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Just Mercy: Bryan Stevenson on Justice, Redemption, and the Death Penalty


November 6, 2014 12:45pm - 2:00pm

Room 290

“I…believe that in many parts of this country, and certainly in many parts of this globe, that the opposite of poverty is not wealth… I actually think, in too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice… Ultimately, you judge the character of a society, not by how they treat their rich and the powerful and the privileged, but by how they treat the poor, the condemned, the incarcerated. Because it's in that nexus that we actually begin to understand truly profound things about who we are.” –excerpt from Bryan Stevenson’s TED Talk’

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit legal practice dedicated to defending those most marginalized by our society. He has been called the “Atticus Finch” of his age or the “American Nelson Mandela.”  In his new book, Just Mercy, Stevenson shows us what it really means to work for justice in a devastatingly unjust system.  Bryan's book "Just Mercy" was recently featured in the New York Times Book Review, on NPR, and on The Daily Show.

The Stanford Center on the Legal Profession, the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, and the Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law welcome Bryan Stevenson to Stanford Law School to speak on the themes explored by Just Mercy.  The book will be available for purchase and Bryan Stevenson will sign books both before and after the event. 

Lunch will be provided.


Bryan Stevenson
Author, Just Mercy
Professor of Clinical Law, New York University School of Law

A 1985 graduate of Harvard, with both a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government and a J.D. from the School of Law, Bryan Stevenson joined the clinical faculty at New York University School of Law in 1998.

Stevenson has been representing capital defendants and death row prisoners in the deep south since 1985 when he was a staff attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia. Since 1989, he has been Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a private, nonprofit law organization he founded that focuses on social justice and human rights in the context of criminal justice reform in the United States. EJI litigates on behalf of condemned prisoners, juvenile offenders, people wrongly convicted or charged, poor people denied effective representation and others whose trials are marked by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct.

Stevenson’s work has won him national acclaim. In 1995, he was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship Award Prize. He is also a 1989 recipient of the Reebok Human Rights Award, the 1991 ACLU National Medal of Liberty, and in 1996, he was named the Public Interest Lawyer of the Year by the National Association of Public Interest Lawyers. In 2000, Stevenson received the Olaf Palme Prize in Stockholm, Sweden for international human rights and in 2004, he received the Award for Courageous Advocacy from the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Lawyer for the People Award from the National Lawyers Guild. In 2006, NYU presented Mr. Stevenson with its Distinguished Teaching Award. He has also received honorary degrees from several universities, including Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Georgetown University School of Law. Stevenson has served as a visiting professor of law at the University of Michigan School of Law. He has also published several widely disseminated manuals on capital litigation and written extensively on criminal justice, capital punishment and civil rights issues.