The American Society for Legal History’s Annual Meetings Committee solicits volunteers from the Society’s friends to serve as local arrangements chair for the Society’s future Annual Meetings. Interesting venues, affordable hotel rates and reasonable funding support for meeting events are highly favored in site selection.
Contact the committee’s chair, Craig Joyce of the University of Houston Law Center at <email>.
As a national society, ASLH likes to rotate the location of Annual Meeting sites around North America. See the list of prior sites to gain a sense of where we have been in recent years. In addition to geographical diversity, the Society attempts to pick interestingly different sites,e.g ., San Diego in 2002 and Washington, D.C., in 2003. Meetings typically are scheduled for the second week in November, when hotel availability and rates tend to be optimal for the Society.
Whatever the location of the Annual Meeting, the Society has certain hotel requirements that must be met. In addition to “room share” arrangements and occasionally a secondary, less expensive hotel to hold down members’ costs in attending the meeting, all ASLH Annual Meetings require a principal hotel with the following features (and, ideally, room rates under $175 per night):
Wednesday 5 rooms
(prior to start of meeting)
Thursday 160 rooms
Friday 175 rooms
Saturday 160 rooms
Panel Session Rooms
We need five rooms (8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday) for program panels. One of these rooms should accommodate an audience of 125 persons (theater style), with a long table and podium for speakers/panelists at the front of the room. The other four rooms should accommodate audiences of between 50 and 100 persons (theater style), with a long table and podium for speakers/panelists at the front of the room.
Business Meeting Rooms
The Society needs one room, which can accommodate upwards of 50 people for committee meetings and the Board of Directors meeting on the Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. If possible, three rooms are preferred – one for 35 people from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., one for 12 people from 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., and one for 50 people from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. All the rooms should be set up board room style and the room for 50 also needs to have room for a buffet dinner.
On Friday and Saturday, rooms are need for two breakfast and lunch business meetings with capacity for 35 people each. The breakfast meetings take place from 7:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch meetings take place from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. If hotel staff can clear and reset the rooms quickly, the Panel Session Rooms can also be used for these meetings. If not, separate meeting rooms will be needed.
Event Rooms and Other Hotel Requirements
- A room near the meeting rooms for continental breakfast, mid-morning breaks and book exhibits. The room needs to accommodate at least 250 persons and 10 six foot tables for the book exhibits. It also must be lockable over night to ensure that the books do not go astray. Another option is to have a large lobby area where continental breakfast and mid-morning breaks can take place and an adjoining lockable room for book exhibits.
- A lobby area where we can set up two six foot tables for registration, and hopefully where meeting attendees can mingle.
- A room for an opening night reception (5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on Thursday) that accommodates 150-175 persons. This reception may be held off-site, but should we want to have it in the hotel, we like to make sure that we have the space available.
- A large room for our Saturday luncheon that will accommodate 250 persons at round tables set for 8 or 10 persons.
- A large room (6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. on Saturday) that will accommodate 200 persons for a Closing Reception.
Plenary Lecture & Reception, and Welcome Reception
Traditionally, the plenary lecture and reception is held at the (or one of the) host institution’s venue(s) and is paid for by the host institution(s). What is thus required is an auditorium for approximately 400 people (just to be on the safe side), a PA system, a reception room, and food and drink for the guests. The amount of food and drink varies from substantial hors d’oeuvres to a buffet dinner and from wine and beer to an open bar depending on the wishes of the host institution(s). The Welcome Reception can be held in the host hotel, where the room charge is usually waived, or at a venue within walking distance of the hotel. The Welcome Reception typically offers lighter food and drink options than the plenary reception. In Philadelphia, for example, Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law is sponsoring the reception at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and is serving wine and cheese for two hours from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. The idea is that people will then go out to dinner on their own afterwards. Other than these two events, the ASLH takes care of all other events and meetings. The annual meeting sessions and Society business meetings are all held at the hotel. The only other thing that we ask the host institution to help with is to provide some students to stuff registration packets and man the registration desk.
In recent years, ASLH Annual Meetings have drawn as many as 400 attendees. Where possible, local arrangements committees plan for outings to local legal historical sites (e.g., John Marshall’s home in Richmond), either for receptions or as optional trips for attendees. A modest amount of local fundraising generally assists in enhancing Annual Meeting quality.
Let us hear from you if you are interested!