Staff News

Law School Closed Monday, January 6

Due to severe weather, offices will be closed and classes canceled on Monday, January 6, 2014.

 

Building Closed December 17

The Law School and Law Library will be closed Tuesday, December 17, due to off-site training for faculty and staff.  We will re-open December 18 and will close for the holidays December 24 through January 1, 2014.

 

Donate to the Law Library

To become a premier metropolitan research university, the University of Louisville has initiated a bold campaign to raise an unprecedented $1 Billion in private support by 2013. You may now designate your Fund for UofL gift to the school, college or library of your choice. Your tax-deductible gift benefits the area you choose and counts toward the Charting Our Course: The Campaign for Kentucky's Premier Metropolitan Research University.

Contributors may now support the University and the Law School by donating to the Law Library. Your gift will be used to buy books, furnishings, or equipment that will directly benefit students, faculty, and other patrons.

  1. Complete the Charting Our Course: Fund for UofL online giving form.
  2. Under Designations, check Other and enter "Law Library Gift Fund."

Your gift is very much appreciated!


Bob Heleringer on David J. Leibson in Courier-Journal

David Leibson's UofL Law Retirement Leaves Void

 

Please note: Grace M. Giesel is the Bernard Flexner Professor of Law – not Professor Leibson – as the article states.

Professor Leibson Shares Parting Thoughts About His Time at the Law School, Retirement

Professor David J. Leibson wanted to pursue a teaching career from a young age. But even he could not have envisioned what was to follow and what he would accomplish during a 40-plus-year distinguished tenure at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law—the law school from which he graduated first in his class in 1969. 

“If someone would’ve told me in law school that I would end up being a so-called expert on the Uniform Commercial Code, I would’ve told them that they were crazy,” Leibson said. “That’s why I tell my students to never rule out anything as an opportunity.”

After Leibson was encouraged to become a teacher by his mentor and professor Bob Birkby while an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University, Leibson’s opportunity to finally enter academia arrived in 1971. Former Dean of UofL’s law school James Merritt unexpectedly called Leibson, then an associate handling mostly personal injury cases at Leibson & Franklin, PSC, to become a part-time professor; however, rather than teaching a subject for which he already had a strong interest, like Torts or Evidence, he would be teaching a Secured Transactions class.

As it turned out, Leibson enjoyed teaching the class and eventually parlayed his part-time position into a full-time teaching position for the 1972–73 academic year. Within ten years, Leibson, previously unmoved by the wonders of the UCC, was approached by a publisher to author what would later become the first edition of The Uniform Commercial Code of Kentucky. The project was too massive for one person to handle so he recruited a rookie law professor at the time, Richard Nowka—the current Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs Professor of Law—to help pen the work.
 
“We wrote that book more than 30 years ago and that’s way too long for my recollection of highlights,” said Nowka, one of Leibson’s friends and colleagues on the faculty. “But I do recall how grateful I was that he asked me, a first-year teacher, to be a co-author with him on a book.” 

The book was well-received by the bench, bar, and Leibson’s students, who represent the part of his job that Leibson will miss the most.

“I will definitely miss the intellectual challenge of the classroom because I know our students here are as intelligent and creative as anywhere else.” said Leibson, whose oft-quoted saying “What would your mother say?” reminded his students and challenged them to focus not only on the subtleties of precise statutory language, but also to look at the common sense behind Code provisions.

Leibson’s dedication to his students prompted, in part, his decision to retire. He did not want to transform, as he witnessed with some of his peers, into a shell of his former self, unable to muster the same level of passion and enthusiasm that he expects to bring to the classroom. 

Aside from the Code classes he teaches, Leibson, an avid reader, is extremely passionate and enthusiastic about his Law & Literature Seminar, which he said would now be the one class that could sway him into getting that itch to return from retirement.
 
Third-year law student Michael Atkinson, enrolled in Leibson’s Negotiable Instruments and Law & Literature classes this semester, spoke particularly highly of the seminar: “There was one class where [Professor Leibson] made a suggestion based on one of our readings, and I disagreed with the merits of his suggestion, but he didn't shoot me down; rather, he respected my opinion and contributions to the discussion. The class, and the way he conducted it, was truly a model for civil discourse.”

Leibson said that his teaching methodology is driven by the way students are responding in the class and that he learned, over time, not to judge students too quickly, as each person thrives and learns differently depending on the circumstances. Despite the progressive integration of technology and distance learning in higher education, Leibson prefers face-to-face discussions with his students—whether to assist in understanding the material or simply getting to find out a little bit more about who they are. 

Now, one topic of discussion is what Leibson will do in his retirement. Expecting to be unable to decide exactly what to do for at least the first six months, Leibson and his wife, Phyllis, will likely devote some time to their love of traveling; with Leibson having previously served as a visiting Professor of Law at the University of Western Sydney, Australia is one of the couple’s favorite destinations.

Restoring his (once-impressive) handicap on the links to respectability and finally being able to delve into the stack of books by his bed are also on the to-do list for the professor when he leaves his post at the law school after finals (and his celebratory roast and retirement party!) are over.  

For as much knowledge as Leibson has imparted upon his pupils throughout the years, he maintains that they returned the favor on a daily basis.

“After all this time, you learn a lot about life and your work, not only because of yourself, but from the students themselves,” Leibson said.  

Congratulations to Emily Harris and to Owen Lee Wilson

Congratulations to Emily Harris and to Owen Lee Wilson who were recently selected to represent the Law School as the 2014 Tax Moot Court Team.  The competition includes brief writing (due by 14 January 2014) and oral argument rounds starting Thursday, 6 February 1014, through Saturday, 8 February 2014, in Clearwater Beach, Florida.   Teams from about nineteen law schools will compete.  During all phases of the competition, teams are identified by number, not by their law school.  Separate awards will be given for brief writing and for oral argument. The team is coached by Professor Blackburn, Adjunct Professor Mark Hahn, and Laurie Beth McTighe, a member of the 2013 Tax Moot Court Team.

Imminent Change to ulsecure Wireless Network

From University IT, "Friday evening, November 29th, at approximately 10 p.m., IT will update UofL's wireless security certificate. This means you will need to accept the new certificate the next time you log on to the ulsecure wireless network."

Please visit http://louisville.edu/it/departments/communications/wireless/new-wireless-certificate-information-page for pertinent information and helpful screenshots.

Staff Honored for Outstanding Performance

On November 18, Rebecca Wenning, administrative associate at the Brandeis School of Law, received an Outstanding Performance Award for staff.  She was presented with a plaque and a check for $1,000 from President Ramsey and Provost Willihnganz at a reception at Amelia Place.

Wenning provides administrative support for the law school’s faculty, deans, staff and students. In that role, she supervises one employee and a research assistant in daily operations to provide exceptional customer service, produce accurate materials and effectively meet desired timelines. Wenning is the quintessential team player and always is willing to take on additional tasks that are not part of her job duties. She makes time to volunteer and is heavily involved in the UofL Cares campaign as well as Lawlapalooza, the legal community's annual “Battle of the Bands” fundraiser, and other events at the law school. Wenning always looks for ways to improve not only her skills but also the law school.

Simone Beach, Assistant Director of the Law Clinic, was one of three staff members who received an honorable mention.

Brandeis School of Law Hosts the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition

Forty competitors from law schools throughout the South and Midwest traveled to Louisville the weekend of November 9–10 to compete in an ABA Regional Negotiation Competition, hosted by the Brandeis School of Law.

Tulane University School of Law boasted the best results, as Team L from its law school took home first place, while Team F from Tulane finished in fourth place. Team J from Cumberland Law School at Samford University and Team D from the University of Mississippi College of Law finished in second and third place, respectively.

“I will say that the competitors always impress me in that they have developed relatively effective negotiation skills quickly. They usually only have three to four weeks to prepare for the regionals,” said UofL Law Professor and the Boehl Chair in Property and Land Use Tony Arnold, who served as the Regional Competition Administrator, the main organizer and administrator of the competition at the Brandeis School of Law. “But I always see negotiating methods that any good negotiator would emulate.”

According to the American Bar Association, the competition aims to showcase the legal negotiations skills of participating law students, who, acting as lawyers, negotiate a series of legal problems. The simulations consist of a common set of facts known by all participants and confidential information known only to the participants representing a particular side.

Fifty-five judges, composed of alumni, members of the legal community, and non-lawyer negotiators from the Louisville community dedicated their time and aided the competitors in their pursuit of practical professional skills development by giving feedback.

Arnold cited this reason as one of the most important benefits of the law school being able to serve as host for this competition, in addition to the opportunity for highlighting the strength of the negotiation program at the Brandeis School of Law, which has experienced success on the national stage in recent years, as well as sharing the beauty and rich history of a law school with former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ presence so clearly felt around the building.  

Other regional competition hosts this year included William & Mary Law School, Emory University School of Law, the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and the William Mitchell College of Law, where UofL’s two negotiation teams competed so as to avoid any perceived bias that may have resulted with a panel of judges from Louisville. The team of Ryan Ballard and Jeff Hellman placed 6th overall, while the team of Emily Peeler and Patrick Markey placed 9th overall, out of 24 teams. UofL Adjunct Professor Mary Jo Gleason was the coach, and Alex Russell was the alternate and student coach. 

The first place team from each regional competition, of which there are ten, will advance to the National Finals, which are scheduled for Feb. 7–8 in Chicago. Additional invitations will be extended to teams to create a multiple of four.

“All the students who participate as competitors each year, or even as alternates and student assistant coaches, benefit greatly in the development of their negotiation skills, regardless of whether they advance to nationals,” Arnold said. “It's a really great skills competition, and I'm glad that [the Brandeis School of Law] participate[s] regularly.”

Faculty Member and Student Present on Aging and Society

On November 9, 2013 Professor Jim Jones and 3L student Elizabeth Richardson presented at the International Conference on Aging and Society. They spoke about the effects of mental health care laws and policies on baby boomers and ensuring adequate mental health care.