Retribution, Diversity, and Baseball

What do those three things have in common?  Each is the topic of a separate conference here at the Law School in the month of November.

The Retributivist Tradition and its Future This conference, which we hosted last Friday, was organized around the recently published book Retributivism: Essays on Theory and Policy (Mark D. White, ed., Oxford University Press 2011), a collection of essays on retributive theory by many of the leading thinkers in punishment theory.  Most of the contributors to the book gathered here for an entire day of high level discussions about retributivism’s past and present, with an eye toward what retributivism and punishment theory generally might become.  The day began with a panel explaining the general contours of retributive theory, moved on to a panel examining the philosophical underpinnings of the theory, and concluded with a panel exploring the pragmatic ramifications of the theory for criminal punishment.  The conference was organized by our own rising star in punishment theory, Marc DeGirolami, whose contribution to the book is titled “The Choice of Evils and the Collisions of Theory.”

Opening Doors: Making Diversity Matter in Law School AdmissionsThis conference, which will be held on Friday, November 11, will examine the continuing challenge of diversity in the legal profession, with a particular focus on increasing the pipeline of students of color who are applying to and gaining admission to law schools.  Our Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development, one of the sponsors of this conference, has been a leader in law school pipeline programs, especially with its award-winning Prep Program for College Students.  Panelists will examine the impact of the LSAT on law school diversity, strategies for reaching students of color, and cultural competencies in reaching students of color.  I will be moderating the concluding panel, which is titled, “Reforming U.S News Rankings to Include Diversity.”  Robert Morse, the Director of Data Research for U.S. News & World Report and the man behind the rankings, will be one of the panelist.  The conference is part of the Society of American Law Teachers’ “B.A. to J.D. Pipeline Program.”  Special thanks to Len Baynes for spearheading our involvement in this important project, and to the students on our Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development for their work on the program.  Following the conference, on Saturday, November 12, the Ronald H. Brown Center will present its annual Diversity Day and Admissions Fair, with over two dozen law schools participating.

Labor Relations and the Future of BaseballOn Friday, November 18, our Center for Labor and Employment Law will host a timely conference addressing labor relations in baseball.  The keynote speaker will be William B. Gould IV,  the Charles A. Beardsley Professor of Law (Emeritus) at Stanford Law School and the former Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board.  Prof. Gould is widely credited for helping to end the Major League Baseball strike of 1994-95.  Other speakers will include Gene Orza ’73, former Chief Operating Office for the Major League Baseball Players Association; Ken Belson, who reports on the business of sports for the New York Times; Jeff Fannell ’96, sports agent and former counsel to the Major League Baseball Players Association; Ed Randall, the host of Talking Baseball on WFAN Radio; and Tom Reich, long-time sports agent, including to such baseball players as Sammy Sosa, Mo Vaughn, Dave Parker, Joe Morgan, and Willie Stargell.  Special thanks to Dave Gregory, who is the moving force behind this conference and everything else involving labor and employment law at St. John’s.

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