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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Upcoming Labor/Employment Conference (OR: The Power of Guest-Blogging!)

Less than two weeks ago, I wrote a whiny post complaining about the lack of labor/employment law academic conferences, expressing wonder at the far greater conference offerings in certain other fields, and wondering why such a disparity.  Comments by two other profs, Paul Secunda (of the WorkplaceProf Blog) and Joseph Slater (of recent Prawfs guest-blogging fame), generated follow-up emails among the three of us; and in less than 48 hours, we were planning a conference!  I'm just old enough -- or maybe just luddite enough -- to be amazed at what a powerful tool blogs and "the internets" can be in bringing people together for meaningful cooperative efforts like this.  Our conference now is officially "on," and we have the official conference website to prove it.  Here's a short version of the announcement:

Marquette University Law School is proud to announce that it will host the First Annual Colloquium on Current Scholarship in Labor and Employment Law on Friday, October 27, 2006.

The Colloquium offers an opportunity for labor and employment law scholars from around the country to present their works in progress or recent scholarship, to get feedback from their colleagues, and to have a chance to meet and interact with those who are also teaching and researching in the labor and employment law area. Although all participants are encouraged to present their scholarship, one need not present in order to attend.

The colloquium will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday, October 27 and end with an evening reception and dinner; attendance (including all meals and refreshments) is free. There will also be an informal get-together Thursday evening.

I hope that any of you with an interest in labor/employment law or related fields (e.g., civil rights, gender, ADR or litigation of discrimination claims, etc.) consider coming.  Among the fringe benefits of visiting Milwaukee:  (1) Free tours (including free beer samples) at the Miller brewery!  (2) Be at ground zero of the excitement of the Brewers' first World Series appearance since 1982 (hey, you never know -- they're actually playing .500 ball right now)!  (3) Mid-autumn is an ideal time to visit the upper midwest, because by then, all the warm-weather destinations are just too crowded. (Cf. Yogi Berra: "That restaurant is too crowded -- nobody goes there anymore.")

Posted by Scott on May 23, 2006 at 11:09 PM in Blogging, Legal Theory, Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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You are very generous to credit NYLS's Labor & Employment Law Program, but I don't want to take more credit than we deserve. We hosted a very successful conference sixteen months ago entitled "Next Wave Organizing." The conference volume was recently published by our law review and it contains some important articles. I sent a copy to all self-identified labor law professsors. I hope you enjoy it.

However, that's the only full-scale labor and employment law conference we've hosted, and we've never hosted anything like Paul/Joe/Scott's scholarship colloquium, although we have talked about it. I think it's a great idea, if only because we don't get together often enough. I hope to make enough progress on my newest article so that I can present it to the colloquium.

And I think I speak for everyone when I say, who can resist Milwaukee in late fall?

So, thanks for the boost and see you in Milwaukee.

Posted by: Seth Harris | May 27, 2006 1:57:49 PM

New York Law School's Labor and Employment Law Program, headed by Seth Harris, hosts a labor law conference every year that looks at current trends and future implications in that area of the law. Last year's symposium issue was just published in that school's law review.

Posted by: NYC Lawyer | May 27, 2006 10:04:14 AM

"Work-in-progress" conferences have been a great resource for us Intellectual Property types. They help build community as well as giving folks a chance to test their stuff and find out what everyone else is writing about. I'll bet it will be great!

Posted by: Ann Bartow | May 27, 2006 8:33:12 AM

That's a good idea, Kate, and the only reason we put out such a broad call (any papers in labor/emp) was that there haven't been such conferences in the past (as my initial post complained), so even with such a broad call for papers, we're not sure if we'll draw 18 or 88. Frankly, we're not sure if by planning this conference we're (a) exploiting a flaw in the market (i.e., there's an opportunity to put on an employment conference when there are many WIP conferences for IP but zero for employment) or (b) trying to start an operation has not existed in the market for good reason (i.e., maybe for some reason there's a lot less interest in such a conference among employment folks). My strong guess has been "a" (otherwise, I woldn't have bothered), and the initial level of interest is bearing that out.

As long as we get at least 20 or so papers, then yes, we plan to run multiple simultaneous panels. Ideally those panels each wold have a different "focus," but we'll have to see what papers we get before deciding how to split them up.

Posted by: Scott Moss | May 25, 2006 3:08:45 PM

I would suggest to restrict the choice of papers to a particular methodology (broadly defined) to create scale economies for potential attendees. Say, someone might travel to hear a dozen of law-related labor economics papers, but won’t show up if the morning is econ and the afternoon is critical feminist theory. Mixed conferences work well when there are multiple simultaneous panels, but lose appeal in a single-panel set up.

Posted by: Kate Litvak | May 25, 2006 1:48:56 PM

Right, nobody has to give disclaimers about the work being "in progress," though sometimes it still makes sense to do so if the idea is more like one-quarter-baked rather than half-baked.

Why "Colloquium" rather than "Conference" or something else? Good question; it was a pretty arbitrary choice. Personally, I think the letter "Q" is under-used in the English language.

What's in it for attendees who aren't presenting? You'll see what the new scholarship is in labor and employment law, which can be interesting in its own right and also is good for helping attendees generate ideas themselves. The full disclosure is that it'll be academic, not practice-oriented, so it would be of purely intellectual/entertainment interest for someone in practice (setting aside the beer and baseball).

Posted by: Scott Moss | May 25, 2006 9:52:28 AM

I've attended a World's Fair, several state fairs, and a goat-roping, not to mention the American Political Science Association meetings for the past 20+ years, but I've never been to a "Colloquium." Since folks are going to "present their works in progress," does this mean that no one has to begin (as so many do at the APSA) with "this is a work in progress"?

As a civil rights and employment lawyer and part-time professor of constitutional law, what's in this for me -- besides beer, baseball, and non-balmy weather?

PS -- this is a serious question.

Posted by: Edward Still | May 24, 2006 10:22:39 PM

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