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MSU College of Law

June 4, 2013

CONTACT: Kent Love, director of communications, 517-432-6959;

Michigan State Law Student Wins Adweek Award for Innovative Risk Analysis Software

Michigan State University College of Law student Kathleen Hennessy won a top award in Adweek’s Project Isaac competition for her innovative risk analysis software, Risk AD•Vantage, that she developed to assess the legal risk of advertisement claims. Hennessy’s “Legal Risk Calculus Software for Express Claims in Advertisements” won Best Research Invention in the Best Practice category.


Hennessy developed the software in response to new Federal Trade Commission requirements for businesses and advertisers with a presence in social media, digital, and mobile spaces. The new regulations can create conflict for companies that are not aware of the new regulations, how they are applicable, or do not have the time or resources to seek legal counsel. Risk AD•Vantage instantly reviews advertising claims by marketers and assigns them a risk percentage, allowing marketers and advertisers to review advertising communications in social media and digital spaces that often evade review of the legal team due to the instant nature of social media.

“Social media and mobile have revolutionized the way advertisers can solve the business needs and problems of their clients, and all that activity in the digital space has not gone unnoticed by the FTC,” said Hennessy. “This means that the FTC is going to start going after advertisers who work in digital space. I founded Risk AD•Vantage as a way for the advertising industry to adapt to these changes and evaluate expressed claims in ads with risk calculus software.”

The software contains a database of advertising rules, regulations, and case precedents that can be changed to reflect the fluidity of the regulations of today’s legal system. Users receive instantaneous feedback on the risk calculus with an explanation of the applicable rules and regulations governing a particular advertisement claim, thus giving the user the ability to make changes and lower the risk level.

Adweek’s Project Isaac Awards were conceived to cast a celebratory light on invention across all of Adweek’s areas of coverage. Nominations are accepted across 35 categories, divided into four brackets: Advertising and Marketing, Media, Digital and Best Practices. An independent panel of five jurors judge submissions in two rounds. Winners in each category receive a custom Adweek Project Isaac seal to use in email signatures and press materials, and will be profiled in an invention-themed issue of Adweek.

Hennessy developed the software and her website,, as a part of a new Entrepreneurial Lawyering class at the Michigan State Law taught by Professors Renee Newman Knake and Daniel Martin Katz. Hennessy has since earned her Juris Doctor degree as part of the May 2013 graduating class.


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