Wednesday, December 23, 2020

2021 AALS Annual Meeting (January 5-9, 2021)

It’s going to be an unusual, entirely virtual 2021 annual meeting for the Association of American Law Schools. Here’s the full program, and here’s a list of panels that may be of particular interest (all times are eastern)…

Tuesday, January 5

11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. EST
Section on Federal Courts, Co-Sponsored by Employment Discrimination Law: Federal Courts Employment Reforms

Over the last two years, there have been several high profile allegations of sexual harassment by federal judges. In response, the judiciary made some reforms, including clarifying that clerks have the option to anonymously report workplace misconduct to the court where they work. Recent allegations have raised questions about whether these reforms are sufficient to address and respond to workplace misconduct in the courts. As a result, there have been calls to extend Title VII to the federal courts, among other reforms. This panel will discuss possible reforms that would address and prevent workplace misconduct.

2:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. EST
Section on Litigation, Co-Sponsored by Professional Responsibility: The Growth of Third-Party Litigation Finance: Opportunities and Challenges

Over the last decade, third-party litigation finance in the United States has quickly grown into a $10 billion industry. Third-party litigation finance has been praised for increasing access to justice and reducing variations in litigant resources and risk tolerance, but concerns have been raised about champerty, less meritorious litigation, and effects on lawyer independence and client control. This program will explore third-party litigation finance with attention to contested issues such as fee splitting, claim assignment, aggregate litigation, and attorney-client privilege. The program will explore proposals such as disclosing third-party litigation finance in litigation and permitting non-lawyer ownership or investment in law firms.


Wednesday, January 6

1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EST
Section on Remedies: Remedies in Uncertain Times

Panelists explore remedies in uncertain times. No matter how virtual everything is, remedies must be tangible. From emergency relief in a pandemic to battles over equity labels, effective remedies remain vital. Remedies specialists regularly provide congressional testimony, expert consultation, amici briefs, and commentary. They bridge the gap between history and modern application of dynamic remedies. Remedies are core to emergency proceedings, shadow dockets, and the culmination of protracted litigation. The Supreme Court increasingly grants certiorari on remedies issues. This panel examines principles that remain essential for the law of remedies to advance the goals of the underlying causes of action.


Thursday, January 7

1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EST
AALS Open Source Program: The Political Question Doctrine, Departmentalism, and the Limits of Justiciability

This program focuses on controversial issues concerning to justiciability, with a special focus on the political question doctrine. The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Rucho v. Common Cause, within our hyperpolarized political environment, has focused renewed attention on the political question doctrine. Commentators disagree on whether it is purely a jurisdictional limitation on federal courts or excludes state courts from addressing federal constitutional issues as well. Similar disagreement exists over whether the doctrine relates only to justiciability, or instead is a matter of substantive constitutional law. The political question doctrine also highlights disputes over departmentalism. We explore various perspectives on these issues.

2:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. EST
Section on Professional Responsibility, Co-Sponsored by Civil Rights, Employment Discrimination Law, Leadership, and Minority Groups: Legal and Judicial Ethics in the Post-#MeToo World

In 2016, the ABA amended Model Rule 8.4(g) clarifying that professional misconduct includes sexual harassment and discrimination, though few jurisdictions adopted this change, and some explicitly rejected it on First Amendment grounds. In 2019, the federal judiciary amended the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges to address sexual misconduct, but some argue the reforms do not go far enough. Headlines regularly feature attorneys and judges involved in sexual misconduct, whether as bystanders, facilitators, or perpetrators. Panelists will discuss ethics as a means to address these issues. Jaime Santos, founder of Law Clerks for Workplace Accountability, will speak along with presenters selected from a competitive call for papers.


Friday, January 8

11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. EST
Section on Civil Procedure: Integrating Critical Legal Perspectives

This program will address themes that emerge from taking a critical look at how we think about, write, and teach civil procedure. Our conversation will track different aspects of legal education and the stages of litigation. Panelists will lead discussions on how we teach civil procedure thematically, how we can use case studies to inform our scholarship and teaching, and how critical perspectives inform litigation on the ground. We will close with a plenary discussion of ways to augment what we are achieving in the classroom and through our scholarship.

1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EST
Section on Conflict of Laws: Corporations and Conflict of Laws

Business law increasingly intersects with conflict of laws. Jurisdictional competition is growing for both corporate organization and corporate litigation, leading lawyers and legislators to respond in creative ways. This year's section meeting will host discussions of current topics on this theme, including jurisdictional provisions in corporate registration statutes, cross-border competition for corporate law, forum selection in corporate bylaws, and use of foreign regulatory materials in U.S. corporate litigation. The section meeting will close with recognition of Symeon Symeonides for completion of his 30th Annual Survey of Choice of Law in the American Courts.



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