Legal scholar Arthur Miller will deliver the ASU Pedrick Lecture on Friday, March 28, 2014.

Legal scholar Arthur Miller will deliver the ASU Pedrick Lecture on Friday, March 28, 2014.

I can already see all of you non-civil litigators smirking. Well, banish the smirk, because the 75-year anniversary of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is a big deal.

Fortunately, the ASU Law School is prepared to honor it in style.

The school reports that scholar Arthur Miller will delivered the annual Pedrick Lecture, which is titled “Revisiting the Rules: Celebrating 75 years of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.”

The event will be on Friday, March 28, at 10 a.m. It will be followed by a panel discussion comprised of a great group of judges and attorneys.

More detail, including the complete list of speakers, is here.

The event is free but registration is requested. You can do that here.

It appears that I will be racing between three noteworthy events that day. So if you are attending some or all of the FRCP festivities at the law school and would like to write a guest blog post, contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org. Special consideration will be given to authors who salt their post with Rule-based references.

Some of this year's talented and fleet Bar Flys.

Some of this year’s talented and fleet Bar Flys.

I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted just thinking about all the running done by the State Bar of Arizona Bar Flys in the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. Whew. I may have to sit down.

Well, those of us who did not run sure appreciate those who did. The team was comprised of 76 lawyers, law students and other committed law professionals (or those who love them).

Rehydrating at Mile 14

Rehydrating at Mile 14

Team captain (and Senior Bar Counsel) David Sandweiss shared the news of the team’s success in the corporate categories of the marathon. That 76-person team led the category of “Corporate Medium Division.” (Yes, David concedes, the Bar was the only entity in the category this year. But he adds, “Be it known, however, that last year’s runner up in our division had only 46 runners so with history as precedent we’d have smoked them this year, too!” That’s the spirit!)

Bar staffer Katherine Jendrisak and her family

Bar staffer Katherine Jendrisak and her family

No news yet on the team’s pledging for the Sandra Day O’Connor law school, on behalf of the memory of Professor Joseph Feller and the scholarship in his name. I will follow up once I hear the tally.

Click here to see the list of all the corporate winners.

Randall Hutson

Randal Hutson

Congratulations again and thank you, Bar Flys, for all your hard work and for keeping those feet moving.

PF Chang's Marathon logo 2014

ASU hosts American Moot Court Tournament

Are you ready to pick up the gavel and give back to legal education at the same time? Does ASU Law School have a deal for you!

On January 17 and 18, the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law will host the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s national championship tournament. This is quite an impressive honor, and it will see undergraduates from all over the country traveling to Arizona to compete by mooting an issue in our Supreme Court.

That’s where you may come in. The law school is in need of JDs who are willing to volunteer as judges (I’ve been told they need about 250 total).

Hesitant? Well, the school is willing to sweeten the pot for those on the fence: If you sign up with a lawyer–friend, the organizers will aim to pair you together as a judging team.

Whaaat? A judging team? I don’t know about you, but nothing binds a friendship more than judging others. Come on out!

More detail is below. And to volunteer as a judge, sign up here.

ASU Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law logo“The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is proud to host the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s national championship tournament on January 17-18, 2014. 80 undergraduate teams from across the country will come to the law school to compete in this prestigious tournament to determine this year’s national champion.  The College of Law is excited to be this year’s competition host, and we hope that you will join us in making this a memorable experience for competitors.  Volunteer judging is a great way to contribute to the education and training of future legal professionals as well as showcase the strength and involvement of our local bar.”

The College of Law is looking for attorneys to volunteer as judges for the following times:

Friday, January 17:

  • 4:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • 5:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 18:

  • 8:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Bring a buddy—sign up to judge with a friend and we will pair you to judge oral arguments together.

If you would like to volunteer but the above scheduled time blocks do not match your availability, please contact Adam Almaraz at aalmaraz@asu.edu.

To volunteer as a judge, click here.

the n word

It may be in the darkest corners of our history—and ourselves—that we locate the self-awareness to make positive change.

That thought occurred to me when yesterday I came across a lecture at noon today that takes on the uncomfortable but vital topic of one of the most vile insults that can be uttered. Kudos to the ASU Law School for inviting a speaker to address “The N Word.”

The speaker is Neal Lester, an ASU Foundation Professor of English and the Director of Project Humanities—a surprising choice for a law school speaker, but an inspired one. Lester’s research and his experience as a literary scholar combine to bring to today’s lecture what I’m sure will be a nuanced and incisive commentary.

Here’s how the Law School describes the event:

 “The N-word is unique in American English usage. No other word is so charged with negative meaning and racial insult that its very use is deemed a hostile act, and it is routinely referred to by a well-understood euphemism—’the N-word’—rather than spoken or written explicitly. … This program will be moderated by Professor Myles Lynk of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. College of Law Professor James Weinstein will offer comments after Dr. Lester’s presentation.”

Whether or not you can attend today, you may enjoy a Q&A with Lester on the site Teaching Tolerance, where the scholar is described:

“Neal A. Lester, dean of humanities and former chair of the English department at Arizona State University, recognized that the complexity of the n-word’s evolution demanded greater critical attention. In 2008, he taught the first ever college-level class designed to explore the word ‘nigger’ (which will be referred to as the n-word). Lester said the subject fascinated him precisely because he didn’t understand its layered complexities.”

ASU Foundation Professor Neal Lester

ASU Foundation Professor Neal Lester

Coincidentally, it was another ASU Law School event that suggested to me that hard issues may often be best met at an angle rather than head-on. (Not an original idea. In The Rings of Saturn, the great German author W. G. Sebald pondered how to present his resistant countrymen some hard messages about its 20th-century genocidal history. He opted for a compelling and subtle stroll—plus commentary—through English towns. Your careful read is rewarded.)

Last fall, I attended a striking ASU debate between scholars over the nature of hate speech (it also included Professor James Weinstein). They pondered a question we Americans tend to think is a settled issue: Is it best to meet hate speech with regulation, or simply with more speech?

I wrote about the event here, and I still wonder whether our “more speech” antidote is a cure or just a placebo.

Meantime, someone I respect greatly pointed me to an arresting quotation of the poet Maya Angelou, which I leave you with:

“The plague of racism is insidious, entering into our minds as smoothly and quietly and invisibly as floating airborne microbes enter into our bodies to find lifelong purchase in our bloodstreams.”

If anyone attends today’s lecture and wants to write a blog post (with a cellphone photo or two), contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

asu bonn un climate change negotiations polar bear

The climate is changing, along with the increasing impressiveness of law students.

I recall law school as periods of intense work surrounding by longer stretches of incomprehensible reading, periodic nervous gazing at my checkbook register, and coffee. Much coffee.

So when I heard about another approach, I had to take notice.

This week and next, a group of ASU Law School students will be in Germany, where they will present their own research on climate change as it relates to the law and international agreements.

And while they’re doing this, they will blog.

ASU Professor Daniel Bodansky

ASU Professor Daniel Bodansky

Did I mention I was good at drinking coffee?

In any case, the students and their faculty members will be abroad from June 3 to June 14.

Here is how the law school’s own Janie Magruder describes the exploits of these talented people:

“A group of professors and students from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University will present their research on international legal regimes at a global climate change negotiation organized under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on June 3-14, in Bonn, Germany.”

“The law students—Daniel Crane, a May 2013 graduate, 3Ls Evan Singleton and Michael O’Boyle, and Ashley Votruba, a student in the J.D./Ph.D. Social Psychology program—will address participants on June 5. They will be accompanied by Professor Daniel Bodansky, the ASU Lincoln Professor of Law, Ethics, and Sustainability, and Daniel Rothenberg, a Professor of Practice in the ASU School of Politics and Global Studies, and the Lincoln Fellow for Ethics and International Human Rights Law.”

ASU Professor Daniel Rothenberg

ASU Professor Daniel Rothenberg

“The students’ work resulted from an independent research project this past spring, taught and supervised by Bodansky and Rothenberg, housed in the College of Law’s Center for Law and Global Affairs, and funded by the ASU Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics. They were chosen from 20 applicants for ‘The Future of Climate Change Negotiations Project,’ during which they learned about the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and other elements of the larger effort to use international law and regulations to address global climate change.”

Both of those professors are amazing scholars, so I’m sure the students are getting the learning experience of a lifetime.

Read more about the trip here.

And as I said, they’ll be posting on a blog throughout their time in Germany. Why don’t you bookmark their page to keep tabs on them. Who knows; they may even allow comments and questions (giving us all a pen pal abroad!).

Jeffrey Toobin at John Jay College

Jeffrey Toobin at John Jay College

Here is some pretty cool news from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU: Jeffrey Toobin will be in Tempe on Thursday for a book signing and reception.

His new book is titled The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure to meet Toobin and hear him address a gathering at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. He is an impressive thinker, and I always jump to his article when I spy one in a new New Yorker.

Here is more information from the law school:

CNN senior analyst Jeffrey Toobin, one of the nation’s top experts on politics, media and the law, will sign copies of his newest book at an event, hosted by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, on Thursday, May 9, in Tempe. Toobin’s appearance is the 2013 Willard H. Pedrick Society Event, named for the founding dean of the College of Law.

Jeffrey Toobin book The OathThe book-signing is at 4:30 p.m., followed by a reception at 5:30 p.m. in the Abbey Room at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, 60 E. Fifth St.  Earlier in the afternoon, Toobin will deliver the keynote address at the College of Law’s convocation at Gammage Auditorium on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Toobin’s book, The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court, is a sequel to his best-seller, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. The Oath is a gripping insider’s account of the momentous ideological war between the John Roberts Supreme Court and the Obama administration.

Toobin, a staff writer for The New Yorker, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, and is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Ticket prices for the event, which include a copy of The Oath, are $50 for general audiences, $30 for Pedrick Society members and $20 for students. To obtain tickets, visit here.

For more information, email law.development@asu.edu or call (480) 965-3096. (And click image below for larger version of flier.)

Jeffrey Toobin_flier for ASU Law School

Paul_Schiff_Berman

Paul Schiff Berman

Let me keep today’s post pretty short and a little less than sweet.

Something odd happened back east to a law school dean. And that former dean has ties to the Grand Canyon State.

Anyone up on updates regarding the ASU Law School probably learned this weeks ago, but for everyone else, it may be news that Paul Schiff Berman has exited the deanship at the George Washington University Law School.

Berman, you may recall, helmed the ASU Law School for a time (you can read our interview with him here). But he headed east to lead GWU Law, which was announced in April 2011. That, however, didn’t last long. By summer 2012, discontent was evident. By January 2013, he had left the law school, and the university named him vice provost for online education and academic innovation.

More than ever before, law deans have proven to be a transitory bunch. But even in a world in which deanships are rarely calculated in decades, Berman’s exit is noteworthy for its speediness. And according to the university newspaper, his departure was welcomed by a majority of law school professors. The story, titled “Law faculty plotted to oust dean,” opens:

“Faculty say they launched a near coup to remove the former dean of the GW Law School, who unexpectedly announced last fall he would resign after holding the position for just 18 months.”

“Paul Schiff Berman stepped down in January and moved to a new vice provost position after professors drafted a petition to reject his leadership, citing staff tensions and poor decision-making about how to restore a reeling legal education system, The Hatchet has learned.”

George Washington University Law School headerYes, the independent student newspaper is called “The Hatchet.” Draw your own conclusions.

If you want another take on the dean’s departure, be sure to read Above the Law.

A hat tip to Arizona lawyer (and ASU Law alum) Ruth Carter for sharing the news. If there is a followup or more of a response from Professor Berman, we’ll share it.

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