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Summer17Classs-546.jpgMLaw Young Scholars' Conference Bridges Gaps in the Legal Research Community

By Jordan Poll
June 22, 2017

Yahli Shereshevsky has a special bond with the Young Scholars' Conference at Michigan Law. "I heard about the conference while studying at my home university in Jerusalem. Even though I had planned to attend a different conference in South Africa, I still applied to the Young Scholars’ Conference and am really happy I did," he said. As a participant in the inaugural conference, Shereshevsky presented his paper "The Battle over the Laws of War: Classification of Asymmetrical Conflicts" to a room of critics—an enjoyable experience that led him back to Michigan Law.

The stimulating conversations Shereshevsky had with his fellow participants and his panel discussant, Steven Ratner, the Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law, inspired him to return to the Quad as a Grotius Research Scholar and chair of the 3rd Annual Young Scholars' Conference.

Now entering its fourth year, the Young Scholars' Conference aims to promote fruitful research collaboration and encourage integration into the larger community of legal scholars by inviting promising junior scholars (PhD and SJD candidates, Fellows, post-docs, and assistant professors) from around the globe to present their work and receive feedback from prominent Michigan Law faculty. The Young Scholars' Conference is conceived and organized entirely by an entrepreneurial group of SJD students and Grotius Research Scholars at Michigan Law.

SJD candidate Tamar Groswald Ozery, '13, and Gil Savir, LLM '13, SJD '16, founded the Young Scholars' Conference in 2015 to highlight the Law School's SJD program and bring together junior academics from all stages of their early academic career—bridging gaps in the legal research community. "While there are ample opportunities for advanced legal scholars to present their work, and increasing platforms for doctoral law students and post-docs, there are only limited forums for the median academic stage and a general lack of platforms that bring together various stages of early academic career legal scholars," said Groswald Ozery, who also chaired the first two conferences. "Our panels strive to give junior scholars an opportunity to share their work and receive feedback from both peers in various academic stages and established Michigan Law faculty."

And junior scholars are jumping at the chance to participate. The 2017 Young Scholars' Conference received 253 applications— doubling 2016's submissions. After an extensive review process by the conference’s organizing committee, those applications were narrowed down to 20 participants: six assistant professors, four fellows/post-docs, and 10 doctoral students. "Even outside of the conference, the papers we accepted were regarded very highly. A significant number of papers are now published in top law journals," said Shereshevsky. As chair, he also prioritized getting Michigan Law's journals involved. This collaboration gave participants the opportunity to submit their papers to the Journal of Law Reform, Michigan Journal of International Law, Michigan Journal of Gender & Law, Michigan Journal of Race & Law, and Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, and guaranteed a review process. "Such an arrangement is unique to our conference. It is our hope to expand this unique opportunity in the future to include all Michigan Law journals," said Shereshevsky.

The Young Scholars' Conference is a growing platform that offers a wide spectrum of panels. It is designed to broaden the academic horizons of its participants by exposing them to a variety of legal disciplines, cultures, and law schools. Through the conversations that arise during these panels, new and creative ideas are introduced into the research community. Aviram Shahal, organizing committee member and SJD candidate, made it a point to attend panels outside his field of interest for that very reason. "I found them stimulating. I got to listen and engage in conversation that would not have been possible without the conference," he said. "Such engagement makes me a better scholar."

Over the conference's three-year history, participants have come to Ann Arbor from all over the world, including Italy, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cameroon, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. "Michigan Law's long history of influential international activity and appreciation for diversity is reflected in the global backgrounds of conference participants," said Theresa Kaiser-Jarvis, assistant dean for international affairs. Scholars from Yale Law School, New York University School of Law, the University of Chicago Law School, Stanford Law School, Duke University School of Law, the University of Virginia School of Law, and the University of Hawaii School of Law have also participated. "The conference gives participants the opportunity to create personal and professional relationships right here at Michigan Law based on their common quest for knowledge, regardless of geography, culture, heritage or language," Kaiser-Jarvis said.

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