By Andrew Cohen
Ask Jennifer Urban ’00 why she returned to Berkeley Law to co-direct the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, and the first response you’ll get is laughter.
“How much time do we have?” she says. “Beyond my long list of personal reasons why it’s so exciting to come back, Berkeley’s program is simply the best of its kind in the country and probably the world. It has a breadth and depth that really can’t be surpassed.”
Urban is also excited to reunite with former classmate and fellow Samuelson co-director Jason Schultz ’00. “We’ve long had a shared sense of mission and have worked well together on many projects,” says Urban, who founded and directed the Intellectual Property & Technology Law Clinic at USC’s Gould School of Law. “That dates all the way back to our Berkeley Technology Law Journal days.”
The Samuelson co-directors also possess complementary skill sets. Urban has more transactional experience from her time as an IP licensing lawyer, while Schultz—a former patent specialist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation—has a strong litigation background.
“There’s a real sense of partnership,” says Schultz, who had been the clinic’s acting director. “The whole is greater than sum of parts when you have a colleague you trust. We’ll each be able to produce more teaching, research, and scholarship, and we’ll also be able to raise an already high bar for our students.”
Editor of the Annual Review of Law and Technology when she was a law student, Urban went on to teach as a lecturer and visiting professor at Berkeley Law. She became Samuelson’s first fellow, and also received the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology (BCLT) Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003 before joining USC’s faculty the following year.
Urban credits former Samuelson director Deirdre Mulligan, now a faculty director at BCLT and a professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Information, for making Samuelson “the nation’s flagship technology law clinic.”
Some of its recent projects include working to ensure that Google includes sufficient privacy measures to protect readers in its Google Book Search program, and helping San Francisco’s surveillance camera program strike the proper balance between deterring crime and protecting civil rights.
“Society is changing rapidly around technology and technology is changing so rapidly that there are new issues literally every day that need attention,” Urban says. “Our challenge is identifying the issues and engaging in projects that have a positive impact for the public and provide our students with a valuable, rich, and practical learning experience.”