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e-Government Clinic

LAW7835 e-Government Clinic 1 & 2 Fall, Spring. 4 credits. S-U only. Students may take the clinic both semesters. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. Completion of or concurrent enrollment in Administrative Law strongly recommended.

C. Farina (Fall), M. Newhart, D. Epstein, C. Blake. Limited enrollment. Satisfies the skills requirement. PLEASE NOTE: Interested students must register through the clinic registration procedure. Submit to Mary Newhart (mjn3@cornell.edu) a resume and a letter of interest within one week after the end of the preregistration period. Include any experience in computer or information science, ADR or collaborative decision-making, web design or communication, statistical analysis, or videomaking, as well as substantive interest/experience in health policy, consumer financial products and/or financial regulation. (Such experience is not required; knowing about it helps us identify the incoming skill sets of the group.) Some preference will be given to students willing and able to do two semesters.

President Obama's Open Government Initiative calls on federal agencies to increase transparency, participation, and collaboration in their decision-making. Use of Web2.0 technologies and social networking tools to elicit public comment in rulemaking and other policymaking is especially emphasized. However, several significant legal, communications, and technological challenges exist. The e-Government Clinic, which grows out of the research of CeRI (the Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative), engages students in theoretical development and practical application of principals of public law, deliberative democracy, conflict resolution, and collaborative decision-making in the contexts of Web-enabled rulemaking, regulatory review, and strategic planning. The primary research vehicle is an operational website, RegulationRoom.org, which features live public commenting moderated by Clinic students. For some students, travel to Washington DC to meet with the responsible agency may be required. Students are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement with every agency we work with during the particular semester.

New substantive focuses of the clinic include: (1) health IT, working with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT on strategic planning for health e-records and other technologies; and (2) consumer financial protection, working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Prof. Whitehead will supervise the substantive work involved in these rulemakings.)