Emory Law draws legal luminaries to campus

Emory University School of Law is a top-ranked US law school. It’s an institution unique in its offering of a world-class faculty, a diverse student body and warm community feel, plus a sophisticated urban setting in Atlanta, Georgia, and a global alumni network. Notable speakers and symposia add to the vibrancy of Emory Law outside the classroom.

This year alone, Emory Law hosted a US Supreme Court Justice, the Judge Advocate General of the US Army, a judge in the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, the senior pastor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, and held a symposium addressing human trafficking, pornography, and prostitution.

In early February, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, sat down with Emory Law professor Fred Smith, Jr., for a discussion with the law school community. Over a thousand students, faculty, staff, judges, and alumni gathered in Glenn Memorial Auditorium to hear Justice Sotomayor. She left the stage and walked among the audience, shaking hands and answering questions. She was candid with the audience about her upbringing and the challenges of feeling like an outsider. When asked if she had any advice for outsiders, she replied, “I may not belong 100 percent, but I’m there.” Encouraging the gathered crowd, she declared “Nobody should live their life as a bystander.” Then, speaking directly to two school-aged girls in the front row, she said warmly, “You’re going to do bigger things than me.”

Justice Sotomayor was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama in 2009. Professor Smith is a constitutional law scholar who clerked for Justice Sotomayor during the October 2013 term.

Later that month, Lieutenant General Charles N. Pede, Judge Advocate General of the US Army, spoke at Emory Law’s second annual Global Leaders Lecture on The Role of Judge Advocates & Legal Advisors in Operations: The Legitimacy Imperative. The event was hosted by Emory Law’s International Humanitarian Law Clinic. During the lecture, Pede explaimed to an auditorium full of captivated law students and faculty, “Remember this: You must be a lifelong learner. As soon as you think you know something, that is your evil twin.” Pede not only went over experiences he had encountered in his thirty years of practice, but also explained that, “Good lawyers insist on the distinction of where the law ends and where opinion actually begins.”

Pede is a military lawyer who currently serves as the 40th Judge Advocate General of the United States Army – the senior uniformed lawyer in the Army – leading over 10,000 attorneys, paralegals, and legal administrators.

The annual David J. Bederman lecture, presented by the Center for International and Comparative Law, welcomed Judge Rosemary Barkett, Iran-United States Claims Tribunal. Judge Barkett spoke on “Immigrants, Refugees, and Women: International Obligations and the United States.”

As part of the university’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebratory activities, Rev. Raphael G. Warnock PhD, senior pastor of King’s Atlanta-based Ebenezer Baptist Church, addressed members of the Emory Law community on the topic of “Unfinished Business.”

“No person, dead or alive, in the history of our republic has managed to capture more eloquently and powerfully—and demonstrate through his life witness more effectively—the meaning and power of the American Dream than Martin Luther King Jr.” Warnock said history looks at King’s victories as though they happened in a vacuum, but they were actually part of a long, prophetic tradition. His father was an activist in his own right, and the church that raised him nurtured in him a belief that one cannot talk about the freedom of the spirit while keeping the body in bondage.

Warnock reminded those assembled, “If any of us is engaged in a project that we can complete in our own lifetimes, that project is not large enough.” He added that while the work we do will be finished by others, “It is our job, responsibility, and sacred obligation to use what gifts we have to finish Dr. King’s unfinished work to build the beloved community.”

In addition to those speakers, the Emory Law Journal held its 37th annual Randolph W. Thrower Symposium, “Sex Crimes in the 21st Century: Human Trafficking, Pornography, and Prostitution.” The symposium brought together scholars from around the country to discuss the intersection of obscenity, child pornography and the first amendment as well as human trafficking, pornography, and prostitution and ways to address these issues.

Keynote speaker Catharine A. MacKinnon, Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, and James Barr Ames, visiting Professor of Law at Harvard, opened the symposium. MacKinnon’s talk was followed by panels that fostered conversations between Emory Law faculty, as well as faculty from around the country, practicing attorneys, a former Ambassador-at-Large at the US Department of State, and the leadership of international human rights NGOs.

Emory Law’s combination of top-rate academics and caring classroom faculty, along with exciting speakers and symposia outside the school environment, provide a dynamic culture in which to pursue your LLM. For more information on upcoming events at Emory Law, see our calendar.

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