University of Louisville Law Faculty Blog
Today I spoke to around 20 nursing students in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing class at the Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Bellarmine University in Louisville. Afterwards I received the following from the professor for the course, Dr. Vicki Burns:
Recently, a group called Keep America Safe posted a web ad asking, "Who are the al Qaeda Seven?" The ad's apparent purpose is to besmirch lawyers who had advocated for detainees at Guantanamo Bay and are now working for the justice department. The ad implies that, by representing Guantanamo detainees, these lawyers were somehow connected to al Qaeda and disloyal to the United States.
But that flawed position ignores some of the key values that undergird our legal system. Our system of justice requires that both parties to a controversy have the opportunity to be represented by counsel. As a society, we value this adversarial process highly, because we believe that allowing opponents to grapple with cases in the courtroom is the best way to uncover the truth. This means lawyers must sometimes represent unpopular parties or causes. For this reason, professional rules have long urged lawyers not to turn down a cause just because it is unpopular.
Meanwhile, the world is watching to see how we deal with the Guantanamo detainees. If we sentence a detainee to prison or death, his trial should be fair, with no implication that he was framed or railroaded. A primary way to defuse any such implication is to allow him the full benefit of a vigorous defense by counsel.
It is worth noting that some detainees' lawyers successfully argued their causes in the United States Supreme Court. One such lawyer, for example, prevailed in the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case, which challenged the legality of the Bush administration's military commissions. A majority of the Supreme Court agreed with him. That lawyer fought for the ideals of our legal system.
It is also worth noting that some Guantanamo detainees were released without ever being tried, which suggests that they were not guilty of a crime.
We should highly value those lawyers who present a strong defense for unpopular clients, including Guantanamo detainees. By lessening the possibility that the innocent might be wrongly convicted, those lawyers allow us to be proud of the fairness of our legal system and to proclaim that fairness to the world. We do ourselves no service if we try to frighten them into inaction.
The 27th Annual Warns Labor & Employment Law Institute will be held on June 24 and June 25 at the Galt House in Louisville, KY.
William Gould, a Professor of Law at Stanford University and former Chair of the National Labor Relations Board, is the keynote speaker. Mr. Gould is a prolific scholar of labor and discrimination law as well as a critically acclaimed author of nine books and more than sixty law review articles.
Complimentary wireless access, as well as hard wired Internet connections, will be available in the meeting rooms.
Save the date! More details are forthcoming.
Last weekend I attended A Conference on Conflict Resolution and the Economic Crisis at The Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution at the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV. It was a great opportunity for those practicing and writing about alternative dispute resolution in a variety of disciplines and legal areas to share their thoughts with each other. I attended panels on foreclosure mediation and on bankruptcy and dispute resolution.
I also served as the commentator on the panels on Cost-Effective Dispute Resolution. The first panel included the following presentations: Justin Corbett, Executive Director, INDYSPUTE Resolution & Dialogue Center, & Wendy Hollingshead, Vice Chair NAFCM Board of Directors & Program Coordinator, Solve-It! Community Mediation Service spoke about "Budgets, Staffing and Cases, Oh My: The Scary (and Hopeful) State of Community Mediation." David Larson, Professor, Hamline University School of Law, spoke about "Using Technology to Resolve Disputes More Efficiently and Effectively." Michael Colatrella, Assistant Professor, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, spoke about "Cutting the Cost of Conflict by Creating a Dispute-Wise Organization." The second panel included the following presentations: Becky Jacobs, Professor, University of Tennessee College of Law, spoke about "The Power of Community Mediation and the Use of Volunteers." Rebecca Golbert, Executive Secretary, Los Angeles Center for International Conciliation & Arbitration, spoke about "The Global Dimension of the Economic Crisis and the Benefits of ADR." Nathan Reeve, Legal Assistant, Law Office of Christopher W. Edwards, spoke about "Dispute Resolution on a Dime."
The notes of my comments, which produced a lively discussion, are attached. Once all of the papers or slides from the presentations are posted, I will provide a link to them. Stay tuned.
The team of Justin Capps, Mari-Elise Gates and Marilyn Osborn won the Southern Regional competition in the Saul F. Lefkowitz Trademark Moot Court Competition held in Atlanta this weekend. They managed this by being awarded Best Brief and Best Oralists in the region and thus, BEST OVERALL!
This year, the teams were coached by Adjunct Professor Jack Wheat, of Stites & Harbison, in preparation for oral arguments.
The team will travel to Washington, D.C., to argue in the finals at the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.
Congratulations and best of luck!
Dear Prof. Jones,
Thanks seems inadequate for your presentation and sharing with my psychopathology class. Many students were moved by your story, which stimulated much conversation about the stigma of and biases about mental illness.
It was particularly pleasing for me to hear how you use your strengths to manage your illness. I deeply appreciate your candor and courageous contribution to ending the stigma of mental illness.
Again, thank you so much.
Judy Heitzman, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Kent School of Social Work
University of Louisville
Here is the message I sent to my legal writing colleagues today.
I'm writing to let you know that the Cooperation Committee has been working on annotating sample student work that has already been annotated by clinical professors. The goal is to show what types of language and clinical professors use to explain similar concepts to students, as well as more generally how we tend to comment on student work.
The first sample is now available on the LWI page at this link http://www.lwionline.org/uploads/FileUpload/FirstPersonNarrativeredacted.pdf.
I thank Stacy Caplow of Brookyn Law School for providing the sample.
We hope to get a couple others up over the next several months.