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Law School Hosts Symposium on Human Rights and Legal Judgments

Scholars visited The University of Alabama School of Law for Human Rights and Legal Judgments: The American Story Symposium.
The conference brought together scholars to track the various ways that American law recognizes and responds to claims made in the name of human rights as well as the way they are treated in political and cultural discourse.
The symposium featured:
William Brewbaker, The University of Alabama School of Law
Erika George, S. J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah
Stephen A. Simon, University of Richmond, Political Science
David Sloss, Santa Clara University School of Law
Cynthia Soohoo, CUNY School of Law

Attica Locke Receives 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

The University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal awarded Attica Locke, author of “Pleasantville,” the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. The ceremony was held at the Library of Congress.
Locke is the sixth winner of the prize. The prize, authorized by Lee, 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. “Pleasantville” was chosen by a distinguished panel of writers. They are: Dr. Philip Beidler, author and professor of English, University of Alabama; Helen Ellis, author of“American Housewife”; Homer Hickam, author of “Rocket Boys”; Rheta Grimsley Johnson, author, journalist and syndicated columnist; and Angela Johnson, author of “Wind Flyers” and “Heaven.”
Locke received a signed special edition of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and a $3,000 cash award. She also will be featured in The ABA Journal.

Law School Hosts Meador Lectures

Renowned legal scholars visited the University of Alabama School of Law today for the Meador Lectures.
The 2016 lecture series focused on the topic of Identity and included lectures by Professors Richard Delgado, The University of Alabama School of Law; Janet Halley, Harvard Law School; Saul Levmore, The University of Chicago Law School; and Elyn Saks, USC Gould School of Law.
The Law School established the Meador Lectures in 1995 to honor graduate and former Dean, Daniel J. Meador, who delivered the inaugural lecture.
Since 2004-05, the lecture series has focused on a single interdisciplinary theme with a premier group of scholars discussing that theme from their distinct scholarly perspectives. Recent topics have included Equality, Morality, Rationality, Wealth, and Freedom. The Meador Lectures are sponsored by the law school’s Program on Cross-Disciplinary Legal Studies.

Professor Carroll Comments on Court’s Decision to Toss Bias-Crime Conviction in Rutgers Roommate Webcam Case

Professor Jenny Carroll is quoted in about a state appeals court’s decision to overturn a series of hate crime convictions for Dharun Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to record his roommate.

In State v. Pomianek, the New Jersey Supreme Court invalidated a key section of the state’s bias intimidation law because of how the legislature had drafted it.

The Supreme Court said it would be unreasonable to convict someone “not based on what he was thinking but rather on his failure to appreciate what the victim was thinking.”

“That’s a classic problem that’s confronted in criminal law,” Carroll said. “Criminal law tends to focus on, ‘What exactly was the defendant’s intent and was it malicious?’ ”

For more, read “Convictions in Rutgers Bias Case Overturned.” 

Professor Krotoszynski Comments on Free Speech on College Campuses

Professor Ronald Krotoszynski is quoted in the Omaha World-Herald about free speech on college campuses.

Krotoszynski, who tracks free speech conflicts, said there isn’t just a “line in the sand” in the United States when it comes to free speech. There’s “a line in steel,” he said, that forbids punishing a person for expressing unpopular or offensive views.

For more, read “UNL Chancellor’s Comments Spark Free-Speech Debate.”

Professor Pierson Conducts Study of Law School Offerings in Economics, Emotional Intelligence and Financial Management

Research authored by Professor Pamela Bucy Pierson recently published in the Journal of Legal Education shows that almost three-fourths of law schools teach or plan to teach students about economic trends in the legal profession, almost half of the schools teach or plan to teach emotional intelligence and less than half of the nation’s law schools report they teach personal financial management relevant to a career in law.

Pierson gathered data in 2014 and 2015 in a survey of all U.S. accredited law schools to determine how law schools are covering subjects.

“These data are exciting,” Pierson writes in her article, “Economics, EQ, and Finance: The Next Frontier in Legal Education.” “They show a rich, diverse, and innovative range of approaches law schools are taking to bring these tools to law students. It also shows more needs to be done.”

Tim Lewis: Serving the State

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Tim Lewis -- Serving the State

Tim Lewis (’84) knew from the moment he arrived at law school that he wanted to be a law librarian.

“I’m attracted to legal research,” he said. “It’s very structured and logical. I never wanted to practice. I had no intention of it.”

After he graduated, he was hired as a reference librarian for the Alabama Supreme Court, and in 1992 he was appointed Director and State Law Librarian.

When he accepted the position, administrators at the law library were planning a move to a new building. As a result, Lewis helped design the law library and administered the process of moving 250,000 books from 10 locations in Montgomery.

He also ushered in technology. The law library was the second state agency after the Alabama Department of Archives and History to have its own website, and it was in the new building that judges, trial lawyers and the general public had direct access to computer-assisted research. Before the move to the new building, anyone who wanted to access Westlaw or LexisNexis had to ask for assistance.

As the library’s administrator, Lewis serves as the de facto historian for the oldest law library in Alabama and the second oldest library in the state. One of his most challenging responsibilities is pleading the case for budgeting to state legislators.

People don’t visit libraries so much for the legal resources housed there; they come to use the expertise of the librarians, who can wade through an ocean of knowledge and find the appropriate document. It’s a public service for the judges and trial lawyers as well as the general public.

“Appellate courts have to access the law, access the cases,” Lewis said. “They base decisions on previous cases. If you don’t have access to those, you can’t function as an appellate court.”

Today the law library serves three courts: The Alabama Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Court of Civil Appeals. It provides access to all appellate cases in the United States and archives all laws passed by legislatures of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as Acts of Congress, the United States Code and federal agency regulations.

The law library is public-service driven, providing help to anyone who needs assistance finding the information they need. While doing that is no longer a part of Lewis’s everyday responsibilities, judges and lawyers routinely call on him for information because they trust he can find it.

“I cannot tell you the number of chief justices and associate justices on the Supreme Court of Alabama that I have witnessed praising him and expressing gratitude for his work,” said Larry King, senior partner with King Simmons, P.C. in Birmingham.

“He loves what he does,” said Penny Gibson, a reference librarian at the Bounds Library at The University of Alabama School of Law, who has known Lewis for more than 30 years. “He’s good with judges. He’s good with law students. He’s good with people who come in. He’s a people person and has a knack for knowing how to deal with people.”

Lewis said he is a reference librarian at heart and relishes the opportunity to help people find the information they need.

“When you can help them, it makes you feel good,” he said. “That’s still the most satisfying part of my job.”

Professor Rushin Comments on Whether Federal Oversight of Police Departments Will Continue During Next Presidential Administration

Professor Stephen Rushin is quoted in Pacific Standard about the continuation of federal oversight of police departments in the next presidential administration.

“Historically, conservatives have been less supportive of expansive federal oversight of local police departments than liberals,” Rushin said.

For more, read “Who Do You Call When Your Rapist Is a Cop?”

UA Law School to Host Conference on Bank Director and Officer Responsibilities

Legal scholars and members of the banking community will visit The University of Alabama School of Law Aug. 26 to discuss bank director and officer responsibilities.

The conference on Bank Director & Officer Responsibilities will be held in the Bedsole Moot Courtroom, room 140. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and is free and open to the public.

The 2008 financial crisis raised important questions about the role of bank directors and officers. If they had been more diligent or honest, could we have avoided the crisis? Should they now be held personally responsible for bank losses? What can they do to prevent the next crisis?

These questions are not merely academic. Since the crisis, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has authorized suits against more than 1,200 individuals who served as directors or officers of failed banks. In addition, bank regulators are reportedly scrutinizing the activities of directors and officers at institutions that survived the crisis.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Alabama Law Review, a nationally recognized journal built on a rich tradition of scholarship aimed at exploring issues of national, as well as local significance to scholars, legislators, jurists and practitioners.

At 8:45 a.m., banking professionals will discuss ethics. Benton E. Gup, professor emeritus at The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce, will moderate the panel.

The banking ethics panel will feature:

Kayce Bell, chief operating officer, Alabama Credit Union

Preston L. Kennedy, president and CEO, Bank of Zachary

Hope Mehlman, senior vice president and assistant general counsel, Regions Bank

Jerry Powell, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, Cadence Bank NA

The conference will feature:

Mehrsa Baradaran, J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law

Claire Hill, James L. Krusemark Chair in Law, University of Minnesota Law School

Julie Andersen Hill, professor of law, University of Alabama School of Law

Robert C. Hockett, Edward Cornell Professor of Law, Cornell Law School

Douglas K. Moll, Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, LLP Law Center Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center

Saule Omarova, professor of law, Cornell Law School

Chad J. Pomeroy, professor of law, St. Mary’s University School of Law

Heidi Mandanis Schooner, professor of law, Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America

More information is available by clicking here:

Professor Fair Moderates Community Forum on Policing

Professor Bryan Fair moderated a public forum about law enforcement and community relations Tuesday as residents said they are concerned about police training, body cameras and recording police interactions.
“It’s not the community against the police, it’s not the police against the community,” Fair said. “We are all Tuscaloosans.”
About 175 people attended the forum sponsored by The Tuscaloosa News and WVUA-23. It was held at First African Baptist Church.