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Edward V. Sparer Symposium

In 1984, Penn Law organized the Sparer Symposium to commemorate the life and work of the late Edward V. Sparer who was a Professor of Law and Social Policy at the Law School.  


Sparer’s work combined a passionate concern about the poor with intellectual rigor and a profound conviction that the problems of poverty are solvable.           

In 1983 he founded Mobilization for Youth Services, the first neighborhood legal services program and then the Columbia Center on Social Welfare and Policy and Law, the first national support center for legal services. Each year, the Symposium brings together legal academics and practitioners to provide insight into the dynamic relationship between scholarship and practice in the area of poverty law, merging theory and practice.

Past Sparer Symposia:

(Click on the image to see details of event)

image2013: “Repairing the Broken Door:  Strategies for Immigration Advocacy and Reform”
Keynote:  Jose Antonio Vargas, Founder of Define American, Pullitzer Prize Winning Journalist

image2012: “Overcoming the Odds: Strategies for Facilitating the Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood
Keynote: Rachel Lloyd,
GEMS: Girls Educational & Mentoring Services


2011: Partnering Against Poverty: Examining Cross-Disciplinary Approaches to Public Interest Lawyering”
Keynote: Sister Mary Scullion, Co-Founder, Executive Director and President of Project H.O.M.E.

image2010: “Now More Than Ever: Expanding Access to Justice in Times of Crisis”
Keynote: Peter Edelman, Georgetown University Law Center
Special guest remarks from Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez

image 2009: “Crime in the City: Current Policies & Alternative Approaches”
Keynote: Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

image 2008:“Redefining Aggregate Welfare: Revitalizing a City in Pursuit of Economic Justice”
Keynote: Mary Houghton,
President of ShoreBank Corporation

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