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Aspen Webinar Series

The Aspen Webinar Series provides an opportunity to learn more about relevant topics and how to approach current events in the classroom from well-known authors. 
 
Register using the links provided to sign-up for an upcoming webinar or watch a previously recorded webinar on your schedule.
 

UPCOMING WEBINARS

Stay tuned for announcements about upcoming webinars . . .

PAST WEBINARS: WATCH THE REPLAYS

Fair housing image, property law

Property Law and Race

Friday, Aug. 27, 2021

Guest Speakers:
Joseph Singer, Harvard University
Bethany Berger, University of Connecticut
Nestor Davidson, Fordham University
Eduardo Peñalver, Seattle University

Join Professors Joseph William Singer (Harvard), Bethany Berger (University of Connecticut), Nestor Davidson (Fordham), and Eduardo Peñalver (President, Seattle University), for a conversation on meaningfully engaging with the intersection between property law and race in the first-year property course. Since its first edition, the Singer Property casebook has been a pioneer in incorporating the pervasive links between property, race, and other forms of inequality. In response to calls from both students and professors for more ways to address these links, the 2021 edition builds on this strength with new materials on exclusion from public accommodations, the impact of slavery on U.S. economic and legal development, contests over implementation of the Fair Housing Act, discrimination in home financing, the impact of eminent domain on communities of color, and many other subjects. The webinar will provide an introduction to these materials, as well as a discussion of strategies for incorporating the role of property in creating and combatting inequality.

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Environmental Law in the Supreme Court

Tuesday, August 31, 2021 

Guest Speaker:
Robert Percival, University of Maryland

With Congress beset with political gridlock, most important issues of environmental law now are decided in the courts. No court has more influence over the shape of federal environmental law than the U.S. Supreme Court. This presentation will discuss the wide variety of issues of environmental law that have confronted the Supreme Court in recent years and the type of environmental cases likely to come before the Court in the future.

Due to Justice Ginsburg’s untimely death last September, President Trump was able to add three Justices to the Court who are highly skeptical of environmental regulation. He also appointed hundreds of judges to the lower federal courts. This presentation will review the implications of a decidedly more conservative federal judiciary for the future of U.S. environmental law. It will examine how a more conservative Supreme Court may change doctrines of deference to administrative agencies, standing to sue, private property rights, congressional power to protect the environment and the ability of Congress to delegate regulatory decisions to administrative agencies.

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Paths for the Legal Profession: A review (and preview) of the legal industry’s synergistic expansion alongside American business

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021

Guest Speaker:
Christopher L. Meazell, Wake Forest University

In this Webinar, Professor Meazell will explore the parallel evolution of American law practice and legal philosophy, which has largely been a story of the legal industry’s synergistic expansion alongside American business, and discuss potential avenues for the future.

While it is still too early to view with any reliable analytical hindsight, the twenty-first century has already brought dramatic, some would say seismic, change to the United States. We have a series of signature events—9/11, the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, the COVID-19 pandemic, the social justice movement—and “disruption” is the order of the day across many business models, including law firms. The judiciary has become highly politicized and legal philosophy is now often entangled in a divisive contemporary political environment.

Legal education has been forced to reckon with a changing job market and to embrace pedagogical alternatives. Law firms have had to rapidly adjust to meet whatever the prevailing demands of their clients may be—themselves facing great uncertainty and financial pressures.

Our society depends on law and lawyers and both have developed throughout our history to serve the changing needs of American society. An appreciation of this historical backdrop can provide faculty across many subjects with additional foundational perspective to help our law students face and adapt to the challenges of our own times.

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Teaching Criminal Law in the Era of Mass Incarceration

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 

Guest Speaker:
Alex Kreit, Northern Kentucky University

There is a profound disconnect between the reality of the criminal justice system and the criminal law curriculum. The typical Criminal Law course and casebook focuses a great deal of attention on the justificatory theories of punishment. Coverage of criminal law doctrine, meanwhile, usually concerns itself with how the common law and Model Penal Code each approach handful of crimes and defenses, particularly homicide offenses. As Alice Ristroph argued in her resent essay, The Curriculum of the Carceral State, the result is a “curricular canon [that] depicts criminal law as a necessary and race-neutral response to grave injuries, and it also depicts criminal law as capable of self-restraint through various internal limiting principles.”

This model gives students a wildly inaccurate understanding of the how criminal law operates in the era of mass incarceration, in which the United States has five percent of the world’s population but twenty-five percent of the world’s prisoners. It also leaves students poorly prepared for criminal practice, where drug and property crimes—not homicides—are the paradigmatic offenses. It has been difficult for criminal law teachers to move away from this model, however, in no small part because of the bar exam’s focus on homicides and MPC-versus-common law framework.

In this webinar, Alex Kreit will discuss strategies for making the criminal law we teach in our classes look more like the criminal law students will encounter in the real world, by incorporating coverage of non-justificatory theories of punishment (e.g., punishment as a tool of social control), drug crimes, racial disparities in criminal enforcement, and more.

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The Legal Ethics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021

Guest Speakers:
Bernard A. Burk, visitor, Penn State Law
Nancy B. Rapoport, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Veronica J. Finkelstein, Drexel and Rutgers law schools

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) have been very much on the minds of those in the legal academy and the legal profession. Although voluntary subscription to DEI values is essential to transformation, voluntary evolution has never proved sufficient on its own.

Sources of positive law that foster or enforce DEI are numerous and widespread, and are touched or focused on in many law-school courses. One emerging source of such law is the Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern the conduct of practicing lawyers not only in their workplaces and work lives, but in many aspects of their private lives as well. Model Rule 8.4(g) was added to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct by the American Bar Association in 2016. It is controversial, and thus far has been adopted in only a few states and territories. But many lawyers (and many legal academicians) don’t seem to realize that DEI has been woven into the Rules of Professional Conduct since their introduction in 1983, and most states have ethical norms regarding these issues enforced by professional discipline whether or not they have adopted the new Model Rule.

This webinar will fit the ethical restrictions enforcing DEI into the broader legal background, compare existing ethical DEI provisions with the new Model Rule, and discuss the controversy surrounding Model Rule 8.4(g). Topics include:

  • The pre-existing legal background of antidiscrimination laws enforcing DEI
  • The DEI provisions in the Rules of Professional Conduct predating Model Rule 8.4(g)
  • How Model Rule 8.4(g) differs from provisions commonly found in states’ ethical rules
  • The controversy surrounding the new Model Rule
    • The focus of the controversy: First Amendment concerns
    • Psychologically and sociologically, why all the controversy?

Join Nancy Rapoport (University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Reporter for the American College of Bankruptcy’s Commission on DEI), Bernie Burk (visitor, Penn State Law), and Veronica Finkelstein (supervising Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Pennsylvania and adjunct professor, Drexel and Rutgers law schools), authors of the new textbook Ethical Lawyering: A Guide for the Well-Intentioned (Wolters Kluwer Legal Education, Sept. 2021), as they discuss these issues. Refreshments will be served so long as you serve yourself.

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At the Cross-Section of Gender Discrimination and Religious Liberty

Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 

Guest Speakers:
Charles Sullivan, Seton Hall University
Stephanie Bornstein, University of Florida

The friction between antidiscrimination laws and religious liberty claims continues to heat up in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court decisions in Bostock v. Clayton County and Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru. In this webinar, Professors Sullivan and Bornstein explore developments since those decisions and discuss potential remaining issues at their intersection. They discuss whether we are on the verge of a judicial version of the grand compromise rejected in the legislative proposals of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Equality Act—that is, robust antidiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ individuals counterbalanced by equally robust exclusions for religious organizations. They also engage with how such an approach may apply to religiously-motivated but secular private employers. Join them for a timely conversation on these emerging issues in employment discrimination law.

immigration law

Judicial Review in Immigration Law

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Guest Speakers:
Bill Hing, University of San Francisco
Jennifer Chacón, University of California, Berkeley
Kevin Johnson, University of California, Davis

The United States’s marketing message as a land of opportunity relies upon the ideal that it is an inclusive nation embracing immigrants from the world over who want to improve their lives. However, the ideal stands in stark contrast to the nation’s long history of discrimination against immigrants on the basis of race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and wealth. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to President Trump’s travel ban upheld by the Supreme Court in Trump v. Hawaii, the U.S. immigration system has been designed and enforced to restrict the admission of noncitizens from the developing world. Thoughout history, and to the present, xenophobia and racism have indelibly influenced our immigration system. Yet, even as the criminal legal system has come under criticism for its systemic racism, immigration laws have largely escaped comparable critiques. This webinar explores how restrictions on judicial review in immigration cases have helped to perpetuate racism in immigration laws and their enforcement. More broadly, we discuss how to prepare students to understand and challenge racial injustice in immigration law and to use the law as a tool to advance racial social justice.

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Strict Products Liability 2.0

Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021 

Guest Speakers:
Mark Geistfeld, NYU

For the past 25 years, courts and scholars have debated whether products liability is a form of negligence or strict liability. Although virtually all states have adopted the rule of strict products liability in section 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts, the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Products Liability characterized strict products liability as a misleading label that perpetuates confusion in cases where defective designs or warnings are determined by the risk-utility test, a form of negligence. The case law is still developing, but a clear majority of courts have rejected this negligence-based rationale for the risk-utility test while affirming the continued vitality of strict products liability.

Scholars maintain that courts are confused by the rhetoric of strict products liability. The prevailing scholarly opinion, however, ignores the implied warranty—the doctrinal basis for section 402A. Having been largely formulated as a rule of contract law, the implied warranty is under theorized as a tort doctrine. Once adequately developed, the implied warranty shows why courts have transformed the rule of strict products liability from the last century into a more comprehensive regime—“strict products liability 2.0”—that incorporates the risk-utility test into the consumer-expectations framework of strict products liability. Consumer expectations define the safety problem in the normatively appropriate manner, thereby sharpening the inquiry about what’s at stake. Across the distinctive elements of the tort claim—duty, breach, and causation—the negligence-based liability rules in the Restatement (Third) are often unduly vague, not the consumer expectations test.

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Front the Litigation: The Keys to Pretrial Advocacy

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Guest Speakers:
Reuben Guttman, Emory
J.C. Lore, Rutgers

Today, cases are won or lost through the pretrial process. Changes to the rules governing motions to dismiss, class certification, discovery, summary judgment, and experts, have placed early decision hurdles on cases making the litigation front loaded. At the same time, the internet, electronic communication, and social media have changed the way evidence is collected, making more pre-complaint information available but also changing the ways that information is maintained and reviewed. This webinar will address:

  • The essential rules of evidence and procedure for the pretrial process
  • Litigation challenges and innovations including the internet and remote technology
  • The practical and theoretical challenges to new litigation paradigms

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Teaching Criminal Law in Turbulent Times

Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 

Guest Speakers:
Jens Ohlin, Cornell

Teaching Criminal Law has always been rewarding but challenging. Recent developments in society have only heightened that essential calculation. Widespread attention to police misconduct and racism has led many to question the overall utility and morality of traditional policing. Social movements and protests have brought attention to the evils of mass incarceration, causing some to argue for the abolition of prisons. At the same time, the atmosphere in the classroom has grown increasingly charged, with students disagreeing with each other not only about core questions of the criminal law, but also about the conversational ground-rules for how to carry out such debates. In this webinar, Dean Ohlin will discuss how to approach teaching this first-year course with humanity and compassion while at the same time not avoiding discussion of the hard questions raised by the state’s involvement in criminal justice.

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Front the Litigation: The Keys to Pretrial Advocacy

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Guest Speakers:
John Pierre, Southern University

Due to the many financial demands of law school, many law students wait until several weeks into their classes to purchase their textbooks and other materials for class. Starting the semester a month behind on reading makes it very difficult to catch up and puts its students at a distinct disadvantage, leading to increases in drop-out rates and other negative impacts on learning outcomes. Under the leadership of Chancellor John Pierre, Southern University Law Center (SULC) has been innovative in their approach to overcoming these inequities while embracing the learning benefits of technology. Since 2019, the school has purchased ebooks and learning technologies on behalf of the students in advance of the semester at a discount. This program has leveled the playing field for its students and had positive impacts on outcomes

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Black chalkboard background with two arrows on top of each other facing in opposite directions, top arrow has text that reads 'Gun Rights', bottom arrow has text that reads 'Gun Control'

Teaching the Second Amendment and Gun Control Law

Thursday, March 3, 2022 

Guest Speakers:
Nicholas Johnson, Professor of Law
David B. Kopel, Adjunct Professor of Law
George A. Mocsary, Professor of Law
E. Gregory Wallace, Professor of Law
Donald E.J. Kilmer, Jr., Adjunct Professor of Law

Firearms law is broadly implicated throughout the law school curriculum. Many teachers of criminal law, constitutional law and even administrative law will already appreciate how their courses broadly intersect with firearms regulation. The authors of Firearms Law and the Second Amendment: Regulation, Rights, and Policy, Third Edition, invite you to learn more through a discussion of their new textbook and treatise.

Inside of the Supreme Court

Civil Procedure, Student Engagement, and the Pursuit of Justice

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Guest Speakers:
Maria Glover, Professor of Law
Howard M. Erichson, Professor of Law

Every Civil Procedure teacher knows the challenge of getting students to see what is fascinating and important about procedural law. To students, the importance of procedure is not intuitive, and much of it may look like mere technicalities. But students arrive at law school hungry to learn about justice and injustice and excited to learn what lawyers do. Our job as Civil Procedure teachers is to get students to understand that the details of procedure are nothing less than our justice system at work. Students need to see—as to each aspect of Civil Procedure—how it relates to justice and injustice and how it relates to lawyers’ work. Whether the topic is discovery, joinder, jurisdiction, preclusion, or anything else, the teacher faces the challenge of getting students to see how the details of procedural law relate to the big picture of the legal system at work. Please join Professors Howard Erichson and Maria Glover for an interactive discussion about ways to keep students engaged in both the big picture and the nitty-gritty details of Civil Procedure.

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