Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

January 21, 2011
Law and Society Scholars from the Western United States to Gather at Southwestern

With a commitment to cultivating research, conversation and engagement on a range of issues that affect scholarship, teaching and service, Southwestern will host the Fourth West Coast Law and Society Retreat on February 11 and 12.

This retreat has attracted more than 100 faculty and graduate students in law-and-society studies from California and other Pacific Region schools as far away as Alaska, Hawaii and British Columbia. It will provide an opportunity for academics to become familiar with each other's work and form new social networks. Southwestern is proud to play host to the comprehensive event, which has been previously held on law school campuses at U.C. Berkeley, the University of Hawaii and Stanford.

"This is especially pleasing for me as dean, because the Law and Society Association has been my own intellectual home for more than 30 years," Southwestern Dean Bryant Garth said. "It will be fun to see both old friends and emerging young scholars come to Southwestern. I am also glad to see that our Professors Danielle Hart, Roman Hoyos, Gowri Ramachandran and Molly Selvin will take part in the program."  

Informal panels and discussions will explore the substantive questions emerging at the leading edges of law and society scholarship, the state of the field as an academic discipline, and the role of law and society scholarship in identifying and shaping dialogue around new legal challenges. Some topics covered in the comprehensive schedule will include discussions of law and economic crisis, social movements across moving borders, current developments in government regulation and new developments in the legal profession. Socio-legal studies will be analyzed across several areas such as criminal law, medicine, media, social justice, immigration, and diversity.

According to Professor Arthur McEvoy, who is spearheading the event, Law and Society is the leading organization in the world devoted to the social-scientific study of law. Approximately half of its members are academic lawyers who use history, economics, sociology, linguistics and other social-science tools in their scholarship. The other members are social scientists who study law as a social system.

Since the goal of the retreat is to develop thinking in new areas, the panel sessions will be led by scholars who will offer brief, informal comments in order to prompt discussion among attendees. This intentionally unceremonious structure will enable panelists to engage in a dialogue about important issues pertaining to scholarship, teaching and interaction with the world.

"There is no other group that brings lawyers and social scientists together like this, on common ground, speaking a more-or-less common language, and addressing common concerns," Professor McEvoy explained. "It's a group that's very engaged in the world, and the world is a very uncertain place right now. It's an important moment in the history of the profession, I think, and I'm looking forward to hearing what people think about how the world is changing right now."

Program Agenda (PDF)