Community Blog

  • 13 Dec 2019 11:50 | Susana Arrese (Administrator)

    Bill swept into the American Bar Foundation (ABF) as Director in 1986 and things were never the same again. Decisive, forward-looking, gregarious, smart, adventurous, sociable, mischievous - Bill has it all and the ABF got his all in full measure.

    The ABF was at a decisive moment. Jack Heinz, the outgoing director, had commissioned an external review that declared the institution needed a sharp turn if it were to become a world class research center. Yet, at the very moment when resources were critical a Supreme Court case led to a radical drop in funding at the ABF. Undaunted, Bill treated this as an opportunity. This former US navy officer began to clear the decks, an unenviable task that had to be done if the ABF were to survive and thrive.

    Bill had a terrific nose for first-class sociolegal scholarship, being a first-class scholar himself. He loved Oxford and immensely admired Wolfson’s Centre for Sociolegal Studies. He determined the ABF would set its sights on similar glory.

    Bill being Bill of course required that a new vision for the ABF required travel—a fact-finding mission that took his polyglot stellar wife, Gray, and me to London, Oxford and Paris, somehow involved the Orient Express, and took us via Vienna and Bucharest eventually to Sofia, Bulgaria. Maybe this was Bill’s maiden voyage with the Research Committee on the Sociology of Law and the Working Group On the Legal Profession.

    Bill’s enthusiasm was contagious and it spread fast at the ABF. Ever sociable, Bill would walk the hallways at lunchtime, dragging us out of our offices to enjoy community meals together.

    His sense of mischief and great humor seeded ABF events where he shamelessly dressed in outrageous costumes, found any excuse for a party, and cooked up fun schemes with complicit grad students.

    Broken fingers. Yes, we can blame Bill for those too. He decided ABFers should play softball weekly during the summer in a park just across the road from our offices. The softball was surprisingly hard and about the size, it seemed, of a soccer ball. Funnily enough it turned out quite a few of us were competitive. Injuries followed, but the game went on.

    Bill, educated in America’s most elite institutions, has a splendid egalitarian impulse. He decided the ABF needed doctoral students to inject their creative energy into the place. He took grad students seriously as intellectuals. He didn’t play normal status hierarchies. Bright ideas, first-rate research was what mattered from whomever it originated.

    I loved our walks and talks. The ABF overlooks Lake Michigan and Bill and I discovered we could have a delightful midday walk along the shore to a small lighthouse. I soon learnt that Bill was open to any idea under the sun and if he liked it he would move with blinding speed to make it happen.

    Innovations blossomed under Bill’s leadership. The ABF Research Journal  published by the ABF became Law and Social Inquiry published by the University of Chicago Press. A predoctoral program brought the best and brightest future sociolegal scholars to the ABF. Bill had a vision for minority undergrads and he instituted a diversity program for promising students, a program that endures with great success to this day.

    Bill had a global sensibility before it was fashionable. India, the headwaters of the Euphrates River, the high seas, Bill had lived there or passed by or wanted to pass by. This true cosmopolitan invested the ABF heavily in the first joint international conference of the LSA and RCSL in Amsterdam.

    Bill and travel. I once asked him what was the secret that somehow had him doing good works and fine research in all sorts of appealing foreign places. His superb advice: first, think of places you want to go, then, figure out a project that gets you there! I’ve tried to follow in his footsteps ever since.

    His notion of exotic spots was a bit warped though. For me it would have Involved beaches and exotic food or at least elegant charm, Aix-en-Provence, for example. For Bill no place was more wonderful than Peyresq. I still recall his great triumph at finding this once deserted, now rebuilt village, in about as remote a place as it’s possible to be in the mountains of France.

    And speaking of travel, later in his time at the ABF Bill noticed that I spent a lot of time at an unknown place called Onati. It had it all—hiking, great food, wonderful people, unique language, young scholars. For Bill Onati became his great new adventure. Now the ABF had been propelled into hyper-Bill-speed, the Basque Country awaited. And the rest, as Johannes tells us, is history!

    Congratulations to Bill on his 90th from his many Mid-Western friends, past and present!

    Terry Halliday

  • 13 Dec 2019 11:48 | Susana Arrese (Administrator)

    Bill is not one of your everyday, run-of-the-mill, sociolegal scholars.

    Over the decades, he has practiced law, conducted empirical research, taught law, political science and sociology. He held positions at the Rand Corporation, the American Bar Foundation, at Cardiff University, Northwestern University, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and Yale. He published in fields as diverse as dispute resolution, divorce lawyering, asbestos litigation and the legal culture of global business transactions. In the words of one of his children, he seemed "unable to hold a job for very long".

    In 1991, he organised the first International conference of the Law&Society Association in Amsterdam, together with Erhard Blankenburg from the RCSL. For the RCSL he ran the influential Working Group of Legal Professions from 1994-2000. With this background, he was the obvious choice for becoming Scienctific Director of the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Onati. He is still the only one, to have held this job jointly, alternating with another colleague (Manolo Calvo), for three years.

    In Onati, he left his mark by initiating rather revolutionary changes, e.g. depriving the teachers of the Masters Program of their stipends, in order to provide scholarships and thereby attracting students from poorer parts of the world tot he Masters Program. He also managed to transform the publications coming out of Onati workshops from a rather amateurish affair into an internationally recognized, duly peer-reviewed, series published in Oxford, England. 

    His extra-curricular activities span boating, fishing, golfing, mountain climbing, voter registration (for Obama), organising shelters for the homeless (after Catrina), the founding and funding of a non-profit NGO (to aid refugees in Africa). In his late eighties, Bill brought together end edited an admirable collection of narratives from his Yale School class of 1958 (What Lawywers Do). Still in the Pipeline is his long-standing work on the highest and lowest places on earth. 

    In Germany you would call a guy like him a Tausendsassa. In Spanish this untranslatable term is rendered as hombre habil para todo, in English as man of all trades (but without catching the artistic and adventurous flamboyance indicated by the suffix "sassa"). Maybe the French dictionaries come close, when they suggest as translation "diable d'homme".

    Bill has survived anti-submarine-warfare during the Korean War and several floods and fires in California.There is no way of predicting what he will come up with and survive next. We can only wait in awe and admiration and wish him the best of luck.

    For more details cf. the Wikipedia articles in English, Euskera, French, German and Spanish.

    Johannes Feest

  • 23 Oct 2019 09:52 | Esen Ezgi Tascioglu

    Today marks the 30th anniversary of Susana Arrese Murguzur working for the IISL.

    Here is a little thank you from the Oñati Community to Susana: https://bit.ly/2N5Ujze

    Zorionak Susana!

  • 19 Jun 2019 09:22 | Susana Arrese (Administrator)

    I first visited Onati, and the Institute, for the first Socio-Legal Conference in 2005. The beautiful buildings immediately impressed me, and also the lively conference discussions between international socio-legal scholars. This welcoming and open atmosphere seems to be the hallmark of the Institute.

    Since then I've been fortunate to take part in two workshops:
    Alternative Property Practices, in 2014;
    The Precarious Home: perspectives on the home in insecure times, in 2015.

    The Institute provides a wonderful space, and impeccable administration, enabling those attending the workshop to make the most of their time together. These were very productive and enjoyable meeetings, in a lovely setting.

    I've also spent periods of time as a visiting scholar at the Institute, in 2015, 2016 and 2018. The collection of socio-legal literature in the library is unique; its tempting breadth makes it difficult to resist reading far beyond the topic you're researching! The library is an ideal place to work, being both peaceful and sociable - there are always interesting people to go for a coffee break with. I've really enjoyed staying in the Residencia with the postgrad students, the international socio-legal scholars of the future, and other visiting scholars. I've learnt a lot from conversations with them while preparing and eating meals together.

    The town of Onati is of course an architectual treasure with a very distinguished history, but the hospitality of the Basque people also makes it a wonderful place to spend time in.

    I congratulate the Institute and the staff on your 30th anniversary, and wish you many more successful years.  

    Sarah Blandy (friend of the Oñati Community)



  • 27 May 2019 17:11 | Susana Arrese (Administrator)

    I love Oñati and the Oñati community. It is not only about the fabulous setting, but also about the fantastic people at the IISL, who are there to help in any way they can to make the workshop and visit as perfect as possible. These photos were from the last visit, at dinner with colleagues Sigrun Valderhaug (l.) and Marie Rae (r.). We were participants in the July 2015 workshop ''Moving On'? Official Responses to Mass Harm and the Question of Justice' organised by Jennifer Balint, Julie Evans, Mark McMillan, Mesam Mcmillan. After a day of hard work, it was time to enjoy a wonderful meal and unwind. I think that our faces say it all.



  • 26 Jan 2019 13:12 | Pável H. Valer Bellota

    La Revista de la Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias Políticas de la UNSAAC ya está en linea. Hemos lanzado nuestra publicación en Sistema Abierto y accesible por la web. Les invitamos a visitarnos y a leer los artículos de la edición Nro. 9:"Derecho y Politica en Sociedades Multiculturales":

    La Revista de la Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias Políticas (Cusco) es publicada desde 1948 por la Universidad de San Antonio Abad. Está abierta a trabajos intelectuales originales, no publicados anteriormente, con una amplia visión teórica desde las variadas ópticas de las ciencias del Derecho, y desde una perspectiva plural. Prioriza la producción académica sobre temas trascendentales para la realidad Andina y Latinoamericana.

  • 18 Dec 2018 15:57 | Monica Natalia Acosta Garcia (Administrator)

    The conference aims to investigate the plural nature of law and development as a field of study, meaning and practice. As in prior conferences, it shall bring together a variety of researchers from the Global South and North who share an interest in law and development. We particularly encourage speakers from the Global South to participate and further pluralize the field and the network. We invite contributions to two tracks of themes:

    A specific track will focus on reflections about the ‘field’ of law and development including on:

    - Histories of law and development
    - Bridging theory and practice in law and development
    - Teaching law and development
    - Intra- and inter-disciplinarity in law and development
    - Dealing with plurality in our research

    A general track is open to any issue raised by proposals including on themes such as: - Human rights, access to justice, and legal empowerment - Diversity, gender, and non-discrimination - Non-state law and legal pluralism - International law and development (e.g. economic law, institutional law of development cooperation) -Technology and digitalization

    SUBMISSIONS: We invite proposals on any theme within the two tracks. Proposals can be for fully formed panels or individual papers. The organizers also invite expressions of interest for two additional formats, namely ‘Practitioner Conversations’ and ‘Book Launch Conversations’. DEADLINE: Proposals and expressions of interest should be submitted by 15 February 2019 - in accordance with the formats described on our webpage (see below).

    CONTACT: Please e-mail your submissions or questions to berlinconference.rewi@hu-berlin.de

    TRAVEL STIPENDS: A limited number of travel stipends for speakers based in countries of the Global South will be available. Applications should be submitted together with paper proposals.

    DECISIONS about papers and funding applications will be announced in April 2019.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION on conference themes, submissions and stipends see https://ldrn2019berlin.wordpress.com/ For more on the network see https://lawdev.org/

  • 29 Nov 2018 21:51 | Pamela Teutli (Administrator)

    Sponsored by Stanford Law School, the International Junior Faculty Forum (IJFF) was established to stimulate the exchange of ideas and research among younger legal scholars from around the world. We live today in a global community– in particular, a global legal community. The IJFF is designed to foster transnational legal scholarship that surmounts barriers of time, space, legal traditions and cultures, and to create an engaged global community of scholars. The Twelfth IJFF will be held at Stanford Law School in fall 2019 (the exact date has not yet been fixed, but it will probably be in October). 

    In order to be considered for the 2019 International Junior Faculty Forum, authors must meet the following criteria:

    • Citizen of a country other than the United States
    • Current academic institution is outside of the United States
    • Not currently a student in the United States
    • Have held a faculty position or the equivalent, including positions comparable to junior faculty positions in research institutions, for less than seven years as of 2019; and
    • Last degree earned less than ten years before 2019.

    Papers may be on any legally relevant subject and can make use of any relevant approach: they can be quantitative or qualitative, sociological, anthropological, historical, or economic. The host institution is committed to intellectual, methodological, and regional diversity, and welcomes papers from junior scholars from all parts of the world. Please note, however, that already published papers are not eligible for consideration. We particularly welcome work that is interdisciplinary.
    Those who would like to participate in the IJFF must first submit an abstract of the proposed paper. Abstracts should be no more than two (2) pages long and must be in English. The abstract should provide a roadmap of your paper—it should tell us what you plan to do, lay out the major argument of the paper, say something about the methodology, and indicate the paper’s contribution to scholarship. The due date for abstracts is Friday, February 15, 2019, although earlier submissions are welcome. To submit your abstract, please complete our ABSTRACT SUBMISSION FORM.
    After the abstracts have been reviewed, we will invite, no later than the end of March 2019, a number of junior scholars to submit full papers of no more than 15,000 words, electronically, in English, by mid-May 2019. Please include a word count for final papers. There is no fixed number of papers to be invited, but in the past years, up to 50 invitations have been issued from among a much larger number of abstracts.
    An international committee of legal scholars will review the papers and select approximately ten papers for full presentation at the conference, where two senior scholars will comment on each paper. After the remarks of the commentators, all of the participants, junior and senior alike, will have a chance to join in the discussion. One of the most valuable—and enjoyable—aspects of the Forum, in the opinion of many participants, has been the chance to meet junior and senior scholars and to talk about your work and theirs.
    Stanford will cover expenses of travel, including airfare, lodging, and food, for each participant. Questions should be directed to ijff@law.stanford.edu.

  • 19 Oct 2018 17:52 | Pável H. Valer Bellota

    La revista de Derecho YachaQ -del Centro de Investigación de los Estudiantes de Derecho (CIED) de la Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco (Perú)- ha lanzado su Call of Papers. Reúne artículos de distintas ramas del Derecho, y otorga un espacio especial a las investigaciones de Sociología Jurídica. La revista de Derecho Yachaq, es una importante publicación, que desde su primera edición en el año 2000 ha brindado importante contenido de creación y difusión del conocimiento del campo jurídico. El CIED invita a académicos, investigadores, del Derecho a presentar sus trabajos para la 9na Edición de la Revista de Derecho YachaQ. 

    Más Información:  CALL OF PAPERS

  • 16 Oct 2018 16:54 | Izabela Zonato Villas Boas

    Interviewed by: Izabela Zonato Villas Boas

    Lucero Ibarra Rojas is Professor-Researcher at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE – México). She holds a PhD in Law & Society at the University of Milan (2015), a Master's in Sociology of Law at the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law (2010), and a First Degree in Law at the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo (2008). She is editor of Sortuz Oñati Journal of Emergent Socio-Legal Studies and founding member of the Latin American Network on Sociology of Law and the Collective Emancipations on Critical Studies of Law and the Humanities. She has developed and published research on intellectual property, cultural policy, women on the legal profession and feminist mobilization.

    How did you get to where you are today?

    I’m a professor-researcher in Mexico City. I think that I’ve been very luck, that’s important to say. One of the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that you need to be prepared and you need to be good, but there is a lot of luck also involved. When I was in high school I had a very good professor in Social Economical Problems in Mexico and he recommended, based in a paper that I wrote, that I should study Sociology of Law, starting by Law and going on to Sociology, what would give me a better approach. Besides this, at the time in Mexico, there was not many people doing research in law, so financing and PhD were easier to get. So I did. I went to Law School, and as soon as I finished, I started to look for a master in sociology and Oñati came up on the search. Here I met a lot of people, I expanded what I knew about so many things. After finishing the master, I did a PhD in Law and Society in Milan, in the Renato Treves program. Finishing the PhD I think was the hardest part of my academic career, because you face a lot of uncertainty. I was again very lucky, because CIDE was looking for someone that fited in my profile, a social-legal researcher that did qualitative work, so I applied and I work there now and it is one of the best institutions in México to do socio-legal research.

    What is the experience of giving classes where you have already taken classes?

    Honestly, is like a dream come true, because Oñati was a big opportunity for me. It was the first place where, academically speaking, I felt very comfortable. It happened because of the connection between the institution, students, professors and the Oñati environment. So being the editor of Sortuz or coming to teach is particularly significant to me, more than if it was any other institution. Coming here I met the most brilliant and interesting people that I’ve ever met. The best researchers and the most talent students. When in that environment, having them also think that you can do this, that you are able to bring something to this academic environment, is one of the biggest satisfactions. It is also great to see how capable the students are. And also because this community has helped me grow a lot. Every time that I’m involved with something that has to do with Oñati, I learn a lot. The kind of academic environment of many of the Oñati graduates, former and visiting scholars is one that is not the predatory sort of academic environment which wants to bring people down. To me every environment related with Oñati is about ‘how to help others and to be better myself’. I’ve grown a lot thanks to the Institute.

    Do you think that the fact of being in the other side of the table before helps you to understand the students?

    I hope so, because this program is very particular, different of what you can get in other places, and I hope by the fact that I’ve done this before, and other professors have done this before, it helps to be more sensitive or more sensible about how people are living this experience; and help bringing understanding but also encouragement. Because we know this is not an easy program, but we also know that is very worthy. That you will look back 10 years from now and say “that was a good decision where I grew and learned a lot, that changed my life”. This Master helps, it makes you better as a scholar, but maybe also as a person.

    What do you wish that you knew before starting as a professor/academic?

    Perhaps, I think, I wish that I could met you guys before, know the students, their context and interest. That could be helpful also in the way that you think a course. You want to make your course into something that is interesting for the students, because I don’t believe in the notion that it’s my course and I decide what is interesting or what is important. To an extent I do those things, but to another extent I want the students to be interested, I want to deal to the kind of issues and problems that the students find important. So one thing that could be useful would be to know a bit more about them; but on the other hand, it is good to know you in the interaction. One good thing about being a former student is the fact that I knew that you are coming from different parts of the world, that language can be an issue. We need to consider that you have different perspectives.

    What advice do you give to students who want to pursue an academic career like you?

    The first thing is that you have to enjoy this process and this fantastic opportunity, and to think about what you want to be, the world is full of opportunities. Enjoy the space of curiosity and try to find what makes you passionately interested and that you want to pursue and you want to know more. I think that it is a very enjoyable thing, and sometimes we are so concerned with getting the paper, getting the project, that you don’t stop to say “well, I’ve learned so much and I’m having so many questions and this is awesome”.The second one is being more kind with yourself. Especially because of the pressure of academic life, we tend to be very hard and often punish ourselves when we fail.

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