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Live Event

40th Annual Section 1983 Civil Rights Litigation Conference

Constitutional Law |  Civil Rights
Sheldon H. Nahmod |  Gerald M. Birnberg |  Karen M. Blum |  Erwin Chemerinsky |  Raff Donelson |  Rosalie Levinson |  Noah Smith-Drelich
31 Hours 30 Minutes
Product Type:
Live Event
Not Applicable
Chicago-Kent College of Law - Chicago, Illinois



Section 1983 litigation continues to present challenges for federal and state courts across the country, and the Supreme Court has an especially large impact in this dynamic area of law. Join us for the 40th-year celebration of our annual two-day in-person conference to get up-to-date on the latest cases, trends, and strategies affecting §1983 litigation. You will have the opportunity to examine both the law of §1983 as well as the litigation strategies that underlie successful cases. As always, experts in the field address the most important issues and provide advice for you as you tackle this year’s cases, whether you represent plaintiffs or defendants. Topics covered this year include the §1983 claim, individual immunities, municipal liability, remedies, attorney's fees, substantive due process, the Religion Clauses, the Fourth Amendment, and the Supreme Court's Term.

This conference is in-person ONLY and will not be live-streamed. On-demand video will be available 14-28 days after the conference.

The conference will be held in the Oglivie Auditorium on the first floor.


Crowne Plaza Chicago West Loop
25 South Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60661
Price $199/night


Homewood Suites by Hilton West Loop
118 N Jefferson, Chicago, IL 60661

Club Quarters Hotel, Central Loop
111 West Adams Street, Next to the Rookery and near LaSalle, Chicago, Illinois 60603
Phone:  (312) 214-6400


Sheldon H. Nahmod's Profile

Sheldon H. Nahmod Related Seminars and Products

University Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus (Program Chair)

Chicago-Kent College of Law

Professor Sheldon Nahmod is a leading expert on constitutional law, civil rights and the law of §1983. He is the author of Civil Rights and CivilLiberties Litigation: The Law of Section 1983 (2023-24 edition)(West, Westlaw), published annually since 1979, and has argued civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and many other federal courts. He lectures nationally to attorneys and has also lectured to federal judges on §1983.

He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, Harvard Law School, and the University of Chicago Divinity School. Professor Nahmod received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the State and Local Government Law Section of the ABA for his work in §1983 jurisprudence. He was named University Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus in 2018.

Gerald M. Birnberg's Profile

Gerald M. Birnberg Related Seminars and Products

Founding Partner

Law Office of Gerald M. Birnberg

Gerald M. Birnberg is a 50+-year lawyer whose practice has been focused on civil rights litigation, primarily on the plaintiff’s side. The founding partner of Williams, Birnberg & Andersen, LLP in Houston, Texas, he is certified as a specialist in civil appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is a life fellow of the College of the State Bar of Texas, and an adjunct professor of law at South Texas College of Law-Houston, teaching a seminar course on recent United States Supreme Court cases.

Upon completing law school at the University of Texas in 1971, Mr. Birnberg served as a law clerk to the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He has been in private practice since that time, concentrating on complex litigation and appeals. Mr. Birnberg has appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States (either on the briefs or in oral argument) on several occasions, including arguing Farrar v. Hobby, 506 U.S. 103 (1992). He is admitted to practice before seven federal circuits, and has been involved in more than 100 appellate cases.

From 2003 to 2012, Mr. Birnberg was Chair of the Democratic Party of Harris County, Texas. He also served on Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Task Force on Policing Reform and is a member the Houston Independent Police Oversight Board.

A frequent lecturer, Mr. Birnberg has made numerous presentations to state and local bar seminars and published articles on attorney’s fees in civil rights cases and other topics. He also testified before the Committee on Education and Labor of the United States House of Representatives concerning the attorney’s fees provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1990.

Mr. Birnberg has represented fee claimants in major attorney’s fees litigation on a number of occasions and has been involved in several cases in which the amount of fees in issue exceeded $1 million.

Karen M. Blum's Profile

Karen M. Blum Related Seminars and Products

Professor Emerita and Research Professor of Law

Suffolk University Law School

Karen Blum is a Professor Emerita and Research Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School where she has taught for over forty years in the areas of Federal Courts, Police Misconduct Litigation, and Civil Procedure. She received her B.A. from Wells College, a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, and an LL. M. from Harvard Law School. Professor Blum has been a regular faculty participant in Section 1983 Civil Rights Programs and Institutes throughout the United States. Since 1990, she has served as a faculty member for workshops sponsored by the Federal Judicial Center for Federal District Court and Federal Magistrate Judges. She has authored numerous articles in the Section 1983 area, including a piece entitled Qualified Immunity: Time to Change the Message, 93 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1887 (2018). She is co-author, along with Michael Avery, David Rudovsky, and Jennifer Laurin of the treatise Police Misconduct: Law and Litigation.

Erwin Chemerinsky's Profile

Erwin Chemerinsky Related Seminars and Products

Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law

University of California, Berkeley School of Law

Erwin Chemerinsky became the 13th Dean of Berkeley Law on July 1, 2017, when he joined the faculty as the Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law.

Prior to assuming this position, from 2008-2017, he was the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law.  Before that he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008, and from 1983-2004 was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. From 1980-1983, he was an assistant professor at DePaul College of Law.

He is the author of nineteen books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction.  His most recent major books are Worse than Nothing:  The Dangerous Fallacy of Originalism (2022) and Presumed Guilty:  How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights (2021).

He also is the author of more than 200 law review articles. He is a contributing writer for the Opinion section of the Los Angeles Times, and writes regular columns for the Sacramento Bee, the ABA Journal and the Daily Journal, and frequent op-eds in newspapers across the country. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court. 

In 2016, he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  In 2024, National Jurist magazine again named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.  In 2022, he was the President of the Association of American Law Schools.  He received his B.S. at Northwestern University and his J.D. at Harvard Law School.

Raff Donelson's Profile

Raff Donelson Related Seminars and Products

Associate Professor of Law

Chicago-Kent College of Law

Professor Donelson is an interdisciplinary scholar, whose research grapples with questions in law, in philosophy, and at the intersection of these two fields. In philosophy, his research focuses on the foundations of ethics and on questions about the nature of law. His legal doctrinal work centers on constitutional protections for incarcerated persons and the accused. He teaches courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, constitutional law, and legal theory. Professor Donelson was recently appointed as an editor at the Journal of Legal Philosophy.

Before joining Chicago-Kent, Donelson held an appointment at Penn State Dickinson Law and prior to that, he held a joint-appointment with the Paul M. Hebert Law Center and the Department of Philosophy at Louisiana State University. Donelson earned a doctoral degree in philosophy as well as a juris doctor from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in humanities from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and political science from Williams College.

Rosalie Levinson's Profile

Rosalie Levinson Related Seminars and Products

Emeritus Professor of Law

Valparaiso University School of Law

Rosalie Levinson was the Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Professor of Law and a Senior Research Professor at Valparaiso Law School, where, for 43 years, she taught constitutional law, civil rights litigation, and federal practices.

She previously worked as a staff attorney for a public interest organization and has been involved in substantial litigation. She has argued several civil rights cases before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and has been a frequent lecturer for continuing legal education programs, including those sponsored by the Federal Judicial Center for Federal Judges and the Practice Law Institute. In addition, she has team taught with Justices Scalia, Ginsburg and Thomas in conjunction with Valparaiso University School of Law’s summer program in Cambridge, England.

Professor Levinson received her J.D. at Valparaiso University School of Law (1973), her M.A. at Indiana University (Woodrow Wilson Fellow) (1970), and her B.A. at Indiana University (Phi Beta Kappa) (1969).

Noah Smith-Drelich's Profile

Noah Smith-Drelich Related Seminars and Products

Assistant Professor of Law

Chicago Kent College of Law

Noah Smith-Drelich is an assistant professor of law at the Chicago-Kent College of Law.  His scholarship seeks to better understand the incentive structures underlying tort law, with a current focus on constitutional torts.  Smith-Drelich also writes on the constitutional right to travel.  His articles have been published or are forthcoming in the Ohio State Law Journal, Florida Tax Review, Southern California Law Review (twice), Indiana Law Journal, Public Health Nutrition, and Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, as well as the California Law Review Online and Texas Law Review Online.

In addition to his academic research, Smith-Drelich maintains an active pro bono practice in civil rights and civil liberties impact litigation with a focus on indigenous rights and environmental justice. Currently, Smith-Drelich is the originating attorney and lead counsel on Thunderhawk v. County of Morton, a putative class action lawsuit challenging police abuses related to the Standing Rock-led resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline.  The case is in discovery against two defendants. The remaining defendants filed an interlocutory appeal of the district court's denial of their motions to dismiss, which Smith-Drelich argued in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in February 2022.

Before joining the legal academy, Smith-Drelich worked as a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming affiliate, and as an attorney at the litigation boutique Korein Tillery. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School, where he was an articles editor on the Stanford Law Review and the editor-in-chief of the Stanford Law & Policy Review.


Chicago-Kent College of Law

565 W. Adams St., Chicago, Illinois 60661, United States
(312) 906-5000


Date/Time: Thu, Apr 18, 2024 - 08:45 AM to 09:00 AM (CDT)
Location: Ogilvie Auditorium, 1st Floor

Date/Time: Thu, Apr 18, 2024 - 09:00 AM to 10:15 AM (CDT)
Speaker(s): Sheldon H. Nahmod
Location: Ogilvie Auditorium, 1st Floor

Date/Time: Thu, Apr 18, 2024 - 10:15 AM to 10:30 AM (CDT)

Date/Time: Thu, Apr 18, 2024 - 10:30 AM to 11:45 AM (CDT)
Speaker(s): Karen M. Blum
Location: Ogilvie Auditorium, 1st Floor

Date/Time: Thu, Apr 18, 2024 - 11:45 AM to 01:00 PM (CDT)

Date/Time: Thu, Apr 18, 2024 - 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM (CDT)
Speaker(s): Raff Donelson

Date/Time: Thu, Apr 18, 2024 - 02:00 PM to 03:15 PM (CDT)
Speaker(s): Rosalie Levinson
Location: Ogilvie Auditorium, 1st Floor

Date/Time: Thu, Apr 18, 2024 - 03:15 PM to 03:30 PM (CDT)

Date/Time: Thu, Apr 18, 2024 - 03:30 PM to 04:45 PM (CDT)
Speaker(s): Gerald M. Birnberg

Date/Time: Thu, Apr 18, 2024 - 04:45 PM to 05:45 PM (CDT)
Location: Lobby

Section 1983 Remedies: Damages and Prospective Relief
Date/Time: Fri, Apr 19, 2024 - 09:00 AM to 10:15 AM (CDT)
Speaker(s): Noah Smith-Drelich
Location: Ogilvie Auditorium, 1st Floor
Date/Time: Fri, Apr 19, 2024 - 10:15 AM to 10:30 AM (CDT)
Individual Immunities
Date/Time: Fri, Apr 19, 2024 - 10:30 AM to 11:45 AM (CDT)
Speaker(s): Erwin Chemerinsky
Location: Ogilvie Auditorium, 1st Floor
Lunch (on your own)
Date/Time: Fri, Apr 19, 2024 - 11:45 AM to 01:00 PM (CDT)
The Religion Clauses and Section 1983
Date/Time: Fri, Apr 19, 2024 - 01:00 PM to 02:15 PM (CDT)
Speaker(s): Sheldon H. Nahmod
Location: Ogilvie Auditorium, 1st Floor
The Supreme Court’s Current and Forthcoming Terms
Date/Time: Fri, Apr 19, 2024 - 02:15 PM to 03:30 PM (CDT)
Speaker(s): Erwin Chemerinsky
Location: Ogilvie Auditorium, 1st Floor