University of Arizona Law School logoIn the March Arizona Attorney, which just went live online, I take the opportunity to praise some law student leaders. Among them are the winners of an annual writing competition at the University of Arizona law school. That competition is named for attorney Richard Grand.

If you read my column, you’ll see that I also get to share a nice photo of the winners.

Here’s the portion of my column pertaining to the UA Law School:

“A January ceremony provided the announcement of the UA Law winners: Kate Hollist (first place), Jessica Schulberg (second), Matt Smith (third), and Omar Vasquez and Tim Butterfield (both honorable mention). Congratulations to all.

“This year’s competition asked for the students to locate the storyteller within them. They were asked to write a profile of a real person who had some experience with the law or legal system. The diversity of responses was matched only by their compelling writing. Well done.”

“The UA competition holds a special place for me due to Richard Grand. The successful and talented attorney died last April, making this the first contest without his involvement. I am pleased to see the continued passion for the student writing experience in his wonderful widow, Marcia. I am sure I will raise a glass to Richard’s memory on February 20, when he would have turned 84.”

But because law school folks are some of the nicest in the legal profession, I also get to share with you, here, a second photo. You see, the school’s own Juan J. Arévalo insisted I step into a shot with the winners. That let Dean Marc Miller and me bookend the talented writers.

Thanks, JJ!

The 13th annual Richard Grand Writing Competition winners. L to R: me (not a winner!), Tim Butterfield, Katherine Hollist, Jessica Schulberg, Matt Smith, with UA Law School Dean Marc Miller. (Not pictured: Omar Vasquez)

The 13th annual Richard Grand Writing Competition winners. L to R: me (not a winner!), Tim Butterfield, Katherine Hollist, Jessica Schulberg, Matt Smith, with UA Law School Dean Marc Miller. (Not pictured: Omar Vasquez)

Please let me know if you hear of any other law student and young lawyer honors.

law-schoolIf you want to examine responses to a crisis, you really need to look at law schools. They are facing what will be, for some of them, an existential calamity.

In recent months, the three Arizona law schools have issued announcements that bolster their offerings. The approaches vary, and they are aimed at two significant subsets of their products’ consumers: potential law school applicants, and soon-to-be and recent graduates.

Both of those categories are increasingly skeptical of the ability of law schools to provide a degree with value commensurate to the purchasers’ outlay.

I am curious what you think about the three most recent announcements. As you consider them, view them through the eyes of those two categories of people, and ask: Would this changed policy or additional program have been a deal-maker in my choice of schools? Does this new initiative make me look differently at the law school?

Here are the approaches and initiatives:

And then, just to make your choice more complex, is the elephant in the room: an Arizona pilot program that would allow certain law students to take the Bar exam during the third year of law school.

Which of these, if any, would have affected your decision to attend a school (or attend law school at all)?

Does pricing trump all? Or does saving a few thousand dollars mean not that much when amortized over a career? Would having a schedule that allows students to work (and maybe graduate sooner) help attract them? Or does the possibility of the school itself employing you as a lawyer sweeten the pot sufficiently?

Let me know what you think. Who, if anyone, is on the right track?

Rehnquist Center banner logoSo far, my overscheduled Tuesday looks like it won’t accommodate a trip south to Tucson. And that’s really too bad. (Well, that’s too bad most any day, but it’s especially the case on February 26.)

The reason I’d like to drop by the University of Arizona Law School is to attend an oral argument—before the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, of all legal bodies.

Here is how the Court describes itself and its civilian judges:

“The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces exercises worldwide appellate jurisdiction over members of the armed forces on active duty and other persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Court is composed of five civilian judges appointed for 15-year terms by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces sealThe Rehnquist Center at the law school has announced the morning event, during which law students will have the opportunity to argue; those same students have already filed an amicus brief in the case.

The Center says that the Court has never traveled to Tucson. But if that’s not enough of a draw, here are the case facts:

“GCM conviction of possession of child pornography, larceny of military property and filing a false claim. Granted issues question (1) whether the military judge abused his discretion when he failed to suppress evidence of child pornography discovered on Appellant’s personal computer in the course of an unreasonable search conducted to find contraband after Appellant was wounded in Iraq and medically evacuated to the United States; and (2) whether the Army Court erred in creating a new exception to the Fourth Amendment when it held that the Government’s search of Appellant’s personal computer was reasonable because the Government was not ‘certain’ or ‘absolutely clear’ that it would be returned to the wounded-warrior Appellant.”

From where I sit, that is a fascinating Fourth Amendment question. (Although didn’t the U.S. Supreme Court this past Term examine a question related to privacy rights on a school computer that could possibly be returned to the employer? What case was that? Anyone?) (Recently, Canada’s Supreme Court took the view that folks do have some measure of privacy, even on their work-issued computer. O Canada.)

More information about the Tuesday morning arguments is here. Included among the detail are the argument briefs (in PDF).

Martha Nussbaum

Martha Nussbaum

The annual University of Arizona Law School Marks Lecture will be held today, beginning at 5:30.

The featured speaker will be Professor Martha Nussbaum of the University of Chicago. The lecture is free, but seats in the auditorium are now filled by registrants. Seats are still available in an overflow room, where the lecture will be live-streamed. Detail on the lecture is here. As the site indicates, an audio recording of the lecture will be available here soon after the event.

Here is more information from the law school:

Professor and Author Martha Nussbaum To Deliver Marks Lecture

Professor Martha Nussbaum, an internationally-recognized philosopher and award-winning author, will present the Isaac Marks Memorial Lecture at The University of Arizona James E. College of Law:

“The New Religious Intolerance”

Monday, January 28, 2013

5:30 – 6:30 pm

The University of Arizona Rogers College of Law

Ares Auditorium (Room 164)

1201 E Speedway, Tucson, AZ 85719

Seating is available on a first come, first served basis, and is limited. There will be a short reception immediately following the lecture.

Professor Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, appointed in the Law School and in the Philosophy Department. She is an Associate in the Classics Department, the Divinity School; and the Political Science Department, a Member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies; and a Board Member of the Human Rights Program. Her studies have focused on ancient Greek philosophy; ethics; global justice; the emotions—including shame, disgust, and fear; animal rights; and religion.

She received her BA from NYU (1969) and her MA (1971) and PhD (1975) from Harvard. She has taught at Harvard, Brown, and Oxford Universities. From 1986 to 1993, Prof. Nussbaum was a research advisor at the World Institute for Development Economics Research in Helsinki, a part of the United Nations University. She has chaired the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on International Cooperation, the Committee on the Status of Women, and the Committee for Public Philosophy. Ms. Nussbaum has been a member of the Council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a member of the Board of the American Council of Learned Societies. She received the Brandeis Creative Arts Award in Non-Fiction for 1990, and the PEN Spielvogel-Diamondstein Award for the best collection of essays in 1991, her book, Cultivating Humanity won the Ness Book Award of the Association of American Colleges and Universities in 1998 and the Grawemeyer Award in Education in 2002. Sex and Social Justice won the book award of the North American Society for Social Philosophy in 2000. Hiding From Humanity won the Association of American University Publishers Professional and Scholarly Book Award for Law in 2004.

Professor Nussbaum has received honorary degrees from over forty colleges and universities in the US, Canada, Asia, Africa, and Europe. She received the Grawemeyer Award in Education in 2002, the Barnard College Medal of Distinction in 2003, the Radcliffe Alumnae Recognition Award in 2007, and the Centennial Medal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University in 2010. She is an Academician in the Academy of Finland. In 2009, she won the A.SK award from the German Social Science Research Council (WZB) for her contributions to social system reform, and the American Philosophical Society’s Henry M. Phillips Prize in Jurisprudence for her lifetime contributions. In 2012, she was awarded Spain’s Prince of Asturias Prize in the Social Sciences.

Recent additions to her extensive list of publications include From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law (2010), Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (2010), Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach (2011), The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age (2012), and Philosophical Interventions: Book Reviews 1985-2011 (2012). She has also edited fifteen books. Her current book in progress is Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice, which will be published by Harvard in 2013.

The Annual Marks Memorial Lecture was established in 1979 by Selma Skora Paul Marks and the late Judge Jack Marks.  They endowed the lecture series in memory of his father, Isaac Marks.

Additional information on the Marks Lecture is available on the Arizona Law website.

What follows is my editor’s letter from the January Arizona Attorney Magazine. It’s titled “Speech Disorder,” and I’d welcome any thought on how we address hate speech in this country—and whether a change is in order.

Harm in Hate Speech book cover Jeremy WaldronMaybe we’ve got this “hate speech” thing all wrong.

That was the basis of a fascinating debate this past fall, held at the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. In October, ASU Professor James Weinstein defended the U.S. position against a view espoused by NYU Law Professor Jeremy Waldron.

Generally stated, the American antidote to hate speech is simply … more speech. Our rightful affinity for the First Amendment means that even the most vile words are often met by the phrase (and sentiment), “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” So integral to our psyche is that belief that most of us bristle at the suggestion of a “speech code.”

And yet, Waldron made a compelling argument that the harm from speech can be so poisonous that there are times when it should be stymied. Laws—accepted in many countries—may be drafted to convey an “implicit diffuse assurance” that social peace is a public good.

At ASU and in his book The Harm in Hate Speech, Waldron dissected the hate-group argument that what they are doing is merely advocating a position. No, he insists; the groups really are conveying an action-packed message: “You are not wanted.” And that message is often backed up by the threat of violence.

Morris Dees, Nov. 8, 2012

Morris Dees, Nov. 8, 2012

Those concepts were on my mind in November, at the University of Arizona College of Law annual McCormick lecture, delivered by Morris Dees. The co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Dees gave a rollicking speech that of necessity touched on his significant courtroom work on behalf of victims of discrimination. That trial lawyer’s career has been framed in many ways by efforts to end hatred and to alleviate its effects.

But how would his decades of work have differed if our approach to hate speech (which often precedes hate crimes) had taken a path accepted in many other countries? It may be worth considering.

I’m reading Waldron’s book and considering his position. But I take seriously his warning that viewing this as an academic debate may prove deadly. As he glanced around a packed law school hall at a relatively privileged audience, he reminded us that hate speech has real-world impacts.

“We can pretend to be unaffected,” he said. “But we should try to envision ourselves as somebody who has to live his life under this besmirchment, who has to live one’s life in the shadow of these insults.”

What do you think? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Last week, we received an announcement about new leadership at an Arizona law school.

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law announced that Marc L. Miller had been selected as dean. It is on an interim basis while the school conducts a national search, but the UA method is that Marc is the Dean, capital “D,” no “I,” until we hear otherwise.

UA Dean Marc L. Miller

UA Dean Marc L. Miller

In its selection, the school found a dynamic, funny and smart man. And in that regard, he is similar to the man he replaces, Larry Ponoroff. Let me speak for a moment to Dean Ponoroff’s leadership time there.

As I’ve written before, deaning in this day and age is no picnic. The budget challenges are rough ones, and they are exacerbated by the (sometimes wise) hesitancy of potential applicants to plunge into an expensive three-year endeavor, whose outcome is uncertain.

In a recession, deans must make difficult and sometimes unpopular choices. Their legacy will rarely be that of those who glided through law school on the easiest of streets.

Larry Ponoroff has now returned to the ranks of the faculty, where he will reside in a well-deserved lower profile. But from this outsider’s view, his legacy is this: He was unfailingly upbeat, courteous and visionary. And, perhaps most important, he was (and is) one of the funniest leaders I’ve ever met, in law or out.

Former UA Law Dean Lawrence Ponoroff

Former UA Law Dean Lawrence Ponoroff

As law schools try to move forward in a boggy economy, there are worse things than having a sense of humor. Good luck and thank you, Dean Ponoroff.

As I opened, though, the school has chosen someone else whose wry muscle is fully developed. Besides being funny, Marc Miller is involved in more varied initiatives than a black-ops team. I have worked with Dean Miller on a few endeavors, and I am confident that the school will benefit from his vision—if it can keep up with his legal velocity.

Here is part of what the school announced about Dean Miller:

“He is the editor of two leading casebooks, one on criminal procedure and the other on the law of sentencing. He co-founded the Federal Sentencing Reporter, the leading journal on sentencing law and policy that for 20 years has focused on nurturing an ongoing conversation between scholars, judges, lawyers, probation officers, and policy-makers.”

“Dean Miller currently serves as a series editor for Summits—books focused on issues at the intersection of environmental law, science, and policy. The Summits series is a collaborative effort between the law school, the UA Institute of the Environment, the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, Biosphere 2 and the Biosphere 2 Institute. The first two books in the series are Conservation of Shared Spaces: Learning From the United States and Mexico, and Navigating Climate Change Policy: The Opportunities of Federalism. A third volume, Stitching the West Back Together: Conserving Working Landscapes and Biodiversity in the American West, is forthcoming. University of Arizona scholars have played the central role as editors and authors.”

You can read the school’s entire announcement here. Congratulations, Dean Miller. Break a leg.

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