CFP: The Unruly Nature of the Law of Trusts and Estates

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Call for Papers

Trusts & Estates Section

2017 AALS Annual Meeting

January 4-7, 2017 – San Francisco, CA


The Section on Trusts and Estates is pleased to announce a Call for Papers …

Sex, Death, and Taxes: The Unruly Nature of the Laws of Trusts and Estates

Trusts & Estates is a far-reaching and broad-based discipline of law that impacts private citizens’ decisions about sex, death, and taxes.  This legal discipline is based on speculation about donors and their intentions that, by their very nature, create unintended consequences because the laws exist largely unseen until they come into play.  Moreover, ascertaining these preferences prove difficult because individuals are entrenched with idiosyncratic preconceptions about death, family, property rights, personal legacies, paternalism, altruism, investment strategies, taxes, and many other effective interests.  In addition, the field sits at the crossroads of other legal disciplines such as family law, property law, elder law, and tax law.  For students, T&E makes an appearance in law schools and the bar exam, but is not like a constitutional law class that is unabashedly theoretical in its presentation and in meeting students’ non-expectations of a skills-centric classroom experience.  In practice, some of the most thriving areas require expertise in T&E.  In ordinary people’s everyday lives, the legal discipline is like an operating system that quietly runs in the background, but in reality organizes and informs the end user’s experience, often without the end user’s full awareness.  In the academy, it is caught between the practical and theoretical—a microcosm of the questions at the heart of debates about the value and normative objectives of a legal education.  Yet, during a time when T&E is becoming more relevant than ever, the discipline may be under–theorized and marginalized in the academy.  Therefore, this panel will interrogate T&E’s unruly nature, entertaining inquiries about the intersectionality of gender, race, sexual orientation, and class; the pervasiveness of succession law in aligned fields; its history of adaptation to changing social norms; and the development and evolution of law reform in this area.  The panel will explore new visions for the field and frameworks that disrupt and reimagine the field, while looking forward to practical and theoretical responses to such things as the pending elder care issues, concentration of wealth, taxation, large wealth transfers, social fixity, and the ongoing privatization of family caregiving and support.

Submissions, due dates and method:

Submissions should be of abstracts between 250 and 1000 words, inclusive of any footnotes. Scholarship may be at any stage of the publication process from work-in-progress to completed article, but if already published, scholarship may not be published any earlier than 2015. Each potential speaker may submit only one abstract for consideration.
There are two submission due dates.  The Section seeks detailed abstracts in late summer, with final papers due in late fall.

  • The due date for detailed abstracts is August 15, 2016.
  • The due date for final papers is November 15, 2016.

Abstracts and papers should be submitted electronically to:  Professor Lee-ford Tritt at

Submission review, selection, conference attendance:

Abstracts and papers will be reviewed by members of the Section’s Executive Committee.  Selected presenters will be announced in Fall 2016.  The Call for Paper presenters will be responsible for paying their registration fee and hotel and travel expenses.

Inquiries or questions:

Any inquiries about the Call for Papers should be directed to Professor Lee-ford Tritt at , (352) 273-0952.

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