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College of Law to host social justice colloquium March 22
College of Law to host social justice colloquium March 22March 08, 2001Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Syracuse University’s College of Law wants to hear from law professionals (practitioners and academics), students and the community in general at a free colloquium intended to enhance the college’s social justice programs. The March 22 event, part of the national Equal Justice Project, is sponsored by the Association of American Law Schools. SU is one of 19 schools from across the nation that was selected to take part in the project and to host a one-day colloquium on social justice. Titled “Law Schools’ Responsibilities for Social Justice,” SU’s colloquium will feature four highly regarded experts in the field. The colloquium, to be held in the Coyne Lecture Room, Room 104 of White Hall, will begin with registration and an informal breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Panelists in a morning discussion will include Deborah Howard, director of the Law School Consortium Project; Stephanie Wildmas, visiting professor and director of Boalt Hall Center for Social Justice at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law; and Stephen Wizner, professor of law at Yale Law School. The discussion will be followed by breakout discussion groups, in which members of the audience will be able to further examine ideas and impressions with panel members. The colloquium will conclude at 4:15 p.m. The keynote address at the luncheon will feature Harvard Law School professor Lucie White, who is co-author of two books, as well as book chapters in several edited volumes and numerous articles. Before moving to Harvard, she taught at UCLA Law School and was an attorney and clinical supervisor of the University of North Carolina Civil Legal Assistance Clinic. More discussion groups, as well as a plenary session, will follow the address and luncheon. Leslie Bender, associate dean for faculty development in SU’s College of Law, says the college’s faculty is exceptional in its strong commitment to social justice concerns. For the past two decades, the college’s multiple clinics have offered a range of practical client representation and “externship” opportunities for students and provided needed legal services to individuals and groups unable to secure assistance elsewhere. For example, in the Children’s Rights and Family Law Clinic, student attorneys represent children and their families in federal and state court proceedings. In the Community Development Law Clinic, students represent nonprofit housing and community organizations in economic development for people with low incomes.
Despite the success of such programs, Bender says there’s still room to expand. “We’re very proud of these efforts,” she says. “However, they don’t involve all of our students and faculty. It’s a lawyer’s responsibility to do social justice work, so we’re trying to develop new ways for faculty and students to do this. We’d be delighted to have the public come and brainstorm with us.” Bender also hopes local lawyers and alumni will attend the colloquium to foster more discussion about SU being used as a resource for social justice work in Central New York. In addition to the Equal Justice Colloquium, the College of Law is hosting a Distinguished Lecture Series in keeping with the theme of social justice. The first speaker, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor, spoke in November. The next guest, Harvard Law School professor Martha Minow will speak March 28. Author of numerous books, Minow has concentrated her research efforts on the legal treatment of children, women and immigrants, among groups. The series will conclude with an address by Herald Price Fahringer April 4. Fahringer is a partner in the law firm Lipsitz, Green, Fahringer, Roll, Salisbury & Cambria in New York City and Buffalo. He’s a well known First Amendment attorney who has tried several prominent cases, including State of Ohio v. Larry Flynt. Fahringer is also a successful criminal defense attorney and has acted as a legal commentator on CNN. The College of Law has also been running a social justice reading and filmgroup to further complement the other social justice programs being offered this year. Bender says there is a “powerful movement” to make lawyers more conscious of their social justice responsibilities and help underserved communities. The Equal Justice Colloquium on March 22 is free, but registration is required. Registration can be completed online at www.law.syr.edu/ej/reg_form.asp or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information is available via the College of Law’s Web site at www.law.syr.edu/ej/index.asp