Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder joined more than 100 leaders of the legal community, government, and the private sector September 14-16 at a wide-ranging legal aid conference in Washington to mark the 40th anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation.
In addition to speeches, LSC’s 40th Anniversary Kick-Off featured a dozen panel discussions on a wide variety of topics, including “Expanding and Diversifying Sources of Funding,” “Stimulating Innovation to Increase Access to Justice,” “The Impact of Pro Bono Lawyers on the Justice Gap,” and “The Importance of Access to Justice and the Rule of Law to American Business.”
“The Legal Services Corporation is using this milestone anniversary to focus attention on the gravity of the challenges facing civil legal aid in America, to better educate ourselves about what is occurring and what is at stake, and to consider the best ways forward,” said LSC Board Chairman John G. Levi. “By convening leaders from government, business, and philanthropy as well as the legal community, LSC hopes to forge broad strategies for sustaining and improving the funding and delivery of civil legal services.”
The participation of CEOs such as David Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group, Ken Frazier of Merck, and Michael Brown of City Year deepened the perspective of discussions on the importance of access to justice.
“This is a different kind of legal conference,” said LSC President James J. Sandman. “It focuses on entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership and managing effective change. It includes not only the country’s foremost thinkers on expanding access to justice but is outward-looking and includes CEOs of leading American businesses, corporate general counsel, deans of major law schools, and a bipartisan group of legislators and executive agency heads.”
The three-day schedule of events was as follows:
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14th
The first day of the 40th Anniversary Kick-Off Conference began with welcoming remarks from LSC Board Chairman John Levi and President Jim Sandman, followed by an opening panel on the creation of LSC and the history behind our nation’s commitment to access to justice.
Panelists included: Judge David Tatel, former General Counsel of LSC, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; Terry Lenzner, former Director of the Legal Services Program of the Office of Economic Opportunity; Justice Earl Johnson (retired), 2nd Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity Legal Services Program and historian; Thomas Ehrlich, first President of LSC; and Mickey Kantor, former United States Secretary of Commerce and former LSC staff. Alex Forger, director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, moderated the panel.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan delivered remarks before the reception.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15th
The first morning panel featured congressional staff members sharing their perspectives on LSC. Panelists included Stacy Cline, Minority Counsel to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions; Tom Culligan, legislative director for Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA); Norberto Salinas of the Judiciary Subcommittee, representing Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Hank Johnson (D-GA); Shannon Hutcherson Hines, Minority Clerk for the Senate Appropriations Committee on Commerce, Justice & Science;and Michael Kreps of Iowa Senator Tom Harkin’s HELP (Health, Education, Labor & Pensions) committee. Carol Bergman, LSC’s Director of Government Relations and Public Relations, moderated the panel.
Legal aid leaders from across the country then discussed “Stimulating Innovation to Increase Access to Justice.” Panelists included Alison Paul, Executive Director of the Montana Legal Services Association; Alex Gulotta, Executive Director of Bay Area Legal Aid; Bonnie Hough, Managing Attorney of the Judicial Council; Ed Marks, Executive Director of New Mexico Legal Aid; and Martha Bergmark, Executive Director of Voices for Civil Justice. David Stern, Executive Director of Equal Justice Works, moderated the panel.
Next, LSC’s President Jim Sandman discussed ways to diversify legal aid funding with Michael Brown, co-founder and CEO of education non-profit City Year; Steve Gottlieb, Executive Director of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society; Mary McClymont, President of the Public Welfare Foundation; Karen Lash, Acting Senior Counsel for the Department of Justice Access to Justice Office/Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable; and Betty Torres, Executive Director for the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.
LSC Board member Father Pius Pietrzyk moderated the “Non-profit Leadership in Challenging Times” panel, featuring Rhodia Thomas, Executive Director of MidPenn Legal Services; Kelly Sweeney McShane, President and CEO for D.C. non-profit Community of Hope; and Lindsey Buss, Senior Officer for Community Outreach at the World Bank.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia delivered remarks during an afternoon luncheon. Justice Scalia’s media guidelines allowed only still camera and/or pencil-and-pad coverage during the speech. Photos were be limited to the first and last 1-2 minutes of the event. Recording devices were permitted for note-taking purposes and not for broadcast.
The 40th Kick-Off continued with welcoming remarks from Tony West, Associate General of the United States, former Deputy U.S. Attorney General and partner at Kirkland Ellis Mark Filip, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.
Following the afternoon remarks, state Supreme Court Chief Justices and Judges discussed access to justice. Panelists included: Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, New York Court of Appeals; Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, Texas Supreme Court; Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, Wisconsin Supreme Court; Justice Jess Dickinson, Mississippi Supreme Court; Chief Justice Ronald Castille, Pennsylvania Supreme Court; Senior Justice Petra Jimenez-Maes, New Mexico Supreme Court; Chief Justice Michael Heavican of the Nebraska Supreme Court and immediate and past president of the Conference of Chief Justices; Chief Justice Ralph Gants, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts; and Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Hawaii Supreme Court. Chief Judge Diane Wood of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit moderated the panel.
Peter Keisler, partner at Sidley Austin and former Acting U.S. Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, then moderated an access-to-justice panel featuring deans from some of the most prominent law schools in the country: Ken Gormley of Duquesne Law; David Levi of Duke Law; Martha Minow of Harvard Law School; Blake D. Morant of George Washington University and president-elect of the Association of American Law Schools; Robert Post of Yale Law School; Margaret Raymond of the University of Wisconsin School of Law; Michael Schill of the University of Chicago Law; Deanell Tacha of Pepperdine Law School; and William Treanor of Georgetown Law.
Douglas Eakeley, LSC’s Board Chair from 1993-2003, gave opening remarks for the evening reception. Harold Koh, former Department of State Legal Adviser, introduced former Secretary of State and former LSC chairwoman Hillary Clinton.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16th
The final day of LSC’s 40th Anniversary Kick-Off opened with former LSC Board member Herb Garten introducing Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), who delivered morning remarks, followed by current White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston and former White House Counsels Harriet Miers and Bob Bauer.
The first panel of the day focused on “Rethinking Legal Aid,” featuring Professor David Wilkins of Harvard Law School; Professor Deborah Rhode of Stanford Law School; Professor Ronald Staudt of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law; Professor Scott Cummings of UCLA Law School; and Lisa Colpoys of Illinois Legal Aid Online. Robert Grey, a partner at Hunton & Williams LLP, will moderate.
Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, introduced the economic panels. Business leaders from some of the world’s leading companies gathered to discuss a corporate role in increasing access to justice. Panelists included Ken Frazier, CEO of Merck; David Rubenstein, CEO of The Carlyle Group; Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International; and Shari Redstone, Vice Chair of CBS and Viacom. Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School and Vice-Chair of LSC’s Board of Directors, will moderate.
A panel of corporate general counsels discussed their role in closing the justice gap, featuring Ivan Fong, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of 3M; Lucy Lee Helm, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of Starbucks; Mark Chandler, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, and Chief Compliance Officer of Cisco; Max Laun, Vice-President and General Counsel of Alcoa; Teresa Wynn Roseborough, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary for The Home Depot; Brackett Denniston, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for General Electric; and Darryl Bradford, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Exelon. Ronald Flagg, LSC’s Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary, moderated the panel.
After an introduction by the Honorable Abner Mikva, Vice-President Joe Biden delivered remarks during the luncheon.
William Hubbard, President of the American Bar Association, spoke after the luncheon, followed by a panel focusing on the impact of pro bono lawyers on the justice gap. Panelists included: Lee Miller, Global Co-Chairman of DLA Piper; Kathryn Fritz, Managing Partner at Fenwick & West; Craig Martin, Managing Partner at Jenner & Block; Ann S. Bergen, Law Offices of Ann Bergen; Virginia Martin, Legal Services Director for the New Hampshire Bar Association; Tim Bertschy, Partner at Heyl Royster; Stephen C. Neal, Chairman of Cooley, LLP; Dana Cornett, Law offices of Dana Cornett; Virginia Seitz, Partner at Sidley Austin LLP and Former Assistant Attorney General Office of Legal Counsel; and Steve Schulman, President of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, and Pro Bono Partner of Akin Gump. Mary Ryan, Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Partner at Nutter McClennen & Fish, moderated the panel.
A panel of experienced executive directors then talked about the past, present and future of legal aid in America, featuring: Jon Asher, Executive Director, Colorado Legal Services; Colleen Cotter, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland; Nan Heald, Executive Director, Pine Tree Legal Assistance; Gary Smith, Executive Director, Legal Services of Northern California; John Whitfield, Executive Director, Blue Ridge Legal Services, Inc.; and Harrison McIver, Executive Director, Memphis Area Legal Services. LSC President Jim Sandman moderated.
LSC Board member Julie Reiskin then introduced Harold Anderson, Ilah Adkins, Brenda Eagan Brown, and Juliette White – legal aid clients from Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Mexico (respectively) who described how their lives were changed by the assistance they received from LSC-funded legal aid programs.
Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., and U.S. Attorney John F. Walsh, District of Colorado, delivered remarks at the 40th Anniversary Reception.
Following the reception, LSC’ 40th Anniversary Dinner featured remarks by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Martha Minow, Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. LSC announced the awardees of the 2014 Pro Bono Innovation Fund and recognized executive directors who have served at LSC grantee organizations for 40 years.
Download the full conference schedule here.