University of Louisville Law Faculty Blog

ADR and the Economic Crisis


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.


Trademark Moot Court Team Wins Regionals!


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!

Kent School Talk

Today I spoke to around 25 students in the psychopathology class in the Kent School of Social Work.  This was my fourth time to address a section of this course, and it was as enjoyable as always.  I was asked many excellent questions by this highly motivated group.
I received the following from the professor for the course, Dr. Judith Heitzman:

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


Judy Heitzman, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Assistant Professor

Kent School of Social Work

University of Louisville

Cooperation Between Clinical and Legal Writing Professors


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 legal writing 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

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.


Drafting Effective PowerPoint Slides - Legal Writing Tips


Are you giving a CLE presentation sometime soon?  Thinking about using PowerPoint?  If so, or if you are giving any type of legal training, check out "Drafting Effective PowerPoint Slides," an article by Lars S. Smith and me out this month in Kentucky Bench and Bar.

Here's the abstract. 

This article addresses drafting effective PowerPoint slides in preparation for a continuing legal education or other legal presentation.  It addresses the following topics:  the appropriate amount of text, the presentation of the text, incorporation of visuals, the formatting of the slides, and the pacing of the slides.


Kudos to the Arbitration Team


Our arbitration team, Lily Chan, Jamie Izlar, Brandon Edwards, and Samantha Thomas, competed in the ABA Student Division National Arbitration Competition regionals at Creighton this past weekend. 

Samantha and Brandon competed twice against Chapman. Chapman is known nationally for the competitiveness of its arbitration teams, and one of its teams won the nationals in the arbitration competition last year.  True to their reputation, these teams ranked first and second after the first two rounds, and Samantha and Brandon held their own against them.  Here are some of the comments Samantha and Brandon received.  Brandon did a "good job arguing [his] position" at the outset of the opening and "bringing out the facts of" his witness's position with a "good organized direct." Samantha did a good job in her closing "arguing [her] perspective" and using a "good theme."  She also "asked good questions" and "addressed some problems with the case head-on" and made her witness "real and sensitive" on direct examination.  

Lily and Jamie competed in the second round.  They performed very well, and one of the three arbitrators voted for them.  Jamie was praised for her good delivery, for knowing the record well, for organizing her opening and direct well, and for her leading technique on cross.  Lily was praised by one arbitrator for "a very good summation," "very good direct questions," and a "good job" on cross examination.  One arbitrator provided each of them with a score of "superior" for the category of professional and ethical presentations. 

Oral Arguments in Bilski Case


On Monday, November 9, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the Bilski case, which is an appeal dealing with the the question of patentability of business method patents. A friend of mine that is a patent attorney in New York sent me the transcript. In reading the transcript, it appears to me that Attorney Jakes, arguing for the petitioner, Bilski, did a better job of presenting his case. His reasoning was simple, and clearly explained: Any process that is new and non-obvious, and occurs in the physical world, should be patentable. Attorney Stewart, arguing for the government's position, did not make as clear a presentation, and his explanations were somewhat convoluted, I thought.

But that may be unfair to attorney Stewart. Jakes's argument was basically, there are no limits to the subject matter of what is patentable as a process, except that the process may not exist solely in a person's mind. That is an attractively simple rule, but possibly way beyond the scope of what Congress intended in the Patent Act. Stewart had the harder argument to make: If not every new and non-obvious process is patentable, where do you draw the line? Jakes was arguing, in effect, there is no line. That's easy. Line drawing is much harder. 

What do you think? 

The Supreme Court and el Dia de los Muertos


Last year I took a class at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft  on creating shrines for el dia de los muertos, traditionally celebrated November 2 and 3 in Mexico and parts of the U.S.  The class was taught by my friend Suzanne Martino, a gifted assemblage artist.  I opted for whimsy over sentiment, celebrating the beloved White Castle on Bardstown Road whose closing in 1988 put a headstone on my and many of my friends' (extended) youth and slacker existence. 

Suzanne has since returned to Colorado, but as a remembrance (and because assemblage is so fun), I decided to construct another shrine for 2009.  This time I focused on an area of both professional and personal interest, the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Day of the Dead Shrine for Deceased Justices was first conceived to honor the nine dead men (the host of women justices—all three of them—are still living) who I would nominate to the Supreme Court of the Dead.  However, as my plans germinated an image of Justice Roger Taney seated in ermine robes intruded into my thoughts, demanding that I create an Infernal Court to balance the eminent nine above it.  An artist is only a subject of his creations, so I obliged, and constructed a diptych of two constrasting visions of Justice.

The Blessed Nine include John Marshall Harlan, Thurgood Marshall, William Brennan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Harry Blackmun, Benjamin Curtis, Robert Jackson, John Marshall, and is anchored (of course) by Louis D. Brandeis.  The selection had some clear standouts (Brandeis, J. Marshall, Holmes, Jackson), but I acknowledge that some are quirky picks; Curtis, a Dred Scott dissenter, is there in order to keep an eye on the diabolical Taney.

The composition of the Lower Court is also somewhat personal, made up of Taney, author of the Dred Scott opinion that not only denied blacks their humanity, but also served as the intellectual first shot of the Civil War, as well as all of the Four Horsemen—James McReynolds, George Sutherland, Willis van Devanter, and Pierce Butler—whose conservative philosophy attempted to hold back workers rights, consumer regulation, and the New Deal. They may have been nice men (van Devanter likely was, McReynolds--a racist, anti-Semite and misanthrope--was certainly not), but their jurisprudence was not to my liberal liking and I’m the guy with the paintbrush, Alene’s Tacky glue and Exacto knife.  The makeup of this court is only five justices--leaving it in the hell of a permanent minority in dissent.

A few of the photos are displayed here; for other more detailed shots see my Flickr site:

GeoCities, Dead at 15


Beloved early Internet icon GeoCities died today at the age of 15, slowly smothered by its adoptive parent Yahoo. Web pioneers fondly remember its rich neighborhoods, from the geeky confines of SiliconValley and Area51 to the bohemian districts of Soho, SouthBeach and SunsetCity.  There they learned the power and joy of personal publishing, even if it only concerned the question of whether Abe Vigoda was dead or alive, or the relative cuteness of their and their friend's cats.  It was preceded in death by the HMTL 1.0 Stylesheet, the blink tag and the dancing baby animated gif (shown on the right).  It is survived by hundreds of amateur webmasters, thousands of web-bloggers, Facebookers and Twitterers, and the enduring the idea of Internet freedom.

I myself never had a GeoCities page, having had access to a variety of university webspaces since I first learned to code HTML way back in 1995, but I fondly remember many pioneer sites hosted there.  For typical tributes see: The End Of Geocities – A Farewell! and So long, GeoCities.

Current Scholarship - Central States Law Schools Association


I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the Central States Law Schools Association's annual conference this past weekend.  Attached are abstract and the slides of the presentation that I gave concerning the application of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to the employment relationship.

I saw a number of interesting presentations across a broad range of subjects.  Many of the abstracts are posted here.  Several of the presentations that I heard may be of interest to those in the field of labor and employment. 

On the employment law panel with me was Susan Cancelosi, whose scholarship focuses on benefits.  She gave a very timely presentation on health care reform.  She reviewed the literature on VEBA's and on Medicare.  Based on what does and does not work well with those programs, she made recommendations as to health benefits.

Dennis Hirsch presented on green businesses and reflexive law.  His presentation may be interesting to those researching on, writing about, or trying to encourage the implementation of green jobs. 

Danshera Cords presented a realistic proposal to address the lack of timely reappointments to the tax court.    While she does not claim her proposal is transferable to other settings, the article definitely will cause labor lawyers to evaluate it in light of the situation at the National Labor Relations Board.

Jeremy Telman presented on his article about corporate social proposals, available by link here.  The story is an interesting one for those researching or writing about or participating in corporate campaigns.