Bowen to Headline 11th Annual Conference on Public Service and the Law Friday, Feb. 26 Saturday, Feb. 27

February 22, 2010

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen '79 will deliver the keynote address Saturday at the Law School's 11th Annual Conference on Public Service and the Law. (Full Schedule)

Public Service ConferenceThe conference kicks off Friday in Caplin Auditorium with a panel on Sullivan v. Florida, a case argued before the Supreme Court in 2009 concerning giving a life sentence to a juvenile. Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. , a Richmond lawyer who served as a civil rights attorney in Mississippi in the 1960s, will offer the opening address at 6 p.m.

"We are very excited about the breadth and innovation of the topics in this year's conference," said Corrie Sirkin, who organized the conference with co-chair Alexandra Morgan and a team of students."We have panels on everything from federal climate change regulation, to same-sex marriage after Proposition 8, to animal cruelty laws."

The student-run conference, which has hosted thousands of participants and panelists over the years, gathers nationally prominent legal scholars and practitioners for moderated discussions on critical issues in public interest law as well as career-guidance workshops. The two-day conference is free and open to the public, but pre-event registration is encouraged. Register at

An advocate for open government reform, election integrity and personal privacy rights, Debra Bowen is the sixth woman in California history to have been elected to a statewide constitutional office. An attorney, Bowen served for 14 years in the California state legislature prior to being elected secretary of state in November 2006. In addition to being a leader on election-reform and energy issues, she authored landmark consumer protection laws to protect people from becoming identity theft victims and authored the first-in-the-nation law that put all of California's legislative information online.

Past keynote speakers at the conference have included Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy '59, ACLU President Nadine Strossen, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano '83, who was then governor of Arizona.

2-7 p.m.
Registration (Clay Hall)

3-3:20 p.m.
Opening Remarks (Caplin Auditorium)

3:30-5 p.m.
Life After Sullivan v. Florida: Should Courts Punish Youth Crime with Adult Time? (Caplin Auditorium)

5:05-6 p.m.
Human Trafficking: Slavery in the Modern World (Caplin Auditorium)

6-6:45 p.m.
Opening Address, with Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. (Caplin Auditorium)

6:45-7:15 p.m.
Opening Reception (Caplin Pavilion)

7-9 p.m.
Welcome Dinner (by invitation only) (Caplin Pavilion)

8:30-9:15 a.m.
Registration and Breakfast (Clay Hall)

9:15-10:15 a.m.
Effects of Federal Climate Change Regulations (WB104)
Same-Sex Marriage: Litigation Strategies in the Aftermath of Proposition 8 (WB101)

10:20-11:20 a.m.
The Status of Anti-Cruelty Laws After Michael Vick (WB103)
Changes to Mental Health Law After the Virginia Tech Shooting (WB105)

11:30 a.m. -12:15 p.m.
Keynote Address, with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen (Caplin Pavilion)

12:15-1 p.m.
Reception and Lunch (Withers-Brown Hall Lounge)

1-2 p.m.
The Future of Charter Schools in Virginia (WB126)
Guantanamo Detainees: Trying Terror (WB128)

2:05-3:05 p.m.
Women in Public Interest (WB103)
Federal Careers (WB105)
Public Service in the Private Sector (WB104)
Prosecution and Defense Careers (WB101)


Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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