Skip to main content

Professor Krotoszynski Discusses First Amendment at Law School Symposium

Professor Ronald Krotoszynski is quoted in The Chicago Maroon about declining speech rights.

For more, read “Academics and Journalists from Across the Country Discuss First Amendment in Law School Symposium.”

Alabama Law Chooses Alumni for Profiles in Service

Alabama Law is pleased to announce Judge Joseph Colquitt (’70) and Philip Langford (’96) have been selected for the 2019 Profiles in Service.

Each year during Pro Bono Celebration Month, which is recognized nationally in October, the
Law School honors outstanding alumni who have made significant contributions to public service.

Judge Joseph Colquitt

Joseph Colquitt received his B.S. degree in 1967 and his J.D. in 1970 from The University of Alabama. While in law school, he served as editor of the Alabama Law Review. In 1987, he received the M.J.S. degree from the University of Nevada in Reno, Nevada. Judge Colquitt was a circuit judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Alabama from 1971 to 1991. During that time, he served four terms as presiding judge. He also served on the Executive Committee of the Alabama Circuit Judges Association.

Judge Joseph Colquitt

In 1991, Judge Colquitt joined the faculty of the University of Alabama School of Law, where he served as the Jere L. Beasley Professor of Law and Director of Trial Advocacy until his retirement in 2018. In addition, he has served as a faculty member at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. He regularly teaches at judicial colleges and seminars, and has taught at the Russian Legal Academy in Moscow. Judge Colquitt was a member of the drafting committee for the Alabama Rules of Evidence. He edited Alabama Pattern Jury Instructions – Criminal, is the author of Alabama Law of Evidence and Alabama Criminal Trial Practice Forms, and currently serves on the Alabama Pattern Jury Instructions – Criminal Committee.  Judge Colquitt also serves as Chair of the Alabama Sentencing Commission and Chair of the DCH Health System Board of Directors. The System operates three hospitals and a number of other health care providers in the West Alabama area.

Judge Colquitt’s commitment to service and to the legal profession has been widely recognized. In 1992 he received the American Judicature Society’s Herbert Harley Award, and in 1999, he was the recipient of the Howell T. Heflin Award for Judicial Excellence. Judge Colquitt was awarded the Chief Justice’s Professionalism Award by the Alabama Judiciary in 2014, and he was named a Pillar of the Bar by the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association in 2015.

Philip Langford 

A 1996 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, Philip Langford serves as President of International Justice Mission (IJM) US, leading strategies, partnerships and alliances that fuel and leverage the impact of IJM and its partners around the globe.

Philip Langford

Langford’s leadership is grounded in and inspired by years of personal connection to survivors of violence and in frontlines partnership with host governments and communities struggling with trafficking and violence against the poor. He has participated in planning and carrying out scores of successful law enforcement operations to rescue victims and to prosecute their traffickers, slave owners, and other violent perpetrators.

Langford joined IJM in 2006 as the lead lawyer for IJM’s work to combat endemic slavery and labor trafficking in India.  Within his first year in India, he led the IJM’s expansion into the state of Karnataka, serving as IJM’s first Field Office Director based in the state.

Since those early days with IJM, Langford has led and pioneered the development and expansion of IJM’s Justice System Transformation model in over ten countries across Africa and Asia-Pacific. Langford regularly advises government, corporate and multi-lateral leaders on scalable solutions to eliminate human trafficking from transnational supply chains.

Langford is deeply encouraged and inspired by the hope, transformation and impact empowered by our dedicated teams, government and community partners: “Together, we have witnessed historic, game-changing improvements in law enforcement and survivor services in response to human trafficking, gender-based violence and police abuse of power. These programs are rescuing thousands, protecting millions and inspiring hope and confidence that justice for the poor is possible.”

As one of the leaders helping IJM work toward its 2030 Vision – to rescue millions, protect half a billion and make justice for the poor unstoppable – Langford is convinced that we have the historic opportunity to be the generations that put slavery and violence out of business for good.

Prior to joining IJM, Langford was a partner in private law practice with a full-service law firm in the United States, representing and advising local and multi-national corporate clients.

Langford and his wife, Lacy, currently live in the Washington, DC, area with their five children.

Professor Courtney Cross and Attorney Terrika Shaw Discuss the Release of Geneva Cooley

Professor Courtney Cross and Elder Law Clinic Attorney Terrika Shaw are quoted in The New York Times about the release of Geneva Cooley.

For more, read “Leaving Prison at 72.” 

Alabama Law Honors William B. Hairston, Jr. (’50) with Classroom That Bears His Name

Alabama Law honored the life and legacy of William B. Hairston, Jr., and named a lecture classroom the Hairston Classroom.

A plaque, displayed outside of the classroom, notes that the Law School received a generous gift to enhance the educational experience of law students by utilizing state-of-the-art technology. The Hairston Classroom features LED lights, new furniture, a projector, a projector screen, and a 21st Century audio and visual system.

The late Mr. Hairston (’50) was a lawyer, a scholar, and a teacher. “It’s fitting that one of the ways we will remember him here is in a classroom,’’ Dean Mark E. Brandon said. “On behalf of students who will enjoy studying in this room and being taught in this room, we are deeply grateful for the generous gift that made it possible.”

Brandon thanked Hairston’s son, William B. Hairston, III, and his mother, Louise Poe Hairston, for their generosity and for letting the Law School share in their family’s history.

Mr. Hairston, in turn, thanked Dean Brandon for allowing his family to bring his father home.

“His picture is in the Class of 1950, with all of his colleagues that he loved very dearly. He loved lawyers. He enjoyed being with them more than anything else. They were part of his family,” he said. “And so I felt when this room opened up, it worked out great because it’s the room where his photo resides.”

A member of the UA Law School Class of 1950, Mr. Hairston assisted in fundraising efforts for the current Law School building, which was completed in 1977. He was a founding partner in the firm of Engel, Hairston & Johanson. He practiced law for more than 50 years, and he played an influential role in the development of the state’s court system. A former president of the Alabama State Bar, he served as a member of the Alabama Judicial Conference, the Judicial Inquiry Commission, and the Alabama Law Institute. He passed away in 2015.

Immediately following a brief ceremony, the Law School hosted a reception for family, friends, and classmates of the late Mr. Hairston.

Dean Brandon Unveils Portraits of Three Professors

Alabama Law celebrated the careers of three professors who taught at the Law School for at least a quarter of a century.

One by one, Dean Mark E. Brandon unveiled the portraits of Judge Joseph Colquitt, Professor Bryan Fair, and Professor Jerome Hoffman in the Bounds Law Library.

The portraits, which will be displayed around the Law School, capture the personality and values of their subjects, said Brandon. Portraits, he said, also serve as historical markers of the institution.

“Long after we have departed, each of these portraits remains as a reminder of who the subject was, and what kind of place she or he inhabited,” Brandon said. “Each is also a reminder that this person mattered, left a mark, helped to make the institution what it is – and what it will be.”

Judge Colquitt joined the faculty in the School of Law as a Visitor in 1990. One year later, he was appointed a full-time tenured member of the faculty. Two years later, he was designated the Jere L. Beasley Professor of Law. Judge Colquitt retired from the faculty in 2018.

Professor Fair, the first African-American member of the faculty to teach for at least 25 years, joined the faculty in 1991. From 1994 to 1996, he served as Assistant Academic Vice President for the University. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1997, and to full professor soon thereafter. He was named the Thomas E. Skinner Professor in 2000. Professor Fair continues to teach on the faculty.

Professor Hoffman came to Alabama as a Visiting Professor in 1971. The following year, he was appointed Associate Professor of Law. He was promoted to Full Professor in 1974, and in 1992, he was named the Elton B. Stephens Professor of Law. Hoffman retired from the faculty in 2003.

Immediately following the ceremony, the Law School honored the professors with a reception.

Professor McMichael Comments on Jury Award Against Johnson & Johnson

Professor Benjamin McMichael is quoted by Reuters about an $8 billion jury award against Johnson & Johnson.

For more, read “Massive Jury Award against J&J Highlights Risks of Its Legal Strategy.”

UA Law Professors, Students Help Geneva Cooley Receive Parole

As Geneva Cooley took her first, timid steps outside of prison, two of the attorneys who helped her gain her freedom walked closely behind.

Geneva Cooley signs papers to be released from Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

Geneva Cooley signs papers to be released from Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

Courtney Cross, Director of the Law School’s Domestic Violence Clinic, and Terrika Shaw, Staff Attorney for the Law School’s Elder Clinic, watched as Cooley took her first steps of freedom. They were accompanied by recent graduates and former Domestic Violence Clinic students Kari Todd and Jilisa Milton, who had both been working on the case for over a year.

“They were a good inspiration to me, and they worked diligently to help me get out. And I thank them,” Ms. Cooley said moments after her release.

Cooley, 72, had been incarcerated for 17 years, first at Jefferson County Jail and later at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka.  She had been sentenced to life without parole for drug trafficking, but a chance encounter with Susan Burton, an advocate for incarcerated women, changed all of that. So appalled that a woman had been sentenced to life without parole for a nonviolent drug offense, Burton, a formerly incarcerated woman herself who now counts celebrities among her friends, reached out to her network, to see if she could find someone to help.

That network eventually led to the desk of Professor Cross. She began her legal career at a nonprofit working with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women, so she arranged a meeting with Cooley and took two student attorneys with her. After meeting Cooley and hearing the story of how she received the mandatory minimum of life without parole for traveling from New York to Birmingham in 2002 to pick up heroin and deliver it for a man she thought was a friend, they all agreed they should try to help Cooley gain her freedom.

“Meeting a then 71-year-old woman in prison who was resigned to the fact that she was court-ordered to die there, thousands of miles away from home and family, was more than we could bear,” Cross said.

The case, though, had its challenges. For starters, the state of Alabama doesn’t have a clemency remedy, and Cooley was far too healthy for a compassionate release.

“It was seeming pretty bleak, but the letters Kari and I were collecting from friends and family confirmed that we had to keep trying,” Cross said.

Geneva Cooley walks out of Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

Geneva Cooley walks out of Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

Birmingham native Shaw soon joined the case, bringing an expertise in elder issues and a robust network in Jefferson County, as did Criminal Defense Attorney Joel Sogol, who is a Trial Advocacy Adjunct Professor for the Law School.

“I have always felt that life without parole was a bad sentence for anybody, but especially for a non-violent crime,” Sogol said. “Our first issue was how do we get into court.”

The team decided to file yet another post-conviction motion in Cooley’s criminal case. In preparation, several Alabama Law students, including Milton, Jared Blanton, and Tonte Fenny, took a deep dive in Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. At the same time, they closely watched the Jefferson County District Attorney’s race. With a new district attorney and a new judge assigned to the case, the team felt like they could have a chance.

The team submitted a Rule 32 Petition and exhibits, arguing that Cooley’s sentence of life without was a violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Danny Carr, the newly elected district attorney, did not oppose a request for resentencing from life without parole to life with the possibility of parole, and Judge Stephen Wallace found that the Eighth Amendment required this resentencing.

On August 8, 2019, the Board of Pardons and Paroles granted parole to Cooley. Two months later, she walked out of prison.

Cooley will live in transitional housing in Montgomery until her parole can be transferred to New York, and she looks forward to seeing her family in New York. “First of all,” she said, “I want to bond with my kids and grandkids, my great-grandson, people I haven’t seen in a while.” After that, she plans to tell her story to anyone who will listen, to be an advocate, especially for young people.

From left to right: Jilisa Milton, Courtney Cross, Geneva Cooley, Terrika Shaw, and Kari Todd.

From left to right: Jilisa Milton, Courtney Cross, Geneva Cooley, Terrika Shaw, and Kari Todd.










Krotoszynski: Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 Is “Deeply Flawed”

Professor Ronald Krotoszynski writes an op-ed for The Los Angeles Times about the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989.

For more, read “Good Luck to the Whistleblower Who Reported Trump’s Ukraine Call. He or She Needs It.”

Visiting Lecturer Anil Mujumdar Comments on Wrongful Death Claim against Federal Government

Professor Anil Mujumdar, a visiting lecturer at The University of Alabama School of Law, is quoted in The New York Times about the estate of James (Whitey) Bulger’s wrongful death claim against the federal government over Bulger’s fatal beating in prison.

 For more, readWhat Victims’ Families Think of the Whitey Bulger Wrongful Death Claim.”

Professor Vance Discusses Questions of Law, Politics, and National Security on Talking Feds Podcast

Professor Joyce White Vance discusses questions of law, politics, and national security on the Talking Feds Podcast. The discussion comes after a whistle-blower expressed concern about President Donald Trump’s actions. 

For more, listen to the podcast, “The Whistle is Blowing.