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Alabama Law Review Symposium

February 24

50 and 150 anniversary logo with law school logo


Alabama Law Review Symposium 2023

“Our History, Our Future”

Friday, February 24, 2023

9:00 a.m.-2:45 p.m.

About the Symposium

In recognition of the landmark 150th Anniversary of The University of Alabama School of Law and the 50th Anniversary of the first African-American graduates of the School of Law, speakers will come together to discuss the struggles of the past and how changes in legal education came to be, along with an examination of what the model of legal education should be to fit an evolving world.

Register to Attend

Register here.

If you wish to attend and receive CLE credit, register here.


9:15 Breakfast

9:45 Introduction

10:00 150 Years of Alabama Law with Paul Pruitt

10:50 Evolution of Legal Education with Erwin Chemerinsky

11:45 Break

12:00 Keynote Address: Using the Past to Improve our Future by the Honorable U.W. Clemon

1:15 Making the Legal Profession Accessible to the Entire Population with Danielle Conway, Lisa R. Pruitt, Eli Wald, and Melissa Weresh.

2:30 Closing Remarks

Speaker Bios

Paul Pruitt

Dr. Paul Pruitt serves as Special Collections/Collection Development Librarian for the Bounds Law Library at the University of Alabama School of Law.  He regularly teaches courses on Alabama legal history and English legal history.

Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky serves as Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California Berkeley School of Law. His numerous honors include serving as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and as President of the Association of American Law Schools.  Dean Chemerinsky is also recognized as one of the most influential people in legal education in the country.  He is the author of sixteen books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction, and more than 200 law review articles. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court.

U.W. Clemon

Judge U.W. Clemon, the son of Mississippi sharecroppers who migrated to the steel mills of Birmingham, is a native of Fairfield, Alabama. He is a product of the racially segregated schools of Jefferson County. In his student days at Miles College, he was an activist who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1963 Birmingham Demonstrations. After graduation from Columbia Law School in 1968, he practiced civil right law for twelve years. During that time, he was elected as one of the first two black senators since Reconstruction, where he chaired the Rules and Judiciary Committees. President Jimmy Carter appointed him as Alabama’s first black federal judge in 1980. He served in that position for almost thirty years, becoming Chief Judge of the Court in 2000. Upon his retirement from the bench, Judge Clemon returned to the practice of law. Bestowed the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 2018, he is a deacon of Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham.

Danielle Conway

Danielle Conway is Dean and Donald J. Farage Professor of Law at Penn State Dickinson Law. She is a leading expert in procurement law, entrepreneurship, intellectual property law, and licensing intellectual property. She is the author or editor of six books and casebooks as well as numerous book chapters, articles, and essays. Among her many honors, Dean Conway is the co-recipient of the inaugural Association of American Law Schools’ (AALS) Impact Award, which honors individuals who have had a significant, positive impact on legal education or the legal profession. She has been a member of the American Law Institute since 2004 and serves as an appointed member of the AALS Executive Committee. In 2016, Dean Conway retired from the U.S. Army in the rank of lieutenant colonel after 27 years of combined active, reserve, and national guard service.

Lisa Pruitt

Lisa R. Pruitt is Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law at the University of California, Davis. She founded and has written extensively in a subdiscipline she calls law and rural livelihoods.  Among that work are many articles and book chapters about the rural lawyer shortage and what law schools can do to alleviate it. Professor Pruitt also writes about working-class white access to, and experiences in, higher education.  Professor Pruitt is “first gen,” meaning first generation in her family to go to college, and she has designed and taught courses for first gen students at both the undergraduate and law school levels.  Professor Pruitt holds B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Arkansas and a PhD (Laws) from University College London, where she studied as a British Marshall Scholar.  Her book, Educated Arrogance, about what migrating from the working class to the credentialed class reveals about political polarization, will be published by WW Norton & Co. in 2024.

Eli Wald

Eli Wald is the Charles W. Delaney Jr. Professor of Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Professor Wald is a legal ethics and legal profession scholar. He is a co-author of a leading casebook on the law governing lawyers and his work has appeared in leading journals and his articles have been cited in ABA ethics opinions and excerpted in legal ethics casebooks. Professor Wald is a member of the Colorado Supreme Court Standing Committee on the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, a member of the Colorado State Bar Association’s Ethics Committee and a member of the Colorado Judicial Ethics Advisory Board.  He has also served as a member of the executive committee of the Association of American Law Schools’ Professional Responsibility Section, and a longtime co-editor of the Legal Profession Section of JOTWELL – The Journal of Things We Like (Lots).

Melissa Weresh

Melissa H. Weresh is a Dwight D. Opperman Distinguished Professor of Law and the Herb and Karen Baum Chair of Ethics in the Profession at Drake University Law School where she has been teaching since 1997. Professor Weresh is the recipient of the 2009 American Inns of Court Warren E. Burger Prize and the 2017 Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing. She is a past president of the Legal Writing Institute, past chair of the AALS Section on Teaching Methods, and past chair of the Professionalism Section of the Iowa Bar Association. She is also past editor of both the Journal of Legal Education and Legal Communication and Rhetoric: JALWD. Her scholarly interests range from politics to professionalism, and from persuasion to pedagogy. Her recent work focuses on the efficacy of rhetorical choices in various forms of gender-based advocacy. Prior to joining the Drake law faculty, she practiced law in Ohio, specializing in environmental law.