The “Shaping Justice” conference brought students, alumni and public interest lawyers together Feb. 3-4 at the University of Virginia School of Law to honor the 20th anniversary of the school’s Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center.

The center has helped students fulfill their pursuit of careers in the public interest and pro bono work since 1996. The event was sponsored by the Program in Law and Public Service, the student-run Public Interest Law Association, and numerous student organizations.

Keynote speaker Robin Steinberg, founder and executive director of The Bronx Defenders, spoke about her experiences setting up a new practice in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and told law students to confront injustice wherever they see it.

“The ability to be a warrior for justice is not exclusive,” she said. “Not to any one person, perspective or cause.”

Steinberg’s organization pioneered the “holistic defense” model, which takes an interdisciplinary approach to address the underlying factors that lead poor clients into the criminal justice system.

Six alumni also were honored for their career contributions to law and public service, including James Hingeley '76, Vijay Shanker '99, Jennifer Ricketts '88, U.S. Navy Lt. Jacqueline Leonard '11, Robert Lee '92 and Stephen Pevar '71.

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.