UW Today

This is an archived article.

July 19, 2000

Sharon Nelson to head Center for Law, Commerce and Technology

Sharon Nelson, chairwoman of the state Utilities and Transportation Commission from 1985 to 1997, has been named the first director of the University of Washington Law School’s Center for Law, Commerce and Technology.

The center was founded last year provide leadership in teaching, research and policy analysis in the legal aspects of emerging technologies, said UW Law Dean Roland Hjorth.

“We expect Sharon to take a program that is already cutting-edge and really place it in the forefront,” Hjorth said. “We’d been trying to recruit her for some time.”

Ed Lazowska, chairman of the UW’s department of computer science and engineering, called Nelson’s hiring “a gigantic coup” for the university.

Nelson, 53, hopes to draw scholars from throughout the university to research solutions to problems afflicting Internet information seekers and consumers.

“People in America assume that a system of laws will protect them,” Nelson said, “but this is all new terrain.”

Started in 1999 with funding from Microsoft, Boeing and the Washington Research Foundation, the center has helped state Attorney General Christine Gregoire launch a Cyber Clearinghouse and drafted a model law for electronic currency.

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For more information or to reach Nelson, contact Paula Littlewood, assistant law dean, at (206) 685-1998 or pcl@u.washington.edu.