Does a day go by that the word “innovation” isn’t invoked in public discourse? In his January State of the Union address, President Obama spoke of it as one of four basic questions the nation needs to ask about its future: “We as a country have to answer: How do we reignite that spirit of innovation to meet our biggest challenges?” Computer coding is the new language of choice in elementary schools. Cars are a short distance away from driving themselves. Advances are reported nearly everyday in dynamic “smart” sectors such as medicine, technology, and energy.
So, where does that leave BC Law School?
Right where it wants to be.
The White House reports that from 1948-2012 over half of the total increase in US productivity growth came from innovation and technological change. That covers 76 percent of the Law School’s eighty-nine-year history. To study that history is to recognize that BC Law has always been pushing the boundaries, striving for more, newer, better in faculty, student body, curriculum, programs, centers, and national and international reach.
The President’s 2009 “Strategy for American Innovation” understood the essential role that law plays in this innovation economy. “Creating the right policy and regulatory environment is essential to stimulating private-sector investment,” the report said, “whether it is providing patent protection for life-saving drugs, maintaining a free and open internet, enforcing our antitrust laws, governing the commercial introduction of emerging technologies, or making it easier for startups and rapidly growing firms to raise capital.”
The initiatives in the report require lawyers who can weigh risks and move at the head-swiveling pace required by the accelerating age of innovation. Training them to be quick, nimble, and thrill at the challenge of change has always been BC Law’s modus operandi.
For proof, one need look no further than to Netflix Senior Counsel Joel Goldberg ’92, who, though out of law school for nearly a quarter of a century, is a man of the moment in one of the entertainment industry’s most trailblazing companies. “We’re quite willing to blow up how we do business on a semi-regular basis when we think there’s a better way to do it,” Goldberg says.
He is one of scores of alumni doing much the same thing in their careers based on lessons in innovation learned early on. These pages are full of their stories.
Vicki Sanders, Editor
Photograph by Adam DeTour