W&L Law Professors Lyman Johnson and David Millon will be featured at a conference at the University of St. Thomas entitled “Law and the History of Corporate Social Responsibility” this Friday, April 26.
This one-day conference is co-sponsored by the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership, the Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC), the University of St. Thomas School of Law, the Law Journal Symposium, and Opus College of Business. Scholars in law and business, members of the legal profession, and CEBC members discuss key topics and issues in the development of corporate law and the history of corporate responsibility. The event was inspired by the Fall 2012 publication of CEBC’s landmark history: Corporate Responsibility: The American Experience, Cambridge University Press.
When: Friday, April 26, 2013 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (A reception will follow this event.)
Where: Schulze Hall Auditorium, Opus College of Business, University of St. Thomas Minneapolis Campus 1000 LaSalle Ave.Minneapolis, MN 55403-2015
Washington and Lee law professor Russ Miller has published a piece titled ”Differencing Same-Sex Marriage” at the blog site for the Journal of International Constitutional Law (I-Connect).
In the piece, Miller explores recent efforts by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Constitution Court of Germany to deal with same-sex marriage. He notes that there is strong temptation for comparative law scholars to draw comparisons between the U.S. and Germany in these cases, but argues that that effort might be mistaken. He concludes the piece by saying:
If the Supreme Court ends up ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, the temptation for comparative constitutional lawyers to conclude that there is an emerging constitutional convergence in favor of the rights of homosexuals will be great. Whatever political—or even theoretical—position that functionalist comparative law conclusion serves, it would be only the most superficial comparative “reality.”
Tax Clinic: Making Peace with the IRS
Many Virginians are heaving a sigh of relief after getting tax returns done and in the mail, but for some the challenge of paying taxes as just begun.
They’re the ones who get notices from the IRS. At the very least, that’s an annoyance, and for some it’s a nightmare, but free help could be a phone call away.
Every state has at least one federally-funded office to help people having trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. In Virginia there are two: the Community Tax Law Project in Richmond and the Tax Clinic at Washington and Lee’s School of Law.
The clinic provides services at no charge to anyone who qualifies.
To hear WVTF’s report on the clinic, click here.
Washington and Lee law professor Mark Drumbl contributed to an online symposium focused on a recent issue of the Leiden Journal of International Law (LJIL). The symposium, hosted by the international law blog Opinio Juris, focused on two discussions of fundamental issues of international law: the functions of international tribunals and the philosophy of international criminal law.
Prof. Drumbl’s contribution to the symposium took the form of a review and analysis of an LJIL article by Prof. Darryl Robinson titled “A Cosmopolitan Liberal Account of International Criminal Law,” in which the author continues his exploration of the conceptual underpinnings of international criminal law. Drumbl writes:
“Darryl is concerned when ICL dilutes individual moral agency so as to procure convictions. ICL’s massaging of individual moral agency, however, does not run exclusively in this direction. ICL also has exonerating tendencies. ICL often overlooks. Certain individuals tend to be defined by their group, and these groups may be categorically posited as lacking appreciable moral agency, culpability, or capacity. Specifically, ICL underplays the agency of women, child soldiers, and the elderly when implicated in the perpetration of atrocity. Although discourse within the field is maturing (and pluralizing) in this regard, it remains that, instead of engaging with the complexities of the agency of the oppressed – who can in turn oppress others – ICL tends to inflate their innocence, thereby leaving their victims all the more starved for a remedy.”
Drumbl’s entire commentary, titled “International Criminal Law and Moral Agency,” is available online. Prof. Robinson responds to the commentary on his article in another piece titled “The Idea of Justice in International Criminal Law.”
Mark Drumbl is Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law and Director of the Transnational Law Institute. An expert in the fields of international criminal law and post-conflict justice, he has authored two critically acclaimed books: Atrocity, Punishment and International Law and Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy. His work has been referenced by courts in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
Professor Joshua Fairfield to Present His Work at Stanford-Peking University Conference on Internet Law and Policy
Washington and Lee law professor Joshua Fairfield will present his work on virtual currency and virtual property, as part of a panel discussing Virtual Items, at the Second Stanford-Peking University Conference on Internet Law and Policy 2013 hosted by Stanford Law School on May 3d and 4th (registration link: http://blogs.law.stanford.edu/ilpp2013/).
The conference is co-sponsored by Stanford Law School and Peking University, and draws together internationally-recognized scholars from the United States, China, and across the world. The conference addresses issues of cutting edge intellectual property and e-commercial law, including the growing trade in virtual items and currency.
Professor Fairfield’s work, entitled “Virtual Gravity,” will address the emergence of virtual items, virtual currencies, and microtransactions as a major means of financing internet services. For example, the virtual currency BitCoin has recently risen to prominence as parties seeking to shield money from the Cypriot banking crisis invest in the online money. Professor Fairfield’s research explores the differences between Europe, the United States, and China in addressing the rise of virtual items. It also explores the gravitational pull that the technology of digital objects exerts on the form and shape of the law.
Here is the press release from the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies regarding today’s appearance by W&L Law Professor Russell Miller:
AICGS, the Goethe-Institut’s Mapping Democracy Series, the German Embassy-Cultural Division, and the Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association are pleased to host Donald Kommers and Russell Miller, co-authors of The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany (2012), for a panel discussion on “The Constitutional Framework for German Democracy.” The event will take place at 6:30pm on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at the Goethe-Institut, 812 Seventh St, NW.
This new edition, with its extensive treatment of the German law of democracy, comes at an appropriate time, shortly before Germany’s federal elections in the fall. In this discussion the authors will explore the constitutional facets of electoral processes in Germany as well as the broader notion of democracy in the Constitutional Court’s decisions. The book, an English-language commentary on German constitutional law, also features translations of more than 100 decisions of the German Federal Constitutional Court. In her foreword to the latest edition, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg calls the book “a masterful text.”
Prof. Donald Kommers is a Joseph and Elizabeth Robbie Professor of Political Science and Concurrent Professor of Law Emeritus at Notre Dame University Law School. He is the author of over 100 major articles and books and his next book, Germany’s Constitutional Odyssey, is expected to be published in early 2014. Prof. Kommers earned his B.A. in philosophy and English literature from the Catholic University of America and his advanced degrees (M.A. and Ph.D.) in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also studied law.
Prof. Russell Miller is a Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law. He has been a guest professor in Germany and a frequent Research Visitor at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and Public International Law in Heidelberg. He was a 2009/2010 Fulbright Senior Research Fellow to Germany. Alongside books in the fields of comparative law, international law, and U.S. constitutional law, Prof. Miller has published articles and commentary in the American Journal of International Law, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Indiana Law Journal, Journal of National Security Law, Journal of Comparative Law, and Washington & Lee Law Review. Prof. Miller graduated with a B.A. in English literature from Washington State University and his J.D. and M.A. in English literature from Duke University. He also received an LL.M. from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in 2002.
As noted on the well-known law blog TaxProf, Washington and Lee professors Robert Danforth and Brant Hellwig have published a new edition of Estate and Gift Taxation (LexisNexis). From the blog:
This edition of Estate and Gift Taxation transitions from the temporary estate and gift tax regime that prevailed for the last decade by incorporating the provisions of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 that places the federal wealth transfer tax regime on a permanent footing. In addition to noting these fundamental legislative changes, the book devotes additional coverage to a number of recent estate and gift taxation hot topics, including:
- Defined value transfers and the increasing acceptance of this technique by courts;
- Portability of the unified credit from a predeceasing spouse to a surviving spouse;
- Availability of the gift tax annual exclusion for transfers of restricted beneficial interests in closely held entities; and
- Recent cases examining challenges to the use of family limited partnerships as estate planning vehicles.
Like the first edition of Estate and Gift Taxation published in 2011, the second edition consists of discrete chapters addressing the estate and gift tax regime in a context specific manner (i.e., jointly held property; life insurance; powers of appointment; retained-interest transfers, etc.). Each chapter contains a narrative explanation of the material, with important cases typically summarized rather than reproduced in full. Each chapter closes with a problem set requiring students to apply the relevant doctrine in the context of realistic hypothetical examples. A common technique in the problems is to present students sample trust language and then to ask students to identify tax pitfalls and to suggest drafting solutions around them. The authors provide their suggested answers to the problems in the comprehensive Teacher’s Manual for the second edition, which also will be available in July.
This book is part of the Graduate Tax Series, the first and only series of course materials designed for use in tax LL.M. programs. Like all books in the Series, Estate and Gift Taxation was designed from the ground-up with the needs of graduate tax faculty and students in mind.
You can read more about the Graduate Tax Series at TaxProf.
Washington and Lee University law professors Mark Drumbl and Susan Franck recently participated in the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law. The meeting was held April 3-6 in Washington, DC.
Prof. Drumbl moderated a panel titled “Multipolar Governance Across Environmental Treaty Regimes.” The program explored why some environmental treaties have attracted sustained interest and involvement from a range of non-state actors and others have perpetuated a state-centric structure. Are some environmental issues more conducive to state-based solutions? This round-table discussion sought to investigate and explain the unevenness of multipolar governance across environmental treaty regimes.
Prof. Franck moderated a panel titled “Advancing Mediation in International Investment Disputes.” While mediation is often used in commercial disputes between private parties, it remains uncommon in investor-State disputes. Could mediation become an effective dispute resolution method in international investment disputes? The program featured a mock mediation in which the panelists showed how mediation under the IBA Rules on State Mediation could be used to settle such disputes. You can read more about the mock mediation here.
In connection with the W&L School of Law and UNCTAD Joint Symposium on International Investment and ADR [http://investmentadr.wlu.edu] and research by W&L Law Professor Susan Franck related to Dispute Systems Design [http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=969252] there has been an increasing interest in the use of mediation for the resolution of investor-State treaty disputes. The International Bar Association promulgated rules in October 2012 related to investor-State investment treaty dispute settlement. Although there is a historical tradition of ad hoc in international mediation of economic disputes involving states, there has never before been a considered effort to carve out a structure of what mediation of investment treaty disputes might look like and begin to provide a path towards additional methods of ADR.
In an effort to make the application of the principles of mediation concrete, W&L Law Professor Susan Franck scripted a one hour role play demonstrating how the application of the investor-State Mediation rules might work in practice. This role play made its international debut at the American Society of International Law in a panel entitled “Advancing Mediation in International Investment Disputes” [http://www.asil.org/am13/]. Professor Franck directed and moderated the role play and prepared a briefing sheet on the background dispute and opportunities for the use of mediation in investor-State disputes. Professor Franck was pleased to be assisted at the conference and in obtaining feedback on earlier versions of the role play by two W&L students, Anaeli Sandoval and Kellen Lavin.
Yet one presentation was not enough. Investor-State mediation requires the collaboration of two independent groups, namely international investment law scholars and dispute resolution scholars. Having received a warm reception from the international investment law community — including former Spanish Ambassador and current member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Juan A. Yanez-Barneuvo who has served as a mediator in a state-to-state dispute involving Argentina and Uruguay (Pulp Mills), the roadshow continued to Chicago where there was a full panel dedicated to exploring issues related to considering the role that mediation plays in the settlement of investment treaty disputes.
Professor Franck was Co-Chair of the ABA Dispute Resolution Conference’s International Committee Workshop: “Adding Mediation to the Process Choices in Global Investment Disputes” [http://apps.americanbar.org/dch/committee.cfm?com=DR020000&edit=1]. Over the panel that lasted an entire day, a team of professors, practitioners and government officials explored the issues of investor-State investment dispute settlement. In the first session, Professor Franck’s talk entitled, “Understanding Investment Treaty Dispute Resolution”, Professor Franck provided an overview of investment dispute settlement and explored empirical data related to arbitration in connection with her forthcoming book from Oxford University Press. In the second session, Professor Franck’s role play on investor-State mediation was again presented to the group of dispute resolution professionals. A third session was used to provide feedback on the IBA investor-State mediation Rule
Washington and Lee University Professor Jim Moliterno has published the first book in a new series from West Academic Publishing focused on experiential education. The book, titled Experiencing Civil Procedure, is the first primary Civil Procedure course book to incorporate skills assignments into the book. The book actively involves students in the application of civil procedure concepts. It Includes three simple simulation cases, one contracts based, one torts based and one blended case. Sample documents from real cases are also included. Students using this book will engage in experiential learning exercises, including drafting the jurisdictional allegations for complaints, drafting very simple pleadings and motions, and responding to supervisor email messages. The book contains the statutes, rules, and edited cases that are the staples of traditional Civil Procedure casebooks, incorporating them into an experiential learning approach.
Prof. Moliterno, who is the editor of the series for West, discusses this book and the project in the video below:
Prof. Moliterno also recently published a book on how the U.S. legal profession responds to crisis. The book, The American Legal System in Crisis, covers everything from recent challenges such as the explosion of technology and globalization back to the waves of immigration in the early twentieth century, examining how the legal profession reacted to these events. Prof. Moliterno argues that through all these events, the ”legal profession has tried to maintain the status quo by retreating to its traditional values and structure and throwing up walls to block whatever threatens it.” You can read more about the book in this press release.