Technology, Innovation, and Law Practice Practicum: E-Government (PROJECT-BASED PRACTICUM)
Professors Rostain, Nourse, and Mulcahy
J.D. Practicum 1281
| 4 credit hours
In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of their professor. This project-based practicum course examines how government and outside organizations have drawn on internet-based technologies to transform how government interacts with ordinary citizens and does business. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and carry out 10 hours/week of project work under the direction of the course professors.
SEMINAR: In 2002, Congress enacted the “E-Government” Act, whose stated purpose is to improve the management and promotion of electronic government services and processes and to use internet-based technologies to improve citizen access. During the last decade an abundance of initiatives have sprung up across government sectors and among outside non-profits that use Internet-based tools to increase government accountability and transparency, empower citizen participation in lawmaking and regulatory processes, and facilitate the work of legislative bodies and regulatory agencies. From clickable legislative histories to datapaloozas – gatherings where experts from different disciplines and sectors brainstorm about how the trove of e-data amassed by the government can be used to improve government services – government is seeking to reinvent the ways it does business and engages with the public. The seminar portion of this class, which is organized around outside speakers, will examine the successes and failures of these initiatives and explore the impediments – regulatory, organizational and political – to deploy new technologies to enhance regulatory efficacy and legitimacy.
PROJECT WORK: While class meetings are devoted to the varied dimensions of e-government, the project part of the course will focus on collaborating with regulatory agencies and non-profit organizations to develop apps that streamline regulatory practice or increase the public’s access to laws and regulation. Working in a platform that requires no coding expertise, students will explore the potential of legal expert systems, which provide automated guidance on specific legal questions, to enhance the responsiveness and efficiency of agency work. We anticipate projects that engage with agency functions across the regulatory landscape. Substantive areas may include employment discrimination, consumer protection, health, and education. (Some apps built in previous semesters include The Military Counseling System and The Healthcare Coverage Adviser.) The course culminates in a design contest: The Georgetown Iron Tech Lawyer Competition.
Students are graded on the quality of their individual assignments, final projects and presentations, teamwork, organization and follow-through, and class participation.
Prerequisites: J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective). Students must also have taken Administrative Law (or section 3 Government Processes) or one of the following first-year electives: Congress and the Administrative State, The Regulatory State, or The Regulatory and Administrative State.
Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum course and a clinic or another practicum course without permission of the professors. Students may concurrently enroll in this practicum course and an externship.
This course is open to LL.M. students by professor permission. Interested students should contact Professor Rostain at email@example.com.
This course is suitable for evening students; project work does not need to be completed during business hours.
This is a 4 credit course. Two credits will be awarded for the two-hour weekly seminar and two credits will be awarded for approximately 10 hours of supervised project work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. Both the seminar portion and the project work will be graded.
Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and project components and may not take either component separately. After Add/Drop, a student who wishes to withdraw from a practicum course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and project components.
Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar (out of 13 total seminar sessions), or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work (out of a total of 11 weeks of fieldwork or project work), may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.
No programming background required.
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