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The role of law professors as 'policy influencers'

Associate Professor David S. Levine's recent article in the Wake Forest Law Review Online argues that imbalances in the knowledge environment create a duty for law professors to ensure that underfunded and diffuse public interests have a say in policy debates.

Associate Professor David S. Levine

Donald Trump's election to the presidency of the United States has disrupted the research agendas of many American law professors, according to an Elon Law scholar, and those same educators are asking how they can apply their expertise to shaping public policies.

The question is, "how?", and Associate Professor David S. Levine, who for years has lent his expertise to a wide range of public policy legal questions, offers advice in a new article in the Wake Forest Law Review Online.

"Wisdom, Not Noise: The Law Professor as Policy Influencer" was published Jan. 9, 2017. In it, Levine shares observations and guidance for legal academics considering how they can make free and open inquiry a policymaking norm, thereby advocating for what they deem fair and just.

"While there is a long history of law professors engaging in advocacy on matters of policy, the need for expertise within our policymaking arenas has never been greater," Levine writes in the introduction of his article. "This essay offers some initial thoughts and strategies for the neophyte but budding law professor-policy influencer that has not (in my estimation, very appropriately) given up on the power of facts, data, and evidence.

Levine dedicated the article in memory of Elon Law Associate Professor Michael L. Rich, "a dear friend, colleague, and inspiration, who left us far too soon." Rich died Dec. 7, 2016.

Published five times per year, the Wake Forest Law Review is a student-run organization that also manages an online edition aimed at informing laypeople and practitioners of relevant legal issues.

In addition to his work at Elon Law, Levine is an Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. He is a 2016-2017 Visiting Research Collaborator at Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy and is founder and host of Culture on KZSU-FM at Stanford University), an information policy, intellectual property law and technology talk show for which he has recorded over 250 interviews since May 2006.

Levine’s scholarship focuses on the operation of intellectual property law at the intersection of technology and public life, specifically information flows in the lawmaking and regulatory process and intellectual property law's impact on public and private secrecy, transparency and accountability.

Eric Townsend,
1/17/2017 9:35 AM