Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Liman Colloquium to Provide Perspectives on Public Interest Law

The Fifth Annual Arthur Liman Public Interest Program Colloquium, "Power and Purposes," will be held on March 8, 2002, at Yale Law School, from 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

"Power and Purposes" is the title of the Fifth Annual Arthur Liman Public Interest Program Colloquium. Deborah Cantrell, the director of the Arthur Liman Program, expands on this terse phrase by saying that the colloquium will consider "how to do more and better public interest work."

Previous Liman Colloquiums have focused on particular substantive areas of the law; however, for the fifth anniversary of the gathering, the Liman Center decided to broaden the topic of consideration to the standing and prospects of public interest law generally. The discussion will include academic lawyers, human rights workers, public interest lawyers, private practitioners, and others--with specialists in a variety of disciplines coming together. Each participant, however, has something to add about the many ways public interest law is practiced, and ways it can be improved.

The event will run all day, from breakfast, through four panel discussions, and on through a collection of working groups. It will conclude with a final session, titled "Reflections on the Future."

The discussion sessions will cover the topics, "Understanding the Challenges of Public Interest Law Today," "Becoming and Staying a Public Interest Lawyer," "Imbedding Public Interest in Private Practice," "Delivery of Legal Services Globally," and "Multiplying the Modes of Public Interest Practice."

Some of the speakers at the colloquium will include David Luban, Frederick J. Haas Professor of Law and Philosophy at Georgetown University Law Center; Susan Butler Plum, director of the Skadden Fellowship Foundation; Gara LaMarche, director of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Institute; Lenora Lapidus, director of the ACLU Women?s Rights Project; and Martha W. Barnett, a partner in Holland & Knight and past ABA President. Also participating will be a number of YLS faculty members.

Cantrell explains that the Liman Center focused on securing a "really good mix of people on each panel." Discussions will include activists working in the field, academics, and other members of the public interest community, such as funders. "That's what excites me most about the colloquium," says Cantrell, "its multiple perspectives."

One panel will consider "Imbedding Public Interest in Private Practice," which was an issue that the namesake of the program, Arthur Liman, dealt with. Liman maintained a successful and highly respected private practice while also engaging in frequent public interest pursuits. He was chief counsel to the New York State Special Commission on Attica after the 1971 riot and president of the Legal Aid Society of New York among many other commitments.

The working groups in the afternoon will build on the topics broached in the discussions to try to generate ideas for "creative and pragmatic ways that more public interest work can get done."

Attendance is by advance registration only. Anyone interested in registering to attend the Liman Colloquium should contact Anna Horning, senior administrator, Liman Program, at 203-432-7740 or