McGovern Symposium on Civil Litigation

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The 2024 McGovern Symposium will take place on December 12, 2024, at the Washington Duke Inn on Duke University’s campus. More details are coming soon! Please subscribe here to receive updates on this program. The information below is from the May 2023 symposium and is for general informational purposes only.


The Bolch Judicial Institute of Duke Law School will host the second annual McGovern Symposium on Civil Litigation on Friday, May 26, 2023, at Duke Law. The symposium will facilitate robust discussion among lawyers, judges, and academics about existing and emerging topics in mass tort multidistrict litigation. The 2023 symposium will cover the following sessions/topics:

  • Session 1: Vioxx retrospective from key players in Vioxx; Why people still talk about the case
  • Session 2: Hot Topic – Proposed rule changes
  • Session 3: Hot Topic – MDLs and Chapter 11
  • Session 4: Hot topic – Reflections and the future of MDLs

The symposium was established to honor the memory of Duke Law Professor Francis E. McGovern. Attendees share in commentary and ideas, and, in homage to Professor McGovern’s spirited approach to problem-solving, engage in lively discussions about challenges facing the field and the future of complex litigation. Registration also includes a reception and dinner the night prior to the symposium. Click here to view a photo gallery of the 2022 McGovern Symposium.

Registration Cost

Early Bird Rate (Through April 4) Regular Rate Judges
$300 $350 Email

The Institute seeks to expand and diversify the field of attorneys capable of handling mass torts and MDLs. To inquire about scholarship opportunities, please contact

Registration for this course has closed. For questions about this event, please email Subscribe here to receive email updates on future symposia.

Chatham House Rule: 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.”

Thank you 2023 program sponsors!

Founding Contributors
Chris Seeger
David Bernick

Program Sponsors
Baron & Budd, P.C.
The Moskowitz Law Firm
Rubris, Inc.

Click here to view sponsorship package details.

Speakers & Agenda

David Bernick
Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Shelia Birnbaum
Dechert LLP

David Burman
Perkins Coie LLP

Elizabeth Cabraser
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP

Prof. Jaime Dodge
Emory University School of Law

Hon. Eldon E. Fallon
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana

James K. Grasty
Former Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for Merck & Co (ret.)

Hon. Paul Grimm
Bolch Judicial Institute; U.S. District Court, District of Maryland (ret.)

David Ichel
X-Dispute LLC

Prof. Sam Issacharoff

David F. Levi
James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean Emeritus of Law and President, American Law Institute

Doug Marvin
Williams & Connolly LLP

Hon. Dan Polster
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio

Hon. M. Casey Rodgers
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida

Hon. Robin Rosenberg
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida

Chris Seeger
Seeger Weiss LLP

Joseph M. Sellers
Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC

Click here to download the agenda.

Please note panelists, sessions, and times are all subject to change.

Hotel & Parking

Hotel Accommodations

Participants can reserve rooms at the Washington Duke Inn, a full-service resort located on Duke University's campus just a short walk from the law school.


If you are staying at Washington Duke Inn, the law school is a short 10-minute walk. If you need to park at the law school, please email Lora Beth Farmer to request a parking pass.


$5,000 Sponsorship

Sponsors will be listed on the website, sponsor banners, and mentioned during the program. Includes two complimentary program registrations. Sponsorships will be used for program support.

$10,000 Sponsorship

Sponsors will be listed on the website, on program materials, sponsor banners, mentioned during the program, and may provide materials for display and distribution on our sponsor table which will be located outside the conference classroom. Includes three complimentary program registrations.

For more information or to become a sponsor, contact Lora Beth Farmer at