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Alabama Law Grad Receives EJW Fellowship

Cecilia Ballinger
Earlier this summer, Cecilia Ballinger (’24) was named to the Class of 2024 Equal Justice Works fellows. Ballinger, a 2024 graduate of Alabama Law, clerked with Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP) during the school year and throughout the summer while she was a student. The Equal Justice Works fellowship, which allows lawyers to continue to pursue their passion projects, seeks to provide equal access to underserved communities. She used her passion for advocating for necessary medical care for children with serious and chronic health conditions to create her Equal Justice Works fellowship proposal, which will allow her to continue her work with ADAP providing educational and medical advocacy to children with complex medical conditions across the State of Alabama.


To read more about Cecilia and her fellowship, click here.


Professor Rosen Publishes Article on Security and Exchange Commission’s Climate Rule

Kenneth Rosen headshot, The University of Alabama School of Law

Professor Ken Rosen’s article, ESG, the SEC Climate Rule, and the Limits of Securities Regulation, was published in The Alabama Lawyer. The article addresses the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) newly-adopted controversial climate rule and raises broader questions about the agency’s actions to facilitate environmental, social, and corporate governance goals. Click here for the full article (page 133).

Federal Agency Adopts Recommendations Based on Professor Ray’s Research

Shalini Bhargava Ray, The University of Alabama School of Law

Professor Shalini Bhargava Ray served as a consultant this year to the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), an independent agency that works to improve federal agency processes. Prof. Ray’s final report on “individualized guidance” served as the basis for a set of recommendations that the ACUS Assembly adopted at the 81st Plenary Session in Washington, D.C. on June 13th.

Professor Ryan Published in Chicago Law Review Online

a photo of Professor Clare Ryan, The University of Alabama School of Law

Professor Clare Ryan’s essay Children’s Autonomy Rights Online was recently published in the Chicago Law Review Online. Ryan wrote the essay for the Chicago Law Review’s 2023 symposium on Children and the Law. Click here to read the essay.

In Memory of Shelley E. Jones

Image of Shelley E. Jones

With heavy hearts, the Alabama Law community mourns the passing of Shelley E. Jones. Shelley was an influential education advocate, friend to the Law School, and spouse of the late Alabama Law interim dean and professor, Tom Jones, who was recently inducted into the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame. Even after Tom’s passing, Shelley remained in close contact with the Law School, and she will forever be a part of the Alabama Law community.

Shelley spent 34 years in the public school system, including her service as principal at Woodland Forrest Elementary, where she retired in 1995. Shortly after retiring, she became involved with The University of Alabama’s Honor College. Shelley’s role as a principal and in developing the educational curriculum led to her receiving the national Distinguished Principals Award from the Library of Congress. Read more about her life and career here.

We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to her loved ones. We will miss Shelley greatly.



Professor Steele’s Article Reviewed in Jotwell

Professor Daiquiri Steele’s article, Rationing Retaliation Claims, has been reviewed in Jotwell. The original article focuses on claims of employer retaliation by employees. Read the article review here.

Alabama Law Celebrates the Class of 2024

On Sunday, May 5, The University of Alabama School of Law honored 161 graduates at its annual Commencement Ceremony at Coleman Coliseum.  Among the graduates, 153 received Juris Doctor degrees—including one student who also earned a dual degree in Business Administration and six students who earned dual JD/LL.M degrees. An additional eight members of the 2024 Class received standalone LL.M degrees.

“For you, the Class of 2024, we celebrate thousands of hours of study, achievement, and service,” Dean Bill Brewbaker said. “We celebrate friendships made. We celebrate the completion of a significant challenge and the beginning of new opportunities.”

The commencement address was given by the Honorable L. Scott Coogler of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. Coogler has served as District Judge for over 20 years, and has been a pillar of the Law School community by teaching as an adjunct professor, judging various moot court competitions, and mentoring numerous students and graduates through internships and clerkships in his chambers.

“When you are living the fast-paced exciting life that you will no doubt have after graduation, take time to stop – to listen to your heart…,” Judge Coogler said. “And sometimes – not always, but sometimes – do yourself a favor and follow them. They will open up a world you will otherwise miss.”

Swapanthi Mandalika gave the valedictorian’s address. Swapanthi and her classmate, Trent Gill, both finished law school with the highest possible official GPA—4.0. Because Mandalika finished her academic career with the most A+ grades, she was selected to give the address. In the coming months, Mandalika has two clerkships lined up. First, she will be in the Northern District of Alabama clerking for the Honorable Anna Manasco, and then she will move over to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals serving with the Honorable Scott Matheson Jr. Upon completion of those clerkships, she has been offered the opportunity to work for the firm Latham & Watkins in Washington, DC. Gill will be clerking for Judge Elizabeth Branch at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals before clerking for the Honorable Allison Jones Rushing at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and he has received an offer from the firm McGuireWoods in Richmond, Virginia.

Erik Clifton, past president of the Student Bar Association, also offered a reflection, and the national anthem was performed by Davis Dykes–another member of the graduating class.

To watch the full 2024 Alabama Law Commencement Ceremony, visit this link on the Law School’s website.

Alabama Law Students Successful in Criminal Defense Clinic

Three law students in a prison parking lot with a blue sky in the background above the prison. Aleah Brown is on the left, she is a Black woman wearing black slacks and a black and white blazer. Virginia Willis, in the middle, is a white woman wearing a black and white bouse and black slacks. Simone Hampton, on the right, is a Black woman wearing black slacks, a patterned blouse, and holding her blazer in her left hand. They are all smiling brightly. To protect her privacy, the client is not pictured.

Aleah Brown, Virginia Willis, and Simone Hampton

Simone Hampton, Aleah Brown, and Virginia Willis, students in the Criminal Defense Clinic at The University of Alabama School of Law, recently secured the early release of a woman who was subject to abuse and retaliation by prison staff while incarcerated at FCI Dublin in California.

The prison has been under investigation for some time, and at least eight of its employees have been charged with crimes against inmates who were housed at that facility. Additional prosecutions and lawsuits against the prison for its culture of sexual abuse have led to its recent closure.

After transferring to a facility in Alabama – just an hour away from the Law School – the client was referred to the Alabama Law Criminal Defense Clinic by the NGO Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM).

Throughout the Fall 2023 semester, the Clinic students spent over 300 hours researching new changes in applicable law, applying federal sentencing guidelines and factors, and writing a motion for compassionate release. In December 2023, under the direction of Professor Amy Kimpel, the clinic students filed a 300-page motion of legal arguments and supporting exhibits for their client’s early release. The prosecutor assigned to the case then did not oppose the release. In March, the judge in the case granted the motion, and the clinic team spent the next day supporting their client while she was released and later reunited with her family. She is now excited and inspired to enjoy her family, work a job, eat ice cream, and live her life for the better; the Clinic is very proud of her progress.

The following is a testimonial from lead student attorney Simone Hampton about what the students learned that they will take with them into practice:

“Working on this case offered me several invaluable lessons as a student attorney that I will take with me into my professional career. Aleah and I learned a lot about federal sentencing firsthand as this motion demanded our familiarity with the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the sentencing factors of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). With Virginia’s insights, we prepared for our client’s re-entry into society by shopping for a prison-release care package while emphasizing choices for our client. And together, we navigated the most relevant skill: communication. We supported each other as we patiently and effectively emailed courthouses, planned with U.S. Bureau of Prisons personnel, and spoke with the client’s family. My ultimate takeaway from the experience is that there are various sacrifices that attorneys choose to make for their clients, but those sacrifices are well worth it because we are in such a powerful position to really change people’s lives. I am beyond proud and honored to be part of the legal team that gave our client freedom and justice.”

Click here to learn more about the clinics that are offered at Alabama Law.

Professor Gold Selected for Inaugural Cohort of the UA Faculty Fellows Program

Russell Gold, The University of Alabama School of Law

Professor Russell Gold was recently selected to participate in the inaugural UA Faculty Fellows Program presented by the UA Teaching Academy. The competitive two-year program provides opportunities for networking, scholarship, professional development and mentorship. The program is designed to foster a standard of excellence within the faculty at The University of Alabama.

To learn more about the UA Faculty Fellows Program, click here.

Professor Ray Receives UA President’s Faculty Research Award

Professor Shalini Bhargava Ray received UA’s President’s Faculty Research Award at the annual Faculty Research Day on April 22. The award recognizes outstanding research/creative productivity and scholarship. Ray was named as one of three “emerging scholars” across the University of Alabama.