An eminent lawyer, academic and peace campaigner, who accompanied President Clinton to Belfast during his historic visit in 1995, will deliver the keynote speech at this year’s Belfast International Homecoming Legal Symposium.

An integral part of the three-day business and investment conference for the Irish and Scots Irish diaspora, the Legal Symposium will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast on Thursday 29 November and will be concluded by Professor John Feerick.

The oldest child of immigrants from County Mayo, Professor Feerick practiced law at Skadden for 21 years before serving as Dean at Fordham Law - the university at which he was educated – for another 21 years. As Dean, Professor Feerick placed peace and reconciliation in Ireland at the heart of his agenda, leading to the founding of a summer law program by Fordham in Ireland which linked Queen’s University in Belfast and University College Dublin.

Professor Feerick occupies the Sidney Norris Chair in Public Service at Fordham and serves as founder of the School's Center for Social Justice.

In 2017, he was awarded the American Bar Association Medal, its highest award, having previously been honored by the organized bar, universities, the Catholic Church, and citizen groups including the Flax Trust in Belfast. He served as President of the NY City Bar Association and Citizens Union Foundation.

Professor Feerick was also instrumental in crafting the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution which specifies how a president can remove himself from office temporarily, or be removed from office by a majority of his cabinet, in the event that the President was mentally incapacitated.

Professor Feerick will close the symposium with his thoughts on the relevance of the amendment in the current constitutional climate, and will further reflect on his close association with Belfast through the Fordham/QUB relationship which he has pioneered for nearly a quarter of a century.

He will be joined on the day by a host of legal practitioners and academics who will address issues from Transatlantic Data Security and American Data Security post Brexit to the dangers of social media during a criminal trial.

Professor of Human Rights Law at Queen’s, Colin Harvey will provide an opinion on the role that Brexit has played in the possible scenarios being posited for the constitutional settlement. In ‘Sharing the Island: Brexit and Constitutional Change’, Professor Harvey will discuss how Brexit raises opportunities for constitutional imagination and the right of self-determination.

The Belfast International Homecoming takes place between 28 and 30 November and this year incorporates the college football event, the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic. Tickets and travel packages are still available. For more details go to www.belfasthomecoming.com.

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