September 2014

Orientation

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The Law School is proud to announce that the Class of 2017 has been seated. First-Year Orientation took place Aug. 11-13, and classes began on Aug. 14.

This year the Law School received about 1,900 applications, a slight increase over the number of applications received last year. Only 18 percent of all ABA-accredited law schools in the nation experienced any increase in applications; over 80 percent experienced a decrease in number of applications.

The class is comprised of students from 26 states, plus three foreign countries, and 63 undergraduate institutions. Forty-five percent of the class members are female, and 18 percent of the class members describe themselves as members of racial or ethnic minorities. Approximately 84 percent of the applications to the Law School this year were from prospective students outside of Alabama. Seventy percent are from Alabama, attended undergraduate institutions in Alabama, or otherwise have strong connections to Alabama.

Dean Mark E. Brandon welcomed his inaugural class and offered words of wisdom.

Educate yourself broadly and deeply. “Take courses in all the basic fields of law. Don’t be afraid to take on challenging courses. Take some courses even in fields you don’t expect to like.”

Law is more than rules. “Law consists of rules, but law doesn’t consist only of rules.”

Take care of yourself. “Law school can be a source of stress. The work can be difficult. There’s a lot of it. And exams can produce their own special brand of anxiety. Stress is not a bad thing. It can make us sharper and more productive. The challenge is keeping it in check, so that’s it’s not disabling.”

Leave your mark. “In your studies here and in your professional lives, leave a trace. And make it a trace you’ll be proud you left. Make your mark: On the School of Law; on your community, nation, and world through law; on the law itself. Make them better than you found them.”

Please join us in welcoming this extraordinarily talented group of students to the University of Alabama School of Law. Alumni will have opportunities to meet them at Homecoming, at Farrah Law Society events, and during visits to the Law School campus. Thank you in advance for the support and guidance you will provide them as they pursue their degrees.

Orientation 2014

Law and Lies Symposium

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October 10, 2014        8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Bedsole Moot Courtroom (140)

The symposium is organized by Professor Austin Sarat, the Justice Hugo L. Black Visiting Senior Faculty Scholar at The University of Alabama School of Law and William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science; Associate Dean of the Faculty at Amherst College.

Presenters:

Montré Carodine, The University of Alabama School of Law

William N. Eskridge Jr., Yale Law School (keynote speaker)

Mary Anne Franks, University of Miami School of Law

Stuart Green, Rutgers School of Law-Newark

Helen Norton, University of Colorado School of Law

Norman Spaulding, Stanford Law School

Law School Foundation & Farrah Law Alumni Society

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Tailgating on the Quad

Again this fall, active members of the Farrah Law Alumni Society are invited to tailgate on the Quad prior to the four 2014 home SEC football games. The Law School Foundation will sponsor a reserved tent,  conveniently located on the Quad, in location G-21. Complimentary food and beverages will be provided two hours prior to kickoff. We invite all Farrah Law Alumni Society members to stop by and enjoy this opportunity to engage with other members, faculty, and staff on game day! For additional information regarding the tailgate tent or joining Farrah, contact Jami Gates in the Advancement Office at jgates@law.ua.edu or (205) 348-5752.

Tailgate Details

Open to all active members of the Farrah Law Alumni Society

September 20, Alabama vs. Florida

October 18, Alabama vs. Texas A&M

November 15, Alabama vs. Mississippi State

November 29, Alabama vs. Auburn

Sycamore Row

2014 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

For his work in Sycamore Row, New York Times bestselling author, lawyer and previous Harper Lee Prize winner John Grisham received the 2014 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. The prize, authorized by Ms. Lee and co-sponsored by The University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal, is given annually to a book-length work of fiction that best illuminates the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.

“My thanks to the committee for the selection of Sycamore Row,” Grisham said. “I’m still admiring the first Harper Lee award. It’s hard to believe there is now a second one.  I am deeply humbled.”

Sycamore Row was chosen by a distinguished selection committee, including Kevin Blackistone, sports columnist, ESPN panelist and University of Maryland professor; Fannie Flagg, New York Times bestselling author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and screenplay of the Academy Award-nominated Fried Green Tomatoes; Dan Kornstein partner at Kornstein, Veisz, Wexler & Pollard and former Harper Lee panelist; Adam Liptak, journalist, lawyer and Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times; and Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, journalist, author and former Harper Lee panelist.

Grisham’s book, Sycamore Row, was honored during a ceremony on Aug. 28, at 5 p.m., at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the National Book Festival. Alison Rich, publicist for Mr. Grisham, accepted the award on his behalf. She also received Mr. Grisham’s copy of To Kill a Mockingbird signed by Harper Lee. Following the award presentation, the Selection Committee hosted a panel discussion of Sycamore Row, in relationship to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

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Mini-Course on Election Law

Kareem Crayton, Associate Professor of law at The University of North Carolina, will teach a mini-course Oct. 13-17.

Crayton led a group of scholars who submitted a widely cited amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Shelby County v. Holder. He was contributing amicus counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court for the Congressional Black Caucus in the Voting Rights Act lawsuit Bartlett v. Strickland as well as co-counsel to the Congressional Tri-Caucus (Congressional Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses) in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One (NAMUDNO) v. Holder.

Looking to hire?

Registration is now open for Fall On-Campus Interviews. The Career Services Office is happy to help you locate 2Ls for summer positions or 3Ls and alumni for post-graduation employment. If you are interested in hiring an Alabama law student for summer or permanent employment, please contact the Assistant Dean for Career Services, Tom Ksobiech (tksobiech@law.ua.edu). The CSO can arrange an on campus interview, collect resumes, or post a position on its electronic job board. All CSO services are free of charge.

Alumni News

United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. has appointed Mobile attorney Jeffery J. Hartley, ’90, to the United States Judicial Conference’s influential Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules.

Keith C. Kantack, ’96, has been named Chair of the Estates and Trusts Section of The Mississippi Bar.

Cameron Smith, ’07, has joined the Alabama Media Group as a regular columnist.

Steven P. Gregory, ’91, has joined Mediation.com.  

Faculty Notes

PROFESSOR RICHARD DELGADO was interviewed by BBC reporter Jaime Gonzalez for a story on the history of Latino lynching.  Gonzalez’s August 20, 2014 article appears in Mundo, BBC’s Spanish language news service, and builds on an article entitled “The Law of the Noose” published by Delgado in Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.  A few weeks earlier, novelist Junot Diaz’s online journal featured Delgado’s work on Latino lynching, as did a piece by Maximo Anguiano, “The Unknown History of Latino Lynching” in Independent Creative Services blog.

Professor Delgado also prepared a memo for the National Academy of Science outlining a number of issues to bring before a new study group on race, crime, and justice.  The committee’s convenor sought Delgado’s assistance in identifying gaps in the research and guiding questions for study.

PROFESSOR SUSAN DONOVAN participated in Camp 1831, a retreat for incoming freshmen at Camp McDowell, on August 12.

PROFESSOR WILLIAM HENNING was appointed by the President of the Uniform Law Commission to serve as a member of a drafting committee preparing a uniform act on social media privacy. The act will be limited to the privacy rights of employees and students vis-à-vis employers and educational institutions.

He serves as chair of, and reporter for, a working group preparing legislation to deal with the problem of UCC Article 9 filings made with the intent to harass or defraud the named debtor. The working group was appointed by the Chair of the Permanent Editorial Board on the Uniform Commercial Code, of which he is a member. He completed a revised, near-final draft in August, and convened a telephone conference with the working group to discuss the draft.

Professor Henning and his co-authors, Sue Woodrow of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank and Marek Dubovec of the Center for Inter-American Free Trade, completed work on a paper entitled “A Proposal for a National Tribally-Owned Lien Filing System to Support Access to Capital in Indian Country.” The paper stems from Professor Henning’s research as a Julian Simon Fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center and his work developing the Model Tribal Secured Transactions Act. It is the co-authors’ intent to take steps to make the proposal a reality.

ASSOCIATE DEAN ANNE HORNSBY served as a member of the University Area Neighborhood Task Force for the City of Tuscaloosa. The Task Force completed its work in July, and recommendations for a Zoning Ordinance amendment were submitted to the Tuscaloosa Planning and Zoning Commission, who recommended them to the City Council in August. The zoning amendments are designed to permit fiscally viable development and redevelopment while preserving the character of the residential areas near campus. Professor Hornsby also serves as a member of the Tuscaloosa Historic Preservation Commission. The Commission meets monthly to review projects in the historic districts, makes recommendations for future districts, and educates the public on Tuscaloosa’s storied history as seen in its historic structures.

PROFESSOR PAM PIERSON’s book, The Business of Being a Lawyer (BBL), was published by West Academic in July, 2014. This book tracks the BBL course and CLE and covers four topics: (1) economic trends in the legal profession and what those trends mean for law students and lawyers, (2) personal financial planning basics that cover 25 financial decisions most lawyers will face in their lifetimes, (3) emotional intelligence (EQ) issues such as using your strengths, handling stress, and achieving balance, and (4) practical strategies for lawyers to thrive in the legal marketplace of the future.

In conjunction with the BBL course and CLE, Professor Pierson, along with students and faculty from The University of Alabama Psychology Department, has developed a study of lawyers dealing with stress. The goal of the study is to determine, and teach, strategies of “stress hardiness.” Every psychological study of groups under stress shows that a certain percentage of individuals are “stress hardy” because of intuitive habits they use in dealing with stress. The Alabama State Bar has placed the questionnaire from this study on the Bar’s webpage and encourages all members of the Alabama State Bar to participate in it by completing a brief questionnaire (http://www.alabar.org/alap/stresssurvey.cfm).  Participation and all results are confidential. Completing the questionnaire takes 10 – 15 minutes, and is quite self-revealing about one’s ability to handle stress. The results of this study will be made available to all ASB members and through BBL programs.

Professor Pierson was a panelist in the Opening Plenary Session on the Future of the Legal Profession and a moderator of the program, Future of the Profession for Young Lawyers which was sponsored by the Young Lawyers and Leadership Forum Section of the Alabama State Bar in July 2014. She also conducted a CLE to the Federal Public Defenders Office, ND AL in August.

The Alabama Bar Association magazine, Student Lawyer, has agreed to publish an article by Professor Pierson on evolving business models of the practice of law in its Spring, 2015 issue.

The latest edition of Professor Pierson’s two-volume health-care fraud treatise, Health Care Fraud: Enforcement and Compliance (Law Journal Seminars Press) was published in August, 2014.

PROFESSOR KEN ROSEN traveled to Vienna, Austria for the Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law, and gave a presentation on U.S. Law in his capacity as the U.S. Reporter on Company Law and the Law of Succession.  His report on the subject was published by the American Journal of Comparative Law.  Professor Rosen also attended the conference of the Southeastern Law School Association in Amelia Island, Florida, where he presented research as part of a discussion group on trust in the marketplace.  He was also selected to present that research at the upcoming meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Law and Society Association in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Professor Rosen was also reappointed to the University’s graduate faculty as part of a continued interdepartmental work.

PROFESSOR JEAN STEFANCIC and Professor Richard Delgado spent much of the month of August proofreading a new edition of U.S. Races and the Justice System (West Academic, forthcoming 2015), a 1,200 page casebook they co-authored with Juan Perea and Stephanie Wildman, to meet a September 3 deadline.

PROFESSOR GARY SULLIVAN presented a paper, “Reforming (State) Bankruptcy Exemptions”, to a New Scholars Panel at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) in Amelia Island, Florida in August.  In his paper, he proposed broad enactment of state-based bankruptcy-specific exemption schemes to address many of the scholarly and judicial criticisms of the existing Bankruptcy Code mechanism for determining exemptions in bankruptcy.  In so doing, he is seeking to dispel many of the misgivings about the constitutionality of state bankruptcy-specific exemptions, and argues that liberalizing these exemptions in favor of bankrupt individuals aligns with many important state interests.

CLE Alabama Training Opportunities

September 12: iPad/iPhone Foundations – Tuscaloosa

September 12: iPad Productivity and Law Apps – Tuscaloosa

October 10: Business Law – Birmingham

October 17: Real Estate Law – Location TBA

October 31 – November 1: 21st Annual Family Law Retreat to the Beach – Orange Beach

November 7: Healthcare Law – Birmingham

November 14: Bankruptcy Law Update – Birmingham

November 21: Estate Planning – Birmingham

December 11: Tort Law Update – Birmingham

December 12: Taking and Defending Depositions – Birmingham

December 17:  Employment Law – Birmingham

December 18: Alabama Update – Birmingham – Birmingham