ENGINEERING NEWS

Deans Call for Engineering and Law Collaboration in Chronicle Op-ed

Deans write that rapid advances in technology should encourage engineers and lawyers to bridge the gap between disciplines

Engineers and lawyers may approach problem-solving from different perspectives, but Northwestern Engineering Dean Julio M. Ottino and Pritzker School of Law Dean Daniel B. Rodriguez believe the two professions can provide mutual guidance to help navigate the increasing number of legal controversies stemming from today’s technological innovation.   

Julio M. OttinoIn a recent op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Ottino and Rodriguez argue that rapid advances in technology should encourage engineers and lawyers to bridge the gap between the two disciplines. For lawyers, that means collaborating with engineers early in the innovation process by offering expertise on ethical considerations and legal precedent. Conversely, engineers must make an effort to learn about the law’s role in clarifying engineering goals.  

Ottino and Rodriguez both see universities as a gateway to strengthened collaboration between engineering and law, citing Northwestern’s NUvention courses as examples of experiential learning that brings together students from different disciplines and academic backgrounds at the University. 

“We need a dynamic partnership between law and engineering, a constant dialogue,” said Ottino and Rodriguez, “to think of questions about the application of law to new technology and the impact of new technology on law.”

Read the editorial in The Chronicle of Higher Education.