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James D. Hopkins Professor of Law Memorial Lecture
November 12, 2014
Professor Jill Gross
James D. Hopkins Professor of Law
“Setting the Record Straight: The Supreme Court and 21st Century Arbitration”
The Supreme Court has decided more than two dozen cases under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) since 2000 – arising primarily from a commercial, consumer, employment, or securities dispute. Those decisions, particularly those interpreting FAA §2, have contributed to the Court’s modern arbitration jurisprudence that creates a strong national policy favoring arbitration, enforces agreements to arbitrate against virtually any defense, pushes many individual claims into arbitration against the will of one or more parties, and suppresses other claims, particularly those of small dollar value.
Yet, to the extent those decisions contain language describing one or more aspects of the process of arbitration, they describe the nineteenth, and perhaps twentieth century practice of arbitration; not the reality of twenty-first century arbitration. The Court’s uninformed and out-of-touch decisions have crafted a legal framework regulating an arbitration process that largely no longer exists in most commercial arbitration forums today.
This lecture will explore the dichotomy between the Supreme Court’s theoretical understanding of arbitration on which its current FAA jurisprudence is based and the actual twenty-first century practice of arbitration which that jurisprudence regulates. Professor Gross will demonstrate that the Court’s refusal to engage with and recognize the current practice of arbitration has fueled the Court’s misinterpretation of the FAA, negatively impacted disputants in arbitration and contributed to the widely held perception that arbitration is unfair.
Professor Jill Gross has been named as the James D. Hopkins Professor of Law for the 2013-2015 academic years. The Hopkins professorship is an endowed chair established to honor Judge James D. Hopkins, who served as interim dean of Pace Law School from 1982-83. The Chair is awarded every two years to a faculty member who has made extraordinary contributions to the law school primarily in the areas of scholarship and teaching.
HOPKINS LECTURE HISTORY
Justice James D. Hopkins
Interim Dean (1982–1983),
Pace Law School
The James D. Hopkins Professor of Law is an endowed chair established with contributions from alumni/ae of Pace Law School and members of the legal community to honor Judge James D. Hopkins who served as Interim Dean of the Law School in 1982–1983. The title of James D. Hopkins Professor of Law is held by a distinguished member of the faculty for a two-year term in recognition of outstanding scholarship and teaching. The Hopkins Lecture is delivered by the honoree in the fall semester of the first year.
Judge James D. Hopkins' service to society and to the legal community was a shining example of the life one should live in the law. At the time of his retirement from the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court in December, 1981, he had served with distinction at the highest level of all three branches of the Westchester County Government: legislative, executive and judicial.
A lifelong resident of Westchester County, Judge Hopkins began his legal career as an associate with Strang & Taylor and later became partner of Bleakley, Platt and Walker, now known as Bleakley Platt & Schmidt. In 1954, he became County Executive of Westchester County following a one-year term as majority leader of the Westchester County Board of Supervisors which he also served as Chairman from 1952-1953. Judge Hopkins was Councilman and later Town Supervisor of the Town of North Castle. On appointment by Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Judge Hopkins served on the New York State Supreme Court, 9th Judicial District, a post to which he was subsequently elected, in 1960, for a 14-year term. He joined the Appellate Division, Second Department, in 1962.
Judge Hopkins passed away at the age of 84 in 1996. Pace University School of Law owes a special debt to Judge Hopkins. He served as Interim Dean at a critical time in its development, from 1982-1983, and served as Honorary Chair of its Board of Visitors. We are honored to have our first Chair in Law bear his name.
PREVIOUS HOPKINS PROFESSORS AND THEIR LECTURE TITLES
August 2011-May 2013
Professor Linda Fentiman
"Are Mothers Hazardous to their Children’s Health: Law, Culture, and the Framing of Risk"
August 2009–May 2011
Professor John R. Nolon
"Sustainable Development Law: Keeping Pace"
August 2007–May 2009
Professor Bennett L. Gershman
"The Most Dangerous Power of the Prosecutor"
August 2005–May 2007
Professor Michael B. Mushlin
"The Prison Crucible: Race and the American Penal System"
August 2003–May 2005
Professor Barbara Black
"Is Securities Arbitration Fair to Investors?"
August 2001–May 2003
Professor Donald Doernberg
"The New Federalism: Sovereign Immunity or the Rule of Law."
August 1999–May 2001
Professor Jeffrey G. Miller
"Evolutionary Statutory Interpretation or Mr. Justice Scalia Meets Darwin, Dean Ottinger, and Various Theories of Memes, Ecology, Complexity, and the Common Law"
August 1997–May 1999
Professor James J. Fishman
"Tenure and Its Discontents'
August 1995–May 1997
Professor M. Stuart Madden
"The Vital Common Law: Its Role in a Statutory Age"
August 1993–May 1995
Professor John A. Humbach
"Property Rights, Takings and Justice in a Democracy"
August 1991–May 1993
Professor Nicholas A. Robinson
"Emerging Earth Law"
August 1989–May 1991
Professor Maurice Rosenberg