Some might remember my entry of two weeks ago about the 8th International Conference on Contracts. Good news for folks who weren't able to make it: you can go here to watch all fourteen panels. Great presentations and interactions of leading and upcoming contracts scholars. And what was news to me, Oren Bar-Gill on the in-the-works Restatement (Third) of Consumer Contracts.
Some time ago I posted a note about the upcoming 8th International
Conference on Contracts to be hosted at Texas Wesleyan Law School this past week. I thought
that I would take this opportunity to make some observations on what seemed to
be the most pervasive topic addressed by variety of folks on various panels:
The decade or so longer armistice on contracts of adhesion/form contracts has
come to an end.
There has always been an undercurrent of academic discomfort or outright
hostility to the notion that persons, typically consumers, are bound by the
terms of an agreement they've not read and which the drafting business knows
they've not read. However, the ubiquity of form contracts, which increased with
the advent of Internet click wrap, coupled with academic arguments that such
agreements were efficient, had seemed to tamp down criticism.
Perhaps occasioned by Margaret Radin's new book, Boilerplate, questions about the moral and political
justifications for legal remedies for form contracts are back on the front
burner. The implications of behavioral economics have weakened the efficiency
argument. Others find Randy Barnett’s analogy of consent to form contracts to a promise to do whatever is provided
in an unopened envelope to have stretched the notion of consent a step too far.
The overall mode at the conference was decidedly negative toward the virtual
carte blanche courts have given to form contracts. But this raises another
question: How are we to account for such judicial acquiescence? It seems unlikely
that nearly all judges are followers of neo-classical economics or are thralls to
corporate America. There must be something
behind judicial approval of form contracts and, behind that application, the
more comprehensive notion of grounding contract formation on “objective
manifestations of assent.” Until professedly pro-consumer academics identify and
respond to the zeitgeist of consumerism,
I’m not confident we’ll see any change in the law of form contracts.
Gerald Torres and Lani Guinier (above) led the opening session for the Critical Race Theory: From the Academy to the Community conference at Yale Law School on Sat. Feb. 9, 2013. The students who organized this conference (from left to right) Christopher Lapinig, Jamelia Morgan and Marbre Stahly-Butts, did a wonderful job under extremely adverse circumstances - the snow storm of the century hitting the New Haven area smack dab in the middle of the conference - and it was a smashing success for attendees. Alas, over 500 people had registered for the conference - students and faculty from law and graduate programs all over the country (and, in at least one case, from overseas) but the attendance was terribly suppressed by the horrible travel conditions. Still, about 150 brave souls made their way through the snowy streets to attend an abbreviated version of the conference originally planned. Speakers in attendance included Kimberle Crenshaw (UCLA/Columbia), Darren Hutchinson (American), Tanya Hernandez (Fordham), Priscilla Ocen (Loyola Law School), Ezra Rosser (American) and Charles Lawrence (Hawaii) (Although Professor Lawrence had to participate by phone because he had become snowed in only a mile away!). This is only a partial list and the attendees' contributions were a key part of what made the conference work. The participation and enthusiasm shown by participants makes clear there is a thirst out there for more courses involving CRT topics and methodology, and perhaps critical theory generally. This was a student driven effort and it drew students from around the country. A particularly terrific crowd of students came from Northeastern Law School, others came from various graduate and even undergraduate programs, and they and many others were eager to find ways to put their ideas into practice in making a difference in their communities. Given the outpouring of demand and the unfortunate weather circumstances that resulted in a shorter version of the conference than originally planned, the students informed participants that a second conference at Yale is planned for late spring or early fall of 2014. So stay tuned. Those interested in information about the conference you can email the organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This past Thursday I went to the program of the ABA Section on Antitrust Law
on the topic of Consumer Protection. I was looking for some help with designing
a consumer protection course but the focus of this program was a bit narrow.
Several current and former FTC commissioners, a EU counterpart, and
representatives of the plaintiffs' and defendants' counsel generally addressed
privacy issues and FTC enforcement actions and coordination with the EU. All
good stuff but too refined to serve as the basis of a survey course.
Perhaps most interesting was an appearance by Roberto J. Gonzales, Deputy
General Counsel for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And most
interesting, at least to me, was his response to a question about the validity
of the rule-making and enforcement powers of the CFPB in light of the decision
of the DC Circuit in Noel Canning v. NLRB. If upheld by the Supreme Court, the
decision voiding President Obama's recess appointments to the NLRB would seem
to apply equally to his appointment of Richard Cordray as Director of the CFPB.
Gonzalez suggested two reasons why there might be less ardor for attacking
Cordray's appointment and what has flowed from the CFPB under his tenure. First,
Gonzalez hinted that the text of its enabling statute, Dodd-Frank, was both
vague and draconian so that the CFPS's regulations ameliorated the law. Second,
Dodd-Frank gave states' attorneys general concurrent enforcement power so it's
not like the statute will be a dead letter even without the CFPB as the cop on
Notwithstanding Gonzalez's observations, I suspect that future
administrative enforcement of CFPB regs will meet with a Vacancy Clause
challenge. Whether the challengers are ultimately pleased with the result remains to be
All the panelists should prove insightful but I'm personally looking forward to hearing from Prakash Tyagi, who
has the distinction of coming the greatest distance to be part of the
symposium. Prakash is the executive director of GRAVIS,
an Indian NGO working with the marginalized rural population of the
Indian state of Rajasthan, where sex-selective abortion is a significant
problem. I came to know Prakash while I was teaching at the National Law
University in Jodhpur, Rajasthan as a Fulbright Scholar. I am delighted that he will be
able to attend this symposium and look forward to hearing his comments
about the "on the ground" situation in his part of India.
The conference is free to all registrants and there are plenty of top-notch accommodations neaby. Let me know if you'd like to come and I'll steer you in the right direction.
A quick link here to the registration page for the 8th International Conference on Contracts in Ft. Worth February 22-23. I'll be presenting an early (emphasis on "early") draft of a paper on contract theory and quite a few others have signed up on various aspects of contract law. There also appear to be a few open slots for anyone who wants to slip in a presentation.
On February 8, 2013, Willamette University College of Law will be hosting a conference on Campaign Finance, entitled "Campaign Finance and the 2012 Election." Here is a brief description:
Willamette University’s Center for Constitutional Government is pleased to sponsor a conference to assess the role of money in the 2012 elections and to investigate what changes, if any, should be made to federal and state campaign finance laws. Among the topics to be discussed is the impact of so-called “Super PACs,” the role of money in judicial elections, the viability of public financing after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett, and the efficacy of Oregon’s “disclosure only” system of regulating contributions to political campaigns for state office. With the amount of money spent in political campaigns having hit a historic high, the conference promises to be both timely and valuable for attorneys, elected officials and concerned citizens alike.
The Board of the Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty (CAPALF) announces the opening of nominations for three awards. Nominations should be made in writing, in the form of a 1-2 page letter describing why the nominee should be considered for the Award, with a copy of or citation to the work meriting the award, and with an accompanying CV of the nominee. The deadline for submitting the nominations is December 14, 2012.
Professor Keith Aoki Asian Pacific American Jurisprudence Award
The Professor Keith Aoki Asian Pacific American Jurisprudence Award was established by Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty in honor of the life and achievements of Keith, who was an outstanding and inspirational teacher, scholar, activist, musician and artist at the University of California, Davis, the University of Oregon, and many other places. Keith was an early and active member of CAPALF.
The Professor Keith Aoki Asian Pacific American Scholarship Award may be made to an outstanding individual who, like Keith, has written or advocated on behalf of Asian Pacific American rights, or explored Asian Pacific American identity, history, or rights through law, art, music, or in other forms.
2011 Keith Aoki Asian Pacific American Jurisprudence Award recipients: Professor Pat K. Chew, University of Pittsburgh School of Law Professor Bill Ong Hing, University of San Francisco School of Law
Professor Chris Kando Iijima Teacher and Mentor Award
The Professor Chris Kando Iijima Teacher and Mentor Award was established by Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty in honor of the life and achievements of Chris, who was a CAPALF member and a beloved and distinguished teacher and scholar at the NYU School of Law, Western New England School of Law, and the University of Hawai'i Richardson School of Law.
The Professor Chris Iijima Teacher and Mentor Award may be granted by CAPALF to an outstanding law teacher, who, in the course of her career has achieved excellence in the areas of public service, and teaching, with some consideration of scholarship. The Award is particularly aimed at law teachers who have provided support, encouragement and mentoring to colleagues, students and aspiring legal educators. 2011 Chris Kando Iijima Teacher and Mentor Award recipients: Professor Lisa Ikemoto, UC Davis School of Law
Professor Neil Gotanda, Western State University College of Law
Professor Eric R. Yamamoto Emerging Scholar Award
The Professor Eric R. Yamamoto Emerging Scholar Award was established by the Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty in honor of the achievements of Eric Yamamoto. Eric is an internationally-renowned authority on issues of redress and reconciliation and he has written and spoken extensively about how healing the wounds of past injustice by “doing justice” now can reach deeply into a nation’s social fabric.
The Professor Eric R. Yamamoto Emerging Scholar Award will be given to an early-career law professor at any law school in the United States who demonstrates outstanding promise.
Please send your nominations for these awards via email to:
Associate Professor of Law
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
All educators are eligible for the Aoki, and Iijima Awards, including those holding professorial rank, administrators, librarians, and clinical faculty or writing instructors regardless of title.
Early-career law professors (those with 10 years of experience or less) are eligible for the Yamamoto Award. Educators from disciplines other than law are eligible for the Aoki Award. However, no serving member of the Board or Awards Committee is eligible. Members of the CAPALF Board are Robert S. Chang (Seattle), Cynthia Cho (Loyola of Chicago), Susan Kuo ( South Carolina), Rebecca Lee (Thomas Jefferson), Shruti Rana (Maryland), L. Song Richardson (Iowa), and Rose Cuison Villazor (UC Davis).
The recipients of the awards will be notified by December 21, 2012 and they will be honored next year at the CAPALF Conference, which will be held at UC Hastings College of the Law from January 31 - February 2, 2013. The Yamamoto Award will be presented on Friday night, February 1, 2013, during a reception that will also celebrate the third annual Korematsu Day. The Aoki and Iijima Awards will be presented on Saturday, February 2, 2013, at the luncheon.
The Institute for Global Law & Policy (IGLP) at Harvard Law School announces its first biannual international conference, "New Directions in Global Thought," to be held in Boston on June 3-4, 2013. According to its website, IGLP "is a collaborative faculty effort to nurture innovative approaches to global policy in the face of a legal and institutional architecture manifestly ill-equipped to address our most urgent global challenges." Panel and paper proposals on governance, inequality, conflict, and the rule of law are invited. More information is available here.
(The conference is scheduled to occur immediately after the 2013 Law & Society meeting in Boston, which I blogged about here.)
The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke
School of Law announces a call for submissions for its 2013 Law Review
symposium on “Expanding the Civil Right to Counsel: 50 Years After
Gideon.” Articles presented during
the symposium will be published in the Law Review’s annual symposium
issue. Abstracts are due by
November 15th (details here).
The Northeast Regional Scholarship and Teaching
Development Workshop has issued an announcement and call for papers for its 2013 gathering for pretenured law faculty at Albany
From the Workshop website:
This workshop is intended for law faculty who do not have tenure
and who seek an opportunity to develop their scholarship and discuss their
teaching with other, similarly situated law faculty. This program will provide
a forum for untenured faculty to present works in progress, solicit feedback
from peers ahead of the February-March Law Review submission season, and
network with other untenured faculty about teaching practices and related
The Workshop is free, but registration
is required before November 16, 2012 (register here). Given its timing (in advance of the
Spring submission cycle) and the chance to have senior faculty review
and comment on works-in-progress, this looks like a great opportunity for
juniors and VAPs.
The Law and Society Association has issued acall for participationfor its 2013 meeting in Boston (also known as "not Hawaii"). Proposals are due December 4. Here are the details:
Power, Privilege, and the Pursuit of Justice: Legal Challenges in Precarious Times
The meeting’s theme aims to incite debate on the challenges that will define law and society over the next decade. The financial crisis that struck in 2008 still rends the economy, politics, law, and society. How will polarized politics, rapid technological change, and global shifts in economic power affect law and society over the next years, domestically and transnationally?
To envision the future, we invite participants to extend and rethink law and society’s past insights to engage a new and changing context. The Program Committee has listed a series of sub-themes in featured sessions and other panels with the aim of spurring cross-cutting discussions.
Pretenured faculty and those planning to go on the teaching market in the next year might be especially interested in the LSA Early Career Workshop, to be held over two days immediately preceding the opening of the full conference. Details for the Workshop are here.
As some of you may have been able to guess from the photos I
posted yesterday, I was in Bogotá, Colombia this past weekend as a guest of the
del Mercado del Valores de Colombia to speak at their III Seminario De Control Interno Y Compliance: Experiencias Y Mejores
Prácticas En Los Mercados De Activos Financieros.
This was really a fabulous program – well organized, with
excellent simultaneous translation and interesting speakers (the list is
below). Special thanks are due to Ana
María Prieto Ariza, Subdirectora de Divisas, for taking such good care of the
foreign speakers, and to AMV President Roberto Borrás Polanía for hosting
The conference was a particularly interesting mix of
different geographical and subject matter areas of expertise – US, Colombian,
and Mexican and legal, accounting, and risk management, in particular. Such a
combination always presents the danger that people will talk past each other,
but I didn’t find that to be the case here.
In fact, as we speakers discussed among ourselves at lunch and dinner,
we were all pleasantly surprised at the numerous points of commonality across
our presentations, and by how much we still had to share with each other after
the formal conference concluded.
I was at the seminar to talk about “rogue trading” – a topic
I also discussed at last year’s Risk Management Association annual Governance,
Compliance and Operational Risk Conference in Cambridge. This year, however, I spent a good chunk of
the presentation discussing the ongoing criminal trial of Kweku Adoboli, the
alleged UBS rogue trader accused last year of losing $2.3 billion. On Friday, the court added two additional false
accounting charges. Adoboli thus now
stands accused of four counts of false accounting and two counts of fraud by
abuse of position.
I’ll return shortly to talk some more about various elements
of the trial and, in particular, the differences and similarities between the
Adoboli case and other recent rogue trading incidents.
* Gerardo Hernández Correa, Superintendente Financiero de
* Roberto Borrás Polanía, Presidente, Autorregulador del
Mercado de Valores de Colombia (AMV)
* Leonardo Villar Gómez, Director Ejecutivo, Fedesarrollo
* Muna D. Buchahin, Vicepresidenta, Asociación de
Examinadores de Fraude Certificados (ACFE), México
* Kimberly D. Krawiec, Professor of Law - Duke Law School,
It's time to remind readers that we're hosting the inaugural MALSA conference here at Drexel on October 19-20. With over 100 presenters, this promises to be a phenomenal organizational kickoff - a great chance to meet and greet, and hear about some interesting new interdisciplinary work. And since Drexel is a short walk from 30th Street Station, it's an easy day trip for folks who live anywhere from DC to NYC.
I'm pleased to report that the Drexel Law Review will be hosting a conference, Building Global Professionalism: Emerging Trends in International and Transnational Legal Education, this weekend. The journal has worked with my colleagues Anil Kalhan and Pam Saunders to put together a particularly interesting set of panels and a keynote talk by Martin Flaherty. From the program:
As the practice of many areas of law — including those
conventionally regarded as wholly domestic — has come
to have international and transnational dimensions, it has
become increasingly important for graduating law students
to have greater knowledge and understanding of international, comparative, and transnational legal perspectives
as part of their basic legal education. While most U.S.
law schools have not traditionally placed these aspects of
legal education, legal practice, and the legal profession at
the core of their pedagogical missions, a growing number
of law schools have sought to more proactively develop
the place of these global perspectives in their educational
programs. This symposium examines and assesses a series
of conceptual and practical themes at the leading edge
of these developments, including innovative approaches to
integrating international, transnational, and comparative
perspectives into the law school curriculum; pioneering
methods of bringing these perspectives into experiential
and legal methods programs; and critical perspectives on
all of these emerging ideas and trends.
I have the great joy of having been invited to the University of New Hampshire/Franklin Pierce’s Intellectual Property Scholars’ Roundtable on the Constitutional issues associated with I.P. law. I wanted to mention briefly the great value of this kind of conference. In the room are about twenty-five scholars who study various aspects of I.P. law. About a dozen of us are presenting an issue on which we are currently working and soliciting questions and comments from everyone else. I am not presenting a paper this year, so I can sit back a bit and think about the roundtable-style conference and its value to our scholarship in addition to absorbing the content of the presentations.
Topics at the conference have been limited to those I.P. issues associated with constitutional questions. To give an idea of the breadth of the topics covered, we have discussed the First, Second, Fifth, Seventh, Eleventh and Fourteenth Amendments as well as the Commerce, I.P., and Supremacy Clauses of the main document — and the conference isn’t over. Some of the most fascinating discussions have occurred when the interconnection of the different Constitutional provisions are discovered. In at least one time, it was exactly that. I don’t think any of us had thought about the connection raised before.
Indeed, this discovery of new interconnections is why the roundtable is such a valuable type of conference. The standard conference where papers are presented, mostly as finished works, has its value in dissemination of the information developed in the paper, but it doesn’t serve as the same incubator for new ideas. Indeed, where the research has been reduced to an article, it is often more informative to read the paper instead of hearing an oral presentation of it. For the roundtable conference, on the other hand, we get the opportunity to have our colleagues serve as idea editors. Whose scholarship wouldn’t be made better by that?
The Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of
Comparative Law is pleased to invite submissions for its second annual
conference, to be held on April 18-19, 2013, at the Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, Indiana. The purpose of
the conference is to highlight, develop, and promote the scholarship of new and
Submissions will be accepted on any subject in public or private
comparative law from scholars who have been engaged as law teachers, lecturers,
fellows, or another academic capacity for no more than ten years as of June 30,
2013. We will also accept submissions from graduate students enrolled in
master’s or doctoral programs.
Scholars may make individual or co-authored submissions. The
conference’s Program Committee will assign individual and co-authored
submissions to thematic panels according to subject area. Proposals for fully
formed panels will also be accepted.
To submit an entry, scholars should email an attachment in
Microsoft Word or PDF containing an abstract of no more than 750 words no later
than November 4, 2012, to the following address: email@example.com. Abstracts should reflect original research that will not yet have been published, though
may have been accepted for publication, by the time of the conference.
Abstracts should also include the author’s name, title of the paper,
institutional affiliation, contact information, as well as the author’s
certification that she/he qualifies as a younger scholar. Graduate students
should identify themselves as such.
Panels will be announced no later than December 16, 2012. There
is no cost to register for the conference but participants are responsible for
securing their own funding for travel, lodging and other incidental expenses.
The Younger Comparativists Committee gratefully acknowledges the
support of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of
Law. The Younger Comparativists Committee also extends special thanks to
Shawn Boyne and Mohamed Arafa for co-chairing the Program Committee.
Please direct all inquiries to Richard Albert, Chair of the
Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law, by
email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone
A slightly edited version of an email that I received yesterday:
February, the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute for Law, Religion and
Ethics at the Pepperdine School of Law will host its 10th annual
conference. This year we will explore the complexities of intercountry adoption
from legal, social, and religious perspectives. The Nootbaar Institute
now welcomes proposals addressing this topic.
you would like to present a paper or organize a panel of 3-4 presenters, please submit your proposal by
October 8, 2012 to email@example.com.
From my friend, and Tennessee law professor, Joan Heminway:
The Association of American Law Schools Committee on Research is
considering putting on an AALS panel on (1) how we law professors can advance
student scholarship and (related but separately) (2) how we can advance
joint faculty-student scholarship.
Most student law review notes (or other student articles) are
written as independent study projects or, occasionally, as individual term
papers in seminars. But are there other approaches that you have seen
tried or particular ways of structuring independent study projects or seminar
term papers that have been especially successful? Most faculty members
don’t cowrite articles with students. But have you seen techniques or
approaches that helped such collaborative projects succeed—or ones that led
them to fail?
The Committee has asked us to identify some ideas that the panel
can more closely explore, and we’d much appreciate any tips that you could pass
along. If you can give us just a few sentences that describe different
models for fostering student or faculty-student scholarship that you have
seen—whether those sentences include recommendations, cautionary tales, or just
neutral reports—we’d love to see them. Please e-mail them to either
Joan Heminway (firstname.lastname@example.org) or
Eugene Volokh (email@example.com). Submissions
received by October 1 would be most useful to us in our planning, but feel free
to respond later if you can’t reply by then.