Law in a Brave New World

by Professor Veena Dubal

We live amidst a whirlwind of change. From exciting technological developments and new business models to existential environmental and political concerns, our world is rapidly transforming. Some of this precipitous change has brought ease and efficiency to our complex lives-allowing us to rent out our homes, count our daily steps, and sift through discovery documents in just a click of a button.

But some of the impacts have been less desirable. Labor arbitrage and the privatization of public goods, for example, have put enormous stress on existing institutions and democratic freedoms. Whether good or bad, the changes have left us with difficult and unanswered questions of governance.

How should new forms of work be regulated, if at all? Who should we welcome past our borders and under what conditions? How do we balance privacy and liberty in an age of cyborgs and massive data collection? What can we do to preserve biodiversity and clean water for the health and safety of future generations?

UC Hastings alumni, students, and faculty are at the forefront of the quest to answer all these critically important legal questions. The Fall 2017 issue of the UC Hastings Magazine features some of their incredible, awe- inspiring work. In this time of transformation, these legal visionaries ensure that law and policy reflect not only our needs and desires-but also the well-being of our communities.

Included in the pages of the Magazine are profiles of legal warriors like Zahra Billoo ’09, who is a national leader in the fight to protect the civil rights of Muslim Americans and who was an energizing speaker at the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. We highlight the earth- preserving efforts of Professor David Takacs ’08, whose work combines public and private governance principles to preserve biodiversity, and Julia Olson ’97, who spearheads the single most important challenge to the government’s handling of climate change.

In other features, we emphasize the tremendous entrepreneurial spirits of Sandra Tuzzo ’00 and Julie Pearl ’87, who have leveraged the digital revolution to make the law accessible to those in need. And we include a profile of David Owen ’09, whose career illustrates the role of lawyers in both producing and regulating the “gig economy.”

The alumni featured in the pages of the Magazine are boldly taking our futures into their hands and using the law to reshape how we live and experience the world-albeit in different and diverse ways. But they all have one thing in common: The dynamic legal education at UC Hastings gave them the tools and the confidence to change the world.