Cleveland-Marshall College of Law hosts a free Constitution Day Lecture on Reforming the Civil Legal System to Assure “Justice for All”, Wednesday, September 20 at 5:00 p.m. in the Moot Court Room. The lecture will be delivered by James Sandman, president of Legal Services Corporation.
Pre-registration is not required.
About the lecture:
The concept of equal justice is deeply embedded in our national values. Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton all emphasized the importance of justice to the nation they helped to found and to the government they created. Our commitment to equal justice has found expression repeatedly throughout American history; it is reflected in the closing words of the Pledge of Allegiance and in the inscription on the pediment of the Supreme Court building. Yet every day across America, tens of thousands of people walk into courtrooms alone, without a lawyer, because they cannot afford to pay for one and have no constitutional right to a lawyer in civil matters. Their cases involve matters of safety, subsistence, and family stability – evictions, foreclosures, child custody and support, and domestic violence. They confront a complicated legal system built largely by lawyers for lawyers – an adversary system based on the assumption that you do have a lawyer. Their chances of a fair shot at justice are slim, especially if their opponent is represented by counsel.
Sandman will explain the facts underlying this inconsistency between our professed values and the reality of our civil justice system today. He will also offer suggestions for reforming the civil legal system to provide justice for all.
About James Sandman:
Jim Sandman has been President of the Legal Services Corporation since 2011. LSC is the largest funder of civil legal aid programs in the United States, supporting 133 programs with more than 800 offices serving every state and territory. From 1977 to 2007, Sanman practiced law with Arnold & Porter LLP and served as the firm’s Managing Partner for 10 years. He is a past President of the 100,000-member District of Columbia Bar. From 2007 to 2011, he served as General Counsel of the District of Columbia Public Schools.
Sandman is chair of the Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services of the District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference and a member of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission. He is currently chair of the board of the DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, vice chair of the boards of Washington Performing Arts and the Meyer Foundation, and a member of the boards of Albany Law School, the College of Saint Rose, and Tahirih Justice Center.
In 2008, Legal Times named Sandman one of the “90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years.” He has received the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Alumni Award of Merit and its Howard Lesnick Pro Bono Award, the District of Columbia Bar’s Justice William J. Brennan Award, the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Legal Rights and Urban Affairs’ Wiley A. Branton Award, the Council for Court Excellence’s Justice Potter Stewart Award, the Washington Council of Lawyers’ Presidents’ Award, Tahirih Justice Center’s Wings of Justice Award, DC Law Students in Court’s Celebration of Service Award, and the Women’s Bar Association of DC’s Star of the Bar Award. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters by the College of Saint Rose, where he was the 2013 commencement speaker. He has also given commencement addresses at Villanova Law School, Rutgers Law School, and the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.
Sandman is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he served as Executive Editor of the Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Max Rosenn of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.