Jerry Bruce, Court Improvement Program director for the Georgia Supreme Court Committee on Justice for Children, will be the keynote speaker at noon Tuesday, April 3, for Law Week 2018, April 2-6. He will speak on law and child welfare, the focus of this year’s law week, in the Ceremonial Courtroom.
“Child welfare is seldom at the forefront of the legal education,” said Student Bar Association President Misty Gann (J.D. ’18). “I wanted to turn Law Week into a platfor
m that exposes students to this important area of the law because, regardless of what path they choose in their legal careers, they will have the opportunity to work at least once with a child, even if it’s through pro bono work.”
Bruce was invited because of his vast work in child welfare. “He’s working with juvenile court judges to improve the DFACS system, and he is working with law schools to create more educational opportunities for the law on children,” Gann said. “He’s a great advocate and students can gain much from hearing him speak.”
Bruce has been a parent attorney, guardian ad litem, prosecuting attorney, delinquency and adult defender, Special Assistant Attorney General representing Georgia’s child welfare agency, and a juvenile court judge. He has done consulting work for the Barton Center at Emory Law School, the Georgia Office of the Child Advocate, and the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts.
He helped lead the statewide pilot program for cloud-based JCATS implementation and worked with the Governor’s Office, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and the Department of Juvenile Justice on a project to develop the first-ever statewide juvenile data repository.
His work primarily focuses on legal research and education for attorneys, judges, and juvenile-court stakeholders on best practice compliance, and policy advocacy. He works in partnership with Georgia’s child welfare agency on all aspects of quality improvement for processes, hearings, and court orders. He regularly speaks, writes, and teaches on child welfare issues. He earned his J.D. at the University of Georgia.
In addition to the keynote speaker, Law Week offers an array of panels and speakers organized by various student organizations. Topics include:
- “From Columbine to Parkland: How to Prevent Gun Violence in Our Schools”
- “Lawyers and Law Enforcement Working Together to Fight Animal Cruelty”
- “Really? We Can Do Better—Foster Children and the Law Through the Eyes of a Child Advocate and a Foster Child Turned Georgia Attorney,”
- “Refugees and Resettlement: Families, Children and the Organizations That Help Them,” and more.
Panels are at noon and 5 p.m. with lunch or dinner provided. The full schedule can be found here.
The Student Bar Association has also organized a community service project in which law students are volunteering with the YMCA After-School Homework Help program April 9-13.