Technology law as a field is not known as being particularly diverse, nor equitable and inclusive. In my career at Berkeley, I have taken specific, sustained action to promote women in higher education, to raise awareness of SES issues in technology, and to include underrepresented and minority students in my work. Come by my office hours and I can speak with you in greater detail about these efforts. I’d also love to hear your thoughts about how BCLT can address systemic inequalities.
Recent events have caused me to deepen diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in teaching. I plan to devote more classroom time to the structural causes of exclusion and inequality. For instance, in my technology courses generally, I intend to connect students with the history of Silicon Valley, and the root causes that made the area and its most successful companies homogenous. Few people know that Lockheed was the largest employer in the Valley until the rise of the .com bubble. Lockheed and other defense industrial base companies were male and white dominant (Lockheed was 85% male and 90% white even after equal opportunity laws were enacted). The demands of secrecy surrounding the DIB, the military R&D subject matter, and other factors caused systematic exclusion since the 1940s. Thus, when we think about inclusion in tech today, we have to contemplate addressing decades of disadvantage. Obviously, race and gender neutral hiring won’t be enough and we need to think of more ambitious outreach and intervention.
Confronting inequality is also a key element in my pure doctrinal courses, such as torts. I use the Witt/Tani casebook because it starts by situating the institutions of torts, because it explains how key doctrines compensate women and minorities and the poor differently, and because many of the cases selected by Witt and Tani have clear social class or race dynamics. Traditional cases that never received a class analysis—from Vosburg to Palsgraf—are recast in their casebook. My aim is to arm students with these insights so they can critically discuss the tradeoffs and implications of legal policies that promote formal equality or substantive equity.