Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Marcus on How Computers Have Affected the Legal Profession

Rick Marcus has published an essay entitled The Impact of Computers on the Legal Profession: Evolution or Revolution?, 102 Nw. L. Rev. 1827 (2008). Rick poses the question of whether technological change in the legal profession has had an evolutionary or revolutionary effect. He compares the technological boom in law practice to three historical phenomena: the transformation of modern large law firms; the effect of the telephone on society; and the effect of computers on the medical profession. Rick's preliminary conclusion is that it is too early to tell -- "Lacking a certain metric, and in the face of such varying criteria, we close with an ambiguous answer -- the revolution may be upon us, but we cannot be sure."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Leib on Legislation in the First Year of Law School

Ethan Leib has published an article called Adding Legislation Courses to the First-Year Curriculum, 58 J. Legal Ed. 166 (2008)(available from HeinOnline), in which he argues that schools should "seriously consider designing their first-year curriculum to include a mandatory Legislation course." But even more important, he argues, is that there should be a vigorous debate about what content ought to be included in that course.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

King on Regulating Preimplantation Genetic Screening

Jaime King has published an article called "Predicting Probability: Regulating the Future of Preimplantation Genetic Screening," 8 Yale J. Health Policy, Law & Ethics 101 (2008). Here is the abstract:

Government intervention into the reproductive decisions of individuals has been a significant source of tension and strife within American legal jurisprudence for the last century. This tension has caused many lawmakers in the United States to eschew attempts to regulate assisted reproductive technology, including preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). PGD enables prospective parents to select embryos created through in vitro fertilization based on the presence of a genetic or chromosomal abnormality. Use of PGD has been limited due to technological constraints, expense, and moderate success rates. Recent advances in genetic testing technology will remove many of these obstacles, substantially increasing both the benefits available through PGD and its patient population. These advances will enable parents to do more than diagnose serious disorders in their potential offspring; they will be able to screen their embryos for hundreds of genetic and chromosomal characteristics at one time - preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). While these advances in reproductive genetic testing promise significant benefits, they also present risks to both individuals and society. Government intervention is warranted to ensure the quality and safety of assisted reproduction, including PGS, and to monitor its use for risks to individuals or society. The government should only intervene when the free exercise of individual reproductive autonomy threatens harm to others. This article proposes the creation of a federal regulatory body to license and monitor the practice of assisted reproduction and suggests a balancing framework for addressing conflicting interests in the use of PGS to screen for various genetic characteristics.

Here is the link to the SSRN post: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1284516