IJ’s Annual Law Student Conference Informs and Inspires Next-Gen Lawyers
By Krissy Keys
Our 2011 headquarters summer clerks and interns provided excellent legal research for IJ. They are from left to right, Mark Penner, University of Alabama; Greg Reed, American University Washington College of Law; Jonathan Sink, University of North Carolina; Patrick Cento, Boston University School of Law; Chelsea Walker, University of North Carolina; Kyle Matous, Pepperdine University School of Law; Brandon Pizzola, College of William and Mary; Samuel Eckman, University of Chicago Law School; Stephen Kenny, Harvard University Law School; Fernando Ferreira, George Mason University; Elyse Dorsey, George Mason University School of Law; Patrick McMillin, University of Texas School of Law; Hallee Morgan, University of Virginia School of Law; Eric Netcher, University of Florida College of Law; Craig Millward, Siena College; Ben Burningham, George Washington University Law School.
This June, 35 law students representing 28 law schools from across the country joined Institute for Justice summer interns, IJ staff and an attorney from Sweden’s Centrum för Rättvisa at the Institute for Justice’s 19th annual Law Student Conference held at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
The weekend crash-course in IJ’s public interest law tactics included traditional conference presentations on the history of the Institute as well as our activism, coalitions and media relations. New to this year’s conference were sessions on IJ’s recently launched Center for Judicial Engagement and “The Road to the Supreme Court,” detailing what goes into taking a case to the country’s highest court.
The client panel gave attendees a firsthand account about what it is like for an ordinary American to stand up and fight for their constitutional rights. Clients from IJ’s bone marrow, Nashville limos and D.C. tour guide cases spoke about their respective cases and the government’s intrusion into their lives, putting a human face on IJ’s work and reaffirming why limited government is so important to the lives of so many.
The conference also featured some of our nation’s premier thinkers on constitutional law. Georgetown Law Center Professor Randy Barnett discussed the ongoing litigation surrounding ObamaCare, the Cato Institute’s Roger Pilon enlightened attendees on career opportunities available after law school, and George Mason University School of Law Professor Todd Zywicki spoke on public choice theory and the law. On Saturday night, Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia gave a thought-provoking keynote on the judicial appointment process and steps that lawmakers should take to streamline the review and approval of federal judicial appointees.
At the conclusion of the conference, attendees became part of IJ’s Human Action Network (HAN), which includes more than 1,000 conference alumni and past IJ clerks and interns. IJ regularly calls on attorneys in our HAN to conduct legal research in support of ongoing litigation, serve as local counsel for IJ cases, or take on cases that IJ is not able to litigate.
Krissy Keys is the Institute’s special projects manager.
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