Faculty highlights: Spring 2018

UMass Law faculty engage in scholarly research, national conferences, and legal discourse.

UMass Law building

Margaret Drew

Prof. Margaret Drew moderated a plenary panel at the bi-annual HIV Law & Practice Conference, sponsored by the ABA. The conference, which focused on lawyers working with those living with HIV, took place in New Orleans in late February. Her panel was titled “Women and HIV.”

Earlier this month, Prof. Drew also attended an invitation-only conversation in Race, Redemption, and Restoration at the Public Welfare Foundation in D.C. The conversation centered on the consequences of mass incarceration. Our Human Rights at Home Clinic, led by Prof. Drew, partners with The National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls.

Jeremiah Ho

Prof. Jeremiah Ho published two articles this semester. Both are available for download.

His new article "Law as Instrumentality" is now out from the Marquette Law Review. The article critiques the traditional formalist conception of law in American jurisprudence and introduces a post-modernist conception of law that uses the agency or instrumentality of law to locate the human subject(s) who author, practice, or are affected by law. Beyond its theory, the article proposes ways in which law teachers can transform the traditional Langdellian conceptions of law—and law teaching—to challenge the social, political, and intellectual hierarchies within law.

Prof. Ho’s other piece, "Why Flexibility Matters: Inequality and Contract Pluralism" in the U.C. Davis Business Law Journal, will be out in print later this semester. The article explores contract pluralism and the use of contractual flexibility in enforcing contract breaches that would otherwise lead to certain aggregate externalities of inequality and social injustice.

In addition, Prof. Ho recently guest lectured on employment contracts to a graduation class of dancers, models, and performers at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music. This was his second year of volunteer guest lecturing at the Conservatory.

Hillary Farber

Prof. Hillary Farber was an invited participant at the drafting meeting of the Uniform Law Committee on Torts Relating to Drones. Hillary was invited based on her recent research and publications on the topic. The Committee includes two former general counsels for the FAA, lawyers for Amazon, State Farm, the Heritage Foundation, AUVSI, NetChoice, as well as lobbyists for consumer technology groups.

Shaun Spencer

Prof. Shaun Spencer’s new forthcoming article, "Words Count: The Empirical Relationship between Brief Writing and Summary Judgment," in the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute is being featured as the “Article of the Month” by the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning.

The article was co-written with Adam Feldman from Columbia Law. The article establishes a strong correlation between the readability of trial briefs and litigation success, suggesting the importance of legal writing programs in the law school curriculum.

Prof. Ho, a contributing faculty member at the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, wrote a write-up of the article.

Rebecca Flanagan

Prof. Rebecca Flanagan's article, “Better by Design: Implementing Meaningful Change for the Next Generation of Law Students” was just accepted for publication by the Maine Law Review.

Prof. Flanagan was also as an invited speaker in Dallas on March 9th at the Southwest Conference of Academic Support Professionals, on the topic “Emerging Adults and How to Teach Them.” She'll be leading a faculty development conference at Detroit-Mercy Law School on March 29 on underprepared law students and how to measure their learning in law school.

Michael Murray

In February, Prof. Michael Murray provided commentary for an article in Artsy magazine on a copyright infringement lawsuit emerging from the Black Panther movie.

Prof. Murray recently gave a faculty development talk on teaching visual rhetoric and will give an upcoming lecture on the same topic at Suffolk Law.

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