Faculty & Leadership Blog / Innovative Curriculum

Babson Students Reflect on Winning Legal Research Prizes at the 2020 Virtual ALSB Conference

By student guest authors Max Janes, Lucy Wang, Daniel Wybraniec:

On Friday August 8th, we took part in the Academy of Legal Studies in Business (ALSB) annual international conference as Babson students have done in the past. This time there was a twist: it was all online. Instead of attending a conference in places like Puerto Rico (2016) or Oregon (2018) or Montreal (2019), as previous students have, we met and presented our legal research papers over WebEx due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, we had an amazing time listening to other students present their papers (there were a total of 10 finalist papers from an array of universities and colleges) as well as presenting our own.

The two research papers that were presented during this conference were originally prepared for Prof. Sulkowski’s business law class, as a part of a final paper assignment. Daniel Wybraniec worked with his classmates Lucas Obrycki, Maxwell Schwarz, and Lucas Varela to create a paper that evaluated the possible liability risk of companies creating PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to combat COVID-19 under DPA (Defense Production Act) contracts. Max Janes worked with Lucy Wang and Anna Zhang to research the effectiveness of legislation on combating the problem of international wildlife trafficking.

Although these started out as just class papers, Prof. Sulkowski encouraged us to submit them for the ALSB student paper competition. Through researching in a group, we learned the importance and value of combining different perspectives into one cohesive document in a challenging situation across different continents and time zones. Due to our hard work crafting the papers, with lengthy research and constant editing, both of our papers were selected as finalists for the event!

Daniel, Max, and Lucy presented and responded to the judges’ questions (the panel of judges was comprised of law professors at other business schools). Daniel’s team was awarded 1st Place in the Group Paper-and-Presentation category and Max Janes’ and Lucy Wang’s team was awarded 2nd Place in the same category. We were all really proud of our accomplishments and the knowledge we gained from other student’s presentations.

Many students in the competition were presenting their honors thesis, which we thought was really fascinating. Their work was incredible: some used statistical analysis in conjunction with legal questions to test specific hypotheses, such as whether wealthier countries tend to more stringently regulate online platforms such as AirBnB. Others presented carefully considered metaphors, such as whether the idea of a pole vaulter is more effective at conveying a burden-of-proof standard than asking a jury to understand the meaning of the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. With these amazing presentations, we were and still are extremely motivated to pursue new legal research with different papers, perhaps using their work to aid our understanding and further learning.

This ALSB Conference was an amazing experience for all of us and an excellent opportunity for us to learn more about the legal research world. We want to thank all of the professors that were present during this conference, especially Prof. Sulkowski, and also Babson’s legal research librarian, Stephanie Farne, and the coordinators that made this conference possible even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. We also highly encourage any other Babson students to submit their research papers next year so they have the opportunity to have the same experience as we did.