Loyola University Chicago

Student Activities

School of Law

Race and the Law Symposium

2016 Race and the Law Symposium

Examining Police Accountability in the Criminal Justice Process

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
12-2:30 PM 

Philip H. Corboy Law Center
25 E. Pearson Street
Power, Rogers & Smith Ceremonial Courtroom, 10th Floor
Chicago, IL 

Symposium Brochure (PDF)

Lunch is complimentary, and will be served from 11:30 AM – 12 PM

This program has been approved by the Illinois MCLE Board for 2.0 hours of General CLE credit and 2.0 hours of Professionalism CLE credit by the Commission on Professionalism.

For those seeking CLE credits, the program cost is $25. Program is free for all other attendees.



Professor Neil Williams, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Special Address
Michael Robbins, Law Offices of Michael D. Robbins & Associates 

Lorenzo Davis, former investigator and supervisor for the Chicago Police Department’s Independent Police Review Authority

Michael Davis, community activist and founder of Next Generation Solutions Group

Maria Owens (JD ’96), Owens & Robinson

Professor Zelda Harris, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Q & A

Closing Remarks
Professor Neil Williams

Loyola University Chicago School of Law’s Race and the Law Symposium is designed to raise awareness of the legal issues affecting minority communities. Following the recent killings of unarmed African-Americans by law enforcement in Chicago and nationally, we are faced with many questions. How do we hold police accountable for their actions while preventing such injustices moving forward? Furthermore, how does the criminal justice system work equitably in prosecuting and indicting police? Our esteemed speaker and panelists will debate and discuss these issues while offering solutions based on their personal and professional experiences.


Zelda Harris
Zelda Harris is a professor of law and director of the Dan K. Webb Center for Advocacy at Loyola University Chicago. Prior to joining Loyola, Professor Harris served for 14 years as a member of the law faculty and director of the Domestic Violence Law Clinic, and co-director of Child and Family Law, at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. She has extensive experience as a litigator and advocate on behalf of victims of family violence. Professor Harris is a member of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy faculty, which provides advocacy training and leadership to young attorneys nationally and internationally. She received her JD from Washington University School of Law.

Lorenzo Davis
Lorenzo Davis is a former Chicago police officer, where he served a 23-year career. During his police career, he served on the Westside and in most of the districts on the Southside of Chicago, rising through the ranks ultimately achieving the rank of commander. He was a decorated officer, receiving numerous awards, including the Superintendent’s Award of Valor. Upon his retirement from the Chicago Police Department, Davis served as an investigator and supervisor for the Independent Police Review Authority for seven years. He was terminated for refusing to change his findings on police excessive force and officer involved shooting cases. He is a lifelong Chicago resident receiving his JD from John Marshall Law School. He continues to be involved in civilian oversight of police.

Michael Davis
Michael Davis is a diversity educator, motivational speaker, and community activist. After watching the sharp decline in the quality of life in his hometown of Chicago in the few short years he was away completing his education, Mr. Davis decided to take a stand. In 2011 and 2015, he ran for Alderman of Chicago’s 18th Ward, where he has lived for over two decades. His most recent accomplishment was the founding of the Next Generation Solutions Group (NGSG). Through the NGSG, Mr. Davis has helped create and foster formal mentorship programs at area schools; organize demonstrations in response to Chicago violence and police involved shootings; and lead voter registration and political accountability task forces focused specifically on the youth. He is a graduate of Western Illinois University, where he earned a MBA.

Maria Owens (JD ’96)
Maria Owens is an attorney in Chicago and founding partner of Owens & Robinson, where she focuses her practice on family law, criminal defense, contract, real estate, worker's compensation, and personal injury matters. She has also argued before the Illinois Supreme Court on unlawful traffic stops. Ms. Owens is a graduate of Illinois State University with a BS in Finance. She received her JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Michael Robbins
Michael Robbins is an attorney in Chicago and principal of his practice concentrating on litigation in the areas of civil rights, employment discrimination, commercial litigation, and criminal defense. He is most notably the family attorney for Laquan McDonald, the 17-year-old killed in the caught-on-video shooting by Chicago police. His accomplishments in the field of civil rights litigation and constitutional law include significant jury awards in cases involving sexual harassment, police misconduct, prisoner’s rights, institutional due process, and disabilities discrimination. He graduated from Chicago Kent IIT School of Law with honors and has over 25 years of litigation experience.

Neil Williams
Neil Williams is a professor of law at Loyola University Chicago.  He served as law clerk to the Honorable George N. Leighton of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. After his clerkship, he joined the Chicago law firm of Sidley & Austin, where he handled general corporate finance and securities law matters. Professor Williams joined Loyola’s full-time law faculty in 1989. He received his JD from the University of Chicago in 1982 and is currently the faculty advisor to Loyola’s Black Law Students Association.