Faculty 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.

Brandeis Medal Events

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the following events honoring this year's Brandeis Medal recipient, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Eugene Robinson, on April 9.

10:30-11 AM: Welcome & Wreath Laying on the portico at the law school's entrance

1-2:20 PM: Open Forum with Eugene Robinson and Enid Trucios-Haynes in Room 275

All members of the law school community are also welcome. 

Central High School Law and Government Magnet Program Dedicate New Courtroom/Classroom

The Law and Government Magnet program was established at Central High School in 1986.  Partnerships with the Louisville Bar Association (beginning in 1992) and the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law (beginning in 2001) have built on the success of the program.  Students in the program now serve in summer internships facilitated by the LBA and are taught substantive law and writing skills related to law by law students from the Brandeis School of Law.  In recognition of the success of the program, the Jefferson County Public School System has renovated the law and government magnet classroom to create a courtroom.  The new configuration allows students to practice courtroom skills and to apply what they are learning in that setting. 

Pictured at right are: Professor Laura Rothstein, JCPS Board President Diana Porter, JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens; Central High School Principal Dan Withers, Law Magnet Teacher Joe Gutmann, and Assistant Superintendent Lynn Wheat.

The classroom was dedicated on March 25, 2014, at Central High School. The dedication event included recognition of educators, alumni, and partners by Joe Gutmann (Law & Government teacher at Central), comments by Professor Laura Rothstein about the law school’s partnership, and a Keynote Address by Fred Moore, a 2005 graduate of the Central Law Magnet program, who is now an attorney in the Louisville-Metro Public Defenders Office.  JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens cut the ribbon at the event.  Others joining her for that honor were JCPS School Board President Diana Porter, JCPS Assistant Superindent Lynn Wheat, and Professor Laura Rothstein.  Dean Susan Duncan and several students from the law school joined the celebration.

Learn more by downloading the Central High School Partnership brochure.

 

SSRN Legal Studies Research Paper Series, Vol 8, No 2

Women & the Law is the theme for the latest issue of our SSRN Research Paper series, which features publications from Professors Abrams, Fischer, Jordan, and Rothstein.

    More information about the RPS:

    2014 Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy

    Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy
    The University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law
    "The Public Trust Doctrine: Our Inherent and Inalienable Property Right"
    Professor Mary Christina Wood, Philip H. Knight Professor of Law
    Faculty Director, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center
    University of Oregon
    Thursday, April 10, 2014
    6:00 p.m.
    Room 275, Brandeis School of Law, University of Louisville
    Reception Immediately Following Outside Room 275
    Open to the public (no RSVP needed).

    Mary Christina Wood is the Philip H. Knight Professor of Law and Faculty Director for the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at the University of Oregon. Professor Wood’s primary scholarly and teaching interests focus on natural resources law, climate change, property law, native law, and the environment. Her innovative sovereign trust approach to global climate policy is reshaping how we think about the environment and has been the foundation of atmospheric trust litigation brought on behalf of children nationwide and worldwide. Her most recent landmark work on the subject is Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

    The Boehl Distinguished Lecture Series in Land Use Policy is one of several law and policy initiatives in land use and environmental responsibility at the University of Louisville, and is supported by the Herbert Boehl Fund, the Kentucky Research Challenge Trust Fund, and the Center for Land Use & Environmental Responsibility.

    Winter Bar Publications

    The March 2014 issue of Louisville magazine features its annual "Top Lawyers" report. Several of the law school's graduates are listed among the honorees, beginning on page 60. Among those profiled include land use and zoning specialist Deborah A. Bilitski, '95 (page 61), criminal defense attorney Scott C. Cox, '85 (page 64), and social security and disability law attorney Alvin D. Wax, '71 (page 72). 2013 Alumni Fellow, Stephen Porter, is also profiled in "Counsel for Yesteryear" on page 55.

    Here are some more highlights:

    • "What is your favorite courtroom movie?" (page 8)
    • "Thomson Smillie 1942-2014" by Keith L. Runyon, '82 (page 109)

    Tax & Finance Law is the theme of the March 2014 Bar Briefs issue.

    Here are some highlights:

    • "UofL Highlights the Importance of Tax and Finance Law" by Dean Susan Duncan (page 6)
    • "Historically High Estate Tax Exemption Shifts Attention Toward Income Taxes" by Nicholas A. Volk, '09 (page 7)
    • "Crisscross Law: Tax & Finance" by Sabine Kudmani Stovall, '09 (page 15)
    • "Requirements for Disinterment by Private Landowners" by Marlow P. Riedling, '11 (page 20)
    • "Members on the move" (page 23)

    Civil rights and diversity are the theme of the February 2014 Bar Briefs issue.

    Here are some highlights:

    • "Diversity Among Top Priorities at Brandeis" by Dean Susan Duncan (page 6)
    • "Bench & Bar Social" photo gallery (page 12)
    • "This Year's Honorees" (page 14)
    • "Crisscross Law" by Sabine Kudmani Stovall, '09 (page 21)
    • "Members on the move" (page 23)

    Legal Issues for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community is the theme of the January 2014 issue of Bench & Bar. The law school's column mentions Professors Laura Rothstein, Jamie Abrams, Sam Marcosson and how they're exploring LGBT issues in their curriculum. Greg Justis, 3L, is also cited for his paper, "Defining Union: The Defense of Marriage Act, Tribal Sovereignty and Same-Sex Marriage".

    Several Louisville alums are featured in "Who, What, When & Where" on page 43 and Thomas E. Schweitz's, '90, bio appears "In Memoriam" on page 52.

    Each publication is available in the law library.

    Central High School Law and Government Magnet Program to Dedicate New Courtroom/Classroom

    The Law and Government Magnet program was established at Central High School in 1986.  Partnerships with the Louisville Bar Association (beginning in 1992) and the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law (beginning in 2001) have built on the success of the program.  Students in the program now serve in summer internships facilitated by the LBA and are taught substantive law and writing skills related to law by law students from the Brandeis School of Law.  Central students have participated in national court competitions through the program and two students placed first and second nationally in 2011.  

    In recognition of the success of the program, the Jefferson County Public School System has renovated the law and government magnet classroom to create a moot court space.  The new configuration will allow students to practice courtroom skills and to apply what they are learning in that setting.  The classroom will be dedicated on March 25, 2014, at 11:00 am at Central High School.  Superintendent Donna Hargens will cut the ribbon at the event.  Fred Moore is the first Central student to participate in the program developed by the Brandeis School of Law to receive a law degree.  He is now an attorney in the Public Defender’s Office and he will deliver remarks on this special occasion.  

    Everyone who has been involved with the Central Partnership is encouraged to attend. 

    Trustees Award

    The Board of Trustees of the University of Louisville established The Trustees Award in 1989 to honor faculty who individually impact the future of our students.  (Note:  in the world you are but one person, but to one person you are the world.)  The award is intended to recognize faculty (full- or part-time; undergraduate, graduate, or professional; even groups of faculty) who have had, currently or in the past, an extraordinary impact on students.  The recipient will receive a $5,000 cash award and a commemorative plaque, which will be presented at University Commencement ceremonies in May, 2014. A plaque will also be placed in the Student Activities Center in honor of the recipient.  Members of the Board of Trustees provide the cash award through personal gifts to the University of Louisville Foundation, Inc.  The 2014 award will be announced prior to Commencement.  All faculty (with the exception of previous winners - Abramson and Arnold) are eligible to receive this award.  Nominations will be accepted from any member of the University community (faculty/students/staff/administrators/ Trustees) until March 18, 2014.

    The nomination must consist of the Nomination Form and letters of support outlining the nominee’s qualifications and contributions to the University community. The award form can be downloaded at http://www.louisville.edu/president/trustees/TrusteeAward.doc.

    Nominations should be submitted to The Trustees Award Committee, Board of Trustees, University of Louisville, 102 Grawemeyer Hall, Belknap Campus, Louisville, KY 40292.

    Brandeis Law School Team Wins Chicago Regional Transactional Competition

    UofL Louis D. Brandeis School of Law’s Transactional LawMeet team has won the Chicago Regional Round of the 2014 competition.  Team members Kiera Hollis (3L) and Michael McGee (3L) were coached by Professor Lisa Nicholson.  This victory came in just the second year of the Law School’s participation in this competition.  Unlike the typical law school moot court competition that focuses on litigation skills, the Transactional LawMeet Competition is designed to allow students who have an interest in corporate law-related matters to match skills and wits in drafting and negotiating transactional documents.

    During the course of the two-month Regional Competition, team members were tasked with drafting a Supplemental Indemnification Agreement (as well as providing a subsequent mark-up of opposing counsel's proposed Agreement) in connection with third-party intellectual property claims that arose on the eve of their client's execution of a Stock Purchase Agreement.  The law students also participated in two separate hours-long conference calls with their client to ensure that the resulting proposed document would meet the client's objectives.  The Regional Competition concluded on February 28, 2014, when the team met in Chicago, IL for two rounds of face-to-face negotiations against assigned teams of opposing counsels -- one from the University of Kansas -- where they successfully scored a 1st place ranking for their efforts in representing their client, NSPC.

    As a result, Kiera Hollis and Michael McGee will be participating in the National Rounds in New York, NY on April 4-5, 2014.  This is truly a spectacular feat in light of the fact that only 14 of the 84 participating teams advanced to the next round.  The National Rounds will be hosted by the law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.

    The UofL team also would like to extend congratulations to the University of Kansas team for advancing to the National Rounds as well.  See you in New York!