In this issue:
College of Law moves forward with strategic planning
As reported previously in “First Monday,” the College of Law will celebrate its centennial in 2009. The College is engaged in strategic planning on how best to fulfill the University of Idaho’s statewide mission in legal education during our “second century.” The planning process to date has included regular meetings of a faculty committee and of the full faculty, open discussions with staff and students, conferences with senior University leadership, consultations with members of the Board of Regents (State Board of Education), and a three-day “Conclave on Idaho Legal Education in the 21st Century” co-sponsored by the College of Law and Idaho State Bar.
The College now is examining the “supply side” issues of cost, revenue, and academic quality in delivering legal education. In addition, the College has engaged a survey consultant to obtain “demand side” data on legal education needs in Idaho.
The following is an excerpt from a guest column recently submitted by the Dean to numerous media outlets, explaining what lies ahead in the strategic planning process:
Our focus is, and must be, on what is best for the students and the State of Idaho. Our law students deserve an affordable, high-quality professional education that enables them to graduate with manageable debt, to pursue their ideals, and to compete effectively for jobs wherever career opportunities are available. Idaho, in turn, needs legal expertise, leadership in business and government, research on law-and-policy issues, and law school outreach to the state’s population centers along with rural communities.
These student and state interests all demand excellence and accessibility in public legal education. They will require increased investment in the Treasure Valley – Idaho’s largest center of population, government, and commerce – for the University of Idaho to fulfill its statewide responsibility. With a metropolitan population now exceeding 500,000, Boise is one of very few cities its size in the United States – and the only such city containing a state capital – that lacks a law school within or near its boundaries.
The College of Law is studying three possible approaches to fulfilling the statewide mission:
- Enlarging the program at Moscow while increasing research and outreach in Boise, and perhaps giving students the option of pursuing their last year in Boise (where externships and a “semester in practice” are already available).
- Relocating most of the instruction to Boise while retaining research and outreach at Moscow, including interdisciplinary ventures such as the “Water of the West” program.
- Phasing in a dual location structure in which the program would continue in Moscow while Boise activities would expand over time into a second location where the law degree could be earned (perhaps with a part-time study option). Under this approach law teaching, research, and outreach eventually would be conducted by the University of Idaho at both Moscow and Boise.
It is important to emphasize that under each approach, regardless of location(s), the legal education program would be shaped and provided by one law faculty under unified administration in the College of Law as an integral part of the University of Idaho.
The College is gathering data and undertaking a careful analysis. … We hope to develop a plan by the end of this year, and to seek State Board approval soon thereafter.
This open and thorough planning process is emblematic of a spirit of renewal that characterizes the University of Idaho under the new central leadership team assembled during the past four years. The outcome of the process should not turn on partisan issues or geographical rivalries. It should emanate from an objective analysis of the long-term needs of our students and our state.
The University’s statewide mission is a public trust. We intend to fulfill that trust.
Further information about the strategic planning process is available from Dean Burnett at (firstname.lastname@example.org) or at the “Conclave” link on the College of Law website.
Legal Aid Clinic extends services to crime victims
The Victims’ Rights Clinic – one of several clinical programs operated by the College of Law through the Legal Aid Clinic -- has received notice that it is one of ten programs nationwide to be awarded continued funding for the legal representation of crime victims. The programs will share a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crime, enabling the programs to extend their operations as well as to expand their services to crime victims. Specific budgets for each service location will be determined in the near future. At the University of Idaho, the Victims’ Rights Clinic, supervised by attorney/instructor Carole Wells, gives law students an opportunity to gain first-hand insights into the criminal justice system while helping people who have been traumatized and may be confused or even resentful about court procedures. Further information is available from Ms. Wells at email@example.com or from Professor Maureen Laflin, Director of Clinical Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
College of Law reaches out to small businesses in Eastern Idaho
The Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) at the College of Law has been notified that it will receive a grant from the Idaho Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for providing legal assistance to individuals developing technology-based companies in Eastern Idaho. The assistance will include workshops featuring SBLC’s third-year law students and their lawyer-supervisor, College of Law instructor Lee Dillion, along with one-on-one conferences after the workshop. In addition, the legal assistance program will use video networks run by the SBLC and the SBDC to conduct virtual sessions with clients in the designated geographical area. The grant represents flow-through funding from the State of Idaho INEEL [Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory] Settlement Fund. The Settlement Fund works, in part, to create jobs and diversify the economy in an “impact area” of Eastern Idaho. Further information about the Eastern Idaho initiative, and other assistance to Idaho’s small businesses, may be obtained from Mr. Dillion at email@example.com.
Law Library Goes Digital, Bringing Legal History to Life
The law library, which serves the legal profession, the public, and the entire University of Idaho community, as well as faculty and students in the College of Law, has arranged for access to three significant collections of digitized legal material from the “Making of Modern Law” series (Thomson Gale publishers):
The first digitized collection, United States Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978, supplements the library’s existing set of microfiche Supreme Court records and briefs dating back to 1954. The new collection will add more than a century’s worth of this research material. Included are all the supplemental documents filed with the Court along with the briefs themselves.
The second package is Legal Treatises, 1800-1926, a collection of close to 22,000 volumes of classics of 19th and 20th Century legal scholarship. The materials are divided into 99 separate areas and have subject indexing. Searches can be done by keywords or phrases, full text, author, title, and date.
The third package is most intriguing: Trials, 1600-1926. Drawing upon the law libraries at Harvard, Yale, and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, this unique collection contains over 10,000 monographs on historically important trials conducted primarily in the United States and the British Empire, but also in other countries. Materials include unofficial accounts of trials, along with official trial documents, briefs, and arguments.
Further information about these new additions to the law library collection (which now encompasses nearly a quarter-million volumes and volume equivalents), and information about other materials and services available at the library, can be obtained from Professor John Hasko, Law Library Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.