6th Annual Shaping Justice Conference To Feature Author, Human Rights Lawyer

Conference Will Honor Alumni, Aims To Inspire Future Public Servants
Derecka Purnell

Derecka Purnell is the author of the book “Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom.” Courtesy photo

January 20, 2022

Lawyer and author Derecka Purnell will deliver the keynote address at the sixth annual Shaping Justice conference, “Forging a More Just Society,” which the University of Virginia School of Law will host Feb. 4 online.

Purnell is a lawyer, writer, organizer and author of the book “Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom.” An advocate for abolishing the police and prisons, Purnell provides legal assistance, research and trainings in community-based organizations. In 2020, she helped create the COVID19 Policing Project at the Community Resource Hub for Safety Accountability, which tracked law enforcement actions resulting from pandemic-related public health orders. Through a Skadden Fellowship after graduating from Harvard Law School, she helped build the Justice Project at Advancement Project’s national office.

Purnell will speak at 4:30 p.m.

Aimed at inspiring students and lawyers to promote justice through public service, the conference will also feature an awards ceremony to honor alumni working in public interest roles. Nitin Shah ’09 will receive the Shaping Justice Award for Extraordinary Achievement, and Sejal Jhaveri ’15 and Thomas Silverstein ’13 will receive the Shaping Justice Rising Star Awards.

The conference is sponsored by UVA Law’s Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center and Program in Law and Public Service, and the student-run Public Interest Law Association. The event is open to UVA Law students, employees and alumni; public interest attorneys; and students and employees at other law schools.

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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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