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Works-in-Progress Committee

Mission Statement

The SEALS Works-in-Progress Series is designed to provide intermediate and senior scholars (those who are further along in their scholarship and development than “new” scholars) opportunities to garner feedback from, and to network with, other experienced, well-informed people in their field.  It brings together small groups of scholars in specialized areas to discuss their drafts, works in progress, and developing ideas.  Presentations are organized by field of study to promote more sophisticated dialogue, when possible.  In order to facilitate discussion, participants are asked to provide a short (roughly 10-page) written summary of their article before the conference.  At the conference, participants may provide a brief summary of their ideas, which will be followed by an intensive discussion session with the other group members, all of whom are expected to read and offer feedback on each submission in their session.  For those newer scholars who seek more extensive feedback, the Series Committee will seek to match individual participants with expert “commentators” in their field.

Committee Members

  • Louis Virelli (Stetson) (Chair) lvirelli@law.Stetson.edu
  • Seema Mohapatra (Indiana) (Vice Chair)
  • Andrew Ferguson (UDC)
  • Chris Odinet (Iowa)
  • Stacy Scaldo (Florida Coastal)
  • Andrew Wright (NYU)

Papers for 2020 Conference

Constitutional Law Group:

Howard Wasserman, Congress and Universal Injunctions (Preliminary Draft)

Legal Research and Writing Group:

Jessica Mantel, Sarah Morath, and Lauren Simpson, Creative Collaboration

Important Links

2020 Annual Report

The Works-in-Progress Committee had a busy and productive fifth year as a stand-alone committee. The Works-in-Progress Series at the Annual Meeting, which is the Committee’s primary undertaking, had 35 scholars agree to participate in six separate groups to discuss their ongoing scholarly projects with one another. Despite the uncertainty and disruption created by the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 25 scholars ultimately participated in those six groups at the 2020 Annual Meeting. The feedback from participants was positive, and the Committee was particularly pleased that the Series included two groups, focusing on clinical education and legal research and writing, that organized their own slate of participants as part of the Series. The Committee hopes these groups and others will continue to think of the Series as a place to come discuss their scholarship with colleagues in their field.

The Committee owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to everyone who served as moderators in the Series, as well as Ben Cooper, Caprice Roberts, Peter Jetton, and the entire Moderator and Coordination Committee, especially the Chairs of that committee, Jancy Hoeffel and Lucas Osborn, for their help in finding moderators. We look forward to another successful year in 2020-2021

2019 Annual Report

The Works-in-Progress Committee had another productive year in its fourth iteration as a stand-alone committee. We had over 30 scholars agree to participate in six separate groups to discuss their ongoing projects with one another at the 2019 Annual Meeting. The feedback from participants at this year’s meeting was universally positive. We were especially excited to host two subject-matter specific groups, focusing on clinical education and cultural heritage law, as part of the Series and hope they and others will continue to think of the Series as a place to come discuss their scholarship with colleagues in their field.

We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to everyone who agreed to serve as moderators in the Works-in-Progress Series, as well as Ben Cooper, Caprice Roberts, Jancy Hoeffel, Lucas Osborn and the entire Moderator and Coordination Committee for their help in finding moderators. We look forward to another successful year in 2020.

2018 Annual Report

The Works-in-Progress Series continues to be a popular choice among conference attendees. We had more than 20 scholars discussing their work in five groups at the 2016 Annual Meeting, and 12 scholars in four separate groups at the 2017 Meeting. We are currently scheduled to have 23 scholars participate in five separate groups at the 2018 Meeting.

The solicitation process has been an overall success. The Series is designed to encourage participation from everyone who would like to share an ongoing project with their colleagues, and so far it has managed to do that. We receive submissions from a wide range of scholars representing a wide range of institutions in a wide array of subject matter areas. The availability of individualized commentators for every participant who requests one has also been a popular feature of the Series, and one we plan to continue.

The biggest challenge in organizing the Series is trying to group scholars by subject area; because there are no guidelines for submissions to the Series, there are not always multiple participants with precisely the same expertise. Fortunately, due to the overall quality of the authors and their projects, what at first appeared to be a challenge has turned into something of a strength. The participants have expressed their gratitude for feedback from scholars with different backgrounds and perspectives that they otherwise may not have had a chance to work with, and the pairing of junior and senior scholars has also been productive, not only for generating interesting discussions about the participants’ projects, but also for networking opportunities and professional development.

We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to everyone who has agreed to serve as a moderator or commentator in the Works-in-Progress Series, as well as Jancy Hoeffel, Lucas Osborne, and everyone else on the Moderator and Coordination Committee for their help in recruiting moderators for the program.

2017 Annual Report

The Works-in-Progress Committee is enjoying a productive second year as a stand-alone committee. We had over 20 scholars meet in five separate groups to discuss their ongoing projects with one another at the 2016 Annual Meeting. We are currently scheduled to have about 15 scholars participate in four separate groups at the 2017 Meeting.

We have a process for soliciting contributions and matching presenters with other scholars in their general area of expertise that appears to be working well. It can be challenging in some instances to match participants with others in their subject area because we do not limit or in any way seek to influence the topics of participants’ submissions, but this has not yet presented a serious problem. We are also committed to drawing submissions from the widest and most diverse range of scholars possible, so we are reluctant to do anything that may discourage or limit participation.

Limited travel budgets at law schools and lingering concerns about the Zika virus in Florida have caused a few more late cancellations this year than in 2016, but we are encouraged by the fact that initial interest in the Works-in-Progress Series in 2017 was as strong as in the previous year. Planning the program several months in advance and soliciting submissions from participants more than a month before the conference has helped limit the number of late cancellations and is thus a practice that the Committee plans to continue going forward. Finally, the provision of individualized commentators to those panelists who requested them has been a popular and, in our view, hugely beneficial feature of the Series.

We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to everyone who agreed to serve as moderators and commentators in the Works-in-Progress Series, as well as Ben Barton, Linda Jellum, Caprice Roberts, Jancy Hoeffel, and the entire Mentor and Moderator Committees for their help in finding commentators and replacement moderators.

2016 Annual Report

We are happy to report a successful first year of the Works-in-Progress Committee as a stand-alone committee.  We are excited about the prospect of bringing scholars together to talk about work that is still in varying stages of development and look forward to some enlightening and dynamic discussions at the 2016 Annual Meeting.

We have put in place a process for soliciting contributions and matching presenters with other scholars in their general area of expertise that worked well.  Matching participants by subject area was challenging, especially in light of our commitment to allow authors to submit on any topic they wish, but the end result came together rather nicely.  Getting commitments from participants several months in advance of the Annual Meeting, along with an abstract of their submission, helped in that process and has seemed to limit the number of late cancellations.  In order to further protect against the cancellation problem, we kept a waiting list of potentially interested participants who, for whatever reason, were unable to meet the initial submission deadline.  That waiting list has helped fill the few late openings we have experienced.  Finally, the provision of individualized commentators to those panelists who requested them has been a popular and, in our view, hugely beneficial feature of the Series.

We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to everyone who agreed to serve as moderators and commentators in the Works-in-Progress Series, as well Ben Barton, Kathy Cerminara and the entire Mentor Committee for their help in finding commentators, Jancy Hoeffel and the Moderator and Coordination Committee for help in identify replacement moderators, and Missy Lonegrass and the New Scholars Committee for offering great advice and a prime example of how a program like ours should be run.

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