Site Meter

Category: Conferences

0

Asking the “Right” Questions

Over the weekend, I attended a thought-provoking conference put on by the Discrimination Research Group, graciously hosted by Deborah Rhode at Stanford. There were a number of disciplines represented, including economists, psychologists, sociologists, and business school faculty. The conference was interesting because it put the explanations of “why” to the side for the moment, and instead focused on providing the “how” of empirically documenting some of the outcomes in employment discrimination cases. From the lawprof side, I especially enjoyed the insights of Tanya Hernandez (GW) on diverse workplaces and Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson), who commented on the international aspects.

For me, though, and I’m still putting this together for myself, one of the “bigger picture” insights coming out of the conference was about values, change, and paradigm shifts. It started with the subject of the conference, employment discrimination, and asking whether diversity improves the bottom line. In other words, on purely an economic basis, can a “business case” be made for diversity in the workplace? The example used at the conference – an intriguing one, I think, especially because I teach business associations as well as employment law – is the shift to “green businesses” to create further economic gains. But is a shift to “green business” for the sake of further economic growth a mask for any kind of change? If the point of having green businesses is just to increase consumption of other sorts, then perhaps the paradigm itself is flawed. Do we only save the environment when it’s good for business, or do we do this at other times when it requires sacrifice because there are other values that matter? The same set of questions, I think, can be asked in relation to diversity at work.

4

Why This Profession Is Great a.k.a. Thank You Tulane and WIP IP

I just returned from the Works In Progress Intellectual Property Conference at Tulane. It was excellent. The IP crowd never fails to satisfy across a range of metrics from panel comments to individual feedback to dinner conversation about scifi, fantasy, film, and more. Glynn Lunney, Elizabeth Townsend-Gard, and Tulane were our gracious hosts and I’d like to say thank you, thank you, thank you. As Mike Madison once put it, these types of conferences get you jazzed up (he said that at Peter Yu’s winterfest). Add being in New Orleans and the description is even more apt. Just being around folks who love their work and want to help each other with constructive comments feeds the academic soul. So to all the junior folks out there, find a way to present your work. Internal presentations, works-in-progress conferences, street corners (O.K. maybe not), wherever you can present your ideas; do so. The talk forces you to distill the paper into a coherent whole. Just practicing the talk reveals flaws or problems in logic or places needing support. It is challenging and can be tough, but sharing your ideas usually leads to more good than bad results especially if you feed the system by reading your colleague’s work and share your thoughts with them. The joy of the give-take-give, give-take-give, give-take-give is contagious.

It may be that finding such a great venue is difficult. Now, I am not saying that no other area has such conferences (my guess is they do and I do not know about them, in which case share the names please). Still I know a few folks who have said they admire the way WIP IP and similar conferences operate but have not found analogs in their field. Solution: Just do it. Find a few peers and start a small workshop. Maybe it will start a wave of open workshops and conferences where junior and senior faculty mix it up. One warning: If you build it, it will grow. I would place a fairly large bet on that. Just look at the history of WIP IP. Glynn Lunney and Michael Meurer created the conference in 2003. The idea was to emulate a “protocol that was common in the field of economics, but relatively unknown in the field of law at the time. Specifically, rather than invite speakers and request presentations related to a specific topic within the field of intellectual property, the WIP IP Colloquium allows any scholar working in the field of intellectual property to present their current research projects in order to obtain feedback on their work.” As I understand it, attendance has grown significantly since the conference’s inception. Similar IP conferences such as IPSC, which Depaul, Cardozo, Berkeley, and Stanford host, and Peter Yu’s IP Roundtable are excellent examples of the way these conferences begin and evolve. Take a look. You may find a model to copy or come up with a new variation for your field. For that matter, you may come up with a model for others to follow. Either way it will be worth the effort.

So, again, many thanks to those who took the time to build these conferences and offer opportunities for us. It is an honor to be part of this group.

1

Fourth Annual Conglomerate Junior Scholars Workshop

Head on over to the ‘Glom, which is hosting the Fourth Annual Junior Scholars Workshop. One paper this week is about governance of VC-backed firms, and the lineup of commentators is terrific. I’ll be dropping by next week, to talk about James Park’s paper on materiality.

The JSW is always a substantive, interesting, conference, and one of the few “general interest” corporate law forums out there. Congratulations to Christine Hurt and her fellow bloggers, who have once put together a great event.

1

The Corporate Law Conference.

What and where is the major annual corporate law conference?

This weekend, the American Law & Economics Association is holding its annual meeting in New York at Columbia with a program featuring – depending on how you count – six or seven corporate and securities law sessions. But the majority of sessions are not on these topics; they focus, instead, on torts, litigation, property, labor, IP, &c.

The annual Canadian Law & Economics Association features a very similar format, as do regional associations (e.g., Midwest Law & Economics Association).

The AALS annual meeting has a session for corporate law and one for securities law – but, of course, they are only small components in an otherwise huge and ecumenical program. Something similar is true for the Law & Society Association.

Is there an enormous yet oddly shy corporate conference out there – or is this a curiously large gap in the academic calendar?

Computers, Freedom, and Privacy

computers.jpg

I just wanted to announce that the preliminary program for the 2008 Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference (in New Haven, CT) has been announced. The theme this year is “Technology Policy ’08,” and it includes several topical panels for the election year:

Presidential Technology Policy: Priorities for the Next Executive

States as Incubators of Change

Activism and Education Using Social Networks

Network Neutrality: Beyond the Slogans

Discounted early bird registration closes this Friday, but general registration is open until 5/23. The conference is also looking for bloggers!

Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference

As a member of the Program Committee, I just wanted to post this announcement for CFP. This has been a great conference and I’m sure this year’s will be a terrific event. Note that the deadline for Panel, Tutorial, and Speaker proposals is March 21, 2008.

COMPUTERS, FREEDOM, AND PRIVACY: TECHNOLOGY POLICY ’08

18th Annual CFP conference

May 20-23, 2008

Omni Hotel

New Haven, CT

CALL FOR PROPOSALS

This election year will be the first to address US technology policy in the information age as part of our national debate. Candidates have put forth positions about technology policy and have recognized that it has its own set of economic, political, and social concerns. In the areas of privacy, intellectual property, cybersecurity, telecommunications, and freedom of speech, an increasing number of issues once confined to experts now penetrate public conversation. Our decisions about technology policy are being made at a time when the architectures of our information and communication technologies are still being built. Debate about these issues needs to be better-informed in order for us to make policy choices in the public interest.

Open participation is invited for proposals on panels, tutorials, speaker suggestions, and birds of a feather sessions through the CFP: Technology Policy ’08 submission page. More details below.

Read More

0

Missouri v. Holland, in Missouri

I spent the end of last week at the University if Missouri-Columbia, attending a great conference organized by Peggy McGuinness, on the (in)famous case of Missouri v. Holland. There, of course, Justice Holmes wrote for the Supreme Court, holding that Congress could enact legislation otherwise beyond its constitutional authority, in furtherance of a duly-enacted treaty obligation.

With a great line-up of panelists and a fascinating set of underlying issues to explore, we had what I thought was a fantastic day-and-a-half of discussion. In particular, and perhaps appropriately, we spent a substantial amount of time assessing the continuing significance of the decision, given the dramatic expansion of Commerce Clause authority since it was handed down in 1920. There is, of course, the “loaded-gun” notion that the very availability of the expansive authority invited by the decision constitutes a substantial threat. Likewise, one might question whether the Court’s decisions in Lopez and Morrison augur a potential revival of Missouri v. Holland as constitutional doctrine.

From my perspective, though, the most fascinating element of our discussions concerned the ways in which Missouri v. Holland might be significant, regardless of its jurisprudential force. I was struck, for example, by one participant’s recollection of an occasion on which U.S. treaty negotiators’ attempts to assert constitutionally grounded federalism constraints as a basis to resist a proposal by their foreign interlocutors were parried with invocations of Missouri v. Holland.

More broadly, I was interested to think about what continuing significance the decision has, for how we conceptualize the relationship of international, national, and state law. In the scheme of jurisdictional interaction exemplified by Missouri v. Holland, international law functions as a kind of trump card – an Ace available to the federal government to coerce state authorities. If Missouri no longer captures the political economy of U.S. federal-state relations, however, as I argue in my submission to the symposium, we might do well to reconsider that traditional conception of international law as a threat to state authority, and federalism more broadly.

0

Criminal Law Conversations

Professors Paul Robinson (Penn. Law School) and Kimberly Ferzan (Rutgers-Camden School of Law) invite criminal law scholars from around the world to contribute to a peer-engaged project of criminal law “conversations” to be published collectively as a book. Concise “core” papers not to exceed 5000 words (approximately ten single-spaced pages) presenting a theory or position will each be followed by a number of short comments (normally no more than 800 words – approximately two pages or less), with a final reply to the comments by the original core paper author.

The goal of Criminal Law Conversations (CLC) is to promote thoughtful critiques of important issues. Too often opposing advocates talk past each other. CLC’s web-based virtual “conversations” are designed to help opponents join issue. The website is not a blog but rather a vehicle for nominating and organizing the project’s topics and contributors.

The selection of core texts will be made by the criminal law scholarly community at large, as people express interest in the topics on which they would like to comment. All scholars are invited to submit nominations for the subject of a “core text” based on either previously published articles or new material. All are also invited to submit comments on any one or more of the nominated core texts.

The book collection will be assembled by late 2009. Oxford University Press has expressed an interest in publishing the volume. In addition, there will be a permanent CLC website that contains core texts and commentaries not included in the published volume. The permanent website also will allow the future submission of comments on the published volume’s contents, and may be used to produce subsequent collections.

The selection of core texts and responses will be coordinated by the CLC webpage.

0

Event on Online Reputation and Legal Practice

Carolyn Elefant (a blogger who blogs at Legal Blog Watch and MyShingle) has organized the following event for next Thursday, January 24th:

Practicing Law in the E-Court of Public Opinion: How the Internet Can Make or Break a Lawyer’s or Law Firm’s Reputation and What You Can Do about It

In the Internet Age, lawyers and firms are subject to unprecedented public scrutiny. Popular websites like Above the Law provides gossip and behind the scenes news from large law firms, while Avvo allows clients to post their opinions about their attorneys. You’ll hear how the web can affect lawyers’ reputations, for better or for worse, identify ways to respond to threats to reputation and use the Internet to your advantage and learn about relevant legal concepts like First Amendment, libel and privacy law that relate to your ability to protect your reputation. We’ll have a panel of nationally recognized speakers as well as law firm marketing personnel (TBD) who will offer practical tips on guarding and promoting your reputation on line.

Speakers:

David Lat, Editor in Chief, AboveTheLaw.com

Mark Britton, CEO, President, Co-founder, Avvo.com

Andrew Mirsky, Mirsky & Company Law Offices

Jonathan Frieden, Principal, Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C.

Moderator: Carolyn Elefant, Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant, www.myshingle.com

Date /Time: Thursday, January 24, 2008 /12:00 pm – 2:00 pm (Please bring your lunch.)

Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1250 H Street NW (Metro Center)

More information, including how to register, is available at Carolyn’s blog.

0

The Future of Federal Courts

In an earlier post, I offered some modest praise of the AALS annual meeting, as a potential venue for legal scholars to explore topics of interest beyond their core research areas. In between my efforts to actualize that theory at the recent annual meeting, though, I also attended several sessions of quite direct interest.

Among the latter, one of my favorites was a panel organized by the Section on Federal Courts, on The Federal Courts and the International System. Besides Ernie Young, who served as moderator, the panel included A.J. Bellia, Curt Bradley, Henry Monaghan, and Trevor Morrison, as well as Sarah Cleveland, who was invited to speak for the “international law” crowd. (As Sarah pointed out, Curt is also an international law scholar, if not the designated internationalist that day.)

Much of the discussion focused on the many intersections of international law and federal jurisdiction in recent years, including the succession of enemy combatant/military commission cases, the Supreme Court’s OT 2005 decision in Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon, and its impending decision in the fascinating case of Medellin v. Texas – a complex intertwining of international and federal courts law that only a law professor could dream up, and even then, only as an exam question. Naturally, the nature of customary international law as federal or state law was discussed as well, if only for a bit.

At Ernie’s prompting, though, the panelists also took up – in sometimes heated discussion – the necessary and appropriate content of the standard Federal Courts course, given the self-evident “internationalization” of the federal courts. To what extent, the panel explored, do international law, international courts, and international questions belong in the Federal Courts canon? Naturally, the Hart and Wechsler casebook – arguably the keeper of that canon – was a focal point for much of this discussion.

Read More