February 21, 2016

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell Visits the Law School

Sewell Official Photo 031714U.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 19, 2016

Dean Brandon’s Statement on the Passing of Nelle Harper Lee

“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.”


February 12, 2016

Professor Rushin Comments on Justice Department’s Lawsuit Against City of Ferguson

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?”

February 11, 2016

Law School Student Receives Gates Cambridge Scholarship

DeProspo2Atticus DeProspo (1L) is one of 35 scholars selected for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship at the University of Cambridge.

The scholarship was established in October 2000 by a donation of $210 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge.

Scholarships are awarded to outstanding applicants from countries outside the United Kingdom to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge.

The scholars will be members of 28 academic departments in Cambridge and will study and research subjects ranging from the health implications of a sugar tax and the role of schools in preventing childhood obesity to antibiotic resistance, new treatments for cystic fibrosis and bat-borne viruses such as Ebola. Scholarships were awarded to 15 women and 20 men.

DeProspo was recently selected as a member of the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars. After his year in China as a Schwarzman Scholar, he will attend the University of Cambridge and pursue a one-year graduate degree.

February 3, 2016

Dean Brandon Named Fellow of Alabama Law Foundation

UA Law Dean Mark E. Brandon (’78) has been named a fellow of the Alabama Law Foundation, which recognizes Alabama State Bar members who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to their profession and their community.

The new fellows were honored at a banquet on Saturday, Jan. 30, at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery. Less than 1 percent of bar members are invited into the fellowship.

“The Fellows of the Alabama Law Foundation are selected from the ranks of the Alabama State Bar and represent our brightest and best,” said Joe Fawal, President of the Board of Trustees of the Alabama Law Foundation. “The fact that they are selected is in and of itself an honor. But the contribution that they make in defense of the poor in civil matters in Alabama is a much greater honor.”

In addition to Dean Brandon, Alabama Law alumni named as fellows were:

  • Mack B. Binion, III (’72)
  • Ronald G. Davenport (’75)
  • Alan C. Livingston (’73)
  • Delaine Mountain (’68)
  • Steven L. Nicholas (’84)
  • Jimmy B. Pool (’74)
  • Grey Redditt, Jr. (’75)
  • James H. Reid (’74)
  • Beth McFadden Rouse (’78)

For more, read “Alabama Law Foundation Announces New Fellows.”

January 28, 2016

Liz Huntley: Serving the State

news logo crop

liz lfw photoThe journey for Liz Huntley’s (’97) advocacy work for children began when she was in preschool.

It was in preschool where teachers nurtured her, taught her how to read and gave her the motivation to succeed.

“I can assure you I would have been a different student without that foundation,” she said.

As Huntley excelled in school, several people stepped into her life, giving her the love and affection that would ultimately help her overcome poverty and abuse.

By the time Huntley was 5 years old, she had endured a lifetime of tragedies. Her parents were drug dealers, and her father was incarcerated for selling drugs. Her mother tried to continue without him, but she broke the fundamental rule of drug dealing. She consumed her own product and became a heroin addict. One day without any notice, her mother left her five children with three sets of relatives, went home and committed suicide. Huntley then lived with her grandmother, where she was sexually and physically abused by relatives and witnessed domestic violence so intense she was sometimes placed in foster care.

Today, Huntley, a litigation attorney at Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC in Birmingham, is an an advocate for early childhood education and sexual abuse prevention.

She is a member of the board for the Alabama School Readiness Alliance, a statewide, nonprofit coalition advocating for the expansion of high quality, voluntary pre-k. As part of the coalition, she and other members have proposed a 10-year plan to expand the number of voluntary pre-k programs throughout the state. The Alabama Legislature and Governor Robert Bentley support the plan, and the state has secured a federal grant to help the program achieve its goal.

“The way to really address education in Alabama is to start with children at an early age,” Huntley said. “We have kids who enter classrooms for the first time with so many differences and gaps with what they already know when they come to the table. If we make sure all children have access to high quality early education and a good foundation when they enter school, it will raise the bar in classrooms for all children.”

In 2015, Huntley was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children, which recommended establishing child sexual abuse programs to encourage children to come forward and creating policies that will strengthen existing laws governing individuals who work with children.

Children will often leave hints and clues about what’s going on in their lives, and Huntley shares her own story as a reminder that abuse doesn’t always look how some might expect.

“I was the happiest, most smiling child you would ever know,” she said. “The signs are not always a withdrawn kid who looks victimized.”

That is just one reason Huntley is now marrying her passion for child advocacy with her law practice.

Several judges have appointed her as a guardian ad litem in personal injury cases that involve children, and she represents them during settlement fairness hearings to make sure the children’s interests are taken into consideration. Huntley also represents state agencies that serve children and families, ensuring they have the proper policies and procedures in place to protect the children under their care. Later this year, she plans to become a certified mediator so that she can help communities navigate complex issues such as making the transition from court-ordered desegregation to unitary status.

“The practice of law is a beautiful thing in that you can be anything you want to be,” she said. “It gives you such a great base: work ethic, discipline, commitment to a good work product. The values that you are taught in law school transcend professional lines.”

Those who know Huntley well are not surprised by her success and her desire to give back to the community. She is a member of the Auburn University Board of Trustees, Chair of the Farrah Law Alumni Society and a motivational speaker, with a TedX Birmingham talk to her credit.

“She had visions way beyond her years when she was younger,” said Olivia Washington, who first met Huntley when she was a child in preschool. Washington was then the Executive Director of the Community Action Agency that funded the preschool program where Huntley learned how to read.

Washington saw the roots of advocacy taking ahold of Huntley when she started a tutoring program in high school and raised money from individuals and churches to fund it.

“She gave when she didn’t have anything to give in terms of finances to get the materials and supplies she needed to operate community programs,” Washington said.

Moments after meeting Huntley sitting quietly in the front row of her first-grade classroom at Clanton Elementary School, Pam Jones declared she would be the best first-grader she has ever had. And Huntley has proved her correct.

“It does not surprise me anymore,” Jones said. “I just have come to expect the unexpected form Liz.”

Jones was proud when Huntley took the advice of Don Logan, former CEO of Time Warner and owner of the Birmingham Barons, and wrote and self-published her memoir, More Than a Bird. The book follows her emotional journey through poverty and abuse, and it profiles the men and women who helped her succeed, including her pastor, Elijah Good, who eventually took her into his home when she was a teen-ager and who she now calls dad. A portion of the book’s proceeds benefit the Alabama School Readiness Alliance and the Children’s Village of Birmingham, a group home for neglected and abused children that allows siblings to stay together.

Together with her co-author Cole Peck, Huntley is developing a reflection guide for her memoir called #DefineYourself so that teenagers can use her life as a guide to make sound choices and decisions. Peck is a Birmingham native and an English student at Washington and Lee University. Huntley asked him to join her because “it’s important when you’re writing to get perspective from the generation you’re dealing with.”

The only explanation Huntley gives for why she has thrived when so many others have not is that God placed people in her life at the exact time she needed them.

“He did all of this,” she said. “It’s clearly part of a larger plan somewhere.”

January 25, 2016

Law School Announces Two Fundraising Efforts

The Law School is announcing two fundraising efforts to honor the work and legacies of Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. and Professor Thomas L. Jones.
Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. and Ruth Jenkins Johnson Scholarship Fund 
The former law clerks of Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr., in order to continue his legacy of service to the bar and to pay tribute to a man known and lauded for his pursuit of equality, have started a scholarship in his name. Judge Johnson was a 1943 graduate of the Law School and was a key force in the desegregation of the South. The clerks plan also to endow a lecture series in Judge Johnson’s memory. The Law School is grateful to the clerks and to Protective Life Insurance Company, which is matching a portion of scholarship contributions. For more information about the scholarship or lecture, contact Candice Robbins at or 205-348-0406.
Thomas L. Jones Fundraising Project
The Law School has embarked on a fundraising campaign to honor beloved Professor Thomas L. Jones. Jones has taught three generations of Alabama Law graduates during his 44-year tenure. The goal for the project is $105,000, and the funds will be used to renovate the reception area of the Alabama Law Institute and rename it the Thomas L. Jones Reception Area. Excess funds will be allocated to endow a scholarship in his name. Thanks to several leadership gifts and pledges, more than $60,000 has been committed so far. If you are interested in donating, please contact Caroline Strawbridge at or 205-348-4191.
January 22, 2016

Australian National University College of Law Students Arrive at the Law School


Nine incredibly gifted and inquisitive Australian National University College of Law students arrived in Tuscaloosa on January 2 for a five-week program in which they take a Survey of U.S. Law and a class on Comparative Gender Law, said William Andreen, Director of the Exchange Program.  The comparative class also has Alabama Law students in it, and the course is being team-taught by UA’s Martha Morgan and two faculty members from the ANU, Anne Macduff and Skye Saunders.

During their stay in Tuscaloosa, the Australians will visit the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, the Alabama Supreme Court, the Tuscaloosa County Jail, and the Rosa Parks Museum – in addition, of course, to Bryant-Denny Stadium.

For five weeks in July-August, a group of 10 Alabama students will, in turn, travel to the ANU in Canberra where they will take a Survey of Australian Law as well as a course on Comparative Gender Law.  During their trip, the UA students will visit the Australian High Court, the local Supreme Court, Parliament, the local legal aid office, and the U.S. Embassy – in addition, of course, to the kangaroos, koalas, and emus at the Tidbinbilla Wildlife Reserve.

January 22, 2016

Law School Welcomes Business of Being a Lawyer Faculty


Business of Being a Lawyer faculty will spend Friday talking with students about economic trends in the legal market and strategies for adapting to the changes ahead.

BBL speakers share their time and experience, as well as provide practical and candid advice so that students will thrive in the legal profession.

The Business of Being a Lawyer is based on the premise that each lawyer is a business – her own business. Whether working for a law firm or in solo practice, in a public interest or government office, or in a law-related field, lawyers need to understand their own balance sheets – their assets, liabilities, strengths, weaknesses, investments made in themselves, and investments needed.

BBL faculty are:

Brett Adair (‘95) , Adair Law Firm, LLC

Katie Britt (‘13), Butler Snow, LLP

Lee Copeland (‘82), Copeland Franco; President, Alabama State Bar

Charles Fry, Jr. (‘99), General Counsel, University of Alabama Health Services Foundation, P.C.

Tripp Haston (‘93), Bradley Arant Boult & Cummings, LLP

Tony McLain, General Counsel, Alabama State Bar

Cole Portis (‘90), Beasley Allen, P.C.; President-Elect, Alabama State Bar

Joyce Vance, United States Attorney, N.D. AL

January 20, 2016

Professor Carroll Weighs in on Acquittal of Alabama Police Officer

Professor Jenny Carroll weighed in on the acquittal of a north Alabama police officer who was accused of using excessive force on an Indian man.

Federal prosecutors failed to prove Eric Parker willfully violated the rights of Sureshbhai Patel when he slammed him to the ground during a suspicious person investigation in a Huntsville suburb, according to the Associated Press

“That burden of proof is higher than in a civil case, so it’s entirely possible for someone to be acquitted in a criminal matter, but be found civilly liable,” said Carroll, whose specialties include criminal defense and criminal procedure.

For more, read “Officer’s Civil, State Cases Loom after Federal Acquittal.”