The ADL Lawyers Division held its 19th annual Edward Brodsky Legal Conference on March 5 at The Times Center. The topic, The Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Choices, Mandates and Liberties was moderated by Professor Noah Feldman, Bemis Professor at Harvard Law School.  The talk focused on situations where a religious or religiously-affiliated individual or entity is engaged in secular activities and is testing the limits of religious freedom by seeking exemption from government requirements, e.g., the contraception mandate, anti-bullying education in public school, civil rights laws, etc. The panelists included David Barkey, Southeast Regional Counsel of ADL; Professor Marc O. DeGirolami , Associate Professor of Law, Associate Director of the Center for Law and Religion at St. John’s University; John Malcolm, Senior Legal Fellow in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation; and Louise Melling, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU and Director of ACLU’s Center for Liberty.

This year’s conference was part of ADL’s 100th anniversary and, specifically, a part of our Civil Rights Centennial Series around the country. It was co-chaired by Sigal Mandelker of Proskauer Rose and Jay Musoff of Loeb & Loeb.

The Conference is held thanks to the generosity of Cynthia Brodsky in memory of her husband, Edward, who was a distinguished lawyer and a Senior Partner with Proskauer Rose LLP. His strong belief in the law as a vehicle for civil rights, social justice, and peaceful conflict resolution led him to help found the ADL’s Lawyers Division and to serve as a Founding Chair of the annual ADL Legal Conference, which, after his death, was renamed for him.

The Lawyers Division builds support in the New York legal community through leadership and involvement. It is composed of prominent attorneys from New York’s leading firms and corporations, as well as solo practitioners and is a unique philanthropic part of the New York Regional Board. The Division conducts legal educational briefings and programs, formulates legal projects and makes recommendations on policy issues that support ADL goals. The funds raised through our various fundraising initiatives ensure that ADL continues its work in building bridges of communication, understanding and respect among diverse groups.