Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

January 02, 2008
Southwestern Explores Issues in Asbestos Litigation

Prominent legal scholars and jurists from around the country will meet for symposium

Asbestos litigation is America's longest-lasting mass tort phenomenon, and its importance only continues to grow. Southwestern will present Perspectives on Asbestos Litigation on Friday, January 18, 2008, offering a comprehensive look at this problem while seeking to initiate a dialogue dedicated to solutions - all in a unique format that moves from the most practical issues to the most theoretical, political and sociological.

A recent study confirms that by 2009, asbestos will have killed nearly a quarter million people and injured millions more. As of 2002, approximately 730,000 people had filed asbestos claims against 8,400 corporate and other entities, which have spent $70 billion on asbestos litigation. Only $30 billion (42 percent of the total) has been awarded to the injured claimants. The symposium will begin from within the trenches of asbestos litigation with "Practical and Judicial Perspectives"; turn to tort theory in "Moral and Economic Perspectives"; explore the boundaries of tort, the role of complex litigation, and the viability of non-tort alternatives in "Private and Public Law Perspectives"; and culminate by considering the litigation's broader ramifications and effects in "Social and Cultural Perspectives." The event will conclude with a question and answer session on this timely and important topic.

"This is a very thorough exploration of asbestos litigation, examining its history and practical and theoretical issues," Southwestern Professor Alan Calnan, event co-chair and panel moderator said. "We have the best line up of speakers, all A-list academics and judges. They are all at top of their game."

Keynote speaker Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and Director of the Federal Judicial Center will be joined by prominent professors, judges, attorneys and legal scholars from around the country, including: Justice Helen Freedman, New York State Supreme Court; Mark Behrens, Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.; Professor Michael Green, Wake Forest University School of Law and Philosophy; Steven Kazan, Kazan, McClain, Abrams, Lyons, Farrise & Greenwood, PLC; Professor Mark Geistfeld, New York University School of Law; Professor Keith Hylton, Boston University School of Law; Associate Dean Gregory Keating, William T. Dalessi Professor of Law and Philosophy, University of Southern California, Gould School of Law; Professor Howard Erichson, Seton Hall Law School and Fordham Law School (Visiting); Professors Francis McGovern and Neil Vidmar, Duke University School of Law; Professor Linda Mullenix, University of Texas School of Law; Professor Richard Nagareda, Vanderbilt University Law School; Professor Anita Bernstein, Brooklyn Law School; Professor Debora Hensler, Stanford Law School; and Professor Joseph Sanders, University of Houston Law Center. Southwestern Professor Byron Stier will co-chair the event with Professor Calnan.

Articles written for this symposium will be published in the Southwestern University Law Review. Copies of the issue will be sent to participants and will also be available for purchase. For further information about the Law Review, contact the Law Review office at (213) 738-6744 or

The symposium will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the historic Bullocks Wilshire Building on Southwestern's campus. It offers 7.0 hours of CLE credit. Southwestern is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider. The cost is $75 for non-Southwestern Alumni seeking 7.0 hours of CLE credit; $50 for Southwestern Alumni seeking 7.0 hours of CLE credit; and $40 for those not seeking CLE credit. Information on registering for the event can be found online. For a map and directions, click here.

Media interested in attending the symposium should contact Southwestern's Public Information Office.