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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Attorney P. Sabin Willett To Share His Guantánamo Moment at Preiskel-Silverman Lecture

Attorney P. Sabin Willett will deliver the 2011-12 Preiskel Silverman Lecture on Monday, October 24, 2011, at Yale Law School. His talk is titled “Your Guantánamo Moment” and is free and open to the public. It begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge, with a reception following in the Alumni Reading Room.

Sabin Willett is a partner in the Boston law firm Bingham McCutchen, specializing in commercial litigation and bankruptcy litigation. Since 2005, he has also been active in the firm’s work attempting to restore the rule of law at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and has represented several Guantánamo prisoners on a pro bono basis. Here is how he describes his talk:

“At the stroke of noon, on August 30, 2006, a Boston bankruptcy attorney stood just outside an interrogation cell at Guantánamo Bay, experiencing a revelation. It was his Guantánamo Moment.

“He was then in the midst of trying to win freedom for Uighur prisoners seized, years earlier, in the fog of the Afghanistan War. There would be many memorable moments in the pro bono saga: in the slums of Tirana, Albania, in an airport in Sweden, in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in the White House, in the Cabinet House on Front Street, Hamilton, Bermuda, in the notorious Camp Six, and in the cells of Camp Echo and Camp Iguana. But that day in Cuba brought him his one, revelatory Moment.

“Guantánamo Moments will come again, in new Guantánamos, for a new generation of lawyers. Every lawyer may have his own. He’d be a fool to seize it, and a greater fool not to.”

In addition to his legal work, Willett is the author of three novels, "Present Value," "The Deal" and "The Betrayal." He earned both his bachelor’s and J.D. degrees from Harvard.

The Preiskel-Silverman Lecture is part of the Robert H. Preiskel and Leon Silverman Program on the Practicing Lawyer and the Public Interest, established by the law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in honor of Preiskel ’48 and Silverman ’48 to celebrate private lawyers’ contributions to the public interest.