Original Seminar on the Law of the Newly Possible

From NewlyPossible.org

Page Overview

This page contains an abridged syllabus and the weekly reading and writing assignments (as announced) for the original 2015 and 2016 Law of the Newly Possible seminar at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Detailed outlines for each week's in-class activities are available but omitted from this page. For Bryant Walker Smith's relevant publications, please visit Publications.

Course Overview

Welcome to Technology Law: Law of the Newly Possible! This course examines how law responds to, incorporates, and affects the development of new technologies. The seminar addresses questions of risk and regulation from both public and private perspectives. It considers a range of currently emerging technologies as well as historic innovations that offer insights into anticipating and resolving key legal and policy tensions. Readings are excerpted from source documents, academic and technical literature, and current drafts of bills and standards. All students are expected to actively contribute during class and to critically reflect through regular response papers.


  1. Relate legal and technological developments to each other and to broader social, cultural, political, and economic changes
  2. Understand the roles of uncertainty, responsibility, and authority
  3. Assess the utility of analogies to previous emerging technologies
  4. Appreciate technical perspectives and proficiencies
  5. Perform and critique cost-benefit analyses within appropriate systems
  6. Analyze legal issues from a variety of public and private perspectives
  7. Articulate policy rationales for particular legal and technical approaches
  8. Recognize key legal issues regarding regulation, liability, data, competition, and intellectual property, among others
  9. Acquire practical skills relevant to public and private sector legal work


  1. Try!
  2. Prepare
  3. Respect others
  4. Challenge yourself
  5. Comply with the honor code
  6. Behave like the lawyer you will become
  7. If you have concerns (general or specific), talk with me


  1. Do it
  2. Have fun with it!
  3. Try to give the class something to talk about for fifteen minutes each week
  4. Communicate with your colleagues (by listening and responding)
  5. Otherwise: Make arrangements in advance


  1. Do it
  2. Think about what you’re reading
  3. Think about what I’m asking
  4. Prepare at least five points, questions, analogies, or ideas for each class
  5. Otherwise: Make arrangements in advance


  1. Do it
  2. Cite your sources
  3. Target your audience (assume a corporate counsel or a legislator)
  4. Assume your papers will be shared
  5. Otherwise: Make arrangements in advance


  1. Law school is stressful
  2. The practice of law is stressful
  3. Your emotional and physical health matters
  4. Please use the university and community resources available to you

Sensitivity of subject matter

  1. Recognize and respect that your colleagues’ experiences may be different than your own
  2. Some students may be personally familiar with the kinds of tragedies, biases, and conditions present in our materials
  3. If you have concerns about particular topics, I invite you to talk with me


Welcome to class! In your assigned groups, identify:

  1. The ten most important innovations before industrialization
  2. The ten most important innovations since the start of industrialization
  3. The ten most important innovations in the last 15 years
  4. What you think will be the ten most important innovations in the next 15 years
  5. What you think will be the ten most important innovations in the next 50 years

Use the full time. That means asking the kinds of questions that a lawyer would ask, identifying your assumptions, challenging and defending your choices, and preparing your presentation.

Early Law of the Early Railroads

In our second week we will explore, as an historical case study, the rise of railroads in the 19th century.

Your assignment consists of two parts: reading and writing.


Read the following excerpts (per the page ranges indicated):

  1. The course syllabus (posted on TWEN)
  2. The Honor Code of the University of South Carolina School of Law
  3. Early American Railroads, http://www.ushistory.org/us/25b.asp
  4. Paul Stephen Dempsey, Transportation: A Legal History, 30 Transp. L.J. 235, 247-69 (2003)
  5. Allison Brownell Tirres, Lawyers and Legal Borderlands, 50 Am J. Legal Hist. 157, 157-99 (2008-10)
  6. James L. Hunt, Ensuring the Incalculable Benefits of Railroads: The Origins of Liability for Negligence in Georgia, 7 S. Cal. Interdisc. L.J. 375, 375-425 (1998)
  7. John M. Kleeberg, From Strict Liability to Workers' Compensation: The Prussian Railroad Law, the German Liability Act, and the Introduction of Bismarck's Accident Insurance in Germany, 1838-1884, 36 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 53, 53-72, 98-101, 121-22 (2003)
  8. Gary T. Schwartz, The Character of Early American Tort Law, 36 UCLA L. Rev. 641, 651-52 (1989)

Focus on the broader themes and contrasts rather than on the particulars of any one jurisdiction.

As you read, consider:

  1. What areas of the law (such as torts) do these readings reference?
  2. What legal tools (such as eminent domain) did the public and private actors of the time use to advance their goals?
  3. What relationships do you see between 19th century legal development and 19th century railroad development?
  4. Was law driving technology, or was technology driving law? How clear are the causal relationships?
  5. What drivers other than law and technology are also relevant? How clear are these causal relationships?
  6. Which legal and technological outcomes seem inevitable, and which seem path-dependent?
  7. What ethical problems are apparent? Does anything trouble you from these readings?
  8. What seems similar to today? What seems different? How useful are railroads as an analogy for today's challenges?


Identify an example in your previous legal coursework of (a) technology affecting law or (b) law affecting technology. Explain and discuss.

Technical Competence

In our third week we will consider how the technical and legal realms overlap in understanding, categorizing, and standardizing the newly possible. Your assignment (reading and writing) is as follows:

  1. Choose an emerging technology of interest to you (e.g., self-driving cars, drones, ridesharing platforms, "big data"). You may find the lists we generated in week one to be useful.
  2. Locate a variety of materials (popular, technical, legal, policy) about this technology. Several excellent non-law databases are available at http://libguides.usc.edu.
  3. Critically read a selection of the materials you found. Are they (including their authors and sources) credible? Are they consistent? Do they use similar terminology? Do they contain claims or assumptions that are suspect, speculative, overly broad, or beyond the likely subject-matter expertise of the author (e.g., legal claims in a technical article or technical claims in a legal article)?
  4. Explore the diversity within the technology you selected. In what ways is that "technology" actually a diverse set of "technologies"? What kind of categories, distinctions, and ranges can you identify? For example, 19th Century rail transportation encompassed different engine types, payload types (passenger or cargo), and market types (interstate or intrastate), to name just a few.
  5. Consider whether and, if so, how this diversity is legally relevant. What categories, distinctions, and ranges could or should matter the most to judges, regulators, and lawyers? Might one manifestation of the technology raise different legal issues than another manifestation?
  6. For the paper you submit, draw on this analysis to create a legally useful taxonomy for your technology. Identify and define key terms, describe key categories/criteria/axes, and explain the potential legal relevance of each. Graphics are welcome! Any existing taxonomies you draw on should be cited (as always) and critiqued. Your analysis should be thoughtful, but it need not (and indeed will not!) be comprehensive.
  7. Read section 3.2 of The Role of Autonomy in DoD Systems, http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dod/dsb/autonomy.pdf (criticizing efforts to develop levels of automation). Do you agree?
  8. Read Tyler R.T. Wold, Existing in a Legal Limbo: The Precarious Legal Position of Standards-Development Organizations, 65 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 807, 807-16 (2008).
  9. Skim International standards and "private standards" (February 2010), http://www.iso.org/iso/private_standards.pdf.
  10. Read Stephen D. Crocker, How the Internet Got Its Rules (April 6, 2009), http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/07/opinion/07crocker.html.

For those who are interested, a recent story on the efforts by some states to restrict information about their lethal injection procedures contained two relevant anecdotes: "To understand why reporters are so interested in digging up records on new lethal injection protocols—and perhaps why state officials are so eager to hide them—consider Mike Oakley, the former general counsel for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. According to court filings, Oakley said his research on midazolam included 'WikiLeaks or whatever it is.' Or take Dr. Roswell Evans, whom the state of Oklahoma presented as an expert witness on midazolam in a 10th Circuit case challenging the constitutionality of its execution protocols. Evans testified that, although midazolam wasn’t commonly used as an anesthetic, it functioned like one at high enough doses. In a dissenting opinion to a 5-4 Supreme Court decision rejecting a last minute appeal to halt Warner’s execution, Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted that Evans’ sourcing was, shall we say, a little thin. 'In contending that midazolam will work as the State intends, Dr. Evans cited no studies, but instead appeared to rely primarily on the web site Drugs.com,' Sotomayor wrote."

Valuing Life

Your work for this week is substantial: A four-part reading assignment of some 170 variously dense pages plus a two-part writing assignment with which I expect you to struggle.

Please consider beginning this reading early and splitting it up over several days. While you should closely read the case, regulation, and bill in part three, you may give a lighter treatment to the materials in parts one, two, and four.

Reading Part One

  1. Read Mark Dowie, Pinto Madness, Mother Jones (Sept/Oct 1977), http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1977/09/pinto-madness [18 printed pages over two webpages]
  2. Read Gary T. Schwartz, The Myth of the Ford Pinto Case, 43 Rutgers L. Rev. 1013, 1013-47 (1990-91), available at http://www.pointoflaw.com/articles/The_Myth_of_the_Ford_Pinto_Case.pdf [34 pages as abridged]

Reading Part Two

  1. What is today's equivalent to $200,725? See Measuring Worth, http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/ [1 page]
  2. Read Curtis W. Copeland, How Agencies Monetize “Statistical Lives” Expected to Be Saved By Regulations (March 24, 2010), http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/R41140_20100324.pdf [40 pages] (you may skim pages 18-33)
  3. Read Ceri Phillips, What is a QALY? (April 2009), http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/painres/download/whatis/qaly.pdf [5 pages]
  4. Read Peter J. Neumann, Joshua T. Cohen, and Milton C. Weinstein, Updating Cost-Effectiveness — The Curious Resilience of the $50,000-per-QALY Threshold (August 28, 2014), http://www3.med.unipmn.it/intranet/papers/2014/NEJM/2014-08-28_nejm/nejmp1405158.pdf [2 pages]

Reading Part Three

  1. Read Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs v. von Eschenbach, 495 F.3d 695 (D.C. Cir. 2007), available at http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/cadc/04-5350/04-5350c-2011-03-24.html [34 pages, including the dissent]
  2. Read Expanded Access to Investigational Drugs for Treatment Use, Code of Federal Regulations Part 312 (2012), http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2012-title21-vol5/xml/CFR-2012-title21-vol5-part312-subpartI.xml [5 pages]
  3. (If you've never read a Federal Register notice, you may want to review Expanded Access to Investigational Drugs for Treatment Use, 74 F.R. 40900 (August 13, 2009), http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2009-08-13/pdf/E9-19005.pdf [46 pages -- but wholly optional])
  4. Read Colorado House Bill 14-1281, http://www.statebillinfo.com/bills/bills/14/1281_enr.pdf [7 pages]
  5. Read Jann Bellamy, The illusions of "Right to try" laws (March 6, 2014), http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-illusions-of-right-to-try-laws/ [8 pages]

Reading Part Four

  1. Read Chris Taylor, Space travel is dangerous. There will be no tourists (October 31, 2014), http://mashable.com/2014/10/31/space-tourism-danger/ [9 pages]
  2. Read Craig Whitlock, Near-collisions between drones, airliners surge, FAA reports show (November 26, 2014), http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/near-collisions-between-drones-airliners-surge-new-faa-reports-show/2014/11/26/9a8c1716-758c-11e4-bd1b-03009bd3e984_story.html [8 pages]

Writing Part One

Concisely summarize parts one, two, and three of the reading above. (You must read, but need not summarize, part four.) A paragraph for each is sufficient.

Writing Part Two

Determine how much you value your own life. This will likely involve some examination of safety tradeoffs you make, have made, or would be willing to make. If you need a place to start, check out http://www.wikihow.com/Calculate-Human-Life-Value. Document your analysis, including any conceptual, mathematical, or empirical roadblocks that you encounter.

Legality and Regulation


  1. Bryant Walker Smith, Automated Vehicles Are Probably Legal in the United States, 1 Tex. A&M L. Rev. 411, 411-19 (2014), http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2303904
  2. Segway, Regulatory Information, http://www.segway.com/support/regulatory.php
  3. Letter from Alberto Gutierrez, Food and Drug Administration to Ann Wojcicki, 23andMe (November 22, 2013), http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2013/ucm376296.htm
  4. European Commission, Communication from the Commission on the precautionary principle (February 2, 2000), http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/;ELX_SESSIONID=zMhZJWdPnTDxG7wF3TG0s9RLM1vQ9tG6LsJQ5hnYSWvgYNY7p9GP!1416721804?uri=CELEX:52000DC0001
  5. Department of Transportation, Exemption No. 10072, Partial Grant of Exemption, http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2009-1087-0009
  6. Department of Transportation, Terrafugia, Inc.; Grant of Application for Temporary Exemption, 76 Fed. Reg. 38270 (June 29, 2011), http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-06-29/pdf/2011-16222.pdf
  7. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) letters, e-mails, or other written or electronic warning / cease and desist communications re: use of unmanned aerial vehicles, 2012-2013, http://www.governmentattic.org/15docs/FAA-UASwarnings_2012-2013u.pdf (read any two letters)
  8. Huerta v. Pirker, National Transportation Safety Board (November 18, 2014), https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1363270-5730.html
  9. Settlement Agreement, Re: Raphael Pirker, 2012EA210019, http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/pirkerdeal.pdf
  10. Federal Aviation Administration, Section 333, https://www.faa.gov/uas/legislative_programs/section_333/
  11. American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo, Inc., 134 S.Ct. 2498 (2014), http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-461_l537.pdf
  12. Aereo, A Letter to Our Consumers (last visited February 1, 2015), https://www.aereo.com, also available at https://web.archive.org/web/20150130103153/https://aereo.com/
  13. Patrick Hoge, Uber's global battles multiply (interactive graphic) (January 9, 2015), http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2015/01/ubers-global-battles-multiply-interactive-graphic.html


As local counsel for Uber, you have just received notice of the following:

Write a legal memorandum outlining your client's options.

Liability and Litigation


  1. Kyle Graham, Of Frightened Horses and Autonomous Vehicles: Tort Law and Its Assimilation of Innovations, 52 Santa Clara L. Rev. 1241 (2012), http://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1170&context=facpubs
  2. Bryant Walker Smith, Proximity-Driven Liability, 102 Geo. L.J. 1777 (2014), http://ssrn.com/abstract=2336234
  3. NASA Report on Toyota Unintended Acceleration Investigation (Executive Summary) (January 18, 2011), http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nvs/pdf/NASA_report_execsum.pdf
  4. NHTSA Report on Toyota Unintended Acceleration Investigation (Executive Summary) (February 2011), http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nvs/pdf/NHTSA_report_execsum.pdf
  5. Toyota, 'Tin Whiskers' and Other Discredited Unintended Acceleration Theories (January 24, 2012), http://toyotanews.pressroom.toyota.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=3321
  6. Exponent, Analysis of Toyota ETCS-i System Hardware and Software xix-xxii (Executive Summary) (September 12, 2012), http://pressroom.toyota.com/article_download.cfm?article_id=3597
  7. Michael Barr, Killer Apps: Embedded Software's Greatest Hit Jobs (April 1, 2014), http://www.barrgroup.com/files/killer_apps_barr_keynote_eelive_2014.pdf
  8. Optional: Testimony of Michael Barr in Bookout v. Toyota (October 14, 2013) (note that the cross-examination begins on page 220 of the PDF), http://www.safetyresearch.net/Library/Bookout_v_Toyota_Barr_REDACTED.pdf
  9. US Department of Justice, Justice Department Announces Criminal Charge Against Toyota Motor Corporation and Deferred Prosecution Agreement with $1.2 Billion Financial Penalty (March 19, 2014), http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-announces-criminal-charge-against-toyota-motor-corporation-and-deferred



(You may choose which state's law to use for your analysis.)

Data Ownership, Access, Protection, and Discovery


  1. United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Suggested Protocol for Discovery of Electronically Stored Information (ESI), http://www.mdd.uscourts.gov/news/news/ESIProtocol.pdf
  2. U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, Standard Specifications for Production of ESI and/or Hard Copy as Images and Text, http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/f297500/297578.pdf
  3. McAlonan v. Tracy, 2011 WL 6125 (N.J. Sup. Ct. 2010), parts I (background), II.C (event data recorder)
  4. About the Data, https://aboutthedata.com/ (registration is not required as part of this assignment)
  5. Lois Beckett, Everything We Know About What Data Brokers Know About You (updated June 13, 2014), http://www.propublica.org/article/everything-we-know-about-what-data-brokers-know-about-you
  6. Stephanie Armour, Borrowers Hit Social-Media Hurdles (January 8, 2014), http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304773104579266423512930050
  7. If you have a Facebook account:
    1. Log in to Facebook, move your cursor over an ad (“Sponsored”), hover there until a small X appears in the upper right corner of the ad, click the X, select “Why am I seeing this?”, select “Manage Your Ad Preferences”, and then review what Facebook thinks you like
    2. You Are What You Like, http://youarewhatyoulike.com
    3. Digital Shadow, http://digitalshadow.com
  8. If you have any kind of Google account:
    1. Google Ad Settings, http://www.google.com/settings/ads/
    2. Google Maps Location History, https://maps.google.com/locationhistory
    3. Google Search History, https://www.google.com/history/
  9. If you have an iPhone, iPhone Tracker, http://petewarden.github.io/iPhoneTracker/
  10. Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis, The Right to Privacy, 4 Harv. L. Rev. 193 (1890)
  11. Arvind Narayanan and Vitaly Shmatikov, Privacy and Security: Myths and Fallacies of “Personally Identifiable Information” (June 2010), https://www.cs.utexas.edu/~shmat/shmat_cacm10.pdf
  12. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Privacy Policy Guidance Memorandum (December 29, 2008), http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/privacy/privacy_policyguide_2008-01.pdf
  13. U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Marketing Your Mobile App: Get It Right from the Start (April 2013), http://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/marketing-your-mobile-app-get-it-right-start
  14. Mark Scott, “Right to be Forgotten” Should Apply Worldwide, E.U. Panel Says (November 27, 2014), http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/27/technology/right-to-be-forgotten-should-be-extended-beyond-europe-eu-panel-says.html


Write and analyze three potential privacy policies for the Amazon Echo: http://www.amazon.com/oc/echo

Note: Once you've watched https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkOCeAtKHIc, you may enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GijLoiVkmYI

Guest Speaker: Prof. Sarah Montgomery

Market Disruption and Competition Policy

  1. Download Air Media from the Course Materials and install it on your laptop.
  2. Read Charles Weiss and William B. Bonvillian, Complex, Established "Legacy" Sectors: The Technology Revolutions That Do Not Happen, innovations vol. 6 no. 2 at 157 (2011).
  3. Read US Federal Trade Commission, Guide to Antitrust Laws, http://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-antitrust-laws.
  4. Read Ronald A. Cass, Antitrust for High-Tech and Low: Regulation, Innovation, and Risk, 9 J.L. Econ. & Pol'y 169 (2013).
  5. Read Eric Posner, Why Uber Will--and Should--Be Regulated (January 5, 2015), http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/view_from_chicago/2015/01/uber_surge_pricing_federal_regulation_over_taxis_and_car_ride_services.html.
  6. In class you will roleplay a particular senator or witness in a simulated hearing on net neutrality. Please see the announcement below for your particular randomly assigned role; trading roles is acceptable. You will give an opening statement of no more than three minutes and then either ask or answer committee questions. You may use visual aids.
  7. Your writing assignment is to prepare an internal memorandum on net neutrality for the person you will roleplay.

Intellectual Property


  1. WIPO Patent Drafting Manual, 3-24 (2007), http://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/en/patents/867/wipo_pub_867.pdf
  2. Jonathan Coopersmith, Pornography, Technology and Progress, Icon vol. 4 at 94-125 (1998), http://history.tamu.edu/faculty/coopersmith/coopersmith%20personal/pornography%20technology%20and%20progress.pdf
  3. Kate Darling, IP Without IP? A Study of the Online Adult Entertainment Industry, 17 Stan. Tech. L. Rev. 655 (2014)


Prepare questions for Daniel Nazer

Guest Speaker: Daniel Nazer

Law Enforcement Technologies

Lecture by Professor Seth Stoughton. No reading or writing assignments.

Advising Startups


  1. Austin Carr, The $3.2 Billion Man: Can Google's Newest Star Outsmart Apple? (October 2014), http://www.fastcodesign.com/3035239/innovation-by-design-2014/nest-hatches-a-connected-home-boom
  2. Walt Metz, 5 Written Communication Skills for In-House Counsel (December 18, 2013), http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/5-written-communication-skills-for-in-ho-63647/
  3. Walt Metz, Part of the Fabric: How an Internal Law Department Can Add the Most Value to a Company (December 2, 2013), http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/part-of-the-fabric-how-an-internal-law-78179/
  4. Walt Metz, Servant Leadership for In-House Legal Counsel (May 12, 2014), http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/servant-leadership-for-in-house-legal-co-93381/
  5. Walt Metz, The Traits of Effective In-House Counsel (July 9, 2014), http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-traits-of-effective-in-house-counsel-26565/
  6. Nest Developer Program, https://developer.nest.com (including the video)
  7. Nest Developer Terms of Service, https://developer.nest.com/documentation/cloud/tos (read this very carefully!)
  8. Twitter Developer Agreement & Policy, https://dev.twitter.com/overview/terms/agreement-and-policy (read this very carefully!)


Answer each of the following IN OUTLINE FORM.

  1. Assume you just received an offer to be an in-house counsel. What questions would you ask the company to help you make a decision about whether to take the job? If you accept the offer, what things would you do to prepare for the job before you start?
  2. Describe the techniques you would use to convince a CEO or a Board that a decision is wrong. How does your answer change if you think the decision could violate a law or regulation?
  3. You have just been assigned to be the lawyer on a big deal to strike up a partnership with another company. What are things you would do to prepare for the deal?
  4. How would you use an outside counsel’s advice in guiding you to make a decision for the company you work for?
  5. Pick three words that you think describe the value lawyers provide to a company. Why did you pick each of these words?

Guest Speaker: Vineet Shahani



  1. Nicholas W. Allard, The Seven Deadly Virtues of Lobbyists: What Lawyer Lobbyists Really Do, 13 Election L.J. 210 (2014)
  2. Justin Pritchard, How Google Got States to Legalize Driverless Cars (May 30, 2014), http://news.yahoo.com/google-got-states-legalize-driverless-cars-052640902--finance.html
  3. Connected Vehicle Case Study (distributed separately)

Optional Materials

  1. Adam Thierer & Brent Skorup, A History of Cronyism and Capture in the Information Technology Sector, 18 J. Tech. L. & Pol'y 131 (2013)
  2. How an (Autonomous Driving) Bill Becomes Law (November 8, 2012), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx6D55poYdk

Group Writing

Palmetto Mobility, Inc. Request for Proposals (RFP): Government and Community Relations


PMI is [not actually] soliciting proposals from qualified firms interested in providing legislative and regulatory services for a proposed network of shuttles operating on and around the campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina.


Palmetto Mobility, Inc. (PMI) is [not actually] a joint venture between the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina (USC) and Unter, Inc. to propose, implement, and operate a system of fully automated shuttles for the USC community. USC is a major public university founded in 1801 and one of only 40 such universities nationwide to earn the Carnegie Foundation’s top-tier designations in both research activity and community engagement. Unter is a privately held technology services company based in San Jose, California.

Since a series of public competitions sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the mid-2000s, ground vehicle automation technologies have progressed rapidly. These technologies include driverless shuttles, which are designed to operate at low speeds without any real-time input or even monitoring by a human operator. Initial deployments, such as Heathrow’s PRT system as well as CityMobil’s pilot projects, were limited to exclusive right-of-ways. However, more recent concepts, like Induct’s Navia, are intended to operate in mixed traffic on specific roads or shared-use paths.

PMI plans to develop and operate an on-demand shuttle system to connect major parking structures, dormitories, and classroom buildings on campus as well as the Five Points, Main Street, and Vista business districts. PMI intends to pursue, and believes that current technologies enable, a permanent system that uses a variety of roads and paths, including those under the jurisdiction of USC, the City of Columbia, and the State of South Carolina. However, PMI will consider alternative or intermediate deployment strategies necessitated by legal and prudential considerations. Pursuant to an existing agreement, PMI must initiate shuttle services no later than January 10, 2016, must achieve several specific performance benchmarks over the course of the 2016 calendar year, and must average at least 20,000 passenger-hours per month during the Spring 2017 academic semester.

Scope of Services

The successful respondent will recommend and implement a legislative and regulatory strategy that enables PMI to lawfully develop and operate the automated shuttle service described above, including but not limited to (a) providing strategic advice on government and community relations; (b) identifying, engaging with, and representing PMI before lawmakers and other key officials at the local, state, federal, and university levels; (c) identifying key legislative, regulatory, and funding challenges and opportunities; (d) drafting legislative and regulatory language; and (e) providing regular updates on relevant issues. The initial contract term will be for six months beginning July 1, 2015.


The successful respondent will have relevant experience in the public and private sectors, including the demonstrated ability to create meaningful policy synergies.


The successful respondent will provide written documentation of all relevant activities on a monthly basis, will provide weekly updates in person or by phone, and will otherwise communicate as needed with or at the direction of PMI.

Proposal Elements

Proposals must be (a) received no later than 10:00pm Eastern on April 1, 2015; (b) clear, succinct, and no more than ten numbered pages, including the cover letter and any appendices; and (c) responsive to the following elements:

  1. Qualifications: Summarize the qualifications of each member of the proposed team.
  2. Substantive project approach: Identify key issues, challenges, and opportunities.
  3. Relational project approach: Summarize the results of a preliminary power mapping.
  4. Schedule and compensation: Estimate project hours and costs.


Interviews will be conducted on Thursday, April 2, 2015 with the three highest-scoring respondents. These respondents will each provide a 10-minute presentation addressed to key legislative, regulatory, and other strategic considerations. Respondents will also answer questions during and following the presentation.

Additional Information

Pursuant to the RFP process, PMI will accept questions through 9:00am Eastern on April 1, 2015 and may, at its discretion, provide responses thereafter.

Legal Reform


Critically review all of this course's readings, papers, discussions, and exercises. Note key themes, tensions, challenges, and opportunities.


Can today's law (including rules, norms, processes, practices, institutions, and relationships) handle tomorrow's innovation? What should change? Why? How?