Follow the Symposium live! Click here to view the live-stream.

The 2017 University of Memphis Law Review Symposium, The Fragile Fortress: Judicial Independence in the 21st Century, will assemble a remarkable group of jurists and scholars to examine one of the great issues of the day. It will be held on Friday, April 7, 2017 at the University of Memphis School of Law. Register now! (Registration and CLE information provided below; all attendees are asked to register, but the event is free to those not seeking CLE hours.)

Click here to see the Honorable Robert L. "Butch" Childers (Judge, Shelby County Circuit Court) and Pablo J. Davis (Memphis Law Class of 2017 and Symposium Editor, The University of Memphis Law Review) discuss the Symposium, and why judicial independence matters, on "Live at 9" with Alex Coleman and Marybeth Conley, WREG-TV Channel 3, Memphis.

The ideal of judicial independence — of fair and impartial tribunals standing guard against abuses of power by the other branches of government, protecting civil liberties and serving as the "bulwark of the Constitution"— has never been easy to attain. But it could be that this ideal has been undergoing particularly stern tests in our time.

This year's symposium will bring together voices, insight, experience, and ideas from the bench, academy, and bar in a dialogue meant to bring renewed attention and innovative thinking to this vital issue. We invite attorneys, judges, students, and all members of the public who care about the well-being of our constitutional republic to join us for this crucial dialogue.

We are delighted to recognize the generosity of the Federal Bar Association Memphis/Mid-South Chapter; Lewis, Thomason, King, Krieg & Waldrop, P.C.; the Association for Women Attorneys; and Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh, PLLC as event sponsors; to express our appreciation to Belle Southern Bistro for their cooperation and assistance; and to share the remarkable roster of Symposium speakers and topics:

  • Judge Bernice B. Donald (United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit) — The intrajudicial context of judicial independence
  • Judge Timothy J. Corrigan (United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida) — Impact of threats of violence on judges' independence
  • Senior Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. (United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York) — Congress and judicial sentencing discretion: Feeney Amendment revisited
  • The Honorable Michael B. Mukasey, Former Chief Judge (United States District Court for the Southern District of New York) and former United States Attorney General — Political criticism of judges: real threat to judicial independence?
  • Judge R. David Proctor (United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama) — Judicial independence: an overview, from impeachment to court-packing
  • Chief Justice Zarela Villanueva (Supreme Court of Costa Rica) — Judicial Independence and the rule of law: a hemispheric perspective
  • Professor and Dean Emeritus John DiPippa (UALR William H. Bowen School of Law) — Can a legislative committee subpoena a sitting judge?
  • Professor Eric Kasper (University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire) — When judges campaign: free speech and restrictions on fundraising
  • Professor Justin Walker (University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law) — Should judges be required to disclose their papers upon retirement?
  • Professor Patrick Walsh (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) — Use of secretly-acquired intelligence evidence in federal criminal proceedings

Registration/CLE: To register, please click here. Please note: The Fragile Fortress has been approved for 6.58 hours CLE Credit (including 1.0 hour Dual Credit) in Tennessee; Arkansas and Mississippi have already confirmed they will recognize the credits. Requests pending with selected other states; if you are seeking CLE Credit from another state, please contact us.

Agenda: Check-in/breakfast 8 a.m.; program 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (lunch 11:55 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.). For a detailed agenda, please click here.

Location: The Law School is located at 1 N. Front Street in downtown Memphis, overlooking the Mississippi River in the historic former U.S. Courthouse, Customs House, and Post Office at 1 North Front Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38103. There are three parking garages within 1 block of the Law School, and some half-dozen within 3-4 blocks.

Questions about the Symposium may be directed to Pablo J. Davis, Symposium Editor, at or 901-288-3018.

We look forward to seeing you!

The University of Memphis Law Review hosts its annual symposium every spring at the Law School. For more information about the most recent past topics and speakers, please visit the links below.

2016 - Urban Revitalization: The Legal Implications of Remaking a City

2015 - In re Valor: Policy and Action in Veterans Legal Aid

2014 - Juvenile Courts in Transition

2013 - Breaking the Silence: Legal Voices in the Fight Against Human Trafficking 

2012 - Cultural Competency and the Death Penalty