Technology innovation constantly challenges law to meet the needs of today’s society.  If we rely solely on law to solve the problems of refugees, justice will be delayed. Why?  With the refugee crisis reaching a feverish level in the United States, laws are aspirational from the refugees’ point of view, and US state sovereignty ‘trumps’ any of these aspirations. Citizen pushback, as massive as it is, can only provide very limited legal impact for refugees: (1) finding lawyers to connect to refugees one to one to enter an antiquated court system and make a case for asylum. Resolution of these cases takesRead More →

On May 31, I spoke at USIP on how our PeaceTones music projects use innovation in the ways we make and enforce laws to help musicians in the developing worlds earn money from themselves and their communities. (See powerpoint slides.) PeaceTones runs programs which teach Intellectual Property laws in the developing world to gifted and aspiring musicians. We also use technology tools to open up global markets for musicians from places like Haiti, Sierra Leone, Brazil, Kenya, Liberia, and Afghanistan. The problem we encounter everywhere, as do musicians all over the world, is that the global norm for IP law is an outdated IP systemRead More →

One of the earliest letters I received from Nigeria (before the Internet – postage/envelope/letter inside/a “real” signature) invited me to help out an individual there who was a relative of a prince and had a very substantial bank account in New York, but they could not access the funds there (millions of dollars) without my help. Hmmm…. Nigeria has had a reputation for scammers for a long time. The Internet gave these scammers new fuel and new ways to catch people in their lair. These scammers are sophisticated and the reason they don’t give up is because it works. Nevertheless, the reputation that has befallenRead More →

Two weeks off, and a trip to visit Machupicchu is coming up. It’s a time to stop and take stock. After all, it’s been ten years since I started IBO and at times it has seemed almost mind numbing. Like usual, I gathered some reading materials before leaving Houston.  THE INNOVATORS by Walter Isaacson, STARTING WITH WHY by Simon Sinek  and the April issue of WIRED with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un gracing the cover.  It seems like the theme of my reading would become clear once I started turning the pages! It didn’t take long. Sinek’s book is about how great leaders inspire everyone toRead More →

When I first worked with Don Hagans and Bruce Jaster from Texas and several others in 1986 to help develop the inaugural ABA TECHSHOW, the idea of using computers in the practice of law was at its complete inception. At the time, I had already started the Computer College in Massachusetts as chair of the Law Practice Section of the Mass Bar Association – generously funded by Digital Equipment Corporation (remember when DEC and WANG battled for the legal market…). Running educational programs all across the state of Massachusetts, by 1986, we had trained hundreds of lawyers across the state on how to automate theirRead More →

I was recently published on The Huffington Post examining the concept of trusted online communities, online identity and the shaping a global democracy online. The chance to establish norms for justice over the Internet that transcend international boundaries is something the world, and the legal community in particular, can drive to secure rights both on and offline: The changes resulting from the rise of the Internet are taking hold, and the legal community has yet to catch up to the way the world is now interacting. As our modes of business and daily interactions take place increasingly over the Web, the world is beginning to define theRead More →

This year Internet Bar Organization is co-organizing the international ODR2014 Conference, which will take place from June 25-27 at UC Hastings and Stanford Law. I am excited about the agenda we have put together, which includes many of my closest colleagues. Here is a preview I wrote about a data security presentation by one of my board members Demetrios Eleftheriou, along with the brilliant Anjli Garg: At the Stanford Law program at ODR2014 (June 26-27), two of the world’s leading thinkers on protecting private information, Anjli Garg and Demetrios Eleftheriou, will explore the disputes that can arise when companies handle personal data (PD) and how to avoid them. In their recent articleRead More →

When it comes to legal education at a grassroots level, I am drawn to strong initiatives that provide access to justice training, both in the U.S. and beyond. A key player in these efforts is Street Law, Inc, a nonprofit Washington, DC organization dedicated to educating students and communities across the world about their legal rights, about global human rights, and about democracy at the local and international level. Finding established change agents like Street Law which have been working at the grassroots level for years is a gift. The need for global communities to learn to empower themselves in terms of legal education, humanRead More →

RAMON MULLERAT – A Visionary and Inspirational Leader in the Law Leaves us too soon. The lawyer, jurist and specialist in international arbitration Ramón Mullerat Balmaña passed away on the morning of May 31, 2013. Ramón was President of the Council of the European lawyers (CCBE) in 1996 and a great promoter of the internationalization of law. After a fifty year professional career, Ramón was recognized internationally as an arbitrator. He was a lawyer in schools in Barcelona and Madrid, in the Court of Paris, Honorary Member of the Law Society of England and Wales, and ex-co president of the Human Rights Institute of theRead More →

What a story. Really delves into so many issues we read about every day. Power without accountability corrupts. There are so many places where power resides, and, the question of to whom the power holders are accountable is the ultimate question in my mind. I’ve always felt that it’s with all of us – ordinary citizens. Not the media, not the politicians, not even the jurists (many of whom seem tied to a political agenda); Media, politics, the judicial system – power resides there and, it’s up to all of us to call it to account. Poverty, environmental disaster, war, anything evil – raises itsRead More →