In this issue:
National Legal Services President Delivers Bellwood Lecture
Helaine Barnett, national president of the Legal Services Corporation, had a straightforward message in her 2004 Sherman J. Bellwood Memorial Lecture: “We have a problem. Lawyers cost money and poor people don’t have money.” Echoing the final phrase of the Pledge of Allegiance in the title of her lecture (“Justice for All: Are We Fulfilling the Pledge?”), Ms. Barnett called attention to a “justice gap” and noted that legal aid offices nationwide, funded in part by the LSC, are able to meet only about 20% of the estimated legal needs of poor people in the United States. Stating that the goal of every lawyer should be to promote equal access to justice, Ms. Barnett challenged law schools and the profession to dedicate their efforts more vigorously to this task. She underscored the importance of the challenge by observing, “The security of the nation depends not just on defense from foreign entities but also on upholding the democratic ideals of justice here in America.” The Bellwood Lecture, delivered in Moscow on October 21, 2004, commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation. It featured a warm introduction by Ernesto Sanchez, Director of Idaho Legal Aid Services, who said Ms. Barnett came to the LSC presidency not as a political appointee but as a “legal aid lawyer through and through,” having dedicated more than three decades of her career to the cause of equal justice.
“All Star Panel” Gives Personal Perspectives on Public Service
The morning before the Bellwood Lecture, high-profile figures in Idaho’s legal profession gathered in the College of Law courtroom where they joined Helaine Barnett in telling the personal side of lawyering in the public interest. The panelists, in addition to Ms. Barnett, included Lawrence Wasden, Attorney General of Idaho; Linda Copple Trout, Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court; Deborah Kristensen, Boise attorney and incoming President of the Idaho State Bar; Kenneth Howard, Coeur d’Alene attorney and past President of the Idaho Trial Lawyers Association; and Howard Belodoff, Associate Director of Idaho Legal Aid Services. Each panelist gave a highly personal -- and occasionally emotional -- account of making a difference in the life of someone in trouble or without hope. Capturing a common theme in these first-person narratives, Ken Howard declared, “There is no such thing as pro bono in the sense of not being paid. You will always be paid -- it just might not be in money.” The panel discussion, entitled “A Lawyer’s Calling to Public Service,” showed students a pathway to personal fulfillment in the practice of law, and students responded with prolonged applause at the end of the program. For further information about the panel discussion, contact Dean Burnett (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Law Advisory Council Examines University and College Issues
Throughout the day following the Bellwood Lecture, the College of Law Advisory Council convened in Moscow, holding some of its meetings in the Menard Law Building and some at the impressive J. A. Albertson Building of the UI College of Business & Economics. Council chair James Whistler ‘73 of San Diego, California, presided. The Council, consisting of influential alumni and friends of the law school from Idaho and other states, met with students, faculty, and university administrators; discussed the law school’s accreditation self-study with Dean Emeritus Sheldon Vincenti; and received a report from Professor and past Dean Jack Miller on the University Vision & Resources Task Force. (The Task Force report, mentioned in last month’s “First Monday” newsletter, is available at http://www.vrt.uidaho.edu/home.) The Council also heard formative plans to upgrade the law school’s courtroom, and eventually the classrooms, with technology and other enhancements. In addition, the Council – responding to conversations with students at the Council’s meeting in Boise last spring – received and discussed a preliminary report on an employer survey by Anne-Marie Fulfer, Director of Career Services. The survey, which asked employers about the criteria they use in selecting students for interviews and offers of employment, was motivated in part by student concerns about competing in the job market with graduates of some other schools where “grade inflation” is believed to exist. The preliminary report of the survey indicated that employers seldom focus primarily on grades, but usually consider grades along with class rank. Employers also noted the importance of law review experience and professional skills competitions. Some employers said they also ascribe high importance to student performance in the first-year legal writing and research course as well as courses in subject areas where students are expected to work. For further information on the full report of the survey, when completed, contact Anne-Marie Fulfer (email@example.com). At the conclusion of the meeting, Council members unanimously elected Cynthia J. Larsen ’78 (firstname.lastname@example.org) as the next Council chair. Ms. Larsen practices law with the firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP, in Sacramento, California.
Environmental Law Forum Considers Future of Wolves in Idaho
Filling the courtroom with a standing-room-only audience, the College of Law Environmental Law Society presented a panel discussion and public forum entitled “Idaho Wolves: What’s Next?” on October 20, 2004. The discussion, moderated by Professor Dale Goble, featured diverse viewpoints expressed by representatives of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Nez Perce Tribe, the UI College of Natural Resources, the Idaho Office of Species Conservation, and advocacy organizations including the Idaho Cattlemen’s Association, the Defenders of Wildlife, the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition, and the Wolf People. This successful event was organized by, and further information is available from, law students Luke Davis (email@example.com) and Jeff Brownson (firstname.lastname@example.org) of the Environmental Law Society.