Yale Law Journal Symposium to Examine Impact and Legacy of Gideon v. Wainwright Case

A distinguished group of scholars, clinicians, and practitioners will gather for a two-day symposium to examine the legacy of the Gideon v. Wainwright case, exactly 50 years after the landmark ruling held that defendants who cannot afford a lawyer are entitled to have one provided for them.

The Symposium, titled “The Gideon Effect: Rights, Justice, and Lawyers Fifty Years After Gideon v. Wainwright,” will take place on Friday, March 8, 2013 and Saturday, March 9, 2013. It is co-sponsored by The Yale Law Journal and the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School.

The event will focus on the meaning, implementation, and legacy of the case, which was decided in March of 1963. Specifically, discussions will explore Gideon’s effect on the development of the law and on public faith in the criminal justice system, the conception of a lawyer’s personal and professional responsibilities under the ruling’s mandate, and recent developments in the right-to-counsel jurisprudence, among other issues.

“It's been a half-century since the Supreme Court mandated that states provide indigent defendants with lawyers,” said Doug Lieb ’13, editor-in-chief of The Yale Law Journal. “Fifty years of Gideon is not only a historic moment that deserves to be commemorated. It's also an opportunity for critical dialogue that will inform future scholarship and policymaking on the issue. The Yale Law Journal hopes this event will have a lasting effect on the discussion about lawyers, rights, and justice."

The historic case holds ties to Yale Law School, as Abe Fortas ’33, a former Yale Law student and professor, argued on behalf of Clarence Gideon before the High Court. Fortas, who also served as editor-in-chief for The Yale Law Journal for Volume 42, later went on to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

For a full list of panelists and discussion topics, click here. The symposium is free and open to the public. While the registration period has ended, please contact doug.lieb@yale.edu if you would like to attend.