The 2017 National Lawyers Convention is scheduled for Thursday, November 16 through Saturday, November 18 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. More information will be posted later this summer.
- Corporate Practice
- Ethics in Litigation
- Legal Education
- Pro Bono Service
The Fifth Annual Executive Branch Review Conference will examine the changing and often convoluted relationship between the legislative and the executive branches in the United States government. This daylong conference will feature plenary panels, addresses, and breakout panels on topics such as “The Unitary Executive,” “Chevron Deference,” and “Congressional Oversight of Voting Rights.”
The Conference will begin with an opening address by Senator Mike Lee and end with a closing address by OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and a reception.
Is it a violation of the first amendment for the American Bar Association to impose a nationwide speech code for lawyers? Professor Eugene Volokh of the UCLA School of Law discusses the newly proposed Rule 8.4(g) of the ABA's Model Rules of Professional Conduct, a set of anti-discrimination guidelines for lawyers that would bind lawyers to adhere to particular speech codes in the states that have adopted it.
In August 2016, the American Bar Association (ABA) added new anti-discrimination guidelines for lawyers to its Model Rules of Professional Conduct through section 8.4. This section now binds lawyers to adhere to particular speech codes in the many states that have adopted it.
The provision labels engagement “in conduct that [a] lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law." The ABA has defined discrimination and harassment to include “harmful verbal or physical conduct that manifests bias or prejudice towards others. Harassment includes sexual harassment and derogatory or demeaning verbal or physical conduct. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature." The conduct guidelines extend to “the practice of law," including, “representing clients; interacting with witnesses, coworkers, court personnel, lawyers and other while engaged in the practice of law; operating or managing a law firm or law practice; and participating in bar association, business or social activities in connection with the practice of law."
Some have described this section as infringing on the rights on lawyers to speak their mind, while others have argued it is necessary to prevent discrimination within the profession. This debate will discuss the implications of Model Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4 and its impact on workplace discrimination and lawyers' rights.
This debate was presented at the 2017 National Student Symposium on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at Columbia Law School in New York City, New York.
Debate: ABA Model Rule 8.4
11:15 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
Jerome Greene Hall 104
- Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
- Mr. Robert N. Weiner, Partner, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP
- Moderator: Hon. Lavenski Smith, U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit
Columbia Law School
New York, New York
This panel, Government Ethics & Corruption, was held on February 4, 2017, at the 2017 Florida Chapters Conference at Disney's BoardWalk Inn at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Government Ethics and Corruption
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
- Mr. Nick Cox, Florida Statewide Prosecutor
- Renee Flaherty, Institute for Justice
- Todd Graves, Graves Garrett
- Prof. Matthew Stephenson, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
- Moderator: Judge Susan Rothstein-Youakim, Florida Second District Court of Appeal
- Introduction: Jefferson Knight, Owner, The Knight Law Firm
Disney's Boardwalk Inn
Lake Buena Vista, FL
This panel is about “corpus linguistics,” a technique that involves the use of computer searches of large collections of texts, or corpora, to determine meaning by reference to usage. It will discuss this technique’s potential value and limitations in informing the interpretation of different kinds of legal texts.
This panel was held on January 5, 2017 during the 19th Annual Faculty Conference in San Francisco, CA.
3rd Floor, Embarcadero Room
- Hon. Lee Liberman Otis, The Federalist Society
- AALS President Kellye Y. Testy, Dean, University of Washington School of Law
- Prof. Steven G. Calabresi, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law [on the late Justice Antonin Scalia]
Panel: Corpus Linguistics and Legal Interpretation
8:45 am - 10:15 am
3rd Floor, Embarcadero Room
- Justice Thomas Lee, Utah Supreme Court
- Mr. Stephen Mouritsen, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
- Prof. Lawrence Solan, Brooklyn Law School
- Moderator: Prof. Kurt T. Lash, University of Illinois College of Law
Parc 55 San Francisco - A Hilton Hotel
San Francisco, CA
Professor Eugene Volokh of the UCLA School of Law joined us Monday, December 12 to discuss the ABA’s new Rule 8.4 on professional misconduct. The Rule states that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to “engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law.” The ABA goes further in Comments, stating that “Such discrimination includes harmful verbal or physical conduct that manifests bias or prejudice towards others,” and that the Rule applies in any situation, even social, that is “connected to the practice of law.” Professor Volokh discussed the First Amendment implications and reaction to the new rule.
- Professor Eugene Volokh, , Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
Professor Eugene Volokh of the UCLA School of Law will be joining us Monday, December 12 to discuss the ABA’s new Rule 8.4 on professional misconduct. The Rule states that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to “engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law.” The ABA goes further in Comments, stating that “Such discrimination includes harmful verbal or physical conduct that manifests bias or prejudice towards others,” and that the Rule applies in any situation, even social, that is “connected to the practice of law.”
Professor Volokh will discuss the First Amendment implications and reaction to the new rule.
- Professor Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
“Those who won our independence," Justice Brandeis wrote nearly a century ago, “eschewed silence coerced by law – the argument of force in its worst form." They believed that “the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones." Holding that belief, the Founding Generation added an amendment to the Constitution that expressly protects the freedom of speech. Today, however, public officials and private citizens facing what they believe to be “evil counsels" have sometimes responded not by offering good counsel but by invoking judicial processes. They use “the argument of force in its worst form" to silence opinions and speech that they disapprove of.
Recent examples of this phenomenon include District Attorneys in Texas and Wisconsin who investigated and charged a sitting Governor, the whistleblower who exposed the practices of Planned Parenthood, and those whose political views diverged from those of the District Attorney. In two of those cases, investigators broke into homes and seized computers and documents. Significantly, in each case, the charges were dropped, although not without great angst and effort from the targeted.
Mark Steyn has asserted that the process is, itself, the punishment. Steyn has been sued by a Penn State climatologist who famously claims that he was defamed when his writings were subjected to ridicule. Four years after the suit was filed, it is still in its preliminary stages.
Most recently, a coterie of Attorneys General, aided by some senators, have declared their intention to stifle dissent on the subject of climate change. The Attorneys General of Massachusetts and the Virgin Islands sent subpoenas for documents to Exxon and a number of think tanks grounding their action on the contention that the dissenters are guilty of fraud.
Are these actions appropriate uses of the judicial process?
What, if anything, can be done to curtail the use of judicial processes to target speech? Are measures like Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation) laws an appropriate response? Are they constitutional? What about a federal anti-SLAPP law?
It is noteworthy that the worst abuses have taken place in state courts. Should Congress allow removal to federal court when a defendant makes a plausible case that the relief sought would violate rights under the First Amendment?
Professional Responsibility & Legal Education: Using Judicial Processes for Political Purposes
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
- Prof. Arthur Hellman, Professor of Law, Sally Ann Semenko Endowed Chair, University of Pittsburgh School Law
- Hon. Patrick Morrisey, Attorney General, West Virginia
- Prof. Patrick A. Parenteau, Senior Counsel, Professor of Law, Vermont Law School
- Ms. Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Member, Author of The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech
- Moderator: Hon. Steven M. Colloton, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
- Introduction: Mr. Jack Park, Jr., Of Counsel, Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP
The Mayflower Hotel
The Federalist Society's Legal Classics Revisited series returns to the writing of Professor Alexander Bickel and his last work, The Morality of Consent. In a July 11, 2016 Teleforum, we discussed Bickel's Least Dangerous Branch. The Morality of Consent is far shorter and was in manuscript form when Bickel died. Based on notes of magazine articles and lectures rather than on the author's plan for a single text, the book is unified by its larger themes rather than a conventional outline.
Professor Bickel viewed the mid-20th century as a time when the American legal system was challenged by the civil rights movement, the Vietnam protests, and a national reaction led by Richard Nixon. Each raised questions about obedience to the law as it existed. These events from generations ago led Bickel to consider the process by which Americans made law and came to accept and obey it. He worked hard to define the paradox presented by civil disobedience which seemed to be established within American law and yet carried the potential to destroy both law and ordered society. Contemporary readers will find the effort instructive and successful, at least in part. But questions remain. Bickel addressed other topics which "touch and concern" his questions, his misgivings, and his faith in the enterprise of Law. Bickel grappled with questions that resist final answers in each chapter of his book, a legal classic worth a visit in our own day.
- Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine
- James A. Haynes, Former Attorney and Alternate Judge, U.S. Dept of Labor, Employees Compensation Appeals Board
- John J. Park, Jr., Of Counsel, Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP