Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Upcoming Conferences of Interest

Three conferences next month may be of interest to some of our faithful readers. I know they all interest me. I also know that, by the time I get home from the first of the three, I will have been out of town four of the last five weekends and would risk serious marital discord by attending either of the latter two. But, don't let that stop you from attending.

First up, chronologically, is "A Debtor World: Interdisciplinary Academic Symposium on Debt," May 2 & 3 at The University of Illinois College of Law, which is co-sponsoring with the American Bankruptcy Institute. The conference's self-stated goal is to "explore debt as neither a problem nor solution but as a phenomenon. Many different academic disciplines can make important contributions to help us understand why consumers and businesses decide to borrow money, what happens to businesses and consumers under a heavy debt load, and what norms and institutions societies need to encourage the efficient use of debt. Much of this knowledge is compartmentalized into intellectual silos that are rarely cross-fertilized. The goal of the conference is to promote the sharing of this knowledge." The line-up of speakers is eclectic and impressive and the conference promises to be time well spent. Conference registration is still open; however, the conference-rate block of hotel rooms may well be gone.

On May 22 & 23, the University of Houston Law Center's Center for Consumer Law, under the direction of our friend Richard Alderman, presents "Teaching Consumer Law: The Who, What, Where, Why, When and How." The conference faculty includes academics, advocates, and practitioners from the U.S. and several foreign countries and the program appears designed to appeal to attendees with varying degrees of experience and expertise in consumer law and in related areas of substantive law that have substantial consumer dimensions to them (e.g., bankruptcy, sales, payments). In addition to the inherent pleasure of spending two glorious May days in my hometown, conference attendees will be feted to Texas-style Bar-B-Q (known elsewhere as barbecue) and, for a nominal charge, a Houston Astros home game at lovely Minute Maid Park (formerly known as Enron Field and the Ballpark at Union Station). Conference and hotel registration are still open, as of this posting.

Rounding out the month, on May 30 & 31, Emory University School of Law's Center for Transactional Law and Practice hosts "Teaching Drafting and Transactional Skills: The Basics and Beyond." With panels geared toward both neophytes teaching courses that are ripe for infusing drafting and other transactional skills and those already teaching drafting and other transactional skills in their courses who are looking for fresh ideas, "[t]his conference offers those who teach drafting and transactional skills the knowledge and tools they need to comprehensively train students who are studying these areas of law" and "those at the forefront of developing these new courses a forum in which to exchange ideas about teaching, and promoting the teaching of, transactional law and skills." Among an excellent group of speakers is our friend and colleague Scott Burnham, whose book, Drafting and Analyzing Contracts (LexisNexis 3d ed. 2003), is a must-read and who is a most excellent house- and office-guest. Conference registration is open, as of this posting. Attendees are responsible for their own accommodations. For those who want to compare Texas-style Bar-B-Q to Carolina-style barbecue, at the far end of the Emory campus is a wonderful place called Dusty's. It's worth a visit if for no other reason than to buy some sauce to take back home with you.

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