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Past Scholars



"Procedure in Lawyered and Lawyerless Courts"

Professor of Law Pamela Bookman, Fordham University

Event Invitation 

Courts in the United States may be either federal or state courts, but there is another division in the way that courts operate that is just as salient: those that routinely include lawyers, and those where lawyers are fundamentally absent. 

The American justice system includes both “lawyered" and “lawyerless" courts.  Lawyered courts are the federal and state courts that hear, for example, class actions and large-scale commercial disputes, and the kinds of cases where lawyers tend to be paid and plentiful.  Lawyerless state courts, on the other hand, hear the vast majority of claims filed in this country, including debt collection and eviction cases. 

Appreciating this divide reveals similarities and differences between these two types of civil justice in America and illustrates both the promise and limits of focusing on procedural reform as a way of improving the operation of justice. Professor Bookman contends that in some areas, such as ensuring that parties receive notice about lawsuits in which they are involved, be they class actions or eviction proceedings, reform efforts in lawyered and lawyerless courts should be aligned.  For instance, both types of courts can benefit from developing technology that notifies parties about legal proceedings. Other examples, however, illuminate where and how lawyers are essential to procedural development and procedural protections. Where lawyers are necessary to develop or reform procedures, injustice in lawyerless courts is a problem in need of a structural solution. Understanding the bulk of state civil courts as lawyerless, therefore, can reveal a need for deeper reform. 

About Our Scholar

Professor Pamela Bookman is an expert in the fields of civil procedure, contracts, international litigation and arbitration, and conflict of laws. Her scholarship has appeared in the law reviews of Stanford, NYU, and Columbia, as well as in the American Journal of International Law and other leading law journals.  Prior to entering academia, Professor Bookman was a counsel in the New York office of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP, where she represented clients in complex commercial business disputes with a focus on transnational litigation and maintained an active pro bono practice.

Professor Bookman received her BA from Yale University and her JD from the University of Virginia, where she served as an articles editor for the Virginia Law Review and received the Rosenbloom Award for enhancing the academic experience of her fellow students. Following law school, she clerked for Judge Robert D. Sack of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, President Rosalyn Higgins and Judge Thomas Buergenthal of the International Court of Justice, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Maria Glover

"The Law of the Back-End"

Professor of Law Maria Glover, Georgetown University

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Photo Gallery

Professor Glover’s talk addressed a series of cross-cutting issues that arise in mass litigation after settlements have been reached—the “back end” of mass litigation. Settlements have long been described as the dominant endgame of mass litigation. Professor Glover argues, however, that for a great many mass litigations, including those regarding NFL Concussions, the BP Oil Spill, RoundUp, Volkswagen Diesel Emissions, In re National Prescription Opiates, Asbestos, and many more, settlement is just the beginning.

Prior to finalizing mass litigation settlements, our system of civil justice relies on a number of formalities that create, facilitate, and harness transparency, adversarialism, and the development of law to protect parties, produce fair and reasonable settlements, and to achieve global peace. Once mass litigation moves from the period of establishing liability to the period of administration of claims, however, these critical elements of civil justice—transparency, adversarialism, and the development of law—break down. Professor Glover calls for the development of “Back-End Law” for mass litigation settlement, law that would create transparency, introduce and harness adversarialism, and generate needed development of precedent in this critical area of civil justice.

Professor Glover is an expert in complex litigation and mass torts, aggregate dispute resolution, civil procedure, civil settlements, and the intersection between private and public regulation.  Her work has been published in the NYU Journal of Law & Business and the law reviews of Yale, Stanford, NYU, University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt, William and Mary, and Fordham, among others. In addition to publications in leading law reviews and business journals, her work has been featured in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Consumer Reports, Reuters, The Hill, Bloomberg Law, among other media outlets, and has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The first edition of her casebook, CIVIL PROCEDURE, with Howard Erichson was published in 2020 by Wolters Kluwer. Professor Glover also is co-authoring a casebook, AGGREGATE LTIGATION AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION, with Robert Klonoff, D. Theodore Rave and Elizabeth Cabraser, which will be published by Thompson West in 2022. 

In September 2021, Professor Glover combined the insights and connections from her work in complex litigation with years-long pro bono work for substance use disorder recovery centers in East Tennessee (where she grew up) to host the Opioid Litigation Summit at Georgetown University Law Center. This Summit was held at a critical juncture in the overdose crisis, as drug overdoses are taking more lives than ever, and litigation against opioid manufacturers is in courtrooms and at settlement tables across the nation.  The Summit was the first of its kind: It convened key experts in comprehensive, divergent, and cross-cutting fields—complex litigation, public health and policy, state and local government, members of the Biden-Harris Administration, and people in recovery—for a series of dynamic strategy sessions on maximizing opioid settlement funds to save lives and respond to the overdose crisis. 

Before coming to Georgetown in 2012, Professor Glover was a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. Previously, she clerked for J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and practiced in the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group at Mayer Brown LLP in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School, where she was senior article editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review and was awarded the Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program Award, the Robert F. Jackson Memorial Prize for the highest scholastic average in the law class, the Law Review Editor's Award, and the First Year Mock Trial Best Oralist Award.

DePaul College of Law is an accredited Illinois MCLE provider. This presentation has been approved for one hour of CLE credit.

Zachary Clopton

"MDL as Category"

Professor of Law Zachary Clopton, Northwestern University

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Lecture Video
Fireside Chat with DePaul Professor of Law Wendy Epstein

Professor Clopton’s scholarship explores the role of courts and litigation in solving complex problems. In light of recent developments that have undercut court access and private enforcement in federal courts, Professor Clopton’s work has drawn attention from state courts, public (governmental) enforcement, and newer forms of mass dispute resolution.  

Prior to joining the faculty at Northwestern, Professor Clopton was an associate professor at Cornell University. He also clerked for the Honorable Diane Wood, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, including as a member of the NATO Chicago Summit Task Force, and worked in the national security group at Wilmer Hale in Washington, D.C.  He is a graduate of Harvard Law School (JD), Cambridge University (MPhil in International Relations), where he was a Gates Foundation Scholar, and Yale University (BA in History and Political Science). 

Professor Clopton’s talk addressed reform proposals directed at multidistrict litigation (MDL). MDL dominates the federal civil docket and has been used to consolidate hundreds of thousands of cases, including litigation regarding asbestos, the BP oil spill, Johnson & Johnson baby powder, NFL concussions, opioids and more. Many reform proposals treat MDL as a uniform category of cases, but Professor Clopton argues that this is a mistake. MDL is not a uniform category of large civil cases demanding one-size-fits-all procedure. To treat MDL as such would create incentives for parties to “procedure shop” into or out of MDL, imperiling horizontal equity and inviting abuse. 

Instead, Professor Clopton calls for MDL reformers to focus on the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, a group of seven judges handpicked by the Chief Justice with nearly unconstrained authority to decide whether to consolidate cases and which federal judge will hear them. Acknowledging the disparate nature of MDL cases suggests that, for many MDLs, the Panel need not have such wide discretion.