December 2020

News

 

Justice Sotomayor Delivers 2020 Albritton Lecture 

 

The University of Alabama School of Law hosted Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, for the Albritton Lecture on Nov. 10.  The Lecture, held virtually, was moderated by W. Harold Albritton, Senior District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, and Mark Brandon, Dean and Thomas E. McMillan Professor of Law.

In the question-and-answer format event, Justice Sotomayor spoke to students, faculty and invited guests on a wide range of topics from collegiality on the Court and its public image to advice for current law students.

“I really do believe that the law can help society, and I hope all of you will maintain that in your work and in your ambitions in what you do as lawyers,” she challenged the students in attendance.  “Will you take pride in being a lawyer? Will you do it with a sense of pride and honor and decency and commitment to working as hard as you can to protect your clients and advise the people who depend on you? That’s what I expect. That’s what I hope.”

“It was an honor to welcome Justice Sotomayor to the School of Law.  The fact that this year’s lecture was held virtually didn’t dampen excitement within the Law School community,” said Brandon. “The Justice’s talk was informative, insightful, engaged, and even joyful,” he added.

To read more about Justice Sotomayor’s virtual visit, click here.

 

 

Team Advances to New York City Bar National Moot Court Competition Regional Semi-Final Round 

Alabama Law’s moot court team comprised of Joe Barnello, Ben Seiss, and Zach Starr, all 3Ls, gave an outstanding performance in November 2020 at the regional rounds for the New York City Bar National Moot Court Competition. The team wrote one of the top briefs and advanced from the preliminary rounds as the tournament’s third seed. The team continued to advance through the quarterfinal to the semi-final rounds.

This year’s problem was legally and factually dense, weaving together an only somewhat fictitious global pandemic with civil RICO claims, Fourth Amendment protections, and the doctrine of sovereign immunity. In addition, the team had to navigate an all-too-real pandemic that fundamentally changed how they practiced and presented their arguments. As the first Alabama Law moot court team to compete in a virtual competition, Joe, Ben, and Zach had to be trailblazers, adding a host of technical issues to the normal moot court preparation. With the help of their coach, Professor Cameron Fogle, they handled all of this with the grace and poise befitting School of Law students.

 

Class Notes

Marky Bingham (’20) joined Maynard Cooper and Gale’s Healthcare Practice in the Birmingham office.

Alexander J. Bruening (’20) joined Banner Witcoff in its Chicago office as a first-year associate.

Mazie R. Bryant (’20) has joined Sirote & Permutt’s Birmingham office as an Associate.

Jennifer Cote (’05) joined Frost Brown Todd’s Nashville office as a member.  She will serve on the Employee Benefits, Tax and Health Care teams.

Anna Davis (’15) joined the Birmingham, Alabama, office of Balch & Bingham as a member of the Real Estate, Banking & Financial Services and Lending & Commercial Practices.

Allen Estes (’00) was appointed Southern and Southeastern Regional Director of DRI, the leading organization of defense attorneys and in-house counsel.

Grace Hembree (’20) joined the Birmingham, Alabama, office of Balch & Bingham as a member of the Environmental & Natural Resources Practice.

Edward Hines (’20) joined the Mobile, Alabama, office of Starnes Davis Florie LLP as an associate.

Gabriell Jeffreys (’20) joined Burr & Forman’s Birmingham office as an associate.

Emily McKee (’20) joined the Birmingham, Alabama, office of Balch & Bingham as a member of the Mergers & Acquisitions, Estate Planning & Trusts, and Corporate Practices.

Shalyn Smith McKitt (‘16) joined SS&C Health’s Birmingham office as Senior Counsel.

Stephen McKitt (‘16) joined Balch & Bingham’s Birmingham office as a member of the firm’s Creditors Rights & Bankruptcy Practice.

Brad Prosch (’20) joined the Birmingham, Alabama, office of Starnes Davis Florie LLP as an Associate.

Jeff Rogers (’20) joined Maynard Cooper and Gale’s Corporate Section in the Birmingham office. He is a member of the Mergers & Acquisitions and Public Company Advisory practice groups.

Matthew Slaughter (’15) earned the Louisiana State Bar Association’s 2020 Pro Bono Publico Award for dedicating more than 50 hours to pro bono services.

Lauren M. Snyder (’18) joined the Birmingham, Alabama, office of Butler Snow as a member of the Tort, Transportation and Specialized Litigation Group.

Aaron Tippetts (’20) joined the Birmingham, Alabama, office of Balch & Bingham as a member of the Environmental & Natural Resources Practice.

Andrew Traylor (’20) joined Sirote & Permutt’s Birmingham office as an Associate.

Robert Waller (’19) joined Maynard Cooper and Gale’s Corporate Section in the Birmingham office. He is a member of the Tax Practice.

Hugh Warren (’20) joined Banner Witcoff’s Chicago office as a first-year associate.

Park Wynn (’17) joined the Birmingham, Alabama, office of Balch & Bingham as a member of the Litigation, Construction, and Issues & Appeals Practices.

 

Gifts

Laura Crum (’82) contributed $10,000 to The Crum Family Endowed Lecture Series for Law and Business.

A gift of $100,000 was received from the estate of Joseph G. Gamble, Jr. (’50) to establish the John Gamble Family Scholarship.

Joe L. Leak (’89) pledged $10,000 to the Law School Foundation Unrestricted Fund.

Wayne Wheeler (’66) contributed $100,000 to the Judge Robert J. Wheeler Scholarship Fund

 

Faculty Notes

Professor Deepa Das Acevedo’s edited volume, Beyond the Algorithm: Qualitative Insights for Gig Work Regulation, has been published by Cambridge University Press. In Beyond the Algorithm, a collection of scholars and experts show why government actors must go beyond mass surveys and data-scrubbing in order to truly understand the realities of gig work.

Prof. Acevedo’s draft article, Laws’ Gaze (SSRN: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3694579) was profiled on FIRE-First Amendment News (https://www.thefire.org/category/first-amendment-news/) on November 25th.

Additionally, in October, Professor Acevedo gave a virtual lecture as part of the Cornell India Law Center’s Speaker Series. Her talk explained the dispute over women’s access to the Hindu temple at Sabarimala, in India, which is the topic of her forthcoming book, The Battle for Sabarimala (Oxford University Press).

 

Professor Bill Andreen’s article, Separating Fact from Fiction in Evaluating the Endangered Species Act: Recognizing the Need for Ongoing Conservation Management and Regulation, was published at 56 Idaho Law Review 39 (2020).

 

On October 27, Professor Bill Brewbaker was interviewed by Donna Off, host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio show, As It Happens​, about the November elections. He has also been invited to be a regular contributor to Christ Animating Learning, a multidisciplinary blog sponsored by the Christian Scholars’ Review.

 

Professor Richard Delgado published a casebook on modern jurisprudence (West Law Group), with Stanley Fish and two others.  He also wrote a chapter for the book, Carving Out a New Humanity (New Press), devoted to Derrick Bell.

Prof. Delgado and Professor Jean Stefancic had an article, “Against Equality: A Critical Essay for the NAACP and Others,” accepted in Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly.

Time Magazine, the Washington Post, Education Week, and the New York Times in a front-page story covered the recent increase of interest in critical race theory and the role of Profs. Delgado and Stefancic, and their book Critical Race Theory:  An Introduction in this surge. A number of the articles trace the origin of critical race theory in a straight line to the early abolition movement and highlight the part the two authors’ book played in  shaping a new paradigm of race and racism.

 

Professor Tara Grove was quoted in Where Is Wall Street in Biden’s Transition Team?, N.Y. Times (Nov. 11, 2020), https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/11/business/dealbook/biden-transition-wall-street.html

She was also quoted in Equal Rights Amendment battle highlights obstacles to challenging federal decisions in court, San Francisco Chronicle (Oct. 23, 2020), https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Equal-Rights-Amendment-battle-highlights-15671497.php

She was interviewed by David Westin for Balance of Power, Bloomberg Television in September and October about the nomination of Justice Barrett.  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2020-10-13/-balance-of-power-full-show-10-13-2020-video and https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2020-09-28/-balance-of-power-full-show-09-28-2020-video

Prof. Grove moderated Justice Sotomayor’s conversation with first-year law students as part of her role as the Director of the Law School’s new Program in Constitutional Studies.  She also gave a talk on Supreme Court reform at the University of Virginia School of Law, and presented at Harvard Law School, the University of Wisconsin Law School, the University of Connecticut School of Law, and William and Mary Law School.

 

Professor Joyce Vance was featured on MSNBC twice in “The Supreme Court will not protect our voting rights. Here’s who actually might”  https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/supreme-court-will-not-protect-our-voting-rights-here-s-n1245120 and “Trump’s election strategy is to desensitize America to brazen voter suppression”  https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/trump-s-2020-election-strategy-desensitize-america-brazen-gop-voter-n1246369

She was quoted in articles from the Washington Post, the New York Times, and The Boston Globe.  Additionally, Prof. Vance appeared on television for NBC News, WVTM Birmingham, NBC, and MSNBC.

Prof. Vance participated in podcasts with Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, and former RNC Chair Michael Steele.  She also spoke on the “Justice League” panel hosted by Rep. Eric Smalwell, a public zoom forum on the future of our democratic institutions, along with former Solicitor General Neal Katyal, former White House Counsel John Dean, DOJ spokesperson Matt Miller and others.