2000 Annual Report

::  2000 Board of Directors Meeting  ::
Princeton, New Jersey  ::  Woodrow Wilson School
Thursday, October 19, 2000

The meeting began at 7:40 p.m.

Opening Remarks

Tom Green, president of the Society, opened the meeting by introducing new members of the board of directors and chairs of committees, Chuck Grench, the new editor at UNC Press who will work with the Society on its Studies in Legal History series, and Jack Pratt, secretary/treasurer-elect for the Society.


The minutes of the 1999 meeting were approved as they appeared in the summer newsletter.

Committee Reports
2000 Local Arrangements Committee

Stan Katz, chair, and Dirk Hartog were in charge of local arrangements.  The Board expressed its gratitude for their excellent work.  

2000 Program Committee

Chuck McCurdy, chair, thanked the members of the committee for their work, especially Janet Loengard.  He noted that the committee had achieved its goal of having half of the sessions be devoted to non-U.S. topics.  The committee’s other principle for selection had been to disfavor presenters who had presented at the previous meeting in Toronto.  The committee had rejected several panels, each of which would be referred to the program committee for 2001.  The Board expressed great appreciation for Chuck’s work and for that of the entire committee.

2001 Local Arrangements Committee

Vicky Woeste, chair, reported that the committee had successfully arranged for the next conference to be held at the Allegro hotel, 180 West Randolph St., Chicago, with a room rate of $149 per night.  The committee had also identified two hotels, with a room rate of $119 per night, for overflow and for those who would prefer a less expensive rate – Quality Inn, 1 South Halsted; and Congress Plaza, 520 South Michigan.  For each hotel, there are reasons that the Society may want to arrange for shuttle service to provide transportation.  The board discussed the pros and cons of paying for shuttle service.  After that discussion, and discussion about the number of rooms that will be needed, Tom Green announced that he would work with the local arrangements committee, the executive committee, and the secretary/treasurer to determine whether it would be possible to book a larger number of rooms.  There was also discussion of the possibility of having the Society subsidize the room rates rather than pay for a shuttle service.  

The committee has obtained commitments from area institutions for financial support of the meeting – the American Bar Foundation, Northwestern Law School, DePaul Law School, and John Marshall Law School.

The chair also reported that Dick Hemholz had offered to combine the Society’s annual lecture with the University of Chicago’s endowed annual Fulton Lecture, with arrangements being made for transportation between the meeting hotel and Hyde Park, where the lecture and reception will take place.  The committee and the board expressed their gratitude for this contribution.

In addition to discussion about the hotels, the board also considered the possible impact of having the meeting at a later date – November 8-10, 2001.  (The 2002 meeting will be in San Diego, also at November date – 7-9.)  The consensus was that it was not possible to anticipate the impact of the change in advance of the meeting.

A question was asked about the possibility of the Society paying the travel expenses for speakers from outside the United States.  There was a brief discussion, but no resolution.

Committee on the Conference/Annual Meeting

On behalf of the chair, Craig Joyce, Dan Ernst presented the committee’s report.  As already noted, the next two conferences will be in Chicago (November 8-10, 2001) and in San Diego (November 7-9, 2002).  The committee invites suggestions for the site of the 2003 meeting, with Washington, D.C., having already been proposed.  The plan is to have that year’s site selected before the next meeting and a proposal for 2004 by the time of the meeting, to permit the Society to have three-four meetings planned in advance.

Secretary-Treasurer’s Report

The president announced that there was no report from the secretary/treasurer.  He noted that any report would be preliminary at best, since it would need to take into account income and expenses associated with the annual meeting.  Overall, however, the president reported that the Society was in good financial shape.  The board expressed its approval and thanks for the dedication and effort shown the Society by the secretary/treasurer, Don Nieman.

Publications Report

The chair, Les Benedict, for the committee proposed procedures to encourage an orderly transition in the editorship of the Society’s series Studies in Legal History when either or both of the present editors retire.  Following discussion, the board unanimously approved these resolutions:

1.  Editors of the Studies in Legal History series shall give at least eighteen months notice of their intention to retire, notice to be given at least six months prior to the next meeting of the Board of Directors of the Society.  Upon the direction of the president, the Publications Committee will begin the search for a new editor.  It will make a recommendation to the Board of Directors at the board’s next meeting.

2.  Retiring editors, incoming editors, and authors will consult about the transfer of responsibility for manuscripts in the process of publication, with the understanding that if an author or an incoming editor is not comfortable with a transfer, the retiring editor shall see the manuscript through to publication.

3.  The Publications Committee shall evaluate the performance of the editors once every five years, beginning in 2001.  The evaluation shall be completed before the meeting of the Board of Directors of that year and each five years thereafter.

The committee also proposed procedures for the replacement of the editor of Law and History Review(LHR) in the event of inability to complete a term of service.  After discussion, the board unanimously approved these resolutions:

1.  In the event the editor is unable to complete his or her term, the editor shall if possible give one year’s notice of resignation.  The Publications Committee shall notify the Board of Directors and, at the Board’s instruction, begin the search for a replacement, The new editor’s term will begin on January 1 of the year following his or her appointment by the Board and extend for five years thereafter.

2.  If circumstances make notice impossible, the Publications Committee, upon the instruction of the President, shall appoint an interim editor and undertake the search for a replacement, who will assume his or her responsibilities as soon as possible after appointment by the Board or the Executive Committee of the Board.  The new editor’s term will begin on January 1 of the year following his or her appointment and extend for five years thereafter.

Benedict and Chris Tomlins explained the committee’s proposal that the Society accept the invitation to the law and history review to participate in the History Cooperative as an Associate Member.  The gist of the proposal is that there be an initial three-year contract during which the Society can evaluate its participation.  The contract provides that all fees will go to the founding members of the cooperative, who are investing the capital to establish the system.  The contract leaves the LHR in complete control of its files and does not require the transfer of exclusive rights to electronic publication.  LHR, like each member journal, must pay the costs of preparing files compatible with the system.  Because the University of Illinois Press, one of the founding members of the Cooperative, is already the publisher of the LHR, the cost to us will be less than to others of similar size.  At the present size of the LHR, the cost will be approximately $1600-1700.  If the Review increases in size as expected, the cost will rise to approximately $2500 per year.  After discussion, the board approved the proposed contract.  (The full details of the proposal and the contract are appended to the Report of the LHR Editor. <LINK>)

At the conclusion of the committee’s report, the board expressed its thanks for Les Benedict’s service as Chair of Publications, which concludes at the end of the year.

Law and History Review

Chris Tomlins presented a two-part report.  The first summarized the financial status of the Review, which is good; and the record of submissions and publication during the past year.  At the conclusion of this part of the report, the board unanimously approved a motion “to thank the outgoing editorial board, whose support of the Review has been unstinting and whose advice has been invaluable.”  

The second part of the report was the contract with the History Cooperative, which at present will not include back issues of the Review.

Surrency Prize Committee

The committee chair, Tahirih Lee, announced that the committee had unanimously chosen Norma Landau to receive the 2000 Surrency Prize for her article “Indictment for Fun and Profit:  A Prosecutor’s Reward at Eighteenth-Century Quarter Sessions,” in volume 17 of the Law and History Review.  The committee reported:  

Landau’s study of prosecutions in eighteenth century England’s Quarter Sessions is as compelling as a detective novel and an impressive piece of historical research to boot.  We loved her title, and her thesis, that these prosecutions used the criminal process to mask an attempt to corruptly siphon money from civil litigants.  And her presentation is so clear and accessible we could hardly believe she is working in such an obscure body of records (records that one of us has worked in and to whose obscurity on several levels she readily attests!).  Landau makes the excruciatingly difficult task of making such records meaningful to legal historians today seem easy.

Sutherland Prize Committee

Janet Loengard, committee chair, announced the committee’s unanimous decision to award the 2000 Sutherland Prize to Prof. John H. Langbein for his article “The Prosecutorial Origins of Defence Counsel in the Eighteenth Century: the Appearance of Solicitors,” which appeared in the Cambridge Law Journalvol. 58, part 2.  Because of the number of excellent articles under final consideration, the committee decided to award an honorable mention citation to Norma Landau’s article “Indictment for Fun and Profit: a Prosecutor’s Reward at Eighteenth Century Quarter Sessions,” which appeared in the Law and History Review, vol. 17, no. 3.

The citations for the awards read as follows:  

The Sutherland Prize Committee has made the unanimous decision to award the 2000 Prize to Professor John H. Langbein for his article “The Prosecutorial  Origins of Defence Counsel in the Eighteenth Century: the Appearance of Solicitors” which appeared in the Cambridge Law Journal for July, 1999.  Continuing his long-term examination of the development of procedure in criminal cases, Professor Langbein  gives a persuasive explanation for the decision of judges in the 1730s to reverse the practice of centuries and permit admission of defense council in non-treason cases.  The article utilizes extensive research in reports of State Trials, Old Bailey Sessions Papers, and contemporary tract literature to argue that it was pretrial practice, not the use of prosecution counsel at trial, which occasioned the change: increased use of prosecuting solicitors and the reward system led judges to attempt to even the balance between prosecution and defendant.  Through his work, Professor Langbein has once again enlightened us on the ways in which informal or unofficial alterations in practice may lead to widespread change in the entire structure of an institution.


The Committee also made the unanimous decision to award an Honorable Mention citation this year and interestingly enough, the award goes to another article on eighteenth-century criminal practice.  It is awarded to Norma Landau, “Indictment for Fun and Profit: A Prosecutor’s Reward at Eighteenth-Century Quarter Sessions” which appeared in the Law and History Review for September, 1999.  Using samples of Middlesex Bills of Indictment from across the eighteenth century, Professor Landau shows that many actions for nonfelonious offenses against the person, brought as criminal suits, had as their objection compensation or apology or both and were in fact treated by both prosecutor and the court of Quarter Sessions as essentially civil actions.  The article compels a rethinking of modern categories of “crime” and “criminal” as applied to the eighteenth century, illustrating the lack of definitive distinction between criminal and civil in the minds of both prosecutors and judges.

The Committee made two recommendations:

First, while nominations of an article or essay for the Sutherland Prize have always been possible and, indeed, in almost every year nominations have been received, the Committee would like both to encourage and regularize the process.  We think that there should be more publicity concerning the prize and that it should include the statement that nomination of an article written by either oneself or another person is encouraged.  The logical places for publicizing the policy — and the prize — would be the ASLH Newsletter and the ASLH web page, but there are other venues as well.  We think that a simple procedure for nomination should be set out as follows:

1.  We suggest that, where possible, a person submitting a nomination should send at least one copy of the article to the then-chair of the Sutherland Prize Committee.  Obviously, nomination is extremely useful in bringing to the attention of the Committee an article or essay which its members might not otherwise see because it is not readily available.  This would ensure its accessibility.

2.  We suggest that there be a cut-off date for nominations and, given the Committee’s schedule, we believe that the date should be no later than May 1.  This year’s Committee began work in February, because by summer the previous year’s issues of many journals are off library shelves and in binderies.  

Second, we are aware that by chance all three Committee members this year teach in history departments.  We believe that each succeeding Committee should have at least one member from a history department and one from a law school, with the third member chosen from either.  We think this will help to ensure inclusion of different viewpoints.  (We hasten to add that this should not be taken as a reflection on the current Committee, which worked hard to be as inclusive as possible and, we believe, succeeded admirably.)

Studies in Legal History

Dirk Hartog reported on behalf of himself and his co-editor, Thomas Green, that 2001 will be a banner year, with three new books scheduled for publication and seven manuscripts under advance contract.  The editors are presently considering approximately twelve new manuscripts each year.

With Lewis Bateman moving from UNC Press to Cambridge University Press, the series is now in the capable hands of Chuck Grench.  The editors and the board expressed their thanks to Lewis for his service to the series and to the members of the Society.


Chris Waldrep emphasized two parts of his report.  First, the developments of the H-Law web page, which now includes an archive of internet links, with the state supreme courts for all fifty states and state historical societies.  There is also now an index of Law and History Review, beginning with volume one and continuing to the date covered by LEXIS-NEXIS.  Second, H-Law is attempting to expand its subscription base, to reach graduate students and others.

Membership Committee

Bob Goldman, chair, reported that the committee is working on new ways to expand membership, with special attention devoted to graduate students and junior faculty, as well as faculty and students at historically black colleges and universities.

Committee on Documentary Preservation

Michael Churgin presented the committee’s report concerning successful litigation to gain access to parts of the Alger Hiss grand jury records.  Other parts of the report noted work with the National Archives concerning access to other records.

Honors Committee

At the suggestion of the committee, the board approved as a new corresponding fellow, Michael Stolleis, Director, Max-Planck-Institute for European Legal History, in Frankfurt.

Nominating Committee

Victoria List, chair, reported on the committee’s work.  In the discussion that followed, the board noted the need to have the membership vote on a motion from last year to have a graduate student be one of the fifteen members of the board.  The vote should be conducted in conjunction with the winter newsletter.  If the motion is approved, then the nominating committee will have nominees ready for balloting during the summer.

Tom Green announced the results of the elections:
Board of Directors:
James Brundage, University of Kansas
Ariela Gross, University of Southern California
DeLoyd Guth, University of Manitoba
Charles McCurdy, University of Virginia
Barbara Shapiro, University of California, Berkeley

Nominating Committee
Tom Gallanis, Ohio State University
Sarah Hanley, University of Iowa

Surrency Prize Committee  
Richard Ross, Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis
Hurst Memorial Committee

Avi Soifer reported for the committee on the successful establishment of the first Willard Hurst Legal History Institute, which will be in Madison, Wisconsin, June 11‑22, 2001.  The institute will be lead by Lawrence M. Friedman.  The application materials are available on the Society’s web site. 

Avi also reported that a gift from Frances Hurst, Willard’s widow, assured the institute’s future through the next decade.  The board approved the memorandum of agreement governing the fund established by that gift.  The board also unanimously approved this resolution:  

We hereby express our immense gratitude to Frances Hurst for her extraordinarily generous support of our ongoing effort to extend the great influence of Willard Hurst and his work through the Willard Hurst Legal History Institute.

2001 Program Committee

On behalf of Bill Novak, chair, Chris Tomlins distributed the names of the committee members and a draft call for papers.  Discussion about the program reflected general agreement on continuing the principles that had guided the 2000 program committee – a goal that the program should strive to balance U.S. and non-U.S. panels; that the committee should seek out programs in areas that would not otherwise be represented; that there should be a graduate student on the committee; and a preference against having panel members in successive conferences.
New Business

Collaboration with Law & Society Association in Consortium on Socio-Legal Scholarship

Chris Tomlins reported that there had been only modest activity.  The consensus of the board was that the Society should continue to await developments, holding itself out as willing to participate.

New Committee:  Future Projects Committee

Bill Nelson will chair this committee, charged in particular with developing proposals to help graduate students.

Lewis Bateman

On behalf of the executive committee, Tom Green moved that the board authorize the Society to make a gift of life membership to Lewis Bateman in gratitude to him for his efforts and many years of service with the Society’s program for publication of its Studies in Legal History.  Following discussion, the board unanimously approved the motion.

The meeting adjourned at 10:20 p.m.