The Cotton Club

Cotton the Albino Squirrel

More details on the albino squirrel previously featured on The Cardinal Lawyer:

  • The squirrel's most active champion on campus, computer operations advisor Jamie Suzanne Saunders, has conferred a name: Cotton.

  • Cotton has a Facebook page. Ms. Saunders has proposed a name for this group page: The Cotton Club.

That's right. If you don't have a Facebook page, you've just been lapped by a squirrel. Never fear. Please visit my Facebook page and ask to be my friend. I promise to approve all readers of The Cardinal Lawyer. Just say that Cotton sent you.

Danzig U.S.A.

Welcome to Danzig U.S.A., a blog about life and culture in and around Louisville. This blog expresses my belief that Louisville is to the American South as the Free City of Danzig was to the Weimar Republic. I try to present Louisville, a city I have come to love, in a light that is at once honest and affectionate.

My blogging partners include Beth Haendiges, one of the creative geniuses behind the renaissance in the Law School's website and print publications, and Donald Vish '70, a partner at Middleton Reutlinger.

I hope you will visit us often at Danzig U.S.A.

Jim Jones, Elyn Saks, and journeys back from madness

Jones and Saks

At its best, collegiality among law school professors crosses institutional lines and inspires all parties to pedagogical and scholarly greatness. The Law School's own Jim Jones and Professor Elyn R. Saks of the University of Southern California have shed uplifting light on mental illness in the legal profession and the legal academy. On Monday, October 27, the Law School proudly hosted a presentation by Professor Saks based on her acclaimed memoir, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness (2007). A visually powerful photo gallery commemorates Professor Saks's presentation, which was cosponsored by the Law School's Diversity Committee and the Louisville chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Louisville).

Professor Jones's friendship with Professor Saks and his empathy with her journey through — and back from — madness have inspired some moving scholarship of his own. Professor Jones's work on mental illness includes Walking the Tightrope of Bipolar Disorder: The Secret Life of a Law Professor (an essay in the Journal of Legal Education) and Surviving the Scourge of Schizophrenia: A Law Professor's Story (a review of Professor Saks's memoir in the Hastings Women's Law Journal). Jim Jones has clearly found a cause and a voice in his advocacy on behalf of the mentally ill.

From the Cardinal Lawyer mailbag: Congratulations to Susan Duncan and Judith Fischer from the Legal Writing Institute

Legal writing matters. That's why I was very pleased to receive two pieces of correspondence from the Legal Writing Institute regarding the contributions of Professors Susan Duncan and Judith Fischer. I've amalgamated the two letters into a single piece of correspondence:

Dear Dean Chen,

LWI logo Susan Duncan Judith Fischer

I am writing to express my appreciation and that of the Legal Writing Institute for the contributions of Susan H. Duncan and Judith D. Fischer, who made excellent presentations at the Thirteenth Biennial Legal Writing Institute Conference held in Indianapolis this July. The Legal writing Institute has over 2000 members, representing all of the ABA-accredited law schools in the United States, as well as foreign law schools, English departments, independent research and consulting organizations, and the practicing bar. . . .

Of all of [our] activities, our conference is our largest endeavor. This year, there wer over 600 members in attendance. [Because] [t]he Program Committee for the conference reviewed over 170 presentation proposals, . . . being selected to present at the conference was a significant achievement. Professor Duncan's presentation, Demystifying the SSRN Process: How to Make It Work for You, and Professor Fischer's presentation, Judges and Gender-Neutral Language: Whether They Use It and What We Can Learn from Their Practices, were thought-provoking and thorough. They were wonderful additions to the overall program and were well-received by conference participants.

The contributions of members like Professors Duncan and Fischer are invaluable to the Institute and our field. . . . I wanted to personally share my thanks and congratulations, and that of the Institute, for Professor Duncan and Professor Fischer's contributions to a successful conference.


Mel Weresh

Melissa H. Weresh
2008 Biennial Conference Co-Chair

The Legal Writing Prof Blog has more on Susan Duncan and Judith Fischer's presentations.


Oliver R. Smoot

October 2008 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the night that immortalized the name of Oliver R. Smoot. In 1958, Smoot was a freshman at M.I.T. and a pledge in the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. On the evening of October 4, Smoot's fraternity brothers decided that he had the right height (5 feet, 7 inches) and the right name to serve as a human yardstick for measuring the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge between Cambridge and Boston. Over and over the brothers of LXA tumbled Oliver Smoot. When the night was over, Lambda Chi Alpha triumphantly declared that the Mass. Ave. Bridge spanned 364.4 Smoots, plus or minus one ear.

Oliver Smoot

After graduating from M.I.T., Smoot literally set high standards. He earned a law degree at Georgetown. Smoot went on to serve not only as president of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), but also as chairman of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Upon his recent retirement from ANSI, Smoot gave lengthy interviews to his alma mater, the Washington Post, and National Public Radio.

The Smoot is now a unit of measurement corresponding to 67 inches, or 170.18 centimeters au système métrique décimal. Google Calculator and Google Earth offer users the option of calculating distances in Smoots. Just remember that 10 feet equals 1.79104478 Smoots.

Here's why Smoot matters to education:

The law faculty's SSRN aggregator page

The University of Louisville is justifiably proud of its law faculty and of the high-impact academic work generated by this community of scholars. In earlier posts (like this and this and this), The Cardinal Lawyer has made much of the Social Science Research Network, or simply SSRN as the network is colloquially known among law professors, as legal academia's leading mechanism for distributing ongoing and completed scholarly works. Despite its small size, and despite having taken active part in SSRN for less than two years, the University of Louisville ranks 41st among American law schools in recent SSRN downloads and 57th in all-time downloads as of October 12, 2008.

Many law professors and some law schools make an effort to promote papers available for download from SSRN. The University of Louisville has taken aggressive measures to promote its entire faculty's SSRN portfolio. The Law School publishes an SSRN aggregator page that collects every faculty member's contributions to the SSRN database as they are made. A summary of each article, complete with a link to that article's own SSRN page, appears on the aggregator page. And best of all, in harmony with Law 2.0 and the thoroughly interconnected environment in which contemporary legal education operates, the University of Louisville's faculty SSRN aggregator page has its own RSS feed .

Partners in Professionalism

The Law School welcomed the first of four Partners in Professionalism programs for the academic year. Former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Martin Johnstone addressed a standing-room-only audience as panelists Pete Karem and Tom Wine looked on. The Law School thanks the Louis D. Brandeis Chapter of the American Inns of Court for its assistance in staging this invaluable mentorship program on behalf of our students.

Partners in Professionaism

Algeria Ford, Pirtle-Washer champion

Algeria Ford

The Cardinal Lawyer congratulates Algeria Ford, winner of the 2008 Pirtle-Washer Oral Advocacy Competition.

The Cardinal Lawyer also congratulates first runner-up Jason Schwalm, semifinalists Samuel Lee and Jarrad Roby, and all of the other students who took part in the Law School's premier intramural moot court competition. The Law School thanks the judges, lawyers, and faculty members who helped make Pirtle-Washer such a rewarding experience for everyone who participated.

Update: See also coverage of the Pirtle-Washer competition in the Kentucky Law Review.

A Cardinal Lawyer caption contest

Cardinal head
Label this photo

Homecoming 2008 has been a great time here at the University of Louisville. And yes, I've been having a blast. But I am at a loss for words to describe this photo (taken by Melinda Townsend of the University of Louisville's development office). So I'll invite suggestions from the readership of this forum.

Update, October 20 — We have a winner. Finis Price proposes this caption: « I would like to thank the Judges, the audience, but most of all my parents, without whom I could not have won this beauty pageant. » Congratulations to Finis!

Albino squirrels on the University of Lousiville campus

Albino squirrel

For years a small population of albino squirrels has lived on the University of Louisville's Belknap campus, near Grawemeyer Hall and the Law School. I spotted this individual during a stroll on campus.