August 28, 2014

John Grisham Wins the 2014 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

Sycamore Row

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.

July 29, 2014

Boys and Girls Club Visits Law School

Jamie Leonard and Marcus Cotton recently hosted the Boys and Girls Club of West Alabama, and the group’s visit was featured on WVUA. Click on “Boys and Girls Club Career Week” to view the story.

July 25, 2014

Professor Rosen Serves as a National Reporter at Vienna Congress

Ken Rosen, associate professor of law, is in Vienna, Austria, serving as the United States National Reporter on Company Law and the Law of Succession as part of the 19th Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law. The IACL brings together noted legal experts from around the world every four years to assist the development of law by producing reports that allow comparisons of different national approaches to important legal subject matters. Professor Rosen was selected to analyze the complex intersection between laws related to business entities and estates in the United States, resulting in his national report that is being shared with international colleagues in Vienna.

July 17, 2014

Judge Colquitt Receives Alabama State Bar Award


Joseph Colquitt, the Jere L. Beasley Professor of Law and director of Trial Advocacy, recently received the Chief Justice’s Professionalism Award from the Alabama State Bar. The honor recognizes a judge or lawyer for outstanding contribution in advancing the professionalism of the legal profession in Alabama. Colquitt served as a Circuit Court Judge in Tuscaloosa County from 1971 to 1991.

July 6, 2014

Professor Elliott Tells Wall Street Journal Boehner Must Clear Hurdles to Sue President

Heather Elliott, associate professor of law, recently joined other legal scholars in The Wall Street Journal, saying House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to sue President Barack Obama will face obstacles.

Delays in Affordable Care Act deadlines, No Child Left Behind law waivers and other Obama administration actions are executive abuses, Republicans say.

It’s unclear, Elliott said, whether the House could meet  the standing threshold without the Senate’s blessing because the Senate is controlled by Democrats. Read more at “Hurdles Lie Ahead for Potential Boehner Lawsuit.”


July 1, 2014

Hobby Lobby Is Only the Beginning, Says Professor Horwitz in New York Times Op-Ed

Professor Paul Horwitz recently wrote in The New York Times that Americans should expect many more Hobby Lobbies.

“A country that cannot even agree on the idea of religious accommodation, let alone on what terms, is unlikely to agree on what to do next,” wrote the Gordon Rosen Professor of Law and author of First Amendment Institutions. “A country in which many states cannot manage to pass basic anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation is one whose culture wars may be beyond the point of compromise.” For more, read “Hobby Lobby Is Only the Beginning.”

June 30, 2014

Professor Bucy Pierson Pens Book about The Business of Being a Lawyer

The innovative course, The Business of Being a Lawyer, is now a book. The Business of Being a Lawyer (West Academic Publishing) by Pamela Bucy Pierson provides practical tips and advice on how lawyers should treat themselves as a business. The book focuses on the changing economics of the legal marketplace, 20 financial decisions most lawyers make, the importance of emotional intelligence, and how to be an effective free agent. Pierson, a former federal prosecutor, is the Bainbridge-Mims Professor of Law.

June 30, 2014

Professor Horwitz Provides Perspective on Hobby Lobby Decision

Professor Paul Horwitz, the Gordon Rosen Professor of Law, participated in a Q&A for readers and put the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby in perspective. For starters, he did not find the decision surprising.

“The (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) is a powerful statute, passed by an overwhelming majority of Congress and strongly worded to place a thumb on the side of government accommodation of religion,” he said. Click here to read more of “‘The outcome here was not a shock,’ says Alabama law professor on Hobby Lobby ruling.”

June 26, 2014

Paul Sloderbeck Wins First Place in Environmental Law Essay Contest

Paul Sloderbeck recently won first place in the 2014 Environmental Law Essay contest sponsored by the Environmental Law Section of the Alabama State Bar. He will receive $1,000 for “Ecuador’s 2008 Constitutional Rights of Nature: A Step Toward Nature-Centered Rights in South America or Utilitarian Anthropocentrism in Disguise?” for a paper he wrote in International Environmental Law Seminar.

June 23, 2014

National Law Firms Restart Hiring, Ksobiech Says in Wall Street Journal

Tom Ksobiech, assistant dean for career services, said law firms have reached out to the Law School for hiring.

“There are a couple of prominent national firms that have contacted us about 3Ls because they did not have summer associate coverage,” he told The Wall Street Journal.

Summer classes are increasing at large firms in Atlanta, New Orleans, Nashville and Birmingham, he said. For more, read “Big Law Firms Resume Hiring.”