Public Policy, Risk Analysis, & the Law A Seminar Series for Federal Judges & Law Professors

Public Policy, Risk Analysis, & the Law A Seminar Series for Federal Judges & Law Professors

Federal judges are invited to participate in all of FREE’s seminar offerings, but none are specifically exclusive to judges. 

Article III federal judges and law professors were a primary constituency for FREE’s programs for twenty years, with a centenary program in September 20, 2011. We have offered our seminar series for federal judges since 1992, and count one-quarter of all chief judges as graduates. In addition, one-third of the judges from the U.S. Court of Claims, and one-half of the judges from two of America’s most important courts, the District of Columbia Circuit and the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal are alums.

Participants tell us the small group size and our Rocky Mountain setting create a productive atmosphere that fosters learning and camaraderie. A key feature of FREE’s seminars is our insistence that lecturers not “parachute in and catapult out.” Rather, they normally spend the entire period with the judges and law professors, continuing discussions at meals and during free time.

The seminars consist of approximately 15 hours of lecture and discussion requiring advanced preparation. Participants sign a letter of agreement assuring they will meet our attendance requirements and complete up to 200 pages of preparatory readings. Various recreational activities are offered during free time, which participants may pursue at their own expense.

FREE’s lecturers are from nationally distinguished universities (e.g., Charles Fried, former U.S. Solicitor General and Beneficial Professor of Law, Harvard School of Law; George Gray, Acting Director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis; George Priest, Professor of Law and Economics, Yale Law School; and Professor Thomas Schelling, Harvard University and the University of Maryland). Simply put, our education programs meet high levels of academic integrity.

In 1997, the judges (who want their clerks to have the benefits of our approach) urged FREE to initiate a parallel program for law professors. In 2001, several judges asked to be included in the programs for law professors, and we agreed. Mixing federal judges and law professors has proven to be extremely successful. By temperament and training, federal judges are prone to be restrained. In contrast, law professors actively engage in Socratic dialogue. Thus, at FREE’s programs, the law professors act as intellectual catalysts, stimulating discussion and the exchange of ideas.

Federal judges and law professors face many attractive opportunities. They attend FREE’s programs because we offer seminars that are intellectually serious, courteous, and open to various points of view. We’re flattered that so many choose to invest their discretionary time with us.

* We did not accept any corporate support for federal judges seminars. We reimbursed judges' expenses (e.g., lodging, meals, and travel) with funds only from foundations whose principal founder is deceased, whose operation and oversight are independent of any corporate entity, and which do not participate in litigation in the federal courts.

All of FREE’s past seminars for Federal Judges meet the private seminar disclosure reporting policy adopted by the Judicial Conference.

Past Seminar Series