Monday Morning Message 9.3.19 New frontiers for legal jobs

Posted 2019-09-03 9:00am


“The more we go out there and spend time out there, all the things we do here are going to happen in space.” – C|M|LAW Professor Mark Sundahl, New York Times, August 23, 2019

Since Monday was Labor Day, this message is about the new frontiers of law, labor, and work.

When our son, Jason, graduated from college, we asked him the question many parents ask their children, “what do you want to do with your life?” Jason said something I never would have thought to say to my parents. He said “Mom, Dad – what I want to do hasn’t been invented yet.”

We are educating and training our students at CSU Cleveland-Marshall for jobs and careers that don’t yet exist, using technologies that have not yet been invented, to address challenges and opportunities that most people don’t yet even recognize.

There is no better example of this than our Global Space Law Center. C|M|LAW is the only law school in the country with a center dedicated exclusively to the study of the law of outer space.

Professor Mark Sundahl, Director of our Global Space Law Center, was recently featured in a New York Times story, How a Bitter Divorce Battle on Earth Led to Claims of a Crime in Space. 

The article centers on a bitter separation between NASA Astronaut Anne McClain and her estranged spouse, Summer Worden. Ms. Worden noticed that Ms. McClain seemed to know about her spending habits, even though the two were estranged.  After some investigation, Ms. Worden's bank reported that her account had been accessed by a NASA computer network. Astronaut McClain, who was serving on a mission on the International Space Station, acknowledged that she had accessed the bank account from space.

The article turned to our own Professor Sundahl, who observed "he was not aware of any previous allegation of a crime committed in space."  NASA officials likewise stated that they were unaware of any crimes committed on the space station. Professor Sundahl noted, "Just because it’s in space doesn’t mean it’s not subject to law."

Professor Sundahl also commented on the complexities raised by the discovery process in this context: "One potential issue that could arise with any criminal case or lawsuit over extraterrestrial bank communications is discovery: NASA officials would be wary of opening up highly sensitive computer networks to examination by lawyers, for example. But those sorts of legal questions, he said, are going to be inevitable as people spend more time in outer space."

Professor Sundahl was also recently interviewed by Public Radio International (PRI) about the challenges of law enforcement in space. Who Governs Space? Professor Mark Sundahl on PRI

We provide our students with the rare opportunity to study the laws related to the expanding commercial space industry. From crimes in space, to space tourism and reusable rockets, to satellite megaconstellations and asteroid mining, our Global Space Law Center provides a multi-faceted educational ecosystem for the next generation space lawyer.

As the Director of the Center, Professor Mark Sundahl not only trains the next generation of space lawyers, but also provides his students with the opportunity to directly influence the evolution of space law by working with him as a member of our Center’s student-staffed Research Council Our students conduct research that is ultimately used by the United Nations, NASA, the Department of State, and the FAA, along with other entities. Last year, our Research Council assisted the Hague International Space Resources Governance Working Group in creating a new legal framework to govern the fair allocation of natural resources on celestial bodies. 

Space-based business revenues are currently at $350 billion per annum and expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2040. As the space industry continues to grow and turn today’s dreams into the jobs of the future, the ever-growing number of private space enterprises and governmental agencies will need knowledgeable and creative lawyers to resolve the complex legal issues that will arise.

I am proud that many of these lawyers will be graduates of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University.

*This Week’s Monday Moment: HBO/Vice/Council on Foreign Relations Special Report on the Future of Work

Note: Our hearts break for the victims of Hurricane Dorian and for the victims of still another senseless and tragic mass shooting, this time in Odessa, Texas.

For copies of past messages, please go to this link: Monday Morning Messages

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 My views in all my Monday Morning Messages are my personal views alone and do not reflect the views of our law school or our university.

My best,


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