‘Access to Justice’ series begins Sept. 23

Terry Smith, J.D., professor of law at Fordham University and nationally recognized expert on race and politics, will kick off the School of Law’s 11th annual Public Interest Law & Policy Speakers Series at noon Sept. 23 with a timely talk on politics and racism.

The fall lineup of speakers also includes an international peace negotiator, a former government environmental attorney and administrator, a renowned human rights lawyer and author and a nationally recognized leader in the marriage equality movement.

Titled “Access to Justice: The Social Responsibility of Lawyers,” the yearlong series brings to WUSTL nationally and internationally prominent experts in such areas as international human rights, the economics of poverty, racial justice, clinical legal education, government public service and pro bono legal practice.

Karen L. Tokarz, J.D, the Charles Nagel Professor of Public Interest Law & Public Service and director of the law school’s Dispute Resolution Program, coordinates the series in conjunction with Pauline Kim, J.D., associate dean for research and faculty development and professor of law.

All lectures will be held at noon in the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom of Anheuser-Busch Hall unless otherwise noted. They are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Jeanne Heil-Chapdelaine at 935-7567.

The schedule

Sept. 23. Terry Smith, J.D., will present “Politics and Post-Racialism: Reflections on the Meaning of a Black President.”

Smith is a Washington University Distinguished Visiting Scholar and a nationally recognized expert on race and the workplace, race and politics, voting rights and election law. Smith is a frequent commentator on national news networks and blogs.

Oct. 27. Betty Oyella Bigombe, the Africa Program Distinguished Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and senior fellow with the United States Institute of Peace, will discuss “The Challenges of Mediation: Peace Negotiations With the Lord’s Resistance Army and Other Conflicts in Uganda.” This lecture is co-sponsored by the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute and the Dispute Resolution Program.

Bigombe is a senior international mediator with more than a decade of hands-on experience in conflict management/resolution, mediation and support services to war-torn societies. In addition to working in various departments at the World Bank, Bigombe served in the Ugandan government as minister of state, a member of Parliament and as deputy minister.

Nov. 6. Mary Gade, J.D., former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regional administrator, will speak about “The Seven Dirty Words You Can Never Use at the EPA: Thoughts for a New Administration.”

Gade, a 1977 graduate of the School of Law, administered federal environmental programs in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

In addition to serving as a partner in the environmental practice group of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, she held a number of EPA senior management positions in key environmental areas such as emergency response, Superfund cleanup and pollution prevention. She resigned from the EPA in May of this year.

Nov. 12. 5:30 p.m. Philippe Sands, professor of international law and director of the Centre on International Courts at University College in London, will present “Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values.” This lecture is co-sponsored by the Harris World Law Institute.

Sands is an internationally recognized human rights lawyer, public commentator and author of the groundbreaking books “Lawless World: America and the Making and Breaking of Global Rules” and the recent “Torture Team: Cruelty, Deception and the Compromise of Law.”

Nov. 19. Evan Wolfson, J.D., executive director and founder of Freedom to Marry, will present “Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People’s Right to Marry.” Author of a book by the same name, Wolfson is a longtime lesbian/gay civil rights leader who has led the national movement for marriage equality in the United States.

While working at the Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, Wolfson became the first Lambda attorney to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court, urging the justices to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s appeal of a unanimous ruling from the New Jersey Supreme Court striking down their ban on gay members and leaders.

In other cases, he championed lesbian and gay military personnel fighting for the right to serve, gay parents wishing to adopt children and preserve visitation rights, and New York City employees demanding equal health benefits and recognition for their partners.