Alta Charo gave a keynote presentation, "Physicians and the Body Politic," at the American Medical Association's State Legislative Strategy Conference in January. She spoke on the rise of state laws affecting the doctor-patient relationship, ranging from prohibitions on discussing the risks of firearms in a home with children to mandates requiring discussion of end-of-life options with terminal patients, as well as numerous abortion-related interventions.
In January, John Ohnesorge served as senior faculty in the 2015 Doha, Qatar, workshop of Harvard Law School's Institute for Global Law & Policy. The annual workshop includes faculty and participants from around the world, who focus on issues of international law and policy.
Alta Charo has been appointed to the National Academies committee asked by the Food and Drug Administration to consider the ethical issues related to mitochondrial modification of eggs, the first form of gene therapy to have multigenerational effects and to produce children with DNA from three different people.
Wisconsin faculty members share a commitment to excellence in research, embracing a wide variety of substantive concerns and methodological approaches. The faculty has long been known for its interest in interdisciplinary work and for its commitment to a law-in-action approach to scholarship.
For Wisconsin scholars, no matter how interesting or elegant the underlying theory, Wisconsin's law-in-action approach challenges them to answer the question: "Why should this matter to people in the real world?" In contrast to legal scholars whose work is theory-based, Wisconsin scholars tend to begin with an observed, real-world problem or phenomenon and then seek to explain it and to put it into a larger theoretical context.
Much of the research undertaken at Wisconsin is devoted to explaining how law and legal institutions work and often to understanding why law and legal institutions might not be working as intended. The Wisconsin faculty contextualizes law, studying it as one of many social processes that may shape behavior. Many faculty members are active in the Law & Society Association, an international organization of scholars who study the interrelation of society and the legal process; indeed, the current Wisconsin faculty includes three LSA past presidents.
The work of the Wisconsin faculty is not geographically bounded. Though a majority study U.S. law, a growing number explore law in less familiar settings and are focusing their research on the workings of law in countries throughout the world.