The Law Lab
Beginning in 2010, The Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research partnered in a new, innovative project housed at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Law Lab was a multidisciplinary research initiative and collaborative network of University, nonprofit and industry partners. Its mission was to investigate and harness the varied forces — evolutionary, social, psychological, neurological and economic — that shape the role of law and social norms as they enable cooperation, governance and entrepreneurial innovation. Through open observational and experimental web-based platforms and open source software, the Law Lab worked to develop new digital institutions to foster innovation and research tools to deepen our understanding of trust, transparency and human cooperation. By bringing a laboratory approach to legal scholarship and social science research, the goal of this initiative was to build a body of knowledge, expertise and software technologies that will fundamentally transform law and entrepreneurial practice.
The Lab carried on with its mission under three tracks:
Track 1: Development of an Open Governance Platform for Entrepreneurship and Innovation;
Track 2: Design and Implementation of Digital Institutions for application in legal and business practice; and
Track 3: Development of an Experimental and Observational Platform that forms the basis for multi-disciplinary research within our sphere of economic behavior and beyond.
Although the tracks have distinct goals and outputs for each set of activities, they are often cross-cutting and interrelated, with work in one supporting advances in another. Our second year efforts in each of these three tracks have built on three modes of activity of the prior year: exploratory research, application development, and capacity-building (including events).
Reaching even further into society as a whole, we have taken a unique thought leadership position in what we see as a very fertile area of legal and institutional innovation. We developed our identity through a public-facing communications Web site, a speaker series, and numerous workshops and events.
To this end, we participated in the organization and execution numerous workshops and the following conferences:
- Workshop panel on institutions of cooperation at Moral Biology, hosted by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, at Harvard Law School, in collaboration with the University-Wide Program on Ethics and Health, The Project on Law and Mind Sciences, the Harvard Provost’s Office, the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience Project and the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 15-16, 2010
- Workshop in a series on Cloud Computing, “Towards Principles and Best Practices for Operating in the Cloud”. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, May 6-7, 2010
- Governance as an Open Platform, hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s Law Lab, in collaboration with O’Reilly Media, Inc., Washington, D.C., September 8-9, 2010
- Hosting the ICANN Accountability and Transparency Review Team “Boston Meeting” at the Berkman Center, and providing information and advice in connection with the preparation of the Berkman Independent Review, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, October 11-13, 2010
- Educating the Digital Lawyer, a workshop hosted by The Law Lab, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, October 14, 2010