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Marie-Therese Connolly, MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellow and advocate for the elderly, G. Rollie White Public Interest Scholar in Residence, February 18–21, 2013

Marie-Therese Connolly, MacArthur Foundation fellow and senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Marie-Therese Connolly, MacArthur Foundation fellow and senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law will present Marie-Therese Connolly as the Law School’s second G. Rollie White Public Interest Scholar in Residence, February 18-21, 2013.

Connolly, who recently received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship for her work to prevent elderly abuse, is a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and is formerly the director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Elder Justice and Nursing Home Initiative.

During her time at the Law School, Connolly will make two presentations that are free and open to the public:

On Tuesday, February 19, she will give a major address, “How Change Happens: the Fight for Elder Justice in the U.S,” at 3:30 p.m. in the Eidman Courtroom. A reception will follow.

On Wednesday, February 20, she will facilitate a lunch-time panel discussion on “Protecting the Elderly in Texas,” from noon to 2:00 p.m. in room Townes Hall 2.124. She will be joined by Bruce P. Bower of the Texas Legal Services Center; Dr. Catherine Hawes of the Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health; and the Honorable Susan D. Reed, the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney. Space for this event is limited and RSVPs are required. RSVP to: RSidopulos@law.utexas.edu

Connolly received a BA from Stanford University and a JD from Northeastern University School of Law. Following a judicial clerkship, she worked as a trial lawyer in the Department of Justice pursuing civil fraud cases. From 1999 to 2007, she coordinated the Department’s Elder Justice and Nursing Home Initiative. In that position she developed new theories of liability and novel investigation and litigation strategies that led to successful prosecution of cases of abuse and neglect in nursing homes. She was also instrumental in the drafting and passage of the Elder Justice Act, the first piece of federal legislation to address the issue specifically. She worked to bring together various stakeholders in the elder justice field to identify gaps in current legislation and develop a comprehensive policy strategy.

Connolly left the Department of Justice in 2007 to work on the Life Long Justice Initiative at Appleseed. Since receiving the MacArthur Fellowship, she has been writing about the complex issues surrounding abuse and neglect, and she continues to work make elder abuse a national priority.

The G. Rollie White Public Interest Scholar in Residence Program is supported by a generous gift from the G. Rollie White Trust. The program’s purpose is to bring outstanding legal scholars, practitioners, and advocates from the field of public service to the Law School to foster discussion of issues related to public interest law, to raise the profile of lawyers working in this area, and to encourage students to view public service as an honored and expected part of every legal career.

The events are cosponsored by the Law School’s Center for Women in Law and the American Constitution Society University of Texas Chapter. In addition to her public events, Connolly will meet informally with professors and students and participate in several classes.

Contact: Eden Harrington, director of the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, UT Law, 512-232-7068, eharrington@law.utexas.edu.

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