Professor Joyce Vance was recently interviewed on MSNBC in a discussion about Britney Spears’ fight to end her conservatorship. Professor Vance also published an opinion article on the MSNBC website titled Britney Spears’ IUD testimony was disturbing — and connects to a larger societal pattern.
This Fall, Derrick Loving, a 2021 Alabama Law graduate, will begin a federal clerkship with Judge Janet Baer of Chicago, IL where he’ll be working in the field of bankruptcy law.
“I aspire to be a judge someday, so I really look forward to watching her (Judge Baer) closely as I start developing my own judicial philosophy,” Loving said.
Loving discussed the doubt and stress that can come with trying to obtain a highly competitive judicial clerkship and shared how after submitting over 100 applications, he began to doubt the likelihood of obtaining his goal. However, some advice from law professor Ron Krotoszynski turned Loving in the right direction.
“Ron has been very influential. He told me if I was serious about clerking for a judge, I should clerk for a bankruptcy judge first. At the time I didn’t even really know what that would entail, but I expanded my search. Now I will be clerking for a bankruptcy judge in the fall—an area of law I would now definitely consider working in, in the future,” Loving said.
Krotoszynski described seeing potential in Loving early on in his time at the law school.
“Across multiple courses over the last three years, Derrick Loving was a model student in all material respects; indeed, he’s the sort of student who makes teaching at Alabama law both a joy and a privilege. Derrick is going to be a terrific law clerk — and lawyer,” Krotoszynski stated. “In Constitutional Law, I called on Mr. Loving with great frequency (probably more frequently than he wished I would randomly call on him!) — even so, he unfailingly responded to my pointed queries about the cases with good cheer and thoughtful, well-informed answers about often confusing or even misleading judicial decisions involving the Constitution (which is exactly why I involved him so regularly in our classroom Socratic discussions).”
In addition to gaining Professor Krotoszynski’s high regards, Loving has earned a reputation for being an especially hard worker. This reputation stems from him having worked several part-time jobs during each semester while completing law school coursework, participating in one of Alabama Law’s clinics, and being heavily involved on an academic journal. Loving drove for Uber during his first year and clerked for public interest organizations and private law firms throughout his second and third years of law school; these part-time jobs allowed Loving to ultimately graduate law school debt-free, one of his primary goals.
“I’ve been able to juggle working various jobs while attending law school by being really efficient and present in everything I do,” shared Loving.
Loving’s work ethic has carried him far as he has achieved great things at Alabama Law—including winning the Senator Howell T. Heflin Scholarship Foundation essay writing contest as a 2L where he wrote a reflection during the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment focused on what voting means to him.
Loving is passionate about voting rights and first amendment law, and he surmised that the essay judges could sense his passion in the piece.
“I believe voting is an extension of individuality and who you are because you wouldn’t vote about things you don’t care about. The essay was sincere, not something I did for the sake of scholarship money. I imagine that the people reading it could feel that,” Loving said.
And while Loving believes he won the writing contest because of his passion for the topic, he discussed how “tremendously helpful” the essay scholarship money was, paired with the additional scholarship funding he received upon admission, in helping him achieve his lifelong goal of completing his college career without debt.
Discussing the funding he received from the School of Law, Loving shared “I definitely wouldn’t be at Alabama Law had they not been so generous with their scholarship offer. Alabama’s offer and the prestige of their law school really made my decision,” Loving said, while mentioning Claude Reeves Arrington, associate dean of admissions, as a person who helped with his recruitment.
According to Arrington, Loving was a great fit for Alabama Law.
“I was thrilled when Derrick decided to enroll in 2018. I knew he would be an outstanding law student, and we would be very proud to call him one of our graduates. Derrick has a strong work ethic, is intelligent and inquisitive, and has passion for helping others. He already has accomplished so much, and I know he has many more achievements ahead,” Arrington stated.
As Loving prepares to take the bar this summer and begin his clerkship this fall, he offered some advice for current law students.
“Focus on your larger objective. You may not see the point in something you’re doing at that second, but it will make for a better tomorrow,” Loving shared.
The graduate also advised that success can be obtained through various avenues.
“There isn’t a particular path you have to follow to be the legal professional you want to be. Don’t feel like you ‘have to do’ or ‘should be doing’ anything in particular. Getting a J.D. in and of itself is a step in the right direction. Do what’s best for you and you can really make it work.”
Although he acknowledges that his own actions and drive helped him accomplish his goals, Loving expressed great appreciation for all the support he received from his friends, the Alabama Law community, employers, and especially his parents and grandparents. Loving highlighted that “without the help of several individuals the past three years, I would not have achieved all that I have.”
This summer, University of Alabama School of Law student Cole Adams will be living in Jackson, Tennessee and working with West Tennessee Legal Services as part of the organization’s Rural Consumer Debt Relief Project which provides education, outreach, advice, and counsel to low-income individuals struggling with consumer debt. This opportunity was made available through Equal Justice Works, as part of their highly competitive Rural Summer Legal Corps. Fellowship program.
Adams discussed his personal connections to the issue and expressed his hope for change through education and outreach.
“I’ve known people that have had their wages garnished and had leans put on their house. If they had come to an attorney or any sort of legal aid they may have been able to stop it. I have a problem with big businesses that try to take advantage of people; I don’t like that. I’m really excited to start working to make a positive impact and change things,” Adams stated.
Besides education and outreach, the Rural Consumer Debt Relief Project will also be setting court dates for individuals to take preventative legal measures against having their debts purchased by debt collection companies for the means of profit. Adams believes that this will be a positive step in the right direction towards spreading awareness to people and “letting them know they have a right to be heard.”
Adams stated that his first year of law school at The University of Alabama has equipped him with the necessary tools to succeed in this fellowship, although COVID did make the learning experience quite different. He also expressed a deep sense of gratitude to the faculty that helped him along the way.
“Amy Kimpel, who runs the criminal defense clinic, was incredibly instrumental for my interview process in helping me craft my story into something that was really an asset and a strength. She’s just been so great about that,” Adams said.
Adams shared his story and discussed how his gap year and semester in seminary school eventually led him to pursue a law degree.
“I realized while I was there that my main intention was to help people, and I realized I could do that another way. I started exploring my options and decided that law school and a career in law was the best way for me to do that,” Adams explained.
Adams called the experience of earing this fellowship “humbling”, especially after being told post application process that he was one of 35 recipients out of 460 applicants. For the people of Equal Justice Works, Adams was a clear choice.
“We are delighted to have Cole join the Rural Summer Legal Corps, where he will have the opportunity to explore his passion for public service at West Tennessee Legal Services,” said Aoife Delargy Lowe, vice president of law school engagement and advocacy at Equal Justice Works. “Cole is an impressive law student and we grateful for the work he will be doing this summer to support individuals who are struggling with consumer debt.”
Adams will begin his fellowship this month, and stated that he most looks forward to the one-on-one client interaction. While he still has two years of law school left to plan his future, he has an interest in pursuing a career in civil legal aid, and he feels that this fellowship will be a great introduction to this area of legal practice.
Written by: Heather Gann
Professors Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado’s work on Critical Race Theory was recently featured in a Forbes article titled What The Critics And Supporters Of Critical Race Theory Have In Common.
Professor Joyce Vance recently authored a “Perspective” piece for The Washington Post titled Garland inherited a booby-trapped DOJ. Here’s why it won’t be easy to fix.
Professor Ron Krotoszynski was recently quoted in an article on University World News titled Why are states lining up to ban critical race theory.
Professor Benjamin McMichael’s research on organ donation policy was cited this week in an AL.com article titled New transplant rules send livers from rural Alabama to large cities, experts say.
Professor William (Bill) Andreen was interviewed this week on ABC 33/40 to discuss erosion and water pollution for a story about homeowners who were experiencing construction runoff that is flooding and damaging their property in Trussville, AL. You can view the full story here.
Professor Jenny Carroll authored an essay titled If Only I Had Known: The Challenges of Representation that was featured in Fordham Law Review as part of the “Mental Health and the Legal Profession” symposium.
This year, with the support of the U.S. State Department, the middle eastern country of Jordan adopted a new strategic trade control bylaw that restricts the passage of certain goods through the country’s borders, in an effort to prevent the proliferation of dual use goods that could be used to create weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). One Alabama Law professor, Dan Joyner, was a vital part of this important process.
Joyner has an extensive history in international trade law dating all the way back to a fellowship he obtained with The Center for International Trade Security at the University of Georgia while earning his Master’s in Politics two decades ago.
“As I worked in this fellowship, I became more interested in this area of law than I originally thought I would. I also noticed a severe lack of lawyers in this field, as it was mostly populated by political science majors and other academics not trained in the law,” Joyner commented.
Joyner cited a post-Cold War lack of interest in trade security as the reason for the shortage of lawyers in this sector but noted that the War on Terror of the early 2000s reignited the interest in international trade security law.
In 2016, Joyner’s niche expertise and fellowship connections came to fruition when he was contacted and asked if he would be interested on working with the U.S. State Department to assist Jordan in its establishment of strategic trade controls to prevent what are known as “dual use materials” or materials that have legitimate civilian uses, but that can also be used to construct WMDs.
In the five years since, Joyner and a group of other professionals have worked with the Jordanian government to add to an existing customs law to create a bylaw that limits the transit of specifically listed dangerous and dual use materials through Jordan. The new law requires a special license to ship these materials through Jordan and imposes legal penalties if these materials are shipped without this authorization.
Joyner and the rest of the team were present for every step of establishing the new bylaw in Jordan, and further for drafting a set of instructions detailing how the law would be implemented. Joyner stated that his group travelled to Jordan more than ten times over the course of five years to accomplish this goal, stopping shortly before the rise of COVID. However, Joyner largely credited the Jordanian government with the success of the law’s implementation.
“We provided technical counsel and guidance, but at the end of the day they (the Jordanians) produced their own law that was in keeping with their legal traditions—which is ultimately what you want. In Jordan, they have made the law their own, which is what leads to success,” Joyner explained.
Reflecting on his involvement in this project, Joyner shared that his experience in Jordan also benefited him as an academic.
“I would undoubtedly say that my experience in Jordan directly affects my scholarship by giving me hands on experience I never could have learned from a book. It was incredibly thrilling to me to see my work actually contribute to real world progress in creating new strategic trade control law,” Joyner said.
In addition, Joyner explained that this experience has been helpful to his Alabama Law students because he can give them real world examples that will help better prepare them for their future careers.
As the implementation of the trade bylaw begins in Jordan, Joyner says the next steps are assisting Jordan with that implementation, and hopefully inspiring other countries worldwide to adopt similar security-focused trade practices.