Major gift from Sidley Austin establishes new forum at NYU Law on American democracy

In December, NYU School of Law will debut the Sidley Austin Forum in Washington, DC. This annual forum, supported by a gift from international law firm Sidley Austin, will be co-hosted by the Law School’s Legislative and Regulatory Process Clinic, which is held in Washington, DC, each fall semester. The forum will explore topics critical to American democracy. NYU Washington, DC, will serve as an additional co-host for this year’s forum.

“An important part of our mission is to bring together individuals from various segments of society—academia, law practice, public policy and government organizations, and business—and foster conversations on topics that are central to the future of our nation and the global community,” said NYU Law Dean Trevor Morrison. “A great deal of scholarship and teaching at the Law School is devoted to advancing an understanding of our government and political system, and the laws regulating them. Our DC clinic, and now this Sidley Austin Forum, enable us to take examination of that topic beyond the classroom, and I am very grateful to Sidley for its generous contribution.”

The inaugural Sidley Austin Forum will take place on December 8, 2016, at NYU’s Global Academic Center, located at 1302 L Street, NW. Panelists at the program—titled “A New American Political System?”—will discuss the role today of political parties, the state and direction of campaign finance law, changes in news and social media, and other topics. Several Sidley lawyers were actively involved in the development of the program content, and Sidley will continue to be an integral participant in the forum’s agenda.

Among others, panelists will include:

  • Benjamin Ginsberg, national counsel to the Romney for President campaigns in 2012 and 2008 and to the Bush-Cheney presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2000;
  • Richard Hasen, professor at the University of California at Irvine School of Law and author of the Election Law Blog;
  • Samuel Issacharoff and Richard Pildes, NYU Law election law experts and pioneers in developing Law and Democracy as a distinct field of study;
  • David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics and former executive director of the Club for Growth;
  • Ruth Marcus, deputy editorial page editor and columnist at the Washington Post;
  • Jen Psaki, White House communications director.

Bob Bauer and Sally Katzen, who co-teach NYU Law’s DC clinic, are organizing the program. Bauer was White House counsel to President Obama, and in 2013 was appointed by Obama to co-chair the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. Katzen was a senior official in the Obama-Biden 2008 transition and held senior positions in the Clinton administration, including deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget and deputy director of the White House National Economic Council.

“Sidley is proud to partner with NYU on this innovative forum,” said John Kuster, partner in Sidley’s New York office. “It is our hope that together, our two institutions can make a valuable contribution to the dialogue involving American democracy, citizen engagement, and public service. Over Sidley’s 150-year history, a fundamental tenet of our firm has been to honor and support the rule of law in this great democracy. The partners in this firm have generously and enthusiastically supported this partnership with NYU School of Law, because we believe that this law school will help realize that goal.”

Posted October 11, 2016