Panel Descriptions

Critical Perspectives on Court and Law Reform 


Court Reform: Rhetoric and Experience 

Professor Spinak’s talk will address questions about what we say about the reform work we do and to what degree what we say is accurate; how the way in which we talk about Family Court reform implicates our analysis of what we are achieving; how our places within the system affect our perceptions of reform; what limits our willingness and ability to apply rigorous evaluative techniques to determine whether we are reaching our goals; and whether, if we are failing, we can acknowledge failure and learn from it.  She will further explore how answers to these questions may lead to better understanding of why Family Court reform is stuck between rhetoric and reality.

The panelists will respond to Professor Spinak’s questions with their own experiences in court reform and the establishment of problem-solving courts. Professor Quinn will share her thoughts on the untold stories of contemporary criminal court reforms, in part providing a historical perspective regarding progressive era problem-solving courts’ efforts to address prostitution and domestic violence that has been largely left out of the modern problem-solving court movement's discourse, highlighting the lessons those endeavors hold for our current attempts to reform civil and criminal justice. Judge Frawley, who led family court reform efforts in St. Louis, will share his experiences of the rhetoric and reality of that movement and its aftermath. Professor Kenyon will share her analysis, as an advocate for the litigants involved in these courts and their related social service systems, exploring the contradictions in mission and execution as well as the successes and failures of these systems to serve vulnerable families and children.

Domestic Violence Legal Processes: Changing Theory and Practice

This panel critically considers the theory and practice of current domestic violence legal processes.  Panelists will address the various factors that should be taken into account when making changes to the manner in which judges, lawyers, courts and the legal system as a whole address domestic violence.  The panel’s focus will be on the restructuring of the legal system’s approach to domestic violence.  The presentations run the gamut from analyzing and explaining anti-essentialist principles that should guide restructuring, critiquing the existing heteronormativity of primary legal responses, exploring practical considerations that must be taken into account when constructing a dedicated order of protection docket, and rethinking the ethical concerns that arise when advising battered women on possible legal remedies.  The domestic violence law experts on the panel include Michael Burton, Presiding Judge St. Louis County Family Court, Leigh Goodmark, Associate Professor and Director Family Law Clinic, University of Baltimore School of Law, Adele M. Morrison, Visiting Professor and Acting Director Civil Justice Clinic, Washington University School of Law and Brendan Roediger, Lecturer in Law and Managing Attorney Civil Justice Clinic, Washington University School of Law.

Pursuing Environmental Justice: Obstacles and Opportunities

15 years ago, President Clinton issued an executive order to commit the country to achieve “environmental justice.” Since then, precious little has been achieved. With President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at the helm today, what can be done at the national, state, and local levels to move beyond rhetoric and enable low-income and minority communities to achieve cleaner and healthier air and water and to obtain equal access to environmental decision-makers?  

Emerging from the trenches to participate in this panel are: Helen Kang, Director of the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic and Associate Professor at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco; Doug Eller, Director of Community Development at the Grace Hill Settlement House in St. Louis; and Kathy Andria, President of the American Bottom Conservancy in Metro East, Illinois. 

Using Intellectual Property to Preserve Access to Justice

Intellectual property protection has emerged as one of the hot-buttom topics surrounding the internet and e-commerce, as policymakers struggle to achieve a balance between the interests of content providers and users, and both startup businesses and nonprofit organizations seek to take advantage of digital technology. IP protection has also become a hot-button topic in international trade negotiations, as industrialized countries demand higher standards for IP protection and enforcement, while developing countries insist that IP protection and enforcement standards be designed to promote economic development and to reduce (rather than enhance) disparities between industrialized and developing countries.  This panel will explore the role of intellectual property clinics and nonprofit organizations in responding to both of these challenges.

Using Mitigation Specialists in State and Federal Cases

 TBA

Ethical Considerations in Working with Other Professions

The effective practice of law increasingly requires lawyers to work with other professionals. Many professions have their own ethical codes of conduct, and at times a lawyer’s ethical duties may conflict with another professional’s ethical obligations.  This panel will analyze the practical and ethical issues of lawyers working with other professions either collaboratively or when other professionals are consulting or testimonial experts in legal matters. The panelists will discuss how lawyers and other professionals should structure their working relationships to avoid such conflicts and provide alternative methods to resolve conflicts if they should arise.  There will be ample time for participation and questions from those attending to share suggestions for forming and maintaining better inter-profession relationships.