Distinguished Visitor Program & Application

Pursuant to its historic purpose of promoting excellence in legal scholarship, The Order of
the Coif sponsors a program that enables chapters to bring distinguished members of the legal profession to their campuses. Each year the Executive Committee will invite one or more distinguished judges, academics, or practitioners to visit several law schools that have established Coif chapters. The Distinguished Visitor spends two days at each of the institutions he or she visits, participating in classroom lectures and seminars, meeting informally with faculty and student groups, and giving one address open to the entire academic community. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus by fostering an exchange of ideas with individuals whose experiences and ideas may be expected to stimulate discussion about important issues confronting the legal profession.

The Distinguished Visitor Program replaced the Lecture Series in 2004.

Coif Distinguished Visitor 2019

The Executive Committee takes great pleasure in announcing that Professor James Forman,Jr., is the Order of the Coif Distinguished Visitor for 2019.

James Forman, Jr.

James Forman, Jr. graduated from Roosevelt High School in Atlanta, Brown University, and Yale Law School. He worked as a law clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court. After clerking, he joined the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where for six years he represented juveniles and adults in felony and misdemeanor cases. Professor Forman loved being a public defender, but he quickly became frustrated with the lack of education and job training opportunities for his clients. So, in 1997, along with David Domenici, he started the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for dropouts and youth who had previously been arrested. A decade later, in 2007, Maya Angelou School expanded and agreed to run the school inside D.C.’s juvenile prison. That school, which had long been an abysmal failure, has been transformed under the leadership of the Maya Angelou staff. The court monitor overseeing D.C.’s
juvenile system called the turnaround “extraordinary.”

At Yale Law School, where has taught since 2011, Forman has taught Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, a seminar called Race, Class, and Punishment, and a clinic in which he and his students represent students facing school suspension and expulsion. He also takes his teaching behind prison walls, offering a seminar called Inside-Out Prison Exchange: Issues in Criminal Justice, which brings together, in the same classroom, 10 Yale Law students and 10 men incarcerated in a CT prison. Professor Forman writes in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal law policy, constitutional law, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. His particular interests are schools, prisons, and police, and those institutions’ race and class dimensions. He has written for the New York Times, the Atlantic, and numerous law reviews. His first book, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America (2017), was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction.


Any school with a chapter of The Order of the Coif may host a distinguished visitor Priority will be given to those institutions that do not have extensive resources on which to draw for similar programs or that for other reasons may have difficulty in doing so and which have not recently hosted a distinguished visitor.


The national office of the Order provides an honorarium for the Coif Distinguished Visitor and pays for his or her transportation to the host school. The host school is responsible for the expense of his or her meals, lodging, and local transportation. In addition, the host school undertakes to provide publicity for the Visitor’s lecture sufficient to bring it to the attention of all segments of the campus, the local professional community, including bench, bar, and law students.


The national office of the Order issues invitations to the Distinguished Visitor and posts information about the visitors on this website.


1. The Distinguished Visitors for the following academic year will be selected and chapters
notified during the summer.

2. Applications to host a Coif Lecture should be submitted by October 15, 2018. The national office, in consultation with the Visitor, will then arrange a series of visits from among the schools that have expressed an interest. Applicant schools should not communicate directly with the Distinguished Visitor. Designated host schools will be notified of their selection in no later than December 1, 2018.

3. Applications for designation as host school for a Coif Distinguished Visitor must be in writing and contain:

Name(s) of proposed host school(s);
Proposed dates (see below);
Statement of any special reasons this application should be granted (e.g., special
anniversary of the school, etc.)

Since the visits must be arranged for a time compatible with the Visitors other obligations, it is desirable to suggest as many dates as possible that would be consistent with the school’s schedule.


Host School: _____________________________________________________________________

Joint Host: ______________________________________________________________________

Name of Distinguished Visitor Sought: ________________________________________________

Proposed Dates (Include as many potential dates as possible for maximum flexibility)







Special Reason this Application Should Be Granted:

Dean’s Statement: I am acquainted with the obligations of a school undertaking the sponsorship
of an Order of the Coif Distinguished Visitor and state that the applicant school is willing and able to
discharge these obligations.


School ___________________________________________________

Date _____________________________________________________


DEADLINE:  October 15, 2018


Laura N. Gasaway
National Secretary-Treasurer, The Order of the Coif

And forward Dean’s statement, signature and date by regular mail to:

Sandra R. Jones
6530 Kimesville Road
Liberty, NC  27298