This weekend WNEC Law organized the 23rd annual Robert M. Cover Public Interest Law Retreat at Camp Sargent in New Hampshire. WNEC organizers Imran Siddiqui, Maren Law, and Erin Wilson worked extremely hard to put this all together. This year's retreat was dubbed "Turning Point" and it was a truly incredible experience. Students and practitioners came from all over to participate: North Carolina, California, Hawaii, New York, Connecticut, Georgia... the list goes on. WNEC sent around 20 students, several from OUTlaw and we were all buzzing with energy.
The trek to Camp Sargent on Friday was long and treacherous for some. As snow quickly blanketed the area, drivers were faced with zero visibility and unplowed roads. There were flights delayed, flights cancelled, and several cars that became stuck in the snow en route. Most people, however, were able to fight through the weather to get to the retreat with perseverance and a lot of patience (and some help from tow trucks and muscle power). Those who could not make it were sorely missed.
The weekend was a great balance of workshops and plenty of time for networking and socializing. Four to five workshop topics were available per session and offered a range of subjects from Guantanamo to Disability Rights, Native American Law to Governmental Accountability, and everywhere in between. Especially pertinent to members of OUTlaw was the LGBT session hosted by WNEC Law's very own Professor Taylor Flynn and Jennifer Pizer, Senior Counsel and Marriage Project Director at Lambda Legal. Jennifer Pizer was also the keynote speaker on Saturday evening. She flew in that afternoon from Hawaii, just for the day, to speak at the retreat and was on a plane back to the west coast in less than 24 hours. We were (and are) very grateful that she so literally went out of her way to come and speak to us. The LGBT discussions were centered around the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case challenging the passing of Proposition 8 in California. The topic was used as lens through which we could better understand the LGBT movement: its history, where it stands currently, and where we are headed in the future. Particularly interesting was the discussion regarding impact litigation and the importance of bringing a case at the right time: though there is a heated and immediate demand for equality, we must patiently persevere in order avoid devastating set-backs. The message overall, however, was that we will get there.
The energy in a room full of extraordinary people who are absolutely determined to change the world and are so focused on the human face of the law is an experience beyond words. We left with a renewed clarity of direction, feeling energized, inspired, and eager to get to work. It was our Turning Point and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of it.
-Erika Scibelli, 1L
If you would like to know more about the retreat, please feel free to contact me on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.