I’m a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh.
I study governance. Governance means systems of rules and norms. Law and legal systems are examples of governance, but so are systems of social norms, social practices (such as market capitalism), so-called sociotechnical systems, and blends of all of those things. Governance both builds and reflects communities. Blends of governance and groups are institutions.
Why do institutions matter, and how? How do institutions get started, how do they work, and how do they change and end? How do institutions function when they intersect? When, how and why are institutions beneficial? Or costly, or harmful? How do institutions glue us together, shaping social, cultural, economic, and political life? When and how do institutions fail us?
Researching those questions means that I look at a lot of different things. Recent work includes projects on the organization of global football (soccer, to many); data, algorithms, AI, and security and privacy; and the history of research science. I’ve written about universities; post-industrial urbanism; fair use in copyright law, the arts, and computer networks; modern leadership and management practices; and smart cities. And blockchain.
I’m one of four co-leaders of the Workshop on Governing Knowledge Commons. I co-founded and co-host a podcast about the future of all things law-ish and legal, called The Future Law Podcast. I launched and run a virtual think tank about law-related institutions called “Future Law Works.”
What else? I teach leadership. I write magazine columns from time to time for Postindustrial about urbanism, post-industrial America, and Pittsburgh. I am a founding Board member of a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit called PART, which stands for “Partnership to Advance Responsible Technology.” As a pandemic project, in 2020 I created a Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Hall of Fame.
I grew up in a quiet suburb that played an outsized role in the history of computing and information technology by virtue of its being home to the Homebrew Computer Club, SRI International, Sand Hill Road, and Meta, nee Facebook. As part of a lifetime of football (soccer), I follow Chelsea FC, FC Bayern Munich, AFC Ajax, and Grasshopper Club Zurich. My family were original season ticket holders of the NASL San Jose Earthquakes. At the old Spartan Stadium, I saw a lot of amazing players and got to meet Krazy George.