In this issue:
“Second Century” Update: State Board Submits Third-Year Program Appropriation Request to the Governor
As earlier reported in “First Monday,” the Idaho State Board of Education (University of Idaho Board of Regents) voted on August 21 to authorize the establishment in Boise of a full third-year law program and to seek legislative funding for the program. The State Board office has now submitted to the Governor, as part of the higher education appropriations package, a request for $926,000 in recurrent funding for the law program. The request would support the creation of additional faculty and staff positions; operating funds for the program; and expansion of the College of Law library, including integration with the Idaho State Law Library as part of the College’s collaboration with the Idaho Supreme Court in an “Idaho Law Learning Center.” The College also is exploring funding alternatives for continued improvement of the Menard Law Building in Moscow.
The third-year program, if and when operational, would enable approximately 30 students per year to pursue a full academic year of studies in Boise. The program would subsume the College’s existing semester-in-practice program in Boise, which already attracts up to a dozen students each year. The law faculty is working on a third-year curricular content that will be relevant to needs and opportunities in the capital city while also complementing the full three-year curriculum at the main campus in Moscow.
Authorization of a third-year program in Boise is one aspect of a multi-part motion passed by the State Board on August 21. The Board also directed the University of Idaho to revisit the proposal for a full-three year branch location in Boise, and to bring the dual location idea back to the Board for further discussion at a later date. The Board further instructed the College of Law to continue its collaboration with the Idaho Supreme Court on the “Idaho Law Learning Center” for Boise programs, and the Board expressly recognized the University of Idaho’s statewide mission in legal education. Further information about the College’s “second century” effort to fulfill the statewide mission is available from Dean Burnett (firstname.lastname@example.org).
New Directions in Experiential Learning: Expanded Externships Provide Benefits to Students and to Idaho
Through the efforts of externship coordinator Katherine (Katie) Ball, working in collaboration with instructor and outreach director Lee Dillion, the College of Law has expanded the array of real-world externships for students. The semester-in-practice program, mentioned above, places students with attorneys and judges in the Treasure Valley for a period of sixteen weeks during the students’ final semester of law school. In the spring of 2009, students will receive law school credits for supervised work experiences in the federal courts, the Idaho Supreme Court, county prosecuting attorney and public defender offices, Idaho Legal Aid Services, and the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.
Summer externships also are available throughout Idaho and elsewhere. In the summer of 2008, the College had 54 externs working with attorneys in Washington, California, Alaska, New Mexico, Washington D.C., and Madrid, Spain, as well as in various regions of Idaho. During the summer of 2009 the College hopes to commence a natural resource/water law externship course for students seeking concurrent J.D. and Masters degrees through the interdisciplinary Water Resources Program (“Waters of the West”). This targeted externship course will include classes taught by government lawyers who specialize in natural resource and water law.
In the past, externships have been offered almost exclusively in the public sector. In 2009, however, one student will have a private corporate placement, working under the supervision of the legal department at Boise, Inc. (formerly Boise Cascade). The College hopes such cooperative work with private sector attorneys will further advance the goal of our externship program: to bridge the gap between theory and practice for advanced law students by affording them the opportunity to work on a close, personal basis with judges and practicing attorneys.
The College also will be trying something new in 2009 with the semester-long externships; the students will be divided into subject matter seminars for the course work associated with the externships. For example, some students will participate in the first judicial externship seminar. These students will engage in course work designed to help train them to work as law clerks, and the classes will be taught by judges, career law clerks, and federal court staff. Further information about all of these externships, and about other developments in experiential learning, can be obtained from Ms. Ball at email@example.com.
Students Excel in Tax and Small Business Clinical Programs
In a case receiving national tax law blog attention, the College of Law Tax Clinic recently was successful in seeking protection for an innocent spouse in the United States Tax Court. The court’s decision granted full relief to the clinic’s client after a trial conducted by student Casey Carter, under supervision of clinic instructor Trapper Stewart, in Las Vegas (Tax Court Docket No. 023720-05, T.C. Summ. 2008-121, September 16, 2008). The case involved a doctrine commonly known as innocent spouse relief, an area of tax law in which full relief is typically difficult to obtain at trial. In another case, student Chelsea Kidney, with trial preparation assistance from Tayah Renfro, conducted an excellent trial in United States Tax Court at Boise (Tax Court Docket No. 020851-07S, bench opinion, September 10, 2008). The result was partial relief for a taxpayer-client, an Idaho resident, who sought to establish the legitimacy of charitable contributions to his church. Information about the tax clinic and other cases may be obtained from Professor Stewart.
Students also are serving clients, and promoting economic development for Idaho, through the small business legal clinic supervised by instructor Lee Dillion. Students currently are working with individuals who wish to form and operate for-profit and non-profit organizations, including three such organizations in the Moscow area and three in southern Idaho. Students in the clinic assist entrepreneurs and other clients with business planning, entity formation, contract drafting, and regulatory compliance, while learning law practice skills and professionalism. Further information on the Small Business Legal Clinic can be obtained from Professor Dillion or at Small Business Legal Clinic.