Flying solo: Technology takes aim at co-pilots

Aircraft pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright had to resort to a coin toss to decide who would attempt the first powered flight, but almost all modern aviation relies on at least two pilots in the cockpit. That could soon change, as airlines and planemakers develop new technology that would rely to a greater extent on automation and eliminate the need for a co-pilot. … Whether passengers will be willing to use a single-pilot plane depends largely on cost, according to Ashley Nunes, a research fellow at Harvard Law School.“For the average consumer, cash is king. If the price is low enough, you’re going to catch that flight,” he said. “The saga with the Boeing 737 MAX is a great example of this; in the aftermath of that particular event, large groups of consumers said, ‘We’re not going to fly that plane.’ And guess what? They’re flying it today.” But reducing the number of pilots on board may not in fact drive down airlines’ costs and allow them to offer cheaper flights, Nunes warned: “There are numerous industries where you remove the human, your costs actually increase because of the amount of safety oversight that is required for the technology.”

Starbucks: Purveyor of Fresh Coffee and Stale Union-Busting

Op-ed by Terri Gerstein, Director, State and Local Enforcement Project: One of the most interesting union campaigns in recent years is happening right now in Buffalo, New York. Workers in three Starbucks outlets started a union organizing effort over their concerns about seniority pay, scheduling, staffing levels, and safety and health during COVID (plus, at one store an infestation of bees was left festering for months). Earlier this month, the National Labor Relations Board mailed ballots to the workers in these stores, who will have four weeks to vote on whether to unionize with Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. If they do, these stores would be the first unionized locations among the ubiquitous chain’s thousands of U.S. locations.

Eric Adams vows to return donations from president of Brooklyn for-profit college as investigations mount of sexual misconduct claims

Incoming mayor Eric Adams sought to distance himself Monday from a Brooklyn for-profit college president who was recently reinstated despite allegations of serial sexual misconduct as Gov. Hochul vowed an investigation into the “deeply disturbing situation.” An Adams spokesman promised to look into returning $4,000 in campaign contributions from ASA College president Alex Shchegol and his wife following a Daily News expose. At least 10 women have accused Shchegol of sexual misconduct…

The News reported exclusively Saturday that Shchegol — forced out by the college’s board in 2018 when the misconduct allegations surfaced — is back in charge after using his power as owner to fire board members who opposed his reinstatement. …

Higher education experts warned that accreditors often move slowly and don’t have law enforcement power to compel colleges to produce or preserve documents.

“Accreditors are notorious for never cutting anyone off,” said Eileen Connor, the director of the Predatory Lending Project at Harvard Law School.

Will Associates Benefit From Early Career Milestones?

Sidley Austin, taking a page from other professional service industries, recently announced that it is doling out new titles to associates based on seniority as a way to better reflect “where” associates are in their career. With indicators showing the the track to partnership only lengthening, is there value in providing more waypoints toward the coveted counsel or partnership promotion?

“There is a long gap between associate and partner, so in some ways it makes sense to create and acknowledge with titles different levels of role. That can help with retention, assuming that the titles are meaningful,” Harvard Law professor Scott Westfahl said.

For Rules in Technology, the Challenge is to Balance Code and Law

The first time the Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig told computer scientists they were the unwitting regulators of the digital age — about 20 years ago — he made a coder cry. “I am not a politician. I’m a programmer,” Mr. Lessig recalls her protesting, horrified by the idea.

Now, the notion that “code is law”— from Mr. Lessig’s 1999 book “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace” — does not shock young engineers or lawyers, the professor says. To digital natives it is “obvious” that technology dictates behavior with rules that are not value neutral.

100 Notable Books of 2021

Say It Loud!: On Race, Law, History, and Culture By Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law: This collection of essays offers a full portrait of Kennedy’s thinking as a law professor and public intellectual, demonstrating his commitment to reflection over partisanship, thinking over feeling.

If Roe v. Wade Goes, What Next?

Podcast featuring Jeannie Suk Gersen, John H. Watson, Jr. Professor of Law: Will the Supreme Court Overturn Roe v. Wade? Critical cases on abortion rights are being heard by a 6–3 majority of conservative Justices. The decisions will have repercussions for everyone of childbearing age.

100 Notable Books of 2021

On Juneteenth, By Annette Gordon-Reed, Carl M. Loeb University Professor: In a book that is part memoir, part history, Gordon-Reed (who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for “The Hemingses of Monticello”) recounts her continuing affection for her home state of Texas, despite its reputation for violence and racism, writing that “the things that happened there couldn’t have happened in other places.”

Rittenhouse verdict flies in the face of legal standards for self-defense

An op-ed by Ronald S. Sullivan, Jesse Climenko Clinical Professor of Law: In a two-week trial that reignited debate over self-defense laws across the nation, a Wisconsin jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse for shooting three people, two fatally, during a racial justice protest in Kenosha. …

As a professor of criminal law, I teach my students that the law of self-defense in America proceeds from an important concept: Human life is sacred, and the law will justify the taking of human life only in narrowly defined circumstances.

The law of self-defense holds that a person who is not the aggressor is justified in using deadly force against an adversary when he reasonably believes that he is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. This is the standard that every state uses to define self-defense.