HLS Visiting Professor Susan Crawford taught the Information Law and Policy: Advanced Problem Solving Workshop this fall at HLS. The course combines case studies with mini lectures, classroom exercises and guest speakers to provide an interactive, participant centered experience for students. The case studies were developed in last spring’s Advanced Problem Solving Workshop in Cyberlaw and Intellectual Property, the brainchild of Professors Jonathan Zittrain and John Palfrey. “We wanted a team-based approach where students could grapple with textured, real-world problems,” explained Professor Zittrain. “The idea was for students to inhabit the roles of people dealing with intractable issues in a way that was larger than just a doctrinal presentation–to ask:’what does this person, company, or government want to do and what legal and technological tools do they have to make this change?” Anna Yuan, a 2nd-year law student who attended Crawford’s class, explained “This was one of my favorite classes at HLS. We explored ongoing hot topics in Information Law; these are new and emerging issues and no one knows the right answer. So there is a sense that we are solving real problems and our answers are relevant.” Crawford explained why she was attracted to the problem solving methodology: “This type of teaching is very natural to me. Practicing lawyers are presented with changing facts and shifting circumstances all the time, and I want to see students take on that role. Let’s face it; law school has to reinvent itself. We need to find better ways to connect and engage students.” To encourage adoption of the problem solving methodology, HLS has made many of the advanced problem solving cases, teaching plans, and the course syllabus available free of charge at the Case Studies website.
Educators and others can register on the Case Studies web site to access and download these Advanced Problem Solving case studies: