The AALS is sponsoring the seventh Annual Mid-Year Meeting will include an offering of three professional development programs, to be held June 7-12, 2009 in Long Beach, California.
You may choose to register for the two workshops or conference separately. The Mid-Year Meeting includes:
Conference on Business Associations: Taking Stock of the Field and Corporate Social Accountability
Workshop on Transactional Law
Workshop on Work Law
Conference on Business Associations
Since the last AALS Conference on Business Associations in 1998, business, law, and legal education have all undergone profound change, rendering the field of business associations teaching and scholarship an even more robust and exciting one. Significant changes in business and law have included high-profile corporate failures and scandals in the U.S. and abroad; rapidly growing numbers of new, unincorporated enterprises; expanding globalization of business and capital market activities; increasing influence of private equity and the privatization of companies seeking shelter from new legislation such as the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002; and heightened focus on corporate governance, shareholder voice, environmental and other forms of sustainability, and international human rights. Likewise, law and legal education have witnessed equally significant changes during this same time that impact teaching and scholarship in the business associations area. Some of those changes include new reforms in legal education being spurred by the recent Carnegie study; advances in pedagogy gained from legal education’s more vigorous engagement with teaching and learning theory and with skills education; renewed attention to ethics and professionalism; continued expansion of the diversity of scholarly approaches to the field, including empirical, psychological, historic, economic, and critical perspectives; and the growing privatization of dispute resolution, especially for business and commercial matters. Reexamination of scholarship and teaching in the business associations area is particularly imperative now in light of the recent financial crisis and the likely change of regulatory philosophy in Washington.
Characteristic of the growing richness of the business associations field, the AALS received two particularly strong program proposals for this conference. Rather than choose just one, the program committee was charged with blending the two in order to better canvas the field and include a wider array of viewpoints and topics. As a result, the 2009 AALS Conference on Business Associations will appeal to the full range of teachers and scholars working in the field, for the first time creating an opportunity for diverse theories and analyses of business associations to be in dialogue with one another. The conference will thus be useful to new and experienced teachers and scholars, as well as to those who might characterize their approach to the field as either “traditional” or as “critical” or somewhere in between. Sessions will focus on teaching and on scholarship, will feature leaders in the field and emerging voices, and will include academic as well as practice perspectives.
The substantive sessions will begin on Monday, June 8, with an opening plenary focused on the role of the basic business associations course. Senior, mid-level, and junior professors will discuss not only what is currently being included in the course but what should be in the future. Small group breakout sessions will follow the plenary to allow fuller discussion among colleagues about the content of and pedagogical approaches to the basic course. A second plenary will launch the afternoon sessions, this one devoted to pedagogical techniques and created from proposals selected through a competitive review process. Staying within the teaching methods theme, the second afternoon session will feature a choice among several concurrent sessions, including sessions on teaching and learning technology, and transactional emphasis.
The second day of the conference, June 9, will more intentionally engage the rich diversity of thought about business associations. The opening plenary will be directed at the topic of the objectives of public companies and the important question of “who decides” what those objectives are and should be. To permit fuller discussion of this interesting issue, the plenary will be followed by small group breakout sessions about whether and how to address ideological issues in business associations courses. The afternoon of the second day will turn to scholarship, with an opening plenary on current approaches to business associations scholarship. The plenary will engage a variety of approaches, including comparative, empirical, critical, doctrinal, and economic. Concurrent sessions on each of those areas will follow in order to provide attendees the opportunity for more in depth exploration of scholarly perspectives. Concurrent session leaders will be selected from proposals submitted through a competitive review process.
The final day of the conference, June 10, will open with a plenary that directs attention to perspectives from practice. A range of practice perspectives will be featured, including government, venture capital, shareholder litigation (both plaintiff and defense), general counsel, corporate social responsibility, private equity, and small to large firm practices. Small group breakout sessions following the plenary will provide more extended opportunities for discussion with practitioners, with the plenary speakers serving as the conveners of the small groups. The afternoon presents attendees a choice of sessions, both of which are co-sponsored by other AALS sections. One track is a Workshop on Transactional Law, which focuses upon the challenge of integrating transactional law into traditional courses, including Business Associations, Bankruptcy, Commercial Law, Labor/Employment, Tax, and Intellectual Property. A second choice of track is a Workshop on Work Law, focusing on corporate law approaches for protecting employee/labor interests.
Workshop on Transactional Law
“Transactional law” refers to the various substantive legal rules that influence or constrain planning, negotiating, and document drafting in connection with business transactions, as well as the “law of the deal” (i.e., the negotiated contracts) produced by the parties to those transactions. Traditionally, the law school curriculum has emphasized litigation over transactional law. However, many modern lawyers serve corporate clients, and a significant percentage of lawyers engage in some form of transactional practice. Hence, law schools must place greater emphasis on training law students to be transactional lawyers, and should support law faculty engaged in scholarship focused on transactional law. To this end, in 1994, the AALS held a workshop on the transactional approach to law, which sparked experimentation and innovation in teaching and scholarship related to transactional law. Since that time, there have been significant developments in transactional law. This Workshop not only will take stock of those developments, but also will enable participants to gain some in-depth perspective regarding the relative benefits and drawbacks of those developments.
Law schools have attempted to respond to the demand for increased transactional training in a variety of ways, from integrating transactional law into traditional law school courses to developing stand alone “Deals” or “Business Planning” courses. A number of law schools have developed innovative programs in transactional law. This Workshop will enable participants to discuss specific methods of teaching transactional skills with an eye towards ferreting out best practices. Should professors interested in teaching transactional law focus on substantive law, “transactional skills,” (i.e., planning, negotiating, and drafting), economic or other theories of business transactions, or all of the above? Should transactional skills be taught in separate courses or integrated into substantive courses? If taught in separate courses, should such courses be part of the first-year curriculum, integrated throughout the three years, or focused on the upper-level curriculum? How do you modify or supplement the traditional case method to teach students useful transactional skills?
The Workshop also will explore the challenges and benefits that arise for those who write or would like to write transactional scholarship. An as initial matter, the Workshop will address how best to define “transactional scholarship” in a way that accurately captures the potential breadth and depth of transactional law, and how transactional scholarship differs from traditional legal scholarship. The Workshop also will explore best practices for writing scholarship in this area, including methodologies for researching the legal, financial and practical effects of various corporate transactions. The Workshop will feature concurrent works-in-progress sessions, enabling participants to exchange ideas and insights regarding new scholarship related to transactional law.
One important goal of the Workshop is to bring together faculty from different doctrinal areas of law, including faculty who teach in the clinical setting. Transactional law touches many substantive areas of law, and it is closely identified with bankruptcy, business associations, contracts, commercial law, intellectual property, labor and employment law, securities regulation, and taxation. The Workshop will provide a unique opportunity for faculty members to make connections between their primary fields and transactional law, and thus should appeal to a broad spectrum of scholars and teachers.
Workshop on Work Law
The law of the workplace, including labor, employment, antidiscrimination, and employee benefits law, is an important and pervasive part of people’s lives, and the social and economic culture of the United States and the world. It has also changed substantially in the last 20 years. The physical and organizational contexts in which people work and the nature of work have changed, as have workers’ backgrounds, expectations, commitments, and competing obligations. The relationship between work and other fundamental social and legal regimes, such as the regulation and provision of health insurance and care and the debates around government-provided social safety nets, becomes ever more apparent as the gap widens between the haves and the have-nots in America and around the world.
These remarkable changes in the context and content of work life require significant development and reevaluation of Work Law. Labor and employment litigation now accounts for about 12 to 14 percent of the federal courts’ docket. Work law scholarship is increasingly empirical, interdisciplinary, and international. The teaching of Work Law has expanded, even while several of the traditional law school courses that comprise the field have undergone dramatic changes in the last several decades. Labor Law, traditionally focused on collective bargaining in an industrial economy, has been transformed by the globalization of the economy and the diversity of the workforce to include issues of race, gender and immigration status. The at-will paradigm that dominated Employment Law has been modified in important respects by case law and a proliferation of statutes that apply to individual employees. And the content of Employment Discrimination courses has grown with the enactment of new federal and state laws, including those prohibiting discrimination based on disability and sexual orientation, and the adoption of new frameworks for analyzing forms of discrimination, and institutional dynamics that affect the law. Laws regulating leave, benefits, wages and hours, and a host of other issues have grown and changed. Finally, international issues now find their way into Work Law courses, and are now forming the basis for casebooks and stand-alone courses.
Participants in the 2009 Workshop on Work Law will have a chance to consider these and many other topics. The panels will appeal to law teachers in a diverse group of fields. Panels will address the institutional dynamics of the discrimination law, how Work Law teachers are incorporating the findings of the Carnegie Report into their teaching, and recent Supreme Court decisions.
The Workshop on Work Law will overlap by a half-day with the Conference on Business Associations: Taking Stock of the Field and the Workshop on Work Law will be held concurrently with the Workshop on Transactional Law. We think scholars and teachers in diverse and related areas will make connections between their primary fields and Work Law. It is our hope that by attending you come away from the workshop with new ideas for your scholarship and teaching.