The MSBA summer bar meeting was last weekend in Bar Harbor. The most intriguing question is what did our MSBA president, Gigi Sanchez, do to get absolutely perfect weather? (I am envisioning some sort of incantations). Whatever her resources, it was lovely.
There was no program devoted to appellate issues. The most relevant, and the most well attended program, went to the issue of summary judgments – is something wrong and, if so, what should be done? From the discussion, it seemed that, while there is general unhappiness with some aspects of the practice (namely wrestling with huge statements of material facts): (a) the area in which the unhappiness focuses is the employment context; and (b) none of the proposed fixes (e.g. an early conference with the court) seem a panacea, but could simply exacerbate the increased time, effort and resources that the panelists were complaining was the problem in the first place. Perhaps the best, most easily digestible writing on this topic is a recent article by Judge Hornby, in which, in answer to the question "what can we do about summary judgments?" the answer he gives is "not much." ("Summary Judgment Without Illusions," available at www.greenbag.org)
On another note, I am heading off for two weeks out of the country for work (Kosovo) and play (Japan). (Many frequent flier miles are in the offing.) However devoted I am to this blog, I may not have a lot of time or connectivity to weigh in during this period. If something riveting happens, feel free (as always) to send in a comment to post; otherwise I will catch up when I can.