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Diversity Pipeline event showcases legal profession for high school, college students

Brandeis School of Law hosted the inaugural diversity pipeline event last week, titled “Why Choose Law: Diversity Matters.” The event was held in partnership with the Louisville Bar Association and the Kentucky Bar Association and was called a “huge success” by Dean Susan Duncan.

The program brought together nearly 40 diverse high school and college students who were treated to a panel discussion with recent Brandeis alums as well as mock criminal law and civil law classes. In addition, they shadowed a Legal Aid clinic for refugees and met a number of practicing attorneys.

“These experiences encourage young people to dream big and look to the legal profession as a career option,” Dean Duncan said. “Many students told me at the conclusion of the event that they want to go to law school more than ever before.  I am honored that the law school could host this inaugural event and empower diverse young people to join our profession and make it better.”

Assistant Dean for Admissions Henry Cantu said the goal now is to maintain contact with the students who attended and to keep their interest levels elevated.

“We were very fortunate to be able to host this inaugural event and to showcase our school,” he said.
In addition to the event at Brandeis School of Law, a Diversity and Inclusion Summit was held the following day at the Galt House Hotel in Downtown Louisville.

The pipeline project serves as an expansion of the Why Choose Law: Diversity Matters project, created by the KBA Young Lawyers Division to promote interest among students who belong to groups typically underrepresented in law school classes, including racial and ethnic minorities and those with varied religious, geographic, socio-economic, and sexual orientation backgrounds.

Event Chair Mark Flores, an attorney with Frost Brown Todd LLC, said the main objective is to tackle the “pipeline issue,” which is a continued lack of diversity among students and prospective students.

“There is an issue here, but not one that’s been brought to the forefront. We want to do something to bring it to life,” Flores said.

Photo provided by Don Vish.

Exam Prep: CALI Lessons

Now that you're in the midst of exam preparation, I'd like to remind you about The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI). The CALI Library of Lessons is a collection of over 900 interactive, computer-based tutorials covering more than three dozen legal education subject areas. The lessons are designed to augment traditional law school instruction. Many of your classmates have found them helpful in preparing for their exams.

The lessons are available at both CALI’s website and on the DVD that you received at the beginning of the academic semester. If you've misplaced your CALI DVD, older versions are available at the library's Circulation Desk. To view the lessons online, you must register with your "@louisville.edu" email address.Contact Virginia Mattingly for the authorization code and instructions.

Demo New Library Chairs - Last Chance Wednesday, April 15!

Your law library is considering new chairs and we would like your help in choosing which ones to purchase!

Please come to the reading room between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM weekdays to try them out, or, if you are unable to make it during those hours, the person seated at the desk will be happy to direct you to them. Fill out the feedback form and leave it in the box. Your opinion counts (you’re the ones studying in the chairs, after all), so please take the time to let us know what you think.

Thank you and good luck the rest of the year!

 

Professor McNeal appears on Huffington Post Live

Professor Laura McNeal appeared on Huffington Post Live this morning to continue the conversation on the shooting deaths of unarmed victims by police officers.

The segment follows Professor McNeal’s quotes in the San Francisco Chronicle over the weekend on the same topic. Huffington Post Live host Ricky Camilleri specifically explored the most recent incident in which Tulsa, Oklahoma, Reserve Police Officer Robert Bates shot and killed unarmed 44-year-old Eric Harris after mistaking his firearm for a Taser.

The host asked panelists why so few cops are prosecuted and why these incidents, including with citizen police officers, keep happening.

During the segment, Professor McNeal discussed concerns over volunteer police officer training, calling it “abbreviated.” She also talked about the special nature it takes to be a police officer.

“Just because you want to be a police officer doesn’t mean you have the disposition,” she said.
Professor McNeal said we need a better screening process for police officers, including ongoing psychological testing.

She added that there is also a lack of training on when to use deadly force.

"We not only need pre-screening, but also continuous training on when the use of excessive force is required and appropriate,” she said. “What we’re seeing are police officers who don’t have the disposition and frankly should not be police officers.”

Professor McNeal added that prosecution rates are low because “it’s hard for many Americans to believe police officers lie or engage in criminal behavior, so it takes indisputable evidence.”

Professor McNeal was joined by Cheryl Dorsey, retired LAPD sergeant and author of “The Creation of a Manifesto: Black & Blue;” Philip Stinson, a criminal justice professor at BGSU; and Jarrel Wade, a reporter for Tulsa World.

Professor Levinson hiring summer research assistants

Professor Levinson and a co-author at Vanderbilt Law School, Professor O’Hara O’Connor, are hiring research assistants for summer 2015. They are working on a project involving labor arbitration awards. The research assistants will be coding labor arbitration awards and related court documents and decisions. 

Ideal candidates include those with a familiarity with labor law, employment law, or arbitration. Coding also requires someone who is very detail oriented because it involves answering long series of questions about the awards and other documents and entering the responses, which are often numeric, into an excel spreadsheet. There will be a training session before coding begins.

Research assistants are paid $8.50 an hour through financial aid. Available funds will cover one full-time position for approximately 5 weeks or multiple part-time positions. If you are interested in applying, please submit an application to a.levinson@louisville.edu by Friday, April 17 at 5 p.m. 

A complete application includes 1) a CV, 2) an unofficial transcript, and 3) a statement explaining a) why you are interested in the project, b) what strengths you have that make you a good fit for the project, c) the number of weeks and hours/week that you could commit to working over the summer, and d) whether you would be interested in continuing to work on the project during the academic year.

Academic Credit for Summer Judicial Externships

Students in good academic standing and who have completed the 1L curriculum may earn academic credit for a summer judicial externship.  Judicial Externships provide students with many opportunities not available in a classroom: observing lawyers, judges, and other members of the justice system at work; developing research and writing skills, and applying doctrine learned in law school; assessing the skills and styles of attorneys and judges; analyzing the effectiveness of the legal system; and networking and developing as a member of the legal profession.  To earn two credit hours, students must devote 104 hours to externship field work (generally 16 hours per week for 6.5 weeks).  The time is spent observing courtroom proceedings, discussing issues with the supervising judge or court personnel, or worrking on research and writing projects.  Students may arrange an externship with any judge.  For more information, contact Professor Karen Jordan at karen.jordan@louisville.edu.

Academic Credit for Summer & Fall Externships

Pre-registration remains open for externships for the summer and fall 2015 semesters.  Externships allow students to earn academic credit for time spent observing and performing legal work at various placement sites away from the law school.  Externships allow students to (1) develop lawyering skills and professional identity while working as part of a team of legal providers serving real clients; (2) network with lawyers and judges in the community; (3) learn new law, or reinforce understanding of legal concepts learned in the classroom; (4) learn about specific practice settings, including how lawyers balance expectations and tensions; and (5) assess possible career paths.

The law school has arranged externships at many and varied placement sites, each offering unique learning opportunities for students.  Amount of academic credit varies, but for each hour of credit earned students ordinarily are expected to devote 56 hours per semester to field work.  Students ordinarily should have blocks of 3-4 hours at a time for field work.  For fall 2015, the course schedule has been designed so that Tuesday afternoons should be available for most students for part of their externship work.  For more information, review the course schedule and see the TWEN course titled “Externship INFORMATION.”  Pre-registration forms are available from TWEN, and outside rooms 216 and 287.

Kentucky Innocence Project in 2015-2016

Pre-registration remains open for the KIP course for 2015-16.  Any student in good academic standing who has completed the 1L curriculum is eligible to participate.  The course is taught by an attorney and an investigator with the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy.  Students work in teams to explore whether KIP clients have a basis for exoneration or other post-conviction relief, and learn fundamental investigative and case management skills that are relevant and helpful to any practice setting.  Teams are expected to locate, gather, and examine information relevant to the process that led to a client’s conviction (e.g., courthouse files, trial attorney notes and materials, etc.): to explore potential arguments supporting a claim for relief; and to engage in investigatory work that might bring to light supporting evidence.  The work will include client and witness interviews, and may involve drafting motions and accompanying arguments.  The externship includes a classroom component, and requires enrollment in both fall and spring semesters.  For more information, please see the TWEN course titled “Kentucky Innocence Project INFORMATION.”  Pre-registration forms are available from TWEN, and outside rooms 216 and 287.

Admitted Students Day ‘well exceeds’ expectations

Another Admitted Students Day is in the books for Brandeis School of Law. The event was held on Saturday and “well exceeded” Assistant Dean for Admissions Henry Cantu’s expectations.

“It was the most well attended Admitted Students Day we’ve had in at least three years. The evaluations across the board were very positive,” Cantu said.

This year’s event included 53 attendees, compared to 41 attendees last year and 35 attendees in 2013.

Dean Cantu attributes the jump to getting the word out about the event as well as all of the planning that went into the event by the admissions team. 

“When we’re on the road or talking to prospective students, we always encourage them to visit,” he said. “We can refer them to a website or a brochure, but it’s when they’re here when they truly see what we have to offer. Our school and city sell themselves.”

Positive feedback

Dean Cantu added that the student and faculty participation helped with that sale by being available and conveying a sense of community. Guests were able to interact with faculty and current students over lunch and throughout the day.

Feedback from the event reflected this effort. Said one attendee, “Faculty and deans made an effort to be involved and meet people throughout the day – they didn’t just make a speech at the beginning and then disappear.”

Additional feedback included:

  • “You did a great job making me more interested in your university, not only through the impressive accolades of Brandeis, but also how open armed and comfortable the entire staff made me feel. Your staff and environment made me feel so at home.”
  • “Brandeis really impressed me with their actual community and potential educational outreach opportunities.” 
  • “My parents and I visited Brandeis this weekend for the admitted student open house and were very impressed with the school, faculty, city, and opportunities upon graduation.”
  • “Extremely friendly students and faculty.”
  • “The student ambassadors – they were the best!”
  • “I liked the enthusiasm and variety in the student panel.”
  • “I liked the genuine participation and enthusiasm from faculty.”

Dean Susan Duncan said Admitted Students Day is one of her favorite events of the year.

“This weekend I was incredibly impressed by the caliber of students we admitted,” she said. “Their diverse backgrounds and experiences will produce an excellent 1L class.  I look forward to welcoming this talented group of students to the Brandeis family in August.”

National Library Workers Day

Congratulations to Janissa Moore, the Law Library's Circulation Manager, for her inclusion in the 2015 National Library Workers Day Galaxy of Stars! Janissa Moore has been employed by the University of Louisville for 19 years.

Kudos too to the rest of law library's staff: Jodi Duce, David Minton, Jill Sadowski, and Jerome Neukirch, who are very much appreciated for all the work they do throughout the year!