‘The Things They Carry’: Best-Selling Author Helps Inaugurate Poverty Law Program
‘The Things They Carry’: Best-Selling Author Helps Inaugurate Poverty Law Program

An official inauguration of Creighton University School of Law’s poverty law program took place on Oct. 23 with an event co-sponsored by Legal Aid of Nebraska.

Alex Kotlowitz, a journalist and national best-selling author, kicked off the event with a lecture at Creighton University’s Mike & Josie Harper Center auditorium.

In “The Things They Carry: Growing Up Poor in the World’s Richest Nation,” Kotlowitz spoke to the myths we hold of those struggling along the margins.

While the event gave practicing attorneys in attendance one hour of continuing legal education (CLE) credit, it also served as a platform to educate current Creighton law students about this unique program.

Kotlowitz, a former staff writer at The Wall Street Journal, has spent much of the last 35 years telling stories of those who have little left to lose, those who understand better than most the deep economic divide in this country. Like so many who pursue a career in the law, he holds the fundamental yet threatened notion that life ought to be fair. 

Kotlowitz has long been a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine and public radio’s This American Life. He is the author of three books, including the national bestseller There Are No Children Here, which the New York Public Library selected as one of the 150 most important books of the 20th century. It received the Helen Bernstein Award, the Carl Sandburg Award and a Christopher Award, and was adapted as a television movie produced by and starring Oprah Winfrey. It was selected as a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times.

Kotlowitz underscored why it’s so essential that we work to ensure that life indeed is fair and why narrative or storytelling, especially in the law, is such an essential tool in getting there.

Supporting Students in the Poverty Law Program

The family of Robert P. Heaney, BS’47, MD’51, presented Creighton University School of Law with funding in spring 2016 to establish the poverty law program. His daughter, Marian, or “Muirne” as she’s known, is a managing attorney at Legal Aid of Nebraska and a 1983 alumna of Creighton’s law school.

This gift expands the poverty law program to help those with limited means—some of the most vulnerable members of society—by educating Creighton law students about the legal, political and social challenges facing those living in poverty.

This academic year, third-year law student Katelyn Lawrence of Columbus, Nebraska, is the recipient of the scholarship to complete an externship, and she was one of the students who received one last year toward coursework. Read about her experience.