Why the Decline of Law and Legal Education Matters (And What We Might Do About It?)

Presented by Northeastern University School of Law

Saturday, January 7, 2017 | 9:30 AM - 12:15 PM 
Hilton San Francisco Union Square

During the last decade law and legal institutions have confronted a loss of power and status vis a vis other social coordination mechanisms – in particular markets and technology. During this same period, law schools have faced a perfect storm of underemployment for graduates, reduced tuition revenue and declining subsidies from state governments. Has the legal academy’s focus on threats to law schools left us slow to react to the even greater challenges to the rule of law? What is being lost? Why did it happen? What can law schools do about it?

This symposium, organized by Northeastern University School of Law, will enlist the entire AALS community in a candid discussion of the current challenges confronting legal education, why they matter and what directions might be charted in light of an enhanced collective understanding.


9:00 AM | Plenary Session 1

What Have We Lost

Given that today’s law schools offer a better legal education than ever before, how can it be said that legal education faces decline? This session will focus on threats to autonomy and professionalism stemming from financial challenges and multiple external demands. A second topic will be the growing cultural clash between legal values and contemporary emphasis on speed and flexibility.

Speakers
Hannah Arterian, Syracuse University College of Law
Jeremy Paul, Northeastern University School of Law

Moderator
Pierre Schlag, University of Colorado Law School


10:10 AM | Plenary Session 2
Law Schools and the Rule of Law

How does the decline of a vibrant, autonomous legal academy threaten the rule of law and how are those threats most salient to our many constituencies? This session will focus on university cultural norms, the growth of rival forms of social organization, the threat to rural communities from a lack of lawyers and the enduring value of a liberal arts law school.

Speakers:
Danielle Conway, University of Maine School of Law
Sarah Krakoff, University of Colorado Law School
Pierre Schlag, University of Colorado Law School

Moderator:
Robin West, Georgetown University Law Center


11:20 AM | Plenary Session 3
Preserving Legal Values Under Changed Conditions

How might those of us in law schools meaningfully focus attention on reinvigorating the vitality of our profession? This session will focus on law as an academic discipline, the value of placing the study of justice at the heart of a legal education, and the need for a broad interdisciplinary perspective to allow lawyers to tackle society’s grand challenges.

Speakers:
Wendy Parmet, Northeastern University School of Law
Robin West, Georgetown University Law Center

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Moderator:
Jeremy Paul, Northeastern University School of Law


AALS IP Section Events Professor Jessica Silbey, chair of the AALS IP Section, invites colleagues to two IP-related panels:

Friday, January 6, 2017
8:30 am: Intellectual Property in Conflict or Concert with Community Values

Saturday, January 7, 2017
8:30 am: Intellectual Property and Federalism



For more information, visit aals.org/am2017