LSA 2016 Annual Meeting in New Orleans

June 2 - 5

New Orleans Marriott

New this year!

Submit a 1000 word summary instead of a short abstract

The planning for the 2016 meeting in New Orleans has already started, and we anticipate an exciting meeting in a remarkable location. The Program Committee expects that submissions of paper, roundtable, and panel proposals will open on August 18, with submissions closing on October 25.

We wanted to alert you to a change to the paper proposal process that the Program Committee is implementing, and to explain the reason behind the change. For reasons we explain below we will require those proposing papers, either submitted under the rubric of a Collaborative Research Network (CRN) or other organized session, or as a stand-alone submission, to provide a 1,000 word summary of their proposed paper rather than the often minimal abstract that has been asked for in the past.

The substantial majority of those who submit proposals for the Law and Society Association’s annual conference attend the conference and participate as planned. Occasionally submitters encounter unanticipated family, medical, or financial emergencies that make it impossible to follow through on plans to attend. However, over the last several years, a significant minority of people have withdrawn their proposed papers or panels after the sessions have already been scheduled and the LSA conference program is set. In the last couple of years, the number of withdrawals has risen to over 25% of the total number of proposed papers and sessions.

These withdrawals cause both logistical and financial problems. We suspect that many of you have been affected by them, when you have attended a session to hear a promising paper only to learn that the person will not appear, or even by “collapsing panels” when multiple paper presenters fail to show. In fact, the recent survey of attendees of the 2015 meeting showed that one of the most prominent concerns dealt with panels where presenters failed to show up or where panels collapsed due to last-minute cancellations. The withdrawals cause problems for the Program Committee which on short notice must try to re-form and reschedule panels. The LSA books additional hotel space to accommodate the expected number of panels, but when panels are withdrawn, that extra hotel space is an unnecessary expense, driving up costs for everyone.

Some other associations require that submitters pay a fee to submit a proposal; others mandate that papers go through a selective review process. Although both of these options could reduce the submission withdrawal problem, neither of these options was in keeping with the LSA’s tradition of openness, and we are making the current change with the goal of avoiding having to consider changes that might limit who can present at the annual meeting.

Instead, we thought a better option was to ask for an expanded summary of the proposed paper, participation, or panel. We are trying to ensure that people who submit proposals are committed to attending once the proposal is accepted for presentation.

The committee recognizes that this requirement creates a new, albeit modest, obligation for those submitting proposals. This is why we are alerting LSA members and others potentially interested in participating in the New Orleans meeting as early as possible so that they have sufficient time to think about what it is they want to propose for the 2016 meeting.

Heinz Klug and Bert Kritzer
Co-chairs, Program Committee
2016 Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association
New Orleans, Louisiana, June 2-5