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Jan. 14, 2004

Press Contact: Allegra Young, UT Law, (512) 471-7330

Scholarship and Leadership:
UT Law Faculty Contributions to the AALS Conference

AUSTIN, Texas — At the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Schools, held this year in Atlanta, Jan. 2-Jan.6, UT Law professor Gerald Torres began his term as the organization’s president, and nine other law faculty members spoke on scholarly topics or held important leadership positions. The AALS is a non-profit organization of 164 law schools.

"I'd like to thank our faculty for a job well done in Atlanta," said UT Law Dean Bill Powers. "Our professors served in a number of leadership posts, including Gerald Torres as president. They also contributed to important debates over pressing legal issues and policies. These efforts help the academy, and they enhance the reputation of our law school. This is just one more visible indication of how outstanding our faculty is."

UT Law is one of a select number of schools to have provided five presidents to the AALS over the past century. In addition to Torres, those UT Law faculty members serving as president were John C. Townes (1909), Charles Tilford McCormick (1943), Page Keeton, '31, (1961), and Jerre Williams (1980) (his term was cut short by appointment to the 5th Circuit).

UT Law faculty members engaged in numerous scholarly discussions by commenting or presenting papers and organizing panel discussions. Such activities included:

Michael Churgin chaired the AALS Committee on Bar Admissions and Lawyer Performance. The Committee discussed the process some states have used to raise the cut scores on bar examinations, the impact of raising the cut score on the diversity of the profession, and some related academic support issues.

Lee Fennell spoke on the panel for the Section on State and Local Government. Her program was entitled "Atlanta: Localism's Past or Its Future?" She was appointed to the Section's executive committee in the business meeting following the program.

Teri LeClercq was the moderator for, and is now chair of the AALS Section on International Legal Exchange. This section provides a three-hour program on the new ABA-approved changes in criteria for foreign study. In addition, LeClercq spoke to the section on Law and Technologies and introduced the new Legal Writing Institute web page with student brochure and annotated resources.

Sanford Levinson discussed Randy Barnett's new book Restoring the Lost Constitution

Neil Netanel spoke about copyright and the first amendment at the Constitutional Law Section session.

Robert Peroni represented Texas in the AALS House of Representatives and completed his three years of service on the AALS Committee on Sections and the Annual Meeting. He was appointed to that Committee by the former AALS President, Mary Kay Kane, who now serves as the Dean of the Hastings College of the Law.

Tony Reese, as outgoing Chair of the Section on Law and Computers, was program chair of the section's program, co-sponsored with the Section on Intellectual Property Law. The program was entitled Copyright, Contract, and Technological Protections for Digital Content.

Gerald Torres addressed the American Association of Law Schools as its incoming president on Monday, Jan. 5, at the organization's 2004 annual meeting. He announced a continuation of the learned society theme for the association, but added the idea of engaged scholarship to highlight the ways in which law schools differ from purely academic departments, while maintaining a firm hold on the law school’s rightful place in the university. In addition, Torres was the honored guest at a Texas Party at the AALS Convention on Saturday, Jan. 3

Louise Weinberg was involved in three recent AALS activities in Atlanta. She delivered a panel presentation in the AALS Section on Admiralty on Jan. 5. Her talk was entitled, "The New General Common Law." Other co-panelists included Hon. William Fletcher of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, and Jonathan Gutoff. The Section program, organized by Ernie Young, was entitled, "Federal Common Law in Admiralty, Revisited." Papers based on the presentations will be published in the Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce. Weinberg also chaired the meeting of the AALS Section on Federal Courts on Jan. 4. The Section program, organized by Judge Robert N. Clinton, was entitled, "The Forgotten Sovereign in Federal Courts Law." A symposium of the papers presented will appear in the Arizona Law Review. Weinberg was also elected the Acting Chair of the AALS Section on Federal Courts for 2004-05.

Ernest Young served on a panel at the Federalist Society meeting on Jan. 3 discussing the influence of foreign law on U.S. courts. On Jan. 4, he commented on historian Elizabeth Fox-Genovese’s paper on the legacy of the antebellum South, and on Jan. 5 he organized and spoke to the Admiralty Section’s panel discussion of federal common law in admiralty. Panelists included UT Law’s Louise Weinberg. Young is the current president of the Admiralty section of the AALS.

Related links:
Torres to address Atlanta conference

Torres named President-Elect of AALS