Thursday, February 1, 2018
National Law Journal, Justice Sonia Sotomayor Charms Crowd of Law Students, Lawyers, Judges:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she strives to stay away from politics, but the justice worked the room like a politician while speaking on Friday to law students, lawyers and judges at the University of Houston Law Center.
During an hour-long talk and question-and-answer session, Sotomayor offered her thoughts on what is needed in a legal education, the quality of lawyers who argue before the Supreme Court and the intersection of politics and the law.
For the first half hour, Sotomayor sat on a stage and answered questions posed by UH Law Center professor Michael Olivas, who is a friend of Sotomayor. During the next 30 minutes, she walked through Max Krost Hall and answered questions from law students. ...
Sotomayor, who graduated from Yale Law School in 1979 and joined the court in 2009, has her own specific ideas for improving legal education. She said law schools should start ethics training for law students earlier and should require students to do pro bono work while in law school—something some law schools are doing well by establishing legal clinics.
She also said law schools should emphasize core courses, such as tax, corporate and trusts and estates, to develop well-rounded lawyers. These classes help make sure lawyers “can figure out any situation,” she said. ...
When a student asked her how the court maintains judicial integrity in times of political pressure, Sotomayor responded, “It’s not easy”—a comment that drew a big laugh.