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Mitchell Lecture Series

Fall 2016 Mitchell Lecture

Editing the Environment: Emerging Issues in Genetics and the Law
Emerging biotechnologies such as CRISPR and gene drives are ushering in a new era of genetic engineering. In this new era, the technical means to modify life are becoming cheaper, faster, more accurate, and more widely accessible than ever before. Gene editing technologies have already made it possible to engineer ourselves, our food animals, and our crops. More recently, they are also being developed to intentionally and rapidly alter or even drive to extinction species such as mosquitoes, with far-reaching implications for the management of human diseases, including malaria, dengue, Zika, and Lyme. In other words: gene editing technologies are increasingly granting humans the power to engineer life at all scales.

The Mitchell Lecture Series was endowed in 1950 by a gift from Lavinia A. Mitchell, in memory of her husband, James McCormick Mitchell. An 1897 graduate of the Buffalo Law School, Mitchell later served as chairman of the Council of the University of Buffalo, which was then a private university. Justice Robert H. Jackson delivered the first Mitchell Lecture in 1951, titled "Wartime Security and Liberty Under Law." The lecture was published that year in the first issue of the Buffalo Law Review.

Mitchell Lecture programs have brought many distinguished speakers to the University at Buffalo School of Law. These have included Irene Khan, C. Edwin Baker, Derrick Bell, Barry Cushman, Carol Gilligan, Elizabeth Holtzman, Stewart Macaulay, Catharine McKinnon, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Richard Posner, and Clyde Summers.

Past Lectures

7/26/16

Observers say the legal profession is in a period of disruptive change. The emergence of global competition from legal service outsourcers, increasing domestic competition from non-lawyer professionals, paraprofessionals, and advances in information technology, these observers argue, will transform the delivery of legal services. With these developments in mind, the 2016 Mitchell Lecture series visits these topics in a two separate events.

3/18/16

Observers say the legal profession is in a period of disruptive change. The emergence of global competition from legal service outsourcers, increasing domestic competition from non-lawyer professionals, paraprofessionals, and advances in information technology, these observers argue, will transform the delivery of legal services. With these developments in mind, the 2016 Mitchell Lecture series visits these topics in a two separate events.

11/19/15

The 2015 Mitchell Lecture featured three leading scholars on public policy questions that involve the new information technologies.

6/19/14
The intersection of two human impulses – play and profit – was at the center of an entertaining and informative Mitchell Lecture on Oct. 8 in O’Brian Hall.
6/19/14

The 2012 Mitchell Lecture explored the legal and social challenges of caring for the personal and medical needs of elderly and disabled persons – a topic of current relevance for health care, social security, welfare, and employment law reform.

6/19/14
Three legal historians brought their unique perspectives to bear on a significant historical moment for the University at Buffalo and the world: a major 1946 address by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, given at UB's centennial celebration exactly 100 years ago.
6/19/14
The special relationship of African-Americans – historically and in the present day – to international law formed the substance of the 2010 James McCormick Mitchell Lecture, delivered by a renowned international law scholar, Henry J. Richardson III.
6/19/14
Payton, president and director-counsel of the NAACP's Legal Defense and Education Fund, delivered the Law School's signature Mitchell Lecture, speaking to a near-capacity crowd of students, faculty, staff and the public.
6/19/14
A prominent voice in the fight for international human rights told an audience that human rights and the rule of law are among the greatest casualties of the war on terror in the United States and abroad.
6/19/14
Hon. James Robertson, U.S. district judge for the District of Columbia, delivered the 2007 Mitchell address.
10/1/14
A provocative assessment of the power of “artificial persons” in the court system formed the centerpiece of the 55th annual Mitchell Lecture featuring keynote speech by Marc Galanter.
7/25/16
Celebrating over 60 years of Mitchell Lecture programs.