Faculty, friends, and colleagues gathered at the Lowe Art Museum on April 4 to recognize University of Miami School of Law Professor A. Michael Froomkin, who was awarded the Laurie Silvers and Mitchell Rubenstein Endowed Distinguished Professorship for the 2010-2011 academic year. At the ceremony, Froomkin lectured on “Lessons Learned Too Well: The Evolution of Internet Regulation,” which provided an overview of his distinguished scholarship, which spans more than 20 years.
“I am very honored to be awarded the Laurie Silvers and Mitchell Rubenstein Endowed Distinguished Professorship,” said Froomkin, who is the second recipient of the award. Last year the professorship was awarded to the late Professor Bruce Winick, who was the founder and director of Miami Law’s Therapeutic Jurisprudence Center.
Froomkin, an Internet and administrative law expert who writes primarily about Internet governance, electronic democracy, and privacy, founded Jotwell: The Journal of Things We Like (Lots), an online journal (www.jotwell.com) where legal academics can identify, celebrate, and discuss the best new legal scholarship. He is also a founder-editor of ICANNWatch and serves on the editorial board of Information, Communication & Society and of I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society. He serves on the advisory boards of several organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and is a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.
Before becoming a faculty member at Miami Law, Froomkin practiced international arbitration law in the London office of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. He clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, and Chief Judge John F. Grady of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois.
“The law school is fortunate, indeed, both to have Michael Froomkin on its faculty and to have Laurie Silvers and Mitch Rubenstein make it possible to honor and support the work of our most distinguished faculty,” said Dean Patricia D. White, who also acknowledged Froomkin as a professor who is richly deserving of this recognition. “We appreciate the intelligence and perspective that you bring to all that we do,” she said, addressing an audience that included UM President Donna E. Shalala and the husband-and-wife team of Silvers and Rubenstein, whose generosity established the professorship at the School of Law. Silvers, who graduated from Miami Law in the ’70s, is also a UM trustee.
Together, the former practicing attorneys have become media entrepreneurs. In 1981 they established Rubenstein & Silvers, a law firm specializing in entertainment, cable television, and broadcasting law. They are co-founders of the Boca Raton-based Hollywood Media Corp., a leading Internet provider of entertainment news, information, and ticketing services. The couple also founded and ran cable television’s Sci-Fi Channel from its 1989 inception until its 1992 sale to USA Network.
Friends at the event took the time to reflect on Professor Froomkin’s integral role in defining and structuring the laws that govern the Internet.
“Michael looks at the Internet in a holistic way, not just in terms of what it can give us,” said Cindy Cohn, a legal director and general counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Michael walks his talk.”