Before the pandemic, which seems like eons ago, I spearheaded a group of legal academics and practitioners in the field of privacy law who sent a letter to the deans of all U.S. law schools about privacy law education. The pandemic occurred not too long after our letter, and deans had many other things to worry about during that time.
The time is right to send a follow up letter about why law schools should increase and improve their privacy law faculty and curriculum. So, I am emailing the letter below to all U.S. law school deans.
You can see a PDF of the letter here.
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A New Open Letter to Law School Deans
about Privacy Law Scholars and Curriculum
August 1, 2023
We are writing to you and other law school deans to urge you to prioritize offering more courses and hiring more faculty in the information privacy law field.
We previously wrote an open letter to you before the pandemic, and we wish to send you another letter now because recent developments have strengthened our contentions below.
We call on you to consider taking one or more of the following actions:
- Hire more faculty members who focus their work and teaching on privacy law and technology issues.
- Add courses to the curriculum to cover privacy law issues.
There are several reasons why we believe now is the time for urgent action:
- Privacy law is growing dramatically in the U.S. Privacy law consists of torts, contract law, constitutional law, administrative law, and other areas of law. There are nearly three dozen federal laws pertaining to privacy. We are witnessing a recent blizzard of state privacy legislation, with 10 states having passed broad consumer privacy laws in the past few years and with bills advancing in many more states.
- Privacy law is expanding throughout the world. More than 160 countries have comprehensive privacy laws, and many countries have numerous narrower privacy laws.
- With mounting concerns over AI, new regulations are being devised in the EU and the US, and lawyers are being asked to guide companies on a wide array of issues that AI raises. Many members of our field are writing the most cutting-edge AI scholarship, as many AI issues involve privacy. AI will be transformative, and law schools need privacy/tech faculty or else they risk being left behind.
- Currently, the vast majority of law schools lack at least one full-time faculty member who writes about and teaches privacy law issues. A majority of law schools lack even one privacy law course, and many such courses are small seminars or courses taught sporadically by adjuncts.
- There are tremendous job opportunities in privacy law. Nearly every one of the AmLaw top 100 law firms has a privacy and cybersecurity practice. These practices are quite large, often with as many as 30-50 lawyers. Most medium and large size companies have chief privacy officers. Law students interested in privacy now have the opportunity for many kinds of practice, including litigation, compliance, transactional work, public policy and advocacy. In addition to large law firms, companies are looking to hire in house. Plaintiffs, governments, and NGOs increasingly need attorneys for privacy law matters. The International Association of Privacy Professionals has 80,000 members, and it is growing by 25-30% or more each year. Privacy law is one of just 15 specialty areas accredited by the ABA.
- There is an enormous amount of privacy law scholarship and a large annual event called the Privacy Law Scholars Conference (now in its 15th year). In Brian Leiter’s list of the top 10 most-cited law and technology scholars, 9 out of the 10 have written primarily about privacy law issues.
- Many different privacy law courses can be of great benefit to students, including a general course in information privacy law as well as courses on AI, cybersecurity, computer crime, comparative privacy law, consumer privacy law, and others. There are currently three casebooks on information privacy law, as well as several casebooks on cybersecurity law, computer crime, consumer privacy law, EU privacy law, and other topics.
- Having dedicated faculty members focusing on privacy/tech opens up significant revenue streams for law schools. For example, the National Science Foundation issues annual calls for technology-related research. Privacy law professors (including many on this letter) are frequently co-PIs on multimillion dollar NSF grants. Grant-making organizations like the Knight Foundation may help fund new centers and programs, but only at schools with relevant faculty. Additionally, being on the cutting-edge of privacy/tech/AI is inspiring to alumni donors.
We thus strongly encourage you to hire more faculty members who focus on information privacy law issues and to add courses to your curriculum.
If you have any questions, many of us would be delighted to answer them and discuss the field with you.
Vice Provost for Faculty and Professor of Law
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment,
Director, The Information Society Project at Yale Law School
Lane Powell & D. Wayne Gittinger Associate Professor of Law
University of Washington School of Law
Danielle Keats Citron
Jefferson Scholars Foundation Schenck Distinguished Professor in Law, Caddell and Chapman Professor of Law
University of Virginia School of Law
Julie E. Cohen
Mark Claster Mamolen Professor of Law and Technology
Professor of Law
Boston University Law School
Dennis D. Hirsch
Professor of Law
Ohio State Moritz College of Law
Chris Jay Hoofnagle
Professor of Law in Residence
University of California, Berkeley
Margot E. Kaminski
University of Colorado School of Law
Henry P. Brandis Distinguished Professor of Law
University of North Carolina
Julius E. Davis Professor of Law
University of Minnesota Law School
Professor of Law and Chief Data Officer
Georgetown University Law Center
Faculty Director, Georgetown Institute for Technology, Law, and Policy
Koch Distinguished Professor of Law
Washington University in St. Louis
Paul M. Schwartz
Jefferson E. Peyser Professor of Law
UC Berkeley Law School
Daniel J. Solove
Eugene L. and Barbara A. Bernard Professor of Intellectual Property and Technology Law
George Washington University Law School
J.Z. Liang Chair in the School of Cybersecurity and Privacy and Professor of Law and Ethics in the Scheller College of Business
Georgia Institute of Technology.
Ari Ezra Waldman
Professor of Law
U.C. Irvine Law School
Latham & Watkins
Ian C. Ballon
Co-Chair, Global Intellectual Property & Technology Practice Group
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Kaylee Cox Bankston
Partner, Data, Privacy, and Cybersecurity
Goodwin Proctor LLP
Emilio W, Cividanes
Partner, Co-Head of Privacy and Data Security Practice
Hogan Lovells US LLP
Christopher G. Cwalina
Global Co-Head of Data Protection, Privacy, and Cybersecurity
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
Heather H. Egan (formerly Sussman)
Partner and Co-head of the Strategic Advisory and Government Enforcement Business Unit
Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Partner, Co-Chair, Global Privacy and Data Security Practice
Winston & Strawn LLP
Reed Freeman, Jr.
Partner and Co-Chair, Privacy, Data Protection, and Cybersecurity Practice Group
ArentFox Schiff LLP
Alan L. Friel
Partner and Chair, Global Data Practice
Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP
Senior Director, Academic Relations
J. Trevor Hughes
President & CEO
International Association of Privacy Professionals
Co-chair, Privacy, Cybersecurity and Data Strategy Practice
Willkie, Farr and Gallagher
Global Co-Chair, cyber/data/privacy
Partner and Chair, Privacy & Security Practice
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Mark S. Melodia
Holland & Knight LLP
US Chair and Global Co-Chair, Data Protection, Privacy and Security Practice
Lisa J. Sotto
Chair, Global Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Gerard M. Stegmaier
Senior Research Fellow and Practitioner-in-Residence
Law & Economics Center
George Mason University – Antonin Scalia Law School
Partner, Co-Chair of Global Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice
Seyfarth Shaw, LLP
Senior Counsel, Privacy and Information Management Practice
Hogen Lovells US LLP
Partner, Global Head, Cyber, Privacy & Data Innovation
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe