Campus News

Former senator will give keynote address at law school conference

John Edwards

Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards will kick off the inaugural Working in the Public Interest Law Conference at the School of Law by delivering the keynote address on April 7.

This student-led conference will bring together eminent practitioners in their respective fields as well as students and faculty to discuss practical approaches to the legal profession that can best serve the underprivileged.

“The practical methods of challenging poverty are often not covered in traditional law school courses,” says Vanessa E. Vols, conference organizer and third-year law student. “This conference seeks to remedy that and to provide dynamic, creative ways to combat poverty through the vehicle of the law.”

The two-day conference will include a variety of panel discussions and roundtables on issues relating to poverty law, addressing topics such as immigration, health care, homelessness, education, community economic development, indigent defense and government benefits.

The conference will start with Edwards’s address, “Restoring the American Dream: Fighting Poverty and Expanding the Middle Class,” and will be delivered in the Chapel at 11 a.m. The former senator and 2004 vice-presidential candidate practiced law for 20 years and currently serves as the director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Former Georgia Gov. Roy E. Barnes, a School of Law alumnus, will introduce Edwards. The official welcome ceremony will be held that same evening at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a reception. The panel discussions, roundtables and a career networking reception will be held April 8.

The conference is open to the public, but registration is required. More information is available online (