U.S. Supreme Court Justice Alito to Headline Law School Conference on Public Service

Posted January 19, 2009

alitoRegister Schedule

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. will headline the 10th Annual Conference on Public Service and the Law, to be held Jan. 30 and 31 at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Alito will deliver the keynote address in the Law School’s Caplin Auditorium at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 31.

The conference will open on the afternoon of Jan. 30 with a special panel discussion on exonerations, featuring best-selling author and Innocence Project board member John Grisham, along with Craig Watkins, pioneering district attorney and creator of Dallas County’s Conviction Integrity Unit, which oversees DNA reviews that have led to a string of exonerations. Friday's events also will include opening remarks by U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, Virginia's Fifth District congressman, and an address by Alan Morrison, co-founder and longtime director of Public Citizen Litigation Group, and one of the most experienced public-interest litigators in the nation.

The student-run conference, which has hosted more than 1,900 participants and 300 panelists since its inception, 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.

Alito, the newest member of the Supreme Court, was confirmed as an associate justice on Jan. 31, 2006, after serving for more than 15 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He replaced former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to become the 110th justice.

Prior to his appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Alito served as U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, where he was best known for prosecuting white collar and environmental crimes, drug trafficking, organized crime and violations of civil rights. From 1985 to 1987, he served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel, where he provided constitutional advice for the executive branch. From 1981 to 1985, he served as assistant to the solicitor general, arguing 12 cases on behalf of the federal government in the Supreme Court and at least two dozen others before the federal courts of appeals.

The schedule for Jan. 31, in addition to Alito’s keynote address, features leading authorities in panels covering topics such as the election law implications of the recent campaign, predatory lending and the foreclosure crisis, the Status of Forces Agreement between the United States and Iraq, and urban education reform.

Past keynote speakers at the conference have included Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, U.S. Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy '59, ACLU President Nadine Strossen, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano '83.

For more information and to register, go to ww.uvapublicserviceconference.com



2:00-3:30 p.m. Registration (Clay Hall/Caplin Pavilion Lobby)
3:00-3:20 p.m. Opening Remarks (Caplin Auditorium)
U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, Virginia's Fifth District Congressman
3:30-5:00 p.m.

Innocence Project Panel (Caplin Auditorium)


  • John Grisham, Author; Member of the Board of Directors, the Innocence Project
  • Craig Watkins, District Attorney, Dallas County, Texas
    George H. Kendall, Senior Counsel, Holland & Knight
  • Paul Enzinna, Partner, Baker Botts
  • Marvin Anderson, Exoneree

Deirdre Enright, Director, Innocence Project at UVA School of Law

5:00-6:00 p.m.

Judicial Remedies for the Foreclosure Crisis: Rescuing or Hurting Homeowners? (Caplin Auditorium)


  • Tom Domonoske, Of Counsel, Law Office of Dale W. Pittman
  • Ann Balcer Norton, Director of Foreclosure Prevention Division, St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center
  • Todd Zywicki, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law

Daniel Nagin, Director, Family Resources Clinic, University of Virginia School of Law

6:00-6:45 p.m. Welcome Speech (Caplin Auditorium)
Alan Morrison, Co-founder and Former Director, Public Citizen Litigation Group
6:45-7:15 Reception (Clay Hall/Caplin Pavilion Lobby)
7:15-9:00 p.m. WELCOME DINNER (Caplin Pavilion)
Craig Watkins, Dallas District Attorney, Creator of Dallas County's Conviction Integrity Unit 
Invited guests only
8:30-9:15 a.m. Registration and Breakfast (Withers-Brown Lounge)
9:15-10:15 a.m. PANELS

Implications of the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq (WB104)


  • Col. David Graham, Executive Director, Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School
  • Sean Watts, Professor, Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School
  • Bill Monahan, Counsel for the Majority, U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Regional Office for the United States and the Caribbean

Robert F. Turner, Professor, Associate Director, Center for National Security Law, University of Virginia School of Law

A 2008 Campaign Retrospective: Issues in Election Law (WB104)


  • Adam Ambrogi, Counsel, U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
  • Ben Ginsberg, Co-Chair of the Public Policy Department, Patton Boggs
  • Joe Birkenstock, Member, Caplin and Drysdale

Daniel R. Ortiz, John Allan Love Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

10:20-11:20 a.m. PANELS

School Choice and Urban Education Reform: Spotlight on the D.C. Public Schools (WB102)


  • Ramona Edelin, Ph.D., Executive Director, D.C. Public Charter School Association
  • Justin Cohen, Director of the Office of Portfolio Management, D.C. Public Schools
  • Stefan Huh, Director, D.C. Office of Public Charter School Financing and Support
  • Leigh Dingerson, Education Team Leader, Center for Community Change

James E. Ryan, Academic Associate Dean, William L. Matheson & Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

Judicial Nominations and Separation of Powers (WB104)


  • Jeremy Paris, Chief Counsel for Nominations and Oversight for Chairman Patrick Leahy, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Jamie Brown, Lobbyist, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti
  • Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor and Legal Correspondent, Slate.com
  • Chip Roy, Vice Chairman, Senate Republican Conference (110th Congress)

Christopher Sprigman, Associate Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law 

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. KEYNOTE ADDRESS (Caplin Auditorium)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
Introduction by Law School Dean Paul G. Mahoney
12:15-1:00 p.m. Reception/Lunch (Caplin Pavilion/Withers-Brown Lounge)
1:00-2:00 p.m. WORKSHOPS

Careers in International Public Interest Law (WB102)


  • John Cobau, Chief Counsel for International Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Eric Rassbach, National Litigation Director, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
  • John Tetrick, Associate, McGuireWoods

John N. Moore, Walter L. Brown Professor of Law, Director, Center for National Security Law, Director, Center for Oceans Law and Policy, University of Virginia School Law

Women in Public Interest Legal Careers (WB103)


  • Robin Steinberg, Executive Director, The Bronx Defenders
  • Ann Grunwald Fort, Partner, Sutherland
  • Lise Adams, Director of the Family Permanency Project, The Children’s Law Center

Kimberly Emery, Assistant Dean for Pro Bono and Public Interest, University of Virginia School Law

Careers in Prosecution and Defense (WB126)


  • Sirena Wissler, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Missouri
  • Darby Lowe, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney, Albemarle County
  • Seann Riley, Criminal Defense Team Leader, The Bronx Defenders

Josh Bowers, Associate Professor of Law, University of Virginia School Law

Public Service in the Private Sector (WB101)


  • Nabina Sinha, Associate, Howrey
  • Roberta Ritvo, Pro Bono Counsel, DLA Piper
  • Ryan Glasgow, Associate, Hunton and Williams
  • Tracey Hopper, Principal, Family Law Offices of Tracey C. Hopper

Yared Getachew, Director of Public Service, Director of the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center, University of Virginia School Law

2:05-3:05 p.m. PANELS

The Issue of Standing in Environmental Law: Who May Litigate on Behalf of the Environment? (WB126)


  • Edwin S. Kneedler, Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Marcia Cleveland, Principal, Law Office of Marcia Cleveland
  • Kay Slaughter, Senior Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Donald A. Cockrill, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins

Leon Szeptycki, Associate Professor, University of Virginia School Law

Addressing the Preschool to Prison Pipeline: How the Legal Community Is Responding to Juvenile Criminalization (WB103)


  • Eden Heilman, Attorney, School-to-Prison Reform Project, Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Billy K. Cannaday Jr., Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, University of Virginia
  • Katayoon Majd, Senior Staff Attorney, National Juvenile Defender Center

Andy Block, Legal Director, JustChildren Program, Legal Aid Justice Center


Careers in the Federal Government (WB104)


  • Susan Sawtelle, Managing Associate General Counsel, U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • Tyrone Brown, Attorney, National Security Division, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Stephen Pfleger, Managing Assistant U. S. Attorney for the Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, and Appellate Divisions of the Western District of Virginia

Molly B. Shadel, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Virginia School 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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