University of Pittsburgh

Faculty News

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 9:56am

Professor Michael Madison has published "Law and Borders, Revisited," a short review of a new scholarly article, at the online journal Jotwell. 

"Jotwell" stands for "Journal of Things We Like, Lots."  The site is a curated body of critical commentary on recent and emerging legal scholarship.  It is hosted at the University of Miami School of Law and managed by Professor A. Michael Froomkin.  Jotwell features commentary on several areas of current law and scholarship, each of which is produced by a panel of invited legal scholars.

Professor Madison's recent review discusses a new paper by Professor Marketa Trimble of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, which is titled "The Future of Cybertravel: Legal Implications of the Evasion of Geolocation."  Professor Madison's review is here; Professor Trimble's paper is here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 4:46pm

Wes Rist, assistant director of the Center for International Legal Education at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, will be in Jerusalem and Ramallah from January 7 – January 12, interviewing candidates for the Palestinian Rule of Law (PROL) Program, sponsored by the Open Society Foundation. He will join several other American legal education specialists to evaluate Palestinian candidates, some of whom will receive funding to study law in the United States for one year. Pitt Law currently hosts three PROL fellows, and has hosted a total of six over the past five years.  Read more about the Palestinian Rule of Law Program here


Rist has also been invited to speak at the Office of the Attorney General of Palestine to address public prosecutors and officials.  He will deliver a lecture on international human rights standards governing pre-trial detention and state-to-state counter-terrorism cooperation.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 3:37pm

Members of the Pitt Law Faculty will be among the presenters at the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), the largest yearly conference for law professors.  The conference features  professors from around the nation and the world discussing new developments and research in every imaginable field of law.

Among the Pitt Law Faculty selected this year to present talks on their work are:

Professor Deborah Brake, who will present her work at the joint program on Title IX 40th anniversary, Thursday, Jan. 5, from 2 to 5 pm;

Professor Teresa Brostoff, Nancy Burkoff, and Ann Sinsheimer, who will present their work at a panel on "Legal Research an Writing for Non-US Lawyers: What Resources Do Law Schools Need to Provide?" on Saturday, Jan. 7, at 5:30 pm.

Professor Larry Frolik, who chairs the AALS Section on Law and Aging, who will serve as moderator and presenter on a panel entitled "Gaurdianship: Reconsidering the Reality of Reform," Friday, Jan. 6, at 8:30 am; 

Professor Haider Hamoudi, who will present his work at the pane on "Comparative Law and the Evolution of Global Norms of Good Gvernance," on Saturday, Jan. 7, from 3:30 to 5:15 pm; and

Professor Rhonda Wasserman, who will discuss her work, "Secret Class Action Settlements"  at the Litigation Section meeting on Friday, Jan. 6, from 4:00 to 5:45 pm.

Pitt Law Professor Pat Chew will be active at the conference as part of the AALS leadership; she will participate in meetings of the AALS Executive Council.  She will also speak at a special program on the legacy of Pitt Law graduate and former Harvard Law Professor Derrick Bell, and will introduce and moderate the AALS Presidential Plenary Program on "Law School Faculty Demographics and Law School Finance."

Also attending the conference are Professor Jessie Allen, Professor John Burkoff, Dean and Professor of Law Mary Crossley, Professor Jasmine Gonzales Rose, Associate Dean for Research David Harris, and Professor and Director of the Barco Law Library George Pike.


See the Annual Meeting program here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 11:31am

Emily Collins presented invited testimony to the New York Senate Environmental Conservation Committee on shale gas wastewater and drill cuttings on Monday, December 12, 2011.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 11:28am

Pitt Law Professor Emily A. Collins comments on how parts of proposed shale drilling legislation that would limit a community’s right to control where gas companies can operate on private property would help the environment — for example, expanding the distance in which a driller could be presumed responsible for replacing a tainted water supply.  Collins goes on to tell the New York Times that the legislation seemed to anticipate litigation, calling for special judges to be added to the state Commonwealth Court, presumably to handle new flows of cases against local governments.


Read the full NYT article here.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - 3:28pm

Professor Anthony Infanti's article titled "Inequitable Administration: Documenting Family for Tax Purposes" has now been published as the lead article in issue 22.2 of the Columbia Journal of Gender & Law. The citation is 22 Columbia Journal of Gender & Law 329 (2011). Here is the abstract:


Family can bring us joy, and it can bring us grief. It can also bring us tax benefits and tax detriments. Often, as a means of ensuring compliance with Internal Revenue Code provisions that turn on a family relationship, taxpayers are required to document their relationship with a family member. Most visibly, taxpayers are denied an additional personal exemption for a child or other dependent unless they furnish the individual’s name, Social Security number, and relationship to the taxpayer. 


In this article, I undertake the first systematic examination of these documentation requirements. Given the privileging of the “traditional” family throughout the Code, one might expect to see that same privileging mirrored in the administrative structure that underpins the Code’s family tax provisions. Indeed, on their very face, the information-reporting rules that apply to jointly owned income-producing property do just that. 


Once the inquiry is expanded to cover other family tax provisions, however, it quickly becomes clear that the administrative structure underpinning the family tax provisions has also been strongly influenced by endemic privilegings along a variety of other axes of subordination - from class to race to gender to sexual orientation. To address and remedy these defects in the administrative structure underpinning the family tax provisions, this article advocates an approach to documenting family for tax purposes that does not invidiously discriminate among taxpayers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - 2:50pm

Professor Vivian Curran presented a work in progress on the upcoming Kiobel case on December 17 at the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law’s section on Foreign Law in Domestic Courts. The Koibel case will soon be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.




Monday, December 19, 2011 - 5:05pm

Professor Michael Madison has published a new article, titled "Knowledge Curation," as part of a symposium on Creativity and the Law at the Notre Dame Law Review. 


The abstract:


This Article addresses conservation, preservation, and stewardship of knowledge, and laws and institutions in the cultural environment that support those things. Legal and policy questions concerning creativity and innovation usually focus on producing new knowledge and offering access to it. Equivalent attention rarely is paid to questions of old knowledge. To what extent should the law, and particularly intellectual property law, focus on the durability of information and knowledge? To what extent does the law do so already, and to what effect? This article begins to explore those questions. Along the way, the article takes up distinctions among different types of creativity and knowledge, from scholarship and research to commercial entertainment and so-called “User Generated Content”; distinctions among objects, works of authorship, and legal rights accompanying both; distinctions among creations built to last (sometimes called “sustained” works), creations built for speed (including “ephemeral” works), and creations barely built at all (works closely tied to the authorial “self”); and distinctions between analog and digital contexts.


The symposium issue, including Professor Madison's article, is available here: (Volume 86, No. 5).  It features a dozen articles based on different fields of intellectual property law, art law, religious tradition and law, and social science research.


Professor Madison's paper can be downloaded from SSRN at

Monday, December 19, 2011 - 3:07pm

Professor Vivian Curran presented  her work, “The Alien Tort Statute and the Corporate Defendant: A Missing Link in the Analysis,” on December 16 at the American Society of International Law's  meeting of the interest group on International Law in Domestic Courts.  The meeting  took place at Brigham Young University’s  J. Reuben Clark Law School in Provo, Utah.


Meeting agenda:  here.

Monday, December 19, 2011 - 12:39pm

Professor Ronald Brand spoke on December 7, 2011, to an audience of Palestinian lawyers, government officials, and business persons at a “Teach-in” on International Arbitration in Ramallah, West Bank, Palestinian Territories.  Brand’s topic was “What is the Effect of an International Arbitration Agreement?”  The teach-in was sponsored by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the ICC Palestine.  The teach-in is the first in a series of programs designed to facilitate cooperation between ICC Palestine and ICC Israel to create a Jerusalem Arbitration Center that would facilitate trade in the region by providing predictability in commercial dispute resolution.  Other speakers included Gary Born of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, Dean Philip McConnaughay and Professor Catherine Rogers of Penn State University Dickinson School of Law, Lubnah Katbeh of Equity Legal Group, Ramallah, Christopher Drahozal of the University of Kansas School of Law, and Sami Houerbi, ICC Regional Director in Tunis, Tunisia.

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