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Public Interest Week at Penn Law: "Abundant Justice: Leveraging Our Collective Resources for Maximum Impact"

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

From Monday, March 12 through Friday, March 16 the Toll Public Interest Center (TPIC) at Penn Law will host the Fourth Annual Public Interest Week, a series of workshops, conferences, and events which will explore pressing issues in pro bono and public interest lawyering. This year’s theme is: “Abundant Justice: Leveraging Our Collective Resources for Maximum Impact.”

Marcia Greenberger, founder and co-president of the National Women's Law Center, will serve as Honorary Fellow in Residence for Public Interest Week. She will be an active participant in the week’s events and will deliver a lecture at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14. Described as "guiding the battles of the women's rights movement" by the New York Times, Ms. Greenberger's work in creating the Center almost 40 years ago established her as the first full-time women's rights legal advocate in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the Honorary Fellow’s visit, numerous student-sponsored events will be held on a variety of topics throughout the week with discussion that range from death penalty to civil rights to minorities in the juvenile justice system. Events include:

  • A public interest practice area fair and reception;
  • A panel discussion on access to counsel in PA death penalty cases;
  • A discussion on civil rights in prisons;
  • A screening of the film A Question of Integrity: Politics, Ethics, and the Supreme Court and discussion immediately following on issues of conflict of interest and impartiality of SCOTUS judges;
  • A workshop for students on how to thrive as a public interest lawyer;
  • A discussion on minority youth in the juvenile justice system;
  • A panel discussion on advocating for consumers in the regulatory context;
  • A workshop on the nuts-and-bolts of post-graduate public interest fellowships;
  • The week will end with the fourth annual Penn Law Public Interest Alumni Dinner, bringing current students together with the legal professionals in whose footsteps they hope to follow.

For a complete list of events, see the Public Interest Week Calendar.

The week will culminate with the Sparer Symposium on Friday, March 16, the theme of which is “Coming of Age Against the Odds: Advocating for At-Risk Youth,” and which will convene legal academics and practitioners to provide insight into the dynamic relationship between scholarship and practice in the area of juvenile justice and at risk youth. Rachel Lloyd, executive director and founder of GEMS: Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, will present the Sparer Symposium keynote address at 12:45 p.m. on March 16.

The Symposium has been designed to facilitate critical discussion among participants, and will include panel discussions on topics including the transition to adulthood, juvenile human rights and youth empowerment, juvenile justice protections; housing challenges for Philadelphia youth; and a developmental approach to understanding adolescence and crime. The Symposium has been approved for 5.5 hours of substantive CLE credit and 1.5 hours of ethics CLE credit for Pennsylvania lawyers.

For a complete list of Symposium panels and participants, see the Sparer Symposium Schedule.

Penn Law’s Toll Public Interest Center, founded in 1989, provides students meaningful opportunities to provide pro bono legal service to under-represented communities. The Center’s pro bono program, which includes a 70-hour pro bono requirement and emphasizes students’ professional development, has been recognized with the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award.


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