Bolch Judicial Institute
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Legal leaders gather to begin planning major conference on federal courts and civil litigation

The Bolch Judicial Institute at Duke Law hosted a planning conference in November to lay the groundwork for a major conference on the federal courts and civil litigation. That conference, which will take place in late 2020 or early 2021, will be the second major conference of its kind at Duke Law School. The first, held in 2010 and commonly referred to as the Duke Law Conference, undertook a comprehensive and influential examination of issues of access, fairness, cost, and delay in the civil litigation process.    

The November planning conference was convened by David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute, to discuss some of the differences between the state and federal civil litigation systems and the future of the courts. The discussions brought together leaders from a cross-section of the legal profession — distinguished professors, lawyers in practice and general counsels, state and federal judges, and other prominent leaders and public servants. Their conversations will help shape the agenda for the forthcoming conference.

“One takeaway from our discussions is that the state courts are diverging from the federal courts in the way they handle their large caseloads,” said Levi. “Since 1937, when the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were put in place, the states have largely modeled their processes and procedures on the federal civil rules. It’s clear that is changing now, as states — attempting to address the justice gap — move to provide for online dispute resolution in a large segment of the cases, particularly those that involve litigants who are unrepresented. Although the federal courts face some of these same challenges, they are of a different degree and can be addressed without such a fundamental shift in the role of the judge and courthouse.”

The following judges and legal practitioners participated in the planning conference:

  • Jennifer Bailey, Circuit Civil Division, 11th Judicial Circuit (Miami, Fla.)
  • Scott Bales Executive Director, Institute for the Advancement of the Legal System (IAALS); Supreme Court of Arizona (Ret.)
  • Thomas Balmer, Supreme Court of Oregon
  • John Bates, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • John Beisner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
  • Andrew Bradt, Berkeley Law School
  • Steve Burbank, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Elizabeth Cabraser, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
  • David Campbell, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona
  • Edward Cooper, University of Michigan Law School
  • Maggie Gardner, Cornell Law School
  • Jonah Gelbach, Berkeley Law School
  • Paula Hannaford, Senior Counsel, Civil Justice Initiative, National Center for State Courts
  • William Highberger, Los Angeles County Superior Court
  • Jocelyn Hunter, VP and Deputy General Counsel, The Home Depot
  • Samuel Issacharoff, NYU Law School
  • Brittany Kauffman, IAALS
  • Rebecca Kourlis, IAALS
  • Carolyn Kuhl, Los Angeles County Superior Court
  • David Levi, Director, Bolch Judicial Institute at Duke Law School
  • Marin Levy, Duke Law School
  • Steve McManus, Senior VP and General Counsel, State Farm Insurance Co.
  • Mary McQueen, President, National Center for State Courts
  • Malini Moorthy, Medtronic, Inc.
  • Lee Rosenthal, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas
  • Steve Sachs, Duke Law School
  • Jim Sandman, President, Legal Services Corporation
  • Anthony Scirica, U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
  • Chris Seeger, Seeger Weiss LLP
  • Elizabeth Shapiro, Department of Justice
  • Sabrina Strong, O’Melveny & Myers LLP
  • Diane Wood, U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit

Details about the forthcoming Civil Litigation Conference will be available later in 2020. To stay informed of special announcements and updates regarding this program and other Bolch Judicial Institute programs, subscribe to our newsletter.