Once each year, all of our student-run law journals host a symposium focused on a current theme, typically spanning an entire day on a Friday. This is a great opportunity to connect practicing lawyers with law students and introduce contemporary topics to a broad audience. In spite of the pandemic, the library and technology team is happy we’ve been able to support and sustain great symposia this year. We provide the scaffolding and support, and we’re happy to make these student-run efforts a success.
Our students do the heavy lifting early on to pick a topic, secure speakers, and develop content suitable for publishing. The law school communications team advertises the events and coordinates invitations. Behind the scenes, the library navigates the complexities of the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) application process, advises on video production and multimedia needs, and monitors live feeds and presentations throughout each event.
The final student-run symposium took place on Friday, March 12, with our Public Interest Law Review hosting “Defining the School to Prison Pipeline: Education, Housing and the Criminal Legal System.” The other two symposia this year included the Richmond Law Review focus on “Corporate & Securities Law in the Time of the Coronavirus” and JOLT’s “Emerging Technology in Law” event.
We had more than 200 people registered for every symposium event. Many of these include area attorneys who can receive CLE credit, including credit for Ethics, such as the session on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence.
Maureen Moran reports that the symposia have received CLE credits from the Virginia State Bar, including ethics credits, which are difficult to obtain. All attorneys who are required to complete ethics CLE credits each year, so these sessions are especially valuable and in-demand. The University of Richmond is an accredited sponsor of CLE courses. With this, we use a streamlined application process with the Virginia State Bar. Maureen Moran works with dedicated VSB staff to ensure an efficient and consistent process. We work with student groups to compile applications that can meet the VSB’s requirements.
As the law library’s Multimedia Production and Technology Specialist, Carl Hamm plays a central role in the online content of all symposia and other events. Each of this year’s student symposia featured multiple speakers and more than 200 attendees. All speakers participated remotely, often with PowerPoint presentations. Sessions included audience discussion, playing live media clips, and interaction such as with online polling. In addition, to comply with CLE requirements, we had to create a system for attorneys to record, in real time, their presence to verify participation.
We are still in a time where outside attorneys and guests cannot come to campus. Also, we cannot enjoy cookies, food or face-to-face friendship in our events. Nonetheless, all three of our law journals created very popular events with good attendance. The law library is happy to support these examples of student scholarly success, in partnership with our law school peers.