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Mayor Cory Booker '97 to Give Keynote Speech at Liman Colloquium


Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker '97 will open the Colloquium with a keynote speech on Thursday, March 1, at 4:30 p.m. in the Yale Law School Auditorium. The talk is open to the public.

A decade ago, Arthur Liman’s family, friends and colleagues endowed a professorship and a public interest program at Yale Law School. Arthur Liman, a 1957 graduate of the Law School, was a highly respected attorney who served in both the public and private sectors. His work in the government included his roles as chief counsel to the New York State Special Commission on Attica Prison and as Special Counsel to the United States Senate Committee Investigating Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition. Arthur Liman was a founder of the Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem and the Legal Action Center in New York City and also served as the president of the Legal Aid Society of New York. Thus, throughout his distinguished career up until his death in 1997, Arthur Liman demonstrated how dedicated lawyers in both private practice and public life can serve the needs of people and causes that might otherwise go unrepresented.

Since then and through the generosity of his family, friends, professional colleagues and many others, Yale Law School has helped advance Liman’s vision by enabling students, alumni, alumnae and faculty to work together on a range of public interest projects.

“When the Liman Program started in 1997, we funded one Yale Law School graduate as a public interest fellow and a few undergraduates at Harvard’s Philips Brooks House,” said Arthur Liman Public Interest Program Director Deborah Cantrell.

“A decade later," explained Arthur Liman Professor Judith Resnik, “and with the support of Arthur’s widow Ellen and his children—Doug, a filmmaker, Lewis, a lawyer, and Emily, a scientist—the program has grown to fund seven law school graduate fellows a year and dozens of summer fellows at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Barnard and Spelman. To date, 45 Yale Law School graduates have been appointed to Liman Fellowships. We are developing an intergenerational network supported by an amalgam of well wishers, some fully planted in law and others, like Doug Liman, coming from other fields and embracing an agenda of social justice.”

On March 1 and 2, Yale Law School will celebrate this inspirational decade of public service by hosting the tenth annual Arthur Liman Public Interest Law Colloquium. To mark the anniversary, the program has invited all past Yale Law School Liman Fellows to join with the newly-named fellows (see list below) as well as scholars, advocates and students for a program titled “Liman at Ten: Looking Forward to Another Decade of Public Interest Lawyering.”
“The joy is in enabling so many talented and dedicated individuals to use their abilities on behalf of others,” said Resnik, who has shaped and developed the Liman program. “Arthur Liman was famous for being a person to whom one went when in need, and in his name, dozens of others are gaining the same reputation for brilliant and kind generosity.”  

“All the fellows have brought creativity, energy and skill to their public interest law work and have helped improve people's lives and social conditions throughout the country,” added Cantrell.

The new mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker, will open the Colloquium with a keynote speech on Thursday, March 1, at 4:30 p.m. in the Law School Auditorium. Booker, who graduated from Yale Law School in 1997 and is also a graduate of Stanford University and a Rhodes Scholar, will provide “An Urban Mayor’s Perspective on Public Interest Advocacy.” The talk is open to the public.

On Friday, March 2, Liman Fellows and Yale Law School students will meet in small groups to reflect on their own roles as advocates and discuss specific areas of public interest law such as civil rights, criminal justice, immigration, juvenile justice and workers’ rights.

A lunchtime roundtable discussion, “Creating Opportunities to Generate New Forms of Public Interest Advocacy,” will be held Friday, March 2, at 12:45 p.m. and is open to all attendees. Panelists will explore many sites and sources for innovation, including the role of law schools and universities in generating new kinds of public interest work. 
Pre-registration for the Colloquium. To register, email For more information and the complete Colloquium schedule, visit the Yale Law School website at

Seven Liman Fellows have been appointed to serve in 2007-08.  Their projects are detailed below.

Stephanie Biedermann graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 2004 and will graduate from the Law School in May 2007.  For her fellowship, Stephanie will spend the year at Disability Rights Advocates, in Berkeley, California.  Her focus will be on the problems faced by the disabled when emergencies arise and her goals including ensuring that local governments have plans that are practical and appropriate for disabled persons.
Jamie Dycus is a 2006 graduate of Yale Law School.  He also holds an MA in Secondary Education from the University of Mississippi and a BA from Stanford University.  Prior to law school, Jamie taught middle school and high school English for six years.  This year he is clerking for the Honorable Raymond J. Dearie of the Eastern District of New York.  Next year as a Liman Fellow, Jamie will join the ACLU's Racial Justice Program in New York, where he will work on the interaction between schools and prisons in Mississippi.  The juvenile justice system too often works as a tool for maintaining discipline in Mississippi's public schools, and using a range of advocacy strategies, Jamie will seek to change that practice.
Leah Fletcher graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 2000.  She is a Yale Law School graduate of 2005 who then clerked for the Honorable Jeremy Fogel in the Northern District of California and is currently clerking for Justice Carlos Moreno on the California Supreme Court.  Leah’s Liman Fellowship will be in the energy program of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in San Francisco.  Her role will be to provide legal analysis and strategy as NRDC and other environmental groups develop and propose implementing regulations for California’s recently enacted global warming legislation.  Under the legislation, by 2020, the state is required to reduce its global warming emissions to 1990 levels.
Dan Freeman graduated magna cum laude from Yale College in 2004 and will graduate from the Law School in May 2007.  For his Liman Fellowship, Dan will work at the New York Civil Liberties Union in New York City.  His project will focus on comprehensive reform of the New York Justice Courts, which are courts of original jurisdiction outside of New York City for civil matters less than $15,000, infractions, misdemeanors, and initial proceedings in felonies.   These courts have received a good deal of negative publicity and have gained a reputation for being unfair.  Dan hopes to help to reform these courts so that their procedures comply with constitutionally-guaranteed rights of due process and fair trials.
Raquiba Huq graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University in 2003 and will graduate from the Law School in May 2007.  Raquiba will spend her Fellowship year at the Edison office of Legal Services of New Jersey.  There, working on immigration cases, she plans to help develop a unit specially focused on issues related to gender, specifically handling claims of victims of domestic abuse, female genital mutilation, rape, forced marriages, honor killing threats, and other forms of gender-related violence. 

Michael Kavey is a graduate of Yale College and graduated from Yale Law School in 2004.  He also holds an M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College.  After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable Gerard E. Lynch of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Having developed a passion for civil rights work as a high school gay rights advocate, he will now spend his fellowship year at Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, where he will work on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth who face discrimination and harassment at school.

Sia Sanneh graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University in 2001 and is a member of the Yale Law School class of 2007.  From 2001-2004, Sia taught seventh and eighth grades in Washington Heights, New York, as part of the Columbia Urban Educators Program.  Sia will spend her Liman Fellowship year at the Legal Action Center in New York City, working on the issue of reentry for students who are arrested and/or incarcerated as a result of a school-related incident.  She will conduct research into the use of criminal sanctions for disciplinary infractions in New York City secondary schools and develop advocacy strategies focusing on the collateral consequences of those discipline policies.