Law’s ‘Access to Justice’ speaker series kicks off

Prominent criminal defense attorney and civil rights advocate Michael Pinard, J.D., will address the pressing problem of prisoner re-entry in America to kick off the spring lineup of Washington University School of Law’s 11th annual Public Interest Law & Policy Speakers Series Jan. 22.

Pinard is the law school’s 2009 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Speaker.

The spring series includes civil rights experts, an award-winning journalist, a top intellectual property law scholar and a leading advocate for children. The law school’s Clinical Education Program sponsors the series.

Titled “Access to Justice: The Social Responsibility of Lawyers,” the yearlong series brings to WUSTL prominent experts in such areas as racial justice, civil rights, international human rights, the economics of poverty, clinical legal education, 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 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:

Jan. 22. Pinard, professor of law at the University of Maryland, will present “The Civil Rights Dimensions of Prisoner Reentry: the Impact on Individuals, Families, and Communities.” His talk is co-sponsored by the Black Law Students Association.

Pinard is the director of the Reentry of Ex-Offenders Clinic at the University of Maryland Law School, former staff attorney for the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and former attorney for the Office of the Appellate Defender of New York City. His scholarship and practice interests focus on the American criminal justice system, criminal defense lawyering, the reentry of individuals with criminal records and the collateral consequences of criminal convictions.

Feb. 2. Julia Preston, journalist with The New York Times, will discuss “Immigration: Enough Enforcement? The Crackdown and the Policy Options for the New Administration.” This lecture is co-sponsored by the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Preston is a recognized expert on immigration and international affairs and has earned a number of journalism awards for her work. She was a part of the team that won The New York Times the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on international affairs for its series profiling the corrosive effects of drug corruption in Mexico.

Feb. 23. Goodwin Liu, J.D., associate dean and professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, will present “The Future of Civil Rights: Reflections and Renewal.” His talk is co-sponsored by the American Constitution Society.

Co-director of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity at Berkeley, Liu is a frequent commentator on constitutional law and education policy for top media outlets. Liu is a former law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former special assistant to the deputy secretary of education and former senior program officer for AmeriCorps.

March 26. Pam Samuelson, J.D., the Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law, Professor of Information Management and Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, will discuss “The Public Interest in Intellectual Property Law.” This lecture is co-sponsored by the Center for Research on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

An internationally recognized intellectual property law scholar, Samuelson is the co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology and the founder and adviser for the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic. She has written and commented extensively about the challenges that new information technologies pose for public policy and traditional legal regimes.

March 27, 9 a.m. Jane M. Spinak, J.D., the Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia University, will present “Reforming Family Court: Getting It Right Between Rhetoric and Reality.” This talk is sponsored by the Clinical Education Program in conjunction with the annual Access to Equal Justice Colloquium on Family Court Reform.

Spinak co-founded Columbia’s Child Advocacy Clinic, which represents children living in foster care in family-court proceedings. She directs the newly created Multi-Disciplinary Center of Excellence in Child Advocacy at the law school in collaboration with a national child advocacy organization, First Star.

Spinak is a member of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children.