BLSA Black History Month Events feature talks by federal Judge Waverly Crenshaw ’81 (BA’78) and L.A. Superior Court Judge Rupert Byrdsong ’94

Feb 9, 2023

BLSA is sponsoring talks by two prominent judges, a lecture by a prominent criminal law scholar, Q&A sessions and social events throughout Black History Month during February 2023.

  • “From Resilience to Resistance,” a Keynote Lecture by Judge Rupert Byrdsong ’94 of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Flynn Auditorium. Judge Byrdsong’s lecture is part of the Dean’s Lecture Series. Before his appointment to the California Superior Court in 2014 by Gov. Jerry Brown, Judge Byrdsong was a partner focusing on employment discrimination at Ivie McNeil & Wyatt in Los Angeles. His docket focuses on complex civil litigation. He recently finished a term as president of the California Judges Association and is co-chair of the CJA’s Task Force on the Elimination of Bias and Inequality in the Justice System. He has gained prominence as a thought leader within the judiciary in California and has been at the forefront of leading reform initiatives for the judiciary as well as the legal community.

    Judge Rupert Byrdsong ’94
  • “Journey to Justice,” a lecture by Judge Waverly Crenshaw ’81 (BA’78) of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Thurs., Feb. 16, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Bennett Miller Room. Judge Crenshaw has served the Middle District of Tennessee since 2015. He was nominated to the seat by President Barack Obama. Before being confirmed to the bench, Judge Crenshaw practiced labor and employment law at Waller in Nashville, where he became the first African American attorney to join the firm in 1990 and a partner in 1994. Before joining Waller, Judge Crenshaw was an associate with Passino Delaney & Hildebrand in Nashville from 1987 to 1990. He served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Tennessee from 1984 to 1987. He clerked for Judge John Nixon of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee from 1982 to 1984.

    Waverly D. Crenshaw Jr. '81 (BA'78)
    Judge Waverly Crenshaw ’81
  • “Prosecuting Rap: Racial and Constitutional Implications,” a lecture by Andrea Dennis of the University of Georgia School of Law, Tues., Feb. 20, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. A noted criminal defense scholar, Dennis will explore the use of rap lyrics in criminal prosecutions in a lecture presented via zoom. She holds the John Byrd Martin Chair of Law and serves as Georgia Law’s associate dean for faculty development. Her scholarship explores criminal defense lawyering, race and criminal justice, criminal informants and cooperators, youth advocacy, legal socialization of youth and the cradle-to-prison pipeline. Dennis is the author of Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics and Guilt in America, a book that received national attention, and courts nationwide have cited her research on rap lyrics as criminal evidence.

On Feb. 7, ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross joined BLSA members via Zoom for a moderated Q&A and BLSA is sponsoring a Blackacre Feb. 17.

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