News and Commentary Archive

Explore recent scientific discoveries and news as well as CLBB events, commentary, and press.


The Center for Law, Brain & Behavior puts the most accurate and actionable neuroscience in the hands of judges, lawyers, policymakers and journalists—people who shape the standards and practices of our legal system and affect its impact on people’s lives. We work to make the legal system more effective and more just for all those affected by the law.

Kevin Prussia, JD, Partner, WilmerHale, is an experienced litigator and trial lawyer representing leading life sciences and technology companies on intellectual property and other areas of commercial disputes. Mr. Prussia has experience across every aspect of trial and appellate practice, including bench and jury federal trials, International Trade Commission investigations, Patent Trial and Appeal Board proceedings, and appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. He is a true “stand-up” litigator who has handled challenging witness examinations and oral arguments for clients in high stakes litigations. He has successfully tried cases to verdict and has counseled numerous clients through complicated settlement discussions.

More than a litigator, Mr. Prussia’s practice encompasses strategic advice and opinion work. He counsels clients regarding FDA issues, patent-portfolio evaluations, and licensing strategies.

Outside of the courtroom, Mr. Prussia is a prominent member of the Boston legal community. He has served on the Board of Directors for the ACLU of Massachusetts for eight years and was President of the Board from 2015-2019. Mr. Prussia is a member of the Boston IP American Inn of Court and was previously a part-time faculty member at Boston University School of Law, where he taught a seminar in the Legal Writing Program.

Mr. Prussia has a deep pro bono practice. He currently represents a class of individuals in a high profile immigration case against the Department of Homeland Security. He is also a monitor for one of the country’s oldest consent decrees governing the hiring practices of entry-level police and firefighters in communities across Massachusetts. At the firm, Mr. Prussia is a member of the Boston office Hiring Committee and is a member of the Executive Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

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Judge (Ret.) Andre M. Davis, JD is Circuit Judge (ret.) of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and City Solicitor (ret.) of the Baltimore City Department of Law. Davis received his B.A. in American History from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D., with honors, from the University of Maryland School of Law. Upon graduation from law school, he completed oneyear clerkships on the U.S. District Court in Baltimore and on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Thereafter, he served as an appellate attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington and as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, where he handled both civil and criminal cases. He later was in private practice and, from 1984 until 1987, he was an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Maryland School of Law. Since 1994, he has been a member of the volunteer faculty of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, where he also served as a member of, and for a one-year term, chair of the faculty council. He is a frequent lecturer on aspects of civil and criminal practice for legal and judicial education and training entities. During a thirty-year judicial career starting in 1987, Davis served as an Associate Judge on the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City; as an Associate Judge on the Circuit Court for Baltimore City; as federal district judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland; and as a federal appellate judge on the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 16 Davis has been active in numerous national and international judicial and legal education and Rule of Law training programs, including the Einstein Institute for Science, Health and the Courts; the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience; and the Federal Judicial Center. His keen interest in how advances in technology improve the work of courts prompted his six-year tenure on the Committee on Information Technology of the Judicial Conference of the United States. In September 2017, Davis retired fully from service as a judge to become City Solicitor, as Head of the Law Department, of his beloved hometown, Baltimore. There, he managed a department of approximately 110, including 70 lawyers, who represent the City in all civil legal matters. In his role as counsel to the Baltimore City Police Department, he was at the forefront of the City’s implementation of the federal court consent decree requiring broad reforms. He retired as City Solicitor in February 2020.

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Paul Butler, JD, Paul Butler is the Albert Brick Professor in Law at Georgetown University Law Center and a legal analyst on MSNBC.  During the 2017-18 academic year he was the Bennett Boskey Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School.  He holds an honorary Doctor of Law Degree from City University of New York. 

Professor Butler is one of the nation’s most frequently consulted scholars on issues of race and criminal justice. His work has been profiled on 60 Minutes, Nightline, and The ABC, CBS and NBC Evening News. He lectures regularly for the American Bar Association and the NAACP, and at colleges, law schools, and community organizations throughout the United States.  He serves on the District of Columbia Code Revision Commission as an appointee of the D.C. City Council. 

Professor Butler’s scholarship has been published in many leading scholarly journals, including the Georgetown Law Journal, Yale Law Journal, Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review and the UCLA Law Review.  He was named the Professor of the Year award three times by the GW graduating class. He was elected to the American Law Institute in 2003.  Professor Butler’s book “Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice” received the Harry Chapin Media award.

His book “Chokehold: Policing Black Men” was published in July 2017. The Washington Post named it one of the 50 best non-fiction books of 2017.  Chokehold was also named one of the best books of the year by Kirkus Reviews and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  The New York Times described Chokehold as the best book on criminal justice reform since The New Jim Crow.  It was a finalist for the 2018 NAACP Image Award for best non-fiction.

Professor Butler served as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, where his specialty was public corruption.  His prosecutions included a United States Senator, three FBI agents, and several other law enforcement officials. Professor Butler is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.

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Avis E. Buchanan, JD, Director, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. As the director of PDS, Avis E. Buchanan provides defense and related legal and non-legal services to people charged with crimes in the local District of Columbia courts who cannot afford to hire an attorney. After graduating from Michigan State University and Harvard Law School, Ms. Buchanan worked as a law clerk for the late Honorable Theodore J. McMillian of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. In 1982, Ms. Buchanan joined PDS as a staff attorney, doing criminal defense work for six and a half years. For the next 13 years, Ms. Buchanan served as staff attorney, director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Project, and then director of Litigation at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, where she was primarily responsible for litigating individual and class action employment and public accommodations cases in various federal and local courts. Ms. Buchanan rejoined PDS in 2002 as its deputy director, and was selected to serve as PDS’s director in 2004. Ms. Buchanan has received many awards for her work, including: 2018 Celebration of Service Award; 2016 Thurgood Marshall Award; 2014 Presidents’ Award for Public Service; 2012 Wiley A. Branton Award; and the 1998 Edwin D. Wolf Award.

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Joan Belkin, a former first grade teacher, has championed the cause of caring for malnourished children.  In 1994, the Belkins created a benefit dinner they named Food for Thought.  The proceeds went to Boston Medical Center’s Grow Clinic which treats children with a condition called failure to thrive.  The Belkin family was instrumental in setting up Boston Medical Center’s Food Pantry which is the only hospital-based food pantry in the country.  The pantry teaches low-income families how to choose and prepare healthy food and provides in-home nutritional assessments of their children.   Joan is a Hoffman Institute Board Member, a Grow Clinic for Children at Boston Medical Center Advisory Board Member, a former ADL Executive Committee Member and former Weston Public Schools Parent Advisor.  Joan received her BS in Child Development at Cornell in 1969 and Master’s in Education from Wheelock College.  Joan taught in both the New York City and Boston Public School systems. 

Together, Steve and Joan Belkin have served on the boards of numerous charitable organizations.  Their generosity has touched many people and organizations.  Working with the Anti-Defamation League, they sponsored an annual trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC for 15 years to help build unity and understanding.  Through this endeavor, they brought over 2,000 community leaders, students, teachers and people of all denominations to the Museum to learn about the devasting effects of discrimination. 

Joan and Steve have received the following honors:

– Temple Beth Elohim:  Tikkun Olam Award, 2015

– Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps:  Embracing the Legacy Award, 2010

– Human Relations Services:  Community Service Award, 2009

– ADL:  Distinguished Community Service Award, 2003.

– Reach Out and Read National Center:  Literacy Champion Award, 2002

– New England Assoc. of Healthcare Philanthropy:  Distinguished Service Award, 2001

– Cornell University College of Human Ecology:  Alumni Award for Outstanding Volunteerism, 1998

Joan and Steve Belkin met as students at Cornell University in 1966 and have been married for 49 years.  They have two married daughters and five grandchildren and have resided in Weston, MA for over 45 years.  Through their philanthropy, they have devoted their lives to giving back to the community and making a difference to others.

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