The Catholic University of America




CUA Law Well Represented at 2010 SEALS Conference


Six faculty members from the Columbus School of Law, including Dean Veryl Miles, were speakers and presenters at the 63rd annual conference of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools, held in Palm Beach, Fla., from July 30 to August 5, 2010. 

A record number of law schools were registered this year, and the number of panels, speakers and colloquia has grown exponentially. The conference is highly regarded by law professors and administrators as a great forum for keeping abreast of developments in their fields, staying familiar with the work of colleagues at fellow law schools, and monitoring best practices within legal education in general.
Held in the beautiful Breakers hotel, the weeklong conference offered 12 roundtables and discussion groups on topics ranging from the Sotomayor confirmation to the financial crisis. 
Catholic University’s delegation participated in a wide range of conference discussions and activities: 
  • Dean Veryl V. Miles was among four law school administrators to explore “Coming Out of an Economic Downturn,” a program that focused on how law schools can plan for brighter and improved days ahead. The panelists encouraged people to look beyond the day-to-day crisis management modes in which so many of law schools are now operating and plan for a future when things improve. 
  • Professor Margaret Barry joined three colleagues for “Measuring What Our Students Learn; Assessing What Our Faculty Teach,” a discussion that addressed one of the most controversial issues facing legal education today: assessment of student learning outcomes. The ABA is considering new accreditation standards that will require law schools to articulate student learning goals and periodically assess the extent to which those goals are being achieved by schools. The panel examined the current movement toward assessment plans and student learning outcomes and the implications of these trends for all American law schools.  
  • Professor Susanna Fischer presented a paper, “Advisory Opinions: The Recent Canadian Experience,” before the discussion group on Comparative U.S./Canadian Perspectives on Judicial Review and the Role of Courts in Enforcing Fundamental Human Rights. Her work examined the past 20 years of advisory opinions by the Supreme Court of Canada from a comparative perspective.
  • Professor Mary Leary contributed to a New Scholars Workshop on Constitutional Law and Individual Rights. The New Scholars Workshop offers newer faculty members an opportunity to present, and receive feedback on, a work in progress. Leary discussed the ideas presented in her work, “Expectations of Privacy in a Digital Age.” Professor Renée Hutchins, the University of Maryland School of Law, served as Leary’s mentor.   
  • Professor Lucia Silecchia was part of a workshop that dealt with “The Changing Worlds of Trusts and Estates: Scholarship.” Speakers focused on expanding ways of studying trusts and estates, including innovations in doctrine, and new research that uses trusts and estates concepts in other areas of the law, including topics such as private trust companies and their implications for democracy. 
  • Visiting Professor Caprice Roberts was a panelist for “Restitution Revival - The Restatement (Third) of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment.” Speakers discussed the American Law Institute's decade-long project  to bring restitution into the 21st century, clarify the nuances of this complex area, and develop the myriad ways that restitution dovetails with other bodies of law, including torts, contracts, property, trusts, intellectual property, fiduciary duties and more. 
Reviews of the SEALS conference were positive from members of the CUA faculty. “It was really helpful,” said Professor Leary, while Professor Roberts said “It was a wonderful conference, including a host of doctrinal, practical and innovative panels and roundtables, as well as nightly complimentary receptions to encourage collegial relations and scholarly bridges among attendees.”