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Category: Conferences

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Live from the AALS Conference on New Ideas for Law School Teachers: Teaching Intentionally

Today is the first day of the AALS Midyear Conference on New Ideas for Law Teachers. Before commenting more substantively on the Conference itself, I want to ask this preliminary question: why are so few law professors from “elite” schools participating in the conference? There are approximately 150 professors registered for the Conference. By my count, only about 3 percent of those registered teach at law schools ranked within the “top 10″ according to US News & World Report (I am aware of the controversy associated with US News rankings, but have referenced them here for the sake of convenience.) Similarly, only about another 10 percent of the participants teach at law schools ranked within the “top 25″ according to the same US News ranking.

A causal observer might argue that the relative lack of participation by professors at “elite” law schools signals a lack of interest in teaching. Or an observer might say that professors at “elite” law schools already know how to teach well and therefore are unlikely to register for such a conference. But I think both of these arguments are far too facile. I believe that law professors at highly ranked law schools care deeply about teaching; and teachers at all levels can always benefit from sharing best practices. Instead, one arguent is that the difference in registration rates can be explained by the differing markets for law students. Arguably, schools in the “middle range” are incented to constantly improve and refine teaching methods because they compete against other schools in the same range directly on that basis. Upper tier schools, by contrast, are largely competing against each other in terms of branding and prestige of the institution.

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Labor and Employment Law Conference

Marquette University Law School will host the 2006 Colloquium on Current Scholarship in Labor and Employment Law on Friday, October 27, 2006. From the conference website:

The Colloquium offers an opportunity for labor and employment law scholars from around the country to present their works in progress or recent scholarship, to get feedback from their colleagues, and to have a chance to meet and interact with those who are also teaching and researching in the labor and employment law area. Although all participants are encouraged to present their scholarship, one need not present in order to attend.

More here, or to register, click here. The conference, interestingly, is the result of a blog post by Scott Moss (Marquette) and responses to that blog post from Paul Secunda (Ole Miss) and Joe Slater (U. Toledo).

4

Empirical Studies at ALEA

Bill Henderson (at the ELS Blog) has a very useful round-up of empirical papers presented at the recent ALEA conference. Blog-traveller Kate Litvak comes in for special praise:

Kate Litvak [presented] “The Effect of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on Non-US Companies Listed in the U.S.,” which was an extremely well-done event study that used a natural experiment approach to capture the market reaction to SOX (it was generally negative). In the last couple of years, Kate, who does not have a PhD, has spent a lot of time learning sophisticated econometric techniques. It really showed. Very impressive (and easy to follow) presentation.

To be frank, I’ve been quite skeptical of studies showing a negative relationship between SOX and equity prices, on several grounds: (1) my practice experience managing the creation of event studies that dealt with changing legal regimes suggested that results are rarely as robust as one might hope; (2)) the passage and eventual implementation of SOX were so attenuated that event studies would seem hard to perform; and (3) the debate is quite politicized, with folks already disposed to dislike federalization of corporate law leading the charge on the empirical front as well. But, having read Kate’s paper, I’m inclined to rethink my position. It is well-worth a read.

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The Harvard Bloggership Conference in a Nutshell

harvardlawschool.jpgI have returned from the bloggership conference at Harvard Law School. This conference has already been blogged about (big surprise), with Ann Althouse and Larry Solum live-blogging it and Michael Froomkin, in grand meta fashion, blogging about those blogging about the conference.

I thought I’d contribute to all this blogging by translating the conference into “blog” (the punchy to-the-point language of blogging). You can get everything you need to know about the conference from this post — absolutely free of charge. It’s as if you had gone to the conference yourself — only better, because I’ve saved you hours of time and engaged in extensive analysis to bring you the key points. [Warning: The summaries below are caricatures. Plenty of more serious commentary about the conference has already been done -- see the links above and below.]

INTRODUCTION:

Paul Caron: “Who are we? Why are we here?” Answer: we’re bloggers, and we’re great. [And we're here because of the free grub at Harvard.]

PANEL 1:

Doug Berman: Blogging brings us to the people; it is less hierarchical than normal scholarship — and it’s fun.

Larry Solum: Blogs are short, open source, and without mediation.

Kate Litvak: Blogging is akin to a “bugged water cooler” conversation; we should get a grip because blogging ain’t that revolutionary.

Paul Butler: The blog “is slapping legal scholarship in the face” and it brings power to the people.

Jim Lindgren: Why should we want to know whether blogging is scholarship?

Ellen Podgor: Everybody is right.

PANEL 2:

Gail Heriot: Blogging is fun and makes the academy less cloistered; 40% of law review articles never get cited — not even by their own authors — ouch!

Orin Kerr: The problem with blogs is tyranny — yes, tyranny — which is the result of the fact blogs are in reverse chronological order rather than focused around the best and most lasting posts.

Gordon Smith: Blogs connect you into the network.

Randy Barnett: Blogging can seduce you away from scholarship [don't be seduced to the dark side young Skywalker], but blogging can help advertise your stuff.

Michael Froomkin: We should blog more about law review articles we like. [But can we find enough?]

More below the fold.

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Harvard Bloggership Conference

harvardlawschool.jpgI’m very excited to be participating next week in the conference Bloggership: How Blogs Are Transforming Legal Scholarship at Harvard Law School.

Paul Caron (law, Ohio State) of TaxProf Blog (and king of the Caron blogging empire) has put together a terrific array of speakers, including well-known bloggers such as Eugene Volokh, Glenn Reynolds, Ann Althouse, Orin Kerr, Larry Ribstein, Michael Froomkin, Christine Hurt, Larry Solum, Ellen Podgor, Doug Berman, Howard Bashman, Paul Butler, and many more.

The conference is on Friday, April 28th at Harvard Law School from 8:30 AM to 5:15 PM.

I’m on a panel which includes Glenn Reynolds, Eugene Volokh, Eric Goldman, and Betsy Malloy. I’m fairly certain I’ll come up with something to disagree with them about!

I’ll also be among a group of bloggers hanging around for the bloggers-meet-readers event that Eugene Volokh is organizing for Thursday, April 27th at 9PM. Eugene Volokh has the details here, along with a list of bloggers who plan to attend.

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Reparations Conference at TJSL

I’m happy to announce an upcoming conference in which I will be a participant. On March 17th and 18th, the conference Taking Reparations Seriously will be held at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The conference includes a number of exciting speakers (including former Co-Op guest-blogger Al Brophy).

Information on the conference is as follows:

Taking Reparations Seriously

Friday, March 17th, 2006 2:00 – 5:00 PM Room 200 (reception to follow)

Saturday March 18th, 2006 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM

More detailed scheduling information is available online at www.tjsl.edu/reparations.

This conference will bring together experts from around the country to discuss the many issues arising from the debate over reparations for slavery. Conference speakers will discuss slavery and reparations as well as other instances of mass injustice, and how these mass offenses relate to broader themes such as justice, causation, group responsibility, moral culpability, racism, and forgiveness. From “reparations talk” to reparations reality, we invite you to join us as we focus on taking reparations (more) seriously.

This conference will include three panels:

Why Reparations Matter

Jack Greenberg, Columbia Law School

Roy L. Brooks, University of San Diego School of Law

Robert Westley, Tulane Law School

Kaimipono David Wenger, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Theorizing Reparations

Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Michigan, 14th District

Alfred. L. Brophy, University of Alabama School of Law

Margaret Chon, Seattle University School of Law

Eric J. Miller, St. Louis University School of Law

Perspectives on Reparations

Paul Finkelman, University of Tulsa College of Law

Rebecca Anita Tsosie, Arizona State University College of Law

Linda M. Keller, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

K.J. Greene, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

The conference will be supported in part by the Thomas Jefferson Law Review, the Center for Law and Social Justice, and the Center for Global Legal Studies. Portions of the conference proceedings will be available in the Thomas Jefferson Law Review.

Registration is available online at http://www.tjsl.edu/reparations .

If anyone has any questions about the conference, feel free to ask me through e-mail or in comments.

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Orly Lobel at TJ

lobelo.jpg I just had the pleasure of listening to Orly Lobel’s talk here at TJ, “Sleeping with the Enemy or Effective Public Management?: Government/Industry Cooperation for Promoting Workers’ Rights.” Her talk was loosely based on her forthcoming article in the Administrative Law Review, Interlocking Regulatory and Industrial Relations, The Governance of Workplace Safety.

Orly presented three major ideas: First, that a diversification in the forms of safety regulation could increase the effectiveness and legitimacy of governance; second, that principles needed to be developed for evaluating the effectiveness of shifts away from command and control; and third, that legal boundaries between labor and adminitrative law regimes have important effects on the ability to implement new types of governance. For examples of how these ideas work in real life, she discussed regulatory reforms in Maine, as well as a nationwide, voluntary safety certification program. Orly is an engaging speaker, and I found her presentation — on a topic about which I know next-to-nothing — to be interesting and informative. And I’ve made a mental note to keep an eye on her scholarship, which is a fun mix of empirical work and theoretical discussion.

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Some guys have all the luck

Gordon Smith discusses an upcoming conference in cultural studies, to focus on:

tabloidization and the neutralization of the political; the personal as political; hypocritical Puritanism; the defense by offense; vast right wing conspiracies; “outing” as a political tactic; scandal amnesia; “spin” and tactical framing; true evil beneath the compassionate, Christian front; why nothing makes a difference; left tactics and despair; the politics of denial and shame; business secrecy vs. personal secrecy; liberal vs. conservative secret lives; sexual dysfunction in conservatives; Laura Bush’s private life; scholarly muckraking and shockjocking.

Alas, I won’t be able to attend this one. (Professional commitments interfere). And to make things worse, I doubt that I’ll be able to hold a similar conference here. I keep telling the faculty that it’s time to hold a symposium on vast right wing conspiracies, conservative sexual dysfunction, and Laura Bush’s private life. Alas, so far they keep telling me that they prefer to hold conferences about IP and international law.