Hosted by the graduate students at Cornell University Law School in Ithaca, New York on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13, 2013.
Cornell Law School Inter-University Graduate Conference continues from where it left off in 2012. Last year, we investigated the benefits and shortcomings of the tools borrowed from other disciplines to promote a conscious reflection of our academic work. Now, a next step would be to debate whether we have been absorbed by the interdisciplinary approach or rather whether we have assimilated it into legal scholarship.
After Holmes appealed to lawyers to move beyond classical formal analysis, lawyers availed themselves of insights from other disciplines and American legal scholarship took a different path. Arguably, there has been some benefit from this methodological richness. However, Holmes may have had a more subtle point, namely that when lawyers study law they do not study “a mystery but a well known profession”. This well-established epistemology of law teaching and practice, namely the case method at law schools and “what lawyers do in their offices” still looks remarkably similar to the pre-Holmesean landscape. Today, legal researchers might face an identity crisis of sorts - estranged from law as a distinct discipline, many have turned to cognitive sciences in order to explain their home discipline. Thus, “the impoverishment of legal theory”, as some critics have termed it, calls to mind the hunger and thirst of Tantalus, standing in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree in Hades.
Our focus this year will be an introspective look at law in order to discern the already complicated descriptive and prescriptive elements in its formation. Hence we hope to stimulate discussion among graduate students for possible avenues of compromise between law and morals, public and private, research and practice, the center and the edges, and so on. We look for meeting points, or CROSSROADS, where these might come together and resolve the tensions, or otherwise – if so or necessary -- to promote them.
We invite conference papers from graduate students (we particularly welcome submissions from JSDs, SJDs, and PhDs) involved in legal scholarship and we are interested in those papers that have the ambition of resolving certain theoretical or practical conflicts or tensions. Under this rubric, the conference is open to all contributions, but the following broad topics articulate some of the primary themes of interest:
The conference will begin on Friday afternoon and continue on Saturday, April 13. The program will consist of several panels throughout the day featuring 3-4 panelists each. Each panelist will provide a ten to fifteen minute presentation of his or her paper topic after which there will be input from the other panelists and conference attendees. The program will also feature a Cornell law faculty roundtable on Friday and a closing presentation by Prof. Micheal Dorf on Saturday.
Link to Program Guide: 9th Cornell Law School Inter-University Graduate Conference Program Guide