The conference is now in its 7th year, and our panels are a reflection of issues in the national news as well as issues close to the hearts of students at Georgia Law

Schedule of events

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Friday, March 2nd
6:30 PM

Keynote address

Jan Schlichtmann

The Melting Point, Athens, GA

6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Jan Schlichtmann, a litigator focusing on consumer protection and toxic torts, famously fought for families in Woburn, Massachusetts, whose drinking water had been contaminated by industrial pollutants. His case was the focus of Jonathan Harr’s A Civil Action, which was made into a movie starring John Travolta. In 2005, he co-founded The Legal Broadcast Network, a blogging and podcast site. In 2007, he founded The Civil Action Center to educate about consumer protection and alternative dispute resolution.

Saturday, March 3rd
9:30 AM

Student Loans: The Next Bubble?

Janice Barrocas, Hope for Georgia
Rand Park, Minnesota's Private Colleges
Paul Campos, University of Colorado at Boulder
Usha Rodrigues, University of Georgia School of Law

Larry Walker Room, Rusk Hall

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

In 2011, the amount of outstanding student loan debt in America crossed the $1 trillion threshold. Defaults on student loans are increasing, and certain historically disadvantaged ethnic and social groups face particularly high rates of default. Panelists will explore the increased reliance on debt to finance education, the impact it has on individuals and communities, and pathways for reform.

10:45 AM

Alternative Careers: Alumni Perspectives on Their Nontraditional Careers

Thomas Rawlings, International Justice Mission
Benjamin George, Senate Democratic Caucus
David Shillcutt, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Room B, Hirch Hall

10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

Can you really do anything with a law degree? Georgia Law graduates are working in government, policy, business, the nonprofit sector, and as consultants and entrepreneurs. A panel of Georgia Law graduates working in non-traditional positions at various stages in their careers reflect on how they transitioned into these roles and the ways in which they draw on their legal training and experience in non-legal roles.

Sustainability & Ethics of Animal Farming Practices

Joyce Tischler, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Bruce Myers, Environmental Law Institute
Mark Risse, University of Georgia Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Terence Centner, University of Georgia College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences

Room A, Hirch Hall

10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

High-density farming practices in the production of eggs, meat, dairy, and poultry make these products more affordable and more widely accessible— but at what cost? Panelists will discuss the ethics of these practices, as well as the impact on the environment and human health.

1:30 PM

Funding the Fight Against Domestic Violence

Carol W. Hunstein, Georgia Supreme Court, Chief Justice
Joan Prittie, Project Safe, Executive Director
Sherry Boston, DeKalb County, Solicitor-General
Michelle Carney, Institute for Nonprofit Organizations, Director

Room A, Hirch Hall

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Last October, the City Council in Topeka, Kansas, adopted a radical approach to managing the cots of prosecuting domestic violence— the city repealed its domestic violence law. The move was political brinksmanship, intended to force the county to pick up the tab for prosecutions, but it nonetheless sent a significant message about state and local funding priorities.

Across the nation, declining returns on escrow accounts funding legal services, government funding cutbacks, and reduced giving has left more people at risk of serious harm and death from domestic violence. Panelists will discuss the effects of austerity on prosecutions, preventative services, and aid, as well as opportunities for increased funding and collaborative reform.

Solo Practice: What You Need to Know Before You Consider Hanging a Shingle

David Will
Robert McNiff
Greg Parent
Janet Hill
Susan Cartier Liebel, Solo Practice University
University of Georgia School of Law, Black Law Students Association

Room B, Hirch Hall

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

In rural and urban communities alike, solo practitioners meet demand for services such as probate, divorce, immigration; their connections to the community can serve a very significant public interest role. But new solo practitioners face legal and financial liabilities in hanging their shingle, and undertaking such a role proves much more complex than hanging a shingle (or in this day and age, launching a website).

A panel of new and experiences solo practitioners will discuss stumbling blocks they have encountered and reflect on knowledge and experience necessary for going solo.

3:15 PM

Troy Davis: Does Focusing on Innocence Change Minds or Distract from the Harder Moral Debate?

Philip Horton, Arnold and Porter
Laura Moye, Amnesty International
Lori A. Ringhand, University of Georgia School of Law

Room A, Hirch Hall

3:15 PM - 4:45 PM

The conversation will center on the lasting impact of the Troy Davis case, which focused national attention on problems with the use of capital punishment, including criticisms such as inadequate representation for the convicted, arbitrariness in sentencing, and public uneasiness with the risk of sentencing innocent individuals to death. At the same time, a majority of Americans (62%) support capital punishment.

Does a focus on innocence risks contribute to the discussion regarding the morality of the death penalty or does it distract? Six months later, has the Troy Davis case changed the way that Georgians and Americans feel about the death penalty, or was public outcry a unique response to the exceptional facts of the case and widespread belief in Davis’s innocence?