The John F. Sonnett Memorial Lectures at Fordham University School of Law: A Half-Century of Advocacy and Judicial Perspectives

The John F. Sonnett Memorial Lectures at Fordham University School of Law: A Half-Century of Advocacy and Judicial Perspectives

The John F. Sonnett Memorial Lectures at Fordham University School of Law: A Half-Century of Advocacy and Judicial Perspectives

The John F. Sonnett Memorial Lectures at Fordham University School of Law: A Half-Century of Advocacy and Judicial Perspectives

Synopsis

This book represents the distinguished Sonnett lecture series sponsored by Fordham’s Law School that has taken place for the last 45 years. In this collection, U.S. Supreme Court Justices, a Lord Chancellor of England, three Chief Justices of Ireland, a Chief Justice of South Africa, a President of the Supreme Court of Israel, and other leading judges and lawyers examine common law–based legal systems and underlying principles. The lectures encourage attorneys and society to improve the training of lawyers, respect the independence of the judiciary, place ethics at the forefront, question the efficacy of the criminal justice system, and explore the complex philosophical issues facing the judiciary.

Taken as a whole, these lectures are a prescription for improvements and innovations throughout the legal system. The lectures were delivered by judges and lawyers who were involved in many of the most significant cases of the last half-century that strengthened individual rights and promoted access to justice. Each finds its deepest meaning in advancing the theme of Fordham Law School: “In the Service of Others.”

Excerpt

Encouraged by a former member of the Supreme Court of Ireland, the idea for this book took shape more than twelve years ago. the Justice’s concern was that priceless lectures on the law in Fordham University School of Law’s almost forty-five-year-old John F. Sonnett Memorial Lecture series, including three given by former chief justices of his country, were worthy of perpetuation and deliverance to the broader world. the Sonnett lecture series has featured many of the finest jurists in the United States, including Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, and Federal Circuit Court judges, including Judges Wilfred Feinberg, John J. Gibbons, Dennis Jacobs, Irving G. Kaufman, William Hughes Mulligan, and Lawrence W. Pierce, as well as former New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Judith Kaye. Jurists from Great Britain, Ireland, South Africa, and Israel also delivered Sonnett lectures. Many of the lectures have been published in the Fordham Law Review. in fact, as of September 2014, “Special Skills Advocacy” by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger was the single most cited article in Fordham Law Review history. As dean of the law school at the time, I began to seek out ways to best distribute the broad knowledge and insight contained in these lectures.

Time flew by and the project remained incomplete until 2013, when two senior Fordham Law School alumni heard of this unfinished work and volunteered to bring it to conclusion: Dennis J. Kenny, who enjoyed a wonderful career as a corporate general counsel and a contributor to innumerable causes and good works, including churches and institutions of higher education; and Joel E. Davidson, who served as a corporate litigation counsel and then founded his own law firm. Like Kenny, Davidson is a contributor to many worthy causes, especially those involving children, family, and the poor. This book is a tribute to their efforts and the efforts of the editors and staff of the Fordham Law Review who wrote the Introductions that precede each lecture and helped in many other ways to bring this book to fruition.

John F. Sonnett, a Fordham graduate, enjoyed a life of excellence as a lawyer. He served as head of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and was a senior partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel, formerly Cahill Gordon Sonnett Reindel & Ohl, until his untimely death. Another Fordham graduate and former partner of Sonnett, Denis J. McInerney, together with Boris Kostenlantez, who served with Sonnett in the Justice Department, conceptualized and instituted the Sonnett lectures. For many years, they . . .

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