November 1, 2010 08:51 Age: 3 yrs

Key Civil Rights Leaders to Speak at Access to Justice Forum

Emory University School of Law will host a unique gathering of legal scholars and civil rights activists at the National Civil Rights Access to Justice Forum on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 11-12.

Featured speakers include U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) who helped lead the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Ala., and former Assistant U.S. Attorney General John Doar, who prosecuted the notorious Mississippi Burning case involving the murders of three civil rights activists.

Doar will speak from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, in Emory Law’s Tull Auditorium, with a reception to follow. Rep. Lewis will deliver the conference’s keynote address at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 12, in Tull Auditorium. Six Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits have been requested for forum attendees.

The conference will revisit the history of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and explore whether recent Supreme Court decisions involving changes in the pleading standards for plaintiffs attempting to bring civil rights cases to federal court and the compulsory arbitration of discrimination claims have made civil rights laws less effective.

“In light of recent Supreme Court decisions that have made it more difficult for many individuals to gain access to our federal courts, this will be a timely discussion of national importance,” said Caroline Fredrickson, executive director of the American Constitution Society.

“We are pleased to be hosting this conference and especially honored to bring together important figures in the civil rights movement along with leading scholars, jurists and practitioners to engage in an open dialogue on the current state of our civil rights laws,” said Emory Law Professor Paul Zwier, director of the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution. “We’re certain that the program will benefit not only students at Emory, but students of history and the legal profession.”

Other notable panelists on Nov. 12 include:

  • The Hon. John T. Nixon, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
  • The Hon. U.W. Clemon, U.S. District Court for Northern Alabama
  • The Hon. Cynthia Stephens, Michigan Court of Appeals
  • Emory Law Professor Charles Shanor, former general counsel for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Jeffrey Bramlett, past president of the State Bar of Georgia
  • Cardozo School of Law Professor Alex Reinert, who argued Ashcroft v. Iqbal before the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Joshua Civin, assistant counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Leslie Proll, director of the Washington, D.C., office of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Catholic University Law Professor Suzette Malveaux
  • Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice
  • Cyrus Mehri, founding partner of Mehri & Skalet and lead counsel in two significant discrimination cases: Roberts v. Texaco Inc. and Ingram v. The Coca Cola Company
  • Andrew Kramer, partner at Jones Day
  • Michael Allen, partner at Relman, Dane & Colfax and lead counsel in Anti-Discrimination Center v. Westchester
  • Brian Spears, civil rights attorney and board member of the National Police Accountability Project
  • Reuben Guttman, partner at Grant & Eisenhofer
  • Patrick Szymanski, general counsel of Change to Win
  • Robert Stropp, Mooney, Green, Baker & Saindon

“Our aim is to stimulate the minds of current and future attorneys to begin today’s work to further civil rights achievements,” said Shawn McCullers 11L, community service chair of Emory’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA). “This forum presents a unique opportunity to learn from those who have faced these challenges head-on and to become a part of a renewed civil rights battle.”

The conference is organized jointly by Emory Law’s Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution and the American Constitution Society with support from Emory BLSA, Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP, Reuben Guttman, Cook Hall & Lampros LLP, Mooney, Green, Baker & Saindon PC, Chitwood Harley Harnes LLP and Smith Humphrey & Verbit PL.

Learn more and register for the conference at www.law.emory.edu/civilrightsforum.

Free parking for Thursday’s event is available in Lowergate South parking facility, adjacent to Emory Law. Parking for Friday is available in one of Emory’s visitor parking facilities. More information can be found here.

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