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October 27, 2008

Stephen Singer, public defender in New Orleans, to speak on Hurricane Katrina’s impact on the criminal justice system and his life in the law, November 3, 2008

The William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law and the Career Services Office are pleased to host speaker Stephen Singer, New Orleans advocate and social justice reformer, on Monday November 3 from 11:30 to 1:30 in the Sheffield Room.

Singer will speak from 11:30 to 12:30 about Hurricane Katrina’s impact on the New Orleans criminal justice system, and his work to reform the public defenders office. In light of Hurricane Ike, the talk will include his reflections on the effects of hurricanes on legal systems more generally.

Then, from 12:30 to 1:30, Singer will speak about his life in the law. Lunch will be served at 11:30 and 12:30. Audience members may attend one or both sessions.

Singer serves as general counsel to Orleans Public Defenders, an independent legal office providing representation to indigent defendants in Orleans Parish. An assistant clinical professor of law at Loyola University College of Law teaching a criminal defense clinic representing clients in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, Singer is currently on loan to the court system to lead the effort to rebuild, restructure, and reform the public defenders’ office in New Orleans. His struggle for reform has included jail time on contempt of court charges.

Prior to joining the faculty at Loyola, Singer worked as an attorney with the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C. and with the non-profit Louisiana Capital Assistance Center, where he represented capital defendants at the trial level throughout Louisiana. He was also on the faculty at the University of Wyoming College of Law where he was director of the criminal defense clinic and taught constitutional criminal procedure. Singer is a 1988 graduate of Harvard Law School.

Singer’s talk is part of the occasional “Lives in the Law” speaker series focusing on the work and lives of lawyers who strive to improve the lives of others through litigation, advocacy, and public service, presented by the Career Services Office and the Justice Center.

His visit is also intended to increase awareness of the legal needs throughout the Gulf Coast region. In January 2009, UT Law students will travel to the area to volunteer on legal projects related to the hurricane disasters. Applications to participate in the trip are due to the Justice Center by 5 pm November 3.

The talk is cosponsored by the Thurgood Marshall Legal Society, the Human Rights Law Society, the Public Interest Law Association, the American Journal of Criminal Law, and the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights.

Related links:

Orleans Public Defenders

Career Services Office

William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law

UT Law Student Hurricane Network Trip Information


American Journal of Criminal Law

Human Rights Law Society

Public Interest Law Association

Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Thurgood Marshall Legal Society

Contact: Mary Crouter, Assistant Director, William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, University of Texas School of Law, (512) 232-7855 or