2010 Lewis F. Powell Jr. Lecture on State and Federal Jury System

Lexington, VA Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Hon. Jennifer W. Elrod
The Eighth Annual Lewis F. Powell Jr. Lecture will be delivered by the Hon. Jennifer Walker Elrod of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Judge Elrod will speak on the importance of the jury system in state and federal courts in a talk titled
"W(h)ither the Jury?  The Diminishing Role of the Jury Trial in Our Legal System."

The event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 31, at 6 p.m. in Lee Chapel on the campus of Washington and Lee University.  The event is free and open to the public.

Jennifer Walker Elrod serves as a Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, with chambers in Houston, Texas.  Prior to her confirmation, Judge Elrod was appointed and twice elected Judge of the 190th District Court of Harris County, Texas, where she spent six years presiding over more than 200 jury and non jury trials.  Judge Elrod is an elected member of the American Law Institute, and serves on the  Board of Directors of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism.  In 2008, the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas named her Judge of the Year.

Judge Elrod is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Baylor University, which recently recognized her as an Outstanding Young Alumna.  She graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was an Ames Moot Court finalist and Senior Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.  Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable Sim Lake of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Before taking the bench, Judge Elrod was in private practice, focusing on civil litigation, antitrust, and employment matters.  She twice received the President's Award from the Houston Bar Association.  In 2004, the Houston Young Lawyers Association named her the Woodrow Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer of Houston.  Judge Elrod served pro bono as the first general counsel of Communities in Schools-Houston, one of the largest dropout prevention organizations in the country, and as Chair of the Board of the Gulf Coast Legal Foundation, a major legal services provider for the indigent.  She also received the Judge Thomas Gibbs Gee award for her pro bono work, and has taught as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston Law Center.

The students at Washington and Lee University School of Law founded the Lewis Powell, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series in 2002 in honor of Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. '29A, '31L, who was appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1972. Justice Powell's judicial legacy was defined by a respect for both sides in a dispute and a desire to craft judicial opinions that struck a middle ground. This student-run lecture series features nationally prominent speakers who embody this spirit in their life and work.

For more information, visit the Powell Lecture website.

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