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A symposium on reconceptualizing the future of environmental law, a lecture on rule-based legal reasoning, an international criminal court moot. Let us brief you on some upcoming Pace Law School events.

Symposium on Reconceptualizing the Future of Environmental Law
Friday, March 20 | 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. |

The Pace Environmental Law Review invites you to join environmental law professors, practitioners, and students for this crucial conversation on redefining the field of environmental law. The symposium focuses on the continued expansion of environmental law into distinct areas of the law, requiring an increasingly multidisciplinary approach beyond that of traditional federal regulation. >>Register now

Pace International Criminal Court Moot
Friday, March 20–Sunday, March 22

The Regional round for the Americas and Caribbean (formerly the Pace International Criminal Court Moot Competition), Pace ICC Moot is the first-of-its-kind event, open to the international law school community, and bringing together disparate legal traditions in the context of a simulated case before the International Criminal Court. The competition offers each team of students the opportunity to participate in three rounds of oral arguments, representing the prosecutor, defense, and victims’ advocate. The annual International Criminal Court Moot Competition held at Pace Law School is the official English language round for the ICC Trial Competition held in The Hague in May 2015. The new global competition is sponsored by the Dutch government, in cooperation with Pace Law School, the University of Amsterdam, the American Society of International Law, and the International Criminal Law Network (ICLN).

Dyson Distinguished Lecture
Monday, March 23 | 12:00 p.m. | Ottinger Building, Room 201; Reception immediately following in the Tudor Room

University of California School of Law Professor Sarah B. Lawsky will present this year’s Dyson Distinguished lecture on "Rule-Based Legal Reasoning."

Case-based reasoning is, without question, a puzzle. When students are taught to "think like lawyers" in their first year of law school, they are taught case-based, common-law reasoning. Books on legal reasoning are devoted almost entirely to the topic. How do courts reason from one case to the next? Is case-based reasoning reasoning from analogy? How should case-based reasoning be modeled? How can it be justified? In contrast, rule-based legal reasoning (as exemplified in much statutory reasoning) is taken as simple in legal scholarship. Statutory interpretation—how to determine the meaning of words in a statute, the relevance of the lawmakers’ intent, and so forth—is much discussed, but there is little treatment of the structure of statutory reasoning once the meaning of the words is established. Once the meaning of terms is established, statutory reasoning is considered, roughly speaking, to be deductive reasoning.

This talk will examine the structure of statutory reasoning after ambiguities are resolved and the meaning of the statute’s terms established and argue that standard formal logic is not the best approach for modeling statutory rule-based reasoning. Rather, using the Internal Revenue Code and accompanying regulations, judicial decisions, and rulings as its primary example, that at least some statutory reasoning is best characterized as defeasible reasoning—reasoning that may result in conclusions that can be defeated by subsequent information—and is best modeled using default logic. The talk will then address the practical and theoretical benefits of this alternative understanding of rule-based legal reasoning.

RSVP to Tiffany Shavis.