Students, alumni and public interest lawyers explored how to make the legal system fairer through creative solutions at the third annual Shaping Justice conference Feb. 8-9 at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Keynote speaker Larry Krasner, district attorney of Philadelphia, discussed his efforts to address mass incarceration and urged law students to get involved in the progressive prosecutor movement. He called criminal justice reform “the civil rights issue of our time.”
“Our resources to fix things that will make us safer, our resources to prevent crime have been hijacked by politicians who built jail cells to get votes,” he said. “That is what has happened.”
Three UVA Law alumni were honored for their work in public service at the conference, titled “Creative Solutions for Shaping Justice.”
Chinh Q. Lee ’00 and Julia Pierce ’98 received the Shaping Justice Award for Extraordinary Achievement. Le is legal director of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, and Pierce is deputy associate general counsel of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Branch Public Health Division. Michelle Harrison ’12, a staff attorney at EarthRights International, received the Shaping Justice Rising Star Award, but was working abroad and unable to attend.
The conference is sponsored by UVA Law, the Program in Law and Public Service, the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center, the student-run Public Interest Law Association and numerous other student organizations.
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.