2014 Symposium

Thank you for attending University of Miami Law Review‘s  2014 Symposium “Leading From Below”. Look out for the symposium issue to be published in Volume 69 Winter Edition

“Leading from Below”
February 14, 2014, 11:30am through 4:45pm | February 15, 2014, 9:00am through 2:30pm
SAC (Student Activities Center): 1330 Miller Drive, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida 33146

Sponsored by the Federal Bar Association South Florida Chapter

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About the Symposium:

On February 14 – 15, 2014, the University of Miami Law Review Symposium, Leading From Below, explored the role and procedural tools of the federal district court judge. The Symposium examined the scope and limitations of judicial discretion through four panels highlighting distinct contexts where judges apply and affect public policy in their courtrooms. The panelists, composed of world renowned scholars and judges with over a century of courtroom experience collectively, shared their experiences and philosophies to bring the discussions to life. We were honored to have the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein as our keynote speaker, who has been described by Justice Stephen Breyer and many others as a “living legend.”

Weinstein’s career on the bench has challenged the normative perceptions of the role of the judge, reminding us that the individuals who serve can approach decision-making with an independence tailored to justice in their own community. His keynote kicked off the series of panels on judicial discretion including Access to Justice, Structural Reform Litigation, Criminal Procedure, and Judges and the Facts, which featured judges from across the nation who have made some of the most impactful decisions of past two decades. The Symposium concluded with an informal roundtable where judges will discuss limitations on judicial decision-making, and the future role of the federal district courts in ensuring justice in our communities.

Introduction of the Keynote: Jeffrey B. Morris, Professor of Law, Touro Law Center, and Author of “Leadership on the Federal Bench: The Craft and Activism of Jack Weinstein” (2011).

Keynote: The Honorable Jack B. Weinstein, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York


Panel One: Access to Justice

This panel examined the district court judge’s discretion as a gatekeeper through the lens of civil procedure. How should judges tailor the barrier of entry against national standards when litigation has become more and more costly? How do opt-out rules and Alternative Dispute Resolution affect the rights of an individual who has been wronged by an institution? When should a judge exercise discretion to ensure the system yields just results?

Moderator: Sergio Campos, Associate Professor of Law, University of Miami

Myriam Gilles, Professor of Law, Cardozo Law School
Emery G. Lee III, Federal Judicial Center
Arthur R. Miller, Professor of Law, New York University

Panel Two: The Past and Future of Structural Reform

A liability finding or settlement does not end a big case. In both large-scale injunctive litigation or damages cases, district judges and those they appoint have enormous discretion. This panel examined recent developments in “structural reform litigation” and mega-fund settlements.

Moderator: Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Associate Professor of Clinical Legal Education, University of Miami

Kenneth Feinberg, Feinberg Rozen, LLP
The Honorable Lawrence Karlton, United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
Margo Schlanger, Professor of Law, University of Michigan

Panel Three: Criminal Procedure in the Courtroom

Judges maintain a great deal of discretion with respect to “Criminal Procedure in the Courtroom” in case management, admission of testimony from law enforcement, and the sentencing process. How judges manage the presentation of evidence may have sweeping effects. This panel addressed the ongoing tension between uniform “blind justice” and a local judge’s discretion in avoiding the unnecessary cruelty of the law in the community.

Moderator: Jeffrey B. Morris, Professor of Law, Touro Law Center

The Honorable John Gleeson, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Seth Stoughton, Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law, Harvard University
The Honorable Kathleen Williams, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Panel Four: Judges and the Facts

Because district court judges preside over the fact-finding process and have discretion over the compilation of the factual record, they are in a unique position to affect the appeals process. This panel examined the controversial practice of using social facts and statistics to show harm to communities, the role of e-discovery, and whether district court judges should compile a factual record with an eye towards creating opportunities to change the law on appeal.

Moderator: Sergio Campos, Associate Professor of Law, University of Miami

The Honorable Shira A. Scheindlin, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
The Honorable Vaughn Walker, United States District Court for the Northern District of California

 Final Roundtable: An Afternoon with Judges


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