February 03, 2016

(From L to R) Jennifer Bruneau, Melissa Soares, Paul Bland, Michael Kirkpatrick,
Esther Lander, Emery Lee, John Vail, Megan La Belle, and Kimberly Ulan

Catholic University Law Review's annual symposium, "The Intersection of Civil Rights and Civil Procedure," provided an opportunity for students, faculty, and practitioners to hear from experts about recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the process by which the Rules were amended, and the impact of those Rule changes and recent Supreme Court cases on civil rights litigation.

The January 29 event opened with introductory remarks by Jennifer Bruneau (3L), Editor-in-Chief, Catholic University Law Review, Vol. 65, and Dean Daniel F. Attridge. The program consisted of two panel discussions and a keynote speech from Paul Bland, Executive Director of Public Justice.

The first panel focused on the recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which are directed primarily at discovery. The panelists discussed the new discovery rules, such as proportionality, and explored how they are likely to affect civil rights cases. The second panel addressed the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as interpreted through case law. In particular, the panel focused on the Supreme Court's decisions in Twombly, Iqbal, and Wal-Mart v. Dukes, and discussed how these cases have changed the practice of civil rights law.

Bland, who has argued or co-argued and won more than 25 reported decisions from federal and state courts across the nation, discussed how civil procedure and civil rights intersect at many points along the path to justice.

Melissa Soares (3L), Lead Articles Editor of Catholic University Law Review, said, "We owe a great amount of gratitude to Professor Suzette Malveaux, who helped with the concept and design of our symposium topic this year. Overall, we were really pleased with the speakers we had at this year's symposium. Civil procedure is often viewed as something stodgy and dull, when in reality it is a dynamic area of the law that impacts so many other areas of law - something our speakers made clear throughout the day."

Following the conclusion of the symposium, students were invited to a luncheon for a chance to have informal conversations with the panelists and speakers.

Panel 1: Rule Amendments and How They Impact Civil Rights

Moderator: Kimberly Ulan, Lead Articles Editor, Catholic University Law Review, Vol. 65

Alan Morrison, Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public
Interest & Public Service, George Washington University Law School

Emery Lee, Senior Research Associate, The Federal Judicial Center

John Vail, Founder, John Vail Law, PLLC

Keynote Speaker

Paul Bland, Executive Director, Public Justice

Panel 2: The Federal Rules as Interpreted through Case Law

Moderator: Melissa Soares, Lead Articles Editor, Catholic University Law Review, Vol. 65

Esther Lander, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Michael Kirkpatrick, Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown
University law Center, and Director of the Civil Rights Clinic

John Vail, Founder, John Vail Law, PLLC