Latest News

January Bar Publications

Here's a roundup of recent law school related news from the Louisville and Kentucky Bar Associations.

Highlights from the LBA's January 2014 Bar Briefs:

  • "UofL Brandeis School of Law: 2014 Year in Review" (page 6)
  • The "2015 Library Series" advertisement on page 7 includes Professor Kurt Metzmeier's forthcoming presentation on November 4.

Highlights from the Kentucky Bar Association's January 2015 Bench & Bar (Vol 79, No 1): 

  • "The Duty of Confidentiality and the Attorney-Client Privilege Sorting Out the Concepts" by Professor Grace Geisel (pages 4-7)
  • "Effective Legal Writing: Nix the Acronyms" by Professor Judith Fischer (page 17)
  • "Kentucky Penal Code: Degradation and Reform" by Professor Luke Milligan (pages 26-27)
  • The bi-monthly UofL column features a list of upcoming events, including the ACLU's "60 Faces of Liberty" exhibit, the Brandeis Medal Dinner and Presentation, and the 2015 KBA Diversity Pipeline Program (page 21)
  • "On the Move" (pages 40-45)

Both publications are available in the Law Library. 


Brandeis students get a chance to meet with U.S. Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals Judge

Judge Reba Page, U.S. Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, was on campus this morning to meet with students curious about opportunities in Washington, D.C. Judge Page is a 1976 alumni of UofL's law school.

During her visit today, she met with a handful of students over coffee and donuts, brainstorming their areas of interest and offering words of encouragement and advice.

Judge Page is a native Kentuckian who received her B.A. and M.S. degrees in biology from the University of Louisville, as well as her J.D. She also received a Master of Judicial Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno.

She is admitted to the Kentucky, Florida and District of Columbia Bar Associations, and is an active member of the American Bar Association, Judicial Division and Public Contracts Section.

Judge Page was appointed in 1994 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Board of Contract Appeals and later served as chairman and chief judge; she has served on the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals since 2000, following the merger of these Boards. She previously was regional counsel for the Corps, headquartered in Cincinnati; Deputy Commissioner, Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection; and began her legal career in corporate work.

Judge Page frequently lectures and publishes on government contracts, trial practice and dispute resolution. She is an adjunct faculty member of the National Judicial College, University of Nevada, Reno.

Lost and Found Inventory February 2015

Please claim items in the Law Resource Center, Room 272. 

Bellarmine National Trial Competition

Bellarmine University will be hosting a National trial competition the weekend of March 13 to 15, with one round Friday evening from 6:00 pm  to 9:30 pm, second round Saturday morning 9:00 am  to 12:30 pm, the third round Saturday afternoon , 2:00 pm  to 5:30 pm and the final round 9:00 am  to 12:30 pm.  They want to recruit 24 law students who have taken Evidence to be presiding judges  to rule on objections and keep the trials moving forward. Law students will not be scoring judges only presiding judges. Law students will have the opportunity to meet over  a 100 local attorneys during the competition while attending the pretrial judges’ instructions and during the trials. Interested law students need to attend a two-hour judge’s boot camp prior to the tournament conducted by Chris Schaefer and Jim Wagoner.  Interested students should contact:  Jim Wagoner at (502) 582-1381 or  This is a GREAT way to network with practicing attorneys so please consider volunteering.

Brandeis playing host to National Conference of Law Reviews

The University of Louisville Law Review will host the 61st annual National Conference of Law Reviews March 11-14 at the Seelbach Hotel downtown. This is the first time UofL has hosted the event since 1986.

Leah Gravius, Managing Editor of the Law Review, expects attendance from more than 100 different law schools representing more than 200 law reviews and journals throughout the country.

The planning process for the event began with an initial bid in 2013, when she was a 1L. Edward O’Brien, who was Editor-in-Chief at the time and is now an associate at Louisville’s Wilson Elser, threw out the initial pitch. Gravius said such successive planning is what makes this event unique.

“The way this conference works is the people who are applying for the bid are not the ones planning it,” she said. Because he is local however, O’Brien has been involved in some of the planning and will present on some sessions.

Prior to bidding, the Law Review required the support of the school and administration. From there, an NCLR volunteer organization in Florida made the final determination about this year’s location.

“A lot of the initial work goes into ensuring the school that we can handle this and that we can uphold our reputation. We had a lot of support from Dean Duncan and the administration, which was very important,” Gravius said.  “This is a chance to get our Brandeis name out there and to showcase our city. We want our school to put on a great conference and get people talking about us.”

The theme of this year’s event is “Efficiency in Changing Times.” Gravius said a focus on efficiency is important because law review participation and readership are down, a trend consistent with lower law school attendance across the country.

“We have to work to be more efficient and pursue more avenues, either in the digital world using social media, or somewhere else. We really need to step it up. Everyone’s been hit, not just our law review. So this is a relevant theme,” Gravius said.

The NCLR will include 24 breakout sessions throughout the week, many fitting within this theme. One such session is on management efficiencies.

“What do you do when your members aren’t hitting deadlines? How do you change your thinking as a leader to keep up with what’s changing?” Gravius said. “These are the types of questions we’ll be addressing.”

In addition to the breakout sessions, the NCLR will also include four plenary sessions:

  • The first will be a judicial and clerkship panel, featuring formers students who have clerked for judges discussing their experiences on a law journal and how they used those experiences during their careers.
  • The second, Gravius explained, is about changing the mindset of law journal leadership and “joining the evolution of how we have to change from print-based to digital.”
  • The third session will focus on utilizing social media and ebooks to make the conversion with citations more efficient and to better promote the law journal product.
  • Finally, the fourth session will feature former University of Louisville Law Journal editors sharing their experiences on how they climbed the rankings in the past few years. “We streamlined the editing process and took the leadership more seriously and thought of it more like a business than just a student organization,” Gravius said. “We changed our system and really stepped it up.”

In addition to the welcome reception and a full slate of sessions, the NCLR will also include Louisville-themed excursions. Attendees, for example, can take a sports-themed tour, which includes lunch at the Sports and Social Club, as well as stops at the Muhammad Ali Center and the Louisville Slugger Museum.

Others can choose to follow the Urban Bourbon Trail or check out Louisville’s arts scene with a trip to Louisville Glassworks and the Humana Festival of New American Plays.

Gravius is looking forward to the event not only boosting the profile of the Brandeis School of Law, but also in helping to generate a “significant” amount of revenue for the city.

"The money spent on this conference goes to local businesses and the people coming into the conference will also spend on local businesses. It helps all of us,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to bring in all of these people from different cities and showcase that we’re not just some small Southern city.”

But the most important objective is that attendees are able to take away learnings from the event to better their school's product and underscore the importance of law reviews. 

“I want it to be clean, elegant, informative and occasionally fun,” Gravius said. “Attendees will hear from different schools and learn different processes and hopefully improve themselves. We’ll be successful if they’re able to do that.”

The NCLR kicks off with registration at 3 p.m. March 11, followed by a welcome reception on Wednesday night at the Seelbach’s 1920s-style bar. The reception is sponsored by the SBA and is open to everyone. The 61st annual event is being held in partnership with Thomson Reuters.

Professor Jones returning to Duke to discuss successful professionals with mental illness

Professor Jim Jones will speak at the Duke Forum for Law and Social Change Symposium on Feb. 20 at the Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina.

This year’s symposium topic is Mental Health and the Law. Jones will present on the topic, “High Functioning: Successful Professionals with Severe Mental Illness.”

Jones will specifically talk about seven individuals, including his own experiences. His diagnoses have ranged from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder and from major depressive disorder to borderline personality disorder.

He has written and spoken extensively about successful professionals who suffer from serious psychiatric diseases. He has also been candid about his own decades-long battle including in his book, A Hidden Madness

“We all show how stigma is unjustified given we are successful doctors, psychiatry professors and law professors.  If we can do it, many others are doing so and just not going public about it due to stigma fear,” Jones said.

Some of that stigma fear comes from the licensure for medical and law professionals, a process he calls highly intrusive. Licensure questions ask applicants if they have any diagnoses and can include mental illness disorders alongside pedophilia and kleptomania, Jones said.

“To me, the most severe example of mental illness stigmas comes from the licensure process,” he said. “Conduct questions are OK, but I think diagnosis questions violate the ADA.”

His objective is to raise awareness and fight any stigmas.

“It’s a terrible problem for law and medical professionals specifically,” Jones said.  “I want to teach these students that they’re not unique, that there is help. And that you can be very successful despite having a mental illness.” 

He points to his good friend, Elyn Saks, a professor at the University of Southern California Gould Law School, as an example.

Saks, a Yale graduate and MacArthur Fellowship winner, lives with schizophrenia and wrote about her experiences with the illness in her book, The Center Cannot Hold:  My Journey Through Madness.

Jones sits on the board of The Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics.

He earned his JD with honors from the Duke University School of Law and said he is looking forward to returning to campus for the first time in years.


Law students may request their class rank (1) in person; or (2) by sending an e-mail to Barbara Thompson using their e-mail address. Class ranks will not be given over the phone.  If you wish to obtain your class rank in person, please stop by Student Records (Rm. 217).  If you wish to request your class rank via e-mail, please send your request to
barbara.thompson@louisville.eduDO NOT send an e-mail request using a personal e-mail address.  You must use your e-mail address.

Brandeis alum named Women of Influence Award winner by Nashville publication

Jennifer Kovalcik, an attorney at Stites & Harbison PLLC, has been named a winner of the 2015 Women of Influence Awards in the category of “Inspiration/Mentor.”

The award is presented by the Nashville Business Journal.

Kovalcik is a member at the firm's Nashville office. She graduated summa cum laude from the Brandeis School of Law in 2002 and was the class valedictorian.

Kovalcik also earned her bachelor’s degree from UofL, graduating with highest honors in Music in Vocal Performance in 1999.

According to the Nashville Business Journal, the Women of Influence Awards honor women who are making a positive impact in Middle Tennessee. Nominations are received from the public and an independent panel of judges consisting of previous Women of Influence award winners select the finalists in 10 categories.

Kovalcik is a trademark and technology attorney. Her practice concentrates on designing and implementing plans for a variety of industries that implicate intellectual property assets, including trademarks, domains, trade secrets, copyrights and software. She also drafts and negotiates software development and licensing agreements among other technology contracts. She is recognized as a “Rising Star” in Mid-South Super Lawyers.

Kovalcik is a board member and Soprano with the Concert Chorale of Nashville. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Trustees for St. Mary Villa Child Development Center volunteers at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University.  She currently serves as Chair of the AIPLA Trademark Law Committee and is the outgoing Program Chair of the Trademark Boot Camp comprehensive training program.

Kovalcik is a former Chair of both the Nashville Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Committee and the Louisville Bar Association Intellectual Property Section and is a Fellow with the Nashville Bar Foundation. 

Professor Rothstein offering a glimpse of Brandeis’s Central HS partnership

Brandeis Professor Laura Rothstein will offer a presentation at the Shumaker Building at noon Feb. 3 on the “Signature Partnership Initiative: A Forum for Engagement.”

Her focus will be on Brandeis School of Law’s partnership with Central High School.

In the fall of 2011, the Brandeis School of Law entered into a partnership with Central High School. Through the Central Law and Government Magnet Program, students at Central High School have been provided a variety of enrichment activities, including attending moot court competitions and speaker events, law school visits and participating in a writing competition. These activities are held to spark the interest of students in becoming lawyers.

Since 2006, the Law School has been building on the existing partnership with a goal of sustaining the interest and building skills for success in college and law school.

Ronald Simpson, ’57 grad, passes away in Florida

Ronald Vincent Simpson, of Sarasota, Florida, died on Jan. 4 at his home and surrounded by his family. He was born on Aug. 11, 1930 in Boston.

Simpson earned his law degree from the University of Louisville in 1957. He was a partner of Goldberg & Simpson until his retirement in 1987.

Simpson received his undergraduate degree from Duke University, where he played on the tennis team. He also served in the United States Army in Japan during the Korean conflict.