In this issue:
College of Law Earns Recognition in Clinical Education and Public Interest Law
Two national publications, widely read by new and prospective law students as well as by college prelaw advisers, have recently recognized clinical legal education opportunities and the level of student commitment to public interest law at the University of Idaho. In an article entitled “Best Law Schools in Practical Training,” the Fall 2008 edition of preLaw magazine features law schools with the best availability of clinical offerings in 2006, as compared to the number of full-time students potentially seeking them. The article lists the UI College of Law in 31st place among the nation’s top 100 law schools (there are now 200 American Bar Association-approved schools). The College offered 73 clinical study positions in a single year for a total three-year student body of 314, thereby assuring clinical opportunities for a high proportion of upper-division students. The article, featuring University of Idaho student photographs, is available on-line. Further information about clinical opportunities at the College of Law is available from Professor Maureen Laflin (email@example.com), Director of Clinical Programs.
The Spring 2008 edition of a related publication, National Jurist, carried an article entitled “Where Public Interest Lawyers Go to Law School.” The article listed 50 top law schools, among 195 schools for which data was gathered in 2006, ranking them by demonstrated levels of student commitment to entering public interest law (not to be confused with government employment) upon graduation. The University of Idaho ranked 29th in this group, with 8.3% of graduates choosing public interest work for their first jobs. The article also noted the effect of law school indebtedness on the ability of American law students to consider public interest careers. The article is available on-line (“turn” to page 26). Further information about law students and public interest work is available from Anne-Marie Fulfer (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director of Career Development, and from John J. (“Jack”) McMahon (email@example.com), Pro Bono Program Director.
“Waters of the West” Program Attracts Law Students
The University of Idaho’s distinctive new interdisciplinary water resources program is already demonstrating its power to attract and hold students in Moscow. In just one year since the program was approved by the Board of Regents, it has enrolled 27 graduate students, eight of whom are law students who will receive Masters degrees in a water resources specialty in addition to their Juris Doctor degrees. In the 2008 entering class at the College of Law, 12 students have expressed interest in the program and will be meeting with faculty regarding opportunities available to them. Further information about the program may be viewed on the University of Idaho Waters website, and may be obtained from law professor Barbara Cosens.
2008 Entering Students Combine Idaho Connections with Diverse Perspectives
Preliminary figures are in for the 2008 entering class. (Final statistics will be compiled after the 12th day of regularly scheduled classes.) Based on data available on “opening day,” 102 first-year law students have enrolled. They were selected from a pool of 759 applicants, up from 675 in 2007 although not quite as many as the 782 who applied in 2006. (Across the nation, the law school applicant pool declined slightly, but the number of applications was somewhat higher as students submitted more applications per person.)
The entering UI class posted a median LSAT score of 154 – approximately the 60th percentile -- compared to 155 the previous year, and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.29, compared to 3.36. The entering class is 41% women, compared to 49% last year, and it includes 18% minorities (the same as last year). Approximately 68% of the entering students (up from 66% a year ago and from 57% in 2006) are Idaho residents, and many others have chosen the College of Law because its connections to the Northwest. The students have come to the College of Law from 37 American undergraduate institutions plus the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The Idaho institutions represented in the entering class, in order of 1L enrollment, are Boise State University, the University of Idaho, BYU-Idaho, the College of Idaho, Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College, and Northwest Nazarene University.
Academic and geographical data, of course, do not capture the whole human dimension of the entering class. The admissions committee, composed of faculty members, looks at each “whole person” in making selections. The entering class not only boasts strong Idaho connections but also is a remarkably cosmopolitan group. Collectively, the students have resided in 32 countries; more than 50% speak a second language, and nine speak a third language. The languages include Spanish, German, Japanese, Persian, American Sign, French, Cebuano, Italian, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Salish, Samoan, Yupik, Danish, Korean, and Tagalog.
The class includes undergraduate campus leaders, collegiate scholarship athletes, small-business owners, first-generation college students, a cancer survivor, teachers (from elementary to high school), students who have worked on major Hollywood movies, a wildlife biologist, a professional racehorse jockey, a nurse, an engineer, several first-generation U.S. citizens, a number of single parents, river guides, former legal assistants, a carpenter, numerous environmentalists, members of the U.S. Armed Forces (Air Force and Navy), firefighters, and journalists. Their volunteer experiences include Court Appointed Special Advocates, Boy Scouts, Catholic Charities, ACLU, Boys & Girls Clubs, and numerous philanthropic activities undertaken through fraternities and sororities.
These diverse backgrounds enhance the richness and quality of education at the College of Law, where students learn from each other as well as from the faculty. Further information about the incoming class and the admissions process is available from Stephen Perez, Director of Admissions, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Idaho Judges and Lawyers Emphasize Professionalism, Civility in 1L Student Orientation Program
“Professionalism: First Day of Law School – Foundation of a Career” is the theme of every incoming student’s introduction to the study of law at the University of Idaho. Now in its sixth year, the program is co-sponsored by the College of Law and the Idaho State Bar. The content of the program focuses on integrity and ethical conduct, with special emphasis on the importance of civility. The heart of the program is a carefully crafted series of intimate discussions in which groups of five or six students meet with selected judges and lawyers to discuss scenarios that illustrate issues in professional responsibility. The issues include truthfulness and fairness in litigation, cooperation with fellow officers of the legal system, fiduciary obligations to clients, reasonableness of fees, conflicts of interest, the duties of lawyers vis-à-vis difficult or dishonest clients, and pro bono service.
The 2008 program featured introductory remarks by the Hon. Warren E. Jones, Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court, and closing remarks by the Hon. Candy Wagahoff Dale, Magistrate of the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho. Later in the same day, the students heard from Dwight E. Baker (Baker & Harris, Blackfoot), President of the Idaho State Bar. Justice Jones, Judge Dale, and President Baker also participated in the small-group discussions along with following additional leaders of the Idaho judiciary and legal profession:
Idaho Supreme Court Justice Joel D. Horton; Idaho Court of Appeals Judges Karen Lansing and Sergio Gutierrez; Idaho First District Court Judges Lansing Haynes and John T. Mitchell; Idaho Second District Court Judge Jeff M. Brudie; Bonner County Magistrate Barbara Buchanan; Canyon County Magistrate Jerold Lee; Idaho Attorney General Chief Deputy Brian Kane and Deputy Attorney General Peg Dougherty; Ada County prosecutors Fafa Alidjani, Jan Bennetts, and Jim Dickinson; Idaho State Appellate Public Defender Molly Huskey; Julie Sobotta Kane, Nez Perce Tribal Counsel, Lapwai; Maria Elena Andrade, Andrade Law Office Inc., Boise; Caralee Lambert, Julia Crossland and Brad Andrews, Idaho State Bar, Office of Bar Counsel, Boise; Sue Flammia, Flammia & Solomon PC, Coeur d’Alene; Patricia Olsson, Moffatt, Thomas, Barrett, Rock & Fields Chtd., Boise; Ronaldo Coulter, Idaho Employment Law Solutions, Boise; Mary Huneycutt, solo practitioner, Pocatello; Linda Judd, Judd Law Office, Boise; Cynthia Yee-Wallace, Perkins Coie, LLP, Boise; Newal Squyres, Holland & Hart, LLP, Boise; Thomas Dial, May, Rammell & Thompson Chtd.; Albert Matsuura, Goicoechea Law Office LLP, Pocatello; and Michael Peacock, solo practitioner, Kellogg.
In total, 34 judges and lawyers volunteered their time as mentors in the 2008 professionalism program. The students gave the program high marks – as did the mentors themselves. “It is refreshing to have the exchange between the veterans – the judges and the lawyers – and students who have had little experience,” said Judge Gutierrez. “The enthusiasm they bring is contagious. In this day and age, and historically, there have been jokes and bad humor regarding lawyers. It is encouraging to see that the students understand that there is an important role lawyers play in our community and our society, and that we take ethics very seriously.”