University of Notre Dame


The Notre Dame Law Review has a long tradition of hosting symposia that bring together well-respected and diverse speakers around a variety of timely and thought-provoking legal topics. Held each fall semester, the annual Symposium provides an environment for intellectual engagement and an opportunity to wrestle with pressing legal issues. Traditionally, each participant will publish an article in the Law Review’s annual Symposium issue.

Volume 95 Symposium

On Friday, November 8, 2019 Volume 95 of the Notre Dame Law Review will host its annual Symposium in the Patrick F. McCartan Courtroom. This year’s Symposium is titled Pioneering Research in Empirical Legal Studies: A Symposium in Honor of Professor Margaret Brinig.

Notre Dame Law School’s own Professor Margaret Brinig is retiring this year, and Notre Dame Law Review has identified the Symposium as the perfect opportunity to honor her. This year’s Symposium will revolve around Professor Brinig’s lasting scholarly contributions. Specifically, the Symposium will focus on empirical legal studies, recognizing, in particular, Professor Brinig’s fundamental and pioneering role in the field.

The Symposium will feature several panels of prominent scholars who will speak on the intersection of various areas of the law with empirical studies, as well as on methodological issues in the empirical study of the law.

This year’s keynote speaker is the Honorable Stephanos Bibas of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Judge Bibas’ keynote address will be published in the Symposium Issue of Volume 95 alongside the articles written by the panelists. The Symposium Issue will be released in the spring of 2020.

For further updates on the Notre Dame Law Review’s 2019 Symposium, please visit our website or follow us on Twitter: @NotreDameLRev.

Past Symposium topics and participants have included:

Contemporary Free Speech: The Marketplace of Ideas a Century Later, Symposium 2018–2019

On Friday, November 2, 2018 Volume 94 of the Notre Dame Law Review hosted its annual Symposium in the Patrick F. McCartan Courtroom.  This year’s Symposium was titled Contemporary Free Speech: The Marketplace of Ideas a Century Later.

The Symposium surveyed the development of the modern free speech doctrine.  In particular, the Symposium focused on the Holmesian account of the “free trade in ideas.”  Panels of leading academics from law schools across the country reflected on the development of First Amendment law in the 100-years since Justice Holmes’s dissent in Abrams v. United States.  This year’s panelists discussed a variety of contemporary free speech topics, ranging from hate speech, to student speech, to commercial speech, to worker speech.

This year’s keynote speaker was the Honorable Judge Michael Y. Scudder of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  Judge Scudder was appointed to the Seventh Circuit in 2018, and maintains his chambers in Chicago.  Judge Scudder’s keynote address was published in the Symposium Issue of Volume 94 alongside the articles written by the panelists.  The Symposium Issue was released in the spring of 2019.

Administrative Lawmaking in the 21st CenturySymposium 2017–2018

On Friday, November 10, 2017 Volume 93 of the Notre Dame Law Review hosted its annual Symposium in the Patrick F. McCartan Courtroom. This year’s Symposium was titled Administrative Lawmaking in the 21st Century.

The Symposium looked forward to the future with respect to administrative law.  Panels of leading academics and distinguished practitioners reflected on the fact that we are arguably at a crossroads in how we make regulatory law and policy — and addressed, among other issues, the effect this has on how we design and staff administrative agencies, Chevron Step Two’s domain, nonenforcement of the law, and the meaning of provisions limiting presidential removal of administrative officers.

This year’s keynote speaker was the Hon. Judge Thomas M. Hardiman of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Judge Hardiman was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in 2003 by President George W. Bush. In 2007, President George W. Bush nominated him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Judge Hardiman offered a judge’s perspective on administrative lawmaking in the United States and reflected on the topics addressed by the Symposium contributors.

The Symposium also brought together a distinguished group of administrative law scholars and practitioners who presented their papers on the present state and future of administrative law, followed by a moderator led discussion.

After the Symposium, the Law Review hosted a reception for invited guests.

Negotiating IP’s Boundaries in an Evolving WorldSymposium 2016–2017

On November 11, 2016 the Notre Dame Law Review hosted its annual symposium. The event examined the increasing prevalence of overlapping intellectual property rights. Panels of leading academics and distinguished practitioners addressed, among other issues, how the domains of various forms of intellectual property are defined, how claiming identifies the boundaries of particular inventions or works and impacts the extent of overlap, the relationship between administrative procedures and civil litigation, and the role of territoriality in protection and enforcement.  Participants included Professors Mark P. McKenna, Lucas S. Osborn, Pamela Samuelson, Rebeca L. Tushnet, Laura G. Pedraza-Fariña, W. Nicholson Price II, Arti K. Rai, Graeme B. Dinwoodie, Timothy R. Holbrook, Mark A. Lemley, and practitioner Perry Saidman. The panels were moderated by professors Joseph P. Bauer and Joanne Clifford, and Shubham Mukherjee of Whirlpool Corporation. Judge David W. McKeague of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit gave the keynote address.

Religious Liberty and the Free Society: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Dignitatis Humanae, Symposium 2015–2016

On November 5 and 6, 2015 the Notre Dame Law Review hosted its annual Symposium.The event celebrated and examined the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom and was part of the 2015-16 Notre Dame Forum.  Participants included Professors Thomas Berg, Paul Horwitz, Mark Movsesian, Christopher Lund, Marc DeGirolami, Brett Scharffs, Steven Smith, Anna Su, Phillip Muñoz, and Richard Garnett.  The panels were moderated by Judge Richard Sullivan of the Southern District of New York.  Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas gave the soporific opening address and John H. Garvey, President of The Catholic University of America, gave the keynote address.

The Treaty Power After Bond v. United States: Interpretative and Constitutional Constraints, Symposium 2014–2015

On November 14, 2014 the Notre Dame Law Review, in conjunction with the Notre Dame Program on Constitutional Structure, hosted its annual Symposium, titled The Treaty Power After Bond v. United States: Interpretative and Constitutional Constraints. Participants included Duncan Hollis, Saikrishna Prakash, Michael Ramsey, Julian Ku, David Sloss, Paul Stephan, Roger Alford, Edward Swaine, and Ingrid Wuerth. Mr. Paul D. Clement, partner at Bancroft PLLC, former Solicitor General of the United States, and lead counsel for Carol Bond before the Supreme Court gave the Symposium’s keynote address.

The Evolution of Theory: Discerning the Catalysts of Constitutional Change, Symposium 2013–2014

The Symposium delved into the factors of constitutional doctrinal shifts. It focused on the question of whether the evolution of constitutional theory is driven by external pressures—such as economics, politics, culture, and social movements—or by an internal dialogue about constitutional meaning. Presenters looked to shed light on this question by exploring the most salient points of constitutional development and change in the 20th century. Participants included David Bernstein, Barry Cushman, Samuel Olken, Lucas Powe, Brad Snyder, Ryan Williams, Kurt Lash, Stephen Sachs, Keith Whittington, and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, gave the Symposium’s keynote address.

The American Congress: Legal Implications of Gridlock, Symposium 2012–2013

The Symposium focused broadly on congressional gridlock, exploring various aspects of the issue from partisanship and civility to the utilization of the appropriations process to legislate. These and other facets of the topic were discussed against the backdrop of the 2012 election and current congressional inaction. Participants included Professors Josh Chafetz, Barry Cushman, Michael Gerhardt, Gerard Magliocca, Rebecca Kysar, John C. Roberts, Carl Tobias, George K. Yin, John Nagle, Michael Teter, Franita Tolson, and Sandra Zellmer. Former United States Congressman Thomas Allen gave the keynote address.

Educational Innovation and the Law, Symposium 2011–2012

The Symposium considered a wide range of legal issues related to education, including the education gap, school choice, charter schools, labor issues, and the effect of the current state and local fiscal crisis on public education. Two panels of legal scholars presented and discussed issues surrounding educational innovation and the law. Participants included Professors Michael Heise, Nicole Garnett, Jim Dwyer, Roderick Hills, Joseph Viteritti, Andrea Matwyshyn, Rosemary Salomone, Lia Epperson, and Peter Schuck. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave the keynote address.

Creativity and the Law, Symposium 2010–2011

The Symposium was dedicated to the relationship and role of the law in cultivating, focusing, and defending creativity. It considered a range of interdisciplinary questions such as, “What is creativity, and how does it map onto legal concepts like originality, novelty, or non-obviousness?” and inquired into the functionality of law, particularly intellectual property, in promoting creative enterprises. The Symposium brought together experts from several fields, including Rebecca Tushnet, Michael Madison, Funmi Arewa, Roberta Rosenthal Kwall, Gregory Mandel, Jessica Silbey, David Galenson, Mario Biagioli, Sean Seymore, Jeanne Fromer, Abraham Drassinower, and Keith Sawyer.