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Friday, March 2, 2007

Contracts Section Call for Papers - AALS Annual Meeting 2008

Call for Papers

AALS Section on Contracts

Panel on

“How Bad Are Mandatory Arbitration Terms?”

Papers will be published in the Michigan Journal of Law Reform (2008).

The Section on Contracts of the Association of American Law Schools is seeking two presenters for its annual meeting program on the topic, “How Bad are Mandatory Arbitration Terms?”  The conference will be held on January 2-6, 2007, in New York City (the precise date and time of the panel is not yet determined.)

One of the most hotly contested issues in contract law these days is the unconscionability of mandatory arbitration terms in employment and consumer contracts. Some aspects of this phenomenon are well understood: how widespread these terms are, and what are the doctrinal aspects of the unconscionability test. But a basic issue in this debate is not yet well-informed: how bad is mandatory arbitration in reality? How much worse, if at all, are breached-against parties when they have to arbitrate? When does mandatory arbitration bar recovery and prevent vindication of legitimate claims? Are there unintended implications to the use, or the elimination of, mandatory arbitration terms?

The presentations in the panel are intended to move beyond myth, conjecture, and assumption, and to shed a more concrete and empirical light on these questions. Speakers will present and debate insights and findings regarding the reality of mandatory contract arbitration.

Four presentations will be made: two by invited speakers and two by scholars selected through this call for papers.  The Michigan Journal of Law Reform has agreed to publish their papers and is potentially interested in publishing several additional papers in the same 2008 issue on this topic. The two invited speakers are Theodore St. Antoine, the Degan Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Michigan and former President of the National Academy of Arbitrators, and Theodore Eisenberg, the Henry Allen Mark Professor of Law at Cornell.

A selection committee, in consultation with the editors of the Michigan Journal of Law Reform, will choose the two additional papers for presentation.  The committee members are Omri Ben-Shahar (Michigan), Lisa Bernstein (Chicago), and Martha Ertman (Utah), members of the section’s Executive Committee. The deadline for submissions is July 31, 2007, but the committee encourages earlier submissions and will read papers as they are submitted.  Please send an abstract and a draft paper as electronic attachments to Omri Ben-Shahar, omri@umich.edu. Selections will be made before Sept. 1, 2007, in time for inclusion of the names of those selected in the AALS annual meeting program.  Panelists will be expected to circulate manuscripts among the panel, and submit an initial draft to the law journal, by December 1.  The deadline for revised manuscripts for publication will be in February 2008, with publication in the summer 2008 issue. The length of pieces should be no more than 30 printed pages (40 double-spaced manuscript pages).

Note: The AALS will not provide funds for speakers’ travel expenses or meeting registration; annual meeting speakers typically obtain funding from their home institutions. 

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