Berkeley Law’s two newest professors are hardly fresh faces at the school.
Both relish the unique, boundary-free learning environment at Berkeley Law, which has added 19 faculty members since 2017.
“It’s a visionary institution,” says Hoofnagle, a faculty co-director of the school’s renowned Berkeley Center for Law & Technology. “In my years here, I have only found encouragement to do new things.”
Rahim, a race scholar and recent Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA Law, says the JSP Program carved out important space.
“The academy is generally marked by disciplinary boundaries: You’re either a historian or a sociologist or an economist … but being a good race scholar requires you to look across disciplines for insights,” he says. “The JSP Program gave me a range of tools to study the questions I found most interesting without forcing me to adhere to set boundaries.”
A former American Bar Foundation Law and Inequality Doctoral Fellow and associate editor of the journal Law & Social Inquiry, Rahim writes on constitutional law, critical race theory, and employment discrimination. His current research explores racism in the adult film industry. He will teach Anti-Blackness and the Law and Race and the Law this year, and later Contracts and undergraduate legal studies classes.
Raised in a working class Chicago community and named the most outstanding student of his Babson College class, Rahim moved to Hong Kong after graduating to work at JPMorgan Chase as an equity derivatives specialist. He had made it — just not to where he truly wanted to be.
“Whenever I had downtime at my desk, I’d pull up articles about race and gender discrimination because those were the topics I was actually interested in,” he says.
UCLA Law Professor Devon Carbado credits Rahim’s “distinctive and bold scholarly voice” and calls him “precisely the kind of legal scholar the moment demands — a person who mobilizes interdisciplinarity to engage pressing matters of public concern.”
Hoofnagle’s appointment to the faculty with security of employment brings a renewed focus on teaching. This year, his courses include Cybersecurity in Context with Professor Jennifer Urban ’00, Torts, and a new class to help students better grasp software and computer decision-making.
“An understanding of information and software will be relevant to all practice areas,” he says, in particular “how the transition from a world of information scarcity to one of information glut affects decision-making processes.”
Author of the 2016 book Federal Trade Commission Privacy Law and Policy, Hoofnagle is writing a new book on quantum technologies with computer scientist Simson Garfinkel. His research on platform transaction costs has notable implications for consumer and antitrust law.
“Chris is a privacy rock star,” says Boston University law professor Danielle Citron. “He has made an indelible mark on our thinking, legislating, and law enforcement about information privacy.”
In March, when COVID-19 forced all Berkeley Law classes to be taught online, Hoofnagle’s tech savvy helped smooth the transition for his students. He breaks down lesson plans into small modules and uses Zoom tools such as polls, small discussion groups, and chat to spark engagement and interaction.
“Teaching online has made me realize how much wisdom is just beneath the surface of the class conversation and to recognize the need to draw it out in welcoming ways,” he says.