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Scholarly Research Committee

Mission

Committee Members

  • Colin Marks (St. Mary’s) (Co-Chair) cmarks@stmarytx.edu
  • Gary Simson (Mercer) (Co-Chair) simson_g@law.mercer.edu
  • Mike Ariens (St. Mary’s)
  • Scott Bauries (Kentucky)
  • Deidre Bowen (Seattle)
  • Jonathan Cardi (Wake Forest)
  • Miriam Cherry (Saint Louis)
  • Kristin Johnson (Tulane)
  • Corrina Lain (Richmond)
  • Lili Levi (Miami)
  • Barry McDonald (Pepperdine)
  • Brian Owsley (UNT Dallas)
  • Caprice Roberts (George Washington)
  • Walter Keith Robinson (SMU)
  • Louis Virelli (Stetson)
  • Jeffrey Usman (Belmont)
  • Stephen Vladeck (Texas)

2021 Annual Report

Despite the pandemic, the Scholarly Research Committee (“SRC”) remained active 2020. Though the conference moved online in 2020, the SRC still coordinated the writing of panel and discussion group summaries for publication on the SEALS blog. Further, there was one pairing this past year of a SEALS discussion group or panel with a law review. The Stetson Law Review did a Spring 2021 virtual symposium, “Civil Procedure Transformation After Fifteen Years of the Roberts Court” based on the SEALS 2020 conference discussion group.

For the 2021 conference, the committee is collecting names of committee members who will attend various discussion groups and panels to once again write summaries for the blog. On the publication-pairing front, the Mercer Law Review, which had done a SEALS-based symposium in three prior years, is already back on board for 2021-22 and will pair with the 2021 SEALS discussion group, “Social Media Platforms and Free Expression,” for a fall 2021 symposium.  Two of the participants in that symposium will be Russell Weaver and Gary Simson. We are also actively soliciting other law reviews for parings as well.

2020 Annual Report

Over the past year, three law reviews did SEALS-based symposia: Mercer Law Review, Stetson Law Review, and Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy. The Mercer and Stetson journals did live and print symposia; the Tennessee journal did only a print symposium.

Two journals will be doing SEALS-based symposia in the coming year. Stetson Law Review will be doing its third consecutive SEALS-based symposium. This one will be with members of the 2020 SEALS Annual Conference discussion group, “The Civil Procedure Transformation after Fifteen Years of the Roberts Court.” The Florida International University Law Review will be doing a symposium with a discussion group or panel still to be determined.

In the past, we have also tasked committee members to do short write-ups on selected panels and discussion groups. For the 2020 SEALS Annual Conference, due to a number of our committee members not being able to participate, we did not create a set schedule but simply asked members who did attend a session to write up a summary for the blog. Despite the lack of formal assignments, a number of committee members wrote up short accounts for the SEALS website of highlights of discussion groups and panels they attended

2019 Annual Report

With Colin taking the lead, we again divided up among the Committee’s members’ responsibility to attend particular discussion groups and panels at the Annual Conference and then had each member write up within 24 hours a short account for the SEALS website of the one or two groups or panels he or she attended. The short accounts posted on the website highlighted various of the interesting scholarly debates that took place in the discussion groups and panels.

Over the past year, four law reviews did SEALS-based symposia: Mercer Law Review, Stetson Law Review, Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy, and The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review on Race and Social Justice.  All but the Tennessee journal did both live and print symposia; the Tennessee journal did only a print symposium.

Going forward, all four of those journals are going to do SEALS-based symposia in the coming year. Mercer Law Review will be doing a symposium with members of the Election Law discussion group; Stetson Law Review will be doing a symposium with members of the Health Law and Bioethics discussion group; and the Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy will be doing a symposium with members of the Insider Trading Stories discussion group.  That will be Mercer’s third SEALS-based symposium; Stetson’s second; and the Tennessee journal’s second.

2018 Annual Report

As detailed in the annual report that we submitted at this time last year, the major activity and accomplishment of the Scholarly Research Committee (the “Committee”) for the academic year 2016-17 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 most members of a discussion group scheduled for the SEALS 2017 Conference. In keeping with the Committee’s longtime purpose of enhancing SEALS’s scholarly reputation, the Committee arranged with both the Kentucky Law Journal and the Mercer Law Review to make clear in their print symposia (which are now both nearing publication) that each stems from a SEALS discussion group and is co-sponsored by SEALS.

In the 2017-18 academic year, the Committee focused on building on the success of that new initiative. As of this writing, three law reviews have each reached agreement with a SEALS Conference discussion group or panel to publish a symposium. In addition, it is very likely that in the next few weeks, a fourth law review that we have been working with will do the same. Like the Kentucky Law Journal and the Mercer Law Review the year before, two of the three law reviews that have reached agreement with a SEALS Conference discussion group or panel will be hosting a live symposium as well as doing a print one. The third law review will be doing a print-only symposium. When each symposium is published, the publication will make clear the symposium’s SEALS origins and co-sponsorship.

The three law reviews that definitely will be doing a SEALS-based symposium are the Mercer Law ReviewThe Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review on Race and Social Justice, and the Stetson Law Review. Not only is the Mercer Law Review doing a SEALS-based symposium for the second year in a row, but the editors were so interested in a SEALS discussion group that they seriously considered selecting last year—“Corporate and Financial Reform in the Trump Administration”—that they asked Gary, a Mercer faculty member, to contact that group’s moderator and ascertain whether the seven individuals in that group who had expressed interest in doing a live and print symposium a year ago remained interested. All seven reaffirmed their interest, and as he did last year, Gary has agreed to serve as the designated faculty “liaison” between the speakers and the Mercer Law Review editors. Colin, a St. Mary’s faculty member, identified The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review on Race and Social Justice as a good prospect to do a SEALS-based symposium, and the editors have agreed to do a symposium based on both a SEALS 2018 Conference panel, “Redefining Status: Intersections of Diversity and Status in the Legal Academy,” and a SEALS 2018 discussion group, “Promoting Inclusion and Equity: Connecting Disciplines, Legal Education, and the Legal Profession.” Nine members of the panel and group have committed to writing for the symposium. Thanks to Committee member Lou Virelli, a Stetson faculty member, the Stetson Law Review has agreed to do a symposium based on the SEALS 2018 discussion group, “Conversations on the Warren Court’s Impact on Criminal Justice.” Six members of that group are firmly committed to speaking at, and writing for, that symposium, and one or more others may commit to do so in the weeks ahead. The Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy is the likely fourth law review to be doing a SEALS-based symposium. Committee member Brad Areheart, a Tennessee faculty member, is responsible for sparking the journal’s interest in doing a SEALS-based symposium.

For purposes of future reference, we note one important respect in which the process that we followed this year differed from the process described at length in our report last year. Last year, we reached out to the moderators of all the discussion groups and panels in the upcoming SEALS Conference and asked each moderator to poll the members of his or her group or panel for their willingness to commit to doing a live and print symposium. That generated little response, and we only succeeded in getting a significant number of concrete expressions of interest when we targeted particular discussion groups and panels and told each moderator that we saw his or her group or panel as very well suited for a symposium. This year, we decided to proceed by (1) giving the SEALS 2018 Conference Program to each law review that committed to doing a symposium and (2) asking the law review to get back to us with a list of up to ten panels and discussion groups that they saw as attractive possibilities for a symposium. We then (3) told each of the moderators of the named panels and discussion groups that his or her group or panel had been identified by a law review as a good symposium prospect, and (4) asked the moderator to poll within three weeks the members of the group or panel for their willingness to commit to doing a live and print symposium. We are confident that this change in process made the process more efficient and effective.

In our report last year, we outlined a new initiative that the Committee had agreed to undertake at the SEALS 2017 Conference itself. That initiative involved dividing up among the Committee’s many members responsibility to attend particular discussion groups and panels at the Conference and then having each member write up within 24 hours a short account for the SEALS website of the one or two groups or panels he or she attended. The short accounts posted on the website highlighted various of the interesting scholarly debates that took place in the discussion groups and panels. By all indications, the initiative added significantly to the scholarly aspect of the Conference and was well received, and we intend to repeat it, with some minor refinements, at the SEALS 2018 Conference.

Finally, this year, like last, we worked with the Call for Papers Committee to promote the papers selected. A joint letter from our two committees was sent in early February to the flagship journal at every SEALS member school. The letter identified this year’s winning papers and encouraged the editors to give the manuscripts special consideration in light of this award.

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.

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