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Research Agenda

Our research agenda for legal priorities research is divided into three parts. In the first part, we argue that cause prioritization in legal research is both important and neglected, provide an overview of our philosophical foundations, and describe our methodological approach. In the second part, we present four focus areas (namely, artificial intelligence, biosecurity & pandemic preparedness, institutional design, and meta-research), identify promising research projects, and provide an overview of relevant literature. In the final part, we discuss two cause areas for further engagement (namely, space governance and animal law).

An updated edition of this research agenda will be published in 2024.

Legal Priorities Project research agenda cover
Download our research agenda

Main Priority

We believe that positively shaping the development of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the world's most pressing problems. Specifically, we think that some AI models—especially those which are general-purpose and exceed the capabilities of the current most powerful models—have the potential to produce substantial benefits, but also pose significant risks that must be managed through effective governance mechanisms. Legal expertise is required to design and implement policies that will ensure security, welfare, and the rule of law in light of advancing AI capabilities.

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Artificial Intelligence

Other Focus Areas

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Biosecurity & Pandemic Preparedness

Synthetic biology – for example, in the form of engineered pathogens – might be one of the major risks this century. Even though the current COVID-19 crisis has significantly increased the resources and attention dedicated to natural pandemics, risks due to engineered pandemics and other biotechnology remain relatively neglected – especially within legal research.

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Institutional Design

While other focus areas directly address specific fields, there are promising measures to tackle a wide range of problems indirectly. Since we may be unaware of some future threats or unable to address them now, it is desirable to improve our institutional capacity and capability to tackle many different future threats. This includes improving institutional design, judicial decision-making, and the impact, evaluation, and uncertainty of laws – especially with future generations in mind.


Recent Highlights

AI Insight Forum - Privacy and Liability

On November 8, our Head of Strategy, Mackenzie Arnold, spoke before the US Senate’s bipartisan AI Insight Forum on Privacy and Liability, convened by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. We presented our perspective on how Congress can meet the unique challenges that AI presents to liability law.

International AI institutions: A literature review of models, examples, and proposals

This literature review examines the range of institutional models that have been proposed as the basis for new international organizations focused on AI. It reviews and discusses these proposals under a taxonomy of seven distinct institutional models that have been offered by scholars and practitioners.

All Publications



Extreme climate change (upcoming new chapter of LPP research agenda)


See all our working papers on SSRN

Ongoing Research Projects

States must mitigate existential risk under international law

Experimental studies on the effectiveness of legal norms to reduce catastrophic risk

Legal priorities research (encyclopedia entry)

An empirical study of how law students perceive existential risk and concerns for future generations

The prospects of longterm impact litigation

Power to the future people: Designing longtermist political institutions

Longtermist institutional design and policy

Suggest a Research Project

We are compiling a list of research questions and projects that we or researchers in our network can work on. We welcome topics in any area of law as long as the project has a clear connection to law & AI. You can also refer to this document, which has examples of questions we can help answer. Anyone is welcome to submit suggestions.

We will evaluate each submission briefly and decide who—if anyone—could carry out the project. We will let you know if we decide to investigate your idea but might not always follow up otherwise.

We look forward to your ideas!

Suggest a project

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