Intellectual Life - Symposia and Lectures

Ongoing Dialogue and Discourse

Upholding a Tradition of Discourse

The Law School calendar is anchored each year by one of our named lecture series and roundtables honoring the life and work of Law School graduates and professors who have made a significant difference in their field of practice.

The David G. Trager Public Policy Symposium honors the late Honorable David G. Trager, Senior Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, who served with great distinction as Dean of Brooklyn Law School from 1983 to 1993. Judge Trager was a dedicated member of the Brooklyn Law School family through his active role on the Board of Trustees and as a member of the adjunct faculty. Learn more about Judge Trager.

The Abraham L. Pomerantz Lecture commemorates the life and work of a 1924 graduate of the Law School, focusing on topics of corporate securities law and related issues of professional responsibility. The law firm of Pomerantz Grossman Hufford Dahlstrom & Gross LLP, of which Abraham Pomerantz was the founding partner, provides continuing support for this series.

The Ira M. Belfer Lecture honors the 1933 Law School graduate, who was a leading practitioner of corporate, real estate, and trust and estates law for over half a century, a member of the Board of Trustees, and a generous benefactor to the Law School.

The Barry L. Zaretsky Roundtable series honors the late Professor Barry L. Zaretsky, who was a beloved mentor, distinguished scholar of bankruptcy and commercial law, and a dedicated classroom teacher.

We invite you to learn more about these programs held in the past few years:

David G. Trager Public Policy Symposium
Post Zoning: Alternative Forms of Public Land Use Controls
February 10, 2012
Roughly one hundred years ago, zoning emerged as a response to the vagaries and limits of nuisance law in controlling threats to public health and safety. It offered promise as a tool for comprehensive planning even as it rebalanced private property rights. A century’s worth of doctrine has evolved to mediate between the rights of property owners and the interests of the public. Speakers and commentators will discuss legal responses, propose whether and when the law should embrace these new forms of land use controls, and consider what additional protections are needed. Participants will include some of the nation’s leading land use theorists.

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Sharing the Blame: the Law and Morality of Punishing Collective Entities
February 5, 2010
Does it make sense to impose blame on a group as a group, as opposed to its individual members? Even if blame is appropriate, how do we decide the proper form and amount of punishment? How do we even conceive of a group as having its own independent existence or identity? The answers to these questions have significant implications for the scope and enforcement of criminal law. This Symposium sought to derive broad general insights from various academic disciplines and considered the practical legal applications of those findings. It addressed the psychological processes that lead people to treat groups as having independent existence, and the moral and philosophical consequences of doing so.

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Abraham L. Pomerantz Lecture
Don’t Blink: Snap Decisions and Securities Regulation
March 15, 2011
Modern securities markets move at record speed, but fast-moving markets also can be dangerous. Frank Partnoy, George E. Barrett Professor of Law and Finance and the co-director of the Center for Corporate and Securities Law at the University of San Diego Law School, discusses recent scholarly research on snap decisions and how securities regulation should take into account the speed of decision making.

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Due Diligence: Failures and Remedies
March 31, 2009
Due diligence failures underlie many instances of fraud, as well as the subprime mortgage crisis. This lecture, given by Bernard S. Black, Professor of Law and Professor of Finance at the University of Texas at Austin, addressed why due diligence failures are common and why reputational concerns may provide suboptimal due diligence incentives, and will suggest legal standards for minimum due diligence.

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Ira M. Belfer Lecture
The Begining and End of Borders
October 6, 2011
U.S. Customs Commissioner Alan Bersin discussed the radically changing nature of borders and the impact on traditional legal and regulatory regimes governing cross-border trade and travel. He argued that borders in the contemporary era must be viewed as the global flow of goods and people as much as the geographic sites that mark the transition from one sovereignty to another.

The Future of Forensic Science
April 17, 2009
How reliable is forensic science evidence? Should traditional forms be allowed into court at all? Professor Jennifer Mnookin, vice dean for faculty and research and professor of law at the UCLA School of Law addressed ways in which forensic science needs to be transformed to warrant its legitimate use as legal evidence.

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View video of the recent Symposium: Choice of Law in Cross-Border Bankruptcy Cases

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