the NFL

Duru, Professor of Law and Director of the WCL Sport & Society Initiative, is an expert in sports law, having represented the Fritz Pollard Alliance of minority coaches, scouts, and front office personnel in the National Football League while he was in private practice. On campus, he hosted Jim Rooney and James “JB” Brown to discuss race in the league. We might look back at 2022 as a potential watershed moment for the league, thanks to a lawsuit that is still playing out. 

What Duru will be watching in 2023: 

I will be following Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores’ racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL.  The suit, filed on the first day of Black History Month in 2022, rocked the NFL.  The case could have huge consequences for the league and — importantly — how the public perceives the league. Keep your eye on it.

Holding Putin to account

Three weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, with evidence of Russian atrocities and war crimes mounting, Hamilton co-authored a model indictment for the crime of aggression against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Hamilton, an Associate Professor of Law and former lawyer in the prosecutorial division of the International Criminal Court, said her goal was to create a kind of document that prosecutors could file before a special international tribunal or national court. Throughout the year, Hamilton served as an expert voice in the media for how war crimes might be investigated and prosecuted. 

What Hamilton will be watching in 2023: 

I’ll be following (and engaging with) Ukraine’s effort to establish a tribunal to prosecute aggression. The international community has not prosecuted aggression since Nuremberg, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine presents a test case for whether there is political will to prosecute officials from a state that has veto power on the UN Security Council. The odds are not strong but the rationale is compelling. Letting Putin’s aggression go gives a green light to him and other would-be aggressors. Putin’s aggression has hurt each and every Ukrainian now and into the next generation, and we should stand in solidarity with their call for justice.