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April 6, 2010

Panel to discuss Judge William Wayne Justice's legal legacy, April 15, 2010

The University of Texas School of Law’s William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law will host an event exploring Judge William Wayne Justice’s legal legacy on Thursday, April 15, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Eidman Courtroom at the Law School. This event is free and open to the public.

The event honors U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice, ’42, a remarkable jurist and public servant for over fifty years, who died last October. The panel, entitled “The Arc of Justice—The Legacy of Judge William Wayne Justice and the Role of Lawyers in Social Reform,” will begin with comments by UT Law Professor Lucas A. Powe Jr., a noted legal historian, placing Justice’s work in historical perspective. In addition, four legal experts, each with a professional connection to Judge Justice, will examine several of his major cases, including the social problem at issue, the litigation, and what the litigation achieved. They will also consider the social problem today and the courts’ and lawyers’ roles in addressing it. The event is intended to educate law students about Justice’s legacy and to help them understand legal efforts for social change in historical perspective.

Panelists include Michele Deitch of the Law School and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs on Ruiz v. Estelle (prison reform); Lucas Guttentag of Yale Law School and the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project  on Plyler v. Doe (immigrants’ rights); Elizabeth K. Julian, ’73, president of the Inclusive Communities Project on Young v. Pierce (public housing desegregation); and Marianne Wesson, ’73, of the University of Colorado School of Law on Morales v. Turman (juvenile justice). UT Law Professor Lynn Blais, a former law clerk to Justice, will moderate.

The event will conclude with remarks by William O. Whitehurst, ’70, of Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees & Cheng and co-chair of the advisory council of the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, who will introduce the Class of 2010 Justice Corps Fellows and University Co-op Public Interest Award recipients. There will be a reception immediately following in the Jamail Pavilion.

This event is presented by the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, which is dedicated to promoting equal justice for all through legal education. The Justice Center works toward this goal by educating students and attorneys about public interest issues through conferences, research projects, and clinical courses; by encouraging all students to participate in pro bono and public-interest law throughout their careers; and by creating public service opportunities for students and graduates. Justice’s former law clerks and other admirers joined with UT Law to honor him by establishing the Center in 2004.

The public is also invited to attend the dedication of Judge Justice’s cenotaph at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 16.

Further information can be found on the Judge Justice Celebration website.


Mary Crouter, William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, University of Texas School of Law, 512-232-7855,