Jotwell Conference

Legal Scholarship We Like,
and Why It Matters

University of Miami School of Law
November 7-8, 2014

JOTWELL, the Journal of Things We Like (Lots), is an online journal dedicated to celebrating and sharing the best scholarship relating to the law. To celebrate Jotwell’s 5th Birthday, we invite you to join us for conversations about what makes legal scholarship great and why it matters.

In the United States, the role of scholarship is under assault in contemporary conversations about law schools; meanwhile in many other countries legal scholars are routinely pressed to value their work according to metrics or with reference to fixed conceptions of the role of legal scholarship. We hope this conference will serve as an answer to those challenges, both in content and by example.

We invite pithy abstracts of proposed contributions, relating to one or more of the conference themes. Each of these themes provides an occasion for the discussion (and, as appropriate, defense) of the scholarly enterprise in the modern law school–not for taking the importance of scholarship for granted, but showing, with specificity, as we hope Jotwell itself does, what good work looks like and why it matters.

I. Improving the Craft: Writing Legal Scholarship

We invite discussion relating to the writing of legal scholarship.

1. What makes great legal scholarship? Contributions on this theme could either address the issue at a general level, or anchor their discussion by an analysis of a single exemplary work of legal scholarship. We are open to discussions of both content and craft.

2. Inevitably, not all books and articles will be “great”. What makes “good” legal scholarship? How do we achieve it?

II. Improving the Reach: Communicating and Sharing

Legal publishing is changing quickly, and the way that people both produce and consume legal scholarship seems likely to continue to evolve.

3. Who is (are) the audience(s) for legal scholarship?

4. How does legal scholarship find its audience(s)? Is there anything we as legal academics can or should do to help disseminate great and good scholarship? To what extent will the shift to online publication change how people edit, consume, and share scholarship, and how should we as authors and editors react?

III. Improving the World: Legal Scholarship and its Influence

Most broadly, we invite discussion of when and how legal scholarship matters.

5. What makes legal scholarship influential? Note that influence is not necessarily the same as “greatness”. Also, influence has many possible meanings, encompassing influence within or outside the academy.

6. Finally, we invite personal essays about influence: what scholarship, legal or otherwise, has been most influential for you as a legal scholar? What if anything can we as future authors learn from this?

Mechanics:

Jotwell publishes short reviews of recent scholarship relevant to the law, and we usually require brevity and a very contemporary focus. For this event, however, contributions may range over the past, the present, or the future, and proposed contributions can be as short as five pages, or as long as thirty.

We invite the submission of abstracts for proposed papers fitting one or more of the topics above. Your abstract should lay out your central idea, and state the anticipated length of the finished product.

Abstracts due by: May 20, 2014. Send your paper proposals (abstracts) via the JOTCONF 2014 EasyChair page at https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=jotconf2014.

If you do not have an EasyChair account you will need to register first – just click at the “sign up for an account” link at the login page and fill in the form. The system will send you an e-mail with the instructions how to finish the registration.

Responses by: June 13, 2014

Accepted Papers due: Oct 6, 2014

Conference: Nov. 7-8, 2014
University of Miami School of Law
Coral Gables, FL

Symposium contributions will be published on a special page at Jotwell.com. Authors will retain copyright. In keeping with Jotwell’s relentlessly low-budget methods, this will be a self-funding event. Your contributions are welcome even if you cannot attend in person.

Posted in Jotwell, Talks & Conferences | Leave a comment

General Mills Surrenders

Reprinted with permission.

Reprinted with permission.

In the face of a huge public backlash, General Mills has removed the abusive contract terms it tried out earlier this week. (See Cereal Wrap?)

Only question now is: how long before a modified limited stealth version turns up somewhere on their site or in or on their packaging.

Posted in Law: Everything Else | Leave a comment

CerealWrap?

Warning: This Cereal May Be Hazardous to Your Rights

Warning: This Cereal May Be Hazardous to Your Rights

Really? Firms are going to try to expand browsewrap (or web-wrap) to liking them on Facebook? To opening a cereal box? So claims the NYT in When ‘Liking’ a Brand Online Voids the Right to Sue.

From the company’s viewpoint it’s a logical attempt to force consumers into arbitration so that buyers’ rights are more limited than in courts. This would allow the firms to flee liability — especially class action risk — no matter how deadly their products might be.

For courts, I hope very much this rights grab will be held to be unconscionable. Prospects in the 7th circuit must, however, been seen as poor given its approval of shrinkwrap terms for both licenses and sales in ProCD v. Zeidenberg (per Easterbrook). And of course the Supreme Court has been on a pro-arbitration tear for over a decade. This, though, should be a crunch too far.

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Tax Day

“Taxes are what we pay for civilized society,” wrote Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes (in dissent); it seems I’ve been misquoting it for decades as “taxes are the price of civilization.”

They’ve even got the Holmes version on the front of the IRS building in Washington:

inscription03

Just for fun, here’s another good tax quote, from the IRS:

People who complain about taxes can be divided into two classes: men and women.”
— Unknown

Posted in Econ & Money | Leave a comment

Gamification

Reprinted with kind permission of Mike Stanfill

Reprinted with kind permission of Mike Stanfill

Posted in Politics: US | 1 Comment

Summer Research Assistant Wanted

Apologies, blog readers, but this announcement is for UM Law 1L & 2L students only:

I would like to hire a part-time summer research assistant. The hours are negotiable, but likely would be in the 15 hours per week range. It would be best if you could start soon after exams finish. Current UM 1Ls and 2Ls are welcome to apply.

My research assistant will help me with my summer writing projects. The job requires someone who can write clearly, is well-organized, and who is really good at finding things in libraries and on the Internet. There may be some bluebooking involved too. (If you happen to have some web or programming skills (some or all of HTML, MySQL, Perl, Debian), that could be useful, but it is not in any way a requirement.)

The hourly pay of $ 13 is set by the university, and is not as high as you deserve, but the work is sometimes interesting.

If you are interested, please send me an e-mail with the words RESEARCH ASSISTANT (in all caps) followed by your name in the subject line. In the email tell me:

- how many hours you’d ideally like to work per week and what other jobs/courses you have planned for the summer (if any),
- when you are free to start, and whether you have vacation plans (no problem if you are planning to take a week or two off during the summer)
- your phone number and email address.
- whether it is OK for me to share your application with other interested faculty members who might also want a summer research assistant.
- whether, if things work out, you might be interested in continuing on at 10/hrs week during the next academic year.

Please attach the following to your email:

1. A copy of your resume (c.v.),

2. A short writing sample (non-legal is preferred — in any case, please do NOT send your LCOMM memo),

3. A transcript (need not be an official copy).

(You might also mention that you saw the ad here. Can’t hurt.)

Please note that this job is different from the Jotwell summer editor position I am also advertising.

Posted in U.Miami | Leave a comment

We Robot Happened

And it was A Happening. The papers were strong, and the presentations if anything stronger. David Post wins for best line of the 2-day conference, and I’ll link here to his video when we have it up in a few days. (Unedited video can be found at the livestream site)

Meanwhile, however, we had some media at and around the event:

I really think it was the best We Robot yet. I should recover soon.

Posted in Robots, Talks & Conferences | Leave a comment