Monday, March 20, 2017


Conference To Examine Strategies to Advance Democracy, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law

Yale Law School will host “Bending the Arc: Strategies to Advance Democracy, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law in the New Administration,” on Saturday, March 25. The conference will provide a forum to share experiences and potential strategies between leading attorneys, law students, and professors working to defend and advance progressive values in the current political climate. In addition, the conference will bring together members of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, as well as alumni of the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project (SFALP), as part of SFALP’s tenth anniversary celebration.

The conference, which is open to the Yale community and invited guests, will begin with “Pushing Forward at the State and Local Level,” a panel focusing on the role of state and local advocacy. Panelists will include Graham Boyd ’92, Founder & Director, New Approach PAC, and former Founder & Director, ACLU Drug Law Reform Project; Lisa Daugaard ’92, Director, Public Defender Association; Christy Lopez ’94, Distinguished Visitor from Practice, Georgetown University Law Center, and former Deputy Chief, Special Litigation Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice; Gary Winfield, Connecticut State Senator; and moderator Michael J. Wishnie ’93, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, Yale Law School. Speakers will discuss the role of state ballot initiatives, state and local legislative and regulatory strategies, and affirmative litigation at the state and local level.

The second panel, “Pushing Back at the Federal Level,” will turn to federal-level issues and strategies. The speakers will discuss how advocates can combat federal policies through litigation and other forms of advocacy. The following individuals will participate in the panel: Michael Barr ’92, Roy F. and Jean Humphrey Proffitt Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School, and former Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Bradford Berry ’88, General Counsel, NAACP; Lorella Praeli, former Director of Advocacy & Policy, United We Dream; Susan Sommer ’86, Associate Legal Director & Director of Constitutional Litigation, Lambda Legal; and moderator Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law, Yale Law School.

The third and final panel, “The California Model,” will highlight California’s successes at achieving progressive advocacy. Panel participants will offer helpful insights and lessons for change makers across the country. Speakers will include Jill Habig ’09, former Special Counsel to California Attorney General Kamala Harris; Dennis Herrera, City Attorney of San Francisco; Yvonne Meré, Chief Attorney of Complex & Affirmative Litigation, San Francisco City Attorney’s Office; Kathleen Morris, Associate Professor of Law, Golden Gate University School of Law; and moderator Heather K. Gerken, J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law, Yale Law School.

The conference will allow students, advocates, and professors to learn from practitioners working at every level of the government and across a variety of substantive areas and backgrounds. The conference is supported by the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund at Yale Law School and has been organized in partnership with the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project (SFALP) and the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. For more information, email [email protected].