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Skelton Lecture emphasizes the role of lawyers in upholding human rights

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March 27, 2024 – The 2024 Skelton Lecture Series featured John Vernon, who discussed the significance of The International Declaration of Human Rights at 75: The Role of Lawyers in Upholding the Rule of Law. The event held last month was organized by the Houston Journal of International Law.

Vernon raised several ethical points that attorneys, whether new to the practice of law or experienced, should consider when conducting business in and outside of the United States. He emphasized that it is the role of attorneys and future attorneys to protect the human rights of all people.

Dating back to its adoption in 1948, a few years after the end of World War II, the declaration is a cornerstone of global rights advocacy. Described by the United Nations as “the most translated” legal document in the world, the landmark UDHR defines “the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being - regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

Vernon, a former Vice Chair of the International Bar Association, brought more than three decades of experience in governmental compliance, specializing in international and domestic transactions, to the discussion. In addition to his legal practice, he has conducted seminars and guest lectures at law institutions globally and serves as an adjunct faculty at the SMU Dedman School of Law.

The Skelton Lecture Series originated in 2002 through an agreement between the Houston Journal of International Law Advisory Board and the Board 26 Executive Board. The Lecture Series was established with two primary objectives: to enhance the Advisory Board’s engagement by co-sponsoring lectures and to elevate the Journal's standing within the Houston legal community. In November 2014, Executive Board 38 proposed renaming the Lecture Series after Professor James Skelton. Professor Skelton’s continued support of the Houston Journal of International Law makes the Lecture Series possible each year.

Texas law firm Gray Reed sponsored the 2024 Installment of the Skelton Lecture Series,  providing tickets for members and candidates of the Houston Journal of International Law.

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