Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner will deliver the keynote address at the third annual Shaping Justice conference, “Creative Solutions for Shaping Justice,” on Feb. 8-9 at the University of Virginia School of Law.

As Philadelphia’s district attorney since Jan. 1, 2018, Krasner quickly made a splash for his creative efforts at criminal justice reform. In February, he announced that law enforcement would no longer pursue criminal charges against those caught possessing marijuana. He then instructed prosecutors to stop seeking cash bail for those accused of some misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. His office has also filed a lawsuit against several pharmaceutical companies for their role in the city’s opioid epidemic.

Other efforts include establishing a sentence review unit to seek re-sentencing for overly harsh punishments, seeking shorter prison sentences in plea deals, and investigating police officers for offenses like lying while on duty and racial profiling.

Krasner previously worked in the Federal Public Defender’s Office, opened his own law firm and was a criminal defense lawyer for 30 years, specializing in civil rights and representing protesters pro bono.

Krasner will speak at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 in Caplin Pavilion.

Aimed at inspiring students and lawyers to promote justice through public service, the conference will also feature a lunch and awards ceremony Feb. 9 to honor Michelle Harrison ’12, Chinh Q. Le ’00 and Julia Pierce ’98 for their roles in serving the public. 

Other events include networking opportunities, workshops and panels on topics such as gun violence, affordable housing, the opioid epidemic and protecting the rights of vulnerable populations.

The conference is sponsored by UVA Law, the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center, the Program in Law and Public Service, the student-run Public Interest Law Association and numerous other student organizations.

All conference events are open to the public with registration.


Friday, Feb. 8

1-2 p.m.


Clay Hall Lobby (in front of Caplin Pavilion)

2-3:15 p.m.


Panel 1 | Responding to Gun Violence
Sponsored by the Domestic Violence Project and Child Advocacy Research & Education

  • Tess Fardon ’18, Attorney, Brady Center
  • Josh Horwitz, Executive Director, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
  • Mike McLively ’09, Senior Staff Attorney, Urban Gun Violence Initiative Director, Giffords Law Center
  • ModeratorAnne M. Coughlin, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

Panel 2 | Protecting Immigrants’ Rights
Sponsored by the Latin American Law Organization, the Migrant Farmworkers Project, and the National Lawyers Guild, UVA Chapter

  • Jennifer Kwon, Attorney, Legal Aid Justice Center, Immigrant Advocacy Program
  • Akash Patel, University of Michigan Law School Class of 2019
  • Cory Sagduyu ’18, Skadden Legal Fellow, Ayuda
  • Moderator: Barbara E. Armacost ’89, Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

3:30-4:45 p.m.

Panel 3 | Alternatives to Incarceration
Sponsored by the Virginia Law in Prison Project

  • Jeannie Alexander, Director, No Exceptions Prison Collective
  • Herb Dickerson, Outreach Coordinator and Shift Supervisor, The Haven
  • Judge Robert H. Downer Jr. ’76, Charlottesville General District Court
  • Angel Harris, Assistant Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Moderator: Jennifer L. Givens, Associate Professor of Law, General Faculty; Legal Director of the Innocence Project Clinic, University of Virginia School of Law

Panel 4 | Curing the Opioid Epidemic
Sponsored by the Health Law Association

  • Denise Bonds, Director, Thomas Jefferson Health District, Virginia Department of Health
  • Amanda Latimore, Bloomberg American Health Initiative Public Sector Initiatives
  • Andrew Miller, Sanford Heisler Sharp
  • Donald Wolthuis, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney for Roanoke, Virginia
  • Moderator: Richard Bonnie ’69, Harrison Foundation Professor of Medicine and Law; Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences; Director, Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy; Professor of Public Policy, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia

5:30 p.m.

Caplin Pavilion

Keynote Address

“The Urgency of Now: Joining​ the Movement to End Mass Incarceration”

Larry Krasner, Philadelphia District Attorney

Introduction by Dean Risa Goluboff, Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law and Professor of History, University of Virginia School of Law Caplin Pavilion

6:30-8:30 p.m.


Caplin Pavilion

Saturday, Feb. 9

9-10 a.m.

Continental Breakfast

Caplin Pavilion

10:15-11:30 a.m.


Panel 1 | Confronting Racism
Sponsored by the Minority Rights Coalition and the Black Law Students Association

  • Vinay Harpalani, Associate Professor of Law, Savannah Law School
  • Michael Herring ’90, Commonwealth’s Attorney of Richmond, Virginia
  • Meredith Horton ’07, Associate Legal Director, Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Lisa Woolfork, Associate Professor of English, University of Virginia
  • Moderator: Trina Jones, Jerome M. Culp Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law

Panel 2 | Housing Justice in Charlottesville – Innovative Approaches for the Social and Natural Environment
Sponsored by the Virginia Environmental Law Forum

  • Morgan Butler ’02, Senior Attorney and Leader of the Charlottesville/Albemarle Project, Virginia Office, Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Kathy Galvin, Councilor, City of Charlottesville
  • Elaine Poon, Managing Attorney, Charlottesville Office, Legal Aid Justice Center
  • Moderator: Richard Schragger, Perre Bowen Professor of Law, Joseph C. Carter, Jr. Research Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.


Workshop 1 | Trauma-Informed Care

  • Sara Robinson, Counselor, Region Ten
  • Mario Salas ’14, Attorney, Legal Aid Justice Center, JustChildren

Workshop 2 | Strategies for Nonprofit Litigation

  • Jeffrey Kerr ’87, General Counsel, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Workshop 3 | Tools for Effective Legislative Advocacy

  • Sally Hudson, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Education and Economics, University of Virginia Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

1-3 p.m.

Networking Lunch and Awards Ceremony

Caplin Pavilion

Remarks by Dean Risa Goluboff, Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law and Professor of History, University of Virginia School of Law

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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