October 04, 2012


22nd Anniversary & Volunteer Recognition Event - Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Anthony G. Amsterdam
New York University School of Law Professor
and Distinguished Civil Rights Lawyer

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1960, Anthony Amsterdam clerked for Justice Felix Frankfurter and then served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia. In 1962, he took his first teaching position at the University of Pennsylvania. He moved to Stanford in 1969, where he later was named the Montgomery Professor of Clinical Legal Education, the first endowed clinical chair in American legal education.

In 1981, he came to New York University School of Law to serve as Director of Clinical and Advocacy Programs. Amsterdam has served on the ABA Task Force on Law Schools and the Profession (The MacCrate Task Force), chairing its committee to prepare the "Statement of Fundamental Lawyering Skills and Professional Values." In 1975 he won Stanford's Hurlbut Award for Excellence in Teaching and in 1989 he received New York University's Great Teacher Award.

Throughout his career Amsterdam has engaged in an extensive pro bono practice. Serving a wide variety of civil rights, legal aid, and public defender organizations, he has appeared in small-town courtrooms, the kitchens of rural Justices of the Peace, and the Supreme Court of the United States. In Furman v. Georgia, he persuaded the Court that the death penalty was unconstitutional. He has litigated cases ranging from death penalty defense to claims of access to the courts for the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; claims of free speech, free press, and freedom of NEA grantees from censorship; and claims of privacy and equality of opportunity for racial minorities and poor people.

Professor Amsterdam, the author of dozens of books and articles, is also one of the most influential legal scholars of his generation. He is credited with writing the article that initially conceptualized the first amendment doctrine of overbreadth, and his treatise on criminal defense is the definitive work in the field.

Featured Remarks

Craig Watkins
Dallas County, Texas
District Attorney

Craig Watkins, a Dallas native, was inaugurated on January 1, 2007, as the Criminal District Attorney (DA) for Dallas County, Texas. He is the first African-American elected to that position in Texas.  As DA for Dallas County, his “smart on crime” philosophy engages innovative strategies throughout the prosecutorial process and seeks to address the root causes of crime.  Watkins’ interest in conviction integrity led him to partner with the Innocence Project of Texas to aid the wrongfully convicted.

Watkins, who was educated in the Dallas public school system, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Prairie View A&M University and a law degree from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law.  He has received numerous honors and awards for his outstanding accomplishments in the community from an array of organizations and groups, including Texas Lawyer’s IMPACT LAWYER OF THE YEAR 2007 and Dallas Weekly’s MAN OF THE YEAR 2007. 

Watkins’ work has garnered him local, national, and international attention from CNN, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” German TV, Dallas Morning News, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune