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Bishop Sheen: America’s Most Iconic Catholic and Communicator

February 12, 2015

On February 12, Msgr. Hilary C. Franco will present his book "Bishop Sheen, Mentor and Friend". In this conversation with the author, Susan Whelan will discuss the last twelve years of Archbishop Sheen’s life and his prophetic observations on the Church in the United States following Vatican II. Register here.

Wolff Lecture: Undecided Verdicts: Jewish Law’s Respect For Doubt, Uncertainty And Ambiguity

January 12, 2015

In this event, Rabbi Blanchard presented how legal decisions often aim at certainty and sometimes even at finality. Most decisions however will settle for good arguments that provide predictability within the legal system, learning to tolerate “seeing through a glass darkly”. In contrast, the Jewish legal system as a whole and over time appreciates and values multiple positions and approaches to both cases and issues of law. This lecture explored this open and tolerant quality of Jewish legal texts in civil, family and religious law. For more information, click here.

Susan Whelan: Personal and professional choices - Living out moral ideals and religious beliefs in a modern world

November 12, 2014

On November 12, Susan Whelan engaged in a conversation about how Catholic Social teaching, work-life balance and gender shed light on the pressures and tensions that practicing attorneys face as they strive to provide excellent service to their clients and also fulfill their obligations to their families and communities, while being committed to their faith tradition. A vivid dialogue carried out in a interview style by Christine Firer Hinze. For more information, click here.

Representing Palestinian Rights in the Israeli Supreme Court: Client Loyalty, Social Change and Political Legitimacy

November 5, 2014

On November 5, Neta Ziv, Visiting Professor at Fordham Law School presented this topic with the comments of Professor Russell G. Pearce, the Edward & Marilyn Bellet Chair in Legal Ethics, Morality and Religion at Fordham University School of Law, in a crowed room filled with students interested by this sensitive issue.

Pope Francis: The First Year

October 14, 2014

Fordham Law School’s Institute on Religion, Law and Lawyer’s Work introduced a new series on Pope Francis and his contribution to religious, policy, and legal conversations. On October 14, the inaugural program in the series focused on Pope Francis’ first year as leader of the Catholics in the world. The series will continue on the Spring semester. For more information, click here.


Where Next for Food Law?: From Food as Sustenance to Food as Meaning

October 7, 2014

Dr. Yofi Tirosh, a professor at Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law and pioneer in the field of food law, discussed her call for a shift from the “food as sustenance” paradigm to a “food as meaning” paradigm, stressing that food has important roles in sustaining social institutions and in creating meaning in the lives of legal subjects. She argued that laws and doctrines designed without appreciating that food is not only a means of physical survival, but also that food has symbolic value attached to its preparation and consumption, are bound to be less effective and less just.

Evangelii Gaudium: the challenges of today's world

October 6, 2014

The second session of the series Evangelii Guadium: the challenges of today's world took place on October 2014. The discussion about “The Common Good and Peace in Society” was directly related to lawyer's daily work. Professor Kathleen Scanlon brought an extraordinary contribution to the event, presenting a thoughtful and concrete relation between the pillars proposed by Pope Francis and the legal profession. Here some of the questions discussed: "Conflict cannot be ignored or concealed. It has to be faced." - how a lawyer helps their clients when conflict arises? and how can we avoid the temptation of becoming "prisoners of conflict"? "Globalization and localization" - How this innate tension connects with our work as lawyers? How a life of a community connects with my Law School community and my legal career?"

American Muslim Civil Rights after 9/11

September 23, 2014

On September, the Institute co-sponsored with the Feerick Center a discussion led by Faiza Patel, the co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program, which seeks to ensure that our counterterrorism laws and policies respect human rights norms and fundamental freedoms. The discussion focused on the American Muslim civil rights after 9/11.

Evangelii Gaudium: the challenges of today's world

April, 2014

In April, 2014, the inaugural session of the series Evangelii Guadium: the challenges of today's world had a lively beginning with Fr. Patrick Ryan and Bill Harrington leading the discussion about “Economics, Public life, Poverty and Exclusion”. In this conversation inspired by Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, a few fundamental questions connected to the Catholic Social Teaching and legal education were discussed. Some of the questions discussed were: Is it a bad thing that many are rich and almost all desire a good level of wealth? Does the pope want a poor world? What is it after all that generates exclusion? What all this have to do with me and my career? Does any of that have an effect on my future?

Wolff Lecture - “The Ten Commandments?”

January 2014

In this event, Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky who serves as Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary led an open discussion on questions in classical Jewish tradition regarding the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai. A few questions explored were: How many commandments are there, exactly? Who spoke them to whom? Are they the Word of God or the Hand of Moses? And what do they mean?

Law and the Gospel of Life II

May 2013

"The "feminist" question is at the heart of much debate in law and politics today, with ever-rancorous division on the issues of abortion, contraception, the role of women and men in the family and wider society. Bachiochi explored the respective presuppositions of secular feminists and "new (Catholic) feminists", discussed trends in abortion law and sexual economics, and considered common goals and potential opportunities for collaboration. For more information, click here.

Martin J. Hertz Lecture in Jewish Law and Culture - How Concepts of Jewish Peoplehood Inform Legal Rulings

April 2013

Disputes surrounding the nature of conversion to Judaism are at the center of some of the most contentious legal debates taking place in modern Jewish jurisprudence. On April 16, Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish
Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), was the keynote speaker of the Martin J. Hertz Lecture. Rabbi Ellenson presented and analyzed diverse rulings issued by Orthodox rabbis on matters related to conversion. For more information, click here.


Rights and Rites: A UK Perspective on Law and Religion

February 2013

On February 26, Claire Archbold, the Head of Legal Services in Northern Ireland - Department of Justice - talked about the UK legal approach to religion, comparing the US and French constitutional approaches to religion (which are at opposite ends of the spectrum) to the UK approach. Ms. Archbold addressed also the question whether there is a fundamental tension between the anti-discrimination and human rights approaches. Being from Northern Ireland, Ms. Archbold offered insights into particular anti-discrimination and positive public duty provisions in Northern Ireland that have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing discrimination on the grounds of religion.

"Who is a Jew”: Israeli Law versus the Press

February 2013

On February 19, Professor Yifat Holzman-Gazit from the College of Management in Israel investigated how religion-state issues are particularly contentious in the Israeli context and often resolved by litigation before the Supreme Court in its capacity as the High Court of Justice. A controversy that reached Israel’s High Court of Justice in 2005 involved a petition to recognize the validity of non-Orthodox conversions to Judaism that were performed abroad and known as “stop-over conversions”. In her research, Prof. Holzman-Gazit examined the role of both elite and popular newspapers in constructing the controversy over “who is a Jew”. Holzman-Gazit found that two distinct frames were used by the papers to convey the essence of the controversy. While the organizing idea in Ha’aretz, the elite newspaper, was one of Israel as a civic state, Yedioth Achronot, the popular newspaper, emphasized the religious dimension of Israeli nationhood. However, both papers avoided challenges to the basic issue of whether religious authorities should control the definition of the character of Israel as a Jewish State. Thus, the media in effect defined the terms of the struggle over the Jewish identity of the state within consensual boundaries. For more information, click here.

The Wolff Lecture - Between Validity and Truth Falls the Shadow: Law-talk and God-talk in Judaism

January 2013

The lecture was given by Rabbi Gordon Tucker. Rabbi Tucker has been the Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel Center in White Plains, NY since 1994.  He was a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly for 25 years.  He is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and previously served for eight years as Dean of the Seminary's Rabbinical School. For more information, click here.

The Arab Spring: It’s Impact on International Politics, International Law, and International Organizations

December 2012

On December 4, Dr. Yassin El-Ayouty, Esq., gave a lecture on the Arab spring, one of the most important event in the 21st century. Dr. El-Ayouty described how from Tunisia to Egypt; from Libya to Yemen; and from Bahraim to Syria, the wall of fear by the masses from dictatorships has fallen. Social media had broken the hold of entrenched regimes on the freedom of expression. The quest for dignity, democracy and development has created global kinship across continental divides. El-Ayouty concluded that these developments will have a fast impact on international politics, international law, and international organizations, and he expects it will last for a long time. For more information, click here.

Why Morality-Free Economic Theory Does Not Work: A Natural Law Perspective in the Wake of the Recent Financial Crisis

October 2012

The recent worldwide financial crisis has revealed a serious flaw in current thinking about markets and morals. Contemporary legal theorists and political economists commonly assume that markets can (and even should) provide morally neutral zones for the exchange of goods among free persons, constrained by nothing other than the laws of contract and the imperatives of self-interest. Professor Bruni’s lecture challenged this dominant assumption and offered an alternative, natural law perspective on the interrelatedness of markets, morals, and human sociality. For more information, click here

Sharing Sacred Space in Jerusalem

March, 2012

Jerusalem is a holy city for Jews, Christians and Muslims.  In this relatively small space, they live side by side, practicing their traditions.   
The evening included reflection on Status Quo and how the various religious communities engage each other to overcome and resolve conflict.

Law and the Gospel of Life

January 2012

A special evening with Archbishop Timothy Dolan exploring the application of Gospel values to contested areas of law, social policy and bioethics. The Archbishop highlighted the importance of put the human dignity at the center of all man-made laws.

The event launched the new initiative by Fordham Law's Institute on Religion, Law and Lawyer's Work, to explore the challenges of applying Gospel values to law and social policy.

Human Development from the Vantage Point of Unity

December 2010

On December 15, 2010, as part of the Seton Hall University Micah Institute for Business and Economics "To Do Justice" Series, Amy Uelmen presented a paper on Benedict XVI and Chiara Lubich: Human Development and Unity.  The full analysis was published in the March 2010 issue of Theological Studies, Caritas in veritate and Chiara Lubich: Human Development from the Vantage Point of Unity.

Mosques in America: an Exercise in Dialogue

November 2010

Over the course of Fall 2010, discussions about the location of mosques have at times become a source of tension, particularly in New York City.  In November 2010, the Institute on Religion, Law & Lawyer's Work sponsored an event, as Professor Russell G. Pearce put it, "to provide space for the kinds of dialogue that increase mutual understanding."  With the help of two expert facilitators, Rabbi Justus N. Baird, Director of the Center for Multifaith Education from the Auburn Theological Seminary and Asim Rehman, Esq., Vice-President of the Muslim Bar Association of New York, a group of students, faculty and alumni--Muslims, Jews and Christians--gathered to work through a case-study of how one community faced a similar controversy.  As the participants wrestled with questions such as whether it was appropriate for public officials and citizens bring their religious identity into discussions about public space, and the kinds of approaches which help communities to deal with ethnic and social change, a consensus emerged that communities need to look for creative ways to foster dialogue and understanding in the midst of these kinds of complex and multi-layered issues, and each felt challenged to examine how they might contribute, as lawyers or future lawyers, to fostering this kind of conversation.

Comparing European and North American systems: the client-attorney relationship

October 2010

In October 2010, Amy Uelmen gave a presentation at a continuing legal education event held at the Roman Court of Appeals.  Sponsored by the international "Communion and Law" project, she gave a North American perspective on "The Role of the Lawyer's Conscience in Client Counseling."  For more information about the event, click here.

Religious Legal Theory: The State of the Field

Seton Hall Law - November 12-13, 2009

This conference hosted leading scholars to assess the “state of the field” of religious legal theory, consolidating the advances and charting new directions for religious perspectives on law and public policy. Amy Uelmen, Director of Fordham Law's Institute on Religion, Law & Lawyer's Work presented a paper entitled Religious Legal Theory's "Second Wave."

For more info, visit the conference Web page.

Resources on the Economic Crisis and Religious Values

October 19, 2009

The financial and economic crisis is generating deeper reflection on how our social, economic and business structures need to change. Over the past years, the Institute has sponsored programs and scholarship which have explored the extent to which religious values and traditions might shed light on questions of economic justice. 

For an overview on past resources and upcoming events on this topic, see Resources on Economic Justice.

Journal of Law & Religion Symposium on the Global Economic Crisis, Law and the Religious Traditions

October 16, 2009

The Institute on Religion, Law & Lawyer's Work cosponsored the Journal of Law & Religion Symposium on the Global Economic Crisis, Law and the Religious Traditions, which was held on October 14-16, 2009 at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The program explored insights from the world's religious traditions on the role of law and legal institutions in stemming the worldwide economic crisis.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Luigino Bruni, winner of a 2008 Templeton Enterprise Award and author of Reciprocity, Altruism and Civil Society (2008), Civil Happiness: Economics and Human Flourishing in Historical Perspective (2007), and A Handbook on the Economics of Happiness (2007).

Panels discussed
- Perspectives of the world's religions on legal responses to the economic crisis.
- Human rights traditions, economic need and the common good.
- Regulating markets through law and the religious traditions.
- Religion, culture and law: how local communities respond to economic need and opportunity.