During orientation week, we had the opportunity to attend a series of talks given by the Law School faculty. We had the opportunity to choose 2 out of 10 total talks that were going on simultaneously.
I attended a talk by Jonathan Koehler, followed by a talk by David Schwartz; both of these Northwestern Law faculty members teach in the MSL program.
Jonathan “Jay” Koehler has a PhD in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Chicago and is a teacher in the MSL. His areas of interest include behavioral decision theory, quantitative reasoning in the courtroom, forensic science, and behavioral finance. During his talk, Koehler argued that no scientific basis exists for the proposition that forensic scientists can “individualize” an unknown marking (such as a fingerprint, tire track, or handwriting sample) to a particular person or object to the exclusion of all others in the world. Among his points, he discussed the lack of evidence and data to support forensic individualization, the use of random match probability estimates (which are not yet employed by any of the traditional forensic identification sciences), and the exaggerations of what is known or can be accomplished by forensic examiners.
David Schwartz, another MSL teacher, practiced intellectual property law for over a decade before joining academia. His teaching and research focus on intellectual property and patent law, with a particular emphasis on empirical studies of patent litigation. In his talk, he discussed his background as a partner at two intellectual property boutique firms in Chicago, where his practice included patent, copyright, trademark and trade secrets litigation; patent and trademark prosecution; and intellectual property-related transactions.
It was great to get to know these two faculty members a bit during orientation. In future posts, we’ll provide more information about the excellent teachers of the MSL.