Law Center Supported Events

Past Events

Big Data: Understanding Algorithmic Power

This symposium will explore the legal and ethical implications of big data discrimination and algorithmic-derived discrimination. Recent reports have indicated that big data tools and algorithmic-driven decision making protocols can be used to isolate, analyze, and discriminate against individuals based on race, gender, religion, voting habits, residency, consumer behaviors, health status, and other data characteristics. This Symposium aims to deepen the conversation on the impact of the growth of algorithmic-centered power in the private and public sectors.

March 30, 2017
Millhiser Moot Court Room
Hosted by:

Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, Washington and Lee University School of Law
Cosponsored by:

Provost's Office, Washington and Lee University
Class of 1960 Institute for Honor
Frances Lewis Law Center, Washington and Lee University School of Law
Mudd Center for Ethics, Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee Black Law Students Association
Future of Privacy Forum
Data & Society Research Institute

10:00 - 10:10 am

Brant J. Hellwig, Dean, Washington and Lee University School of Law

10:10 - 11:30 am Panel Discussion


Victoria Shannon Sahani, Associate Professor of Law, Washington and Lee School of Law


Deven Desai, Associate Professor, Law and Ethics Program, Scheller College of Business, Georgia Tech

Mark Van Hollebeke, Privacy Practitioner-in-Residence at Data & Society Research Institute, Senior Privacy Strategist, Microsoft

Janine Hiller, Professor of Business Law, Department of Finance, Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech

Jules Polonetsky, CEO, Future of Privacy Forum

Kevin Werbach, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

11:30 - 11:45 am

11:45 am - 12:40 pm
Lunch and Keynote

Introduction: Margaret Hu, Associate Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law

Keynote: Charlton McIlwain, Associate Dean of Faculty Development & Diversity, and Associate Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, Steinhardt School, New York University

12:40 - 12:50 pm

12:50 - 2:00 pm Panel Discussion


Anjanette (Angie) Raymond, Assistant Professor of Business Law and Ethics, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law


Dennis Hirsch, Professor of Law and Director, Program on Data and Governance, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and Professor of Law, Capital University Law School [via Skype]

Anne Washington, Assistant Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

Christopher Wolf, Partner, Hogan Lovells & Founder, Future of Privacy Forum

2:00 - 2:10 pm

2:10 - 3:20 pm Panel Discussion


Rachel Levinson-Waldman, Senior Counsel, Liberty and National Security Program, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law


Jessica Eaglin, Assistant Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Joshua Fairfield, Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law

Margaret Hu, Associate Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law

Amos Jones, Associate Professor of Law, Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law

3:20 - 3:30 pm
Closing Remarks

Charli Gibbs-Tabler, Symposium Editor, Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, Washington and Lee University School of Law

Honors Symposium - From Redcoats to Red Spies and Beyond: Lawyers and Infamous Clients

March 13-14, 2017
Millhiser Moot Court Room
Washington and Lee University School of Law
Lexington, VA

The Washington and Lee University Institute for Honor hosted an event examining legal professionalism in the context of representing unpopular clients. From Redcoats to Red Spies and Beyond: Lawyers and Infamous Clients

The main speaker is Prof. Jeff Kahn of Southern Methodist University. Kahn is a graduate of Yale College, Oxford University, and the University of Michigan Law School. His areas of expertise include Constitutional Law, Russian Law, Human Rights Law, and National Security Law. He has a particular interest in New York attorney James Donovan's 1957-59 representation of the Russian spy, Rudolf Abel, a story told in the 2015 Steven Spielberg movie, "Bridge of Spies."

The event will include two sessions:

Monday, March 13, 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm (Millhiser Moot Court Room):

Film screening, "Bridge of Spies"
Panel discussion with Prof. Kahn and Prof. Richard Bidlack of W&L's History Department. Prof. Bidlack teaches Eastern European, Russian, and Soviet history, including a seminar on the KGB.
Tuesday, March 14, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm (Millhiser Moot Court Room):

Introduction by W&L Law Prof. Sam Calhoun, including remarks on John Adams's defense of the British soldiers charged with murder in the Boston Massacre.
Keynote address by Prof. Kahn - "The Story of James Donovan: The Real-Life Inspiration for Steven Spielberg's ‘Bridge of Spies'"
Remarks by W&L Law professors Jon Shapiro, who represented the "Beltway Sniper," John Allen Muhammad; and David Bruck, who represented Dylann Roof, the Charleston church shooter; and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber.
[Administrative Support from Law Center]

Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg to Speak at VMI and W&L Law
February 1, 2017
Millhiser Moot Court Room
Washington and Lee University School of Law
Lexington, VA

A joint effort between Washington and Lee University School of Law and Virginia Military Institute on Wednesday brought Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Lexington, where she addressed an audience of thousands in the morning, and had law students lining up three hours in advance for a private Q&A session in the afternoon.

During both events, the 83-year-old associate justice balanced comments about American jurisprudence and her lengthy, transformative legal career with charming anecdotes about her personal life, ultimately reinforcing her lifelong message that men and women of all political and cultural stripes can have a profound impact on the world around them.

"I would say this to all young lawyers, men as well as women," Ginsburg told the law students. "Whatever you do in the law, do in addition something you are passionate about, whether it is gender equality or the environment, discrimination or free speech - do something outside yourself that will make things a little better for people who are less fortunate than you are."

Ginsburg's visit was a year in the making and came 20 years after she penned the majority opinion in United States v. Virginia, the landmark case that struck down VMI's male-only admissions policy. At VMI's 3,800-capacity Cameron Hall, which was nearly full on Wednesday morning, Ginsburg recalled that the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's lone dissenting opinion in the case opened with the declaration that admitting women would destroy VMI.

"I knew it wouldn't. It would make VMI a better place," Ginsburg told the crowd, which erupted in applause.

Today, VMI's student body is about 11 percent female. The VMI community seemed to enjoy Ginsburg's talk, said school spokesman Stewart MacInnis on Thursday. "Women cadets, especially, say they appreciated Justice Ginsburg's remarks and the impact she has had on their lives. Several of them told me they didn't really understand until this event the controversy surrounding the decision in the societal context of the latter half of the 20th century."

One of the most poignant moments of the morning came when Ginsburg told the story of a VMI pin she wore on her pewter-colored jacket. Shortly after the case was decided, she said, a VMI graduate mailed the pin to her with a letter explaining that the pins were given to the mothers of all VMI graduates. His mother had passed away, and he wanted Ginsburg to have the pin.

Ginsburg read from the letter: "In an abstract way, you will be mother to the first graduating class of VMI women ... Be sure to wear it proudly any time, but especially if you are ever invited to VMI."

The woman affectionately nicknamed "RBG" by fans can relate to being one of few women in a class of men. Of her time at Harvard Law School, where she was only one of nine female students in a class of about 500, she said, "you felt you were constantly on display. If you failed or didn't perform well, you felt you were failing not only for yourself, but for all women."

Ginsburg was anything but a failure there, making the Harvard Law Review at a time when she was also supporting her husband through cancer treatments and helping to raise their toddler daughter. Despite the challenges, she said, "there was a balance to my life that many students didn't have. Each part of my life, I thought, was a respite from the other."

After lunch at Lee House, the W&L president's residence, Ginsburg held a private Q&A in the Millhiser Moot Court Room at the W&L Law School. She was accompanied, as she had been at VMI, by her two longtime biographers, Mary Hartnett and Wendy Williams, both Georgetown Law professors.

About 140 students and faculty filled the courtroom while more than 200 watched a livestream of the session in nearby classrooms. Students had submitted questions in advance, and faculty selected 15 to pose their questions to Justice Ginsburg. Topics included diversity in the legal community, international law, the media's interpretation of Supreme Court decisions, and the qualities she hopes to see in the next Supreme Court justice. The last question came just one day after President Donald Trump nominated federal judge Neil Gorsuch for the seat left vacant after Scalia's death last year.

"I'd say it takes a readiness to work really hard - this is the hardest job I've ever had - it takes a tremendous amount of reading, and then thinking and writing," she said. "And if you are part of a collegial court, [it takes] a willingness to listen to your colleagues, because on the Supreme Court if you are writing for the court, you are not writing for yourself, you are writing for others. So you have to present the views of the consensus, not what you might do alone if you were queen. So collegiality is a very, very important part of the way the court works - and a sense of humor really helps."

Throughout the day, Ginsburg talked about her famous friendship with Scalia, who usually disagreed with her on an ideological basis. Professionally, she said, he made her a better judge because he helped her to identify the weak spots in her arguments. Personally, they bonded over their love of family and the opera. "I miss him very much," she said. "Without him, the court is a paler place because he brought so much zest to our discussions."

At the law school, students were impressed to be in the presence of a Supreme Court justice. Ginsburg's work with the Association of American Law Schools and American Bar Association played a role in making the school coeducational in the 1970s.

"I admire Justice Ginsburg because she has always broken through glass ceilings," said third-year law student Tejkaran Bains. "We both come from immigrant families. Justice Ginsburg was one of only nine women on her class. I am the only Sikh person in my law school and the only person who wears a turban. It was so inspiring and surreal to see Justice Ginsburg."

Rebecca Varghese, also a third-year law student, said she was most impressed by Ginsburg's comments about disagreeing in a manner that is at once direct and civil. Varghese said that's important in this age of polarization in both the political and legal spheres. "This adversarial system can isolate other viewpoints, and I think her message of advocating inclusiveness while still remaining appropriately assertive was an apt takeaway for me."
[Administrative Support from the Law Center]

Martin Luther King Lecture | Prof. Attiba Ellis - WVU
January 18, 2017
[Administrative Support from the Law Center]

Judge Hoette - Distinguished Lecture Series
October 28, 2016
Co-Sponsored Event - Frances Lewis Law Center & German Law Journal

Corporate Law, Governance, and Purpose: A Tribute to the Scholarship of Lyman Johnson and David Millon

Friday, October 21, 2016-Saturday, October 22, 2016
Millhiser Moot Court Room
Washington and Lee University School of Law
Lexington, VA

The Washington and Lee Law Review is pleased to announce the topic for the 2016-2017 Symposium: Corporate Law, Governance, and Purpose: A Tribute to the Scholarship of Lyman Johnson and David Millon. The two-day event, which will be held on October 21-22, 2016 in Sydney Lewis Hall, will celebrate the respective contributions of Professors Johnson and Millon to the fields of corporate law and corporate governance by engaging with the central issues and problems that have animated their work. Professor Christopher Bruner is the Faculty Advisor for the event.

Professors Johnson and Millon arrived at Washington and Lee in the mid-1980s, embarking upon their scholarly careers at a time now regarded as perhaps the single most extraordinary period of upheaval in the field of corporate law since the 1930s.  Their careers have mapped closely onto many of the developments that effectively define the field of corporate law as conceptualized and practiced today, and each has made extraordinary contributions to a range of theoretical and practical debates that have unfolded over the last thirty years. The Law Review is honored to celebrate the work of these two highly respected corporate legal scholars.

For more information, visit the symposium website.

Public Lecture Series | Prof. Jamie Benidickson, Univ. of Ottowa Faculty of Law Public Lecture
October 21, 2016

Private Ordering and Public Norms Roundtable
October 13-14, 2016

Distinguished Lecture Series | Ivan Fong - 3M General Counsel
September 15, 2016

From Conviction to Clemency: Commonwealth v. Giarratano, a Case Study in the Modern Death Penalty 
February 5-6, 2016 

By highlighting the case of Commonwealth of Virginia v. Joseph Michael Giarratano, the 2016 Lara D. Gass Symposium explored the ethical, legal, and public policy issues surrounding the use of the death penalty. In Giarratano, the then-Virginia Governor, based on concerns about actual innocence, offered Giarratano a conditional pardon provided that he waive his double jeopardy rights and ask for a new trial. Giarratano accepted the conditional pardon in 1991 but still awaits a new trial.Giarratano's case raises several issues that the Symposium panelists will discuss at length, including ineffective assistance of counsel, clemency, post-conviction relief, actual innocence, prison conditions, race and gender, and the use of the death penalty on those with mental illness or intellectual disability.

Civil Rights Journal Symposium to Explore Policing in America
January 28-29, 2016

Professor Winnifred Sullivan Public Lecture 
"Politics of Religious Freedom Today: At Home and Abroad."  
October 26, 2015

Ambassador David Shinn Public Lecture
October 22, 2015 

Shinn spoke on "China and Africa: An Evolving Relationship" on Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. in Hillel 101. In this lecture, Shinn discussed aspects of China's growing relationship with the 54 countries of Africa, including an analysis of China's interests in Africa and a comparison with U.S. interests in the continent.

Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 
February 19-20, 2015  

The symposium brought together leading experts in the fields of law, political science, sociology, philosophy, history and others to discuss the history and current status of civil rights legislation.There were four panel discussions and a dinner keynote talk. The panel topics covered 50 Years after the Voting Rights Act of 1965; Brown v. Board of Education and Affirmative Action in a Post-Racial America; Immigration Rights and Citizenship Rights as Civil Rights; and The Future of Civil Rights.

Symposium 2015: Corporate Social Responsibility in Protecting Water Resources
February 13, 2015

The Washington and Lee Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment 2015 symposium  addressed the role of corporate social responsibility in protecting water resources. This topic was both timely and locally relevant given the recent water contamination crises in both West Virginia and North Carolina. 

Cybersurveillance in the Post-Snowden Age
January, 23-24, 2015

The depth and breadth of the classified documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden to The Guardian and The Washington Post, is historically unprecedented. This symposium explored the constitutional and other policy and legal implications of both NSA mass surveillance as well as other forms of big data cybersurveillance. 

Emerging Issues in Child Welfare
February 28, 2014

The Symposium featured three panels: The Boundaries of Abuse and Neglect, The Child Welfare System's Response to LGBT Parents, and Children and Immigration: The Need for Reform, and a lunchtime discussion: Practice in the Field of Child Advocacy.

False Confessions: The True Story
January 30-31, 2014

On Jan 30-31, interrogation experts, practicing attorneys and scholars explored the issue and some of the most notorious cases involving false confessions, including those of the Central Park Five and Virginia's own Norfolk Four.

Roe at 40
November 7-8, 2013

A symposium contributing to the ongoing debate about the significance of the Roe decision.

Gideon at 50
November 9-10, 2012

A symposium focusing on recent developments in the area of indigent criminal defense in light of the 50th anniversary of the landmark decision of Gideon v. Wainwright

Smashing the Machine: The Troubled Legacy of Kantorowicz's KAMPF 
September 9-10, 2012

A Symposium Considering Hermann Kantorowicz's Incendiary Manifesto The Battle for Legal Science (Der Kampf um die Rechtswissenschaft) and the Universal Struggle to "Free Law" from Formalism.Sponsored by the German Law Journal, DAAD, and the Frances Lewis Law Center

Regulation in the Fringe Economy
Thursday, November 10 - Friday, November 11, 2011

A symposium exploring lenders on the fringes of the economy, such as payday loans, auto title loans, for-profit college loans, and refund anticipation loans.

Restitution Rollout: The Restatement (Third) of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment
Friday, February 25, 2011

Washington and Lee University School of Law and the American Law Institute are pleased sponsored a conference, Restitution Rollout: Restatement (Third) of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment. The American Law Institute (ALI), the leading legal-reform organization in the United States, restates basic legal subjects to inform the legal profession what "the law" is in a particular subject. In 2010, the ALI approved the Restatement (Third) Restitution and Unjust Enrichment (2011), the subject of our Restitution Rollout.

Joint Symposium on International Investment and ADR, Preventing and Managing Investment Treaty Conflict
March 29, 2010 

The Washington and Lee and UNCTAD Joint Symposium on Investment and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) will brought together academics, governments, practitioners, investors, representatives from international organizations and non-governmental entities from around the world to discuss International Investment Agreements (IIAs) and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Violence on Campus: Students Who are a Danger to Self or Others and Appropriate Institutional Responses
November 6, 2009

Reproductive and Sexual Health and the African Women's Protocol
April 3, 2009

Protecting The Virtual Playground
October 3, 2008

A Queer Definition of Equality
February 29, 2008

Lewis F. Powell - A Century Milestone
September 17, 2007

Race and Class in the 21st Century Through the Lens of Hurricane Katrina
April 13, 2007 - Lexington, VA

In Honor of Lewis F. Powell, Jr. - A Symposium
April 6, 2007

Gender-Relevant Legislative Change in Muslim and Non-Muslim Countries
March 30-31, 2007

Understanding Corporate Law Through History
Friday, March 24, 2006