audience watching a presenter on stage

Law and Society Week

Fox Rothschild Center for Law and Society Presents the 22nd Annual Law and Society Week

February 22 through 26, 2021

Schedule of Events


Date Event Details

Monday, February 22, 2021

Opening Session and Keynote: A Conversation with Michele Lawrence

10 to 11:15 a.m.

Registration is required before the event date

For more than three decades, distinguished community and business leader Michele Lawrence has demonstrated leadership, professionalism, and temperament. Her life’s achievements are a testament to her purpose. As a licensed minister of the gospel, she uses her God-given gifts to enlighten and inspire others through preaching, teaching, and counseling.

January 2017 marked a new journey for Michele, which charted a path of confidence and courage. A step out into the deep, some may say, where she decided to take her background expertise in financial literacy, economic empowerment and counseling to new heights. MicheleSpeaks LLC. is a newly formed business that uniquely tailors a plan designed to showcase a persons’ gifts and promote their services. Through MicheleSpeaks LLC., workshops, boot camps, conferences and empowerment seminars are created to allow individuals to seek their true calling or master their gift.

Michele has also empowered herself to host a live radio show that airs on Wednesdays in PA, NJ and DE. The MicheleSpeaks radio show seeks to tackle wealth, wisdom, wellness, and worth as it pertains to women and people of color.

Michele’s extensive experience comes from spending 28 years at Wells Fargo. She retired in 2017 as the Area President and the Senior Vice President for the Philadelphia Retail market. The Philadelphia market includes 39 stores in Philadelphia, with more than 500 employees, $2.5 billion in deposits and $1 billion in loans. Through this position, she has served Philadelphia and its surrounding counties by educating and mentoring individuals and neglected communities on financial literacy and economic empowerment.

In early 2011, Michele launched the Saving Our Boys Leadership Development Institute, the mission of which is to prepare young men in grades 5 through 12 for success beyond high school by building character, developing leadership skills and instilling a sense of social responsibility. This is a continuous program with each new cohort of young men being actively mentored by the former, which creates a “my brother’s keeper” relationship.

Michele leads by example and serves on the boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Urban League of Philadelphia. Lawrence also served on the board of ACHIEVEability, an organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty by helping low-income, single parent and homeless families to achieve self-sufficiency; and Impact Charities, a public nonprofit agency working to provide youth and families with programs of a diverse nature to enhance the growth and development of a stable community. In addition, she served on the School District of Philadelphia’s Renaissance Advisory Board, the primary responsibility of which is to create the strategic planning process that ultimately transformed nonperforming schools to performing schools. Lawrence was also a member of the Urban Financial Services Coalition (USFC), which works to foster interest and expansion of the numbers of minorities in financial services, increase the understanding and use of financial services in low-income communities, enhance scholarship programs for minority youth in pursuit of financial service careers, and cultivate a premiere job bank of experienced minority professionals in the financial services industry.

Michele has been recognized by SmartCeo as Money Manager of the Year 2015, Operation Understanding Community Leader of the Year 2014 and The Network Journal as one of the “25 Most Influential Women in Business” for 2012. She received a Community Service Citation from Philadelphia Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. in 2011 and was recognized as a Woman on the Move by the Philadelphia Tribune, and as one of the 25 Women of Distinction by the Philadelphia Business Journal in 2010.

Moderator: Malika Rahman, diversity fellow and visiting lecturer, Criminal Justice

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Gender Inequality in Law Enforcement: Beyond the Badge

10 to 11:15 a.m.

Registration is required before the event date:

Historically, women have been seen as a nuisance in the field of law enforcement; yet, research shows the nurturing characteristics of women is essential in neutralizing stressful situations and bringing balance to the public safety force overall. This presentation will explore the factors critical to attracting minority women college students to law enforcement careers, such as career options and opportunities for promotion. Additionally, we will discuss factors that prevent women from pursuing law enforcement careers such as sexism, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.

Moderator: Malika Rahman, diversity fellow and visiting lecturer, Criminal Justice

Policing Domestic Violence and Mental Health

1 to 2:15 p.m.

Registration is required before the event date. 

Join Professor Victoria Chase, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Domestic Violence Clinic at Rutgers University, as she discusses domestic violence and policing practices, with an emphasis on how data may shape conversations about police reform.  

While many domestic violence advocates support anti-racist initiatives and are sympathetic to calls to reform police, a serious concern that can be raised is what effect reform measures will have on front-line domestic violence response. This talk will look at data concerning trends in domestic violence incidents to develop a picture of the deep connection between domestic violence response and law enforcement. The talk will also explore how trauma awareness and trauma-informed practice should be incorporated into conversations about police reform.  

Presenter: Victoria Chase, Esq., Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Rutgers University

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Victimization and Trauma

10 to 11:15 a.m.

Registration is required before the event date. 

Violence and abuse are prevalent in our society. The risk for violent victimization is the highest for those under the age of 25. Students may experience many different types of victimization before they even reach our classrooms. The presenters will discuss the types and prevalence of victimization for youth and young adults, the impact of these traumatic experiences, best practices for trauma informed classrooms and interactions, and available resources. 

Presenters: Leslie Davila, adjunct instructor, Criminal Justice and director, Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for Child and Youth Protection; and Judy Cruz-Ransom, diversity fellow and visiting lecturer, Criminal Justice

Policing Our Streets and Building Trust Within Our Communities

1 to 2:15 p.m.

Registration is required before the event date

Police violence has touched our community, specifically our students, faculty and staff. Whether they have suffered directly or vicariously by watching the news and or living in high-crime neighborhoods, it is important that we as a college recognize the struggles they may face outside of our doors. We invite you to join us in a panel discussion with top officials from the Philadelphia Police Department and a victim advocate to discuss the issues that the police and the community face today, and ways to overcome them and begin to foster trust and relationships within the community. We will explore and define police brutality, how we as a community can come together to combat this problem and how the community can report corrupt police officers to get them off the streets. This session will allow you to have a seat at the table to begin the critical conversations with our local police departments.  

Moderator: Judy Cruz-Ransom, diversity fellow and visiting lecturer, Criminal Justice

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Toll of Gun Violence

10 to 11:15 a.m.

Registration is required before the event date.

Gun violence has taken its toll on Philadelphia’s residents both mentally and physically. As 2020 came to a close, homicides in the City of Philadelphia were just shy of 500, a 40 percent increase from 2019. Join us in exploring initiatives and personal experiences that have flooded the landscape. Kathleen Murphey, Ph.D., a writer and associate professor of English, will share her experiments with poetry and art related to the gun violence crisis, and share her vision to curb violence and employ Philadelphians in meaningful work. Jim MacMillan, a multimedia journalist, educator and social innovator, leads the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting, which is hosted by our Institute for Community Engagement and Civic Leadership. He will discuss the Center and how you can get involved.  

Presenters: Kathleen Murphey, Ph.D., associate professor, English and Jim MacMillan, Center for Gun Violence and Reporting 

Suspicious Minds: Exploring the Causes and Consequences of Suspicion

1 to 2:15 p.m.

Registration is required before the event date.

“Hey, we've had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there's a real suspicious guy… this guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining, and he's just walking around, looking about.”

Those were the words spoken by George Zimmerman in his call to 911, in which his incorrect labelling of Trayvon Martin as “suspicious” ended in his untimely death. Like Zimmerman, members of the public all too frequently deem people of color as suspicious and promptly call the police. Yet, far too often we hear how these suspicions are completely unfounded. What happens when these notions of who is suspicious penetrate the criminal justice system? This interactive session attempts to get to the bottom of these difficult questions. Using sociological analysis, we will examine the historical and racist backdrop from which “suspicions” arise and examine how all of us are exposed to ideology that reinforces these beliefs. To do this, we will discuss vignettes and examples from multiple media sources, and look carefully at individual cases.

Presenter: Faye Allard, Ph.D., associate professor, Social Science

Friday, February 26, 2021

Mock Trial 

10 to 11:15 a.m.

Registration is required before the event date.

For their fourth annual Law and Society week mock oral argument, Lance Roxas, assistant professor of Political Science and Elizabeth Canapary, assistant professor of Criminal Justice, will argue the pending case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, in which the United States Supreme Court will determine this year whether states may bar faith-based foster care agencies if they refuse to place children in homes with same-sex couples. Professor Roxas will argue in favor of the petitioner, Fulton, and Professor Canapary will argue in favor of the respondent, the City of Philadelphia.

WURD Black Talk Radio

2 to 3:30 p.m.

Join us for a co-sponsored event by Division of Student Development, Office of Student Engagement/Center for Student Leadership Development, Center for Law and Society, and the Black Studies Program for a Current Events Update in the Black Community. Where Are We? The event will stream on both WURD and YouTube.      



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