The 2013 Citizen-Lawyer Award was given to Judy Conti J.D. '94 during the Law School's May 12 Diploma Ceremony. The award was created by the William & Mary Law School Association to recognize graduates and friends of the Law School who have demonstrated in their life and work outstanding citizenship and leadership.
Conti came to William & Mary Law School in 1991, after she graduated from Williams College. As a law student, she was a member of the William and Mary Law Review, was one of the founders of the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, and served as president of the Women's Law Student Association. Upon completing her J.D. degree in 1994, she clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and then worked for a private firm in Washington, D.C.
In 2000, Conti co-founded the Employment Justice Center, which provides free legal advice to low-wage workers in the District of Columbia. During the seven years in which Conti was the EJC's executive director, the organization assisted nearly 10,000 low-wage workers and recovered more than $6 million dollars in back pay for its clients. Though she left almost six years ago, the EJC is still one of the move vital and vibrant members of the D.C. and national legal services community.
Law School Dean Davison M. Douglas told the audience at the ceremony that during her time with the organization "Judy and the Center secured broad support among the practicing bar in Washington, adding a broad array of volunteer attorneys. Keep in mind, this extraordinary organization was co-founded by a woman who had graduated from this law school only six years earlier."
Conti is now the federal advocacy coordinator for the National Employment Law Project, where she helps lead efforts to maintain adequate safety net programs for unemployed workers, to raise the minimum wage, and to enact comprehensive immigration reform. She is a frequent commentator on national news programs on employment law issues and, for example, recently was interviewed on the PBS News Hour.
Conti has taught labor law at the Law School as an adjunct professor, and is currently an adjunct member of the law faculities at Georgetown and George Washington University. She also has served as a member of the William & Mary Law School Association Board and as a member of the selection committee for the Law School's Loan Repayment Assistance Program, a program that provides loan repayments for students who pursue legal careers in public service.