Center faculty and students are actively engaged in a variety of research and creative projects; short descriptions appear below. For a list of CPVP student publications, see Publications and News.
1. Future Ed – New York Law School and Harvard Law School recently co-hosted a year-long contest of ideas for innovation in legal education. The goal was to come up with operational alternatives to the traditional law school business model and to identify concrete steps for the implementation of new designs. The kickoff event was a two-day conference for educators, lawyers, clients and legal entrepreneurs at New York Law School in April, 2010, to identify problems and organize working groups to develop concrete proposals for change. Working groups refined their ideas and presented thirty proposals at Harvard Law School in October, 2010. Final designs were presented, with commentary, at New York Law School in April, 2011. See www.nyls.edu/futureed. This year, the project will focus on implementing the resulting strategic initiatives at NYLS, and building organizational alliances between law schools, other professional schools, and employers.
2. Law Without Walls – In Spring, 2011, NYLS participated in the inaugural semester of Law Without Walls, an international, mostly online seminar involving six law schools: Fordham Law School, Harvard Law School, University of Miami School of Law, NYLS, Peking Transnational School of Law, and University College London Faculty of Laws. Four CPVP affiliates were selected to participate in the project, which received significant academic and press attention. This year, four additional schools will be participating in the seminar: Stanford Law School, Indiana University Law School, University of Sydney, and University of St. Gallen (Switzerland). Only CPVP affiliates are eligible to apply. For more information about Law Without Walls and plans for the coming year, see www.lawwithoutwalls.org.
3. Law Practice Simulations – Center faculty are developing a new form of online law practice simulation designed to give students exposure to the types of questions that arise in various types of practice, experience with decision-making under uncertainty, and opportunities to exercise judgment. Faculty are working with practitioners to develop modules tied to particular areas of law and practice (such as evidence and professional responsibility). We plan to test these learning objects with students at New York Law School.
4. Virtual Externships – In coordination with faculty at the Institute for Information Law and Policy (IILP), CPVP has been developing virtual externships with various knowledge management providers so that students develop the tools and know-how to practice law in the 21st Century. The leading partner in this initiative has been Legal OnRamp, which has created virtual placements for students inside the collaborative workflow of corporate legal departments. Legal OnRamp is a web-based collaboration platform for legal departments to connect and pool information virtually. Other projects include integrating automated document production and e-discovery software into internal legal department platforms. The aim of the project is for students to produce tools that are accessible to corporate lawyers so that they understand and can make use of current KM tools.
5. Lawyering on the Edge – Recent cases involving those accused of terrorism raise interesting questions about what role lawyers ought to play when representing clients who advocate the overthrow of the American government. How should a lawyer approach the case when the client’s expressed goal is to destroy all the laws and institutions to which the lawyer has pledged his loyalty. Is a client-centered approach possible under such circumstances and if not, how should the lawyer define the objectives of the case? This project approaches these questions from a historical perspective. It will consist of a series of historical portraits of different cases in which the lawyer has attempted to give meaningful representation to those who wish to destroy the political and legal system within which the lawyer must function.
6. The Role of the Prosecutor – In theory, prosecutors are supposed to pursue justice rather than win cases. Much of the ethical, procedural, and constitutional rules that govern our criminal justice system are based on that assumption. Yet there are a number of recent high profile cases that belie this reality. The recent scandal regarding the politicization of the appointments in the United States Attorney’s Offices also gives reason to question the accuracy of this theory. This project examines to what extent to prosecutors see their role as different from civil attorneys. To what extent does that self-perception effect what prosecutors do?