The Annual John Paul Stevens Lecture brings a distinguished jurist to Colorado Law to discuss judging and the state of the judiciary. Former United States Associate Justice John Paul Stevens delivered the inaugural lecture in Wolf Law’s Wittemyer Courtroom in September, 2011.
The 2017 John Paul Stevens Lecture will take place on Tuesday September 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the Carr Judicial Center in Denver. Former Chief Judge of the State of New York will speak on “Changing the Dialogue on Access to Justice.” Registration is available here.
Judge Lippman served as Chief Judge of the State of New York and Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals from February 2009 through December 2015. As the state's Chief Judge, he championed equal access to justice issues in New York and around the country and took the leadership role in identifying permanent funding streams for civil legal services. Chief Judge Lippman made New York the first state in the country to require 50 hours of law-related pro bono work prior to bar admission and established the Pro Bono Scholars and Poverty Justice Solutions Programs to help alleviate the crisis in civil legal services. He strengthened the state's indigent criminal defense system, addressed the systemic causes of wrongful convictions, created Human Trafficking Courts across New York State, and led efforts to reform New York’s juvenile justice, bail and pre-trial justice systems. In 2008, Judge Lippman received the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, presented each year by the nation’s Chief Justice to a state court judge who exemplifies the highest level of judicial excellence, integrity, fairness, and professional ethics. Judge Lippman was selected for his “unparalleled ability to promote and achieve reform in the state courts. His leadership in the New York courts contributed to numerous improvements in that state’s justice system and served as an example for courts across the country.” In 2013, the American Lawyer named Chief Judge Lippman one of the Top 50 Innovators in Big Law in the Last 50 Years. A New York Times article in December 2015, stated that Judge Lippman had left an altered legal profession in New York by using “his authority to promote an ideal of lawyering as a public service.”
On September 2, 2016, Justice Sonia Sotomayor visited Boulder and participated in a Q&A conversation with more than 1,500 participants for the Fifth Annual Stevens Lecture. The audience included students, faculty and community members from the metro area. As well, high school students travelled to Boulder from all over Colorado to meet with Justice Sotomayor and attend the event.
The Fourth Annual Stevens Lecture was given by Senior Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on October 1, 2014, and discussed constitutional interpretation. More than 1,500 people attended the live lecture at Macky Auditorium, and nearly 400 people watched the live stream of the lecture at University of Wyoming Law School, William & Mary Law School, Colorado College, Fort Lewis College, Western State Colorado University, Ridgway High School, and inside the Wittemyer Courtroom at the University of Colorado Law School.
Former Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor delivered the 3rd Annual Stevens Lecture on September 17, 2013. Nearly 1,000 people watched live, with additional satellite audiences in the Wolf Law building and colleges throughout Colorado. The 2nd Annual Stevens Lecture was given by Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 19, 2012. Nearly 1,000 people watched the lecture live, while satellite audiences enjoyed the lecture from Wolf Law, Colorado College, Fort Lewis College, and Colorado Mesa University.