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Law school to conduct national meeting on legal history

September 26, 2007

The development of the United States’ legal system, from the 12th to the 21st centuries, will be examined this fall during the annual meeting of the American Society for Legal History, conducted by ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

The conference, which takes place Oct. 25-27 in Tempe, will include 34 panels and more than 100 papers on U.S., English, European, Asian and Latin-American legal history from top scholars around the world.

The panels, on topics such as the legal profession, the U.S. Supreme Court, English and European legal history, the legal history of the Southwest, gender and race, intellectual property, constitutional law, and law and literature, will be presented Oct. 26-27 at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, located at 60 E. Fifth St. in Tempe.

In addition, professor Paul Brand, senior research fellow and academic secretary at All Souls College, University of Oxford, will give the plenary address Oct. 26. Brand will present “Thirteenth-century English Royal Justices: What We Know and Do Not Know About What They Did” in the College of Law’s Great Hall. He is the world’s leading scholar in early, medieval English legal history, says Jonathan Rose, a professor and Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

“It’s a significant honor for the law school to host this conference, which is the biggest of its kind in the world,” says Rose, the co-chair of the program committee and chairman of the local arrangements committee. “The intellectual quality of this annual meeting is extraordinary and tremendously varied, and most of it will be interesting to lawyers because it gives insight into the development of legal institutions and documents, both in the Anglo-American legal system and those in other parts of the world.”

The event is expected to draw an international audience of 300 people, mostly professors at law schools and history departments from around the country, Israel, South America, Germany and England, as well as lawyers, judges and private scholars. It will offer a rich program of historical and cutting-edge legal topics, including:

• “American Indians and the Federal Government,” chaired by ASU’s Peter Iverson. Panelists are Kevin Gover, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law; Bethany Berger, University of Connecticut; and Christian McMillen, University of Virginia.

• “Making Places, Making People: The Legal History of the Southwest,” chaired by John Reid, New York University. Panelists are Allison Tirres, De Paul University; Laura Gomez, University of New Mexico, and Tom Romero, Hamline University.

• “The Dred Scott Case at 150: Politics, Law and the Competing Constitutional Histories of Slavery,” chaired by Michael Les Benedict, Ohio State University. Panelists are Mark A. Graber, University of Maryland School of Law; Ariela J. Gross, University of Southern California School of Law, and Daniel W. Hamilton, Chicago Kent College of Law.

Registration is $100, $15 for students with current identification and $25 for the annual lunch Oct. 27. For more information about the ASLH and the conference, visit the Web page or send an e-mail to