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Academic Credit for Summer & Fall Externships

Pre-registration is 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 is 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.

Registration Forms Deadline - 2:00 p.m, Thursday, April 2

Pre-registration forms (including Employment Cards) must be submitted to Student Records (Rm. 217) by 2:00 p.m., April 2.

Each semester, all students must complete the employment card and submit it to Student Records by the pre-registration deadline.

 Please read the Summer/Fall 2015 registration instructions.  Registration dates and times are on the front page of the registration instructions.


Academic Credit for Summer & Fall Externships

Kentucky Innocence Project in 2015-2016

Brandeis strongly connected to U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming same-sex marriage case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments sometime in April on the Sixth Circuit’s decision in the fall to uphold bans on same-sex marriage in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The decision abruptly halted a swift wave of momentum favoring same-sex marriage – in the past year alone, state statutes or amendments banning same-sex marriage rights have been overturned in 28 other states.

SCOTUS will hear from plaintiffs challenging these bans in each of the four states. Kentucky’s case was brought by two sets of plaintiffs; one group that included couples who married in other states and are seeking recognition in the Commonwealth, and the other group of couples who are seeking the right to marry in the state.

All of the attorneys who have represented the plaintiffs from the beginning are graduates of the Brandeis School of Law. They include Laura Landenwich, Daniel Canon and L. Joe Dunman, from Clay Daniel Walton & Adams, and Dawn Elliott and Shannon Fauver, from the Fauver Law Office.

To underscore the significance of such a rare opportunity for these alums, the Supreme Court’s website claims that Justices grant review on about 100 of the more than 10,000 petitions filed with the court each term.

“Most lawyers don’t get this opportunity and it’s not something I ever would have believed was possible,” Landenwich said. “We all view this as the major civil rights case of our era. It’s hard to imagine another case in our lifetime that will have such a big impact nationally on the development of the law, Constitutional law and our understanding of who deserves protection.”

Landenwich said the legal team purposefully worked around the clock to get the petition filed in time (they had one week) to put it in front of the current court.

“Everyone had the opinion that the Supreme Court may not look the same the next term. The uncertainty if we waited was too great and would affect too many people,” she said. “It was intense. It still is.”

Landenwich credits her moot court training at Brandeis – and Professor Sam Marcosson’s coaching – for helping her prepare for some of that intensity. She also said the Louisville legal community in general has rallied around the team.

“There is a lot of support from the law school and the Louisville Bar. There is a definite comradery. The university has played a central role in providing support and knowing that your peers are behind you has helped motivate us through the process,” Landenwich said.

In addition to boasting alumni who will be facing the bench in this landmark civil rights case, Brandeis is also connected via its current students and faculty as well.

“The law school’s involvement in this case embodies the best qualities of our law school in the ‘how’ the people are involved,” said Professor Jamie Abrams, who was part of a team of 56 family law professors who signed and submitted an amicus curiae brief in the Sixth Circuit cases. Abrams worked with a team of Brandeis students to research the underlying Kentucky law. Those students worked for public service hours.

The plaintiff’s legal team is also being supported by students working for pay, student legal scholars, faculty scholars (Professors Sam Marcosson, David Herzig) and more. Additionally, Herzig’s article, “A Taxing Decision: The Supreme Court will rule in favor of gay marriage for the most practical of reasons,” was published by Slate.

“All law schools have faculty who can publish, teach and serve. What we do uniquely is integrate all of them,” Abrams said. “To me, the work on this case embodies everything that we value at Brandeis in terms of how to be a student and a professor and a graduate.  It’s not necessarily what we’re doing but how we’re doing it: we’re getting students involved and engaged and we’re supporting our alumni.”

Since the fall decision, Marcosson has also put together moot courts to prep Landenwich – a throwback to her time as a student – and the others.

“I can’t overstate how much the moot courts and Sam have prepared me for this. It was the most valuable experience I got at law school,” Landenwich said.

Landenwich adds that she is optimistic about the case and said the nation is ready for same-sex marriage. Marcosson’s optimism comes from his personal experience with the legal team.

“I am confident in all of them that they’ll do a brilliant job,” he said. “This just shows that you don’t have to go to the biggest schools to have an opportunity to make a difference on the biggest issues on the biggest stage.”

Professor Rothstein moderating Individuals with Disabilities panel

Professor Laura Rothstein will moderate a panel of individuals with disabilities, titled “A View from the Inside,” on April 1 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Chao Auditorium.

The panel is part of a four-day program titled “Embracing Disability for an Inclusive Campus,” presented by the Commission on Diversity and Racial Equality. It is being co-sponsored by the Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Disability Resource Center.

The event begins March 30 with a presentation on how to create accessible courses. Sessions will be held on both the Belknap Campus and at the Health Sciences Center.

For more information or to register, visit

Professor McNeal speaking at ASU's School-to-Prison Pipeline event

Professor Laura McNeal has been invited to speak at Arizona State University's "School-to-Prison Pipeline in Indian County" symposium and town hall meeting. The event is Friday in ASU's The Great Hall.

Professor McNeal's talk is titled: “Managing Our Blind Spot, The Role of Implicit Bias and the School-to-Prison Pipeline.” She will be discussing her research conducted through the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School regarding how to minimize the effects of implicit bias in school disciplinary referrals.

"This work is important to me because I strongly believe that we have a responsibility to ensure that every child has the opportunity to fulfill their potential and receive a high quality education. The bottom line is when children are not in school due to suspensions for non-violent offenses, such as using disrespectful language against a teacher, they are not learning," she said. "It is time to stop criminalizing normal adolescent behavior because it is denying our children the future they deserve by funneling them into the juvenile and criminal justice system."


Professor Giesel's attorney-client privilege article published in Lawyerist

Professor Grace Giesel's article, titled "The Difference Between Confidentiality and the Attorney-Client Privilege," was published on last week.

In it, Professor Giesel writes how the ethical concept of the duty of confidentiality and the evidence concept of the attorney-client privilege are often confused. 

"As a general matter, both the duty of confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege encourage clients to trust his or her lawyers," she writes. "In contrast, the evidentiary principle of the attorney-client privilege is usually a creature of common law." 

Professor Giesel cites the judicial opinion in United States v. United States Shoe Machine Corp. as the typical definition of the latter.

Read her full article online

Professor Arnold participates on roundtable panel with Prince Charles

On March 20, Brandeis Professor Tony Arnold participated on a Health and the Environment Roundtable discussion panel with Prince Charles of Wales during his visit to Louisville with Duchess Camilla.

Their visit included the Harmony and Health Summit, which featured global, national and local leaders, as well as Professor Arnold’s roundtable, which was on the connections between health and the environment.

“The Roundtable was held in a tent at the Big Four Bridge, a location that illustrates the opportunities that our region has to improve both human health and our care for the natural environment,” said Arnold, who participated as part of his role as Chair of the University of Louisville’s interdisciplinary Center for Land Use and Environmental Responsibility, interdisciplinary scholar at the Brandeis School of Law and the Department of Urban and Public Affairs, and vice chair of the Board of Trustees of The Nature Conservancy-Kentucky Chapter.

He spoke specifically about the need to think about the resilience of interconnected ecological, social and institutional systems, making a case for the importance of equity or justice, participatory governance and laws addressing health-environment interconnections.

The Roundtable was co-sponsored by the Institute for Healthy Air, Water, and Soil and by the Louisville Sustainability Council.
Other participants from Brandeis and the University of Louisville included:

  • Tom FitzGerald, Executive Director of the Kentucky Resources Council and an adjunct in environmental and energy law at the Brandeis School of Law for the past 27 years.
  • Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar of UofL’s Institute of Molecular Cardiology
  • Dr. Mahendra Sunkara, Director of the University of Louisville's Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, also participated in the Health and the Environment Roundtable.
Photo by Al Cross, Kentucky Health News.