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May 09, 2024 Get the SciTech Edge

The Intersection of Science and Technology Innovation and the Law

Membership and Diversity Committee News

Joanne Charles

What really matters when we consider civic engagement is more than passive membership; a true connection to a community of practice requires active and involved assoctiation. Addressing the intersection of scientific practice, technological innovation and evolving regulation, the mission of the ABA Science & Technology Law Section is to provide leadership on emerging issues.

The ABA’s 35 Sections offer members opportunities develop their legal skill through publications and continuing legal education programming. SciTech Committee members support programs and attend meetings to enhance their professional development. Whether the meetings are virtual or in-person, they support professional growth, providing opportunities to learn and network.

Our Section’s commitment to education is most prevalent in the consistent and dynamic programming it offers members. In the past year, the section has offered members a number of ways to engage and connect. In April 2024, the Section hosted its inaugural Science & Technology Law Section Spring Meeting in Bethesda, Maryland. It joins the list of dynamic programming the Section offers including podcasts and publications from books to journals.

Committee programming and member resources are just some of the ways that the Section provides thought leadership. Our resources can focus in meaningful ways on important and timely topics especially artificial intelligence and machine learning’s influence on technology as well as the practice of law. Members can rely on these resources for critical analysis and practical application. We are proud to have the SciTech Section Chair Laura Possessky and many other SciTech Section leaders as members of the ABA’s Task Force on the Law and Artificial Intelligence.

Despite recent challenges to principles on diversity, equity and inclusion, this Section’s commitment to DEI remains firm. Diversity in the legal profession promotes the public’s perception of an equal and fair judicial system and encourages thoughtful legal strategies which ultimately results in new and innovative ideas. The ABA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Center’s Affirmative Action Path Forward Series is a great resource.

Members get the most out of membership when they make their voices heard. For members who are seeking get more involved, there are subcommittees that can provide more focus to your practice needs, including Privacy, Security and Emerging Technologies, Life Sciences, and Law Student Engagement just to name a few. SciTech also connects experienced practitioners and new-to-practice attorneys for mentoring and networking opportunities.

Ultimately, the Section seeks to promote sound policy and public understanding on issues that impact the careers of Section members and the ABA members at large. We invite you to learn more about how you can get the most out of your membership.

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Joanne Charles

Gilead Sciences

Joanne Charles is chair of the MAD Committee and associate general counsel at Gilead Sciences. Her work focuses on AI, privacy, and data ethics. Prior to joining Gilead, Joanne was senior corporate counsel in Microsoft’s Corporate, External and Legal Affairs Department.