March 8, 2016
February 29, 2016
The Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Team participated in two competitions in as many weeks. Stephen McKitt (’16), Jessica Zorn (’16), and Fred Clarke (’16) competed in the regional CKP Cup at the University of Miami. The team performed very well and proceeded the following week to the national competition in New York, but McKitt was unable to accompany the team.
With only a few days to prepare, Zorn and Clarke did a splendid job of picking up two new arguments and competing among the nearly 60 teams in the national rounds in New York. Although Zorn and Clarke turned in strong performances against opposing teams from Syracuse, the University of Florida and Loyola, none of the teams in the bracket advanced to the octofinals. The team was coached by Professor Gary Sullivan and Mark Williams.
February 26, 2016
Just a few months ago, Charles Fry (‘99) represented Dr. David Kimberlin, a UAB Medicine and Children’s of Alabama pediatric infectious disease physician, as he testified before the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging about the effects of a price increase of Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill.
Dr. Kimberlin testified that a pediatric patient diagnosed with toxoplasmosis needed Daraprim, the drug acquired by Turing Pharmaceuticals, but the patient had difficulties obtaining the drug because of the dramatic price increase of nearly $60,000 for the year-long course of treatment and new restrictions Turing placed on its distribution.
“This was an instance where a UAB physician was on the cutting edge of a critical healthcare issue that was directly affecting patients all over the country,” Fry said. “By testifying against the unfair pricing of Daraprim, it brought to light the dangers of dramatic increases in drug prices for patients, doctors and hospitals.”
Fry practiced at Johnston Barton Proctor and Rose LLP for 14 years before stepping into his current role two years ago as General Counsel of the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation, P.C., the faculty practice plan for UAB Medicine. He represents the 1,200 physicians of UAB Medicine and nearly 1,300 other employees who work with them.
The idea to make a change from private practice first took root when he was participating in Leadership Birmingham about three years ago. Other leaders in the class continued to tell him throughout the year that they saw a different calling for him. They urged him to step outside of the box. Fry started thinking about how he could use his legal skills to provide a different service and shortly thereafter the opportunity at UAB Medicine became available.
The position is much more diverse than that of most lawyers in private practice, and it requires that Fry approach several wide-ranging areas of law, including but not limited to medical malpractice, employment, HIPAA, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, contracts, finance, physician peer review and medical staff credentialing, and corporate governance.
“I never know what the next meeting will bring. Every day is a new adventure. Healthcare is the most rapidly changing area of the law right now. My mind must be open at all times. I must be prepared to advise my clients – any one of the 2,500 of them – on how to manage a certain issue or situation,” he said. “I hire a lot of great help from the outside, but there are many times when I have to make quick calls.”
Those who have watched Fry make the transition are impressed.
“That’s a hard transition to make and not many people are able to do it because it takes a whole new set of management skills,” said Bob MacKenzie, a partner at Starnes Davis Florie LLP in Birmingham. “The ability to manage and oversee physicians, that’s an incredibly different responsibility.”
Judge Scott Vowell, the retired Presiding Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge, wrote a letter of recommendation for Fry.
“I thought it would be a good match,” Judge Vowell said. “His manner is a great help in accomplishing the goals that he has. He’s persuasive, and he doesn’t use a heavy hand to get people to agree with him.”
Fry, a native of Birmingham, wants to see the city continue to grow and develop. He lives in the city and is a member of the board of directors for REV Birmingham, an economic development organization that helps stimulate business growth and improve quality of life.
As the Secretary-Treasurer for the Birmingham Bar Association, Fry is also helping develop the legal community. He has taken the lead on several important projects, most notably, making improvements to the Birmingham Bar Building. Fry has taken the lead on the renovation of the building’s courtyard. At the same time, Fry and other lawyers are taking deliberate steps to improve and enhance other parts of the building, MacKenzie said.
While at UA Law, Fry learned about the value of hard work. Success, he said, requires a tremendous amount of hours, and there’s no easy way to be a lawyer. Every day is a challenge, and clients expect their attorneys to meet those challenges.
As a recruiter for Johnston Barton, Fry would sometimes hear criticism about UA Law for its intense competition, but Fry said that competition made people stronger lawyers and provided a better landing for them when they entered private practice.
“As hard as law school was, the practice is 10 times harder,” Fry said.
February 24, 2016
Congratulations to Samuel N. Crosby (’78), the recipient of the 2016 Sam W. Pipes Distinguished Alumnus Award. Crosby received the award at the Farrah Law Alumni Society Banquet Friday at the Law School. The award is given to an outstanding alumnus of the University of Alabama School of Law who has distinguished himself or herself through service to the bar, the University of Alabama and the School of Law.
It was an evening marked with achievement. Dean Mark E. Brandon (’78) announced that alumni have raised more than $130,000 in contributions and pledges for the Thomas L. Jones Fund, and Elizabeth Huntley (’97), Chair of the Farrah Law Alumni Society, recognized Camille Wright Cook (’48) for her commitment to teaching and accomplishments while at the University of Alabama.
February 24, 2016
Sam Grimes (’16), John Hundscheid (’16), and Irene Motles (’16) competed against tax teams from across the country in the National Tax Moot Court Competition in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The UA Law tax team was one of only three teams to win both its preliminary rounds and automatically advance to the quarterfinals. In the preliminary round, the team defeated Louisville and Oregon. The team also won its quarterfinal round against Kentucky to advance to the semifinals. The team lost to Loyola-Chicago in the semifinal round, but won its consolation round against LSU to take third place, the best overall finish for an Alabama team.
The team was coached by Clay Staggs (‘96).
February 24, 2016
Ben Richardson (’16), Chris Becker (’16), and Robby Marcum (’16) won the David Sive Award for Best Brief.
The competition problem involved six complicated issues under the Clean Air Act. The team advanced to the final round in oral arguments, clearing three preliminary rounds, the quarter-final round, and the semi-final round. In the final round, the team argued in front of Judge Colloton from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Judge Adelman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Judge Mannion of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and Judge Ward from the U.S. EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board. The team faced excellent competition on its way to the final round including Columbia, Minnesota, Florida, Maryland, Texas, Wyoming, UC Hastings, and Vermont. The University of Mississippi won the final round. The UA team was coached by Professor William Andreen and Professor Heather Elliott. Chelsea Caveny (’16) served as student coach.
February 23, 2016
Elliott Bell (’16), Barrett Bowdre (’16), Grant Luiken (’16), Logan Matthews (’16), Caitlyn Prichard (’16) and Angela Selvaggio (’16) competed for Alabama in the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition. These two teams competed with 30 other teams in the Philadelphia regional. About 190 teams compete in this elite ABA program nationally.
For two years in a row, Alabama was the only law school that had two teams advance to the regional finals. The team of Matthews, Prichard and Luiken won a unanimous final round decision and will advance to the national finals in Chicago in April. The team of Bell, Bowdre and Selvaggio lost a close 3-2 vote in the final round against Texas. Bell was voted the sixth best advocate of the more than 90 advocates who competed. The two Alabama teams were coached by Professor Carol Andrews and supported by Moot Court Fellows, Eunji Jo (’17), Briana Knox (’17), and Mary Lauren Kulovitz (’17).
February 21, 2016
Professor Stephen Rushin recently commented in The Boston Globe that police reform comes at a cost.
In Ferguson, Missouri, city leaders say the costs associated with a consent decree could consume more than one-fourth of its annual operating budget.
“There’s never been a concerted national effort to really spend a lot of money to address police misconduct,” Rushin said. “We’re finally coming to the recognition that correcting police misconduct is an expensive proposition.”
For more, read “As the Cost of Police Misconduct Grows, So Do Taxes.”
February 19, 2016
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) visited the Law School and offered advice to law students.
Rep. Sewell is serving her third term as the U.S. Representative of Alabama’s 7th Congressional District. She is one of the first women elected to Congress from Alabama and is the first black woman to serve in the Alabama Congressional delegation.
The special event was co-sponsored by the Career Services Office and the Public Interest Institute. Dean Mark E. Brandon introduced Rep. Sewell and welcomed her to the Law School.
During her 40-minute talk, Rep. Sewell urged students to find gaps and plug holes. Students, she said, should be willing to accept the job nobody else wants to learn on a Friday night.
“When I look back on my career, those are the moments that defined my character but also showcased my willingness to roll up my sleeves and do the mundane.”
With apologies to law professors, Rep. Sewell told students they should spend their first formative years out of law school learning the craft “because you learn how to be a lawyer on the job.”
She also urged students to put aside some time in their career for public service. “You should all factor into your life a season of service that will allow you to use your talents for the benefit of other people.”
February 12, 2016
“We at the University of Alabama School of Law were saddened to hear of the passing of Nelle Harper Lee,” said Dean Mark E. Brandon. “Her death is a loss not only to the School of Law, which she attended, but also to the State of Alabama, the nation, and the world. In To Kill a Mockingbird, she penned a novel of elegant prose, set in the granular relations of a small Southern town, but eloquently touching themes of universal significance. In her life and work, she showed that she had both a keen eye and an unwavering moral voice.”
The University of Alabama also issued a statement.
“The University of Alabama extends its sympathy to Nelle Harper Lee’s family and friends and the millions of readers of To Kill a Mockingbird. Miss Lee will continue to serve as an inspiration for many generations of writers, and we proudly claim her as one of our own.”
Professor Stephen Rushin recently commented in The Wall Street Journal and PBS Frontline on the Justice Department’s lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri.
The lawsuit came after the Ferguson City Council voted to change a proposed consent decree to reform the police and courts. The council said the package, which had been negotiated between the Department of Justice and city officials, cost too much.
Rushin told The Wall Street Journal while discussions continue between local and federal officials following such federal probes, negotiations tend to end after a proposed settlement is reached.
“I’m not aware of that ever being a successful tactic,” said Rushin, who has studied Justice Department investigations of police departments. “They have to bite the bullet and figure out a way to come up with the money.”
For more, read “Justice Department Sues Ferguson Over Policing” and “Could Ferguson Win Its Case Against The Justice Department?”