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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Self-Promotion #3: Writing Proposals for Conferences and Workshops

Before turning to the topic of today's post, let me say that I very much appreciate Paul Horwitz's contribution with regards to Institutional Promotion.  I may not have planned to mention institutional promotion as one of my self-promotion tips, but I think it goes without saying that promoting your institution is part and parcel to being well-known (and well-liked) in the legal academy.  Indeed, I know of very few instances where law professors unhappy with their current institutions didn't end up appearing dour and glum in either the blogosphere or at a particular conference.

With that out of the way, let me say that there are many opportunities for you (and your school!) to host or participate in a regularly scheduled conference or workshop.  I have in mind two different types of situations. 

The first one harkens back to my post in Self-Promotion #1 and the idea of forming a colloquium for your field, like Scott Moss, Joe Slater, and I did for labor and employment law. Now, there might be already existing annual colloquium in many different fields, but that does not keep you from submitting proposals for hosting those meetings.  Over the years, the organizing committee of the labor and employment law colloquium has had the pleasure of fielding many great proposals for holding the conferences througout the country. In fact, right now we are going through the process for the Fifth Annual Colloquium.  So another idea for getting yourself know (and in the process getting high marks from your Dean) is to host the next colloquium or conference. It goes without saying that many more people will know who you are if you are one of the organizers of such a program.

A second type of opportunity is provided by some of the more major associations in the law professor world.  First among them is the mid-year meeting held by the Association of American Schools (AALS). Every spring for the last decade or so, the AALS has solicitied proposals from individuals and groups to hold a mid-year meeting on their field or discipline.  In the Spring of 2007, I drafted, with the help of many others, a proposal to hold a conference on labor and employment law.  To be honest, the process of putting the proposal together was quite intense and I ended up speaking to about 30-40 law professors in my field for their input (this, in and of itself, was a good self-promotion deal).  In any event, we submitted a three-day labor and employment law proposal.  Although we were not selected for a conference, the AALS Planning Committtee did agree, based on this proposal, to hold a Workshop on Worklaw in the Summer of 2009 at the Long Beach, CA Westin. 

In some ways, however, this route might now get the bang for your buck that you are looking for.  AALS usually appoints a planning committee for mid-year meetings that have nothing to do with those who submitted the proposal and not surprisingly, many of the initial ideas for panels and speakers are discarded.  Nevertheless, these conferences and workshops provide yet another change for you to create a forum to discuss ideas and research in your field with people of similar interests and also provides additional networking opportunities.

One last idea: if your school is a member of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS), there are opportunities to submit panels and workshop ideas for the annual conference in some beautiful Southern location (See www.sealslawschools.org for more details).  In the past three years, Michael Green (Texas Wesleyan) and I have put together workshops on Labor and Employment Law (with about four panel and sometimes a new scholar panel), and this year, for the first time, a Workshop on Employee Benefits (with three panels).

The point is that there exist opportunities to host or create workshop or conferences at your schools or other places that have the benefit of both promoting yourself as a scholar, as well as given yourself an opportunity to get to known by more people in your field.

If you know of other such opportunities that I have failed to highlight here, please provide info in the comments. The next self-promotion post will dicuss faculty exchanges and workshops with other schools.

Paul Secunda

Posted by Workplace Prof on November 11, 2009 at 05:32 PM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink

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