Saturday, May 30, 2015

Law and Society Association conference in Seattle

We're now about halfway through the 3rd out of 4 days of the Law and Society Association annual meeting in Seattle.  As readers of the Tax Prof Blog will know, for some years Neil Buchanan has very successfully organized what is essentially a separate tax conference within the broader LSA conference.  The tax sub-conference has a total of 15 panels, generally with 3 or 4 papers each, and you can do the math to figure out about how many tax profs this means are in town.  (Not all stay for the whole thing, of course, but many are attending many sessions.)  At least 6 were at the Mariners-Indians game last night.

The paper topics are quite heterogeneous and don't necessarily have a particularly "law and society" flavor, although some do.  Definitely a good experience, although tiring after a while if you go to just about everything.  I find these types of events stimulating; they both are fun and can expand my imagination and contacts.

There is some overlap with people who attend, say, the National Tax Association annual meetings, but also some people whom I had not recently, or otherwise, or as yet, met.  On balance, attendance is tilted a bit towards juniors, which makes sense strategically, but for someone like me that can actually add to the interest and value, since, while it's fun to see old friends (which has happened here), it's also good to get to know more people, and more about the people, as well as seeing what they're working on or consider interesting.

I have twice previously attended the LSA annual meeting, but this was back in the 1990s, before there was any significant tax sub-conference.  Next year, the LSA meeting, will be in New Orleans (which I like, but have been to quite a lot over the years).  In 2017, it will be in Mexico City, which would be a new location for me and certainly a draw.

Definitely recommended (along with the NTA) for tax law juniors (both U.S. and non-U.S.) who want to break into the academic conference circuit for both social and intellectual reasons.  Also possibly a good venue for tax people in fields outside law, but touching on either the "law" or the "society" angle (one is enough; it doesn't have to be both).  Note also that, unlike the NTA, you don't have to get through the paper acceptance gauntlet at LSA - although, when I co-ran the NTA annual meeting in 2013, we tried to be very inclusive, and I believe that is still the case.  (Plus, they are eager at NTA to attract more lawyers to the fall annual meetings.)

Time is money, of course, especially during the summer, but I tend to find this "money" well spent.

Empirical question: I get the sense that people who get out a lot on the conference circuit often do broader and more interesting work than those of comparable reputational rank who don't.  The hard question is, which way does the causal arrow run, or for that matter do distinct personal characteristics (not otherwise directly observed) lie behind both of these results?

1 comment:

benilhalk said...

I was really not aware of it and that is why I am really feeling grateful to you for sharing this important information here. Anyway, it will also be more helpful if you can share few thoughts and ideas on planning corporate events.