Making Change One Case at a Time
Judge Beverly Martin of the 11th U.S. Circuit of Appeals Urges Students to Share Their Skills With Society's Most Vulnerable.
New York, November 10, 2014—Representing incarcerated litigants and other vulnerable clients is among the most meaningful work lawyers can do, said Judge Beverly Martin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in a November 3 talk at Columbia Law School. Martin was introduced by George Kendall, the attorney and lecturer who helps teach the Externship on Constitutional Rights Enforcement in Capital, Habeas, and Prison Cases.
|Judge Beverly Martin of the U.S. Court|
of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
“You’ve worked hard to get to law school, and to do well in law school, and it’s just as important to stop and think on why you’re here,” Martin told students. “All the work you do is to be a good lawyer, and good lawyers make a difference.”
Martin recounted several instances in which she has witnessed attorneys change clients’ lives. In one case, Kendall managed to win a life sentence for a convicted murderer on death row by bringing attention to the client’s abusive upbringing. In another, attorneys helped a disabled prisoner fight to make his rural jail in Georgia compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Martin ended with a quote from Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, which advocates for penal reform.
“‘We’re all better than the worst thing we’ve ever done,’” Martin said. “Everyone deserves good lawyering.”
Martin’s talk was presented by Social Justice Initiatives and the Externship on Constitutional Rights Enforcement in Capital, Habeas, and Prison Cases.