Attorney Jan Schlichtmann, whose work on a groundbreaking 1986 environmental case has been the subject of both a best-selling book and a major motion picture, will be on campus Thursday, April 11, as the inaugural speaker in Barry Law’s Distinguished Environmental Speaker Series. He will remain at Barry Law throughout the day for several activities related to the law school’s Earth Day celebration.
One of the nation’s most notable plaintiff’s attorneys, Mr. Schlichtmann achieved national recognition for his representation of eight Woburn, Mass., families against W.R. Grace and Beatrice Foods over the contamination of the Woburn city water supply. His work in the case inspired the best-selling book “A Civil Action” by Jonathan Harr, which spawned a 1998 motion picture starring John Travolta as Mr. Schlichtmann.
Schlichtmann’s discussion at Barry Law, “Lessons from Woburn: Cleaning Up Our Toxic Legal System,” will focus on his journey through the legal system and explore how the system must change in order to ensure the safe and healthy exercise of power.
“The Woburn families helped me to see the importance of truth to life and the toxicity of lies,” Schlichtmann said. “Through the lens of the Woburn experience I have come to appreciate that law and the environment – how we treat each other and the Earth – are, at base, two different ways of looking at the same issue: power and its exercise.”
Students and faculty will have several opportunities to meet and speak with Mr. Schlichtmann during his visit.