The LawTech Center at the University of Virginia School of Law focuses on pressing questions in law and technology, including policy concerns, data analysis of legal texts and the use of technology in the legal profession.
Serving as a locus of faculty research, the center is led by the second-most cited professor in the nation on issues of law and technology, Danielle Citron. The author of the books “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace” and the forthcoming “The Fight for Privacy: Protecting Dignity, Identity and Law in the Digital Age,” Citron has been deeply involved in reform efforts relating to the regulation of online platforms.
UVA’s curriculum also benefits from the school’s proximity to the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, which offers several courses connected to cybersecurity and national security. Virginia’s programs and centers in national security, health law and intellectual property also add to the depth of the course offerings and extracurricular opportunities.
Policy and Regulation
Technology’s impact on everyday lives has raised new areas of concern in law, from the legal responsibilities of online platforms in protecting consumer privacy and data to managing cybersecurity threats. Faculty members are addressing the question of platform governance and regulation from different directions, including moral philosophy and discrimination, privacy and cyber civil rights, criminal justice and antitrust. Their work has common themes — to what extent should powerful intermediaries be subject to regulation? What should regulation look like? What sort of transparency and accountability is feasible and desirable given trade secret protections? Do we need a federal agency devoted to algorithmic governance?
The Data of Legal Texts
Several affiliated faculty members are focused on using computational tools, including artificial intelligence and natural language processing, to reveal insights on laws and how lawyers, jurists and the public interact with them. Other scholars use empirical methods to consider possibilities for criminal justice reform, analyze constitutions around the world and generally look at the law through a different lens.
Technology in the Legal Profession
Technology is also affecting how law is practiced, how judges and juries are making decisions, and how policies get made. The Law School offers courses that teach students about the evolution of legal practice, and professors are researching the impact of what that means for both lawyers and the public.