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New law professor photos

Nebraska Law Welcomes New Faculty

30 Sep 2020    

The University of Nebraska College of Law is pleased to welcome three new faculty members. Appointments for Kyle Langvardt, James Fallows Tierney, and Elana Zeide began on ­­­­August 17, 2020.

Kyle Langvardt will join the College as part of the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center. Langvardt comes to Nebraska Law from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, where he taught Contracts, Constitutional Law and First Amendment.  Langvardt’s work focuses on the internet’s implications for free expression both as a matter of constitutional doctrine and as a practical reality. His most recent works have appeared in the Georgetown Law Review, Fordham Law Review and the George Mason Law Review.

James F. Tierney joins the faculty with research and teaching interests in securities regulation, corporate finance and the behavioral law and economics of investment advice and securities markets. Prior to joining the faculty, Tierney was senior counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the General Counsel. In that role, he advised the Commission in resolving administrative appeals of enforcement proceedings and self-regulatory organization action involving all aspects of the federal securities laws, and wrote opinions of the Commission constituting final agency action.

Elana Zeide joins the College as part of the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center. Zeide comes to Nebraska Law from UCLA School of Law where she was a PULSE Fellow in Artificial Intelligence, and Law & Policy. Her work focuses on privacy and how new learning, hiring, and workplace technologies impact education, equality, and access to opportunity. Zeide is an affiliate at Data & Society Research Institute and serves on advisory boards for The Future of Privacy Forum, Macmillan Learning’s Impact Research Advisory Council, and Blackboard’s Taskforce to Develop Framework and Standards for the Ethical and Legal Use of Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education.

“We are pleased to add Kyle, James and Elana to our faculty,” said Dean Richard Moberly. “They come from a variety of backgrounds, and have proven themselves to be wonderful teachers and scholars. I look forward to seeing their positive impact on the College of Law community.”

Professor Rick Duncan

Duncan Discusses Electoral College in Netflix Documentary

29 Sep 2020    

Professor Rick Duncan appears in part 3 of the Netflix limited Series Whose Vote Counts, Explained, in which he discusses the Senate and electoral college.

The documentary, produced by Vox, explores the unique systems in the United States that lead people to believe their votes don’t matter. Case studies, data and leading experts help to tell stories that make the issues and the stakes clear. In part 3, experts explore how America’s systems give some voters a lot more power than others. 

Duncan’s commentary is based on his 2017 article, Electoral Votes, the Senate, and Article V: How the Architecture of the Constitution Promotes Federalism and Government by Consensus. In the article, and the documentary, Duncan explains that there is no national popular election for President, but rather, there are fifty separate state elections for the Presidential Electors from each state.

Whose Vote Counts, Explained, is available on Netflix beginning September 28, 2020.

Langvardt Speaks on Chinese Apps, Section 230 and Tech

25 Sep 2020    

The Trump administration announced its plans to ban the Chinese apps WeChat and TikTok in the United States, along with expressing support to weaken Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech platforms from lawsuits prompted by user-posted content.

Professor Kyle Langvardt gave his thoughts to Brendan Borderlon at the National Journal regarding the recent announcements, and the implications on the first amendment and tech. Read about it here.

Professor Gus Hurwitz

University launches innovative center to study how technology is governed

22 Sep 2020    

A new center focused on the changing relationship between law and technology and its effects on society is launching its first initiatives at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln this semester.

The Nebraska Governance and Technology Center, approved by the Board of Regents in February, will give students and faculty opportunities possible at only a handful of universities across the globe. The center will leverage the university’s breadth of expertise and partnerships across multiple disciplines — law, engineering, business and journalism — to allow scholars to investigate questions at the forefront of technology policy.

In August, the center received a significant gift, of $3.5 million over five years, from the Menard family.

In an open letter to the University of Nebraska community, the Menard family said: “A seminal part of the college experience is hearing from people who have a diversity of viewpoints and track record of creating value for others. At Menards, we want to give more students the opportunity to have that experience and to develop a lifelong love of learning as a result.”

The center will take on issues that arise when laws and technology fail to align, according to its founding director, Gus Hurwitz, associate professor of law.

The first endeavor of the center is called “Tech Refactored,” a podcast series focused on the center’s work and the research it will help facilitate. Many of the initial episodes will showcase center-funded work on closing the rural digital divide and technology’s relationship to agriculture. The center is also working on programs this fall that examine highly interconnected economies and the effects of technology on the First Amendment and the media industry.

“The law today has developed over centuries, largely based around slowly evolving technologies that were limited by our understanding of the natural world,” Hurwitz said. “Today’s increasingly programmable technologies can change rapidly and are limited more by human imagination than by the natural world. This changes how we need to think about the law and changes the relationship between the engineers who develop new technologies, the entrepreneurs who commercialize it and the journalists who explain and contextualize it.”

The new center will be housed in the University of Nebraska College of Law, and legal questions will inspire research and other academic programming.

“Lawyers are deeply involved in finding solutions to existing and emerging challenges — including those driven by technological change,” said Richard Moberly, dean of law. “I’m excited that Nebraska will be leading the way with innovative research initiatives across law and other disciplines.”

One of the core ideas behind the center’s mission is that the challenges of technology governance are fundamentally interdisciplinary. The center has established partnerships with the university’s colleges of law, business, engineering, and journalism — sharing faculty and collaborating with students across campuses.

In Hurwitz’s view, it is time to reframe the way emerging technology is studied and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration.

“The impact of new technologies ripples across multiple fields — the traditional, siloed model of study is insufficient to fully grapple with them,” he said.

Preliminary planning for the center started in spring 2020 with a $1.3 million gift from the Charles Koch Foundation.

“Innovation and technology have transformed the way humans live and have expanded opportunities for millions of people,” said Ryan Stowers, Koch Foundation executive director. “We are excited to support the University of Nebraska and its scholars and students as they explore the intersection of law and technology and how that relationship impacts the development of new innovations.”

The Menard family has its roots in the Midwest and a longstanding commitment to seeing the region prosper. John Menard founded his namesake home improvement stores while he still was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Today, Menards has 325 stores and 41 manufacturing facilities in 14 Midwestern states. In Nebraska alone, Menards has 14 stores and four manufacturing facilities.

Other gifts and grants have been received from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which gave $250,000; Richard Varner, an alumnus of the University of Nebraska, and his family; and others.

Learn more about the center’s programs and initiatives.

Professor Anna Shavers

Shavers to Receive Nebraska Bar Association 2020 Diversity Award

22 Sep 2020    

During the Nebraska State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting (October 12-16, 2020), the Association will be recognizing members of the legal community for their exemplary service. 

The 2020 Diversity Award recipient is Anna Shavers, Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Nebraska College of Law. 

The NSBA Diversity Award recognizes outstanding efforts made by firms, organizations, or individual attorneys in promoting diversity in Nebraska’s legal profession. Dean Shavers was nominated for her contributions to promote diversity and inclusion within the law school and the legal community. In addition to teaching numerous courses related to Social Justice, Gender, Race, and Class and mentoring countless students as faculty advisory to the Multi-Cultural Legal Society and the Black Law Student Association, she has lead the University of Nebraska College of Law’s efforts to promote an inclusive community through sponsoring numerous speakers and faculty workshops on inclusive pedagogy and implicit bias. Dean Shavers also shares her expertise through her leadership, scholarship, and involvement in community, state, national, and international initiatives.

Elana Zeide

Zeide Interviewed on Educational Technology

18 Sep 2020    

On September 2, 2020 Professor Elana Zeide was interviewed by Adam Black of Enabling Insights on data privacy in educational technology (edtech). Existing laws are often onerous to edtech companies. For example, the 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for the EU comprises 99 articles detailing the rights of individuals and obligations of businesses. And, they’re often not fully understood by educators and institutions. Zeide is a forward-looking legal expert in this space and Black, the founder of Enabling Insights, asked her about artifical intelligence and learning analytics in education. 

You can read the full interview on the Enabling Insights blog

Portrait of Christal Sheppard

Sheppard Interviewed by Bloomberg Law

15 Sep 2020    

Professor Christal Sheppard was featured in two different Bloomberg Law articles offering her insight on the fairness of patent appeals, and raising awareness and increasing visibility of intellectual property law and litigation as an option for Black law students.

On Aug. 6, Sheppard was featured in "Black IP Lawyers Who’ve Made It Look to Grow Ranks Beyond 1.7%" and shared her experience of learning about patent litigation, while finishing up a PhD in molecular biology.

On Sept. 8, Sheppard was interviewed for "Big Bonuses for Patent Appeals Judges Raise Fairness Questions" and gave her opinion on whether PTAB judges are incentivized by bonuses to institute more reviews.

Magilton Joins Air Force Academy’s Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies Journal Editorial Board

14 Sep 2020    

Elsbeth Magilton, Executive Director of Technology, Security, and Space Law Initiatives joined the Air Force Academy’s Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies Journal Editorial Board in summer 2020, joining colleagues around the country. 

The Eisenhower Center provides cadets and faculty with unique opportunities to participate in research and policy discussions on the future of American security through first-hand contact with senior leaders and experts in the military, civilian government and private sector from the United States and major space-faring nations. Building on this foundation, the Eisenhower Center examines challenges to America’s national security across other frontiers of technology development to include cyber security and developments in hypersonic delivery vehicles.

Through its journal, “Space and Defense,” the Eisenhower Center promotes an ongoing discussion of space and security policy issues from a broad range of professional and intellectual perspectives among academic experts and defense policy makers.

Frans von der Dunk

von der Dunk Publishes Advanced Introduction to Space Law

14 Sep 2020    

Professor Frans von der Dunk has published Advanced Introduction to Space Law as part of the Elgar Advanced Introductions Series.

In the book, von der dunk presents a nuanced introduction to the topic of space law, explaining the legal rules, rights and obligations applicable to activities in outer space and activities that precede operations in space. The book analyzes the interaction of these elements as well as how international organizations relate to the core tenets of space legislation.

Von der Dunk is the Harvey and Susan Perlman Alumni and Othmer Professor of Space Law. He is a leading authority on space law, having served as advisor to several foreign governments and space agencies, as well as a number of corporations.

Rick Duncan

Duncan’s Article Published in Regent University Law Review

13 Sep 2020    

Professor Richard Duncan’s article, Defense Against the Dark Arts: Justice Jackson, Justice Kennedy and the No-Compelled-Speech Doctrine, has been published in the Regent University Law Review. 

Duncan is the Sherman S. Welpton, Jr. Professor of Law and teaches Property and Consitutional Law at Nebraska. He has a strong interest in writing and speaking about federalism, liberty, religious freedom, and the right to life.

The abstract for Defense Against the Dark Arts: Justice Jackson, Justice Kennedy and the No-Compelled-Speech Doctrine is below:

This Article traces the Supreme Court's First Amendment jurisprudence protecting speaker autonomy and the "right not to speak" from its origins in the flag salute cases to the present. In particular, I focus on two magnificent judicial opinions defending this fundamental free speech right, the majority opinion of Justice Jackson in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette and the concurring opinion of Justice Kennedy in National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra (NIFLA). These two eloquent and powerful opinions are true landmarks of liberty and strong shields against an authoritarian government's tyrannical attempts to coerce ideological orthodoxy by compelling individuals to say things they wish not to say. In Justice Kennedy's case, his concurring opinion in NIFLA was issued near the end of his final term on the Supreme Court, and thus it represents an exclamation point on his wonderful legacy of protecting freedom of thought and freedom of speech. Although these opinions are separated by seventy-five years, they share a common understanding of the importance of the First Amendment for the protection of intellectual autonomy from authoritarian officials and compelled ideological conformity.

Photo of professor Christal Sheppard

Sheppard Joins Naples Roundtable Amicus Committee, Diversity in Intellectual Property Law Committee

10 Sep 2020    

In July 2020, Adjunct Professor Christal Sheppard joined the Naples Roundtable Amicus Committee. The Naples Roundtable, which annually holds the Leahy Institute of Advanced Patent Studies, is engaged in the advanced study of intellectual property law and policy and in fostering the exchange of ideas, viewpoints, and scholarly papers among leading jurists and practitioners in the intellectual property field. The Amicus Committee has authored 16 United States Supreme Court petitions, since 2018, in the field of intellectual property. 

Sheppard is also an active participant in the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s Diversity in Intellectual Property Law committee. In July 2020, she was a panelist for the AIPLA’s virtual roundtable, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Practical Approaches to Make a Difference, where she led breakout sessions on Stakeholders and Allyship. The objective of the committee is to develop a paper that informs on these complex issues and presents strategies, for government, public and private entities, who are interested in enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion within their organizations.

The Nebraska Governance and Technology Center is very excited to welcome Sheppard given that her work intersects with the work of the Center.

Langvardt Weighs in on "TikTok Ban"

10 Sep 2020    

When President Trump threatened to ban TikTok in the U.S., it left many wondering whether his administration could actually ban the app and the consequential first amendment implications.

Professor Kyle Langvardt spoke to Business Insider, and WGN Radio in Chicago about his view on the issue.

Portrait of professor Justin Firestone

Firestone Publishes Article on Synthetic Biology Regulation

10 Sep 2020    

Cyberlaw Professor Justin Firestone published a paper entitled The Need for Soft Law to Regulate Synthetic Biology, which is available on the American Bar Association website.

In his paper, Firestone provides an updated analysis of recent events to encourage renewed efforts to coordinate stronger regulatory schemes and attempts to explain why traditional hard laws, such as international agreements, statutes, or regulations, cannot prevent or mitigate accidental or malicious threats from synthetic biology. A soft law approach—cooperation and collaboration between stakeholders from government, academia, industry, the DIY community, and the public—is suggested as the only viable option. Lastly, synthetic biologists should also collaborate with computer scientists to apply software engineering principles to their work as a way to validate and verify the safety and security of their designs. 

Professor Brian Lepard

Lepard Publishes Article on Proposed U.S. Asylum Regulations

08 Sep 2020    

Professor Brian Lepard has published an article entitled “Violating International Law Through Onerous Procedural Law: The Proposed U.S. Asylum Regulations,” on the international law blog Völkerrechtsblog.

The article critiques proposed regulations issued on June 15, 2020 by the U.S. government that would drastically change procedures for applying for asylum and for so-called “withholding of removal.” Most importantly, the proposed regulations would require individuals with a credible fear of persecution to have their claims for asylum or withholding of removal adjudicated by an immigration judge in abbreviated proceedings, rather than in fuller and fairer proceedings under section 240 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as provided by the current regulations. They make many other adverse changes to asylum-seeking procedures as well that significantly increase the burden on applicants. Lepard argues that these changes would effectively undercut the exercise of the right to seek asylum, which the U.S. is bound under international law to protect and has also safeguarded in its domestic law.

Professor Lepard is the Harold W. Conroy Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law and a recognized expert on international human rights law.  

Magilton Joins Girls Code Board and Kicks Off Speaker Series

01 Sep 2020    

 In July 2020 Elsbeth Magilton, Executive Director of Technology, Security, and Space Law Initiatives at Nebraska Law, accepted a position on the Girls Code Lincoln Board of Directors. Girls Code Lincoln is a nonprofit organization that strives to ignite passion for technology and leadership in young girls with the long-term goal of closing the gender gap in S.T.E.M. The organization hosts multiweek technology clubs for 4th-9th grade girls and all clubs are completely free and 100% volunteer-run.

In response to the COVID19 pandemic all in-person clubs were cancelled for fall 2020 and replaced with virtual clubs, including a weekly speaker series titled EmpowHER. Magilton kicked off the series as the first speaker of the semester in September 2020. Her talk focused on space and cyber law basics, as well as career advice for young women interested in technology policy.

Professor Jessica Shoemaker

Shoemaker's Article Accepted by Michigan Law Review

25 Aug 2020    

Professor Jessica Shoemaker’s article, Fee Simple Failures: Rural Landscapes and Race, has been accepted by the Michigan Law Review.

 The article analyzes who owns rural America, and why. It analyzes myriad historic instances of explicit race-based exclusion in property and fundamentally critiques property law’s ongoing role in keeping American agricultural land ownership almost exclusively—98 percent—white.

This project comes at a time of a great national attention to the need for racial justice and while frightening coronavirus clusters emerge in racialized ways, including in the industrialized meat-packing plants of rural America and the crowded farm fields of concentrated modern food production. It also comes at a moment of tremendous opportunity and urgency. Experts expect in the next decade nearly half of U.S. farmlands will change hands. 

Ultimately, this article argues that fundamental property law choices can either continue to facilitate these land transactions in a way that reproduces and re-entrenches the converged challenges of racial injustice, agricultural industrialization, and rural depopulation, or it can help pave a new way.

This article brings together property theory and the work of rural sociologists and farm advocates for the first time to argue for bold experimentation and reconsideration of some of our most fundamental land-tenure institutions.

Assistant Dean Molly Brummond

Brummond Named to the Chancellor's Commission on the Status of Women

25 Aug 2020    

Assistant Dean Molly Brummond, '03, has been named to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women (CCSW). Brummond’s term is effective September 2020.

The purpose of the CCSW is to enhance the status of all women at Nebraska, by advising the Chancellor on issues pertaining to gender equity and on specific concerns of women faculty, staff and students at the university.

As the assistant dean for external relations and strategic initiatives, Brummond oversees Nebraska Law’s admissions efforts, alumni relations, student organizations and professional skills development opportunities for both students and alumni. Earlier this year, Brummond was honored with the Chancellor’s Outstanding Contribution to Women Award.

Dean Richard Moberly

Dean's Message to Our Community

17 Aug 2020    

Dear College of Law Community,
Welcome to the fall semester! We start asynchronous classes this week, and then we will welcome everyone back in the building either for Orientation this Thursday and Friday (new students), or for in-person classes beginning the week of August 24.
If it has not been made clear already through a summer of schedule changes, town halls, mass emails, and new health guidance, this will be a year unlike any other. As you likely know, our classes will be taught both in-person and remotely, everyone will wear face coverings in the building, and we will ask people to keep socially distant from each other. We will have events by Zoom and do as much as we can outside. We will even have two tents available for the first six weeks to try to help manage this situation. 
Above all, we will rely on every member of this community to take individual actions that protect the safety of our community members. If you are sick, stay home. Do a self-check every morning before you enter the building. Wear a face covering properly (over the nose and mouth!). Avoid public situations where the virus is more easily spread. This is the time when we can show empathy and compassion to those around us, as everyone is experiencing this time differently, with different vulnerabilities and different levels of concern around the dangers of this virus. 
I have great confidence and faith in the members of this community. After all, we are developing leaders here, and leaders care about the people around them and keeping them safe. 
One thing that has not changed is our commitment to providing you the high quality legal education you expect from Nebraska Law. The faculty and staff have worked hard all summer rethinking their courses, reimagining what is possible, and restructuring our building in order to deliver on that commitment. And, we will keep working on it all semester, and all year, as we will inevitably have to adapt and adjust to whatever comes next. I ask for your patience as we do that – we are all going to learn how to live and thrive in the middle of multiple pandemics, and there may be some bumps as we figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Good luck with your first week of asynchronous assignments – I look forward to seeing you soon.

Kind regards, 
Professor Brian Lepard

Lepard's Work on International Human Rights Law Published in Portuguese in Brazil

16 Aug 2020    

From April to June 2020 Professor Brian Lepard published two law review articles and one book chapter in Portuguese on the subject of international human rights law, all of them appearing in prominent publications in Brazil.

The first article was an outgrowth of Professor Lepard’s collaboration with the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (“UFRGS”) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, where he has taught courses during the summer for the last four years.  The article was based on courses he has taught on international human rights law.  It was published in April in the law review of UFRGS, Cadernos do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Direito da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (“Review of the Graduate Program in Law of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul”). The title of the article is “Desenvolvimentos Novos no Direito Internacional dos Direitos Humanos: As Suas Fontes, História e Instituições” (“New Trends in International Human Rights Law: Its Sources, History, and Institutions”). The article has an abstract in English, and it can be found here.

The second law review article was the fruit of collaboration with another law school in Brazil, the law faculty of the Universidade de Uberlândia in Uberlândia, Brazil. It is called “O Status da Declaração Universal dos Direitos Humanos no Direito Internacional Contemporâneo” (“The Status of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Contemporary International Law”). The article was published in the Revista da Faculdade de Direito da Universidade Federal de Uberlândia (“Review of the School of Law of the Federal University of Uberlândia”). Again, the article has an abstract in English, and can be read here.

The book chapter appeared in a book entitled Argumentação Jurídica: E Questões Controvertidas de Direito Constitucional Contemporâneo (“Legal Argument: And Controversial Questions of Contemporary Constitutional Law”). The book was edited by Professor Arthur M. Ferreira Neto of the law faculty of the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (“PUCRS”), another law school in Porto Alegre, Brazil where Professor Lepard has given numerous lectures.  Professor Neto has visited the College of Law twice and spoken to both students and faculty. Professor Lepard’s chapter in the book is entitled “Reflexões sobre a Resolução de Debates Relativos à Declaração Universal dos Direitos Humanos: O Potencial de uma Abordagem Baseada em Princípios Éticos Fundamentais” (“Reflections on the Resolution of Debates on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: The Potential of an Approach Based on Fundamental Ethical Principles.”). The book was published by Editora Instituto Memória in Curitiba, Brazil.

Professor Lepard is the Harold W. Conroy Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law and a recognized expert on international human rights law.  

Tschider Wraps Up a Successful Year as Visiting Professor

20 Jul 2020    

We were happy to welcome Charlotte Tschider to the program for the year as a Visiting Assistant Professor. Tschider joined us from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, and will be joining the faculty at Loyola University of Chicago in 2021. As a visiting member of the faculty, Tschider brought fresh experience and perspectives into our classrooms, research, and engagement between students and faculty alike.

In addition to teaching courses on Cyberlaw and Cybersecurity and co-supervising an LL.M. thesis, she had a remarkable year as a leading emerging scholar in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and privacy law. In her time with us, Tschider published two articles and a book chapter, and has another article, two book chapters, two op-eds, and a book forthcoming. While she was here, she completed the work for many of these projects, which were presented at conferences and other events at law schools and universities both in the United States and around the world.

An expert in FDA and Health law, as the world began struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic Tschider used her experience to assist organizations to navigate the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization process so that they could bring Personal Protective Equipment into the United States.