Chairs, Discussants, and Moderators


Duties of Chairs

Individuals selected to act as Session Chairs on paper panels have duties before and during their session. Before the meeting you determine the format and amount of time available to each participant, reach an agreement with the discussant about the deadline for receipt of completed papers, and determine if participants wish to coordinate in loading any visual material onto a single laptop. Then you communicate this and any other important information to the panel members. At the session during the meeting, you determine the order of presentations, introduce the members of the panel, keep the speakers to their time limits, and moderate audience participation. On panels where there is no Discussant, the Chair should feel free to provide thematic bridges between papers and kick off the discussion with a few questions, comments, or remarks.

Contact your Panelists – at least six weeks prior to the meeting. Find you session in the Online Program and click "Email All Contacts" to reach them.

Information to Communicate to Panel Members:

Changes to Sessions
As Session Chair, you are responsible to communicate any changes to paper titles, session titles, roles, or abstracts to Megan Warren at warren@lawandsociety.org. The last date for changes for the Final Program is March 24, 2018. Give your session members an earlier deadline so you can report changes by this date. 

Duties of Discussants

There are many models of how a discussant should operate.  We encourage making comments on all papers after all presentations have been made.  The best comments by discussants link papers thematically, highlight strengths of the papers, make suggestions for their improvement, offer gentle criticism where appropriate, and provoke discussion by the audience.  We strongly urge balancing time allotted to general points about the common paper themes or points of connection with commentary on individual papers.  Since you have limited time to make all your points that are specific to individual papers, we urge you to write down for the authors those most specific or small points so as to facilitate greater attention to the big issues in your oral presentation, which the audience is likely to find most provocative and interesting. 

As for style, an important part of the meeting culture is that your commentary should be supportive and constructive even when it is critical.  The best measure of a discussant’s performance is the quality of exchanges with and from the audience that follow your comments.

Duties of Moderators

This year the conference is introducing the new role of Moderator, which combines the duties of a Chair with some aspects the Discussant role. As moderator, you will be asked to organize your panel in the same way as the chair (see “Duties of Chair” above). Rather that commenting on individual papers, the moderator should provide a thematic bridge between papers and kick off discussion with the audience with a few questions, comments, or remarks.


Changes to Sessions
As Session Moderator, you are responsible to communicate any changes to paper titles, session titles, roles, or abstracts to Megan Warren at warren@lawandsociety.org. The last date for changes for the Final Program is March 24, 2018. Give your session members an earlier deadline so you can report changes by this date. 

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