Who was Martin Luther King's lawyer?

Posted from my blog, Social Superheroes.

Last weekend I went to a retreat for law students interested in public interest work. It was awesome. Really. Awesomeness in retreat form. So totally awesome that I poured my heart out about it on my law school's public interest blog. Here's a short excerpt:

 

Not long ago, I wrote about the frustrations of being a public interest law student. Well it turns out, all this time I wasn’t alone. Emily Benfer, clinical professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, heard me loud and clear.

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Last weekend, Loyola hosted the Norman Amaker Midwest Public Interest Law Retreat. Iowa Law was nice enough to send both me and another law student. The point of the retreat was to “reinvigorate” our passion for social justice. Before the “retreat” I felt beaten down by a hectic 3L year, full nonstop journal board obligations and dwindling career prospects. I was more than a little skeptical about the amount of yoga and Kumbayah it would take to get me feeling “reinvigorated” and positive about my public interest law career. I was wrong.

 

You can read the rest over at Iowa's Citizen Lawyer Program Blog

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So what's with this post title? The retreat was named after civil rights attorney Norman Amaker. During his career Amaker represented thousands of protest demonstrators in the Civil Rights Movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Not only that, but he acted as the courier, bringing Dr. King's famous essay, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," out from the jail.

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Have you ever heard of Norman Amaker? No, of course not. But really, that's what made him an awesome public interest lawyer. He wasn't the face of the civil rights movement, but he enabled Dr. King to be the face of it.

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The rest of Amaker's career was nothing short of incredible. He argued cases at every level, including before the US Supreme Court. Eventually he joined Loyola University Chicago's School of Law and became the professor that students affectionately deemed "Stormin' Norman."

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While unfortunately Amaker died before his time, his son was able to make it to the retreat. And when talking about his dad, Arthur Amaker put it best:

Not every superhero flies.

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