Category: Conferences


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.


David Lat, Editor in Chief,

Mark Britton, CEO, President, Co-founder,

Andrew Mirsky, Mirsky & Company Law Offices

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

Moderator: Carolyn Elefant, Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant,

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.


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.

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Call for Papers: CILS Conference on Civil Society and the Governance of Multimodal Communication

My colleague, Michael Rustad, asked me to announce a conference on The Internet: Governance and the Law, “Civil Society and the Governance of Multimodal Communication,” to be held at McGill University, MONTRÉAL, Canada, October 26-29, 2008. Here is the call for paper abstracts:

The Center for International Legal Studies in cooperation with McGill University and the Suffolk School of Law invites abstracts for papers on the role of civil society in the formulation, adoption and implementation of policies, regulations and laws affecting multimodal communication by governments and international organizations. At the conclusion of the Geneva phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), civil society was called upon to play an active role in the development and implementation of national strategies affecting multimodal communication. This post-Tunis Internet governance conference invites papers broadly addressing the topic of civil society and the Internet. The name of the presenter/s and his/her/their affiliation/s as well as the thematic focus of the proposal should appear on the top right-hand corner of the abstract. Send abstracts of 500 words or less and requests for further information to:

Manuela Ines Wedam

Law Conference Coordinator


PO Box 19



Fax: +43 662 83539922 or +1 509 3560077

Deadline for the receipt of abstracts is 14 April 2008. Each abstract must be accompanied by the author’s curriculum vitae and a biographical sketch of 300 words or less.

Advisory program committee:

James Archibald, Department of Translation Studies, McGill University

Dennis Campbell, Center for International Legal Studies

Richard Gold, Centre for Intellectual Property Policy, McGill University

Michael L. Rustad, Intellectual Property Law Program, Suffolk University School of Law


AALS: A Modest Dissent

Many thanks to Dan for the welcome, and to all the Concurring Opinion permabloggers for inviting me to visit. As a long-time reader, I’m glad to make my first – and hopefully not last – foray into the blogosphere here.

In posts preceding the recently concluded Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting, Brian Leiter and Orin Kerr respectively questioned the intellectual content, and suggested the underwhelming quality, of AALS conference programming – or at least that part of the “programming” that occurs in the hotel’s ballrooms, as opposed to its lobby and various hallways, and at an array of nearby restaurants and bars. This critique is hardly unique to them, moreover. Rather, it seems to constitute the conventional wisdom.

Having spent almost three days last week not simply “at AALS” in the abstract, but actually at the conference site (I’m close enough to the City not to have devoted time to shopping and sightseeing), I thought I would devote my first post to offering a modest dissent from the Leiter, Kerr, et al. critique.

Of course, there is the standard defense of the AALS annual meeting as an occasion for systematic schmoozing – a species of speed dating for law professors. (On this count, I might note that this year’s venue – the Hilton New York – had some real strengths. One could basically set oneself on an infinite loop up and down the escalators at either end of the second and third floor (see the 3-D tour) – where most of the schmoozing took place – for the entire weekend.) But a defense of schmoozing would be too easy: What’s not to like about it? Instead, I want to suggest that AALS may have merit of the intellectual variety, notwithstanding Brian and Orin’s critique.

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AALS Foodie Travel Guide: New York City

AALS is going to be in New York City this year, and I can’t wait. I used to live in New York City when I taught at Seton Hall Law School. For the fellow foodies among us, I thought I’d recommend a few of my favorite restaurants and food destinations:

modern2a.bmpThe Modern

9 West 53rd Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues)

(212) 333-1220

Located next door to the Museum of Modern Art, The Modern is an amazing visual and culinary experience. It has a beautiful bar and a wonderful view of the museum’s gardens. The food is creative and consistently wonderful. I typically get the tasting menu, and every course is a winner. The service is attentive without being intrusive. This place is as close to perfection as you can get.


65 E. 55th St. (near Madison Ave.)

(212) 593-0287

Aquavit‘s Scandinavian fare is spectacular. I never knew herring could be so good until I tried the amazing herring dish, in which herring comes in several varieties and preparations. It comes with a small glass of beer and an aquavit (a flavored liquor drink). All of the seafood is wonderful.

sushi-yasuda1.bmpSushi Yasuda

204 East 43rd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)

(212) 972-1001

Sushi Yasuda is my favorite sushi restaurant in NYC. For sushi, it is better than the famed Nobu (which although famous for sushi, stands out more for its tapas-style small seafood dishes). And unlike Nobu, the reservationist at Yasuda actually picks up the phone! Chef Yasuda is a sushi purist (no dragon rolls or spider rolls here), but his sushi is all remarkably fresh and creamy. He doesn’t just offer tuna or salmon or eel, but has scores of different kinds of each type of fish, caught from all over the world. The best thing to do is get a seat at the sushi bar with Chef Yasuda himself, who will tell you the life story of every fish and take you on a sushi-tasting adventure like no other. Beware, though, that the sushi slides down your throat more easily than a scoop of pudding, and you’ll quickly lose track about how much you’ve eaten, to the chagrin of your dean.


2165 Broadway (between 76th and 77th Street)

New York, NY 10024

(646) 290-7233

The best gelato I’ve tasted outside of Europe. Imagine if you could condense all the creaminess and yumminess of ice cream into a concentrated dose half the size, and then you can begin to imagine what this tastes like.

zabars.pngZabar’s + H&H Bagels

80th & Broadway

The best bagel and lox combination is a hot H&H bagel with fresh Nova from Zabar’s. Don’t get the prepackaged lox — be sure to order it from the counter. And then go across the street to H&H to get your hot bagel.

Other recommendations: Babbo, Eleven Madison Park, Union Pacific, Bolo, Le Bernadin, Fresh, Craft, Nobu, Tabla, Tomoe Sushi


Reputation Economies Symposium

yale-reputation.jpgI’m currently at the Reputation Economies Symposium at Yale Law School. The conference has been quite good.

Professor Rebecca Tushnet (Georgetown) is liveblogging the conference, and I found her account of my panel to very nicely summarize what was said. For those who are interested in the conference but unable to be here today, you should read Rebecca’s terrific account over at her 43(B)log:

Panel I: Making Your Name Online (Bawens, Ghosh, Hoffman, Masum, Noveck)

Panel II: Privacy and Reputational Protection (Acquisti, Citron, McGeveran, Solove, Zittrain)

Panel III: Reputational Quality and Information Quality (Gasser, Goel, Kirovski, Kuraishi, Prakash)

Panel IV: Ownership of Cyber-Reputation (Clippinger, Goldman, Sutor, Thompson, Tushnet)

UPDATE: Eric Goldman and Michael Zimmer also have good recaps.


Yale Law School Conference on Online Reputation

yale-reputation.jpgOn December 8, 2007, Yale Law School’s Information Society Project will be holding a conference about online reputation called Reputation Economies in Cyberspace. I’ll be participating in the symposium and will be talking about my book, The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet. Other participants include Alessandro Acquisti, Michel Bauwens, Danielle Citron, John Clippinger, William McGeveran, Urs Gasser, Rishab A. Ghosh, Ashish Goel, Eric Goldman, Auren Hoffman, Darko Kirovski, Mari Kuraishi, Hassan Masum, Beth Noveck, Vipul Ved Prakash, Bob Sutor, Mozelle Thompson, Rebecca Tushnet, and Jonathan Zittrain.

From the symposium press release:

How do you know whom to trust when you shop online or search for information on the Internet? How do businesses, individuals, and information sources manage their online reputations?

Leading information experts, scholars, technologists, activists, social entrepreneurs, and industry representatives will consider these questions at the “Symposium on Reputation Economies in Cyberspace” taking place Saturday, December 8, at Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street, New Haven. The symposium, open to the public, is hosted by the Information Society Project (ISP) at Yale Law School.

“A new generation of web tools based on collaborative participation and information sharing is becoming mainstream,” said ISP Executive Director and Lecturer in Law Eddan Katz. “This symposium will provide an excellent opportunity to discuss publicly, for the first time, the legal implications of these tools.”

“Reputation economies in cyberspace have a broad effect on the ways in which we study, conduct business, shop, communicate, create, or even procreate,” said Shay David, Microsoft Visiting Fellow at the ISP. “By bringing together leading scholars from industry and academia, this interdisciplinary landmark event will further our understanding of reputation economies’ impact on technology and society.”

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An Example of a Well-Planned and Run Single Topic Conference

TM-Brochure_FINAL-1.jpgEric Goldman and Santa Clara University School of Law just conducted Trademark Dilution: Theoretical and Empirical Inquiries. Rebecca Tushnet has posted summaries of the proceedings at her blog and one can see the substance of the talks there. What impressed me was that the conference brought in a range of views and had little redundancy despite the single topic approach. Indeed, with academics (from law and other disciplines) and practitioners offering views and counterviews the picture of the impact of new legislation, the history of the doctrine, the theoretical foundations of the doctrine, and the way that business views the area of the law was rather full. In addition, the panel topic selection and the strict adherence to time (enough to present but still have questions) allowed for a good exploration of ideas. None of this post suggests that other conferences with simultaneous panels are bad. Rather, the well-executed, single topic conference offers the possibility of reflection on a topic for a whole day. The danger in either format is dead panels. In a single topic format that danger seems higher. Still, Prof. Goldman and the staff of Santa Clara’s High Tech Law Institute did a great job avoiding that possibility and put on an informative, great conference.

Cross-posted at Madisonian.


New Summer Program

This is an exceptional new summer law study program open to both law students and interested law professors. Summer Study in Italy, will take place from June 6- July 21 2008. Three weeks in Rome follow by three weeks in Florence. Students will be lectured by Professor Chadsworth Osborne, Jr., and Hugo Valencia, and several esteemed representatives of the Italian legal system — such that it is. Six hours of credit available from a choice of 4 courses. Groups outings will be arranged to important and historic sites. All inclusive tuition is $3000. This includes housing but not airfare and meals. However, the airfare should be highly discounted as you do not actually have to travel to Italy to participate. Video transmissions will include classes, meals, and all outings so you will be able to absorb the beauties of Italy while at home. Why eat at Italian McDonalds when the program permits you to stay at home and eat at your local McDonalds or any other restaurant of your choice. The program fillled quickly last year and was a huge success. Applications are found at Privilegelaw. See you in Roma!!


The ACLU’s “Declaration of First Amendment Rights and Grievances”

ACLU.jpgLast week, at a symposium held at American University, the ACLU unveiled a new report, entitled “Reclaiming Our Rights: Declaration of First Amendment Rights and Grievances.” I’m proud to be able to note that one of my First Amendment students, Wash. U. 3L Sophie Alcorn, was one of the two principal authors of the report. The report lists a series of First Amendment grievances against the current government, and argue that we need to pay particular attention to First Amendment liberties, especially those related to the processes of self-government. The specific grievances, taken from the declaration, are as follows:

To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world that the United States


• Ignores its representative mandate by governing in the shadows.

• Maintains a surveillance society through warrantless wiretapping, opening mail, and spying.

• Secretly uses private parties to spy and seeks immunity to cover their illegalities.

• Silences dissent.

• Prevents citizens from petitioning their elected offi cials.

• Profiles individuals and denies freedom of movement based on association.

• Falsifies information to deny liberty.

• Overclassifies, reclassifi es, and impedes the lawful declassifi cation of documents.

• Prevents soldiers from communicating with their families and prosecutes their lawful speech.

• Silences whistle blowers.

• Censors the press, broadcast media, and Internet based on content.

• Prosecutes the press for revealing illegal programs.

• Obstructs oversight by elected officials.

• To preserve secrecy, places secret holds on bipartisan open government legislation.

• Funds religious programs.

• Furthers its ideological agenda by censoring the scientific community.

These are serious and wide-ranging allegations, and I have not studied all of them in detail. Moreover, the report is intended as a political advocacy document rather than a work of scholarship. But as I have argued elsewhere, I think the second and third allegations, that current law permits the government to “[m]aintain a surveillance society through warrantless wiretapping, opening mail, and spying” and “[s]ecretly use private parties to spy” are correct. Surveillance of our intellectual activities, either directly by the government or with the assistance of private sector intermediaries like ISPs and search engine companies is deeply corrosive to the intellectual liberty upon which a free and self-governing society must rest.

More generally, this is a very important document that is worth reading even if one disagrees with its allegations or conclusions. (If you do agree with the allegations, it might make for very depressing reading). In a time when the mantra of security is raised as a justification for surveillance and other inroads into intellectual and political liberties, it’s essential that we talk about what those liberties are, why they are important, and to what extent (if at all) the needs of security justify their abridgement or restriction.