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Emory Law News Center

Honors and Awards

Freer delivers John F. Morgan Sr. Distinguished Faculty Lecture

Dr. Nitika Gupta, University Senate President; Professor Freer; and President Fenves

Richard D. Freer, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law, presented this year’s John F. Morgan Sr. Distinguished Faculty Lecture: “The State of American Civil Justice: A Story of Exodus and Transformation” was the focus of the lecture.

Freer is a renowned expert on civil procedure, an award-winning teacher and an experienced leader. He has been appointed the next dean of Emory University School of Law, effective July 1, 2024.

His lecture addressed how American civil litigation has changed during the past 50 years:

Civil litigation, the process by which aggrieved persons or entities sue those who harmed them, is the standard American model of dispute resolution. That model embodies important normative values: it is public, transparent and rooted in the rule of law.

But the story of American civil litigation in the past 50 years has strayed from those norms. It is a story of exodus and transformation. Millions of disputes have been funneled out of court and into “alternative” means of resolution. At the same time, the processes in court themselves are being transformed, away from the model of litigating cases to one of bureaucratic processing. The result has profound implications for the private enforcement of law, access to justice and the rule of law. 

The lectureship recognizes the achievements of distinguished Emory faculty members and provides an opportunity for these individuals to present major themes of their work that are of intellectual interest to the Emory and greater Atlanta communities. 

Watch the full lecture here.