Bolch Judicial Institute hosts first McGovern Symposium on Civil Litigation

Jun 13, 2022Latest News

PICTURED ABOVE: Panel 2 “Claims Resolution Facility Design & Innovation” moderated by Judge Lee Rosenthal.


The Bolch Judicial Institute hosted the first annual McGovern Symposium on Civil Litigation in honor of the late Duke Law Professor Francis McGovern on May 27, 2022, at Duke Law. The symposium featured panel discussions with contributors to “Innovations in Complex Litigation and Settlement,” a special edition of Law & Contemporary Problems (L&CP) dedicated to Professor McGovern’s pioneering work in mass tort and multidistrict litigation.

“Through the annual McGovern Symposium, Francis continues to inspire the next generation of leaders in mass tort MDL,” said David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute of Duke Law School. “Francis was affectionately known as the ‘Great Convenor.’ He brought people together to solve thorny legal problems with creativity and equanimity. It’s in that spirit that we hope this symposium and related programs can continue to bring together the field’s top practitioners, scholars, and judges to encourage innovation, share best practices, and advance the field of complex litigation in ways that improve the administration of justice. We are grateful to Francis’ family, friends, and colleagues for making the program possible.”

The L&CP edition’s editors — Professor Lynn Baker of the University of Texas, Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, and Professor Robert Klonoff of Lewis & Clark Law School — introduced the symposium and explained the impetus behind the edition. Three panels, moderated by U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm (District of Maryland), Chief U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal (Southern District of Texas), and U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood (Eastern District of Michigan), discussed the broad themes raised by the journal’s articles, including mass tort management, claims resolution processes, and innovations under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Click here to view and download the Symposium Agenda, including a complete list of presenters along with links to their respective articles.

The McGovern Symposium followed the Bolch Judicial Institute’s 2022 Advanced Mass Tort MDL Certificate course, held on May 26 at Duke Law. During the advanced course, leading practitioners from both sides of the v, along with judges experienced in mass tort and MDL, presented an in-depth, practical look at the MDL lifecycle, such as the leadership appointment process, case management tools, Bellwether trials, and settlement and resolution.

Professor McGovern founded the Institute’s mass tort MDL certificate in 2019 with the primary goal of opening the field to a broader field of lawyers. In addition, the Institute publishes the Guidelines and Best Practices for Large and Mass-Tort MDLs, a seminal document on the administration of MDLs, which is due to be updated in the coming year.

The McGovern Symposium and Advanced MDL Certificate Course were made possible with support from Chris Seeger and David Bernick, founding contributors to the McGovern Fund, and Huntington National Bank. To receive future updates about future symposia and events, subscribe to our mailing list.