This evening I’m attending an event on “Blockchain: Business, Regulation, Law and the Way Forward” featuring Jerry Britto (Coin Center), Marcia Weldon (MiamiLaw), and Samir Patel (Holland & Knight).
The event is organized jointly by three student groups: the Federalist Society, the Business law Society, and the Alliance Against Human Trafficking. That’s a pretty eclectic group. I think it shows how widely the blockchain dream has taken hold.
And yet, despite this, not absolutely everyone loves blockchain. I for one am somewhat skeptical, as I think the use cases are much more limited than the optimists would have it. Indeed, my views are almost summarized by this great graphic, which sets out a decision tree for people thinking of using blockchain:
Yes, the reality is a bit more complicated, but if you can’t explain why the above doesn’t apply to you, you probably shouldn’t be using blockchain….
Dean Patricia White is stepping down after a long run as Dean, which means there’s an opening. The official advertisement is here. Personally I’d love to see a candidate who had a theory about how law schools will deal with the coming AI revolution.
I think our Deanship is a surprisingly attractive one given the times. The school navigated the financial side of the enrollment crisis with relative dexterity, and kept up the credentials of our incoming classes. The physical plant is not exceptional, but it works. And there are lot of faculty and students doing interesting and even important things. From here it seems we’re in considerably better shape than a number of our peers. And there’s a lot of going on in the University generally and also in Miami the city.
Patricia White informed me a few weeks ago of her decision to step down as dean of the School of Law after serving 10 years in that capacity at Miami, and 10 years at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Now that she has told her faculty and staff, I would like to share this news with the University community and thank Trish for her tireless work as dean of Miami Law.
As dean, Trish has deftly navigated the challenges facing law schools and higher education across the country. While her expertise is vast, throughout her career she has demonstrated a steadfast focus on four key areas: students, the transformation of legal education, the interdisciplinary role of law, and public service. These longstanding commitments are reflected in many of the innovative programs and accomplishments established during her time at our law school. This includes recruiting a new generation of excellent faculty and very fine students.
We anticipate that Trish will serve as Dean until June 2019 and will remain on the law faculty. We are beginning the search process for her successor. We have begun to solicit proposals from major search firms, will soon name members of the Search Committee, and feel that we are well positioned to launch a successful national search for the next leader of our law school. Details about the search committee will be released soon.
We are deeply grateful to Trish for her dedicated service to our students, our law school, and our University. Please join me in thanking her and wishing her well.
Jeffrey L. Duerk, Ph.D.
Which means….we’ll be doing a Dean search. One of my former colleagues once said that doing a Dean search is a bit like chewing aluminum foil. And he had a point…
My colleague Bill Widen asked me to post this for him. (I added the photo.)
(cc: Senators Flake & Kyl)
William H. Widen
We respect John McCain for choosing honor over convenience under the extreme conditions of captivity and torture. A great man filled a large office. We too often fill large offices with small people—people who fail the test even when the test posed is less severe. Failing the test of telling the truth under oath—even when uncomfortable—might result in being disbarred for perjury. The testimony of Dr. Ford at the confirmation hearings for Judge Kavanaugh was compelling. Her testimony raises a serious question about the truthfulness of Judge Kavanaugh under oath. To believe her is to believe that Judge Kavanaugh is either lying about the event or lying about the degree to which, as a young person, he allowed alcohol to impair his judgment and memory.
Jeff Flake recently expressed support for Judge Kavanaugh while simultaneously expressing serious doubts about who to believe. He expressed a wrong idea about the standard required for Senate advice and consent—stating that due process and the rule of law required his support because allegations against Judge Kavanaugh were not proven. Tragically, this is the wrong standard.
A public office is not the property of its holder (or would be holder). The standard for Senate advice and consent to hold office is to error on the side of protecting the Republic. This standard will deny office to some unjustly, but that is the price paid by those who would seek and hold public office. The Federalist Papers make this abundantly clear. Impeachment proceedings illustrate the point most clearly. An office holder, such as a President, should be removed, with the Senate erring on the side of removal to protect the Republic. Only after removal do we apply notions of due process to protect the former office holder in his life, liberty and property. The humiliation of removal from office goes with the territory of submitting to service, but due process protects thereafter. So too with considerations of appointment to office. The failure to appoint may be humiliating and unjust—but there is no remedy for this. The public offices are our offices, not the property or entitlement of individuals. No appointment should be made here—even though, in fact, this may work an extreme injustice to Judge Kavanaugh. In the face of serious doubt, the exercise of Constitutional authority requires a “no” vote.
One cannot suspend Constitutional duty to properly exercise Senatorial advice and consent to exact a political price on fellow senators for bad behavior—that is a reckoning for another time. Bad behavior by small people is a bipartisan activity. The cycle of tit for tat must stop. When a large office is filled by an ordinary person, sometimes the ordinary person rises to the demands of that office by choosing honor when confronted with adversity. Allow a Gladiator moment in this American tragedy. John McCain was a soldier of the Republic. Honor him!
Professor William H. Widen
University of Miami School of Law
Wednesday morning I’ll be one of the panelists at UM’s Data Privacy Day event. Among the incendiary things I plan to say is that the University should be more open to the use of Tor and VPNs on its network. (Update: to be clear, the current openness is almost zero.) Further, the VPN service UM provides for off-campus use needs to make much fuller disclosures about what it logs, how long it keeps logs, and whether it will undertake to oppose private and/or governmental attempts to access those logs. (At present, as far as I can tell, there are no representations at all on any of these topics.)
Friday afternoon, I’ll be speaking on AI and Medicine at the first panel of the University of Miami Law Review‘s 2018 Symposium, Hack to the Future: How Technology is Disrupting the Legal Profession. Why am I speaking about AI and medicine, even on a panel entitled “Emerging Technologies: Artificial Intelligence”, when the conference is about AI and Law? Well you might ask. When the organizers invited me, I protested that I didn’t know enough about AI’s effects on the legal profession to give a good talk — but I did know a few things about AI and Medicine. And they called my bluff…