Jarrett Adams Interview

Jarrett Adams is interviewed about the law, his involvement with ACS, and his advice to future lawyers at the 2015 ACS National Convention

The Courts, the Constitution, and the Disappearing American Dream

The Great Recession of 2008 highlighted a decades-long trend of increased wealth stratification that some say echoes back to America's Gilded Age. The richest 3 percent of families now control more than half the nation's wealth, while the bottom 90 percent control less than a quarter. The Pew Research Center has found that 27 percent of Americans "say the growing gap between the rich and the poor is the greatest threat to the world today." Further, many charge that the Supreme Court has become a defender of business interests at the expense of the individual. What does the Constitution have to say about economic power and inequality and what role can courts play in this debate? How has the ongoing assault on unions impacted wealth distribution, and how can collective bargaining be strengthened? What other policies and legal means can help shore up the American dream of equal opportunity? 
  • Robert Borosage, Founder and President, Institute for America's Future
  • David Bernstein, George Mason University Foundation Professor, George Mason University School of Law
  • Heather Boushey, Executive Director and Chief Economist, Washington Center of Equitable Growth
  • William Forbath, Associate Dean for Research, Lloyd M Bentsen Chair in Law, University of Texas School of Law
  • Sophia Lee, Professor of Law and History, University of Pennsylvania Law School 
  • Ted Shaw, Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law; Director, Center for Civil Rights, University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Ganesh Sitaraman, Assistant Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Standing Up for the Unpopular: The Perils and Rewards of Representing Disfavored Clients

A lawyer has a duty to zealously advocate on behalf of his or her clients, yet lawyers who represent unpopular clients can be lauded as champions of justice or unfairly vilified as accomplices to monsters. In our adversarial system, how can we guarantee justice for all if fear of reprisal chills attorney participation in controversial causes? In what contexts do criticisms of attorney representations arise, and are there an discernible patterns? What must be done to educate the bar and the public about the principles fundamental to our system of justice: all people and entities are entitled to representation, and such representations are not an endorsement of a client's view or conduct? How can controversial cases enrich a lawyer's practice and does it pose any risks? 
  • Ari Melber, Chief Legal Correspondent and Co-Host of "The Cycle" MSNBC
  • Debo Adegbile, Partner, WilmerHale
  • Pardiss Kebriaei, Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights
  • Burt Neuborne, Norman Dorsen Professor of Civil Liberties, New York University School of Law; Founding Legal Director, Brennan Center for Justice

Disparate Impact in the Crosshairs

As structural inequality persists and overt racial animus becomes rarer, the ability to attack policies that have a disproportionately adverse effect on racial and ethnic minorities is crucial. But while the disparate impact doctrine is vitally important for protecting equal opportunity, it is once again in the crosshairs. The Supreme Court has already rejected a private right of action to enforce the disparate impact standard under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and may do so this term under the Fair Housing Act in Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project. Conservatives have planned further attacks on disparate impact in other contexts, including employment and voting. How have advocates used the disparate impact standard to confront contemporary racial inequality, and how have litigators adapted to Supreme Court decisions limiting the availability of the disparate impact standard? 
  • Hon. Theodore McKee, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • William Consovoy, Partner, Consovoy McCarthy PLLC
  • Elizabeth Julian, President, Inclusive Communities Project
  • Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Neil S. Siegel, David W. Ichel Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, Co-Director of the Program in Public Law, and Director of the D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy, Duke Law School