MSL Symposium

MSL Symposium

The MSL Symposium

Each year, the Master of Science in Law (MSL) program hosts a symposium to showcase the work of MSL students and to shine a light on the importance of cross-disciplinary awareness.

The 4th Annual MSL Symposium

The 2022 symposium, held May 10-11, 2022, featured a keynote address by Nancy ParidyPresident & Chief Administrative Officer, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, and presentations by 20 MSL students that displayed their work and ideas on a variety of topics, ranging from artificial intelligence to medical device entrepreneurship.

2022 MSL Symposium Student Presentations:

Applying MSL Courses in the Operations of a Biotech Incubator, Derek Sokolowski (MSL '23)
How can the classes you take in the MSL program influence your life right now in the workplace? Take a look at how MSL course work is applied in a biotech incubator setting –including Contract Law, Business Torts, and much more.

Automating Data Use Agreements in Healthcare Research, Taha Muhammad-Ali (MSL '22) and Emily Marun (MSL '22)
The tABLEtransfer is an algorithmic product generated by a team of students through the Innovation Lab course, in collaboration with the Institute for Augmented Intelligence in Medicine. It was designed with the capability of properly categorizing healthcare data that is requested of Northwestern University by a third-party researcher, identifying additional legal protections, and drafting a Data Use Agreement to expedite the process associated with sharing healthcare data across institutions.

Commercializing a New 3D Vision Technology, Xi He (MSL '22)
The goal of this project, which was part of a Kellogg Business School class, was to create a plan for commercializing a new 3D vision technology. This presentation shares our team’s journey and details our business model and strategy in putting forth a low-cost, efficient, and accurate technology that improves automation and performance in various industries, such as agriculture, robotics, drones, autonomous vehicles, and others. 

Death by Zip Code: The Newborn Screening Crisis in the United States, Monica Weldon (MSL '22)
For over 50 years, the United States has had a Newborn Screening Program that aims to improve the quality of life for infants; there are now 61 selected disorders that are screened for. The question is: Are all the infants in the U.S. tested for these treatable diseases? The surprising answer is NO! This presentation explores the coined expression “Death by Zip Code,” bringing to light the reasons for state-by-state disparities and exploring a solution to address this problem.

Forced Arbitration and the Silence of Victims, Darrell Swanson (MSL '22)
Forced arbitration clauses in employment contracts have long been used by companies to silence victims of harassment and sexual discrimination in the workplace. The good news is that a recently-passed law invalidates forced arbitration agreements that preclude a victim from filing a lawsuit in these cases. The bad news is that toxic office cultures continue to flourish. How can we hold companies and perpetrators accountable, and effectuate change in the workplace where pervasive misconduct remains?

Fueling the Knowledge Economy: Intellectual Capital Origins and the Great Pivot, Trenicka Dukes (MSL '22)
For centuries, civilizations have progressed as a result of human ingenuity; our past and our present have taught that “intellectual capital” sits at the forefront of economic development and global advancement. But the need to innovate does not just apply to products and services; it also applies to who we are as people. This presentation discusses why it is advantageous to pivot toward innovating our skills and ultimately our careers to meet the demands of the future.

How Entrepreneurship Education Empowers Innovation, Neil Misak (MSL '22)
Technology is an industry that does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation. As the digital age continues ahead at lightspeed, organizations of all sizes are continuously challenged to produce new products and services to compete in today’s marketplace. While the common assumption is that most inventions are derived in a laboratory or think tank (e.g. hackathons), this presentation will challenge that position by exploring the notion that education about entrepreneurship is quintessential to empower individuals and organizations to drive novel ideas forward.

Puerto Rico's Political Status: A Civil Rights Issue, Yael Quiles Ramirez (MSL '22)
This presentation will provide a look at how Puerto Rico's current political status affects the rights and opportunities of American citizens who live in the island. We will explore options to address the current issues, including statehood, which has become the leading decolonization movement supported by the majority of Puerto Ricans.

Issues in Legal Ethics: Professional Conduct and Artificial Intelligence, Kara Ferracuti (MSL '24)
Increasingly, attorneys are using artificial intelligence (AI) tools and technology to provide legal services to clients. But this increase in the use of technology creates additional complex issues for attorneys, who must comply with the American Bar Association’s rules of ethical and professional conduct (which don’t always keep up with changes in technology). This presentation explores the issues relevant to these professional obligations and discusses how legal-adjacent professionals who have expertise in AI technology and understand legal ethics can help ensure that these obligations are not overlooked in the busy, billing-focused practice of law.

Ill-Gotten Gains: Healthcare Fraud & Abuse in the US, Vaidehi Patel (MSL '22)
Fraud, waste, and abuse in the healthcare industry have been an increasing issue, especially in the light of the pandemic. These improper activities have the harmful effects of siphoning off significant resources from necessary healthcare services. This presentation is an attempt to raise awareness about these wrongful healthcare practices, the laws that regulate them, and the ways this bad behavior can be prevented.

Legal, Technical, and Ethical Notes on the Future of Video-Sharing Apps, Malcolm Xavier (MSL '23)
Using TikTok as its main example, this presentation considers the following questions about the content in video-sharing apps: What influence do federal and local law, parent companies, and product teams have on the content that users generate and with which they engage? And, what is the impact of "shadow banning" and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on Black creators?

MSL Meets AGU (American Geophysical Union), Lauren Schenck (MSL '22)
The MSL provides earth scientists with a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between science and law when it comes to climate change. This presentation will discuss the environmental niche in the MSL program, the introduction of the program to the geophysical science community through the American Geophysical Union’s annual Fall Meeting, and the broader implications of training scientists to work in policy.

Past Perfect to CLANK: The Story of a Contract Clause Analysis Tool, Kai Seltner (MSL '22)
Despite what television shows like Suits and Law and Order would suggest, a large part of a lawyer’s time is spent drafting documents for clients. Most lawyers would begin the drafting process with a previously-used document, but there are issues and complications using this approach.  In collaboration with Mayer Brown’s Legal Innovation team, students in Northwestern’s Innovation Lab developed a technology tool to assist in drafting legal documents – a Word plug-in that helps lawyers identify and adjust clauses without leaving the Word environment.  This presentation discusses the development and future of this helpful tool. 

How Cultural Differences Inspired My Entrepreneurship Experience, Nawon Kim (MSL '22)
How does a person who doesn’t know anything about business create a start-up and develop an entrepreneurial mindset? This presentation discusses my journey in the Entrepreneurship Lab class, and how I learned to find strength in cultural differences rather than to be derailed by them. 

[Omnibuster]: a Platform for Digesting Omnibus Legislation, Rory Fitzpatrick (MSL '22) & Vivien Lai (MSL '22)
Omnibus bills are difficult to navigate and require prohibitive amounts of cross-referencing; digesting them takes significant time and effort. [Omnibuster], a technology platform developed in the Law School’s Innovation Lab, is designed to make it easier for lawyers and the public to understand and navigate complicated legislation.

Privacy Law & Violations: What Star Trek Predicted and What it Teaches Us, Jill Woodman (MSL '22)
Privacy protections are already very limited in the United States, and we run the risk of having privacy limited even further if technologies continue to advance without adequate legal protections. This presentation uses examples from Star Trek – the sci-fi show that anticipated multiple scientific advances decades ahead of their time – to focus on legal protections for privacy in the US, including what constitutes a violation and what personal rights of action can be taken when a violation occurs. Learn more about how holodecks (augmented reality), biological samples, and HIPAA are treated in the future.

Responsible AI: Where Are We Headed?, Sravya Prabhala (MSL '23)
Several alarming concerns related to how AI systems are currently being used have us all wondering how we design the future in a way that ultimately brings about human-machine harmony. This presentation is an attempt to briefly introduce the motivation and a few milestones on the bumpy road to responsible AI.

The Challenges of Protecting Intellectual Property in Personalized Medicine, Spencer Stong (MSL '22)

This presentation will explore the challenges of patenting diagnostic medical technologies in a system that excludes natural phenomena as patentable material. We will also explore what IP options are best suited for protecting diagnostic medical technologies used for personalized medicine.

The Importance of Community-Based Health Care: What I Learned From the Dominican Republic and Clínica de Familia, Olivia Asimakis (MSL ‘22)
The Access to Health Project is a human rights endeavor in which different community partners join forces with interdisciplinary Northwestern students to create actionable solutions to unique challenges. As part of this project, I worked with public health, business, and law students in a partnership with Clìnica de Familia in La Romana, Dominican Republic, a comprehensive clinic that serves low-income and stigmatized communities.  Our team worked to deliver strategies to help Clìnica become more self-sustainable so that it can maintain its social mission and ensure that the populations it serves will not lose critical healthcare, even with a reduction in external funding.  This experience grew my interprofessional knowledge and heightened my ability to devise novel remedies for complex issues.


Toward Ethical AI: The Role of Soft Law, Rory Fitzpatrick (MSL '22)
Algorithms and their impact are pervasive and rapidly evolving. While legislation and regulation are slow to develop, "soft law" encompasses a complementary and flexible suite of tools that can be responsive to emerging trends. This talk will provide a high-level overview of the current landscape of algorithm governance and the role of soft law in that space.
 

The 3rd Annual MSL Symposium

The 2021 symposium, held May 6-7, 2021, featured a keynote address by Tadeu Carneiro, Chairman and CEO of Boston Metal and virtual poster presentations, during which 13 MSL students displayed their work and ideas on a variety of topics, ranging from artificial intelligence to medical device entrepreneurship.

2021 MSL Symposium Student Presentations:

AI Integration in Medicine: Case Studies and the Legal Challenges they Present, Dan Kinstedt (MSL ’21)
This presentation will explore three current AI use cases in the medical field – ranging from diagnostic to clinical trials – and the potential legal risks they pose. It will also cover prominent legal, regulatory, and ethical concerns, as well as prospective solutions. 

Analyzing Global Cosmetics Regulations, Aishwarya Raj (MSL '21)
This presentation will compare regulatory frameworks governing cosmetics in different jurisdictions.  It will look at the scope of regulations, how those regulations apply, and at the impact of regulations on product safety.

Analyzing the Performance and Value of 2020 Election Polls: How to Better Consume Polling Data, Stella Wu (MSL '21)
This presentation aims to answer the following questions:

  1. How divergent were the 2020 election polls from the actual result – where and why did such divergence occur?
  2. Was there any systematic bias in the polling, and if so, which candidate was most affected? 

By examining these questions, I hope to share advice on how to be a more informed consumer of data when interpreting and commenting on future election polls. 

Clinical Research Regulation – How Hollywood Can Help, Jill Woodman (MSL '22)
Clinical research has multiple layers of regulation designed to protect patients and ensure that their participation is safe, meaningful, and worthwhile.  Yet, Hollywood portrays clinical research as if it is a very unregulated and unsafe process, and this may hamper patient participation. If Hollywood were to accurately portray the process of clinical research, patients would better understand the protections and procedures and would be more likely to participate in the process of clinical research.

COVID-19, Depression, and the Public Health Implications, Brittanie Clarke (MSL '21), Erica Leser (MSL '21), and Nevena Aleksic (MSL '21)
The COVID-19 pandemic has broad implications for the future of public health. Through a quantitative analysis of current mental health data, we examine how different population groups were affected by the pandemic. Such an analysis allows us to anticipate future needs in health policy. 

Criminal Justice Policy and Racial Disparities: the Illinois Department of Corrections as a Case Study, Yasmine Ramachandra (MSL ’21)
This year, Illinois became the first state to abolish the cash bail system, and we know that other monumental reforms are on their way.  But what effect have past reforms had on shaping the prison system, and have they influenced population demographics? How can this analysis inform future advocacy? Please come to learn more about the effects Illinois criminal justice policy has had on inequalities in the system.

FullCycle: Our Entrepreneurship Journey to Diagnosing Endometriosis, Karyssa Clark (MSL ’21), Rakshitha Kamath (MSL ’21), Yasmine Ramachandra (MSL ’21), and Alexis Smith (MSL ’21)
This presentation will discuss FullCycle, a company that was born in the Entrepreneurship Lab class. FullCycle seeks to diagnose endometriosis early and non-invasively. We all know someone with endometriosis, so please come to learn more about an entrepreneurial approach that will address gaps in the care of this serious disorder.

Monitoring and Oversight of Clinical Trials: The Internal Audit Function, Kara Ferracuti (MSL '22)
Many entities facilitate proper monitoring and oversight of clinical trials, including the Food & Drug Administration, Institutional Review Boards, and sponsors. Even with all this oversight, clinical study teams need to do more to ensure they are in compliance with applicable rules and regulations. The internal audit function should be a standard part of clinical research to help identify non-compliance, ensure the protection of human research subjects, verify the accuracy and reliability of data, and improve site processes and staff training. 

MSL: A Year in Entrepreneurship, Elizabeth Bailey (MSL '21), Brent Halvorson (MSL '21), and Peter Lee (MSL '21)
Despite coming from varied experience and educational backgrounds, our team had a common interest in exploring the realm of entrepreneurship. Thanks to the innovative MSL curriculum and powerful program network, we were able to dive into the Chicagoland startup scene and discover new career opportunities and interests. In this presentation, we will highlight our entrepreneurial journeys through the MSL program.

Navigating Regulatory Waters: Confronting the Public’s Problem with PFAS, Madeline O’Dwyer (MSL ’21)
It is now estimated that 98-99% of humans have industrial PFA​S (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl Substances) in their blood. The EPA's proposed rule to address this problem is deficient, as it lacks proper testing methods and sampling decisions. Remedying the proposed rule requires the consideration of factors such as environmental justice, health of vulnerable groups, and the use of best available technology.

Shaping Healthcare Policy: Inserting the Voice of the Rare Disease Patient, Monica Weldon (MSL '22)
Rare diseases in the United States are an unrecognized public health burden; rare disease patients face delayed diagnoses, limited or non-existent treatment options, and lack of access to appropriate care.  The pathway to improving the landscape is including the patient voice and using it to mobilize legislation that will better address the needs of those with rare diseases.

Turning People into Trees: Advocating for Natural Rights in American Law, Michelle Carter (MSL ’21)
America is desperately searching for policy solutions to mitigate environmental damages as the climate crisis worsens. One solution is giving legal rights and personhood to natural features. This talk will introduce the basis for these rights, explain the history and current issues in natural policy, and outline the future of rights for nature in America.

Zero to One: A Medical Device Story, Kan-Min Steven Hsu (MSL '21), Kimberly Ransom (MSL '21), Vishal Shah (MSL '21), and Ian Welsch (MSL '21)
Our company, VIKS, is born out of the MSL Entrepreneurship Lab class. United by the desire to improve patient care, we merged our business, legal, and technical backgrounds to create a healthcare solution. This presentation is a behind-the-scenes look at our journey – from ideation to a product solution. 


The 2nd Annual MSL Symposium

The 2020 symposium, held May 8, 2020, featured virtual presentations, during which 17 MSL students displayed their work and ideas on a variety of topics, ranging from artificial intelligence to cannabis legalization.

2020 MSL Symposium Student Presentations:

Addressing the Rising Rates in Medical Malpractice, Radhika Raturi (MSL ’20)
This presentation focuses on medical malpractice and, in particular, on disparities in medical malpractice rates across jurisdictions. By exploring administrative, legal, medical, bureaucratic, and cultural frameworks, the presentation will attempt to shed light on this complex topic.  

AI: The Next Microwave Oven, Sanaz Zahedi (MSL ’20)
AI is a fast-emerging and captivating area of interest that is flattening the world. Despite major breakthroughs in AI, why are organizations not adopting it and what are the key barriers to the adoption of AI? 

Correlation Between Crimes and Proximity to Police Stations in the City of Chicago, Aaditya Rawal (MSL ’20)
This presentation explores crime data provided by the City of Chicago, using an algorithm that looks at the crimes and the distance from the closest police station in an attempt to discover interesting relationships found in the data.

Closing the Gap in Healthcare Disparities of African American Women in Cancer Clinical Trials, Bridgette McCullough (MSL ’20)
This presentation details the creation of a new company, Acirah, whose goal is to recruit, enroll, and monitor participation of African Americans in clinical trials. Acirah also aims to ensure that the African American community will be better served by existing healthcare delivery systems.

Deep Learning in Healthcare, Tiffany Zhao (MSL ’20)
Artificial intelligence and deep learning are at the forefront of modern technological innovation. From neural networks to ethics, this presentation covers the significance of deep learning and potential applications in healthcare.

Health and Human Rights: Access to Health Project, Orkidea Bajrami (MSL ’20), Amie Patel (MSL ’20) and Keerti Tadimeti (MSL ’20)
The interdisciplinary Access to Health Project (ATH) brings together students and faculty to work in consultation with marginalized communities to assess health needs, and to design a targeted, sustainable approach.  Our team served as ‘consultants’ to an organization that focuses on helping women and children in Greece; we looked at how cultural mediators can use technology to facilitate accurate information exchange between community workers and migrants.

International Team Project (ITP): My Big Fat Greek Economic Crisis, Winisha Smith (MSL ’20)
The International Team Project (ITP) course brings together students who undertake a semester-long research project focused on a particular country, culminating in field study work in that country.  Though the field study did not take place this year, this presentation focuses on the Greek economic crisis of 2009, providing an economic snapshot, a look at affected industries, brain drain, and the current state of Greece a decade later.

Out-of-Pocket Medical Costs for Disadvantaged Populations, Eric Ni (MSL ’20)
The study examines out-of-pocket healthcare costs within the United States healthcare model, specifically exploring three patient populations: older patients, diabetic patients, and individuals diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

Potential Benefits and Risks of Federal Legalization of Cannabis, Joe Parrish (MSL ’20)
This presentation explores opportunities and risks associated with federal cannabis legalization – both medical and recreational – in the United States, including an analysis of problems that could potentially be solved by cannabis legislation. 

Project Traffic Light: Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking in the Justice System, Eric DeChant (MSL ’20)
Victims of human trafficking are often arrested for crimes they are forced to commit. Using expert knowledge gleaned from senior judges, Project Traffic Light will demonstrate analytical tools built to help judges identify and extricate these defendant victims from lives of servitude.

Say What? Communicating to the Masses, Katherine Culbert (MSL ’20)
Technical information can be very informative, but it can also be very difficult to understand. This presentation shows how the same information can be presented in different ways, and how those different ways can affect the recipient’s understanding of the material.  This information is especially important to know when communicating complex technical information to those who do not have a technical background.

The Biotechnology Patent Landscape, Jill Crich (MSL ’20) and Cristina Craig (MSL ’20) 
Acquiring patent protection for biotechnology is a complicated process and the current patent law landscape poses many obstacles. We will explore the current challenges biotech firms face while trying to secure IP protection for their life-saving innovations, and also how current policies may dis-incentivize innovation in this area. 

Understanding the Healthcare Regulatory Process and Constraints, Aishwarya Raj (MSL ’20)
This presentation highlights the changing needs of the pharmaceutical industry as well as various regulatory timelines and stipulations for different pharmaceutical products.  The current COVID-19 pandemic will provide some context for this exploration.  

Venture Strategies through Case Examples, T. Alastair DeNova (MSL ’20)
A dive into strategies used by early-stage and evolving companies who aim to be at the forefront of the innovation economy. Presentation will cover companies in varying industries highlighted in the MSL course: Cases in New Venture Strategies. 


Inaugural MSL Symposium 2019

The Inaugural MSL Symposium featured a poster presentation session where students displayed their work on a variety of projects at this all-important intersection, a keynote address by Dr. Norbert Riedel, and live presentations from student projects on a range of topics, including artificial intelligence, genomic data, medical device entrepreneurship, health and human rights, and the space industry.