The 5th Annual AALS ADR Section Works-in-Progess Conference took place at Creighton University Law School in Omaha earlier this month. Ran Kuttner was the conference organizer and, according to all who were there, did a great job. Here are Ran’s reflections on the conference and kudos to him and the rest of the crew at the Werner Institute.
During the past weekend the Werner Institute at Creighton School of Law in Omaha hosted the 5th annual AALS Works-in-Progress (WIP) Conference. As someone who participated for the third time and chaired this year’s conference, it was great to hear participants reporting once again that they were pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed the conference. This conference is unique in its relaxed atmosphere and user-friendly structure, aimed at creating the conditions for us to share “half-baked” ideas and have a group of peers provide suggestions on how to improve, or where to go next, with our research. Where else do we have an opportunity to do that?
From the perspective of the conference chair I found much satisfaction in encouraging colleagues who weren’t sure if their still-far-from-being-done project is appropriate, to present at the conference, as it is meant exactly for these cases: to share our research when it is still in a somewhat vulnerable stage. And it is that vulnerability and sharing which makes this conference a unique act of community-building, an opportunity for what is probably the closest we can get to a professional community-dialogue. I believe that this is why participants find this conference both helpful and joyful (a special mid-conference dinner always helps too!). I therefore hope that five years from now many in the ADR section of the AALS will be able to say that the 10th WIP conference was, as always, one of the year’s highlights and an event worth waiting for. And by then – after last year’s Oregon winery and this year’s Culinary Institute – the mid-conference dinner will already be an established tradition.