Alumni Bios

A 1964 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, William J. (“Bill”) Baxley II has made important contributions to public service in Alabama.

William-BaxleyBill Baxley was elected Alabama Attorney General at age 28. He served as Attorney General from 1971 to 1979, and Lieutenant Governor from 1983 to 1987. As Attorney General, Mr. Baxley appointed the state’s first African-American assistant attorney general, who later became a federal judge. His successful prosecution of Ku Klux Klansman Robert Chambliss for the 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church is featured in the Spike Lee documentary, 4 Little Girls. His legal accomplishments are also documented in Lay Down with Dogs, Until Justice Rolls Down, and numerous other publications.

Throughout his career, Mr. Baxley has served in the Alabama Army National Guard, beginning as an enlisted clerk and rising through the ranks to retire as a Colonel in the JAG Corps. In 1979, he founded the firm known today as Baxley, Dillard, McKnight & James.  Mr. Baxley has successfully represented clients in the United States Supreme Court, the Alabama Supreme Court, and in appellate and trial courts over which they exercise jurisdiction. He has been selected as a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, as well as being recognized by his peers as a Super Lawyer.

Mr. Baxley has spoken to groups around the country about his role in prosecuting the Sixteenth Street church bombing case, and has been particularly active in re-telling this important story during 2013, the 50th anniversary of the bombing.  Earlier this year, Mr. Baxley was awarded the Order of the Samaritan by the University of Alabama School of Law, the highest public service honor bestowed by the law school.

We are proud to count Bill Baxley among our distinguished graduates.

Judge Bill Bostick, a Circuit Court Judge for the 18th Judicial Circuit of Alabama (Shelby County), has spent his entire professional life in public service. After earning an undergraduate degree from Birmingham Southern College and a J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1992, Judge Bostick spent the next 18 years as a prosecutor. Fifteen of those years were with the Shelby County District Attorney’s office, where he was promoted to chief assistant district attorney in 2002. When Circuit Judge Michael Joiner was selected to serve on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in 2011, Judge Bostick was appointed to fill the vacant seat by Governor Robert Bentley.

Judge Bostick was instrumental in starting the University of Alabama School of Law’s externship program, and has served as an adjunct instructor and co-director of the program since 1996. Through the externship program, law students are able to work full-time during the summer or part-time during the school year with public interest, government or judicial offices in exchange for course credit.

According to Professor Pam Pierson, his involvement with the externship program has been invaluable. “Bill has taught the externship course, recruited public interest offices throughout Alabama to serve as placement opportunities for students, interviewed and placed generations of law students in these offices, and supervised students in their placements.” She notes that supervising students “sometimes requires putting out fires,” which he has done “with discretion and diplomacy.”

Judge Bostick has also been a regular visitor and guest speaker at the Law School, often sharing his experiences with students in criminal law and procedure courses. In addition, he has encouraged and welcomed student involvement in the Veterans Court initiative he helped to pilot in Alabama courts.

“In all of these ways and more,” says Pierson, “Bill has shared his time, talent and vision of the law with students. He has touched the future by his guidance and teaching. He has made the world a better place.”

DCroslandThe University of Alabama School of Law is pleased to announce Judge David Crosland is the 2014 Profile 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.

Crosland, a 1966 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, has led a distinguished career in public service — beginning with his time as a law student.

While in law school, Judge Crosland conducted research on election procedures in Greene County, Alabama, to assist the national Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He also served as president of the University’s Young Democrats, and in that capacity, invited the first African American speaker ever to address a student organization.

In his early career in the 1960s, Judge Crosland served with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He was part of a team of lawyers that investigated and tried cases involving the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi, including one case against Klansmen accused of killing three civil rights workers in Neshoba County, Mississippi. During that time, Judge Crosland also monitored voting discrimination and desegregation in schools, and observed civil rights demonstrations where there was a heightened threat of Klan violence. He was sent to Detroit during two major riots in 1967 and 1968, and was involved in the prosecution of a white Detroit policeman and National Guardsman for killing three people. Judge Crosland went on to direct the Atlanta Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, organizing lawyers from Atlanta’s biggest firms to take on pro bono cases involving discrimination.

He later served as General Counsel and Acting Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and created the Special Litigation Unit, which prosecuted Nazi war criminals. He headed the agency during the Iranian hostage crisis, and created a special program to assist members of religious minorities fleeing Iran after the revolution. In addition, he directed the INS during the Cuban boat lift in 1980, when more than 125,000 Cubans landed in Florida over the course of just six weeks, and supervised the opening of camps to assist in processing the newly-arrived immigrants.

Today, Judge Crosland sits as an immigration judge with the U.S. Department of Justice and hears cases in Baltimore, Maryland. He has previously served as a judge in San Diego, California; Miami, Florida; and Arlington, Virginia. Through his exemplary career in public service, Judge Crosland has worked to ensure that justice and the rule of law prevail in turbulent times, and that equality is upheld as an ideal for all Americans.

The School of Law is proud to count Judge David Crosland among its distinguished graduates.

A 1960 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, Morris Seligman Dees Jr., was honored in 2012 with the highest award from the American Bar Association, the ABA Medal.

Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, was recognized for his efforts to ensure that all people, including the most vulnerable members of society, receive access to justice. SPLC is known for, among other things, its successful lawsuits against white supremacist groups.

The ABA Medal recognizes exceptionally distinguished service by a lawyer or lawyers to the cause of American jurisprudence. The award is given only in years when the ABA Board of Governors determines that a nominee has provided exceptional and distinguished service to the law and the legal profession.
Morris Dees has received numerous other national awards, including Trial Lawyer of the Year from the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award from the National Education Association, and the Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice. He was also named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by the National Law Journal in 2006.

The University of Alabama School of Law is proud to count Morris Dees among its distinguished graduates.

Millard Fuller

Millard Dean Fuller, a 1960 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, co-founded one of the most well-known and successful nonprofit Christian organizations in the world, Habitat for Humanity International.

Fuller, who received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University, began his legal and business career in pursuit of monetary success – but after becoming a millionaire at the age of 29, he drastically changed directions and set out down a different path.  Fuller and his wife, Linda, gave their possessions away to charity and began working with Dr. Clarence Jordan at Koinonia Farm, a Christian community near Americus, Georgia.  The Fullers helped to initiate projects to aid the poor.  One focused on affordable housing.  Modest homes were built primarily by volunteers on a nonprofit basis and sold to low-income families, who paid no interest on the mortgages.  The families were expected to invest their own “sweat equity” by helping to build their own homes and the homes of other families.  This model became the basis for the Fullers’ founding of Habitat for Humanity in 1976.  By 2005, 200,000 homes had been built for a million people in 90 countries.  That same year, Fuller founded a similar housing ministry, The Fuller Center for Housing.

Fuller earned dozens of prestigious awards during his lifetime, including the Martin Luther King, Jr., Humanitarian Award, Professional Builder magazine’s Builder of the Year Award, the Bronze Medallion from the Points of Light Foundation, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.  In bestowing this award, former President Bill Clinton called Habitat “…the most successful continuous community service project in the history of the United States.”

Fuller passed away suddenly in February 2009 at 74. The University of Alabama School of Law is proud to count Millard Fuller among our most distinguished alumni.

Anne HornsbyUniversity of Alabama School of Law Associate Dean Anne Hornsby headed the Tornado Relief Assistance Project through the law school’s Clinical Programs in the spring of 2011. A team effort of dedicated Clinic attorneys, law students, and local attorneys, the project reached out within days of the April 2011 storms to hold public clinics at Red Cross shelters and disaster centers.

“Making legal services available after devastating tornados struck our community has been so rewarding. The commitment of our clinic staff and students in undertaking this work was inspiring,” said Hornsby, a 1996 graduate of the law school.

The Project was recognized by the Clinical Legal Education Association as Outstanding Pro Bono Project in 2012, and was selected for the 2012 Alabama State Bar Pro Bono Award. Today, the law clinics continue to assist survivors as the rebuilding continues.

The University of Alabama School of Law is proud to have Anne Hornsby as both an outstanding alumna and faculty member.

Liz-HuntleyElizabeth “Liz” Huntley has become a well-known child advocate in Alabama. A 1997 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, Liz serves on several boards, including Leadership Alabama Board of Directors, Children’s First Foundation Board of Directors, Children’s Village Board of Directors, Alabama School Readiness Alliance and Project Gear (President and Co-Founder).

In 1994, while beginning her first year in law school, Mrs. Huntley co-founded Project GEAR in Chilton County. Project GEAR is a non-profit organization which works to remove barriers to learning from at-risk youth. Mrs. Huntley has received statewide recognition for her work with the youth in Chilton County. After being featured in articles in the Alabama Lawyer and the Addendum, the Alabama State Bar adopted a resolution honoring her efforts.

Mrs. Huntley’s drive for creating a program for the youth in her county came from her pre-law school internship with A+, The Coalition for Better Education. While at A+, Mrs. Huntley worked at the grassroots level and traveled the state to promote a better quality of education for the children of Alabama. She also served as the Education Liaison to the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus.

Following law school, Liz served as Law Clerk to both the Honorable U.W. Clemon, United States District Court Northern District of Alabama, and the Honorable John Bush, 19th Judicial Circuit, State of Alabama. When Liz was a solo practitioner in Chilton County, she served as one of the County’s Guardian Ad Litem attorneys representing abused and neglected children.  She currently practices at Lightfoot, Franklin and White in Birmingham and participates in the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program and the Volunteer Lawyers Program for the Alabama State Bar.

An active alumnus of the University of Alabama School of Law, Liz now serves as Vice-Chair of the law school’s Board of Trustees for Farrah Law Society. She was also recently appointed to the Board of Trustees for Auburn University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree.

We are proud to count Liz Huntley among our distinguished graduates.

A 1966 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, Joseph J. Levin, Jr. is co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. From 1971 until 2004, he served the Center in various capacities, including Legal Director, Chair of the Board, President & CEO, and General Counsel, retiring in 2016. He continues to serve the Center as an emeritus member of the board.

In 1976, as a member of the Carter Presidential Transition Team, Mr. Levin supervised the Department of Justice transition and oversaw preparation of briefing books identifying critical issues for the incoming Attorney General. He had special responsibility for analysis of Department of Justice national security oversight of the CIA, FBI, NSA, and Military Intelligence functions. As Special Assistant to the Attorney General, he superintended final wrap-up of Department of Justice transition affairs and advised the Associate Attorney General on the Department of Justice reorganization efforts.

In 1977, Mr. Levin was appointed Chief Counsel of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In that capacity, he represented and advised NHTSA in dealings with the Department of Transportation, Congress, the courts, federal and state agencies, and the private sector. He had principal responsibility for the massive recalls of defective Firestone “500” steel-belted radial tires and for the Ford Pinto due to defective fuel tanks.

Mr. Levin’s extensive litigation experience includes numerous jury and non-jury cases in state and federal courts and proceedings before federal administrative panels. His better-known cases include the landmark sex discrimination case of Frontiero v. Richardson (1973), and the private segregated school case of Gilmore v. City of Montgomery (1974).

Mr. Levin served in the U.S. Army, Military Intelligence branch, from 1967 to 1969, and from 1979 until 1996, Mr. Levin engaged in the private practice of law in Washington D.C. The University of Alabama is proud to count him among our most distinguished alumni.

During her career as an attorney, Susan Bevill Livingston made a positive impact on countless law students and young lawyers in Alabama through her commitment to mentorship.

A partner with Balch & Bingham in Birmingham, Ms. Livingston chaired the firm’s Diversity Committee. In this role, she started the Boot Camp for Success program, which helps to promote diversity in the legal profession by supporting future attorneys from diverse and under-represented backgrounds starting from the beginning of their careers. The annual seminar, led by attorneys and corporate leaders, helps incoming law students learn how to succeed academically and professionally. Attendees experience a mock law school class, receive tips on how to study during the first year of law school, and get advice on the legal job search process. Ms. Livingston also helped to start the firm’s first mentoring program for young lawyers just beginning their legal careers.

Ms. Livingston was an active member of her profession, serving on the boards of the Alabama Law School Foundation, the Alabama Law Institute, and the Women’s Section of the Birmingham Bar Association. She was also a dedicated community leader, and served on the boards for the YWCA of Central Alabama, the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama and the Legal Aid Society of Birmingham. A former Girl Scout troop leader, she was the recipient of the Girl Scouts’ Women of Distinction award in 2004 and the prestigious Mildred Bell Johnson Award in 2012.

Ms. Livingston graduated from Ithaca College and received her J.D. from the University of Alabama in 1977. She began her career in the Alabama Attorney General’s office and later worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Middle District of Alabama. She joined Balch & Bingham in 1985.

Her unexpected death in 2014 saddened many in the legal community, who have remembered her as a generous, energetic, devoted and funny colleague. Her work lives on through the many lawyers she mentored during her career, and the University of Alabama School of Law is proud to count her among our graduates.

Elizabeth Ann (“Liz”) Whipple was a 2007 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, and during her 10-year legal career, she made an enormous impact on the lives of those around her.

Liz graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in English before attending law school in Tuscaloosa. After finishing law school, Liz went to work as a staff attorney at the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless, where she advocated for people experiencing homelessness. From 2010 to 2015, she served as Director of the Domestic Violence and Guardian Ad Litem Programs for the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. In this capacity, she trained and supervised dozens of pro bono attorneys who volunteered their time through the AVLF in order to help domestic violence victims and children in need of advocates.

In 2015, Liz accepted a two-year appointment as Interim Director of the Domestic Violence Clinic at her alma mater, the University of Alabama School of Law. Liz had been among the first students to participate in the DV Clinic when it began, so it was fitting that she would return to lead the clinic and educate future advocates. During her time in Tuscaloosa, she chaired the Tuscaloosa Domestic Violence Task Force, served on the board of the local women’s shelter, and assisted in training law enforcement on issues of domestic violence.

Liz’s life ended too early when she was killed in a tragic accident, along with her co-worker Shelly Darling, in 2017. Her colleagues, friends, and the law school community miss her tremendously. To honor her memory, the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation has started a
Liz Whipple Memorial Fund to benefit its work on behalf of abuse victims who have no other access to legal help. Liz’s infectious smile could light up a room, and her passion for her clients was obvious to those who had the good fortune to work with her. “Her impact on her students, the law school, and the community will be lasting,” said Associate Dean for Clinical Programs Anne Hornsby during a memorial honoring Liz and Shelly. “We will strive to honor their lives by following the examples of service they set for us.”