Symposia & Events

Synopsis from Conscious Couture: How U.S. Fashion Companies are Addressing Problems in Overseas Garment Factories by Enjole Johnson, Social Media Editor, CSL ’16

On March 8, 2016, the Cardozo Law, Policy and Ethics held its annual symposium.  This year the symposium focused on “Conscious Couture: How U.S. Fashion Companies are Addressing Problems in Overseas Garment Factories.”  Knowledgeable panelists, from various backgrounds, gave insight to the audience about issues facing the fashion industry and efforts for more transparency.  Currently, there are various profitable clothing brands that outsource manufacturing at low cost.  It is the model of manufacturing today.  In 2013, two to three percent of manufacturing was in America compared to in years past when 95% of manufacturing was in America.  It is called fast fashion.  New York Fashion Week. Paris Fashion Week.  We all watch as models walk the runway wearing the best designers.  We want those clothes and companies make it their business to provide. They replicate and distribute those garments quickly and cheaply. But who suffers? Do we ever ask?

Social media and technology have made consumers throughout the world more knowledgeable about the health and safety issues of employees that help manufacture clothes for big name companies.  Employees are usually girls in their teens to late 20s.  We were reminded of the collapse of the Rana Plaza Building that killed 1100 workers because the infrastructure was not sustainable. Other issues include attendance bonus, lack of monitoring programs, and lack of payment for excessive overtime. Despite health and safety hazards, employees are incentivized to attend work everyday. The U.S. and other areas are making efforts to only work with countries that give employees certain rights.  In the U.S. the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) has helped to grow the economy and the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) was created to protect workers’ rights.  In Bangladesh, the Accord and the Alliance are two groups made up of trade unions and global brands that have come together to address labor rights and compliance in the fashion industry.  Issues also arise when determining who should provide funding when changes need to be made.  Therefore, although brands acknowledge that change is necessary, implementing the change does not always happen.

Transparency is such an important aspect in improving the working conditions for employees.  It allows for consumers to make conscious decisions when buying clothes.  However, many companies are choosing not to be transparent.  So factories that have good labor rights go under because their competitors continue to lower prices.  Additionally, compliance in the fashion industry can be difficult to navigate because different places have different standards.  Therefore, brands and manufacturers would have to comply with a host of standards, which is likely difficult.  Ultimately, it will take an effort from consumers, governments, brands, and manufacturers to improve the current working conditions of workers.  I hope with symposiums and events like the one held by the Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal the various players in the fashion industry can work together to provide better working conditions for employees throughout the world.

See pictures from the event! 

Conscious Couture: How U.S. Fashion Companies are Addressing Problems in Overseas Garment Factories

Conscious Couture

For information about symposia or events, please contact:

From Farm to Law to Table: Food, Agriculture & Public Health 

March 10, 2015


Click here to register. 

From Farm to Law to Table: Food, Agriculture & Public Health will examine the intersection of food and agricultural policy and public health policy. The event will consist of two panels of professionals in the world of food and agriculture law and policy, who will discuss their roles and how their work promotes, protects, or otherwise impacts the public health. The event will be moderated by Leslie Gerwin, Adjunct Professor at Cardozo Law School and Associate Director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University.

This program provides a total of 3 transitional/non-transitional New York State CLE credits for Areas of Professional Practice.

Schedule of Events:

3:30: Check-in and Registration

4:00 – 5:30: The Impact of Agriculture Policy & Food Production on Public Health (1.5 CLE Credits)


  • Roger Noonan, President of New England Farmers Union
  • Mark Izeman, Senior Attorney, Food & Agriculture at Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Jason Foscolo, Partner, Foscolo & Handel, PLLC, The Food Law Firm

5:30 – 6:15: Lite hors-d’oeuvres

6:15 – 7:30: The Impact of Food Policy & Regulation on Public Health (1.5 CLE Credits)


  • Thomas Merrill, General Counsel to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Ellen Fried, Professor, New York University Steinhardt, Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health
  • Jeff Stier, Senior Fellow, National Center for Public Policy Research; Director, Risk Analysis Division

7:30: Networking Reception and Cocktail Hour

For more information, please contact

SYMPOSIUM: March 27, 2012

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On February 24, 2010, the Cardozo Public Law, Policy & Ethics Journal hosted a symposium on Perry v. Schwarzenegger and the future of same-sex marriage litigation.


The Journal presented two panels:

PANEL 1:   Do we care about Judge Walker’s findings of fact?  Was Judge Walker right to find no rational basis for Prop 8 or is his decision judicial activism?

  • Jennifer C. Pizer, National Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal
  • Brian W. Raum, Marriage Litigation Director for the Alliance Defense Fund
  • Matthew McGill, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
    Moderated by Cardozo Law Professor Michael Herz 

PANEL 2:   Who has standing to appeal Perry?

  • Jenny Pizer, Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal, Northern California ACLU
  • Brian Raum, Marriage Litigation Director for the Alliance Defense Fund
  • Matthew McGill, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
  • Max Minzner, Professor of Law
    Moderated by Cardozo Law Professor Michelle Adams


On April 21, 2009, The Cardozo Public Law, Policy & Ethics Journal presented a symposium on Internet openness, net neutrality, content diversity and competition.

Speakers included:  Sascha Meinrath (New America Foundation); Berin Szoka (Progress & Freedom Foundation); John Morris (Center for Democracy & Technology); Matthew Lasar (contributor, Ars Technica); Fred Benenson (Creative Commons); Jonathan Askin (Brooklyn Law School).

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On March 4, 2008, The Cardozo Public Law, Policy & Ethics Journal and The Lawyer’s Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation presented an all day symposium on how to prevent looting during times of both war and peace, how to deal with looted cultural material that enters into the international art market, and legal issues related to restitution of art works.

(From left) Donny George, former Director General, Iraq Museum; former Chairman, Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage; Visiting Professor, State University of New York at Stony Brook; Matthew Bogdanos, Colonel, US Marine Corps; Michelle Hobart, Archaeological Institute of America; Patty Gerstenblith, Director, Program in Cultural Heritage Law, DePaul University College of Law; and Lucille A. Roussin, Adjunct Professor, Cardozo School of Law.

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