Alumni News

Law School Adopts Strategic Plan

At its April 15 Faculty Meeting, the law school faculty passed its Strategic Plan.  This process began a year ago with the formation of a committee of faculty, staff, and students  and input and advice from a very diverse advisory committee of regional alumni, lawyers, and lawyers practicing in other professions was formed to give feedback to the strategic planning process.   The Strategic Plan is a result of 18 committee meetings, several faculty and staff discussions, student forums, and discussions with the advisory committee, alums, members of the legal profession, and members of the university community.  My thanks to all who provided input into this thoughtful and comprehensive process. A special thanks to the committee and the co-chairs Laura Rothstein and Tony Arnold!!


The need for a major strategic planning process was a result of several factors.   These include the significant forces of change affecting legal education, the legal profession, and higher education, which require that the Law School change some aspects of what it is doing if it wishes to meet current and future needs and demands. Among these forces are market forces within legal education and the legal profession, the increasing recognition of the importance of development of professional skills, and changes in public funding of higher education and other resource challenges. The plan is neither a complete rejection of all existing structures and functions nor is it only an incremental change. During the Strategic Planning Process, there was close monitoring of ongoing developments within legal education and the legal profession nationally.  This was also an opportunity for the law school to re-examine its research mission.  The goal was to be a proactive approach resulting in a plan that was flexible and allowed for changes.  It contemplates a continuing role of a Strategic Planning Committee that will review and analyze actions in areas that align with the University of Louisville 2020 Plan and the law school's own mission. 


The following is the mission statement that is a revision of the previous mission statement.  This better reflects the current and dynamic goals of the law school.

Law School Mission

The University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law is a premiere small public law school with a mission to serve the public. Located in the Louisville urban community, it is part of a large comprehensive research university with a state legislative mandate to be a nationally preeminent metropolitan research university. The Law School is guided by the vision of its benefactor and namesake, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, to:

1. Educate students in skills, knowledge, and values for lifelong effectiveness in solving problems and seeking justice by giving them outstanding opportunities to:

  • Develop knowledge of the basic principles of public and private law;
  • Develop effective skills of legal analysis and written communication, legal research, conflict resolution, problem solving, and other fundamental skills;
  • Understand diverse perspectives that influence and are influenced by the law and its institutions, through a diverse faculty and student body, and through legal research and scholarship;
  • Understand their ethical responsibilities as representatives of clients, as officers of the court, and as public citizens responsible for the quality and availability of justice;

2. Produce and support research that has a high level of impact on scholarship, law, public policy, and/or social institutions;

3. Develop and pursue interdisciplinary inquiry;

4. Actively engage the community in addressing public problems, resolving conflicts, seeking justice, and building a vibrant and sustainable future through high-quality research and innovative ideas, and application of research to solve public problems and serve the public;

5. Actively engage diverse participants in an academic community of students, faculty, and staff that is strengthened by its diversity and its commitment to social justice, opportunity, sustainability, and mutual respect; and

6. Develop and use resources efficiently, effectively, and sustainably to achieve mission-critical goals and strategies and to ensure student access to relatively affordable legal education.


The plan includes a revised mission statement and sets out Goals and a detailed set of Strategies in the following areas

Education and Curriculum:  In keeping with the mission of a comprehensive public research university in an urban environment, ensure that students develop skills, knowledge, and values for lifelong effectiveness in solving problems and seeking justice.

Research: Produce and support research and scholarship that have a high level of impact on scholarship (i.e., the academic body of knowledge and ideas), law, public policy, and/or social institutions. High-impact scholarship includes a diverse range of scholarship and diverse measures of impact. Impact is achieved collectively as an academic unit of scholars, as well as individually over a period of years. Most scholarly impact is not ascertainable immediately upon publication.

Interdisciplinary Inquiry: Develop a strong program of interdisciplinary education, scholarship, and service.

Community Engagement: Actively engage the community in addressing public problems, resolving conflicts, seeking justice, and building a vibrant and sustainable future through high-quality research, innovative ideas, and application of research to solve public problems and serve the public.

Diversity:  The Law School will actively engage diverse participants in an academic community that is strengthened by its diversity and its commitment to social justice, opportunity, sustainability, and mutual respect.

Resources: Increase resources, including developing new sources of funding, that enable the Law School to fulfill the critical aspects of its mission and to achieve its goals and strategies, while also adhering to the Law School's long-standing commitment to students' access to a relatively affordable J.D. program. Use resources efficiently, effectively, and sustainably to maximize outcomes for resources expended, including setting priorities for the use of limited funding, time, effort, and expertise.  Promote sustainability in the Law School community and environment, and build partnerships with the University and broader community to seek sustainability.


The next step will be for the Strategic Planning Committee to develop specific steps (we identified 92 strategies) that should be taken to implement the plan. 


Professor McNeal Delivered the Keynote Address at Harvard Law School Conference

Professor Laura McNeal was invited to give the keynote address at Harvard Law School on April 15 for the "40 Years After Milliken: Remedying Racial Disparities in Post-Racial Society Conference." Professor McNeal's talk, "From Hollow Hope to New Beginnings: Achieving Educational Equity in the Post-Milliken Era," will critique a series of landmark Supreme Court cases to illustrate how the Court's color-blind rhetoric has undermined efforts to achieve substantive equality in K-12 education. Professor McNeal will also be participating in a panel discussion on the barriers to equal education opportunity in the Post-Fischer era.

Course Schedules for Fall 2014 and Spring 2015

The course schedules for Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 are posted on the Law School webpage under “Academics” at “Resources.”  These schedules are tentative and may change prior to registration.  Check the webpage for the most current schedule.  Contact Associate Dean Nowka if you have any questions.


Professor Trucios-Haynes to Speak at the Civil Rights CLE this Friday

The LBA's new Human Rights Section was formed with a focus on immigration, civil rights (race, LGBTQ, women), international law and human trafficking. Their second seminar on Civil Rights and the Federal Court 50 Years Later will be held this Friday, March 7. Professor Trucios-Haynes will guide attendees though the right to counsel in international law, specifically the Avena case, a recent SCOTUS decision.

Student registration is just $15. Call the LBA to register for the CLE (502) 583-5314 or visit the Louisville Bar Association.


Reflections of The Mighty Walk

Stephen T. Porter's picture

In "The Mighty Walk" (Liberty Magazine, May/June 2013), 2013 Alumni Fellow, Stephen T. Porter, '68, reflects upon the  events that led to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s visit to the law school on March 30, 1967.

While on a break from classes at Duke University, he joined thousands of protesters at that monumentous rally in Montgomery, Alabama on March 25, 1965. It was there that he bonded with six young African-American college students who gathered together to hear the great orator speak. Just two years later, the legendary civil rights leader accepted the invitation of Mr. Porter and his classmates to speak at the law school.

The march into the city was on streets lined by locals taunting and cursing with racial epithets, but the crowd of marchers dominated the city that day and made its presence felt not only to the local populace and state leaders but also to the nation as a whole. The national press decided to cover this whole event (some claimed it was only because a White minister had been killed). More than 25,000 marchers heard the speakers ask for the right to vote for all citizens of Alabama. Best known of those speeches was certainly the one by Martin Luther King, sometimes referred to as the “How Long, Not Long” or the “Our God Is Marching On” speech.

Visit Liberty Magazine to read the full story.

The public is invited to view several of the rare photos included in the story at a free event on Friday, February 28 to celebrate Black History Month. The Martin Luther King Jr. Photo Dedication & Graduates of Color Reunion will begin at 5:30 PM in the Allen Courtroom.

Law Librarian, Robin Harris, was recently interviewed about the special collection by WFPL News in their report, "University of Louisville to Unveil Never-Before Seen Martin Luther King Jr. Photos". She also participated in a video produced by UofL's Office of Communications & Media, "UofL Remembers MLK visit", that includes testimonials of students who were in attendance on that historic day. 

There's a New Face at the Law School

Camilo M. Ortiz's picture

Meet Camilo Ortiz.  Camilo joined Brandeis School of Law as an Admissions Counselor in January 2014. He received his B.A. in Liberal Studies from University of California, Riverside and his J.D. from Seattle University School of Law.   His primary duty is recruitment, with an emphasis on underrepresented groups and pipeline programs.

Stop by the Admissions Office and introduce yourself. 

Professor Powell to Receive Trailblazer Award Today

Celebrate Black History Month with the LBA.  Today at 4 p.m., as we celebrate Black History Month, Professor Cedric Merllin Powell will receive the 2014 Justice William E. McAnulty, Jr. Trailblazer Award.

Dr. Tracy K’Meyer, chair of the Department of History at the University of Louisville, will recount the long and multifaceted struggle for school desegregation in Louisville. Dr. K'Meyer is the author of From Brown to Meredith: The Long Struggle for School Desegregation in Louisville, Kentucky.

A reception to honor Professor Powell will begin at 5 p.m. following the program.

IT Staff Assisting with KY Bar Exam

The IT staff will be out of the office from about 3:00 p.m. Monday, February 24, through the entire day Tuesday, February 25, 2014, to assist with computer administration of the Kentucky Bar Exam in Lexington.

Since February 2008, the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions has used Extegrity's Exam4 for the Kentucky and Multistate Essay Exams.


Good luck to our graduates taking the Bar Exam!

The Law School’s Business Law Society Announces its First Legal Memo Contest

The Business Law Society at the University of Louisville-Brandeis School of Law is pleased to announce its first Memo Writing Contest.  Due to the generous sponsorship of a local law office in Louisville (Richard Breen Law Offices, owned by a Brandeis alumnus, Richard Breen), participants in the contest are capable of winning up to $2,000 in prize money for composing a comprehensive memorandum of law on a real case, for a real client, dealing with real legal issues. The runner-up will win $1,000. The deadline to enter a memo is March 15, 2014

Those interested in participating must first become a Business Law Society member (if you are not one already) and read and agree to the contest rules (found on TWEN under “BLS Legal Memo Contest”). You may become a member by paying $10 to Jessica Wilkett, the Business Law Society President. A copy of the memo issues and a statement of facts are also located on the TWEN site. If you have any questions about the contest, please contact Jessica Wilkett at

This contest is one of many efforts made by the Business Law Society to expose students to the real-world practice of law and to help them secure employment upon graduation. In the past, the Business Law Society has organized career panels and hosted guest speakers to highlight the different career paths available within “business law.” The Memo Writing Contest in particular was designed to encourage networking among current law students and graduates, and to provide another opportunity for students to showcase their legal writing and research skills. The contest is also a great chance to prove to a (potentially) future employer that the law school produces top-notch students equipped with essential legal skills. Current students should seize this opportunity to display their skills to colleagues, the law school, and the community.

3L Law Student Sets Example for Adult Learners

Lisa Matthews, a third-year student preparing to graduate this May, is included in an article about adult learners in this month’s Kentucky Life Magazine. At 55, Lisa is setting an example for adults who return to college to complete their undergraduate degrees.  After receiving her degree from the University of Louisville, Lisa went on to apply for law school and is now a few months from earning her Juris Doctor degree. You can read more about Lisa in the article “Graduating in Overtime.”