A BRIEF INTRODUCTION

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I study and teach about institutional governance at the University of Pittsburgh.

What does institutional governance mean?

I got my start in law, decades ago, as a corporate and commercial lawyer. Eventually I worked my way into a practice area that focused on problems facing technology clients in Silicon Valley. When I left law practice and became a law professor, I set myself up as an intellectual property and technology law researcher and teacher.

Many years (and books and papers) later, I now realize that intellectual property law is only one specific application of the general questions that I am mainly interested in.

Which are these: How (and why, and when) do the expressive and communicative practices and expectations of a diverse world come to be embodied in durable institutional and organization forms? When and how and why are those institutions beneficial? When are they costly, or harmful?

Stripped of academic jargon, that adds up to learning how social systems form and survive over time, given necessary and inevitable differences among individuals. How do we get more of the good ones and get rid of the bad ones? And how do we tell the one from the other? How do law and governance glue us together, shaping the institutions of social life?

Those questions lead me to look at lots of different things, to understand their similarities and differences. Because I take a broad view, I think that the organization of global football (soccer, to many) has something important in common with the rise of “Big Data”; with the history of research science; with post-industrial urbanism; with fair use in copyright law, the arts, and computer networks; and with modern leadership and management practices.

Welcome! Have a look around.