9                      LAW DAY 
10                        1997 
12               U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL 
13                     JANET RENO 
15                    MAY 1, 1997 
16                 CAPITAL UNIVERSITY 
 1                     * * * * * 
 2             ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO:  Thank you so  
 3   very much, Chief Justice Moyer.   
 4             And in many respects my remarks  
 5   today reflect a lot of what you taught me; and  
 6   in some respects are dedicated to you for the  
 7   great work that you have done in forging a  
 8   real alliance between the State and Federal  
 9   Governments, and addressing the problems and  
10   concerns of lawyers and judges across this  
11   country.   
12             To you all, it is a wonderful  
13   privilege for me to be here today with you.   
14   And I am particularly grateful for the  
15   opportunity to hear in one concise statement  
16   the history of this remarkable law school.  
17             Kent Marcus and his wife Susan have  
18   been telling me about Capital Law School.  I  
19   had a sense of it, but I had a really  
20   wonderful opportunity this morning to hear  
21   from the students and to have their feel about  
22   this law school and its commitment to service  
23   in the community.   
24             From this extraordinary law school,  
25   you will take memories and learning that will  
 1   be with you for the rest of your life.  You  
 2   will take friendships that will be with you  
 3   for the rest of your life, and skills and  
 4   ideas and concepts.   
 5             One of the touching moments for me  
 6   in these last four years has been to come  
 7   across my former dean in law school, to meet  
 8   my professors, to remember what they taught  
 9   me, to have them remember a question and  
10   answer session we had 34 years ago; and then  
11   to come to the Department of Justice and say  
12   that I made my highest grade in tax, then to  
13   remember my tax professor's name and be told  
14   my tax professor worked for me and he was in  
15   his 80's.   
16             From this extraordinary law school,  
17   that it does symbolize access; from this law  
18   school, it has such an extraordinary  
19   commitment to public service.  I hope that you  
20   will take what you learn and gain here and go  
21   out and do what you can to make sure that the  
22   law serves the people.   
23             Don't become known for how much  
24   money you make.  Don't become known for the  
25   house that you live in or the name of your law  
 1   firm.  But instead, become known for the  
 2   accuracy and the precision and the excellence  
 3   of your legal advice.   
 4             Become known for your ability to  
 5   solve your client's problem the right way  
 6   consistent with the law.  Become known for how  
 7   you have made the law real to more Americans  
 8   who would not otherwise have had access to  
 9   justice.  Become known for what you do to  
10   insure equal justice for all.  Become known  
11   for what you do to build and contribute to  
12   your community and to your nation.   
13             Too often, we, as lawyers, don't do  
14   that.  I, as a prosecutor, used to become  
15   frustrated when my prosecutors would come  
16   upstairs triumphant because they had gotten a  
17   conviction.  They had gotten a sentence of 10  
18   years and he deserved it.  But I knew he was  
19   going to be out in 20 to 30 percent of the  
20   sentence because there weren't enough prison  
21   cells and there weren't enough after-care  
22   programs to keep him on the right trail once  
23   he was out.   
24             And the public defender would claim  
25   victory when he came upstairs and he got his  
 1   client off on a motion to dismiss or a motion  
 2   to suppress.  But yet he knew that, as his  
 3   client walked out of the courtroom allegedly a  
 4   free man, as a crack addict, he was in a worse  
 5   prison than any prison could create.  And  
 6   nothing was done to get to what caused the  
 7   problem in the first place.  The system, both  
 8   the prosecutor and the defense attorney,  
 9   failed to solve the problem.   
10             We have got to look behind the  
11   concepts of the law, the rules of the law, and  
12   work to solve our client's problem.   
13             There are other lawyers in the civil  
14   context who want to make money and want to  
15   help their clients make deals, and only end up  
16   in a costly litigation that could have been  
17   avoided if the lawyer had taken the time to  
18   plan the deal so that the problem didn't go  
19   astray.   
20             American lawyers are committed to  
21   winning, but it can't be winning at any cost.   
22   We can do better than to simply file motions  
23   to delay.  We can do better than using the  
24   tools of discovery, not to investigate and to  
25   strengthen our case, but simply to cause the  
 1   other side problems.  We can do better than  
 2   sending hostile letters back and forth on fax  
 3   machines.  We cannot let the thrill of battle  
 4   blind us or let it blind us to the best  
 5   interest of our clients and our society.   
 6             I think Abraham Lincoln said it  
 7   best:  Discourage litigation; persuade your  
 8   neighbors to compromise whenever you can;  
 9   point out to them that the nominal winner is  
10   often a real loser in fees and expenses and  
11   waste of time.   
12             As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a  
13   superior opportunity of being a good man or  
14   woman.  There will be business enough.   
15             Use what you learn here at this  
16   remarkable law school; that it has spearheaded  
17   efforts involving dispute resolution and  
18   negotiation.  The center of dispute resolution  
19   is a model for law schools around this  
20   country; not just to resolve conflicts before  
21   litigation, but we must teach others in the  
22   community to resolve conflicts without harsh  
23   disputes, without division and without knives  
24   and guns and fists.   
25             Even the legal services lawyer who  
 1   sometimes think that they are solving the  
 2   problems of the world have got to look at what  
 3   the problem really is.  They may sue the  
 4   county or sue the Government because  
 5   circumstances or conditions in a jail or  
 6   mental health facility are not what they  
 7   should be.  They get the paper judgment, so  
 8   then the county says we don't have the money  
 9   to fix it; we don't know how to fix it.  The  
10   good lawyer is going to be the one working  
11   shoulder to shoulder with the county officials  
12   saying this is how you do it, this is how you  
13   cut costs, this is how you reallocate your  
14   resources.   
15             It is going to require the lawyer  
16   not just winning the lawsuit, but solving the  
17   problem.   
18             But the major problem in America for  
19   all of us as lawyers is that too many  
20   Americans do not have access to lawyers and to  
21   justice.  It is estimated that 60 percent of  
22   the poor and working poor in this country do  
23   not have access to the legal system.  All of  
24   us have a responsibility to solve that  
25   problem.   
 1             To these people, think about it, the  
 2   law is worth little more than the paper it is  
 3   written on.  We create such great expectations  
 4   of the constitutional rights, of the civil  
 5   rights on the part of Americans, and yet we  
 6   deliver too few of these rights in reality.   
 7   As a consequence for too many Americans, the  
 8   law is worth little more than the paper it is  
 9   written on.   
10             These people include children who do  
11   not have voices as they are in court.  These  
12   people are elderly citizens living on a fixed  
13   income who are becoming more and more rapidly  
14   into hopelessness.   
15             Now some say, why should I be  
16   bothered?  First of all, we should all be  
17   bothered because we have got to do the right  
18   thing.  But if some people are not motivated  
19   by that, they have got to understand that as  
20   more people sink into poverty, as more  
21   children in this country live in poverty,  
22   there is going to be an alienation and a  
23   disenfranchisement on the part of too many  
24   people that will split and divide this nation  
25   and lead it unproductive and in turmoil.  We  
 1   are all in this together.   
 2             And even if it is not sufficient  
 3   there, unless we make an investment in all  
 4   Americans, unless we make rights real for all  
 5   Americans, we are not going to have Americans  
 6   with the skills necessary to fulfill the jobs  
 7   to maintain this nation as a first rate  
 8   nation.  So however you cut it, we are all in  
 9   this together.  And we have got to make the  
10   law real for all Americans.   
11             How do we do it?  First of all, just  
12   listening to the students earlier today, this  
13   law school has set the tradition in terms of  
14   volunteerism and pro bono services that can  
15   serve as a model for other law schools.   
16             In Washington, when I came to the  
17   Department of Justice, there was no pro bono  
18   program; and in fact, it seemed to be  
19   discouraged.  We have now announced a pro bono  
20   program that provides an aspirational goal of  
21   50 hours of community service, pro bono legal  
22   service for all our lawyers.   
23             People say you can't do it.  I did  
24   it last year and it was one of the more  
25   rewarding experiences that I have had in all  
 1   the different forms that it took.   
 2             Some people get frustrated with pro  
 3   bono service; though they say, I may not know  
 4   exactly how to do it; I am worried about this;  
 5   what about conflicts of interest?  When you go  
 6   to a community and start to practice law, work  
 7   with your bar association to develop a  
 8   framework for pro bono service so that you can  
 9   address these problems, organize opportunities  
10   for service and make it as efficient and  
11   effective as possible.   
12             And in that instance you won't have  
13   to worry about the conflict.  You can be  
14   trained in this framework and you can  
15   understand that you won't sit around waiting  
16   idly while one client may come in or another.   
17   It is going to be organized.  There are bar  
18   associations across the country that have done  
19   wonderful jobs in this respect.  And as you,  
20   the students, start to practice, see what you  
21   can do to improve the organizational structure  
22   of the system.   
23             As lawyers, the second thing you can  
24   do is deliver legal services in a reasonable  
25   way.  One of the things I sometimes think of  
 1   doing when I leave this job is to develop a  
 2   law firm that provides a volume practice with  
 3   people specialized in areas of the law that  
 4   affect people who generally can't afford  
 5   lawyers, and price it so that these people can  
 6   pay a little bit, or more, but that they can  
 7   pay and you can make it a self-sufficient  
 8   firm.  I believe we can do it if lawyers  
 9   approach it from the point of view of this is  
10   how we serve people and yet at the same time  
11   make enough money to support ourselves.   
12             Now if we want to make $200,000 a  
13   year, forget it.  But there are an awful lot  
14   of us that find public service is more  
15   rewarding, and service and use of the law is  
16   more rewarding.   
17             Give the people the opportunity to  
18   use the law themselves.  It is just  
19   frustrating to go to Washington and even now  
20   have lawyers tell me well, that is VII of  
21   this, that and the other, and that is the such  
22   and such and such act that did such and such  
23   under Title II.  They don't make the law  
24   understandable for people, or they use big  
25   words.   
 1             Let the lawyers of this country  
 2   start using small, old words and apply the law  
 3   in ways that people can understand so that  
 4   people can use the law themselves to make  
 5   themselves self-sufficient.  That should be  
 6   the purpose of the law.  We should put  
 7   ourselves out of business.  Now don't worry,  
 8   we won't (inaudible).  
 9             (Laughter.)  
10             In that regard, we have got to help  
11   our clients understand the challenges  
12   (inaudible).  Cyber technology will give us  
13   opportunities that we never dreamed of that  
14   will also create challenges for us.  How do we  
15   apply the law with modern technology.  How do  
16   we protect our constitutional rights while at  
17   the same time using the Internet and opening  
18   the world to dreams of opportunity that we  
19   never ever dreamed of.   
20             I encourage you all to public  
21   service at some time or another.  Now I am a  
22   great example that you can get fussed at,  
23   cussed at and figuratively beaten around on a  
24   regular basis.   
25             (Laughter.) 
 1             But I have been in a private  
 2   practice in a small law firm of two and in a major  
 3   Miami law firm, and I have been in public  
 4   service.  And public service has been far more  
 5   rewarding:  To go with the President to a  
 6   church in South Carolina, to dedicate a new  
 7   church replacing one that had been burned in  
 8   an arson; to walk off the stage after the  
 9   dedication and have a lady burst through the  
10   lines and give me a big hug and say, Janet, I  
11   haven't seen you since Miami, you got me child  
12   support in Miami and I want you to see the two  
13   boys you got me child support for.   
14   (Indicating.)  
15             (Laughter.) 
16             You understand that there is nothing  
17   as rewarding as public service.   
18             You can do it for a little bit.  You  
19   can do it for all of your life.  But I  
20   encourage those who have been practicing and  
21   those who are yet to graduate, consider it.   
22   It is so rewarding.   
23             As you do all this though, as you  
24   organize your law firm, as you consider public  
25   service, as you engage in public services, as  
 1   you try to make the law real for Americans,  
 2   don't forget the children of America.   
 3             As a prosecutor, when I got to  
 4   problem solving, I looked at dropouts.  I  
 5   looked at early childhood programs.  But then  
 6   I realized you have got to start from the time  
 7   that child is conceived.   
 8             As you return to your communities,  
 9   organize your communities so that we may weave  
10   a fabric of community around children and  
11   their families at risk.  Lawyers across this  
12   country should be dedicated both in public  
13   service and community service and in their  
14   practice to making sure that children of  
15   America have appropriate preventive medical  
16   care; that children of America have  
17   appropriate education in those formative years  
18   of 0 to 5; that children of America have  
19   educational opportunities that can match the  
20   challenges of the 21st century; that children  
21   of America have appropriate supervision in the  
22   afternoon and in the evening while their  
23   parents are working; that children of America  
24   learn skills that can enable them to earn a  
25   living wage.   
 1             All of us as lawyers, whether it be  
 2   attorney generals, law professors, people  
 3   volunteering, can contribute to that ultimate  
 4   goal, because unless we make an investment in  
 5   our children, we will never be able to solve  
 6   the problem by building prisons 18 years from  
 7   now, by providing remedial programs 10 years  
 8   from now; and we will never have a workforce  
 9   that can match the challenges of the 21st  
10   century.   
11             But how do you do that?  The  
12   response from so many people is that this is  
13   such a big world.   
14             Chief Justice Moyer and I are  
15   engaged in an effort that I think is  
16   exciting.  In my own hometown, we had to go  
17   downtown to go to the courthouse.  For some,  
18   it was a ride of 20 to 30 miles, and they  
19   didn't like to go downtown to tell the judge  
20   what that defendant had done to their lives.   
21   But a community police officer serving the  
22   community was organizing the neighborhood,  
23   working through the schools, working with the  
24   citizens in the neighborhood.  And he got a  
25   bunch of citizens on the bus and took them  
 1   down to juvenile court and the judge heard  
 2   from the citizens.  The citizens talked with  
 3   the kid, and everybody came out with a much  
 4   better idea of how to solve the problem and  
 5   what was needed for that child to get off on  
 6   the right foot.   
 7             It occurred to me then, and it has  
 8   occurred to me in working with the chief  
 9   justices of the country, to develop the  
10   concept of community justice; where courts are  
11   more central to neighborhoods, particularly  
12   the neighborhoods with high crime or other  
13   problems that are not getting solved because  
14   there are not adequate legal services; where  
15   citizens can become the advocate; where the  
16   public defender can work with citizens and  
17   other community resources to address the  
18   problem; where a community probation officer  
19   rides with a community police officer to make  
20   sure that a person who has a 10:00 curfew is  
21   in and if he isn't, corrective steps are  
22   taken; but where that police officer and that  
23   probation officer reach out to the private  
24   sector to make sure there are job  
25   opportunities and job training opportunities  
 1   for that 14-year-old that they are keeping  
 2   watch on, and developing a bond with him,  
 3   becoming mentors for him; where the judge  
 4   knows who the person is and it is not just a  
 5   number, not just a case, not just one of  
 6   thousands, but a person who they are tracking,  
 7   to provide a coherent plan of treatment and a  
 8   coherent enforcement action along the way.  
 9             Let us be creative, and remember,  
10   that in being creative we can learn from the  
11   past.  I think back to the hills in England,  
12   in the 1200s, as the common law was being  
13   developed, as they solve problems, and they  
14   probably said one, two, three, four, five,  
15   six, you, you, you, okay, let's sit down and  
16   figure this out and let's see how we do it.   
17   Let's go back to the real meaning of how we  
18   solve problems.   
19             But in solving problems, we have got  
20   to do all that we can to heal the division; to  
21   heal the youth who is angry; to heal  
22   communities and bring them back together.   
23             We need to speak out against  
24   prejudice everywhere we see it.  Haters are  
25   cowards, and when confronted, they most often  
 1   back down.  But too often, we let them become  
 2   entrenched before we speak out because we are  
 3   too busy, we don't want to get involved, it is  
 4   not our problem.  Hate, the division it  
 5   causes, the turmoil it causes is everybody's  
 6   problem.   
 7             In our own generation we have seen  
 8   remarkable progress in our efforts to bridge  
 9   the gap between our ideals of freedom,  
10   equality and justice, and the harsher  
11   realities of our daily experience.   
12             Our national journey has taken us  
13   from segregated classrooms to integrated ones;  
14   from Jim Crow laws to civil rights laws for  
15   women, minorities and persons with  
16   disabilities.  But 40 years after Brown versus  
17   Board of Education, the discrimination and the  
18   corrosive effects of racial prejudice are  
19   still with us.   
20             We cannot say that we completed our  
21   journey, when even today, African-Americans  
22   and Hispanics, and in many cases women, still  
23   have a harder time getting into college,  
24   renting an apartment, getting a job or  
25   obtaining a loan.  We have not completed our  
 1   journey when the unemployment rate for  
 2   African-American males is still twice as high  
 3   as it is for white males.  Even  
 4   college-educated African-American, Hispanic,  
 5   Asian-American men and women of every race and  
 6   ethnic background are paid less than  
 7   comparably educated, comparably trained white  
 8   men.  That's not right.  Worst of all, the  
 9   reported violent hate crimes against  
10   minorities, gays and lesbians are disturbingly  
11   high.   
12             Some of the church fires are an  
13   indication that hate itself has become more  
14   brazen.  We have changed our laws, but we have  
15   not always changed our ways.  Old habits die  
16   hard.  Attitudes dissolve slowly.  We must do  
17   more, much more and open the doors of  
18   opportunity so that every American can share  
19   in and fully contribute to America's  
20   magnificent family.   
21             America's ever-changing place must  
22   continue to be a society that celebrates our  
23   differences while embracing our unique ethnic  
24   identities.  We cannot permit the narrow  
25   minded to deny that we are a multi-cultural  
 1   society as we always have been.  Every person  
 2   is diminished when any one of us, on account  
 3   of color or accent or where we were born,  
 4   experiences anything less than the full  
 5   measure of his or her dignity and privilege as  
 6   a human being.   
 7             The Department of Justice is  
 8   committed to doing its part in enforcing the  
 9   civil rights laws of this nation as vigorously  
10   and as faithfully as possible without fear or  
11   without favor.  But eliminating discrimination  
12   is not a task that can be accomplished by  
13   Government alone.   
14             All of us have to reach out as  
15   individuals across the artificial barriers of  
16   race and class and religion that divides.  Too  
17   often we live in our insular worlds.  We think  
18   we contribute to our community; we think we  
19   are involved.  But we pass each other on the  
20   streets or in the shopping mall and we don't  
21   connect as individuals.  We work together or  
22   we go to school together, and we don't connect  
23   as individuals.   
24             With this separation, we risk the  
25   lack of understanding of and appreciation for  
 1   the views and the perspectives of others.  We  
 2   risk not learning of the wonderful racial,  
 3   ethnic and cultural traditions that make this  
 4   country so strong and so vital.   
 5             Some just throw up their hands and  
 6   say, I am just one person; I can't make a  
 7   difference.  But Americans throughout this  
 8   land are making a difference as they reach  
 9   out.  They are coming together to give  
10   children a future; to bring people out from  
11   behind closed doors; to involve America in the  
12   process of community; and to provide the glue  
13   that brings us together.   
14             This past week, I was at the summit  
15   on volunteerism in Philadelphia.  There I saw  
16   people gathered and talking with an enthusiasm  
17   that created a human electricity.  The  
18   enthusiasm and vigor convinces me that there  
19   is a vast reservoir of individuals willing to  
20   give up their time and their talents to help  
21   others in need.  Hearing these students this  
22   morning talk about what this student body is  
23   doing to help others was a memory I will take  
24   with me.  
25             Recently I spent a Saturday morning  
 1   working for Habitat for Humanity.  By the end  
 2   of the day, African-Americans, whites and  
 3   Cuban-Americans had paint on their face,  
 4   plaster in their hair and a new spirit in our  
 5   hearts.  And when the lady whose house it  
 6   would be walked in and just smiled one big  
 7   smile because it looked so much different in  
 8   the afternoon than it had in the morning, it,  
 9   again, was an experience one never forgets.   
10             In Dorchester, Massachusetts, I have  
11   stood with religious leaders and young  
12   African-American students and white police  
13   officers as they have joined together to  
14   significantly reduce the incidence of youth  
15   violence in their community.   
16             Come with me to dispute resolution  
17   programs in Washington, D.C. public schools  
18   where white and African-American and El  
19   Salvadorian students are learning to work  
20   together to resolve their disputes without  
21   knives and guns and fists.   
22             Come with me across the country and  
23   you will see so much of America coming  
24   together and reaching out and making a  
25   difference in making this a more peaceful  
 1   nation.   
 2             Take part and take hope.  Let us  
 3   walk out of here today and think of what each  
 4   one of us can do to reduce the wall and make a  
 5   difference in the lives of all Americans; and  
 6   to give all Americans here a chance to grow in  
 7   a strong and positive way in the land of  
 8   peace, of liberty, of freedom and of justice  
 9   for all.   
10             (Applause.) 
11                     * * * * *  
 1                   CERTIFICATE 
 2        I, Kathryn E. Stischok, a Registered  
 3   Professional Reporter and Notary Public in and  
 4   for the State of Ohio, do hereby certify that  
 5   I reported the foregoing proceedings and that  
 6   the foregoing transcript of such proceedings  
 7   is a full, true and correct transcript of my  
 8   stenotypy notes as so taken. 
 9        I do further certify that I was called  
10   there in the capacity of a Court Reporter,  
11   and am not otherwise interested in this  
12   proceeding.  
13        IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set  
14   my hand and affixed my seal of office at  
15   Columbus, Ohio, on this _____ day of  
16   ___________, 1997. 
17   ___________________________________ 
18   KATHRYN E. STISCHOK, Notary Public - 
19   State of Ohio. 
21   My commission expires December 11, 1999.