You’re Invited to Our 2023 Light of Justice Luncheon!

Dear Friends,

Please join us for Texas Defender Service’s 2023 Light of Justice Luncheon, featuring Pulitzer-Prize winner James Forman Jr. as our keynote speaker and honoring Hogan LovellsSponsorships and tickets are on sale now! 

The luncheon, co-chaired by Christopher D. Porter of Quinn Emanuel and Robert H. Ford of Bradley, will be held on October 19th, 2023 from 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston, Texas. Registration and book signing will begin at 11:15 a.m. 

Prior to the program, guests will have the opportunity to purchase Forman’s book from Brazos Bookstore. Sponsorships are available from $3,500-$50,000 and individual tickets are available starting at $250. Sponsors receive a catered, in-person lunch for four to eight, recognition in our event materials, and other benefits. 

To register, visit:

We wanted to share our observations about what we see as we represent people facing among the harshest punishments on the planet, including the death penalty. So last month our team answered the question, “What do you wish more people knew about the death penalty?”

At Texas Defender Service, we fight for the end of mass incarceration and excessive punishment in Texas through direct representation, policy reform, and public education. If you cannot honor us with your presence at our Light of Justice event, please consider a donation to help us continue our vital work

With gratitude,

Burke Butler
Executive Director
Texas Defender Service

About James Forman Jr.

James Forman Jr. is a leading critic of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of color.

Forman is a Professor of Law at Yale Law School and the author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, which won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction and was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by the New York Times. 

In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand the war on crime that began in the 1970s and why it was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. 

Reviewers have called the book “superb and shattering” (New York Times), “eloquent” and “sobering” (London Review of Books), and “moving, nuanced, and candid” (New York Review of Books). On Twitter, the New York Times book reviewer Jennifer Senior called Locking Up Our Own “the best book I’ve read this year.”

At Yale Law School, where he has taught since 2011, Forman teaches Constitutional Law and a course called Race, Class, and Punishment. Last year he took his teaching behind prison walls, offering a seminar called Inside-Out Prison Exchange: Issues in Criminal Justice, which brought together, in the same classroom, 10 Yale Law students and 10 men incarcerated in a CT prison.

About Our Honoree Hogan Lovells

This year’s luncheon honors Hogan Lovells with our Light of Justice award. This award recognizes the extraordinary contributions of Hogan Lovells partner Pieter Van Tol, as well as Soo Bin Ahn, Catherine Bratic, Jay Ettinger, Sydney Rupe, Jack Shaked, and Chloe Warnberg.

Van Tol and his team have led multiple lawsuits advocating for humane conditions of confinement for people incarcerated on death rows across the United States.  

In January 2023, Hogan Lovells filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all male individuals incarcerated on death row in Texas, alleging that the conditions under which they have been confined under prison regulations violate their state and federal constitutional rights. As Van Tol said, “The conditions on death row in Texas have been characterized as some of the most brutal death row conditions in the country. The plaintiffs in this case are seeking relief from conditions that have been described as torture.”