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This unique event brings law students working for the summer in Washington, D.C. face-to-face with the organizations and issues that will rely on them as volunteer attorneys once they pass the bar. This always well-attended program has become a summer must-do event for aspiring attorneys. Youll have an opportunity to meet other summer associates who, like you, have not left the dream of public service behind. You will meet practicing attorneys who will tell you how (and why!) they reconcile billable hours and public service. Youll also hear from the organizations that depend on pro bono help to get their job done.

The Council's 2003 Summer Forum was held on Monday, June 16, 2003. As usual, the Summer Forum provided an opportunity for the Council to encourage law firm summer associates and summer interns at public interest organizations to either enter public interest careers or make pro bono a regular part of their law firm legal practices. Over 225 people packed Arnold & Porter's Paul Porter Room for a luncheon that featured a Keynote Address by Stephen Bright, the Director of the Southern Center for Human Rights. Stephen Bright has provided advocacy on the right to counsel, capital punishment, human rights in prisons and jails, and judicial independence since 1982. In addition, he has taught courses on the death penalty and criminal law at the Harvard and Yale Law Schools since 1993. At the luncheon, Mr. Bright spoke eloquently about the severe deficiencies in our nation's provision of counsel for indigent criminal defendants. He charged all members of the audience that "access to justice must be something you are concerned about" whatever career path you take - whether it is in government, a law firm, or public interest. Following the luncheon, the group divided into break-out panels with practitioners from public interest legal organizations to further discuss pro bono opportunities and public interest careers. The topics for this year's panels were civil rights/civil liberties; criminal law/death penalty; non-litigation practice (legislative, transactional, etc.); and international human rights.


As for past forums, our keynote speaker at the 2001 Summer Forum was the Honorable David Tatel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Judge Tatel shared his fascinating and inspirational from-the-bench perspective on the need for attorneys to practice public interest and pro bono law. Judge Tatel also provided a historical view of changes in attorney attitudes toward public service, stemming in part from the increased pressures for billable hours. Judge Tatel encouraged the audience of Summer Associates and Interns to practice public interest law or pro bono law as a critical part of their legal careers. Judge Tatels encouraging words were echoed by the panelists who followed him and provided their own insights on job opportunities in civil rights law, international law/human rights, and poverty law.

The 2002 Summer Forum was held on June 19, 2002. The Keynote Speaker was Peter B. Edelman , Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, and formerly Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Clinton. Professor Edelman spoke eloquently on the need for more attorneys to become "policy lawyers" and focus on the needs of people in poverty. He stated that while there are many low income people in need of individual legal representation on a variety of matters, in order to make a "structural difference" in the problems of poverty, more lawyers must become policy lawyers and focus on the "fundamental structural problems" in our economy. Following the Keynote Address, the group divided into break-out panels with practitioners from public interest legal organizations to further discuss public interest careers and pro bono opportunities. The topics for this years panels were civil rights/civil liberties; criminal law; and welfare and family policy.

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