At the outset of formal legal education, legal scholarship was largely doctrinal. Then, in the wake of legal realism, a second era emerged, with legal scholars more focused on policy than theory. During the late 20th century, there was a sharp turn toward theory. This third wave of legal scholarship was marked by increased interdisciplinary scholarship and diversity in the academy as well as growing relationships within universities. We are now in a new era of legal scholarship — Version 4.0. Northeastern University School of Law invites you to a conference exploring the future of legal scholarship through conversations among leading legal scholars. Keynote speakers: Patricia Williams, Columbia Law School, and Noah Feldman, Harvard Law School.

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Call for Papers

To accompany panels discussing the goals and methods of legal scholarship 4.0, Northeastern invites junior scholars (those who have spent seven years or fewer as a full-time law professor) to share their works-in-progress as examples of the new legal scholarship.

Break-out works-in-progress sessions will include a comment on each paper by senior faculty, and discussion by fellow panelists and conference participants. Conversations will continue throughout the conference at breakfast and lunch (provided), as well as during the speakers’ dinner. Interested junior faculty members are invited to submit an abstract (not to exceed 500 words) of the project they would like to present by October 1, 2013, to Rick Doyon at r.doyon@neu.edu. The chosen participants will be expected to submit completed paper drafts by February 13, 2014, and to participate in the entirety of the conference. 

Late submissions will be accepted for consideration until November 1 on a space available basis.

*All events take place in 250 Dockser Hall unless otherwise indicated. 

Conference Schedule*

Friday, March 14, 2014

8:30 AM

Conference Registration 

9:00 AM


Dean Jeremy Paul, Northeastern University School of Law

9:15 AM

Remarks and Introduction of Plenary Speaker 1 
James Hackney, Northeastern University 

9:30 AM

Plenary 1
Speaker: Patricia Williams, Columbia University

10:30 AM

Break (15 minutes)

10:45 AM

Panel 1
Legal Scholarship Employing Theory: Centripetal to Centrifugal

Legal scholars have influenced, and have been influenced by, theory. One prevailing perception of theory in the service of legal scholarship is that in earlier decades, theory served as a consolidating force – a means of gathering legal intellectuals around a few central and resounding themes. By contrast, in the world of contemporary legal scholarship, theory serves as a basis for fragmentation of opinions, positions and disciplinary claims. Are there alternative stories that can be told about the impact of theory on legal scholarship? How — and how much — is legal theory relevant to legal scholarship going forward?

James Hackney, Northeastern University 

Richard Leo, University of San Francisco; Teneille Brown, University of Utah; Laura Rosenbury, Washington University; Jon Hanson, Harvard University

12:15 PM 


1:30 PM

Break  (15 minutes)

1:45 PM

Panel 2
Legal Scholarship as Service 

One of the hallmarks of legal scholarship is its connection to the outside world. But over time, this connection has changed from one in which legal scholars sought primarily to influence judges to a much more subtle set of connections. Legal scholars now respond to policy imperatives, such as the recent financial crisis. We engage actively in interdisciplinary relationships with scholars within and outside of our university communities. Meanwhile, both technology and the influence of our newer and more interdisciplinary colleagues are changing the nature of legal scholarship. Legal scholars now post drafts on SSRN. We blog. These different relationships lead us to engage with concepts such as “access to justice” in more varied and nuanced ways. What defines our work as scholars in service in this new era of legal scholarship? 

Daniel Medwed, Northeastern University 

David Hoffman, Temple University; Martha Davis, Northeastern University; Robert Hocket, Cornell University

3:00 PM

Break (15 minutes)

3:15 PM

Introduction of Noah Feldman and Plenary 2
Speaker: Noah Feldman, Harvard University 

4:15 PM

 Break (15 minutes)
Transition to Dockser Commons

4:30 PM

 Breakout Sessions
Legal Scholarship 4.0: Works in Progress for a New Generation 
(Simultaneous sessions will be held in classrooms surrounding Dockser Commons)

6:15 PM

 Reception and Dinner (all conference participants)
Dockser Commons

9:00 PM



A block of rooms at the nearby Sheraton Boston Hotel has been reserved for out-of-town guests for a discounted rate of $229/night. These are available on a first come, first served basis and the hotel deadline is February 18th. Make your reservations soon by clicking this link or call the Sheraton Boston Hotel and ask for the Northeastern rate. Tel: Tel: 617-236-2000

We have compiled an additional list of accommodations for your convenience.

Best Western University Hotel
1650 Commonwealth Avenue
Tel: 617-556-6260 
Price: $$

Boston Marriott Copley Place
110 Huntington Avenue
Tel: 617-236-5800 
Price: $$$$

The Colonnade Hotel
120 Huntington Avenue
Tel: 617-424-7000
Price: $$$

Copley Square Hotel
47 Huntington Avenue
Tel: 617-536-9000

Price: $$$

Eliot Hotel
370 Commonwealth Avenue
Tel: 617-267-1607

Price: $$$

Hotel Commonwealth
500 Commonwealth Avenue|


Radisson Hotel
200 Stuart Street
Tel: 617-482-1800
Price: $$$

Sheraton Boston
39 Dalton Street
Tel: 617-236-2000
Price: $$$

Ask for Northeastern University discount.