by Melanie Howard
True to its mission, the Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics (ILRE) continues to provide students, faculty, and practicing attorneys the opportunity to explore the nexus between law, religion, and ethics through interdisciplinary seminars, conferences, and symposia.
In November 2005, distinguished alumna Lisa Stern hosted an on-campus screening of the documentary On Moral Grounds, which describes her fight to obtain restitution on insurance claims made by Holocaust survivors.
On February 3 and 4, 2006, ILRE hosted its annual Lawyers, Faith, and Peacemaking conference. Highlights included keynote addresses by Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Rodolpho Carrasco and Rt. Reverend Archimandrite Alexei Smith; an emotional presentation by Cheryl Ward Kaiser (a witness to her husband’s brutal murder and daughter’s rape) about her positive experience with restorative justice in the criminal justice system; and a luncheon address by Dean Ken Starr.
Russell Pearce, professor of law and director of the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics at Fordham University, delivered the Louis D. Brandeis Lecture at the School of Law on May 16, 2006. That night, ILRE and David Nimmer of Irell & Manella, LLP hosted a dinner discussion moderated by Pearce, titled “Religious Faith and Law Practice: Integrated, Irreconcilable, or Irrelevant?”
Russell Pearce and ILRE Director Robert Cochran were featured in a May 2006 article published in California Lawyer magazine titled “In Good Faith: Lawyers Look for Ways to Work Religiously.” The article discussed the “religious lawyering movement” that Pearce is credited with founding, and chronicled ILRE’s work in this emerging field. It also highlighted Cochran’s efforts to promote religion as “a means of bringing attorneys together to practice law in a more cooperative, compassionate, and productive way.”
ILRE’s international human rights program continues to flourish and plans to add more internships in more countries. During the academic year, Azra Hot traveled to The Hague to work for the Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) where she helped prepare a case for trial at the ICTY. Matt Vandermyde spent a semester with the Association for a More Just Society in Honduras advocating labor rights, violence prevention, and prison conditions for the underprivileged. Professor Naomi Goodno and Mary Huebert developed a curriculum and traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, to train African International Justice Mission advocates in legal research and trial advocacy skills. This summer, ILRE sent seven students and one faculty member overseas for short-term internships. Spread across five countries and three continents, they focused on human trafficking in Asia, establishing the rule of law in India, protecting religious freedom in Bulgaria, and providing literacy training and AIDS awareness education in South Africa.