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January 13, 2021 Columns

Message from the Chair

By Eric Y. Drogin

Glancing briefly at a stack of articles already turned in by our authors for the Winter 2021 issue of The SciTech Lawyer, I initially wondered if an apt title for my quarterly Message might be “Impending Doom.”

I abandoned this notion quickly, for two reasons. First, I recalled that the same title was rejected last summer for an article announcing my nomination as Section Chair. Second, I realized upon closer inspection that each of the articles you’re about to read contains not only a straightforward appraisal of the pandemic difficulties we currently face, but also—in true The SciTech Lawyer fashion—a host of practical solutions. For example:

Trust of Supply Chains: “Anti-tamper” concerns are apparently far from new, with complex, national security–oriented measures having been taken as early as World War I. This article describes a modern, pandemic-sensitive SoT (System of Trust) approach that encompasses consolidation of all risk sources, implementation of a streamlined method of risk substantiation, development of a profile-linked set of weighted concerns, and objective scoring of accumulated findings.

College-Reopening Plans: Surely I’m only one of a large number of SciTech members wondering if they’ll still be teaching in sweatpants by the time summer rolls around. This article explains how technology and data privacy laws will influence—and will need to adapt to—the utilization of “contact tracing,” which the CDC touts as a key pandemic containment strategy that identifies confirmed individuals who have come into immediate contact with persons already infected.

Public School Teaching: Speaking of reopening, we all know—especially those of us with school-age kids of our own—that colleges aren’t the only educational institutions grappling with this issue. The primary issue with public schools appears to be that of available resources, with an internet “access” gap that could cost as much as $11 billion to close, on top of another $1 billion to make sure every teacher can get connected as well. This article provides several recommendations that hold out “hope for the future.”

Legal Services Value Chain: I remember when, over twenty years ago, I left full-time hospital practice and went to great lengths not to advertise that for a time I was “working from home,” which at the turn of the century was often considered a euphemism for “between jobs.” How times have changed. This article outlines a number of practical steps for sustaining valid, effective representation from wherever we find ourselves, with a welcome emphasis on professional responsibility as well as financial viability.

All of this enables the current issue of The SciTech Lawyer to pull off that rarest of modern journalistic feats: a collection of articles that convince us even more good news may be just around the corner.

When you’re done reading, you can go to our Section’s homepage and scroll down to “SciTech Briefs—Short Videos about SciTech Topics,” where you’ll find a link to a video on FDA Emergency Use Authorizations that enable scientists and research companies to convey the latest pandemic treatment options to patients.

By the way, although the topic is addressed elsewhere in this issue of The SciTech Lawyer, I’d like to extend my personal congratulations to our AAAS colleague Deborah Runkle upon her impending retirement. Deborah has been a mainstay of our cherished National Conference of Lawyers & Scientists (NCLS) collaboration with AAAS for many years, and she will be greatly missed.

When it comes to these and all other things SciTech, I hope you won’t hesitate to contact me directly at (339) 200-9131, or at [email protected], if I can assist you in any way.

The material in all ABA publications is copyrighted and may be reprinted by permission only. Request reprint permission here.

Eric Y. Drogin


Eric Y. Drogin is a board-certified forensic psychologist and attorney serving on the faculties of the Harvard Medical School and the BIDMC Harvard Psychiatry Residency Training Program.