2022-23 events

October 5, 2022: Law School Discusssion on incorporating climate change into the law curriculum, part of the climate law initiative, at noon. Lunch will be served.

October 10, 2022: Virtual Roundtable on “Recent Developments in Climate Law in the US”, Inaugural event of the Wisconsin Initiative on Law and Climate Change (WILCC)


In recent weeks there have been several developments in the US relating to climate change. On June 30, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in West Virginia v. EPA. On August 6, 2022, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act with significant funding to address climate change. At the global level, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 76/300 recognizing, for the first time, the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right (which surprisingly received an affirmative vote from the US) closely following the UN Human Rights Council resolution last year. This inaugural event of the Wisconsin Initiative on Law and Climate Change (WILCC), featuring legal academics and practitioners, will discuss these developments and their implications for climate law.

Professor Michael Gerrard, Columbia Law School
Professor Alice Kaswan, University of San Francisco School of Law
Professor Steph Tai, UW Law School
Professor Rebecca Bratspies, City University, New York
Sebastien Duyck, Center for International Environmental law, tbc

Sumudu Atapattu, Director, Global Legal Studies Center, UW Law School

Global Legal Studies Center, Laurie Carlson Progressing Ideas Forum, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

April 18, 2023: Earth Day plenary on the theme: "Species on the Move," Lecture on Climate Migration, details pending

April 14 or 21, 2023: Symposium on Racial Capitalism and Climate Justice, details pending. 

2021-2022 Events

2019-2020 Events

About the Forum


The Forum is supported by a fund established to honor Laurie Carlson's lifelong commitment to progressive ideas, laws and policies. Formed by his family, the fund is designed to provide support to University programs that present, explore and discuss current progressive issues in law, legal institutions, public policy and social thought.  While the Forum will initiate its own speakers and programs, it also seeks to encourage and assist learning opportunities suggested by others in various formats, including guest speakers, discussion panels, seminars, workshops, and classroom activities.  One goal of the Forum is to promote an exchange of ideas that joins the University community with the local community, by, among other things, fostering a discussion of current progressive ideas and issues on campus and encouraging public participation in Forum-sponsored events.

About Laurie E. Carlson (1908-1999)

Laurie Carlson was born in Bayfield, Wisconsin.  His first political involvement occurred at age 12, when he and his father traveled Bayfield County in a horse-drawn wagon, campaigning with Robert La Follette, Sr.  This experience coupled with later meetings with Bob La Follete left an impression that would stay with Carlson for a lifetime.  In 1934, Carlson helped form the State Progressive Party, along with La Follette sons, Phil and Bob, Jr.  Carlson won election as a Progressive to the State Legislature in 1936 at age 28 and served until 1942.  After his legislative career, Carlson began a career in business, but was always very active in Wisconsin politics.  In 1969, the Dane County Democratic Party prevailed on Laurie to run for Clerk of Courts, and he served four terms before retiring from public office.  In 1986, Governor Tony Earl honored Carlson with a Proclamation declaring him a "state treasure."  Laurie died in 1999 at age 91, fighting to the end for the poor, the common people, the rights of labor, civil rights, and the protection of the environment.

Suggestions for Forum Programs

Individuals or groups interested in making suggestions for Forum programs should prepare a description of the program including a draft budget and submit at least three months before the proposed event to:

Sumudu Atapattu
University of Wisconsin Law School
975 Bascom Mall, Madison, WI 53706
Email: sumudu.atapattu@wisc.edu
Phone: 608-890-1395 

Past speakers and programs

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