Joshua A. Guberman Lecture

The Joshua A. Guberman Lecture has been established at Brandeis University to honor the memory of a man whose passionate concerns were for individual well-being and social justice.

As a practicing attorney in Greater Boston, Mr. Guberman was well known for his keen intellect, his precise legal knowledge, his wide-ranging interests and his wise judgment. He was a counselor whose relationships with clients were characterized by a depth of caring rarely seen. Colleagues commented that he would become involved with the families of his clients and that, as time went on, he would serve their children. As the family businesses grew, so did the practice of Joshua Guberman.

After graduating from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he joined the firm of Brown, Rudnick, Freed and Gesmer. He served in the Second World War and then became a dedicated public servant, active in the American Jewish Congress, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Capital Punishment Information Services and many other groups. He also worked to improve the public schools. He was himself an excellent teacher.

Mr. Guberman’s colleagues recollect his work with the Boston Broadcasters, where his sense of fairness and good humor frequently helped resolve seemingly insoluble dilemmas. “When we sought his advice, we were assured of both precise legal answers and consummately just ones.”

In tribute to Joshua A. Guberman, his family has endowed an annual lecture in law and social policy at Brandeis University. The lectures are sponsored under the auspices of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and the Legal Studies Program.

It is appropriate that the host for these lectures is a university named in honor of the great jurist, Louis D. Brandeis, whose profound concern for social justice is reflected in the social and economic issues he introduced in his judicial writings.

Through the lectures named in his honor, Joshua A. Guberman — who loved social justice and human beings — will be aptly remembered and linked with Justice Brandeis and the university which bears his name.

Past Guberman Lectures

2018: Elizabeth Badger

"How to Protect the Dreamers"
Elizabeth Badger, Esq.

Elizabeth Badger has worked in immigration law for the last 14 years, predominantly in legal services focused on representing non-citizen children, asylum-seekers, victims of domestic violence and other crimes, and persons in prolonged immigration detention. She has received the National Immigration Project's Daniel Levy Award for her work representing victims of immigration raids while at the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project, which awarded her in 2013 with its Pro Bono Mentor of the Year Award. She has successfully argued cases before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court regarding access to the courts for immigrant youth. From 2010-2013, Elizabeth taught in the Boston University School of Law's Immigrants' Rights Clinic. She has also worked extensively with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) and other members of the Massachusetts immigration community on amicus briefs and other law reform projects.

2014: William J. Leahy (30th Anniversary Joshua A. Guberman Lecture)

"Capital Punishment in a Time of Drones and Beheadings: A Global Perspective on the American Death Penalty"

William J. Leahy, JD
NYS Office of Indigent Legal Services

American criminal justice is strong on constitutional rights, but often falls short putting those rights into practice. Seen from a global perspective, the American system mixes high ideals with glaring inequalities and inconsistencies. Perhaps the greatest controversy—at home and abroad—surrounds the role of the death penalty in American justice. At a time when American foreign policy has confronted the problem of terrorism, the very definition of “just punishment” has grown more challenging.

Bill Leahy brings a lifetime of experience with criminal justice, the rights of defendants, and global engagement. For twenty-five years, he directed the public defender system for Massachusetts, serving as the Commonwealth’s chief advocate for the constitutional right to counsel for all criminal defendants. He has testified in many jurisdictions on behalf of expanding resources for defense counsel, and in opposition to the death penalty. After retiring from the Massachusetts system, he accepted the leadership of a task force in New York State dedicated to improving the quality of representation for poor people throughout New York.
Bill is also well known as a teacher and lecturer, both close to home, at Brandeis, and abroad in forums ranging from China to The Hague. He has served on international commissions to review criminal justice practices, and has spoken widely on the right to counsel as a bedrock principle. In March 2013, he spoke at the U.S. Department of Justice on the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision defining the right to counsel, Gideon v. Wainwright. Bill’s mission is to clarify our challenge—over the next 50 years—of defining justice in a changing world.

2013: David Hemenway

"Guns & Public Health: Strategies to Reduce Gun Violence"

Professor David Hemenway
Harvard School of Public Health

2012: Mary Ann Chirba & Alice A. Noble

"The Supreme Court and Election Year Politics: Myths vs. Reality in the Healthcare Debate"

Mary Ann Chirba, JD, D Sc, MPH and Alice A. Noble, JD, MPH

2011: Michael Bien '77 & Jane Kahn '77

"Representing Prisoners with Serious Mental Ilness Trapped in a Nightmare: The California Prison Overcrowding Case"

Michael Bien '77, JD and Jane Kahn '77, JD

2010: Philip R. Reilly

"The Thousand Dollar Genome: What Impact on Public Policies?"

Philip R. Reilly, MD, JD
Director of Clinical Genetics
Interleukin Genetics

2007: Allan M. Brandt

"Tobacco on Trial: Risk, Responsibility, and Litigation"

Allan M. Brandt, PhD 
Amalie Moses Kass Professor of the History of Medicine
Harvard Medical School

2005: Matthew W. Stagner

"From Loving Work to Working on Love: The Evolving Role of Government in the Relationships of Low-Income Americans"

Matthew W. Stagner
Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population - The Urban Institute (Washington, D.C.)

2004: Judge Rudolph Kass

"Whose Activist Court?"

Judge Rudolph Kass
Massachusetts Appeals Court (1979-2003)

2003: Deborah Stone

"A Right to Care"

Deborah Stone
Heller School (1986-1997): David R. Pokross Chair in Law & Social Policy

2002: Michael Fix

"Does the U.S. Need an Immigrant Integration Policy?"

Michael Fix
Immigration Studies Program - The Urban Institute

2001: Felton Earls

"The Political Science of Childhood"

Felton Earls
Professor of Social Medicine
Harvard Medical School

2000: Aviam Soifer

"Disabling the Americans with Disabilities Act: Judicial Activism and the Absence of 'Negative Capability'"

Aviam Soifer
Professor of Law
Boston College

1999: Saul Touster

"Jewish Survivors of the Holocaust 1945-1948: Dilemmas of Law, Care, and Bureaucracy"

Saul Touster
Brandeis University: Directior (Emeritus), Legal Studies Program Professor (Emeritus), Law & Social Policy, Heller School Professor (Emeritus), Legal Studies; American Studies Head (Emeritus), Humanities & the Professions Program

1998: Harold A. Richman

"How We Invest in Children and Families: Alternatives to Bureaucracy"

Harold A. Richman
Chapin Hall Center for Children
University of Chicago

1997: Peggy Cooper Davis

"Neglected Stories: The Constitution and Family Values"

Peggy Cooper Davis
John S.R. Shad Professor of Law
New York University

1996: Donald K. Stern

"Federal and State Responsibilities in a Time of Increasing Violence"

Donald K. Stern
U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts

1995: Harris L. Wofford

"Reflections on Health Care Reform"

The Hon. Harris L. Wofford
Former U.S. Senator of Pennsylvania

1994: Charles R. Lawrence III

"The Epidemiology of 'Color-Blindnesss': Learning to Think and Talk About Racism Again"

Charles R. Lawrence III
Professor of Law
Georgetown University Law Center

1993: Antonia C. Novello

Antonia C. Novello, MD, MPH
Surgeon Genreal of the United States Public Health Service
Department of Health and Human Services

1992: Carol Weisbrod

"Privacy, Autonomy, and Authority: A Discussion of Family Governance"

Carol Weisbrod
Professor of Law
University of Connecticut School of Law

1991: Sherman G. Finesilver

"Growing Tensions in Law and Medicine: The Right to Refuse Treatment"

Sherman G. Finesilver
Chief Judge United States District Court, Denver, Colorado

1989: Howard H. Hiatt

"Medical Malpractice: Patients, Professionals, and the Courts"

Howard H. Hiatt
Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health

1988: George J. Annas

"The Nuremberg Code in an Age of Hype and High-Tech Human Experimentation: Legalistic Relic or Essential Rule?"

George J. Annas
Professor of Law and Medicine
Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health

1987: Alexander D. Brooks

"Refusing Psychiatric Treatment: Law and Policy"

Alexander D. Brooks
Professor of Law
Rutgers University Law School

1986: Martha L. Minow

Martha L. Minow
Professor of Law
Harvard Law School

1985: Robert A. Burt

Robert A. Burt
Southmayd Professor of Law
Yale Law School

1984: Harold W. Demone, Jr.

"Privitization and the Purchase of Human Services (Wednesday); Fads, Fancies, and Social Movements: Public Policy Issues in Alcohol Problems"

Harold W. Demone, Jr.
Graduate School of Social Work
Rutgers University