May 2017


Law School Confers 129 Juris Doctor Degrees; Debbie Long Delivers Commencement Address

Attorney Debbie Long advised The University of Alabama School of Law graduates they must have a practical tool in their toolbox: common sense.

“When you are trying to solve a problem, common sense tells us to respect the people involved, even if we disagree with them,” said Long, Executive Vice President, Secretary and Chief Legal Officer of Protective Life Corporation. “Part of respect is a willingness to communicate, which means listening, not just talking. Put yourself in the other’s shoes, listen and try to understand their points of view, even if you are tired and you feel there is no hope.  Because if you close a door to listening, you close a door to a solution. That’s what the First Amendment is all about, giving us a way to reach solutions – if we keep the dialogue alive.”

Graduates, faculty members and guests gathered at Coleman Coliseum May 7 to witness Alabama Law confer 129 Juris Doctor degrees. Eight J.D. graduates and three others received the LL.M. in Taxation and Business Transactions, while three students received the LL.M. degree from the Law School’s International Program.

Former U.S. Attorney Named UA Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in Law

The University of Alabama School of Law has announced that former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance will join the Law School as a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in Law in August.

She will teach in the areas of criminal justice reform, criminal procedure and civil rights.

“I am delighted that Joyce Vance will be joining the School of Law,” said Dean Mark E. Brandon. “Her knowledge and experience – both as U.S. attorney and in private practice – will make her a valuable presence in the classroom and a tremendous resource for our students. She will also be a splendid colleague.”

Three Law Professors Announce Retirement

The University of Alabama School of Law announces the retirement of three longtime faculty members: Professor James Bryce, Vice Dean Jamie Leonard and Professor Pamela Bucy Pierson.

Bryce retires after 39 years of service, having joined the faculty in 1978. He has taught hundreds of students  a variety of tax courses, dealing with federal, state and local taxes. Leonard has been on faculty for 19 years at the Law School and spent another 11 years at Claude W. Pettit College of Law at Ohio Northern University. During his tenure, he trained lawyers in courses on disability law, employment discrimination and family law. Pierson retires after 30 years of service, having joined the law faculty in 1987. She has taught generations of lawyers in criminal law and procedure as well as her popular The Business of Being a Lawyer course.

“The retirement of any one of them would be significant,” said Dean Mark E. Brandon. “The retirement of all three measures 8+ on the institutional Richter Scale.

Brandon said they have had an “incalculable impact” on students and left an “indelible mark” on the Law School.

“There’s neither praise nor prose that can adequately express what they have meant to us as teachers, mentors and colleagues,” he said.

Associate Dean for Clinical Programs Remembers Shelly Darling and Liz Whipple

Associate Dean for Clinical Programs Anne Hornsby shared her thoughts on Shelly Darling and Liz Whipple.

“By now, many of you know that the Law Clinics at Alabama lost our colleagues, Liz Whipple and Shelly Darling, in a tragic electricity-related accident at Lake Tuscaloosa,” Hornsby wrote.  “We are stunned and heartbroken, as are their families.  The two were great friends, and shared a love for their work, rescue dogs, stylish boots, and a quirky and totally irreverent sense of humor that regularly gave way to big laughter.  They were our self-appointed social directors, and could find an excuse for a party on any given occasion.”

“Liz had been a student in our first Domestic Violence Law Clinic, and was coaxed back to Alabama from her DV work in Atlanta to serve as director of that clinic in 2015.  She was a natural teacher, and her legal skills and compassion in dealing with survivors of violence inspired others.”  

“Shelly came to UA Law in 2014 as a staff attorney in the Elder Law Clinic.  Due in large part to her bright intellect and high energy, she instantly fit into the work and into the organization.  She had a special rapport with clients, some of whom would call her at all hours for advice on all manner of things.”

Mary Lauren Kulovitz: Serving the State

Mary Lauren Kulovitz, a new Alabama Law graduate, is going home again.

After she passes the Alabama State Bar exam, she will be a trial attorney at Wooten, Thornton, Carpenter, O’Brien, Lazenby & Lawrence, a firm in Talladega, where she was born and raised.

Talladega has roughly 15,700 residents. It’s a place where residents who go to the store expect to see someone they know. Kulovitz’s father opened his dental practice in Talladega more than 35 years ago without any connections to the area, and the family quickly established roots in the city situated along the Talladega National Forest.

While some of Kulovitz’s classmates have accepted positions in large cities, she accepted a position in a city that is on the cusp of economic growth.

“It’s one of those places I feel like has so much potential,” she said. “If everyone leaves who sees that potential, it’s not going to get any better.”

Law School Hosts Public Interest Awards Ceremony

Attorney James U. Blacksher (‘71) spoke to students, staff and faculty about his career as a civil rights attorney during the Public Interest Awards Ceremony, held on April 13, 2017, in the Bedsole Moot Court Room. He encouraged students to seek innovative ways to advocate for social justice.

Blacksher was presented with an honorary Order of the Samaritan medal in recognition of his great service to his community.

This year, 43 students received the Dean’s Community Service Award in recognition of 40 hours of community service work during law school; 24 students received the Student Pro Bono Award for completing 50 hours of pro bono work during law school; and 29 students received the Order of the Samaritan in recognition of contributing 90 hours of volunteer work during law school.  The Public Interest Institute also awarded the Excellence in Service Award and Pro Bono Excellence Awards to the three graduating 3Ls with the highest reported number of community service and pro bono hours.

In addition, 22 3Ls earned the Certificate in Public Interest Law, which requires 20 hours of specialized coursework and 50 hours of volunteer work.

Public Interest Institute Raises Money for Summer Grants

The Public Interest Institute Advisory Board and the Public Interest Student Board raised nearly $7,400 for summer grants for students working at unpaid internships.

The fundraiser, held April 6, 2017, at Trim Tab Brewing Company in Birmingham, featured brew by Trim Tab, food from Little Donkey and silent auction items donated by local businesses. About 60 people attended the event, which was sponsored by Nolan Byers; Marsh, Rickard & Bryan; Redden, Mills, Clark & Shaw; and Baker Donelson.

Alabama State Bar Inducts Two UA Law Alumni into Hall of Fame

The Alabama State Bar on Friday inducted two  alumni of The University of Alabama School of Law into the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame.

The attorneys inducted into the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame today spent their lives dedicated to improving the lives of others and the legal profession,” said Alabama State Bar President J. Cole Portis of the Beasley Allen Law Firm in Montgomery. “It’s a privilege to participate in the Hall of Fame program and to honor these outstanding lawyers for their commitment and service to our state, local communities and our nation. This program and its purpose are at the heart of the bar’s motto: Lawyers Render Service.”

The alumni inducted into the 2016 Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame are:

  • Lister Hill (1894-1984) 
  • John Thomas King (1923-2007)

Law School Merchandise on Sale

All current Law School logo merchandise is currently 50% off! Options are T-shirts, polos and children’s items. Visit our online store and use the code LAW50 to receive half off all items. Please note that inventory is limited and we may not have all sizes and colors in stock.  Looking for something new?  Updated merchandise options will be available this fall.


Join us for two evenings of family-friendly fun with University of Alabama School of Law alumni.

6 p.m. June 1 at Regions Field in Birmingham
Barons v. Chattanooga Lookouts
Tickets are $15. 

6 p.m. June 2 at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery
Biscuits v. Tennessee Smokies
Tickets are $15.

Local firms interested in sponsoring either event should contact Caroline Strawbridge at 205-348-5752.

Join us for an alumni social in New York City.
5:30 p.m. June 29 in Midtown
Additional details will be available soon.

Class Notes

Doug Anderson (’82) has been named Managing Partner of Burr & Forman’s Mobile office.

Kimberly Bond (’07) recently appeared on Jeopardy!, finishing in second place.

Brandon Essig (’02) addressed more than 70 students enrolled in a fraud examination course at Auburn University.

Robert Gardner (’92) has joined McGlinchey Stafford as Of Counsel within the firm’s Tax practice group in Birmingham.

Bradley Murray (’95) has been appointed U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.

Woods Parker (’16) has joined the Huie firm in Birmingham as an associate.

Brian Seal (’00) has joined Butzel Long in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.

Jack St. John (’12) has been appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as Chief of Staff of the General Services Organization in Washington, D.C.

Robert P. Reynolds (’79) has been named to a two-year term as Vice President-Development at the American Banking Institute.

Allison Skinner (’94) has joined Cadence Bank as Sr. VP – Sr. Corporate Counsel in Birmingham.

Deborah A. Smith (’85) has been elected to the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.

Dr. Mark Williams (’01) has been appointed as the first Chief Clinical Officer at Palmetto Health in Columbia, S.C.


Richard S. Manley contributed $5,000 to establish the Veterans’ Legal Assistance Fellowship. This fund will provide a stipend to students who work on veterans’ related issues.

Faculty Notes

PROFESSOR BILL ANDREEN presented “The Evolution of the ACF/ACT Conflict: 1989-2012,” at the first SEC Academic Conference, which was held at Mississippi State University on March 28, 2017.  The topic of the conference was “The Future of Water: Regional Collaboration on Shared Climate, Coastlines, and Watersheds.”  Professor Andreen also made a presentation about “The War over the Apalachicola Watershed” at the University of Alabama’s “Water Policy Summit,” which was held at the National Water Center on April 7, 2017.

JUDGE JOSEPH COLQUITT submitted the final draft of his article, “Attacking Human Trafficking through Legislative Change,” to the Wake Forest Law Review. The article follows his presentation to the October 2016 Wake Forest symposium titled, “Combatting Human Trafficking: Current Trends and Cutting Edge Issues.” The article will appear in volume 52 of the Review.

PROFESSOR RICHARD DELGADO AND PROFESSOR JEAN STEFANCIC were notified by the management of SSRN that they were both in the top 10% of all authors listed on the website last month.

Professor Delgado’s article, “Alternative Dispute Resolution:  A Critical Reconsideration,” was accepted by SMU Law Review. Professor Delgado and Professor Stefancic co-taught Introduction to U.S. Civil Rights and Critical Race Theory to nine visiting law students from National Australian University. They were accepted to serve competitive residencies at Centrum, a writing and arts center located outside Port Townsend, WA, beginning May 2017.  They also accepted invitations to give a keynote address at a conference celebrating a new program of critical race sociology at University of Tennessee in late April, as well as an offer to give a faculty colloquium at Seattle University law school the following month.

Professor Delgado was interviewed (in Spanish) by a reporter from Univision on Latino lynching.

PROFESSOR SHAHAR DILLBARY has recently published two articles. The first, “Tort-tracting: The Surprising Value of Agreements to Commit Torts,” will be published as the lead article in the Wake Forest Law Review. This provocative article focuses on agreements to commit or induce the commission of a tort. Examples include an agreement between factories to use a production process that would pollute a lake, or an agreement where one entices another to publish a false statement by promising to share the cost of the injury. The article reveals that such agreements are enforced by tort law. The result is ironic: Tort law invites and enforces wrongdoing. Using leading decisions, the article explains how tort law allows parties to enter into agreements to commit or induce a tort, and how they are enforced. The abstract and a draft of the article are available at

The second article, “Regulatory Avoidance and Suicide: An Empirical Analysis,” co-authored with Professors Griffin Edwards (UAB) and Fred Vars (UASL), will be published with the Indiana Law Journal. The abstract and a draft of the article are available at:

Professor Dillbary is currently scheduled to present his scholarship at the Law and Economics Society at Oxford University (London, England), the Haifa Law & Economics Workshop (Haifa, Israel) and the Southern Economic Association Annual Conference (Tampa, FL). His most recent research projects investigate issues of causation in cases involving multiple tortfeasors, cases where tort law and contract law interact, predatory behaviors, and discriminatory practices.

PROFESSOR HEATHER ELLIOTT spoke at the National Water Summit, hosted at the National Water Center on the University of Alabama campus, on April 6. The Summit focused on coastal water policy. Professor Elliott discussed the effect on coastal resources of Alabama’s inadequate drought response policies. The panel also included Professor William Andreen and Thomas Casey, a partner at Balch & Bingham in Birmingham.

Professor Elliott also served as a senior commenter at the Federal Courts Junior Scholars Workshop, hosted at Emory University School of Law, on April 1. Other commenters included James Pfander from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Tara Leigh Grove from William & Mary Law School, Norman Spaulding of Stanford University Law School, and Richard Freer and Jonathan Nash of Emory.

PROFESSOR ANITA KAY HEAD received the Student Bar Association’s Award for Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year, which is selected by the graduating class. The class of 2017 also selected her to serve on the hooding team at commencement in May.

PROFESSOR PAUL HORWITZ spoke at a workshop at the University of Georgia School of Law in March. He delivered a talk on his book project, “Unspoken: Social Class and the American Legal Academy.” In April, Professor Horwitz participated in the University of Alabama’s Faculty Research Day, in which he–along with Professor Stephen Rushin of the Law School–had been selected from across the university faculty as one of 16 finalists for the President’s Faculty Research Award, which “goes to outstanding researchers from across UA’s Colleges and Schools.”

PROFESSOR DAN JOYNER traveled to Amman, Jordan, and Muscat, Oman, in April as a consultant for the U.S. State Department.  Professor Joyner joined a team of experts providing training and legal assistance to Jordanian and Omani officials on developing effective domestic strategic trade controls to combat the spread of WMD-related items and technologies.

PROFESSOR RONALD KROTOSZYNSKI presented two chapters from his current book project, “The Disappearing First Amendment:  On the Decline of Freedom of Speech and the Growing Problem of Inequality among Speakers,” at a faculty workshop sponsored by the Syracuse University College of Law, in Syracuse, New York.  On March 24, 2017, Professor Krotoszynski led a faculty practicum at Syracuse on “How to Execute, Market, and Promote Your Legal Scholarship.” He also presented a lecture on “The Global Paradox of New York Times Company v. Sullivan” at the Syracuse University College of Arts and Sciences.  On February 2, 2017, Professor Krotoszynski spoke on “The Disappearing First Amendment” at a faculty workshop hosted by the faculty of the University of Texas School of Law, in Austin, Texas.  On January 13, 2017, he presented “The Devil Is in the Details’:  On the Central Importance of the Public/Private Distinction When Attempting to Reconcile Religious Liberty and Equality,” at a symposium hosted by Yale Law School considering “Faith, Sexuality, and the Meaning of Freedom.”   The essay will appear in a forthcoming Cambridge University Press book edited by Professor William Eskridge and Robin Fretwell Wilson. Professor Krotoszynski recently published “Agora, Dignity, and Discrimination: On the Constitutional Shortcomings of ‘Conscience’ Laws that Promote Inequality in the Public Marketplace,” 20 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 1221 (2017).  The essay constitutes his contribution to a special symposium issue considering “Law and Religion in an Increasingly Polarized America.”

PROFESSOR MICHAEL PARDO recently presented a new paper, “Safety vs. Sensitivity: Possible Worlds and the Law of Evidence” at the philosophy department at the University of Michigan.  His article, “Morse, Mind, and Mental Causation” (co-authored with Dennis Patterson), was recently published in volume 11 of Criminal Law & Philosophy (2017).  Professor Pardo has two additional forthcoming publications: “Some Remarks on the Importance of Evidence Outside of Trials,” is forthcoming in a symposium issue of the Review of Litigation (volume 35, 2017), and “Lying, Deception, and fMRI: A Critical Update,” is forthcoming as a chapter in Neurolaw and Responsibility for Action (Cambridge University Press, Donnelly-Lazarov ed., 2017).

PROFESSOR PAM PIERSON spoke on trade fraud and the Civil False Claims Act at Lightfoot Franklin and White’s 2017 White Collar Practice Seminar. Her article, Lawyer Resilience, was published in the March, 2017 issue of The Alabama Lawyer. Effective June 1, 2017, Professor Pierson will retire from the Law School after 30 years of teaching.  She will continue to write and to teach white collar practice at the law school. The Honorable Philip Reich will assume all teaching and administrative duties connected with The Business of Being a Lawyer program.

PROFESSOR ADAM STEINMAN’s article, “Case Law,” was accepted for publication in the Boston University Law Review. It will be appear in the December 2017 issue.

PROFESSOR GARY SULLIVAN’s article was accepted for publication in the BYU Law Review.  In the article titled, “A Fresh Start to Bankruptcy Exemptions,” he proposes a quasi-cooperative federalism model for reforming and liberalizing property exemptions in bankruptcy.  The article suggests a three-factor framework for state legislatures to use in expanding property exemptions for individuals.

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.