Have Zoom, Won't Need to Travel


I've done several Zoom talks on various subjects over the last several weeks, and much enjoyed them. They are less engaging, of course, than an in-person talk, but there's no travel time and no travel cost, so I'm much more open to such invitations than I had been to in-person speaking engagements. So far, I've done (among other things)

  • law school talks "at" Arizona, Chapman, Columbia, Duke, Illinois, Texas, and Yale,
  • talks to college classes, in places where I'd normally have a hard time traveling,
  • talks to lawyer groups, including in the Northern Mariana Islands,
  • talks to community groups, such as a local Rotary Club,
  • a conversation with a church pastor,
  • TV and radio programs, and
  • podcasts and videocasts.

I'm teaching again starting late January (I was on sabbatical this Fall), but I expect I'll still be up for such talks then, and also before then. So if you're interested, please just drop me an e-mail at volokh at law.ucla.edu. I'd also be glad to talk

  • to school assemblies and classes,
  • to homeschooling groups,
  • and to other groups as well.

I've mostly talked about free speech and about religious freedom, but I can also talk about gun rights and gun policy, Internet law, the Supreme Court, and a smattering of other topics. Please let me know if you're interested.

People sometimes ask me about honoraria, and my answer is that I'd like whatever honorarium your group customarily pays for similar events. If it doesn't normally pay an honorarium (and most groups don't), I'll generally be glad to do it for free; I view it as part of the "service" component of a professor's job ("research / teaching / service"), and it's part that I enjoy. With the Northern Mariana Islands group, I realized that the modest honorarium would be just too much trouble to deal with, so I instead asked them to just mail me a locally themed care package; they sent me some very nice small items, which I was pleased to display on the video.

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  1. Shocking that environmentalists feel it necessary to fly to big meetings and not use conference video tech to pursue their useless goals.

  2. Travel is stupid, costly, and wasteful. This is true unless it is pretextual.

    You live in Alaska. It is January. It is crucial that you attend a conference in person in Florida. Nothing feels better than the opening of a plane door into 90 degree air after coming from a Northern latitude in winter.

    The stupidest, most wasteful, and costliest travel of all is space travel. If you go to Mars, you are not coming back and will die a painful, slow death from radiation. You would have to carry a launchpad there, along with fuel, to return. The other fact is that robots are 100 better at any task, and a tenth the cost to support.

    The danger of pointless transportation cannot be emphasized enough. See the Kennedy Family.

  3. Professor, what would be the trouble with the Mariana Islands honorarium? Its source outside the continental US? Taxes? Regulations? I'm curious.

    1. Oh, no -- it was just a modest honorarium (not that I would have insisted on more), and I would have had to send them a W-9 and a few other items just to get a slight amount of money.

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