Student News

Black History Month Celebration

The LBA invites you to celebrate Black History Month at the Bar Center on Thursday, February 24.  This year's celebration will begin at 3:30 p.m. with a screening of the film "Uncommon Vision: The Life and Times of John Howard Griffin," followed by a Q&A session with critically acclaimed filmmaker, Morgan Atkinson.

The celebration continues at 5 p.m. with a reception and awards ceremony honoring the winners of Central High School's Justice William E. McAnulty Jr. Essay Contest and presentation of the LBA Diversity Scholarship and Justice William E. McAnulty Jr. Trailblazer Award.

Both the program and reception are free and open to the public. Click here for more information or contact Marisa Motley by calling (502) 583-5314 or email mmotley@loubar.org
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Weekly Academic Success Tip - Have YOU Started Outlining Yet?

When created correctly, an outline will become your primary, and possibly only, study aid for exams.  While law students create outlines in order to have an aid from which to study, it is through the process of creating an outline that you actually learn the law.  Because outlining is a process that continues throughout the year, you need to begin at some point during the first month of classes.  Why?  If you wait to work on your outlines until the end of the semester, it is unlikely that you will have enough time to complete them prior to exams. Listen to your professors and to your colleagues that received A’s and B’s last semester - start your outlines now!  Here are some tips to keep in mind as you work on your outlines for each course.

  • View your outline as your master document for studying.  Your notes and briefs go “on the shelf” once you have outlined a section.  Your casebook is no longer your focus for completed sections.
  • Make sure your outline takes a “top down” approach.  The outline should encompass the overview of the course rather than “everything said or read” during the semester.  Main essentials include:  rules, definitions of elements, hypos of when the rule/element is met and not met, policy, arguments that can be used, and/or reasoning that courts use. 
  • Cases are usually mere vehicles for information unless they are “big” cases.  Cases generally convey the main essentials that you need for your outline and are not the focus. 
  • Condense before you outline.  If you include “everything said or read” in your outline, you will need to condense in stages to get to the main essentials that you actually need for the exam.  If you condense before you outline a section, you will save time later.
  • Use visuals when appropriate.  If you learn visually, then avoid a thousand words by using a diagram, table, flowchart, or other visual presentation for the same information. 
  • Review your outline regularly.  You want to be learning your outline as well as writing it.  The world’s best outline will not help you if you do not have time to learn it before the exam.
  • Condense your outline to one piece of paper as a checklist.  A checklist includes only the topics and sub-topics.  Use acronyms tied to funny stories to help you remember the checklist.  Write the checklist on scrap paper once the exam begins.  For an open-book exam, the checklist should start your outline.
  • If you read and prepare for your classes one or two days in advance, your Thursdays and Fridays should be open to work on your outlines – no excuses!

Public Service Opportunity - More Witnesses Needed Feb 18 and Feb 19

Do you need to satisfy your law school public service hours?   Are you interested in mock trial and want to observe some of the best student trial advocates in our region?  Do you want to apply to be a member of the Moot Court Board?  If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, please sign up to be a witness for the Region 7 National Trial Competition on Friday, February 18 and/or Saturday, February 19. 

If you volunteer to be a witness, you will have a copy of your deposition emailed to you in advance.  The preparation to play the witness during the competition should not take longer than 1 hour.  You must simply review your deposition (4 to 9 pages, depending on the witness) and know the facts in your deposition.

We need witnesses for the first three rounds of the competition.  See sign-up sheet attached.  If you have questions, please ask Brian Bennett or Kimberly Ballard.

The deadline to sign up to participate is FRIDAY, FEB 4.  This opportunity is open to 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls, and 4Ls.

*NOTE:  If you volunteer to play a witness role at the competition, you cannot also volunteer as a witness during the Law School's team practices before the competition.

 

Public Service Opportunity! Bailiffs needed for the National Trial Competition

The Moot Court Board is in need of several volunteer bailiffs for the National Trial Competition. Five bailiffs are needed for for Saturday the 19th. The hours of the competition are from 7:45am-5:30pm on the 19th.

1Ls interested in joining the Moot Court Board are highly encouraged to volunteer. This is a great opportunity to get a large chunk of your public service requirement fulfilled. Bailiff positions will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please email maosbo06@louisville.edu or marilynaosborn@gmail.com to sign up. 

Careers in Community Organizing for Social Justice

The Direct Action & Research Training (DART) Center will be on the U of L law campus on Monday, February 7 at 6:00pm in W303A in the Student Activities Center to discuss careers in the field of community organizing with students interested in empowering their communities and working for social change.

Please RSVP if you are interested by contacting Hannah Wittmer by calling 785.841.2680 with your name, phone #, email address and school.

After years of research into best practices, experimentation, evaluation, and refinement, the Organizers Institute has become THE elite field school in the training of grassroots community organizers in the country.

DART is now accepting applications for the 2011 DART Organizers Institute, the paid, four-month field school for people interested in launching a career in community organizing. Participants will undergo a combined classroom and field training covering such topics as:
  • Entering a community
  • Identifying and training local leaders
  • Strategic planning and issue cutting
  • Relationship and community building
  • Direct Action on community issues
  • Fundraising
The DART Center, has built coalitions throughout the country that have won important victories on a broad set of justice issues including:
  • Education reform in low-performing public schools
  • Job Training
  • Drugs and Violence
  • Criminal Recidivism
  • Living Wage
  • Neighborhood Revitalization
  • Predatory Lending
  • Affordable Housing, etc.
The DART Organizers Institute combines a 7-day classroom orientation with 15 weeks of infield training at a local grassroots organization and in-field training site.  Organizer Trainees are provided with a cost of living stipend and travel.  Room, board, and tuition will also be paid by DART during the seven-day classroom training.  After successful completion of the program, DART will place graduates into permanent full-time salaried positions earning $30,000-$35,000/year + benefits.  DART is a 501(c)(3) organization, therefore, employees of the DART Network are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness under the recently enacted College Cost Reduction and Access Act.

The 7-day classroom orientation and 15-week infield training start in July 2011. Training locations will include placements in several states around the country.

Although it may be helpful, no direct experience is necessary. Organizer Trainees (OTs) hired to participate in the DART Organizers Institute must demonstrate a desire to pursue community organizing as a long-term professional career. A master's degree, JD, or similar life experience is preferred though not necessary. Candidates must have a college degree or be graduating prior to July 2011. Also, candidates must display a workmanlike diligence, be driven to produce sustained results, have proven capacity to build relationships of trust, create and execute a plan, act professionally, feel comfortable working with religious institutions, be accountable and willing to hold others accountable, demonstrate disciplined thought and action, and work in a team setting.  OTs must also have access to a car during their training and be flexible regarding relocation. Fluency in Spanish/English is a plus and people of color are encouraged to apply.

Low-moderate income communities across the country are feeling the bite of the recession that began in December 2007. Cutbacks in human services and education, layoffs and persistent unemployment, home foreclosures, increased youth violence, predatory lending, and other serious issues are day-to-day realities for many. Now is the time for a new generation of community organizers to step up, unite people, and transform our communities. DART is recruiting and training that new generation.

To find out more about DART or to apply, we encourage you to contact Hannah Wittmer at  (785) 841-2680. You can download applications or view profiles from previous OTs at the DART website.  

SBA January Student of the Month

Congratulations to Seth Slone, January's Student of the Month.  Seth was
nominated by his peers and selected by the Student Bar Association to be
recognized for his contributions as a proactive member of the Law
School. 

 If you would like to nominate a student for Student of the
Month, you can submit a nomination at
http://www.law.louisville.edu/students/sba/forms/student-of-the-month.

Congratulations again to Seth. You will find gifts from the Student Bar
Association in your student mailbox and you will be featured on the
Student Bar Association's board in the lower level of the Law School.

Witnesses Needed ASAP

The National Mock Trial team is in need of three witnesses for this Thursday, January 27 at 6pm in Room 071.  If you are already a witness for the National Trial Competition, then you cannot also be a witness for the team.  Please contact Stephanie Loper ASAP at stephanie.loper@yahoo.com if you are available.

Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy

Professor Judith Welch Wegner of the University of North Carolina Law School will present the Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy on "Annexation, Urban Boundaries and Land Use Dilemmas: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future" Thursday, January 27 at 6PM in Room 275.

The event is free and open to the public, as well as all members of the Law School and University communities.  No RSVP is required.  A reception will follow.

 

SELS Meeting

The Sports and Entertainment Law Society will conduct its next meeting on Wednesday, February 2 at 12:00 Noon in Room 275.

They will discuss the Super Bowl party, public service, and upcoming speakers.

Spotlight on Louisville Law Clinic

In the midst of a court fight with his landlord over an eviction notice, Tom Rankin asked
Jefferson District Court Judge Donald Armstrong if he needed a lawyer.

“It wouldn't hurt,” the judge responded, and on heir way out of the courtroom, Rankin was
approached by a representative of Legal Aid, which provides free legal help to people of
limited income, who said she could refer them to an attorney.

Well, he wasn't actually an “attorney,” officially speaking.

The Rankins were referred to the University of Louisville Law Clinic, where they met with Blake Nolan, a third-year law student, one of eight allowed to practice law last semester at the clinic on Muhammad Ali Boulevard, gaining experience while reaching out to an underserved population.

Nolan had never handled an eviction case, “But he was good,” Rankin said, and worked out an agreement with the landlord that led to the case being dismissed.

“He knew what he was doing,” Rankin said. “I was really impressed with the way he handled everything. … I really don't think I could have done it without him.”

Nolan was participating in a program launched in July 2009 that so far has allowed 25 U of L law students to help nearly 300 clients at no charge in Jefferson County Family and District courts — including 187 victims of domestic violence and their children seeking protective orders.

And the clinic is growing, with a record 15 students enrolled for the semester that began this month.

The clinic is primarily funded by gifts to the university and if the students take the clinic as a course, it is part of their law school tuition and fees. They must have at least 60 credit hours to sign up for the clinic, and receive four credits for their participation. They are able to work as practicing student attorneys through a limited license granted by the Kentucky Supreme Court, and only with supervision. In October, the Center for Women and Families, the Legal Aid Society and Law Clinic received a combined $438,000 in grant money to represent victims of domestic violence, allowing, in part, the funding of four more student attorneys and an additional part-time attorney to supervise them.

Shelley Santry, a U of L law professor and former prosecutor who heads the clinic, said the student attorneys funded by the new grant –— the clinic's share is $110,000 — will focus on custody cases for unmarried, low-income victims of domestic violence.

Many of those victims are unable to afford an attorney, and “No one does those kind of cases pro bono now,” she said. “Custody disputes are difficult, time consuming and often emotional.”

Santry said many schools across the country have long had similar clinics, which allow students who have had two years of learning through courses to “apply what they have learned to real people with real problems.”

“Our nurses,doctors and teachers all practice before they go into the real world,” she said. “Our lawyers don't. They graduate and they're like, ‘Where's the courthouse?' You just can't beat learning by doing in my opinion.”

Nolan, who has handled about 10 cases and will be back this semester at the clinic, agreed. “There's nothing better than getting some real world experience in a courtroom and in front of a judge,” he said.

It's also nice to be able to help people in need, said Julie Purcell, a 25-year-old rdthird-year student from Louisville who in December helped an elderly woman who was being evicted because the rent money she had given to a family member never made it to her landlord.

“It's just awesome,” said Purcell, who has handled about 20 cases, and was able to have the case dismissed, got Adult Protective Services involved and saw the woman moved into new housing.“We're able to learn so much, but at the same time provide a service to people that otherwise wouldn't get it.”

Chief Family Court Judge Patricia Walker FitzGerald said she regularly sees the student attorneys in her courtroom, usually in domestic-violence cases, and has found them to be well-prepared, asking good questions and “doing an excellent job” in often difficult cases.

“They've really stepped up to the plate to do a much needed service,” she said.

And alumni of the program are turning up as prosecutors and public defenders, and several have opened their own firms.

“Most people will graduate without ever having been in a real courtroom in front of a judge,” said Heend Sheth, who graduated in May and is a prosecutor with the Jefferson County Attorney's Office. “… And at the end of the day, you are helping people. You really do get to see your skills manifest in someone else's changed circumstances.”

Reporter Jason Riley can be reached at (502) 584-2197.

Reprinted with permission.

Source: "Louisville law students gain experience, help underserved through free clinic", by Jason Riley (Courier-Journal, January 23, 2011)