April 2017


Law School Commemorates 45th Anniversary of the First African-American Law Graduates

Professor Bryan Fair and Civil Rights Attorney Fred Gray had “A Conversation about Jim Crow Policy” on March 31 at the symposium on Bending the Arc of History: African-Americans and The University of Alabama School of Law.

Gray said his mother gave him three goals as a child: Keep Christ first in his life, stay in school and stay out of trouble. After he was accepted at Case Western Reserve School of Law, Gray said he decided he was going “to destroy everything segregated I could find.”

“If I have been able to do anything, it was those motivating factors,” he said.

Gray’s talk was part of a symposium that commemorated the 45th Anniversary of the Law School’s first African-American graduates. Almost a decade after the infamous “stand in the schoolhouse door,” Michael Figures, Booker Forte, Jr., and Ronald E. Jackson made history in 1972 by becoming the first African-American students to graduate from The University of Alabama School of Law.

Law School Launches Tell Your Story Campaign

The University of Alabama School of Law has a rich history, but much of it is not written down. The Law School is kicking off an alumni effort to collect as many alumni stories this year as possible. Please submit written remembrances, videos or photos that could include stories about the Alabama Law experience, meaningful relationships with other students or faculty, and how Alabama Law contributed to career accomplishments. What’s your story? http://www.law.ua.edu/resources/tellyourstory/

Debbie Long (’80) to Deliver Commencement Address

Debbie Long (‘80), Executive Vice President, Secretary and Chief Legal Officer for Protective Life Corporation, will deliver the University of Alabama School of Law commencement address at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 7, at Coleman Coliseum.

Long  joined Protective Life as General Counsel in 1992. Prior to joining the company, she was a member of the Maynard, Cooper & Gale law firm in Birmingham, Ala., where she practiced in the areas of insurance, banking and finance, business acquisitions and mergers, and general corporate law.

Ceremony to Celebrate Research by Alabama Law Faculty

Professor Stephen Rushin and Professor Paul Horwitz will be honored for their research contributions at the upcoming Faculty Research Day.

Sixteen faculty members from across the university were chosen as finalists for President’s Faculty Research Award, and six winners will be announced at a ceremony at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 12, in the Bryant Conference Center on the UA campus. Sponsored by the offices of the President and Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the award goes to outstanding faculty researchers from across UA’s Colleges and Schools.

Dean Mark E. Brandon said he was pleased to offer two nominees from the School of Law, both of whom are finalists.

Rushin was nominated in the junior investigator  category.  “In a very short time Professor Rushin has become one of the most perceptive, interesting, and visible scholars in the nation on the subject of policing,” Brandon said. “He has three major articles forthcoming from three excellent legal journals, and a book under contract with Cambridge University Press.”

Horwitz was nominated in the senior investigator category. “Paul Horwitz is among the nation’s pre-eminent scholars of constitutional law,” Brandon said. “His work on the freedom of religion is subtle, balanced, and enormously influential.”

UA Law Students Advance to Final Four in National Trial Competition

UA Law students Kristen Campbell and Bridget Harris, both third-year law students, advanced to the final four in the National Trial Competition.

As the Southeast regional champion, the University of Alabama School of Law team advanced to the national finals in Fort Worth, Texas, with the top 28 teams.

After four elimination rounds, the final four teams were Alabama, Georgetown, Northwestern, and Berkeley. UA Law lost to Georgetown by one vote.

Frances Isbell (’17) Named as One of National Jurist Magazine’s 2017 Law Students of the Year

Frances Isbell, a third-year law student, has been named one of 25 Law Students of the Year by National Jurist magazine.

Isbell received the honor because she was one of 16 graduate students of the inaugural class of the Albert Schweitzer Fellows at University of Alabama School of Law. She’s using her fellowship to help and provide resources to those living with a disability in Alabama. She’s doing so big time.

The fellows, all from Alabama colleges and universities, receive $2,500 and spend an academic year learning how to effectively address the social factors that affect health, while developing lifelong leadership skills. As part of her fellowship, Isbell has donated more than 120 volunteer hours, and she will donate at least 80 more volunteer hours by the time her fellowship ends in 2017.

As part of her fellowship, Isbell organized an Alabama chapter of NMD United, a non-profit association composed of adults living with neuromuscular disabilities that provides resources to promote independence. She created a support network for teens and adults with neuromuscular conditions, such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and  also created and distributed informational packets for managing personal assistance services.

UA Law Ranks Among Nation’s Top Law Schools

The University of Alabama School of Law is ranked 26th among the nation’s top law schools, both public and private, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Graduate Schools” rankings for 2018.

The U.S. News rankings of 197 law schools fully accredited by the American Bar Association are based on a weighted average of the 12 measures of quality, including a peer assessment score and an assessment score by lawyers and judges. Data were collected in fall 2016 and early 2017.

Link Loegler: Serving the State

Link Loegler (’96) is helping the Poarch Band of Creek Indians diversify its investment portfolio and launch OWA, a new entertainment and amusement park in Foley, Alabama.

The first phase of the project is scheduled to open in May, and the tribe, which has more than 3,000 members, expects it to attract families in Alabama and throughout the Southeast to the South Alabama amusement park.

OWA, pronounced oh-wah, means “big water” in the Muskogee Creek language. Loegler said the project presents an opportunity to partner with the City of Foley, and to provide family-oriented entertainment services to an underserved market. While the decision is business-driven, it does help the community by creating jobs, providing another attraction for those who travel to the beaches in the area, and generating tax revenue for Foley.

If OWA works as planned, there will be more tax revenue, which will help build better schools and increase home values, Loegler said.


Alumni Weekend and Class Reunions

Please join Dean Mark E. Brandon and UA Law faculty and staff on April 22 for an Alumni Picnic. The picnic is open to all graduates and their families, but will provide special opportunities to celebrate Class Reunions honoring the classes of 1967, 1977, 1987, 1992, 1997 and 2007. Visit Alumni Weekend for more information.

Class Notes

Gaines Brake (’06) has joined Maynard Cooper & Gale in the firm’s Health Care Practice Group as Of Counsel in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham offices.

Clay Crenshaw (’88) has been appointed Assistant Attorney General by Alabama Attorney General Steven T. Marshall (‘90).

Brandon K. Essig (’02) has joined Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC as Partner in the White Collar Criminal Defense and Corporate Investigations Practice in Birmingham.

Heather Fann (’06) has opened her own law firm, Fann Law LLC, in Birmingham.

Andrew Freeman (’05) has been tapped as Partner in Charge of Adams and Reese’s Mobile office.

Elizabeth “Liz” Huntley (’97) was the keynote speaker at Lean On: Alabama’s “Women’s Lifestyle and Leadership Conference” on Saturday, March 4, at the University of Alabama’s Ferguson Student Center in Tuscaloosa.

Douglas McElvy (’71) has been selected as acting General Counsel for the Alabama State Bar.

Laterrica Simmons (’14) has been named The University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Director of Compliance/Title IX Coordinator.


Debbie Long (’80) contributed $5,000 through the Protective Life PAC to the Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Endowed Lecture on Constitutional Rights and Liberties.

Faculty Notes

PROFESSOR BILL ANDREEN’s new chapter on “Alabama Water Law” was published in January in Volume 4 of Waters and Water Rights, AL-1 to AL-38 (Amy Kelley ed., Matthew Bender).  He also spoke about the Tri-State Water Wars at the SEC Academic Conference on the Future of Water, which was held at Mississippi State University on March 27-28, 2017.

PROFESSOR BILL BREWBAKER’s new casebook, Christian Legal Thought: Materials and Cases, was recently published by Foundation Press.  On March 10, he made a presentation titled, “Agreement or Peace? Friendship and the Purposes of Law,” at a conference on Religious Critiques of Law at Pepperdine University School of Law.

PROFESSOR PAUL HORWITZ spoke at the University of Notre Dame in early March at an event hosted by that university’s Institute for Advanced Studies to mark the publication of Public Intellectuals in the Global Arena: Professors or Pundits? (Michael C. Desch ed., University of Notre Dame Press 2016). Professor Horwitz has a (skeptical) chapter on “the blogger as public intellectual” in the publication. He also participated with several UA Law faculty colleagues in a local panel discussion of the Trump administration and the law, hosted by the UA Law chapter of the American Constitution Society. He also was interviewed by WVUA-TV on the subject of executive regulations.

PROFESSOR JEAN STEFANCIC  was notified by SSRN’s management that she was in the top ten percent of authors by downloads in March.

PROFESSOR ADAM STEINMAN published “Use Your Words: Rhetoric as Absence of Law, Rhetoric as Essence of Law,” which appeared in Rhetorical Processes and Legal Judgments: How Language and Arguments Shape Struggles for Rights and Power (Cambridge University Press).

The views, opinions, and conclusions expressed by faculty in their publications or research activities are those of the author and not necessarily those of The University of Alabama or its officers and trustees. The content of faculty publications has not been approved by the University of Alabama, and the author is solely responsible for that content.