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Kittrie chairs program on policy-relevant scholarship

January 23, 2013

Professor Orde Kittrie recently organized and chaired a panel on “How Can Legal Scholarship be More Policy Relevant?” at the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) in New Orleans. Kittrie is chairman of the AALS Section on Scholarship.

Eminent policymakers, judges, practitioners and others have in recent years attacked current legal scholarship as insufficiently useful for addressing real-world problems.  Rather than rehash the debate over the value of current legal scholarship, the Jan. 6 panel focused on what specifically legal scholars can, if they wish, do to maximize the policy relevance of their writing. 

In order to address that question, Kittrie convened a panel featuring the following leading legal scholars who also have served as senior policy practitioners:

• Professor Michael Barr, of the University of Michigan Law School, was the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions during the Obama administration, and was a key architect of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

• Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, of Stanford Law School, was Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy during the Obama administration and Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement during the Clinton administration.

• Professor Chai Feldblum, of the Georgetown University Law Center, currently serves as Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

• Professor Spencer Overton, of the George Washington University Law School, was the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy during the Obama administration, where he focused on issues related to the Voting Rights Act and the administration’s response to the Citizens United decision lifting restrictions on corporate spending in federal elections.

• Professor Peter Swire, of the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, was Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy during the Obama administration and Chief Counselor for Privacy during the Clinton administration.

In organizing and leading the panel, Kittrie drew on his own more than 13 years of experience in the congressional and executive branches of the federal government, including in both legal and policy positions at the U.S. Department of State.

Kittrie’s teaching and research focus on international law (especially nonproliferation and sanctions) and criminal law. He is a Faculty Fellow in both the College of Law’s Center for Law and Global Affairs, and Center for Law, Science & Innovation.