Archive for January, 2016

January 20, 2016

Warner Directing INSOL Course in Dubai

G. Ray Warner

G. Ray Warner

Professor Ray Warner will be in Dubai this week directing the Global Insolvency Practice course for INSOL, the leading international bankruptcy organization. The course trains established bankruptcy practitioners and judges to handle cross-border insolvency cases and leads to a certification as an INSOL Fellow.

January 14, 2016

Cunningham’s Article on Dog Biting Statistics Relied on By West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

Associate Academic Dean Larry Cunningham’s research on dog bite statistics was cited favorably by

Larry Cunningham

Larry Cunningham

the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, the court of last resort in that state, in State v. Blatt, 774 S.E.2d 570 (2015).  Blatt overturned a lower court’s decision ordering the destruction of “Tinkerbell,” a pit bull terrier that bit a child.  The question in the case was whether pit bulls are “inherently vicious.”  In his 2005 article, Cunningham cited research from the CDC and other experts to conclude that there was no scientific basis for the belief that some breeds of dog, such as pit bulls, are inherently dangerous or are disproportionately responsible for fatal or non-fatal dog bites.  The court summarized Cunningham’s article, writing that it “describ[ed] in great detail how dog-bite statistics may not accurately present the nature of the dog bite problem because of how data is collected, what data is collected, and how data is analyzed.”  Cunningham’s article is entitled The Case Against Dog Breed Discrimination by Homeowners’ Insurance Companies and is published in volume 11 of the Connecticut Insurance Law Journal.

January 14, 2016

Baum’s Article on “Compassion Fatigue” Featured in ABA Children’s Rights Litigation Committee Newsletter

Professor Jennifer Baum’s new article, “Compassion Fatigue: Caveat Caregiver?” appears in the

Jennifer Baum

Jennifer Baum

winter edition of the ABA’s Children’s Rights Litigation Committee newsletter.

The article reports on a recent ABA teleconference examining “compassion fatigue,” a condition that can negatively impact lawyers and others working closely with traumatized individuals.  Studies show that so-called helping professionals who work day in and day out with victims of serious trauma can, over time, show changes in their ability to demonstrate compassion and care, and these workers can themselves also suffer from symptoms of PTSD, such as nightmares and desensitization.  As. Professor Baum notes, “research has shown that compassion fatigue leads to an increase in direct negative impacts on clients, including legal errors, client profiling, general disorganization, and conflict and toxicity in the workplace (“horizontal violence”), which in turn leads to decreased job performance.”   The article goes on to explain how to treat and reduce compassion fatigue, and improve representation for traumatized youth.

January 13, 2016

Subotnik to Present Article at NYU Law School IP Workshop

This Friday, January 15th, Professor Eva Subotnik will be presenting her paper, Artistic Control After

Eva Subotnik

Eva Subotnik

Death, at the Sixth Annual Tri-State Region IP Workshop at NYU School of Law. Professor Brett Frischmann, of Cardozo School of Law, will serve as the paper’s commentator. An abstract follows:

To what extent should authors be able to control what happens to their literary, artistic, and musical creations after they die? Looked at through the lens of a number of succession law trends, the evidence might suggest that strong control is warranted. The weakening of the Rule Against Perpetuities, the rise of the honorary trust, and the availability of incentive trusts and conditional bequests all portray a tightening grip of the dead hand. And yet, an unconstrained ability of the dead to determine future uses of works of literature, art, and music seems fundamentally troubling. This article situates the instructions given with respect to authorial works within the constellation of instructions given with respect to—and the policies that govern—other types of bequests. In particular, it considers the enforceability of attempted artistic control through the use of a fiduciary duty. In balancing the competing interests, this article considers the demands of both federal copyright policy and state trust and right of publicity laws. In the end, the article argues that authorial instructions must yield to the needs of the living. In particular, such a view requires that some living person(s) be in a position to make decisions about uses of a work of authorship.

January 12, 2016

Sovern’s Letter Published in New York Times

The New York Times published a letter from Professor Jeff Sovern on December 30 on debt collectionSovern Two[2] and arbitration. Sovern wrote in part:

You show that debt collectors sue consumers in court when it suits them but bar consumers from bringing court actions by invoking obscure arbitration clauses in consumer contracts.

Businesses defend their right to do so because, they claim, arbitration is better than court for resolving disputes. But if arbitration is superior, why do businesses want to sue in court, rather than arbitrate, as your article shows and an empirical study confirms?

The answer is that businesses value arbitration chiefly when it enables them to block class actions so they may take advantage of consumers for small amounts without worrying about consumers suing them.

January 8, 2016

Boyle Involved in Several Panels and Activities at AALS

Professor Robin Boyle has had a busy week at this year’s AALS meeting. A recapitulation of herBoyle activities:

  • She served on the Planning Committee for the Joint Scholars & Scholarship Workshop on Feminist Jurisprudence, which was held on Jan. 6th at Fordham Law School. 
  • She was the moderator for one of the break-out sessions at the Feminist Jurisprudence workshop.
  • She served as the Chair of the Program Committee for the Section of AALS Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research. In this capacity, she planned several panel discussions on the topics of providing meaningful feedback on students’ seminar papers, pedagogy, and reimagining the curriculum to address student needs and bench and bar demands.
  • She was the moderator for a panel on ‘Pedagogy for New Law School Teachers: What Every Law Professor Should Know About How Students Learn.’
  • She will be presenting a summary of the Program Committee’s orchestration of three panels at the Business Meeting on Saturday morning for the Section of LWRR.
  • She has been nominated by the outgoing Executive Committee to serve on the incoming 2016 Executive Committee for the Section of LWRR.
January 7, 2016

Wade Presents at AALS Panel on Diversity in the Financial Services Industry

Professor Cheryl L. Wade will present on a panel at the 2016 AALS

Cheryl Wade

Cheryl Wade

Annual Meeting. The session, co-sponsored by the Sections on Employment Discrimination, Minorities in Legal Education, and Women in Legal Education, will take place on Friday, January 8, from 10:15-12:15 in the Bowery room at the Sheraton Hotel.

The panel is described below.

Five years ago Congress acknowledged a persistent lack of diversity in the financial services industry and adopted Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act directs nine federal financial regulatory agencies to create an office of inclusion to ensure the fair inclusion and utilization of minorities in their workforces. Section 342 also directs each agency to assess the diversity policies and practices of the private sector entities contracting with the agency or regulated by the agency. Six of the agencies proposed joint standards to provide guidance on the scope of the required assessment. The Proposed Standards, however, remain proposed and have been the subject of significant commentary from various segments of the financial community. This program will explore whether Section 342 and the Proposed Standards have led to true progress towards advancing diversity in the financial services industry since Dodd-Frank. The program will explore a broad array of topics regarding diversity and inclusion in the financial services industry and leadership in public service and corporate boardrooms.

January 6, 2016

Subotnik Speaks on Scope of IP Rights at AALS Annual Meeting

On Saturday January 9th, Professor Eva Subotnik will be speaking on a


Eva Subotnik

panel at the Annual AALS Meeting that will address the scope of intellectual property rights. A description of the topic and speakers follows:

Interpreting the Scope of Rights in IP  (1:30 pm – 3:15 pm [6390])

A recurring question in intellectual property law concerns the delineation of the scope of the protection it confers. Enforcing rights in intangible things often requires some form of interpretation (linguistic or otherwise) to determine the very boundaries of the thing protected. In order to understand what a copyright’s protection includes, for instance, it is necessary to engage in idea/expression analysis, or otherwise separate the utilitarian (non-protectible) aspects from the expressive (protectable) ones. A patent’s enforcement typically hinges on claim construction (or interpretation), and a trademark’s enforceability similarly depends on interpretive issues regarding the trademark’s meaning to consumers and its functionality. All three areas thus embed epistemological and evidentiary questions in their assessment of scope yet they are not always recognized as questions concerning interpretive choices and methods. Recent case law has seen renewed attention to interpretive questions, including how patents should be construed (and whether these issues are questions of fact or law); by whom; and at what point in litigation. Recent scholarly debates concern whether IP statutes should be interpreted like other subject matter statutes. This Panel will examine the question of scope in intellectual property law as a function of interpretive questions that require greater theorization as such.


Amy M. Adler, New York University School of Law

Kevin Emerson Collins, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

Mark A. Lemley, Stanford Law School

Margaret-Jane Radin, The University of Michigan Law School

Eva E. Subotnik, St. John’s University School of Law

Moderator: Zahr Said, University of Washington School of Law

January 6, 2016

DeGirolami introduces AALS Law and Religion Section Panel on “Religious Responses to Same-Sex Marriage”

Professor Marc DeGirolami, the outgoing chair of the AALS section on LawMarc DeGirolami and Religion, will introduce this year’s panel, “Religious Responses to Same-Sex Marriage,” to be held this Thursday, January 7, from 10:15 AM to noon (Nassau West, Second Floor, NY Hilton). The panel will be moderated by Michael Helfand (Pepperdine) and will include the following panelists: Erik Eckholm (New York Times), Katherine Franke (Columbia Law School), Rusty Reno (First Things), Kevin Walsh (University of Richmond Law School), and Robin Wilson (University of Illinois College of Law). The panel description is below.

Over the past 15 years, the United States has seen a rapid change in attitudes toward same-sex marriage. That change has raised significant questions and challenges for various religious communities in the United States. Religious communities have responded in different ways—from endorsement to ambivalence to rejection. This year’s panel will explore these various reactions, including theological changes within religious communities, legal challenges advanced by religious communities, and legislative initiatives pursued by religious communities, as well as a host of other social, political, and legal responses to same-sex marriage in the United States. It will discuss how religious communities might, or might not, adapt to continuing social changes in the United States and how the United States will maintain its constitutional and cultural commitment to the religious freedom of these different communities.

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