Democracy’s Last Line of Defense

Preserving an Independent Judiciary

February 12, 2024

BOSTON, MA (February 12, 2024) – On March 14, 2024, leaders from the legal, judicial, political, academic, and media worlds will gather in Boston to discuss growing threats to the independence and impartiality of courts in the United States and other democracies, and how to fight back. 

Democracy’s Last Line of Defense: Preserving an Independent Judiciary will take place at The Westin Boston Seaport from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 14.

Full details, including a link to register, can be found here

This second annual symposium will tackle pressing issues at the nexus of technology, media, law, and governance. Sessions will focus on the critical role of media freedom in judicial independence, the implications of artificial intelligence on democracy, the responsibility of legal professionals in maintaining judicial independence, and the importance of state constitutions in upholding the rule of law. These discussions aim to prompt meaningful debate and identify strategies to bolster democracy.

Participating Speakers Include:

  • Prof. Akhil Reed Amar, Yale Law School
  • Karen C. Burgess, Esq., Burgess Law PC, President-Elect, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Jack Cushman, Esq., Director, Harvard Library Innovation Lab
  • Anthony A. Froio, Esq., Regional Managing Partner, Robins Kaplan LLP
  • Hon. Mark Green, Chief Justice, Massachusetts Appeals Court
  • Hon. Thomas Griffith (Ret.), U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • Hon. Michael Heavican, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Nebraska
  • Hon. Geraldine Hines (Ret.), Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • Anna Mercado Clark, Esq., Phillips Lytle, LLP, President, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
  • Dean Leigh Sauffley, University of Maine School of Law
  • Hon. Maureen O’Connor (Ret.), Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Ohio
  • Hon. Edwina Richardson, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, New York State Unified Court System
  • Hon. Paul Reiber, Chief Justice, Vermont Supreme Court
  • Hon. Fredric D. Rutberg (Ret.), President, Massachusetts Newspapers Publishers Association and President/Publisher, The Berkshire Eagle
  • Hon. Jeffrey S. Sutton, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
  • Hon. Robert Torres, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Guam
  • Hon. David Wecht, Associate Justice, Pennsylvania Supreme Court

The event is organized by The National Judicial College, International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and Robins Kaplan LLP. Sponsors include Edwards Law Firm, Quarles, World Justice Project, Signature Resolution, Flaschner Judicial Institute, Professor Sarah Redfield and Hon. Bernice Donald (Ret.), Resolute Systems, Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, NAPABA, Lawyers Defending Democracy, and National Bar Association.


Roman M. Silberfeld


National Trial Chair

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