Non-traditional Law Conference Returns to Yale

The Rebellious Lawyering Conference, the nation’s largest student-run public interest law conference, will be held February 21-23 at Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street.

Rebellious Lawyering is an annual gathering that brings together practitioners, law students and community activists from around the country to discuss innovative, progressive approaches to law and social change. Now in its ninth year, the conference highlights non-traditional methods of legal and quasi-legal representation, such as grassroots organizing, as well as alternative ways to impact litigation, direct services and criminal defense.

This year’s conference features 11 panels representing a range of different progressive social issues and social justice concerns. Topics include the Bush administration’s energy policy, violence against animals and its links to violence against women, immigrant workers’ rights, the anti-death penalty movement during the war against terrorism and the future of feminism. In addition, several smaller workshops focus on military recruitment at college campuses, law school faculty diversity, lobbying basics, courtroom advocacy for children and international law and human rights.

An opening address will be given by Maria Blanco, national senior counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, who will discuss “Post 9/11 and Civil Rights in a Global Society.” Blanco is actively involved in immigrant rights, women’s rights, educational equity and employment discrimination as a lawyer, policy analyst and community advocate. Most recently, she led legislative efforts in California to obtain higher education opportunities for undocumented students. Her address will be on February 21, at 6 p.m. in Room 127.

Following the opening address, the screening of “Fighting for Life in the Death Belt” and a discussion with filmmakers Jeff Marks and Adam Elend of E.M. Productions is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. in Room 127. The film profiles Steven Bright, a YLS visiting lecturer who is also the director of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. Bright is well known for his work in advocacy for death-row prisoners and anti-death penalty activism.

The keynote address, “With Justice for All,” will be given by Morris Dees, founder and chief trial counsel of the Southern Poverty Law Center, on February 22 at 6 p.m. The center is a nonprofit organization that combats hatred, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation. Dees founded the center in 1971 and now devotes his time to suing violent white supremacist groups and developing ideas for “Teaching Tolerance,” the center’s educational project. His latest book, “Gathering Storm: America’s Militia Threat,” exposes the danger posed by today’s militia groups.

Conference registration is $20, which may be reduced in case of hardship. Free housing with Yale students is available for student attendees if arranged by February 5. The registration fee covers a potluck dinner, to be held on Saturday night. A reception Friday night will be sponsored by the National Lawyers’ Guild. Attendees may register up to the day of the conference or in person, but pre-registration is necessary for those who want housing, which is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Both the film on Friday night and the keynote address on Saturday night are open to the public and free of charge.

To register online, go to For more information about the conference, email Registration forms and checks may be mailed to Rebellious Lawyering Conference, Yale Law School, P.O. Box 208215, New Haven, CT 06520-8215.

A conference agenda follows.

Rebellious Lawyering
2003 Conference Schedule

  Friday, February 21, 2003  
  4 p.m.   Registration begins (Room 122)  
  6 p.m.   Opening address: “Post 9/11 and Civil Rights in a Global Society” (Room 127)
Maria Blanco, National Senior Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  7-8:30 p.m.   National Lawyers Guild Reception (Alumni Reading Room)  
  8:30 p.m.   Film: “Fighting for Life in the Death Belt” and discussion with filmmakers (Room 127)
Jeff Marks and Adam Elend, E.M. Productions
  Saturday, February 22, 2003  
  All day   Mentoring sessions with members of the National Lawyers Guild (Rooms 111, 112, 113)  
  All day   Equal Justice Works representative available in literature room (Room 124)  
  9-10:30 a.m.   The Bush Energy Policy – Environmental Injustice (Room 127)
  • Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network
  • Mark Mitchell, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice
  • Diane Curran, Harmond, Curran, Spielberg and Eisenberg
The Brutal Truth – Linking Violence Against Women to Violence Against Animals (Room 120)
  • Pamela Frasch, Author
  • Mary Lou Randour, Psychologists for Ethical Treatment of Animals
  • Virginia Prevas, The Humane Society of the United States
Workshop: Judge Advocate General (JAG) Recruiting and Student Protest (Room 129)
  • Lori Rifkin, OutLAW and SQUAD, NYU
  • Adam Teicholz, Lambda, Harvard
  • Lindsay Barenz, Outlaws, SAME, Yale

  11-12:30 p.m.   Anonymous Workers, Invisible Work – Organizing to Extend Workers’ Rights to Immigrants (Room 120)
  • Ben Sachs, Service Employees International Union
  • Tony Lu, Domestic Workers’ Rights Initiative
  • Tricia Kakalec, Farm Worker Legal Services of New York
Cleaning Up America’s Elections – The Grassroots Fight to Take Back Democracy (Room 127)
  • Nick Nyhart, Public Campaign
  • Joan Mandel, Democracy Matters
  • John Bonifaz, National Voting Rights Institute
Tools of Resistance, Tools of Control (Room 129)
  • Cindy Cohn, Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Eileen Clancy, iWitness Video
  • Chuck Munson,
Workshop: Law School Faculty Diversity (Room 128)
  • Darshan Khalsa, NYU Law School
  • Diane Shim, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Cardozo
  • Robert Hoo, Coalition for Faculty Diversity, Yale Law School

  12:30-2:30 p.m.   Lunch with panelists at nearby restaurants.  
  2:30-4 p.m.   OutLegislating – When an Elected Official’s Sexuality Makes Her Presence in the Legislature Rebellious (Room 127)
  • Evelyn Mantilla, Connecticut State Representative
  • Glen Maxey, Texas State Representative
  • Alan Spear, Minnesota State Senator
The Anti-Death Penalty Movement During the War Against Terrorism (Room 120)
  • George Kendall, NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • Richard Burr, Burr & Welch
  • Brian Roberts, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Using International Human Rights Law for Social Change (Room 129)
  • Cathy Albisa, Center for Economic & Social Rights
  • Penny Venetis, Rutgers Constitutional Law Clinic
  • Beth Stephens, Rutgers-C a.m.den School of Law
Workshop: Lobbying Basics (Room 128)
  • Michael Hall, Madison Associates, L.L.C.
  • Michael Dannenberg, Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee

  4:15-5:45 p.m.   Legal Aid and Legal Advocacy – The Frontlines of the Fight for Housing and Economic Justice (Room 127)
  • Willie Baptist, Kensington Welfare Rights Union
  • Jennifer Flynn, New York City AIDS Housing Network
  • Steven Gunn, Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, Yale Law School
The Future of Feminism–Youth Activism and Feminist Identity (Room 120)
  • Mia Herndon, Third Wave Foundation
  • Lorraine Lezama, Harvard Law School
Workshop: Courtroom Advocacy for Children (Room 129)
  • Dorothy Murphy, DeKalb County Juvenile Court

  6 p.m.   Keynote address: “With Justice For All” (Auditorium)
Morris Dees, Founder and Chief Trial Counsel, Southern Poverty Law Center
  7 p.m.   Potluck Dinner (BAR, 254 Crown Street)  
  9 p.m.   Rebellious People’s Party (BAR, 254 Crown Street)  
  Sunday, February 23, 2003  
  9:30-11 a.m.   Fiduciary Duties in Federal Indian Law (Room 127)
  • Tracy Labin, Native American Rights Fund
  • Robert Brauchli, Brauchli & Brauchli Paul Frye, Rothstein, Donatelli, Hughes, Dahlstrom, Schoenburg & Frye
Workshop: International Human Rights and Transitional Justice–A Case Study of the Sierra Leone Special Court (Room 129)
  • James Ross, Human Rights Watch

Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with LinkedIn Share this with Email Print this

Media Contact

Gila Reinstein:, 203-432-1325