5                    KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY
6                 THE HONORABLE JANET RENO
11                   1996 ANNUAL MEETING
15               1001 MARQUETTE AVENUE SOUTH
16                  MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA
19                       JUNE 6, 1996
20                         8:00 PM
25                      COURT REPORTER
1             Thank you so much, Sara.  And I thank
2    everybody for such a warm, wonderful welcome in
3    Minneapolis today.  
4             Skip Humphrey, congratulations to you on
5    the Leadership Award.  But thank you so much for
6    all that you've done to get me to Minnesota, to
7    work with our offices together so that there is a
8    true partnership with general attorneys across the
9    country.  You have been a valued, valued friend;
10    and I appreciate your wisdom.  
11             And David Lillehaug, thank you very, very
12    much for the wonderful work you do as United
13    States Attorney.  I am so proud to work with you.  
14             I am particularly honored to be here
15    today with Judge Diana Murphy of the Eighth
16    Circuit, and I congratulate you on the award you
17    receive tonight.  You truly deserve it.  It has
18    been wonderful to watch you in action.  
19             And I am very pleased that President
20    Clinton has nominated Ann Montgomery.  And I just
21    want you to know that I'm working as hard as I can
22    -- we're working as hard as we can in the Justice
23    Department to get her confirmed.  
24             I had been hearing, in the last visit
25    that I had to Minneapolis, about Rosealie Walls. 
1    And I had the chance to meet her tonight.  And she
2    reminds me, as I met her, of Judge Dixie Chastain,
3    a judge who went to law school early on and then
4    could not get a job.  She went to law school in
5    the '30s.  She could not get a job because she was
6    a woman and so was a probation officer; but
7    finally became a great, distinguished juvenile
8    court judge.  And it is the Rosealie Walls and the
9    Dixie Chastains that have gotten me where I am. 
10    And it is wonderful to be here.  
11            Judges can tell you what it's like to face
12    confirmation, but mine was very quick.  It was
13    within three and a half weeks, probably a record. 
14    And suddenly your whole life kept flashing before
15    you, and you remember your high school teachers,
16    your baby-sitters, your friends from law school. 
17    Vetters were calling your friends from law school
18    to ask what you did risque in law school.  
19             And there is a smallness about America
20    because the sister of the friend who got the call
21    is here tonight with the kind of cookies that her
22    sister used to bake.  So, Mariah, thank you for
23    being here.  
24             Thinking about tonight reminds me: 
25    Remember to reach out and touch other people. 
1    Remember to reach out and help others along the
2    way.  You're going to get a lot more people into
3    leadership positions if you only reach back of
4    you, to the side of you, and to the front of you
5    and give advice and support.  And I felt it more
6    than I can ever tell you because some of these
7    three years have been hard times.  And it was
8    those calls in the middle of the night from
9    lawyers that I had known, men and women, calls
10    from my mentors and from people who had been my
11    antagonists, who made all the difference.  
12             Remember your family, too, because there
13    was one person that told me I should never be a
14    lawyer.  That was my mother.  She said ladies
15    didn't become lawyers.  She's the same one who
16    built her house.  I wish she could see it now. 
17    But it is interesting to note that no one, not my
18    law firm, not anybody else, not my mother, said
19    that I couldn't be attorney general 30 years
20    later.  So, we have come a long way.  
21             As a child, I thought I loved the law;
22    but I know I love the law now.  And I love
23    lawyers.  I do not like greedy, indifferent
24    lawyers.  And I am so impressed with what the law
25    done right does for so many different people.  But
1    we still, all of us as lawyers, face some
2    extraordinary challenges.  And I would like to
3    discuss those with you tonight.  
4             I'd like to discuss with you tonight how
5    we make the law real for all Americans.  Eighty
6    percent of the poor and the working poor,
7    according to the American Bar Association, lack
8    access to our courts and to our lawyers.  For too
9    many people, for that reason, the law is worth
10    little more than the paper it's written on.  The
11    Constitution assumes a hollowness.  
12             Many lawyers reach out and deal with
13    great issues and great concepts, but then they
14    don't reach below the concepts to deal with the
15    people and the really human issues, the human
16    problems that countless thousands of Americans
17    deal with.  This becomes even more of a problem as
18    the world becomes more complicated and regulations
19    prescribing human conduct become more
20    complicated.  
21             And it is not just the poor and the
22    working poor.  So many people in middle-class
23    America feel alienated from the law, don't know
24    who to go to, can't afford a lawyer to solve a
25    problem -- a social security problem, an insurance
1    problem.  I saw it during the aftermath of
2    Hurricane Andrew as people struggled to avoid
3    being bilked and tried to find lawyers who could
4    help them but were turned away by the cost of it.  
5             Now, there are so many people that tell
6    me, "Well, that's not my problem.  I'm not
7    interested in legal services.  I'm going to
8    practice law, and I'm going to let somebody else
9    worry about it."  I think the time has come in
10    this country for us all to realize that we're in
11    this one, big problem together.  Unless we make an
12    investment in children, unless we make an
13    investment in legal services so that all America
14    is represented, so that all America feels it has
15    access to opportunity and to the law, we're going
16    to be in a lot worse shape.
17             If people are continually and
18    unreasonably thwarted in their quest for justice,
19    they will soon begin to lash out against the law
20    we love and against the institutions that we hold
21    dear.  They will feel disenfranchised.  They will
22    drop out.  They will turn to drugs.  They will
23    turn to crime.  And they have.  
24             If you don't care about crime and drugs
25    and what we can do about it, those that lash out
1    and drop out will not be part of the workforce we
2    need to maintain this nation as a great nation. 
3    The medical and educational institutions of this
4    land will be brought to their knees.  
5             Lawyers have a special challenge, an
6    extraordinary challenge, but an extraordinary
7    opportunity.  And so I would try to answer the
8    question of how we can make the law real for all
9    Americans including our children.  
10             First of all, let us join together.  And
11    you are such a bold and innovative group, I would
12    ask you to join with me in making the law more
13    easily understood.  Winston Churchill told us to
14    use small, old words.  You have no idea what it's
15    like to get briefed by the wonderful lawyers in
16    the Department of Justice.  I went to law school,
17    so I can understand it.  And they are great
18    lawyers, and they are great briefings.  But then I
19    have to translate it for press availability or
20    something else, and they come in with more of the
21    gobbledygook.  And I say, "Nobody is going to
22    understand this.  Nobody is going to appreciate
23    the law.  Put it in simple terms that people can
24    understand.  Put it in human terms as to how it
25    impacts each individual involved."
1             And as lawyers -- whether it be attorney
2    general or a private practitioner with a small
3    practice or a legal services lawyer -- explain to
4    your clients exactly what is happening.  I see the
5    great trial lawyers in my office at home take
6    little time to explain.  And then I will see a
7    not-so-great trial lawyer patiently explain
8    everything to the victim.  The victim was so much
9    more effective, and the not-so-good trial lawyer
10    did almost as well.           
11             Explain the future application of the law
12    so that people can use the law themselves in order
13    to become more self-sufficient.  
14             Secondly, I think we should look at the
15    administrative structures we establish.  I
16    remember when I started practicing law back in
17    1963, one of the hardest things I ever had to do
18    was to charge a lady a fee for collecting child
19    support that was due her.  There was no doubt that
20    the child support was due her.  There was no doubt
21    that she was entitled to it.  And I was offended
22    by having to charge her a fee.  I was also
23    offended by my inability to pay my rent, so I
24    recanted.  There was no system.  
25             Now, in 1996, there is a system.  It is
1    not a perfect system.  It is a partnership between
2    the federal and state governments with the initial
3    responsibility for collection lying at the state
4    level.  We have come so far.  We have made such a
5    difference.  But there is still a frustration.  
6             In Miami I left my home telephone number
7    listed.  And the calls I would get on a Sunday
8    night, "You haven't collected my child support
9    yet, and my rent is due tomorrow.  I'm going to
10    get thrown out."  We have got to respond to that
11    fear, to that anger.  And we've got to respond to
12    that quest for justice.  We've got to make child
13    support and the collection of child support as
14    important and as easy to do as the collection of
15    taxes in this country.
16             Congress has passed the Child Support
17    Enforcement Act, and we are engaged in
18    prosecutions at the federal level that involve
19    orders arising from two different states.  We have
20    tried to improve our referral system, tried to
21    improve our investigative capacity; and we will
22    continue to strive in that area.  
23             But one of the great frustrations with
24    child support is to have a perfectly good order
25    here, and then have the absent parent move to
1    another state.  The people of this country do not
2    understand Federalism when they are told, "I'm
3    sorry, I cannot enforce that child support order
4    until I institute a new action in this state."  We
5    as lawyers have got to work together to develop a
6    system that insures full faith and credit for
7    child support orders so that we can maintain the
8    principles of Federalism while getting the orders
9    enforced.  
10            The third suggestion I have is to develop
11    a more comprehensive approach to the problems that
12    we address.  I am so impressed with what I have
13    read and been told today about your efforts in the
14    establishment of the Minnesota Children's Law
15    Center.  That is an example of what I talk about,
16    of bringing social workers together with lawyers
17    and others concerned with the interests of
18    children to address the issues in a comprehensive
19    way.  
20             But I think one of the most classic
21    examples that we have undertaken -- and we need to
22    improve upon -- is the whole issue of domestic
23    violence.  In 1978, as a prosecutor, I was called
24    by our medical examiner in Dade County and was
25    told, "Janet, I've got all these records over
1    here; and nobody has come over to examine them and
2    to look at them and to find out why people have
3    been killed over the last 20 years."  So we got
4    some university interns.  We sent them over.  And
5    we determined that, in the last 20 years prior to
6    that time, 40 percent of the homicides in Dade
7    County were related to domestic violence --
8    husband and wife, separated spouse, boyfriend/
9    girlfriend.  
10             We set up an LEA grant and developed a
11    Domestic Intervention Program.  The police weren't
12    interested.  The courts spoofed at us and didn't
13    think we were quite serious.  They referred to it
14    as "domestics."  We've come a long way.  There is
15    now, in that county, Domestic Violence Courts. 
16    There is a Domestic Violence Center.  We try to
17    work with police in a more effective manner.  And,
18    most of all, women came to the bench of the Dade
19    County Circuit and County Courts and made the
20    difference.  So by the time I left, there was no
21    judge there who wasn't taking these cases
22    seriously because of his colleagues who were
23    women.
24             Congress has passed the Violence Against
25    Women Act, which last year provided for each state
1    a down payment on funding for Violence Against
2    Women, an initiative of $425,000 for each state. 
3    And this year we will distribute a total of $130
4    million to every state in this land to develop
5    good centers, innovative responses from the police
6    and from prosecutors, domestic violence courts,
7    effective actions that can truly make a
8    difference.  
9             I named Bonnie Campbell, this week,
10    director of the Violence Against Women office. 
11    And she has done a marvelous job of raising the
12    issue cross the country, of providing training, of
13    making a difference.  And I'd like to make a
14    special note.  Donna Shalala and I formed an
15    advisory committee to advise them on service. 
16    They have done an incredible job.  And Sheila
17    Wellstone has been instrumental in her service on
18    that committee and providing such wonderful
19    insight.  But there is more to do.  
20             Unless we start focusing really clearly
21    on violence in the home, we are never going to end
22    violence in the streets of this nation or in the
23    schools of this nation.  Violence is a learned
24    behavior.  And the child who watches his father
25    beat his mother comes to accept violence as a way
1    of life.  We have got to start in the home if we
2    are to end this epidemic of violence in this
3    nation.  
4             There are great steps being taken.  Law
5    and medicine are coming together:  When the ABA
6    and AMA meet together, when Roberta Ramo and the
7    president of the American Medical Association join
8    together on our advisory committee, you know there
9    is progress.           
10             But in every community across this land,
11    we should have a liasion between the law and
12    medicine.  We should understand that it's not just
13    a criminal justice problem but a public health
14    problem, that an emergency room doctor shouldn't
15    just sew up the wound but should provide
16    appropriate counseling if we are ever going to end
17    this cycle.  
18             Again, full faith and credit has got to
19    be afforded every order.  It is so frustrating to
20    see an order entered in one state not recognized
21    in another state that doesn't have the computer
22    capacity to store the order in the first place.  
23             We are meeting in Kentucky shortly to
24    work with Kentucky and with the State Chief
25    Justices Conference to develop a system that can
1    insure the continuation of our principles of
2    Federalism while, at the same time, giving full
3    faith and credit to the orders of the states.  We
4    can do so much if we work together.  
5             But one thing I would ask you -- and this
6    is probably a very appropriate state to suggest it
7    in.  I looked at the map in David Lillehaug's
8    office today of Minnesota.  What an incredible
9    state!  I can't wait to canoe on some of those
10    lakes.  But you must think of the distances.  When
11    I go to Iowa, neighboring, and they tell me that
12    their major crime problem is domestic violence;
13    when they tell me that in small towns as well as
14    large cities, you understand that we're going to
15    have to use modern technology in developing
16    systems of communication between the small towns
17    and judges and social service workers and medical
18    workers so that, through modern technology, we can
19    communicate to those too distant for immediate
20    access remedies that will help them deal with the
21    problem of domestic violence.  
22             The next issue that I want to address in
23    connection with how we make the law real for all
24    Americans is to address straight on and directly
25    the issue of pro bono services.  We have announced
1    in the Department of Justice a pro bono policy
2    that urges all our lawyers to contribute 50 hours,
3    at least, as an aspirational goal, of pro bono
4    services.  
5             Yesterday I went to a training session
6    for some of the young lawyers participating in the
7    D.C. Bar.  I can't tell you what it's like to walk
8    into a room with young lawyers, who I personally
9    know have been working long hours, and find them
10    there with their first pro bono cases, excited,
11    scared, but with stars in their eyes because they
12    believe they are helping somebody.  It is so
13    exciting to see the law become real, in human
14    terms, for these lawyers who have struggled with
15    the abstract issues and have oftentimes not seen
16    it in terms of the immediate impact on people.  
17             But it is clear to me that if we are to
18    develop the pro bono capacity that the legal
19    profession of this nation has the capacity for,
20    we've got to do it in a more organized way.  These
21    lawyers are scared about conflict issues.  We've
22    got to identify these issues and make sure, before
23    they go into this, that they don't have to worry
24    about it by carefully addressing the problems and
25    telling them who they can represent and who they
1    can't.  We've got to make sure that they are
2    trained, minimally, in some of the key issues,
3    whether it be landlord/tenant or domestic
4    relations.  We have got to organize it so it's
5    immediately available.  And then they want so much
6    to help.  We can truly, truly make a difference.  
7             And we have got to, all of us as lawyers,
8    make sure, in order to maintain the credibility of
9    law in this nation, that legal services programs
10    and public defender programs maintain or enhance
11    their strength.
12             Cheryl Little is a legal services lawyer
13    in Miami.  She has been an advocate for Haitian
14    children and Haitian immigrants.  For some in the
15    Department of Justice, she has been a thorn in
16    their side.  For me, she has been an angel because
17    she is an advocate who can remind us all of the
18    rights of the most downtrodden.  
19             And for as long as I live, I will always
20    remember the instance in which the governor of
21    Florida asked me to go to another part of Florida
22    to reinvestigate the case of James Joseph
23    Richardson, a man who had been prosecuted,
24    convicted, and sentenced to death for the
25    poisoning death of his seven children in 1968.  He
1    had not gone to the electric chair because of the
2    Supreme Court's decision in 1972; but he had
3    served 21 years in prison without any discipline
4    on his record.  
5             We reinvestigated the case and determined
6    that the evidence was insufficient to charge him
7    originally; that, although we could not tell what
8    happened with the passage of time, the death and
9    incapacity of witnesses, that he was probably
10    innocent.  And we told the court that he should go
11    free.  For as long as I live, I will always
12    remember looking back over my shoulder as I left
13    that courthouse and watched him walk out a free
14    man for the first time.  
15             All of us as lawyers have a
16    responsibility for insuring a comprehensive public
17    defender system in this country; and if we don't
18    have that, insuring that we step in where there is
19    a breach.  
20             The sixth point I want to make to you is
21    controversial.  And I want to tell you that the
22    president of a large State Bar Association wrote
23    me and said, "Well, it's nice to hear you all
24    concerned about access; but you're not concerned
25    about the unauthorized practice of law."  And I
1    called him.  And I said, "Well, I'm certainly
2    concerned about the unauthorized practice of law." 
3    And he said, "You just want these people in there
4    who are going to compete with us."  And I said,
5    "You don't have to worry about them competing.  I
6    don't think any lawyer in your Bar Association is
7    probably that interested in some of the areas that
8    I'm talking about."  
9             And what I'm talking about is walking
10    into a public housing project and finding a lady
11    there with Medicaid problems, with landlord/tenant
12    problems with HUD, with welfare problems -- what
13    you can and can't do -- and none of the lawyers
14    around the table could give her any advice because
15    they hadn't learned anything about it in law
16    school.  And it occurred to me that we should
17    offer a four-year degree in community colleges and
18    four-year colleges on Community Activism.  You
19    could define it for the area in which you served. 
20    For an inner city area, you went to an inner city
21    school, you graduate with a degree that enables
22    you to understand landlord/tenant issues, how do
23    you clear the vacant lot? how do you get rid of
24    the potholes? how do you get rid of the abandoned
25    automobile? what do you do with the kid in trouble
1    with police? and guardianship for the grandchild
2    when your daughter is a crack addict.  
3             I don't know many lawyers who are in
4    competition for any money or are going to get any
5    money from that type of case.  And I know that
6    there are an awful lot of lawyers that would love
7    it if there was somebody who was educated with a
8    four-year degree and knew exactly what to do in
9    these types of cases.  On Indian reservations, it
10    might be different.  But it would be a four-year
11    degree that emphasized problem solving, conflict
12    resolution, and community organization, and how
13    you empower people.  It would be a hands-on
14    internship.  Who is the mayor?  How do the police
15    relate to the schools?  How can they all work
16    together?  We can do so much if we are creative.  
17             One of my mentors and one of my dear and
18    great friends and one of the people responsible
19    for my standing here tonight is Sandy D'Alemberte,
20    now the president of FSU and formerly president of
21    the American Bar Association.  I espoused this
22    thought to him one night; and I said, "I guess
23    you're not going to like that because I'm going to
24    be worried, again, about competition."  And he
25    said, "No.  I remember the doctor telling me about
1    the people in Ethiopia, that he went to Ethiopia
2    and here was a man without a high-school education
3    who had a real talent as a surgeon and who saved
4    an eye; and the eye wouldn't have been saved if he
5    had not been there."
6             We can do so much if we develop licensing
7    procedures for these community advocates, if we
8    work with colleges and universities who have a
9    direct relationship to the community they serve. 
10    We can make a difference.  
11             That leads to the concept of community. 
12    And lawyers have a special responsibility to
13    create community, to solve problems, to listen to
14    people.  For too many people in America, community
15    has fallen away.  I was out today at a community
16    in the Phillips neighborhood at Chicago and
17    Franklin where people were beginning to put
18    community back together again.  It can be done if
19    lawyers and business people and school teachers
20    and police officers work together.  And, most of
21    all, if they work together putting the citizens of
22    that community first.  If they work together
23    listening to them, understanding their problems,
24    and reaching out to solve their problems.  We can
25    do so much if we develop that partnership.        
1             And I would urge you to consider tonight
2    the concept of community justice; taking these
3    scenes we have seen here in Minneapolis and then
4    around the country where communities are beginning
5    to come together, and suggesting to the courts, as
6    we have suggested to the State Conference of Chief
7    Justices, that we form a community court system
8    and a community justice system.  
9             Yesterday we met with the Chief Justice
10    of the Executive Committee, Chief Justice Moyer of
11    Ohio, who has taken the suggestion just with a
12    wonderful spirit.  And we are looking forward to
13    identifying some communities where we can work
14    together in identifying the key players, all of
15    whom would be cooperative.  And I envision
16    community relief officers working with community
17    probation officers working with community
18    prosecutors and the judge assigned to a
19    neighborhood with a high incidence of delinquency,
20    domestic violence, and other community-type
21    problems; a judge trained in what was available in
22    the community, and a judge who had, from the city,
23    an advocate assigned to become a promoter of
24    services needed to resolve the problems. 
25             I think we can do so much if we start to
1    rebuild the fabric of community around our family
2    and children at risk.  And we must.  But if we are
3    to represent anybody, we must figure out ways to
4    represent our children, to make sure that our
5    children's problems are solved by insuring that
6    they have proper medical care as they come into
7    this world, to make sure that our children's
8    problems are resolved when their parents don't
9    care, and that we insure steps be taken to provide
10    them educare and safe, constructive child care;
11    that we provide programs for them afternoons and
12    in the evening; that we figure out how to make our
13    children's voices heard in this land.  We have
14    come a long way, but we have far to go.  
15             But as we do so much for others, we
16    cannot forget to reach out to those we love the
17    most, to our spouses, to our children, to our
18    frail and elderly parents.  I remember my
19    afternoons after school and in the evening and
20    during the summertime.  My mother worked in the
21    home when she was wasn't building the house.  She
22    taught us to play baseball.  She taught us to bake
23    cakes.  She taught us to appreciate symphony.  She
24    taught us not to like Dickens, but to applaud his
25    forewords.  She taught us to play fair.  She
1    punished us, and she loved us with all her heart. 
2    And there is no child care in the world that will
3    ever be a substitute for what that lady was in our
4    life.  
5             And I remember in her later days, as she
6    was dying, I took her across Canada in a train; I
7    took her to the Caribbean on a cruise; I took her
8    up the St. Thomas River in a houseboat; in a
9    recreational van through the Blue Ridge; and to
10    Washington to see the dinosaurs.  And she lived a
11    happy life until she died.  And of all the things
12    that I've done, I think probably doing that was
13    the most rewarding and the most important.        
14             As we strive to do all that we must for
15    our community and for this nation that we love,
16    let us never forget those who are closest.  And
17    let us structure our offices and our law firms and
18    our nation so that we put children and family
19    first while still achieving the goals that we hold
20    so dear.  
21                       (Whereupon, the speech was
22    concluded at 8:30 p.m.)
2                      )  ss
4             I, KATHRYN M. MOHAWK, Court Reporter and
5    Notary Public duly qualified in and for the State
6    of Minnesota, do hereby certify the foregoing
7    transcript of the speech of THE HONORABLE JANET
9    and correct transcript of my original stenographic
10    notes to the best of my ability and understanding. 
12             IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set
13    my hand and affixed my notarial seal this ____ day
14    of June, 1996.  
16                       __________________________ 
17                       KATHRYN M. MOHAWK
18                       Notary Public