Guiding Tomorrow’s Leaders: Law Student Conference 2002
By Nicole Church
It’s hard to believe that the Institute for Justice just completed its 11th annual Law Student Conference, and like the previous 10, it was an exhilarating experience. Thirty-three of the nation’s brightest law students dedicated to advancing individual liberty attended our weekend training seminar held on the campus of Georgetown University.
IJ’s conference equips our nation’s future attorneys with the knowledge and enthusiasm to defend freedom. The comment participants repeated throughout the weekend was, ?This is definitely not taught at my law school.? We accomplished an important goal: to educate and inspire law students on another side to the legal arena that is rarely spotlighted but that holds much promise—public interest law.
Chip Mellor, the Institute’s president and co-founder, laid the groundwork for the conference with a provocative seminar on the history of public interest law and the ?IJ Way.? Clint Bolick, IJ’s other co-founder, as well as its vice president and national director of state chapters, equipped students with essential public interest advocacy skills. Other presenters included Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute, law professors Randy Barnett and G. Marcus Cole, Catholic University Law School Dean Doug Kmiec, Dan Troy from the Food and Drug Administration, Lisa Knepper, IJ’s director of communications, as well as many Institute for Justice attorneys. The lectures covered various aspects of public interest law ranging from constitutional theory to media training. In one session the students participated in a mock case and developed strategies they would implement if working as a public interest attorney. Our guests were clearly eager to absorb the lectures and participated in discussions that continued long after the sessions had been completed.
One of the many highlights of the conference was the keynote speaker at our Saturday night dinner. Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Diane S. Sykes gave an impressive talk on judicial elections and the importance of having a system that ensures nonpartisan and fair judges respectful of the Constitution. It was an honor to have such an important jurist speak to our conference participants.
We feel certain that the graduates of LSC 02 returned home empowered with the knowledge and passion to advance the cause of personal liberty. The Institute for Justice expects great things from them and will keep them involved in the public interest world through our Human Action Network.
Nicole Church is IJ’s programs coordinator.