November 2016


Law School, ADAP Reunite

The University of Alabama School of Law and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program are pleased to announce they have reunited.

ADAP was housed at the Law School for 28 years. In 2004, ADAP moved from the Law School to UA’s Office of Academic Affairs, where the program’s director reported to the Provost. Under the new agreement, ADAP offices will remain at Martha Parham West, and Director James A. Tucker will report to Dean Mark E. Brandon.

“We at the School of Law are pleased to be reuniting with the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program,” Brandon said. “ADAP’s mission – to provide advocacy and representation for Alabamians with disabilities – is consistent with law’s highest aspirations.  Our students will benefit enormously from opportunities to work with the program.”

U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance Lectures on LGBTQ+ Civil Rights

U. S. Attorney Joyce Vance lectured about the U.S. Justice Department’s role in protecting LGBTQ+ civil rights.

Vance acknowledged that the conversation about civil rights and civil rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans can be combative at times, but she told students and faculty that the question cuts to the very core of the responsibility of lawyers.

“Our job as lawyers is to remove our personal beliefs and our preconceptions from the issue,” said Vance, the top-ranking federal law enforcement official in the Northern District of Alabama. “Our job as lawyers is to examine the facts, to examine the law, to look at the equation from all sides, to reach legal conclusions that we move forward on, legal conclusions that aren’t those that play into our preconceived notions and our beliefs but those that have integrity based on the facts and on the law.”

U.S. News Ranks Alabama School of Law Among Top Law Schools for Salary-Debt Ratio

The University of Alabama School of Law is ranked 2nd among 10 law schools where starting salaries exceed debt, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The magazine compiled a list of the 10 law schools where the salary-debt ratio was highest among 2014 graduates. Unranked law schools, which do not submit enough data for U.S. News to calculate a rank, were not considered for the list.

Law School, Peggy Browning Fund Host Regional Workshop on Practicing Labor Law

The Law School and the Peggy Browning Fund hosted a regional workshop to introduce law students to the benefits of practicing labor law and PBF’s Summer Fellowship Program.

The event was attended by law students and Law School staff. The panelists discussed the work that they do as labor lawyers, the professional paths that led them to their current jobs, and how the PBF helps to promote careers.  The PBF offers competitive, paid summer fellowships with employment law firms and labor unions.

“It’s great when our students can hear first-hand from lawyers working in unique and inspiring settings, who are passionate about their work and their clients,” said Glory McLaughlin, Assistant Dean for Public Interest.  “I think having the PBF sponsor a panel discussion such as this is a real benefit to our students, in that it helps them visualize working in a specific setting and puts them in direct contact with attorneys in the field.”

Study Supports Do Not Sell Voluntary Waiting Period for Gun Sales

A new study, led by UA School of Law Professor Fredrick Vars, suggests that many patients who are at risk for suicide would voluntarily place their name on a Do Not Sell list, prohibiting gun shops from immediately selling them a firearm.

The study, published in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, says nearly half of the 200 people surveyed would willingly place their name on such a list.

“There is evidence that suicide, in particular suicide-by-gun, is often impulsive — that once an individual decides to take their own life they are, in many cases, able to quickly obtain a firearm and use it,” Vars said. “The concept of a Do Not Sell list, similar to the national Do Not Call list, would be to eliminate such impulsive transactions. Restricting access to firearms, even temporarily, could save many lives.”

Public Interest Institute Welcomes Members of New Advisory Board

The Public Interest Institute has formed a new advisory board to inform the legal community and support public interest work at the University of Alabama School of Law

“As the Public Interest Institute has continued to grow, I felt it would be beneficial to our students to engage more external partners in our mission,” said Glory McLaughlin, Assistant Dean for Public Interest.

The Public Interest Advisory Board members will provide additional perspectives on public interest and pro bono issues and needs. They will help promote the Law School to public interest employers, act as mentors to law students seeking careers in public interest law and assist with fundraising to promote the work of the Public Interest Institute.

J. Cole Portis: Serving the State

J. Cole Portis (’90), the 141st President of the Alabama State Bar, embraces the story of the good Samaritan and has crafted a plan to serve lawyers and the public as his neighbor.

Portis, Principal and Section Head of the Product Liability/Personal Injury Section for Beasley Allen in Montgomery, is using his 13-month tenure as President of the bar to serve the profession and the state, initiating programs that will help lawyers become more effective, attract more lawyers to the profession and, ultimately, advise the state leaders on some of its most pressing issues.

He is opening lines of communication and visiting more than 60 local bar associations so that he and others can listen to what members want and need. He is inviting leaders of those associations to Montgomery for conversations about what’s happening within the bar. To supplement those meetings, he helped develop an online portal that lawyers can access through so that any member can offer suggestions about benefits and address other bar matters.

Law School Graduates Named Rising Stars of Law for 2016

The Birmingham Business Journal has named its Rising Stars of Law for 2016, and nearly half of those listed are graduates of the University of Alabama School of Law. The list takes a look at 30 up-and-coming attorney’s in Birmingham.

Law School graduates who made the list are:

  • Trey Abbott (’09)
  • Greg Brockwell (’02)
  • Prim F. Escalona (’08)
  • Sharonda Childs Fancher (’13)
  • Jeremy S. Gaddy (’09)
  • Adam K. Israel (’09)
  • Wilson Nash (’12)
  • Hughston Nichols (’06)
  • Steven Nichols (’08)
  • Jay Potts (’03)
  • Dylan Reeves (’09)
  • Jeanie Sleadd (’12)
  • Stephen D. Wadsworth (’09)
  • Callie Sullins Whatley (’03)

A Photographic Tribute to Dean Leigh Harrison

Pat Graves (’72) honors Dean Martin Leigh Harrison with an essay and photographs.

The recent induction of Martin Leigh Harrison into the Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame jogged my memory.  Somewhere in my law school memorabilia were classroom photographs of him.  Forty four years ago during my senior year in law school, I sensed an opportunity to capture and preserve a moment of the history and tradition of the law school.  Dean Harrison gave me permission to photograph him during a class.

I sat high on the back row of his large classroom in Farrah Hall which now houses the University’s Department of Geography.  I used a telephoto lens and several rolls of fast film to eliminate a flash.  I hoped to capture his classic movements and gestures.  To those of you fortunate enough to have been schooled at the foot of the master, I hope these photographs will bring a smile.

Class Notes

Adam Bourne (’04) has been appointed deputy license commissioner for the Mobile County License Commission.

Hunter Carmichael (’14) has joined Huie as an associate in its automotive litigation, product liability, medical malpractice and general insurance litigation practices in Birmingham.

Elizabeth Davis (’16) has joined Huie as an associate in its automotive litigation and product liability practices in Birmingham.

Chris Dawson (’13) has been appointed to the James Madison Institute Central Florida Board of Advisors.

Samuel S. Grimes (’16) has joined Burr Forman as an associate in its corporate and tax practice in Birmingham.

Tripp Haston (’93) has been selected to receive Benchmark Chambers International’s prestigious Letter of Appointment as a U.S. foreign legal specialist.

Julie Hussey (’99) has been recognized as one of the Top Women Lawyers in California for 2016 by The Daily Journal.

Noah Patrick Jones (’14) has joined Legal Services Alabama as a staff attorney in Montgomery.

Denise I. Littleton (’82) has been reappointed to the panel of Chapter 7 Trustees for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Alabama.

Mark C. Nelson (‘93) has joined his firm, Mark C. Nelson PC, with Malone & Associates PC to form Malone & Nelson LLC in Tuscaloosa.

Jessica Schaub (‘13) has joined Malone & Nelson LLC as an associate in Tuscaloosa.

Jeremy Smith (’06) has been appointed to a three-year term as chair of the American Bar Association Business Law Section’s Intellectual Property Committee.

Lyn L. Stuart (’80) has been named acting Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

Parker Sweet (’07) has been reappointed to the panel of Chapter 7 Trustees for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Alabama. 

Gifts over $5,000

Bradley LLP contributed $7,600 on behalf of its UA Law graduates to the Farrah Law Alumni Society.

The Estate of Juliet St. John Calvin donated $49,000 to the Finis E. St. John III Endowed Memorial Scholarship in the memory of her late husband.

Maynard Cooper & Gale PC contributed $16,300 on behalf of its UA Law graduates to the Farrah Law Alumni Society.

Michael Royce Mills (’85) donated $3,500 to the Farrah Law Alumni Society. Mills’s gift was double-matched for an additional $7,000 by Vulcan Materials, for a total gift of $10,500.

Faculty Notes

PROFESSOR BILL BREWBAKER presented “Law and Political Order: Israel’s Constitutional History” at the Christian Legal Society National Conference on October 22 in Washington, DC.

PROFESSORS RICHARD DELGADO and JEAN STEFANCIC delivered a paper at a law review conference at the University of Minnesota School of Law on campus climate.  Their paper will be published in the Minn. L. Rev. in 2017.

Delgado was quoted by the Chronicle of Higher Education in an article about Michelle Alexander, a prominent African American law professor who is leaving law teaching for a position at Union Theological Seminary.

Professor Delgado’s article, “Precious Knowledge:  State Bans on Ethnic Studies, Book Traffickers (Librotraficantes), and a New Type of Race Trial,” was recently listed on SSRN’s Top Ten download list for: LIT: Post-Colonial Culture (Topic).  As of 12 October 2016, the paper had been downloaded 247 times.

Brian Leiter’s Report (a popular blog run by a professor of law and philosophy at University of Chicago) mentioned Professor Delgado as a possible top-ten choice for a hypothetical Nobel Prize in law.

PROFESSOR EYAL-COHEN presented her paper, “The Hidden Price of Regulation,” at the 2016 University of Washington Tax Graduate Symposium.  At the event, selected scholars presented papers on the topic of taxpayers’ rights and received comments from Nina Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate, as well as participants from more than 15 leading law schools.  Professor Eyal-Cohen’s paper was part of a panel titled, “Tax Incidence and the Unintended Consequences of Tax Laws,” and argued that while the development of regulatory cost-benefit analyses has provided a way to compare the advantages and disadvantages of market intervention and non-intervention, these analyses have missed the distributional nature of regulatory costs on various incumbents. The article unveils the discriminatory effects of the regulatory action on startup companies and their unregulated affiliates. It argues that firms that lack economies of scale, scope, and age are regulatorily disadvantaged in a regressive manner and reveals that government action may well correct certain market inefficiencies but, at the same time, impose others.

PROFESSOR JULIE A. HILL was an invited participant at a roundtable titled, “Financial Regulation: Political, Administrative, and Constitutional Accountability Research.” The roundtable was hosted by the Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia.

PROFESSOR DAN JOYNER recently gave presentations at two events in London. The first was at a workshop on the topic of U.S. nuclear weapons based in five European countries, and the nuclear weapons sharing agreements that the U.S. has in place with those countries.  Professor Joyner’s presentation considered the legal implications of these sharing agreements.  The second presentation was on a panel at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). The panel was on the theme, “Iran’s Nuclear Deal: One Year On.” Professor Joyner’s presentation focused on the dispute concerning economic sanctions lifting under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

PROFESSOR PAM PIERSON’s article, “Economics, EQ and Finance: The Next Frontier in Legal Education,” 65 J. Legal Educ. 864 (2016) is one of the top 10 downloads in SSRN’s Legal Education eJournal. Since it was published in August 2016, Professor Pierson’s article has been one of the top ten downloads on SSRN, the legal academy’s online publication library.

PROFESSOR DAIQUIRI J. STEELE presented at a CLE titled, “Gender Identity, Title IX, and K-12 Education: Hot Topics and Current Litigation” at the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Conference on October 21 in Detroit, Michigan.

PROFESSOR ADAM STEINMAN’s article, “The End of an Era? Federal Civil Procedure After the 2015 Amendments,” was published as the lead article in Volume 66 of the Emory Law Journal.

PROFESSOR GARY SULLIVAN published an article titled “Unbundling and Bankruptcy:  Oil and Water?” 733 Ala. Law. 344 (2016) (with Jessica Zorn).  The article scrutinizes the practice of attorneys offering a la carte legal services to debtor clients seeking bankruptcy protection.  Because of the highly technical nature of bankruptcy law and process, Professor Sullivan argues that ethical challenges, including informed consent and competence, present special barriers to unbundling legal services in bankruptcy.

Professor Sullivan participated in the initial meeting of the ALI Uniform Voidable Transactions Act Committee in Birmingham.  The Committee is charged with analyzing changes to the former Fraudulent Transfer Act and formulating recommendations to the Alabama legislature.

PROFESSOR FRED VARS published an article on gun suicide in a peer-reviewed medical journal and an essay, “The Sixth Circuit Moves the Second Amendment Target,” in the Alabama Law Review Online.

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.