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Spirit of the Law

A speaker series featuring legal professionals discussing how they find meaning, purpose, and identity in the law; how they use their law degrees in creative and innovative ways; and how they connect the personal and the professional in their lives.

Co-sponsored by the Office of Religious Life

2009-2010 Speakers

2010-2011 Speakers

2011-2012 Speakers

2012-2013 Speakers

  • 2014-2015 Speakers

  • Spring 2015

  • Spirit of the Law featuring Hon. Dorothy Wright Nelson, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

    Thursday, March 12, 2015, 12:30pm - 1:20pm | USC Gould School of Law, Room 103 | Lunch Provided



                                                                                                                                                          The Honorable Dorothy Wright Nelson is currently a senior judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a U.S. federal court covering the nine western states. Nelson began her professional career as a research associate at the University of Southern California Law School where she received her Master of Laws in 1956. Nelson became Dean of the University of Southern California Law School in 1969 and holds the honor of being the first woman dean of a major American law school. Nelson is a member of the Baha'i Faith and served on its National Assembly for 40 years. While at USC, she served as the Baha'i representative on the University Religious Council.

    President Carter nominated Nelson for the position of judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1978, with the U.S. Senate confirming her in 1979. She has worked to popularize mediation in U.S. Courts and in such countries as India, Egypt, Israel, Great Britain, and China. In 1985, Nelson, along with a group of attorneys and judges, established the Western Justice Center Foundation. The Foundation has created numerous programs that are designed to teach peaceful conflict resolution to children, youth, parents, teachers, administrators and community members. Nelson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.



                                                                                                                                                                                              Cosponsors: USC Dornsife Pre-Law Advising and USC Jewish Law Students Association

  • Fall 2014

    September Spirit of the Law Series featured in the Daily Trojan

    The Honorable Bernard J. Kamins spoke about his 22 years on the bench. Read the full article here.

  • Spirit of the Law featuring Hon. Bernard J. Kamins, Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court (Ret)

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 12:30pm - 1:20pm | USC Gould School of Law Room 2 | Lunch Provided
    Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bernard J. Kamins served 22 years on the bench and served as a public defender prior to being appointed a judge. After graduating from USC Law School in 1968, Kamins became a Deputy Public Defender and served as deputy in charge for the LA Juvenile Hall Court. He then was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court by George Deukmejian in 1985 and was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court the following year. Kamins spent all but one year of his judicial career presiding over criminal cases and briefly presided over the widely publicized Rodney King beating case in 1991. From 2000 to 2007, Kamins ran Drug Court for the entire western portion of LA County. Though formally retired, Kamins currently serves as a judge at the Van Nuys Courthouse in the assigned judge program and is working on creating a prostitution diversion program for the local court. Kamins holds a B.A. in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara and a J.D. from the University of Southern California. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Pepperdine University’s law school.
  • Spirit of the Law featuring Craig Keys, Associate Senior Vice President, USC Civic Engagement

    To Be Scheduled

                                                                                                                                                                Craig S. Keys joined USC as associate senior vice president for civic engagement in January 2012. Reporting to the senior vice president for university relations, Keys is responsible for working in partnership with community leaders, nonprofit organizations, local businesses, and USC faculty, staff and students in support of the university’s engagement priorities. He also plays a key role in building and maintaining strong relationships between USC’s research and outreach programs, in facilitating and implementing President Nikias’ community initiatives, and in documenting and evaluating community involvement at USC. Previously, Keys was principal consultant for Keys Consulting Group, a government affairs and public policy firm, where he developed and implemented government and community outreach programs and was responsible for external relations and project consensus building on the federal, state and municipal levels. Keys holds a bachelor’s degree in social theory and mass communications from UC Berkeley, a master’s degree in sociology and law from Columbia University, a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law, and a certificate in real estate finance from the USC Marshall School of Business’ Ross Minority Program in Real Estate.