Standards and Best Practices for Increasing Diversity in Mass Tort and Class Action Leadership Appointments

Standards and Best Practices for Increasing Diversity in Mass Tort and Class Action Leadership Appointments

The Duke Law Judicial Studies Center will hold a Distinguished Lawyers conference on Standards and Best Practices for Increasing Diversity in Mass Tort and Class Action Leadership Appointments in Denver, Colorado, on June 21-22, 2018. If you are interested in attending, please send a brief description of your mass-tort MDL or class action experience and reasons for attending the conference to

The purpose of the June 21-22 conference is to: (1) review draft best practices for promoting greater diversity in judicial appointments of lawyers to leadership roles in complex litigation, and (2) develop strategies for implementing the diversity-appointments best practices.  A total of 15 federal judges and 75-100 practitioners are expected to attend the conference. This is an opportunity for counsel experienced in complex litigation and leaders of bar organizations, law firms, and corporations to meet with members of the judiciary to address longstanding problems afflicting the practice of law and the administration of justice.

In recent years, the judiciary has made important strides in increasing diversity in class action and MDL leadership appointments.  This conference will build on the judiciary’s initiative and simultaneously send a clear message to law firms and corporations that they must take into account diversity when proposing lawyers for leadership positions. The draft best practices for increasing diverse appointments were developed by teams of practitioners and judges who participated in earlier Judicial Studies Center conferences; the document defines the problems, explains the governing law, describes barriers to appointment, and recommends steps the judiciary and private sector can take to promote more appointments of women and minority lawyers to leadership roles in class actions and MDLs. The recommenda-tions are practical and substantive, and the Judicial Studies Center is committed to working with the bench and bar to implement these best practices in ways that demonstrably achieve results.

Active interaction among judges, practitioners, and law professors in an intimate environment is a hallmark of every Duke Law’s Distinguished Lawyers Conference.  At the conference, we will ask that each panelist make brief remarks.  We will then open a general discussion on the best way to handle the problem.  All conferees are expected to participate in the discussion.

To encourage frank discussions, the conference is held under the Chatham House Rule: “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”

Registration Fee.  The “early–bird” special registration fee is $1,150 for registrations submitted no later than May 25, 2018.  The registration fee increases to $1,300 for all registrations submitted after May 25, 2018.

CLE ─ Nine (9) credit hours have been applied for in North Carolina and Colorado.  If you are a practicing attorney in North Carolina or Colorado, your CLE hours will be submitted for you.  Attorneys from other states will receive a “Certificate of Attendance” and a completed “Uniform Application for Accreditation” form after the conference in order to submit CLE hours for your state.



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