4:00-5:30 Social justice defense panel
5:30-6:00 Film: PENNY by Elizabeth Sher
6:00-7:00 Post-film discussion
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE
Law and ethical rules require criminal defense attorneys to zealously advocate for their client. However, many lawyers are drawn to criminal defense because of their interest in broader criminal and social justice issues: Sentencing reform, inmates’ rights, racial justice, economic justice, and defending underserved minority communities. The Bay Area is home to several idealistic and well-organized Public Defender offices, as well as to private practitioners who are committed to social justice principles. To what extent is the practice of criminal defense embedded in the context of issues of inequality, discrimination, punitiveness, racism, and xenophobia? How to advance broader agendas through criminal practice? How to handle situations in which individual representation and ideological values are at odds with each other?
The conference celebrates sixty years of social justice defense lawyering in the Bay Area with pioneers of activist criminal defense and a new generation of committed defense attorneys. We will discuss the challenges and victories of defense attorneys in the context of racial oppression, homophobia, and sexism in society and within the legal profession—from the civil rights struggles of the 1960s to the Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements of the 21st century.
Our panel includes distinguished defense attorneys: Nanci Clarence, Caitlin Henry, Mary McNamara, Scott Roberts, and Tonny Sera.
The discussion culminates in a special screening of Elizabeth Sher’s documentary PENNY, followed by a conversation with the filmmaker and Penny Cooper, a pioneering Bay Area defense attorney.
This event is free and open to the public. There are up to 2.5 MCLE credits available for this event.
The Public Defender: The Practice of Law in the Shadows Repute - McIntyre
Representing the Reprehensible and Identity Conflicts in Legal Representation - Porter
Defending Defending: The Case for Unmitigated Zeal on Behalf of People Who Do Terrible Things - Smith