2019-2020 Symposium

Can Law Free Us From Tech’s “Spheres of Influence”?: Examining the Interplay of Technology and the Law

JETLaw’s 2019-2020 Annual Symposium
Thursday, February 20, 2020, at Flynn Auditorium, Vanderbilt Law School

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile from Pexels

Welcome to JETLaw’s official 2020 Sympo home page!

The 2020 Sympo took place on February 20, 2020. It was attended by 11 speakers and over 200 guests.

Theme: Tech Influence

Emerging technologies, like social media, fake news, deepfakes, artificial intelligence, targeted advertising, are pummeling people’s ability to think freely and independently.

Their influence has resulted in the degradation of public confidence in important American institutions like Congress, the presidency, the judiciary, corporations, and the media.

Given these devastating effects, what role should law play?

Photos from Sympo 2020

Click here to see a photo gallery of the event.

9:30am | Opening Remarks

by Daniel Gervais
(Professor, Vanderbilt University Law School)

10:00am | Sphere 1: Influence on Government

Moderator: Kevin Stack (Professor, Vanderbilt University Law School)

Topics: Election and political campaign technologies, the government’s use of artificial intelligence, the unique challenges of regulating emerging tech, and evolution of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Kate Belinski (Ballard Spahr)
Todd Rubin (ACUS)
Lee Holmes (Senate Judiciary Committee)
Matthew Scherer (Littler)

12:00pm | Keynote by Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig is a Harvard Law professor, author, political activist, and former Democratic presidential candidate in 2016.

While renowned for many issues, he is first renowned for his leadership on internet freedom. His first book, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, described how the structure of the internet con-strains users’ behavior, in the same way as law. He is also the founder of Creative Commons and an advocate for liberalizing copyright restrictions. He argues that a strict IP regime stifles the flow of ideas and the development of creativity.

One of Lessig’s other passions is constitutional reform. Lessig has researched and written ex-tensively about the detrimental effect of money in politics and the distorting effect of the Electoral College. He ran for the Democratic Party nomination in 2016 on a platform of addressing these is-sues. His latest book is They Don’t Represent Us: Reclaiming Our Democracy, was released in November 2019. (Dey Street/William Morrow, November 2019).

Lunch sponsored by Vanderbilt Program on Law & Innovation (PoLI).

2:00pm | Sphere 2:
Influence on the Courts

Moderator: Daniel Gervais (Professor, Vanderbilt University Law School)

Topics: Courtroom technologies like remote teleconferencing and AI, and the impact of social media on jurors.

Fredric Lederer (William & Mary)
Michael Madison (Pitt Law)
Thaddeus Hoffmeister (U. Dayton)

4:00pm | Sphere 3:
Influence on You

Moderator: Gautam Hans (Professor, Vanderbilt University Law School)

Topics: Social marketing campaigns, deepfakes, and tech’s impact on attorney-client relationships.

Agnieszka McPeak (Duquesne U.)
Jan Jacobowitz (U. Miami)
Craig Carpenter (Thompson & Knight)


This event will take place in Flynn Auditorium inside of Vanderbilt Law School.

The entrance to the law school is at the intersection of 21st Ave and Broadway. Once you enter, follow signs to Flynn Auditorium or ask receptionist for help.


Visitors should park in the Terrace Place Garage, spaces 41-92, at the corner of 21st Ave. South and Terrace Place, or the Wesley Place Garage, spaces 52-170, at the corner of 21st Ave. South and Scarritt Place. Parking costs range from $4.00 to $12.00 at these garages. Both are within walking distance of the law school.


Please contact Cole Browndorf (cole.browndorf@vanderbilt.edu) if you would like to attend and have any questions.



This event is supported by the following generous sponsors.

Gold Sponsors ($2,000)
Steptoe & Johnson

Silver Sponsors ($1,000)
Butler Snow LLP
King & Spalding

Bronze Sponsors ($500)
Covington & Burling
Locke Lord LLP
Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison PLC
Vanderbilt Intellectual Property Program
Vanderbilt Program on Law & Innovation

Donors (< $500)
Ramon J. Ryan, Yurina Yoshikawa