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Spring 2025 Seminar

Legal History Workshop: Technology and the Law

Prerequisite: Initial admission to the workshop is by permission only. To apply, please email Susan Smith ( a brief statement explaning your interest and any relevant background.

Exam Type: No Exam

Technological change is constantly shifting the practice and theory of law. New technologies can expand the state’s and private parties’ capacity to inflict harm, straining the limits of constitutional rights and demanding new forms of regulation. They can blur the boundaries between public and private domains, forcing courts to revisit lonstanding doctrines and legal principles. And they can transform the practice of law itself, from how lawyers present arguments and interview witnesses at trial to how judges come to know relevant facts.

This year’s Legal History Workshop will offer a historical perspective on the interplay between law and technology in the United States. Assignments and discussions will feature a mix of major published works, introducing students to critical methodologies and historiographical debates, and workshop presentations by leading historians writing on legal adaptations to technology. A list of presenters will be posted closer to the new academic year.

Law students will have the choice of adding a writing credit to this two-credit workshop by completing a substantial paper. Those who write a substantial paper will receive three credits (two classroom, one writing); those who do not complete substantial papers will receive two classroom credits.

All FAS students who enroll in the workshop must complete a substantial paper and will receive four credits for the course.