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Roscoe Pound Institute is better than ever at 50.

As it begins its 50th year, the Roscoe Pound Institute continues its efforts to build a bridge between the academic, legal, and judicial communities. In the last six months, the institute has produced several well-received programs examining issues of critical importance to the civil justice system.

In conjunction with the Vanderbilt University Law School, the institute hosted its second Law Professor Symposium in October. The symposium featured papers on medical malpractice by Neil Vidmar of Duke Law School, Lucinda Finley of SUNY-Buffalo, Stephen Daniels and Joanne Martin of the American Bar Foundation, Charles Silver of the University of Texas, David Hyman of the University of Illinois, and James Blumstein of Vanderbilt University Law School, among others.

The papers looked at issues such as dishonest medical mistakes, what happens to medical malpractice verdicts after trial, the impact of medical malpractice on women, the specialization of medical malpractice plaintiff lawyers, and recent empirical literature.

The symposium also featured a roundtable on patient safety, which included Pound Fellow John Day of Nashville, a past president of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association, and experts on improving medical care from the Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Symposium papers will be published in the Vanderbilt Law Review in 2006; Pound Fellows will receive a complimentary copy.

Regional Judges Forum

In September, the Pound Institute presented a Regional Judges Forum on the civil jury at the American Judges Association meeting in Anchorage, before more than 75 trial and appellate judges from around the nation. Vidmar spoke about the landmark Arizona jury project, a study that examined the real-life deliberations of actual juries. Professor Stephen Landsman of DePaul College of Law talked about the phenomenon of the vanishing jury trial.

Tom Munsterman of the National Center for State Courts discussed innovations designed to improve the experience people have when they serve on juries and the quality of deliberations. ATLA Governor Donna McCready addressed the importance of juries in protecting plaintiffs' rights and access to justice. Judge Gerald Elliott of Kansas related his long, positive experience in dealing with juries, and Donna Melby, current president of the American Board of Trial Advocates, discussed the board's efforts to protect the jury.

Judges rated the program 4.67--a perfect score was 5. The session gave "a new appreciation for the role of the jury," said one attendee.

13th Annual Forum for State Appellate Court Judges

This forum was held in Toronto in July before an audience of more than 50 state court judges. The topic, "The Rule(s) of Law: Electronic Discovery and the Challenge of Rule-Making in the State Courts," examined the processes and politics of court rule-making, with a special look at attempts to change the rules regarding electronic discovery. Professor Linda Mullenix of the University of Texas Law School and Judge John Carroll, dean of Cumberland Law School at Samford University, presented papers.

Mullenix's paper, "The Varieties of State Rule-Making Experience and the Consequences for Substantive and Procedural Fairness," discussed how various rule-making methods might affect litigants' rights. (See related article on page 28.) Carroll's paper, "E-Discovery: A Case Study in Rule-Making by State and Federal Courts," examined efforts to change federal e-discovery rules and discussed how states might approach similar changes.

"The Pound forums are extremely valuable in keeping us current on issues important to the administration of justice," said one attending judge. Another said the forum "educated me on rules under consideration and the impact on our court."

For more information, visit From the site, you can download papers and materials from these programs and learn more about other institute programs and social events--including the Pound Fellows Reception in Honolulu in February and the 50th-anniversary party at the Experience Music Project in Seattle this July.
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Title Annotation:ATLA IN MOTION
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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