- Colin Marks (St. Marys) (Co-chair) email@example.com
- Gary Simson (Mercer) (Co-chair) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bradley Areheart (Tennessee)
- Mike Ariens (St. Mary’s)
- Deidre Bowen (Seattle U.)
- Jonathan Cardi (Wake Forest)
- Andrea Dennis (Georgia)
- Michael Green (Texas A & M)
- Ronald Krotoszynski (U. Alabama)
- Corrina Lain (Richmond)
- Barry McDonald (Pepperdine)
- Caprice Roberts (Savannah)
- Walter Keith Robinson (SMU)
- Louis Virelli (Stetson)
- Stephen Vladeck (American)
2017 Annual Report
The major activity and accomplishment of the Scholarly Research Committee (the “Committee”) for the year was reaching agreement with two law reviews – the Kentucky Law Journal and the Mercer Law Review – for each to publish a symposium of articles by the participants in a discussion group that will take place at the SEALS Conference in the summer of 2017. In keeping with the Committee’s longtime purpose of enhancing SEALS’s scholarly reputation, the Committee arranged with both law reviews to make clear in their published symposia that each stems from a SEALS discussion group and is co-sponsored by SEALS.
The Kentucky Law Journal will be doing a symposium on “Religious Exemptions and Harm to Others.” Six or seven members of the SEALS discussion group on that topic will be speaking in November at a live symposium hosted by the Kentucky Law Journal at the University of Kentucky College of Law. Those speakers, and perhaps one or two individuals who will participate in the SEALS discussion group but not in the live symposium, will submit articles of roughly 10-20 law review pages in length to appear in the Kentucky Law Journal. The Mercer Law Review symposium will be on “Disruptive Innovation in Criminal Defense.” Ten members of the SEALS discussion group on that subject will speak in October at a live symposium that the Mercer Law Review will be hosting at the Mercer University School of Law. They and two other members of the SEALS discussion group will submit articles of about 10-20 pages apiece for publication in the Mercer Law Review.
On the thought that it may be helpful for future reference, we briefly describe below the process we followed in arranging for the two symposia.
The process began with the Committee’s approval of a symposium initiative at its meeting during the 2016 SEALS Conference. At the outset, we anticipated that lining up a law review to publish a SEALS-based symposium would be the biggest challenge. However, working through two Kentucky law faculty, Scott Bauries and Josh Douglas (the faculty advisor to the Kentucky Law Journal), whom he knows well and who have been involved in SEALS, Colin managed to secure by mid-October a strong expression of interest from the Kentucky Law Journal. In addition, in early December, Gary broached with the Mercer Law Review editor-in-chief, who had been Gary’s student in two classes, the possibility of the Mercer Law Review also hosting a SEALS-based symposium. The editor-in-chief was very enthusiastic, and within a few weeks of the law review board’s return from intersession, they voted to do so. Notably, both the Kentucky Law Journal and the Mercer Law Review regularly have an annual live and print symposium.
Another major challenge in pursuing the symposium initiative was ensuring that the law review(s) interested in publishing a symposium would have attractive opportunities from which to choose. For a SEALS discussion group or panel to present an attractive opportunity, it needed to have two principal characteristics: (1) a topic likely to generate both spirited debate at a live symposium and an interesting exchange of views in a print symposium and (2) at least several participants willing to participate in a live symposium at the law review’s site and to write an article on the topic of 10-20 law review pages in length.
Very soon after the SEALS executive committee meeting in mid-December at which the symposium initiative was formally approved, Caprice Roberts, the SEALS Vice-Chair of Programming (as well as a member of our Committee), helped get under way the effort to ensure that the law reviews would have a good assortment of panels and discussion groups from which to choose. By e-mail, she notified panel and discussion group organizers of the Committee’s symposium initiative and invited them to contact Colin and Gary if their panel or discussion group appeared to be interested in doing a symposium. By mid-January, only a few panels or discussion groups had come forward, and we decided to try to broaden the options for the law reviews by reaching out to various panels and discussion groups – 19 in total – that we identified as well-suited to doing a live and print symposium. In each instance, we sent an e-mail to the moderator of the panel or discussion group and asked him or her to (1) poll the other members of the panel or group to ascertain their interest in participating in a live and print symposium in the fall on the topic of their SEALS panel or group and (2) let us know by February 1 how many members had indicated serious interest in participating in a symposium if the panel or group were chosen to do so. We also contacted the few panels and discussion groups that had come forward earlier and asked them to get back to us by February 1 with the same information.
Ultimately, eight panels or discussion groups responded by February 1 that they would like to be considered for a symposium. The next day, we sent by e-mail to the editors-in-chief of the Kentucky Law Journal and the Mercer Law Review (1) the SEALS 2017 Conference program, where the editors-in-chief and their boards could read a description of each panel or discussion group’s topic and see the names and institutional affiliations of its members and (2) a list, which we have appended to this report, specifying how many members of each panel or group had agreed to participate if the panel or group were selected to do a symposium.
When the Kentucky Law Journal agreed early in the fall to offer a SEALS-based symposium, we told them that, even if another law review were to agree at a later time to do another such symposium, the Kentucky Law Journal would get to choose first from the panels and discussion groups that wished to be considered for a symposium. In keeping with that understanding, which we made clear to the Mercer Law Review when we first approached them, the Kentucky Law Journal selected first and chose the “Religious Exemptions and Harm to Others” discussion group. The Mercer Law Review followed by selecting the “Disruptive Innovation in Criminal Defense” group.
By all indications, both boards are very happy with their choices. Moreover, we will have an up-close look at how both symposia work out. Gary is one of the SEALS discussion group participants who will be speaking at, and writing for, the Kentucky Law Journal symposium. In addition, he agreed to be the Mercer law faculty member who, in keeping with the Mercer Law Review’s longstanding policies for symposia, will serve as the requisite liaison between the board and the individuals speaking at, and writing for, the symposium.
An entirely separate initiative that the Committee agreed at its meeting last August to undertake calls for posting on the SEALS website after the 2017 Conference a brief report highlighting some of the interesting scholarly debates that will have taken place in the various discussion groups and panels. The plan contemplates dividing up among the Committee’s many members responsibility to attend particular groups and panels and then having each member write up a short account for the website of the one or two groups or panels he or she attended.
Two other modest initiatives were undertaken in conjunction with the Call for Papers Committee. The first was to send a letter to all SEALS institutional member law reviews describing the call for papers, announcing this year’s winners and the selection process. Colin drafted the letter with Ron Rychlak (chair of the Call for Papers) and sent it to all the EICs of the various law reviews to promote the winning manuscripts. Second, Colin created an email list of past CFP winners which Ron used to notify the past winners of this year’s winning papers and to encourage them to attend the presentation luncheon at SEALS.