When I first joined the legal academy (a dozen years ago), one of my first conferences in the field was the ABA Administrative Law Section’s annual conference, which is held in each fall. We’d gather together in Washington, DC, with more than five hundred administrative law geeks, including so many legal scholars. It was the best opportunity to interact in the field of administrative law generally, including with scholars, practitioners, and agency lawyers.
Sadly, when COVID-19 hit, the Section had to move the annual conference online. We have kept that conference virtual ever since, largely because we discovered that hosting a virtual conference was of greater value to our Section membership—as it is much more accessible to Section members across the country. For instance, instead of 500-600 attendees like we would get in person, the virtual conference attracts more than 1,000 attendees each year. The substantial cost, of course, has been the lack of in-person community building.
This year, under Adam White’s leadership as Section Chair and Amy Wildermuth’s leadership as Vice Chair, the Section is reintroducing a two-day in-person administrative law conference this spring (in addition to the virtual conference each fall). The format is really exciting. On Thursday, May 9, 2024, the Section will host an all-day academic conference where law professors and aspiring scholars can present works in progress. This will be hosted at GW Law, and we want this to be as inclusive as possible. In other words, if you’re an aspiring legal scholar or an administrative law nerd at a federal agency or in private practice, you’re definitely welcome to join in on the fun, even if you just want to listen and learn (and not present or comment). But the main goal of day one of the conference is to gather together as many administrative law scholars as possible to present their work and discuss new research in the field. Also, this is not just a conference focused on juniors’ scholarship, though we encourage newer voices to express interest; more senior scholars are encouraged to submit proposals and to volunteer as commenters.
That Thursday evening we’ll have a reception open to all conference attendees, and then day two of the conference will be a more traditional in-person conference (at a hotel conference space) with CLE-eligible panels on the cutting-edge topics in the field. These panels, per Section style, will consist of practitioners and government officials in addition to legal scholars, and our audience here is the full Section membership, especially practicing regulatory lawyers.
More details will follow in the coming weeks. For now, the Section has just issued a call for papers for the day one academic workshops. Here’s the official announcement and details on the call for papers from the ABA Administrative Law Section:
The ABA Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice is pleased to announce its 2024 Spring Conference will include one day of in-person academic workshops at George Washington University Law School on Thursday, May 9th. The academic workshops will provide the selected participants with an opportunity to receive useful feedback on both early- and later-stage scholarly work. All are invited to submit papers; junior scholars and those considering entering academia are especially encouraged to participate.
We welcome all to submit abstracts and draft papers related to administrative law to Amy Wildermuth at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, March 15. In your cover email, please include the following:
- E-mail address
- Paper title
- Paper description/abstract
Selections will be announced by Monday, March 25. If selected, there will be an opportunity to submit a revised draft no later than April 15, 2024.
Each paper selected will be reviewed and commented on by at least one other scholar. If you are interested in serving as a commenter, please email Amy Wildermuth at email@example.com by Friday, March 15. We hope those who have submitted papers for feedback will consider volunteering to serve as commenters for other papers.