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Reflections on organizing an academic gathering easily risk becoming a navel-gazing exercise, and not a very interesting one at that. Those risks notwithstanding, I wish to use the occasion of an April 2014 program at Suffolk University Law School to champion the virtues of smaller academic events that promote genuine dialogue and move at a slower, more contemplative pace. Although I do not promise that I will offer anything especially profound here, this may plant a seed in others to develop similar programs and even have some fun in the process.
This stimulating collection of essays builds upon the 2008 Annual Meeting program of the Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), the major professional association for legal educators. The Section devoted its January 2008 program to the topic of “The Employment and Labor Law Professor as Public Intellectual: Sharing Our Work with the World,” which featured presentations by four accomplished law professors who were selected via a Call for Papers issued the previous year. The purpose of the program and the resulting essays is to explore how law professors, particularly those who teach in the field of employment and labor law, can apply their research and scholarship to the important tasks of public education and intellectual activism. . . .