Discussion Group Programs – Annual Meeting

Discussion Group Programs closed for submission on April 13.

A Discussion Group program provides a small group of faculty the opportunity to engage in a sustained conversation about a topic of interest to the participants. Discussion Group sessions will not feature formal presentations. Discussion Group participants will typically be expected to write and share a short presentation summary (3-5 pages) as part of their participation.  These written summaries are intended to facilitate a lively and engaging real-time round table discussion among the participants.

Discussion Groups could be limited to a single substantive area and subject (e.g., “Equitable Remedies in Civil Rights Litigation”). Ideally, however, Discussion Groups will offer an opportunity for faculty in cross-cutting fields to bring useful perspectives to the conversation.  For example, a Discussion Group on “Free Speech and Community Policing” could invite perspectives from multiple vantage points, obviously including public law and criminal law, but also including critical, feminist, and comparative law perspectives as well.

A Discussion Group program should feature no fewer than 8, and no more than 15, invited participants, with 12 invited participants being the strongly preferred maximum.  The proposal should identify approximately 2/3 of the participants or possible invitees, and the balance will then be invited from an open call that the AALS staff will disseminate after the proposal is accepted. As with other programs at the Annual Meeting, attendees who are not invited Discussion Group participants are welcome to attend the Discussion Group as observers, and at some point during the program, the moderator should open up discussion to all attendees.

Proposals for a Discussion Group program should follow the general submission guidelines set forth above.   For all accepted proposals, the Annual Meeting Program Committee and the AALS staff will post calls for participation and will facilitate the program organizers’ review of the submissions.  The final participant list is subject to review and approval by the Program Committee.  Once the participants are identified, the organizers are requested to solicit 1-page Abstracts from them and distribute them among the participants in advance of the meeting.

Organizers are also expected to moderate the Discussion Group unless another moderator is identified in the proposal. Organizers are responsible for ensuring timely communication among the participants prior to the Annual Meeting, including disseminating any abstract or paper requirements and deadlines for circulating to participants.

In reviewing Discussion Group Program proposals, the Committee will consider the overall quality of the program, including whether:

  • The program is likely to lead to an interesting and constructive discussion among the participants;
  • There is a diversity of presenters, including diversity of schools, viewpoints, and backgrounds;
  • The proposal is well written and thoughtfully constructed; and
  • Junior participants will be included in the group.

Questions may be directed to discussiongroup@aals.org.