Famous civil rights lawyer John Brittain to current SIU Lesar Distinguished Lecture | SIU

CARBONDALE – Renowned civil rights attorney and law professor John C. Brittain will share his more than five decades of legal work next month when he delivers the 2021 Hiram H. Lesar Distinguished Lecture hosted by the Carbondale School of Law at Southern Illinois University .



Brittain will present “Race Awakening, Accounting and Mindfulness in 2020” during the virtual presentation on February 17th at 5:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public. This is the 23rd presentation in a row in honor of the founding of Dean Hiram H. Lesar.

Brittain will discuss issues of race billing, economic uncertainty, political unrest and COVID-19. The link for the Zoom meeting is also available on the lecture website.

Brittain’s experience includes serving as Chief Counsel and Senior Deputy Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The public interest legal organization founded by President John F. Kennedy and based in Washington, DC, hires private lawyers to handle pro bono civil rights cases.

Brittain was a member of the original legal advisor in “Sheff v. O’Neill, ”a landmark Connecticut desegregation decision in 1996 involving the Hartford school system. Brittain is a former dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in Houston and a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is a professor at the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of Columbia. In 2015 he was recognized by the Mississippi Center for Justice as “a pioneering civil rights leader and respected law professor who has inspired a generation of young lawyers.”

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