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International Society of Family Law North American Regional Conference

Event Type
University of Illinois College of Law
Discovery Partners Institute, 200 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois
Jun 13, 2019 - Jun 14, 2019   All Day
Registration required



Family as the Crucible of Culture and Society: Inequality, Vulnerability, and Justice Within the Family


June 13-14, 2019
Discovery Partners Institute
Chicago, IL


This conference takes place at an important cultural moment in which the status of women in the United States and elsewhere are getting renewed attention. We stand at the cusp of the 40th anniversary of CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and we are nearing the 50th anniversary of the International Society of Family Law.


This conference will focus on revisiting and reimagining the status of women and vulnerable persons in the family, the setting that often shapes our lives more than any other. This conference will consciously straddle empirical research on the family, innovative thinking about family law policy, and efforts at engaged policy making. In particular, the Family Law and Policy Program will provide scholarships to policy makers who will participate in rich engaged conversations.


This is an exciting time to explore recent innovations in the regulation of families that may promote human flourishing and child welfare, including Illinois’ recent innovations on alimony, the Uniform Law Commission’s recent proposals for parentage, the ongoing discussions about support for nonmarital families, and the question of what the inclusion of LGBT families has meant for human flourishing. 


The conference theme is intended to be inclusive, extending to both public and private law, doctrinal and clinical family law approaches, and those from the social sciences. International and comparative approaches are strongly encouraged but not required. Participants will be welcome to propose panels or individual presentations. Participants may participate in multiple formats.


This conference will have a number of innovations:

  1. Co-Creative Conversations on policy in which we collect thoughtful voices on a specific topic. These may be organized around a “What if…”. For example what if . . . support for families was not defined by conjugality, or we meaningfully rewarded child care in the family, or we were to approach alimony in innovative ways, or we assigned parentage in entirely new ways?  Participants can propose a “What if…” topic and names of participants.  We may also loosely arrange participants on topics.

  1. Conversations with the Author Roundtables may also be proposed for books published in the last three years. Authors may suggest pre-packaged panels of speakers about the book.

  1. Public Engagement Workshops on topics such as what needs to be done to connect yourself as a scholar to lawmakers, how to interact with international bodies, or how to pursue public engagement on the family. These workshops will describe what scholars need to do to connect themselves to lawmakers, how to connect themselves to organizations such as international public policy bodies like CEDAW, and other ways to make one’s work relevant to policy makers.


The panels will involve organic discussions led by a strong moderator and organized by themes as described above.


Presentations can be in Spanish, French or English but the conference will not be able to provide translators.


Co-Conveners: Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson, University of Illinois, Director of the Family Law and Policy Program, and Professor Margaret Brinig, University of Notre Dame.


Scientific committee: Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Bar-Ilan University; Margaret J. Brinig, University of Notre Dame; Robin Fretwell Wilson, University of Illinois; Julie McConnell, University of Richmond.


Sponsored by: the University of Illinois College of Law’s Family Law & Policy Program in conjunction with the International Society of Family Law; Notre Dame Law School; The Rackman Center, Bar-Ilan University; The Discovery Partners Institute; and the UN Committee for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.



  • Early Registration (Before April 15): $100 (ISFL members), $125 (nonmembers)

  • After April 15: $125 (ISFL members), $150 (nonmembers)

  • Financial Hardship Policy: Full and partial registration fee waivers of at least 50% off of the registration amount to enroll in the course are available to persons with demonstrated financial hardship. To apply, applicants must submit a request, on letterhead if possible, stating the reason for their interest, proof of income and an explanation of why the fee associated with the program causes the lawyer’s financial hardship, and a completed course registration form. Scholarships will be awarded on a space-available basis, with preference given to applicants in order of date submitted. The program coordinator may waive or reduce the fee for the CLE program at his or her discretion. REQUESTS FOR FEE WAIVERS CANNOT BE ACCEPTED AFTER JUNE 12, 2019.

To become an ISFL member, see this link:


Registration for non-presenters is now open!


Emerging Scholars are also encouraged to apply for the Harry Krause Emerging Scholars Workshop.

Illinois MCLE general education credit pending approval.

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