• Oranburg on Crowdfunding

    by  • October 6, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Photo by Simon Cunningham, used with CC license

    Photo by Simon Cunningham, used with CC license

    In Professor Seth Oranburg‘s forthcoming book Social Media Investing, he intends to “weave together ideas from various literature and present new theories in corporate finance, securities regulation, business associations, and entrepreneurship.” In anticipation of the book, Professor Seth Oranburg examined the impact of crowdfunding as an emerging financial model in a guest post on the GoodCrowd blog. Read an excerpt below:

    Crowdfunding began as a way for independent musical artists to raise a few thousand dollars to rent a recording studio and release a record. It evolved distinct “rewards” and “donative” models. Rewards crowdfunding promotes consumer projects ranging from the niche (a casebook about zombie law) to the ubiquitous (the Pebble smartwatch). Donative crowdfunding promotes new charitable projects like micro-lending and cancer research. Public crowdfunding is a new model, where mature nonprofits are using portals to fund public goods by offering rewards and challenges.

    Public crowdfunding is different from traditional charity fundraising in at least three important ways. First, public crowdfunding is an open call to action on the Internet to all people, not a targeted charity campaign to visitors or former donors. Second, public crowdfunding uses gamification principles like challenges and rewards to attract backers in real time. Third, public crowdfunding highlights and advertises a specific public-good product, instead of promoting a non-profit generally. These three factors, harnessing the power of the Internet, make public crowdfunding a powerful new tool to democratize charities.

    Professor Oranburg is also interested in the confluence of crowdfunding and law practice. You can read the rest of his piece at GoodCrowd.

    Welcome New Chicago Kent Faculty Fall 2015!

    by  • August 28, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Chicago Kent is pleased to welcome new faculty to our campus this semester.

    From the IIT Provost’s office:

    daniel-martin-katzDaniel Martin Katz
    Associate Professor of Law
    Chicago-Kent College of Law

    Research Interests: Legal education in the twenty-first century; data-driven future of the legal services industry; social network analysis of the American federal judiciary/law professoriate; legal informatics; law and entrepreneurship
    Background: Associate professor of law, Michigan State University; Ph.D., University of Michigan; J.D., University of Michigan Law School

    Lewis_Myrisha_portraitMyrisha Lewis
    Visiting Assistant Professor
    Chicago-Kent College of Law

    Research Interests: Family law; criminal law; comparative Constitutional law; European Union law; trusts and estates; bioethics; torts
    Background: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission; J.D., Columbia University School of Law

    Oranburg_Seth_portraitSeth Oranburg
    Visiting Assistant Professor of Law
    Chicago-Kent College of Law

    Research Interests: How social media is impacting shareholder activism and discovery; crowdfunding and Title III/Series A Gap; personal liability for founders; the angel/venture capital gap
    Background: Visiting assistant professor, Florida State College of Law; J.D., University of Chicago Law School

    NLRB Rules That Northwestern University Football Players Cannot Unionize

    by  • August 17, 2015 • 0 Comments

    By César F. Rosado Marzán

    Today, the NLRB determined whether or not the Northwestern University football players could unionize. It decided that they could not. However, the NLRB’s decision did not hinge on the issue of whether or not the college athletes are employees under the NLRA, but on its determination that the Board would not foment stable industrial relations under the NLRA if it enabled the college athletes to unionize.

    Even if the NLRB was reasonable in determining that collective bargaining would not provide for stable industrial relations in college football, such determination could have been better reached by the parties themselves, and especially the college athletes. That’s the beauty of collective bargaining: it lets parties make those sorts of determinations without second-guessing by the state.

    According to the Board, collective bargaining in college football would require league-wide bargaining, including with those units with putative public sector employees who are beyond the reach of the NLRB’s jurisdiction—the college athletes who play for state schools. The arrangement of college football proved too complex for the NLRA’s model of collective bargaining, according to the NLRB. However, the Board reached this decision even when professional Canadian athletes in baseball and hockey do not fall under the NLRB’s jurisdiction; professional baseball and hockey are unionized.

    The Board limited its decision to the facts of the case. However, the decision will be used by the management bar to justify further instances of non-recognition of employees in non-standard forms of employment, e.g., graduate students, workers who are also clients and patients of their employers (as in mental health institutions), temporary employees, among others. About a quarter of U.S. workers work in such types of non-standard settings. Today a quarter of the U.S workforce has something new to struggle against.

    The response to such attempts of non-recognition will thus necessarily remain the good old-fashioned one: workers will have to fight for recognition despite the law, through their collective efforts. The maladies of asymmetrical market relationships that the NLRA attempts to remedy, namely industrial strife, will inevitably be pushed to the surface given today’s unfortunate NLRB decision.

    Kling Comments on Dennis Hastert Indictment

    by  • June 10, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Professor Richard Kling has spoken with numerous news sources about the recent federal indictment and arraignment of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert. According to Prof. Kling, the former speaker will likely accept a plea deal to avoid the public spotlight of an extended trial. See below for a roundup of Prof. Kling’s media appearances:



    Hastert pleads not guilty in hush money case,” WBEZ/NPR

    Elonis v. United States: Treading Carefully with Regard to Threats and Free Speech

    by  • June 5, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Heyman_Steven thumb By Steven J. Heyman [Reposted from ISCOTUSnow]

    This Monday, June 1, 2015, the Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited decision in Elonis v. United States. In a 7-2 ruling by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., the Court narrowed the circumstances under which individuals can be convicted of making criminal threats under federal law when they post statements on social media like Facebook. At the same time, the Court showed a prudent inclination to tread cautiously in a difficult area.

    After Anthony Elonis’s wife left him, he began to write graphically violent rap lyrics and post them to his Facebook account. In several posts, he fantasized about murdering his estranged wife. Others contained violent thoughts about the workplace from which he had been fired, his former co-workers, and an FBI agent who had investigated the matter. In one post, he even talked about massacring a local kindergarten class.

    Elonis was tried and convicted in federal court of four counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 875(c), a 1939 law that makes it a federal crime to transmit in interstate commerce “any communication containing any threat . . . to injure the person of another.” The trial judge instructed the jury that, under this statute, it is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the defendant intended his statements to be threatening. Rather, it is enough to prove that the defendant reasonably should have known that other people would take his statements to be threats—a standard that is often referred to as negligence. (more…)

    Birdthistle on FIFA at the Volokh Conspiracy

    by  • June 3, 2015 • 0 Comments

    In two new guest posts at the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, Professor William Birdthistle unpacks the United States’ recent indictment of FIFA on charges of racketeering, bribery, money laundering, and fraud. In the first post, “Americanized football” (May 27, 2015), Prof. Birdthistle pursues the immediate questions raised by the indictment:

    Why is the United States bringing these charges? Perhaps a secret competition was held amongst international prosecutors, and we won the bidding over Qatar and Russia? No, that would never happen. Countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain might be far more likely candidates to police corruption in the game they love so much. But if they struck at King Blatter and missed, they could suffer serious reprisals from an organization that has amply proved its unprincipled style of governance. The United States may be the only country in the world both powerful enough and indifferent to soccer enough to hunt down FIFA.

    Continue reading at The Volokh Conspiracy→

    In the second post, “Burst Blatter” (June 2, 2015), Prof. Birdthistle looks at FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who was not named in the indictment but who resigned from his post this week:

    The New York Times reported Monday that a $10 million bribe for the South African World Cup had been authorized by Jérôme Valcke, Sepp’s bro-hugging number two at FIFA. FIFA, in true gangland style, immediately identified a dead person as the true perp, but documents published Tuesday showed Valcke’s name on key correspondence.

    What exactly was Valcke’s authority? FIFA said that Valcke, as secretary general, “has authority to make transactions.” But organizational by-laws, even of nonprofits, don’t typically authorize officers simply “to make transactions” — such unlimited authority would invite embezzling officers to fire off billions to a Cayman account and then disappear. Surely that couldn’t happen at FIFA, could it? Credible organizations often either specify a dollar amount up to which the person has spending authority or require a board resolution authorizing the officer to make specific payments. So perhaps Valcke made the payments without authorization or made them with Blatter’s full knowledge.

    Continue reading at The Volokh Conspiracy→

    Lee IP Article Makes “Best Of” List

    by  • May 13, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Professor Edward Lee’s article The Global Trade Mark (35 U. Pa. J. Int’l L. 917 (2014)) has been selected by the Intellectual Property Law Review as one of the best intellectual property articles of 2014. The article will appear in the 2015 edition of the Intellectual Property Law Review’s annual anthology, published by Thomson Reuters (West).

    Read an abstract of the article below, or download at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1804985.

    This Article offers a proposal for World Trade Organization (WTO) countries to adopt global intellectual property rights for a special class of trademarks: famous or well-known marks. Well-known marks are well-suited for greater departure from the territoriality principle, given the transnational protections for well-known marks that already exist under the Paris Convention and TRIPS Agreement. This Article proposes creating a Global Trademark (GTM) for well-known marks, to be governed by one, uniform international law. The GTM will span all countries in the WTO. The GTM is inspired, in part, by the Community Trade Mark (CTM) in the European Union, the first truly transnational intellectual property form. While the CTM is regional in scope, the GTM will be international.

    This Article proceeds in five Parts. Part I discusses the theory behind the Global Trade Mark (GTM) and why it is worth adopting today. Part II discusses the outlines of the proposed Global Trade Mark Treaty, whose signal feature will be to establish a uniform body of international law to govern the GTM and an International Court of the GTM to resolve conflicts over its interpretation. Part III discusses the two Pathways by which a trademark can be registered as a GTM: (1) international registration of an existing famous mark that is famous in a certain threshold number of countries (here under a proposed Rule of 7 countries, the formula of which is discussed below), or (2) an “intent-to-develop” registration of a mark an owner intends to make famous under the Rule of 7 countries within a prescribed time of 10 years. Part IV discusses enforcement of GTMs in national courts and post-registration issues, including abandonment and genericide. Part V addresses objections.

    Introducing the Spring 2015 Issue of Faculty Perspectives

    by  • May 8, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Faculty Perspectives is published regularly to highlight recent faculty scholarship at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. The latest issue spotlights our faculty’s work in the area of law, gender, and society. Katharine Baker, in an article forthcoming in the Minnesota Law Review, argues that the criminal law has been an inadequate vehicle for addressing rape and the norm of male entitlement to sex. In an excerpt from her book just published by the Cambridge University Press, Felice Batlan traces the history of legal aid and women’s role in shaping it. And Michael Spak, along with colleague Jonathan Tomes, enumerate the practical problems they see with modifying the military justice system to better handle sexual assault cases. Also in this issue, constitutional law scholar Steven Heyman considers the recent conservative-libertarian turn in First Amendment jurisprudence at the U.S. Supreme Court.

    View the Spring 2015 issue of Faculty Perspectives below or online at http://bit.ly/1PuQFY3. Find more recent Chicago-Kent scholarship at http://www.kentlaw.iit.edu/faculty/recent-scholarship.

    Walters and Ross-Jackson Win 2015 SBA Faculty Awards

    by  • May 1, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Two Chicago-Kent faculty members were honored at the Student Bar Association awards ceremony on April 27: Prof. Adrian Walters was named SBA Professor of the Year, and Marsha Ross-Jackson, Assistant Dean for Student Professional Development, was named SBA Adjunct Professor of the Year. Read the nomination text for both awards below.

    Walters SBA award

    Nomination text: Prof. Adrian Walters is a brilliant man who cares deeply about not only the success of his students but also actually getting to know them. He had made an effort to memorize all of our names before our very first class with him. Professor Walters also regularly updates his blog about any type of Contracts or legal issue he is interested in at the moment and encouraged his students to read it when it pertained to their learning. He facilitated the learning process inside and outside of the classroom and kept Contracts as fun and interesting as it could possibly get.

    ross-jackson SBA award

    Nomination text: Dean Ross-Jackson has been instrumental in increasing diversity and inclusion at Chicago-Kent. Dean Ross-Jackson is the frontrunner for Chicago-Kent’s diversity week and other diverse events on campus. In addition, she serves as Director of the Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars Program and has been active in promoting Chicago-Kent to underrepresented high school students through DiscoverLaw, a program designed to give high school students a taste of the law school experience. Dean Ross-Jackson has been a tremendous role model, leader, and mentor at Chicago-Kent.

    Staudt’s Justice & Technology Practicum Celebrates Its Fifth Year

    by  • April 22, 2015 • 0 Comments

    By Alexander Rabanal, Access to Justice Fellow at Chicago-Kent’s Center for Access to Justice & Technology

    justice and tech practicum


    This fall marks the fifth year of Professor Ronald Staudt’s Justice & Technology Practicum, a groundbreaking course at IIT Chicago-Kent that teaches students how to create A2J Guided Interviews® and document assembly templates for use by self-represented litigants. A2J Guided Interviews are graphical interfaces that walk a person through a legal process and can also be used to generate a completed legal form. Since 2005, over 2.6 million A2J Guided Interviews have been run, producing over 1.5 million documents. With legal aid organizations typically burdened by limited resources and funding, Professor Staudt’s students make a critical contribution to closing the justice gap by creating powerful online self-help tools that scale up the delivery of legal assistance to those who cannot afford a private attorney or who are ineligible for legal aid.

    The Practicum is a hybrid classroom and clinical course. Students receive classroom instruction on the uses of technology to meet the legal needs of the poor and engage in lively discussions about the increasing role technology plays in both legal services delivery and private practice. Students are then paired with a legal aid attorney to address a justice problem and conduct critical legal research and fieldwork as the foundation for developing an interactive A2J Guided Interview and document assembly template for a legal aid organization. Over the past five years, Professor Staudt’s students have created interactive tools for legal aid organizations across the country, from California to North Carolina. Among other fieldwork activities, students may volunteer at the Self-Help Web Center at the Daley Center, where they help pro se litigants use A2J Guided Interviews and online legal self-help resources, such as those found on Illinois Legal Aid Online.


    Explore New Faculty Books

    by  • April 21, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Books That Matter is a new publication highlighting monographs, edited works, treatises, and casebooks written by Chicago-Kent faculty since 2012. These books have been published by presses including Oxford, Cambridge, and the University of Chicago and span more than 30 areas of law. Explore the publication below for more.

    For more recent Chicago-Kent faculty scholarship, visit http://www.kentlaw.iit.edu/faculty/recent-scholarship.

    Harding Receives 2015 John W. Rowe Excellence in Teaching Award

    by  • April 15, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Prof Sarah HardingIIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Professor Sarah Harding received the John W. Rowe Excellence in Teaching Award at IIT’s annual Faculty Recognition and Awards Reception on April 9. The award was given in recognition of Professor Harding’s noteworthy teaching efforts and dedication to IIT. University deans Christine Himes (Lewis College of Human Sciences), Harold Krent (Chicago-Kent), and Wiel Arets (College of Architecture) served on the review committee for the award, which was announced by IIT Provost Alan Cramb. The award is named for John W. Rowe, past chairman of the IIT Board of Trustees and chairman emeritus of Exelon Corporation.

    Professor Harding joined the IIT Chicago-Kent faculty in 1995. Her research focuses primarily on property-related issues—in particular the social and cultural significance of property. She teaches a range of courses, including property law, cultural heritage law, comparative law, and comparative Constitutional law. From 2008 to 2014 she was associate dean for faculty research and development. Professor Harding has a B.A. from McGill University and holds law degrees from Dalhousie, Oxford (Rhodes Scholar), and Yale.

    Find Professor Harding’s full biography, including links to her scholarship, at: http://www.kentlaw.iit.edu/faculty/full-time-faculty/sarah-k-harding.