Recap: PILP Hosts Symposium on “Constitutional Battlegrounds”

Mark C. Fleming (Partner, WilmerHale), Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal (Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice), Jack M. Beermann (Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law) and moderator Kent Greenfield (Professor of Law, Boston College Law School) discuss constitutional law and the federal government.

On Monday, nearly 100 people packed the Boston Bar Association for the culminating symposium of the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP): Constitutional Battlegrounds: Civil Rights in a Changing Landscape. For the past year PILP has been meeting twice a month to learn about various issue areas ranging from housing discrimination to the opioid crisis and learning ways they can become involved as attorneys and leaders in their community. During the year, the class also had the opportunity to meet with judges to discuss the courts and the judicial perspective, including Chief Justice Roberto Ronquillo, Jr. and Judge Eleanor Sinnott (Boston Municipal Court).

As their final project, the class decided to hold a symposium to further the dialogue around the constitutional issues in the national spotlight. Inviting local speakers from the area familiar with constitutional law, PILP divided the event into two panels: one focusing on the recent changes in federal law and policy and the other on how states can and cannot react to changes in federal policy. Each presenter spoke about their issue area of focus, but attendees were encouraged to ask their questions to the expert panel.

PILP member Hannah Joseph (Beck Reed Riden LLP) shared a bit about her experience:

“The most rewarding aspect of being involved in PILP was hosting our end-of-the-year symposium, Constitutional Battlegrounds: Civil Rights in a Changing Landscape. The speakers – representing academia, the Commonwealth, civil rights groups, and the private sector – are experts in the area of constitutional law and shared diverse perspectives regarding key issues in today’s political climate. Similarly, the audience, comprising attorneys representing a wide variety of practice areas, was engaged and actively contributed to the discussion. It had the electricity and excitement of a town hall meeting,” she said.

PILP’s 13th class year has now ended and the 14th class is underway. If you’re an attorney who’s been practicing for less than 10 years or you’d like to recommend the program to a colleague, you can find more program information here.

Rep. Michael S. Day (State Representative, Massachusetts House of Representatives), Bessie Dewar (State Solicitor, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office), Jessie Rossman (Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts), and moderator Lawrence Friedman (Professor of Law, New England School of Law) speak about the role of state governments in shaping the law of the land.