Graphic: Masthead for Law in the Post-Truth Era Symposium.

Law in the Post-Truth Era

Washburn Law's Robert J. Dole Center for Law and Government in partnership with the Washburn Law Journal and the Center for Excellence in Advocacy are pleased to host "Law in the Post-Truth Era."

The symposium will be held Wednesday, November 7, 2018, at the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center on the Washburn University campus. Free parking is available South and West of Bradbury Thompson.

The symposium will address the proliferation of terms like "fake news" and "alternative facts" and how they will shape the legal community for years to come. It will feature a keynote speaker, a lunchtime speaker, and two panel discussions comprised of nationally recognized experts in the field:

  • What is Post-Truth and Why Are We in the Post-Truth Era?
  • The Pursuit of Truth: Trials and Jury Practice in the Post-Truth Era
  • Oil and Gas Law in the Era of Alternative Facts
  • Legal Reasoning in the Age of Alternative Facts

Watch all videos or view individual presentations below.

Symposium Schedule

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

9:00 a.m. – Registration

9:20 a.m. – Welcome

Photograph: Carla Pratt. Photograph: Jeremy Koehler.

  • Carla D. Pratt, Dean and Professor of Law, Washburn University School of Law
  • Jeremy E. Koehler, Editor-in-Chief, Washburn Law Journal

9:30 a.m. – Keynote Address: What is Post-Truth and Why Are We in the Post-Truth Era?

Post-truth, named the 2016 Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries, is defined as "circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals." Whether this is a new phenomenon or a new term for an age-old issue, it affects how lawyers approach litigation, larger policy discussions, and education of law students.

  • Introduction: Eric V. Turner, Associate, Foulston Siefkin LLP [ Bio ]

Photograph: S.I. Strong.

  • S.I. Strong, Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law, University of Missouri School of Law [ Bio ]

10:15 a.m. – Break

10:30 a.m. – Panel 1: The Pursuit of Truth: Trials and Jury Practice in the Post-Truth Era

Richard Harpootlian and Christopher Kenney's 2017 article, "Jury Practice in Post-Truth America: A Cautionary Note" described jurors that "harbor an aversion to evidence-based reasoning." This panel will discuss the accuracy of this assertion and provide guidance to attorneys litigating in a post-truth era.

Photograph: John Campbell. Photograph: Colin McRoberts. Photograph: Cara Cunningham Warren. Photograph: Jeffrey Jackson.

  • John Campbell, Associate Professor of the Practice, University of Denver Sturm College of Law [ Bio ]
  • Colin McRoberts, Attorney, Vasher McRoberts LLC (Lawrence, Kansas) [ Bio ]
  • Cara Cunningham Warren, Associate Professor of Law, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law [ Bio ]
  • Moderator: Jeffrey D. Jackson, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Excellence in Advocacy, Washburn University School of Law [ Bio ]

12:00 p.m. – Box Lunch (provided to registrants)

12:15 p.m. – Keynote Lunch Speaker: Oil and Gas Law in the Era of Alternative Facts

Does fracking cause earthquakes? Are pipelines the safest way to transport oil? Debate and litigation between environmental lobbyists and oil companies consists of two sides operating from two separate sets of facts. How can judges, academics, students, and the public distinguish facts from alternative facts in this field?

  • Introduction: David E. Pierce, Norman R. Pozez Chair in Business and Transactional Law and Professor of Law, Washburn University School of Law [ Bio ]

Photograph: Monika Ehrman.

  • Speaker: Monika U. Ehrman, Associate Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Oil & Gas, Natural Resources, and Energy Center, University of Oklahoma College of Law [ Bio ]

1:00 p.m. – Break

1:15 p.m. – Panel 2: Legal Reasoning in the Age of Alternative Facts

Great legal analysis requires a combination of law, policy, and facts—whether in law review articles, 1L briefs, or Supreme Court opinions. This panel will examine how legal reasoning and analysis changes when readers and writers cannot agree on the facts or even the method for “proving” facts.

Photograph: Joy Kanwar. Photograph: Anne Mullins. Photograph: Teri McMurtry-Chubb.

Photograph: Cathren Koehlert-Page. Photograph: Tonya Kowalski.

  • Joy Kanwar, Assistant Professor of Legal Writing, Brooklyn Law School [ Bio ]
  • Anne E. Mullins, Associate Professor of Law, Stetson University College of Law [ Bio ]
  • Teri McMurtry-Chubb, Professor of Law, Mercer University School of Law [ Bio ]
  • Cathren Koehlert-Page, Associate Professor of Law, Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law [ Bio ]
  • Moderator: Tonya Kowalski, Professor of Law and Co-Director of the International and Comparative Law Center, Washburn University School of Law [ Bio ]

2:45 p.m. – Acknowledgments

3:00 p.m. – Adjourn

Short URL for this page:

Registration for this program is closed.
You are still welcome to attend
but please be advised
that some sessions will
be standing room only.

Date / Location

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Washburn University
Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center
Parking: south and west of Bradbury.
Get directions and map

Registration Fee

There is no charge to attend. A box lunch is provided to those who pre-register by Wednesday, October 31 at 5 p.m. (we are not offering specific dietary restriction accommodations though lunch will include a vegetarian option).

No CLE credit is being offered.


Seating for the symposium is limited. So that we may accommodate as many attendees as possible and be sure to order enough lunches, if you register and are unable to attend please contact, as soon as possible, Donna Vilander at or (785) 670-1105.

Assistance for Special Needs

If you require special services or auxiliary aids to assist you while attending the event, please call Donna Vilander at (785) 670-1105.

Washburn Law Journal Special Issue

Washburn Law Journal, volume 58, issue 3 (summer 2019), will be dedicated to the topic of this symposium, and articles written by the participants will be featured. Participants are encouraged, but not required, to submit an article, essay, etc., to take advantage of this opportunity for publication. Authors who cannot attend the symposium, but would like to submit, will also be considered for publication in the Journal.

Recent symposium issues of the Washburn Law Journal have focused on the future of employment law, the future of housing, Brown v. Board of Education at 60, immigration law, oil and gas law, the rule of law and the war on terrorism (part 1 | part 2), and humanizing legal education. See the Journal's archive for other past issues.

Inquiries about publication opportunities in the Washburn Law Journal should be directed to Jeremy Koehler, Editor-in-Chief, at

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General Inquiries

Shawn Leisinger
Associate Dean for Centers and External Programs
(785) 670-2464

Professor Jeffrey Jackson
Director, Center for Excellence in Advocacy
(785) 670-1833

Professor David Rubenstein
Director, Center for Law and Government
(785) 670-1682

Media Contact

Shelia Summers
Director of Marketing Communications
(785) 670-1784