California Secretary of State To Keynote U.Va. Public Interest Law Conference

February 22, 2010

February 22, 2010 — California Secretary of State Debra Bowen will deliver the keynote address Saturday at the University of Virginia School of Law's 11th Annual Conference on Public Service and the Law.

The conference kicks off Friday in Caplin Auditorium with a panel discussion on Sullivan v. Florida, a case argued before the Supreme Court in 2009, in which a juvenile was sentenced to life in prison. Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr., a Richmond lawyer who served as a civil rights attorney in Mississippi in the 1960s, will offer the opening address at 6 p.m.

"We are very excited about the breadth and innovation of the topics in this year's conference," said Corrie Sirkin, who organized the conference with co-chair Alexandra Morgan and a team of their fellow students. "We have panels on everything from federal climate-change regulation to same-sex marriage after Proposition 8 to animal cruelty laws."

The conference, which has hosted thousands of participants and panelists over the years, 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. (Register at

An advocate for open government reform, election integrity and personal privacy rights, Bowen is the sixth woman in California history elected to a statewide constitutional office. An attorney, Bowen served for 14 years in the California state legislature prior to being elected secretary of state in November 2006. In addition to being a leader on election-reform and energy issues, she authored landmark consumer protection laws to protect people from becoming identity theft victims and authored the first-in-the-nation law that put all of California's legislative information online.

Past keynote speakers at the conference have included Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, ACLU President Nadine Strossen, U.S. Supreme Court justices Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who was then governor of Arizona.

The conference schedule:

Feb. 26

2-7 p.m.: Registration (Clay Hall)

3-3:20 p.m.: Opening remarks (Caplin Auditorium)

3:30-5 p.m.: Life After Sullivan v. Florida: Should Courts Punish Youth Crime with Adult Time? (Caplin Auditorium)

5:05-6 p.m.: Human Trafficking: Slavery in the Modern World (Caplin Auditorium)

6-6:45 p.m.: Opening address with Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. (Caplin Auditorium)

6:45-7:15 p.m.: Opening reception (Caplin Pavilion)

7-9 p.m.: Welcome dinner (by invitation only) (Caplin Pavilion)
Feb. 27

8:30-9:15 a.m.: Registration and breakfast (Clay Hall)

9:15-10:15 a.m.: Concurrent sessions
•    Effects of Federal Climate Change Regulations (Withers-Brown 104)
•    Same-Sex Marriage: Litigation Strategies in the Aftermath of Proposition 8 (Withers-Brown 101)

10:20-11:20 a.m.: Concurrent sessions
•    The Status of Anti-Cruelty Laws After Michael Vick (Withers-Brown 103)
•    Changes to Mental Health Law After the Virginia Tech Shooting (Withers-Brown 105)

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Keynote address, with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen (Caplin Auditorium)

12:15‐1:00 p.m.: Reception and lunch (Withers-Brown Hall Lounge)

1-2 p.m.: Concurrent sessions
•    The Future of Charter Schools in Virginia (Withers-Brown 126)
•    Guantanamo Detainees: Trying Terror (Withers-Brown 128)

2:05-3:05 p.m.: Workshops
•    Women in Public Interest (Withers-Brown 103)
•    Federal Careers (Withers-Brown 105)
•    Public Service in the Private Sector (Withers-Brown 104)
•    Prosecution and Defense Careers (Withers-Brown 101)