Ryan Whalen

JD/PhD Candidate - Northwestern University

Welcome to ryanwhalen.com. I'm a JD candidate at Northwestern Law and a PhD candidate in the Media, Technology & Society program. I'm advised by Professor Noshir Contractor, director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) research group.

My research interest areas include innovation policy, information policy, intellectual property, and legal technology. I'm especially interested in computational analysis of legal systems and demonstrating ways to inform policy design via empirical analysis.

I'm Canadian born, where I did my BA(hons) in history at Saint Mary's University. Prior to moving to Chicago to study at Northwestern I completed my MA at National Chengchi University in Taipei. Before I ever attended university I worked around the world as a juggler, actor and entertainer.

Below you will find some recent blog posts, details about some of my research, and my contact details.

Recent Blog Posts

Mar 0
Mar 0

The Supreme Court Advocacy Network

This is the third (and likely last for a while) in a series of legal network posts. The first explored legal academic co-authoring relationships. The second mapped the law prof twitter network. Below you’ll find a network representing the advocacy relationships between lawyers who have argued cases at the Supreme Court. For some years now, […]

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Jan 0
Jan 0

The Law Prof Twitter Network 2.0

This post has been updated from the previous one located here. I left the previous post up so that anyone interested in changes over time can see the previous results.  There are about 50 more profs in the network now. Interestingly, in just the past few days the structure of the law prof twitter network has […]

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Jan 0
Jan 0

The Law Prof Twitter Network

Following recent discussions about the importance of blogging/tweeting to contemporary academia (see: LSE via TaxProf), and Bridget Crawford’s Law Prof Twitter Census (version 3.0) over at TheFacultyLounge, I thought I’d do some number crunching and network building. I wrote a short script to read all of the law prof twitter handles included in the census and […]

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Sep 0
Sep 0

Top coauthors in legal academia.

The role that collaboration plays in creativity and the production of knowledge is an major focus of my recent research. As such, I’m generally interested in patterns of collaboration. Having mostly wrapped up the fall submission season and participated in selecting the last articles that I will help select for the Northwestern University Law Review, I found myself wondering about patterns […]

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News & Research

My work uses computational social science methods to explore questions relevant to those interested in the law and innovation policy. My research is data-driven and relies extensively on computational methods, network analysis and natural language processing. You'll find details below on some selected presentations, publications, and activities
  • 2015

Will the Agencies Ever Go Marching In? Public Rights in Federally-Funded Inventions, 109 NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW.

  • 2014

Bad Law Before it Goes Bad: Citation Networks and the Life Cycle of Overruled Precedent, in NETWORK ANALYSIS IN LAW, Radboud Winkels et al. eds., ESI Law, Science & Technology Series.

Served as Editor-in-Chief of the Northwestern University Law Review

Attended the Virtual School of Computational Science and Engineering (VSCSE) Data Intensive Summer School

  • 2013

Modeling Annual Supreme Court Influence: The Role of Citation Practices and Judicial Tenure in Determining Precedent Network Growth, in COMPLEX NETWORKS, A. Evuskoff et. al eds., Springer Verlag Studies in Computational Intelligence Series.

The U.S. Government as an Interagency Network, 4 INTERAGENCY JOURNAL 69

Attended the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) Complex Systems Modeling and Networks course

  • 2012

“Legal Complexity: Measuring complexity within the Supreme Court precedent network and predicting network growth,” invited talk at Argonne National Laboratory – Laboratory for Advanced Numerical Simulation.

“Organizational structure as a multiplex network: The case of the US federal government.” International Communication Association. Phoenix, AZ.

“Reconceptualizing Precedent Depreciation: Using tree network growth to measure and compare court decisions.” International Network for Social Network Analysis. Redondo Beach, CA.

  • 2011

"Government Agency Network Discovery via Hyperlinks and Datalinks,” WebSci, Koblenz, Germany (with Ding Li, Noshir Contractor, & Deborah McGuinness).

Attended the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Large Scale Network Analysis course