Past Events - 2015


Learning By Doing: The Real Connection Between Innovation, Wages and WealthBessen

April 6, 2015
12:45pm - 2:00pm

Room 102
Sumner M. Redstone Building

Faculty Author Book Symposium
James Bessen
Lecturer in Law
Boston University School of Law

Mr. Bessen discussed his book, recently published by Yale University Press, which examines the impact of technological advancements on economic inequality. Basing his analysis on research into economic history and today’s labor markets, he explores why the benefits of technology take years, sometimes decades, to emerge. While the right policies can hasten this process, he argues that policy in recent decades has tended to protect politically influential interests to the detriment of emerging technologies and broadly shared prosperity.

Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Michael Meurer, Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law
Matthew Marx, Associate Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management, MIT Sloan School of Management

About Jim Bessen:

James Bessen studies the economics of innovation and patents. He has also been a successful innovator and CEO of a software company. Currently, Mr. Bessen is Lecturer in Law at the Boston University School of Law.

Bessen has done research on whether patents promote innovation, why innovators share new knowledge, and how technology affected worker skills historically. His research first documented the large economic damage caused by patent trolls. His work on software patents with Eric Maskin (Nobel Laureate in Economics) and Robert Hunt has influenced policymakers in the US, Europe, and Australia. With Michael J. Meurer, Bessen wrote Patent Failure (Princeton 2008), highlighting the problems caused by poorly defined property rights. A forthcoming book, Learning by Doing: The Real Connection Between Innovation, Wages, and Wealth (Yale 2015), looks at history to understand how new technologies affect wages and skills today. Bessen’s work has been widely cited in the press as well as by the White House, the U.S. Supreme Court, judges at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the Federal Trade Commission.

In 1983, Bessen developed the first commercially successful “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” PC publishing program, founding a company that delivered PC-based publishing systems to high-end commercial publishers. Intergraph Corporation acquired the company in 1993.



Current Controversies in Public Health LawPublicHealth

Celebrating the Release of Public Health Law by Professors Wendy Mariner and George Annas

Guest Speakers:

Robert F. Meenan
Special Assistant to the President, BU, and former dean of SPH

Wendy E. Parmet
Director, Program on Health Policy & Law and Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law

Dolores L. Mitchell
Executive Director, Group Insurance Commission

Monday, April 6
4:30-6 p.m.
Boston Univeristy School of Public Health



Modern Municipal Restructurings: Puerto Rico and Beyondpuerto rico

Friday, March 27, 2015
2:00pm - 5:00pm
Reception to follow.

Room 102
Sumner M. Redstone Building
Boston University School of Law

Sponsored by Boston University Law Review, Boston University Entrepreneurship & Finance Club, Boston University Latin American Law Students Association

A symposium of leading legal and business authorities as they discuss their different perspectives on the complex and ever-evolving landscape of municipal restructurings – including a special focus on the uniqueness of Puerto Rico.

Click here for a full conference program.

Keynote Speaker:

Chief Judge Thomas B. Bennett, (United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama)


Seth Brumby, (Deputy Editor, Debtwire Municipals)

Sonia Colón (Partner, Ferraiuoli LLC)

Patrick Darby (Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings)

Robert Donohue (Managing Director, Municipal Markets Analytics)

William Glasgall (Program and Editorial Director State/Local Accountability & Improvement, Volcker Alliance)

Bill Kannel (Member, Bankruptcy Section Head, Mintz Levin)

Marti Kopacz (Sr. Managing Director, Phoenix Management Services)

Mark Kronfeld (Partner, Plymouth Lane Capital Management, LLC.)

John Monaghan (Partner, Holland & Knight)

Zachary Smith (Partner, Moore & Van Allen; Lecturer in Law, Boston University School of Law)

Frederick Tung (Howard Zhang Faculty Research Scholar and Professor of Law, Boston University)


2:00pm: Welcoming / Opening Remarks Frederick Tung, Howard Zhang Faculty Research Scholar and Professor of Law, Boston University

2:10pm - 3:15pm: Legal Panel

John Monaghan (moderator)
Sonia Colón
Patrick Darby
Bill Kannel
Marti Kopacz
Zach Smith

3:30pm - 3:50pm: Keynote Speaker:
Chief Judge Thomas B. Bennett, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama

3:55pm - 5:00pm: Business Panel
Frederick Tung (moderator)
Seth Brumby
Robert Donahue
William Glasgall
Mark Kronfeld

5:15pm: Reception


Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare featuring Juan Zarate, Senior Adviser, Transnational Threats Project and Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program

Juan ZarateMarch 2, 2015

Over the past decade, America has quietly and successfully waged a new kind of war against the financial networks of terrorist groups, rogue regimes, proliferators, and criminal syndicates. Juan Zarate—a former senior Treasury and White House official—was part of the small group of officials who dedicated themselves to leveraging financial power and influence globally to undermine America’s enemies. The result was a dramatic redefinition of financial warfare and the role of the Treasury department—one that utilized all of Treasury's power, influence, and relationships to dismantle illicit financial networks, stop terrorism, and influence geopolitics.

While making use of all of the tactics that government had developed over centuries, from sanctions to quiet diplomacy, Zarate and his colleagues also partnered with the private sector, creating an international financial environment in which the banks’ and multinational companies’ bottom lines dovetailed directly with national security interests, with the goal of isolating rogues from the legitimate financial system. Their approach soon became—and remains—central in navigating all the critical geopolitical challenges facing the United States, including terrorism, proliferation, and rogue regimes in North Korea, Iran, and Syria.

Treasury's War is the story of how these tactics were developed and brought to bear on some of the most dangerous and elusive criminal and rogue enterprises around the globe. Zarate gives us an insider’s view of one of the most potent yet least-examined strategies in the war on terror and American national security, and forecasts its future impact on our security and safety. It is a vitally important chapter in our nation’s history of warfare; one that, in many ways, is still being written. Zarate warns that other nations and organizations are beginning to learn these tactics. “The financial wars are coming,” he writes. “It is time to redesign a national economic security to prepare for them.”

>> Event recap: Fighting Terrorism with Financial Artillery

This lecture was sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs and the National Security Law Society.



Innovation Today: The Legal Challenges of Funding Startups
The Review of Banking & Financial Law Symposiumlightbulb and coins

February 27, 2015

This symposium, presented by the Boston University Review of Banking & Financial Law, brought together leading scholars to discuss key financial issues that startup companies face including: crowdfunding, startup financing, and the tension between state and federal law. Perspectives on current events in intellectual property, patent trolls, and the JOBS Act were presented as well. Participants examined how both startups and investors can work together to generate workable financing solutions.

Keynote recap: The Rise of Angel Capital to Fund 21st Century Entrepreneurship

Please click here to see a symposium schedule.

Please click here to read biographies of symposium speakers.

Keynote Speaker:

Partner, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP


Hofstra University Maurice A. Deane School of Law

Syracuse University College of Law

Member, Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton PC

Boston University School of Law

Hofstra University Maurice A. Deane School of Law

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Enforcement

Partner, Verrill Dana LLP

Partner, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP

Boston University School of Law

Pace University School of Law

Boston University School of Law

Partner, Halket Weitz LLP
Adjunct Professor, Fordham Law School

Partner, Thompson Hine LLP

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Enforcement

Temple University Beasley School of Law

University of Connecticut School of Law

Boston University School of Law

Temple University Beasley School of Law

Boston University School of Law

University of Colorado Law School

Boston University School of Law

Duke University School of Law

Partner, Halket Weitz LLP
Adjunct Professor, Fordham Law School

Counsel, Sullivan & Worcester LLP

For additional information on the symposium, please visit



Annual Lecture: Religious Liberty and the Culture Wars

lacockPresented by: Douglas Laycock, Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Religious liberty has become much more controversial in recent years. A principal reason is deep disagreements over sexual morality. On abortion, contraception, gay rights, and same-sex marriage, conservative religious leaders condemn as grave evils what many other Americans view as fundamental human rights. Somewhat hidden in the battles over permitting abortion and recognizing same-sex marriage lie religious liberty issues about exempting conscientious objectors from facilitating abortions or same-sex marriages. Banning contraception is no longer a live issue; there, religious liberty is the principal issue. These issues arise in academia as well as in the larger society.

These culture-war issues are turning many Americans toward a very narrow understanding of religious liberty, and generating arguments that threaten religious liberty more generally. Persistent Catholic opposition to the French Revolution permanently turned France to a very narrow view of religious liberty; persistent religious opposition to the Sexual Revolution may be having similar consequences here.

We can and should protect the liberty of both sides in the culture wars. Conservative churches would do well to concede the liberty of the other side, including on same-sex marriage, and concentrate on defending their own liberty as conscientious objectors; and similarly, supporters of rights to abortion, contraception, gay rights, and same-sex marriage would do well to concentrate on securing their own rights and to concede that conscientious objectors should rarely be required to support or facilitate practices they view as evil. But inducing either side to accept such live-and-let-live solutions seems to be a hopeless task.

This event was co-sponsored by the Department of Religion and the School of Law.

>> Event recap: Freedom of Religion vs. Sexual Freedom—A Conflict Between Liberties?



The Iron Triangle of Food Policy

The American Journal of Law & Medicine Symposium


January 30, 2015

President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act into law on January 4, 2011. This law aimed to ensure the safety of the US food supply by preventing contamination. This symposium examined this law, and others, to consider how policy can impact access to food and food quality. Panels discussed food insecurity, obesity, GMOs and food purity, and issues with local sourcing and the access to and costs of organic food.

>> Read the event recap here


Kathryn Boys, Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University

Paul A. Diller, Professor of Law, Willamette University College of Law

Andrea Freeman, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Hawaii School of Law

Christine Fry, Senior Policy Analyst and Program Director, ChangeLab Solutions

Jacob Gersen, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Founder and Director of the Food Law Lab at the Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School (Moderator)

Saby Ghoshray, President, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Director, Research, and Compliance WorldCompliance Company

Sam F. Halabi, Associate Professor of Law, The University of Tulsa
College of Law

Emily Broad Leib, Lecturer on Law and Deputy Director of the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (Moderator)

Stephen Miller, Associate Professor, University of Idaho College of Law

Abigail Moncrieff, Peter Paul Career Development Professor and Associate Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law

Kevin Outterson, Professor, Boston University School of Law (Moderator)

Efthimios Parasidis, Associate Professor of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Joanna K. Sax, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development,
Associate Professor of Law, and Co-Director, Institute of Health Law
Studies, California Western School of Law

Stephanie Tai, Associate Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School

Lindsay Wiley, Associate Professor of Law and Director, Health Law
and Justice Program, American University Washington College of Law

Diana Winters, Associate Professor of Law and Dean's Fellow, Indiana
University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Samuel R. Wiseman, Professor, Florida State University College of Law

Kathy Zeiler, Professor of Law, Georgetown Law; Visiting Professor, Boston University School of Law (Moderator)

More information to follow. To learn more about the American Journal of Law & Medicine, please click here.