July 27, 2021

"Rutgers Law has been my home and family for most of my life, and my time as a law student was one of the most rewarding and memorable times of my life. My dad was a first year student at the Rutgers Peoples Electric Law School, sitting in Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Civil Procedure class, when the Dean came in to tell him he had to go to the hospital for his son’s (my) birth, … of course, he waited until Professor (now Justice) Ginsburg’s lecture ended. My dad (Frank Askin) was appointed to the Rutgers Law faculty, and then it was mom’s turn to study at Rutgers (with three young children strapped to her).

My dad’s students were our babysitters. My dad’s colleagues were my role models, as I watched them around the poker table, on the courts (basketball and tennis courts, and an occasional judicial court), and in a classroom, while I waited for one or both of my parents. Rutgers instilled in me my sense of justice and drove me to use my own law degree to explore issues at the bleeding intersection of law and technology and their effect on society and our future. For me, it has taken the form of using technology to advance the law and legal process and to try to morph the law to better suit the needs of vulnerable and marginalized communities in the Digital Age.

Rutgers gave me the confidence, breadth of knowledge, the agility, the insight, and perhaps the moxie to lead a circuitous path, from a clerkship, to big law, to civil rights and civil liberties work, to government work, to Internet, telecom, and startup work, and into academia, but  as an active, public-spirited academic in the tradition of the Rutgers Peoples Electric Law School. I was fortunate to take these diverse experiences and blend them into a mashup that made me uniquely qualified to establish the Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic and Justice Lab, where my students and I work on policy reform in the Digital Age, and represent bootstrapped startups, pursuing socially-virtuous missions implicating novel issues that the law has not anticipated.

My Rutgers experience gave me the tools and confidence to expand my exposure nationally and globally, to serve as a Visiting Professor at the MIT Media Lab, as a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of London, as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Amsterdam, and to seed the creation of the global Legal Hackers movement. Candidly, my education and community at Rutgers Law ultimately proved even more valuable to me than my undergraduate experience at Harvard (this is not to disparage the value of my wonderful Harvard experience, but simply to underscore the unique value of my Rutgers Law experience). But, most importantly, to this day, I still count my Rutgers classmates and teachers as my most cherished best friends, advisors, and confidants (including a still beloved ex-spouse -- as everyone knows, sharing Law Review hours is a notoriously romantic experience)."

Rutgers Law Media Contacts:
Mike Sepanic (Camden); Elizabeth Moore (Newark)

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