Campus News

Former U.S. senator to speak at public interest law meeting

Former U.S. senator to speak at public interest law meeting

The School of Law will host a public interest law weekend Feb. 26-27. Former U.S. Sen. J. Maxwell “Max” Cleland will serve as the keynote speaker.

The two-day event, composed of the 25th Annual Equal Justice Foundation Auction and the fifth Working in the Public Interest Law Conference, will address issues such as prison reform, environmental justice, child advocacy, hate crimes and immigration law.

“We are delighted and honored to have Sen. Cleland come speak about the importance of public interest work as we celebrate significant event anniversaries,” said Stinson W. Ferguson, a third-year law student and conference organizer. “The vehicle of law is one of many tools available to combat social injustice. Our goal is to raise awareness while supporting and equipping those trying to make a difference.”

Cleland will give a speech, entitled “We are Public Interest,” Feb. 26 at the Melting Point in downtown Athens. He will be followed by an awards ceremony to recognize outstanding contributions made by those in the public interest arena and a reception with a live and silent auction. Proceeds from the auction will go toward EJF’s 2010 summer fellowships, which help support Georgia Law students working in public interest positions.

The conference will resume Feb. 27 at the law school with a plenary on human sex trafficking. There also will be panels and roundtables featuring notable academicians and practitioners from across the country.

Discussion topics include issues facing former inmates struggling to reintegrate into society; the disproportionate impact of pollution in minority and impoverished communities; the pipeline carrying children from foster care to juvenile delinquency; hate crimes directed at members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community; and balancing the competing interests of our nation and immigrants.

Events on Feb. 26 are free and open to the public. Events on Feb. 27 are free for students and faculty and $25 for all other attendees, plus the cost of CLE credits. Up to 5.5 CLE hours are available.