AUSTIN, Texas—Two of the nation’s top legal scholars on securities markets will discuss the impact of securities laws and litigation on the integrity of financial markets during a conference Feb. 1-2 at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law.
The conference, which is free and open to the public, will include information about legal arrangements that protect investors in situations like Enron’s recent filing for bankruptcy protection.
John C. Coffee Jr. of Columbia University School of Law and Harvard University Law School, and Stephen Choi of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, will speak beginning at 9 a.m. on Feb. 1 in the Eidman Courtroom at The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Law. They will be among about 25 legal scholars addressing timely and controversial issues relating to the legal profession and the civil justice system.
The conference, titled “What We Know and Don’t Know About Lawyers, Civil Justice and the Impact of Legal Services on the American Economy and Polity,” will be presented by the School of Law’s new Center on Lawyers, Civil Justice, and the Media, and the Texas Law Review. Other topics will include how Texas trial lawyers recruit personal injury clients and how juries and judges handle punitive damages. Scholars also will address whether or not court-annexed alternative dispute resolution really saves money, whether or not malpractice lawsuits enhance the quality of health care and whether or not consumer bankruptcy should be reformed to protect credit card issuers and other lenders.
Limited free parking with dashboard permits from the School of Law will be available on Feb. 1 for Lot 38 on Red River in front of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Paid parking closer to the law school will be available on Feb. 1 in Parking Garage One and free parking will be available on Feb. 2 on streets near the School of Law.
"The public debate about lawyers and civil justice is replete with myths, half-truths and falsehoods. It also is extraordinarily partisan and ideological," said Professor Charles Silver, co-director of the Center on Lawyers, Civil Justice and the Media. “Toning down the rhetoric would benefit all Americans by enabling them to learn whether legal services help our economy grow and make our society more stable. This conference marks the beginning of a major and long-term effort to make the debate more factual.”
Silver, the Cecil D. Redford Professor in Law, and School of Law Professor Lynn Baker, the Thomas Watt Gregory Professor in Law and also a co-director of the center, are nationally recognized experts in professional responsibility and are known for their cutting-edge work on complex group lawsuits and mass tort litigation. The center’s mission is to examine and distribute statistically valid studies about the impact of the law on aspects of the economy and the functioning of the government.
The conference is sponsored by the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism in Austin; the Texas Bar Foundation in Austin; the Roscoe Pound Institute in Washington, D.C.; Fred Misko, Jr., P.C., of Dallas; Bendinger, Crockett, Peterson and Casey in Salt Lake City, Utah and the Texas Medical Liability Trust in Austin.
Lawyers who attend the conference will be eligible to receive continuing legal education credit from the State Bar of Texas, including credit for legal ethics. Registration information is available online here or by calling the Center on Lawyers, Civil Justice and the Media at (512) 471-3356. Articles and commentaries will be available to download from the conference Web site as they are submitted. For papers already posted, visit this Web site. The conference will be broadcast live on the Web through a RealVideo stream.
Note to editors/producers: Reporters and photographers planning to attend the conference are urged to register in advance. For more information contact Silver at (512) 232-1337, or Communications Strategy Manager Laura Castro at (512) 232-1229 at the School of Law.