The Volokh Conspiracy

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The Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention Goes Virtual

Conservative and libertarian lawyers will gather online, instead of at the Mayflower Hotel, to discuss "The Rule of Law and the Current Crisis."


As is traditional, the Federalist Society's National Lawyers Convention is being held in mid-November. As is quite untraditional, the entire event will occur online, over the course of the entire week, with every speech and panel streamed live at no cost to viewers.

"The Rule of Law and the Current Crisis" is the theme for the 2020 National Lawyers Convention, which begins today.  It will also feature panels sponsored by all of the organizations various practice groups. There are no break-out sessions, however. Rather, the entire program is spread out over the course of the week, so it is possible to catch each and every program. The full agenda and registration info are available here.

The format may be untraditional, but the wealth of interesting speakers and subjects and range of viewpoints to be preseted are not. Speakers include former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, Undersecretary of the Treasury Brent McIntosh, Nadine Strossen, Elizabeth Wydra, Assistant EPA Administrator Susan Bodine, former White House Counsel Neil Eggleston, Deepak Gupta, Richard Epstein, Robert George, Cornel West, Sally Katzen, Ted Olson, and our own Randy Barnett and Eugene Volokh, among many others. Numerous judges are on the program, mostly as moderators, and there are also featured lectures by Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, the retired Judge Janice Rogers Brown, and Associate Justice Samuel Alito

That the entire program is online provides an opportunity for people to find out what the Federalist Society is really about. As I have noted before, the organization is often used as a boogeyman. Folks like Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse spin tales of a shadowy and sinister entity that bear little relation to the actual reality.

This year's Federalist Society conference will not be quite the same without the opportunity to network and reconnect with old friends in the main hall of the Mayflower, but the lineup of speakers promises as substantive and provocative a program as always. And for the in-person connections, there's always next year.