In this issue:
Commencement 2011: Law Graduates Urged to Combine Lives of Principle with Careers of Service
On May 14, the first “statewide” graduating class – comprised of students who have taken a full third year of study at either Moscow or Boise -- received accolades for their achievements. The class totaled 104 students, including those who graduated the previous December and several who “walked the stage” during University of Idaho ceremonies in Coeur d’Alene and Boise. During the law commencement ceremony in Moscow, held at the University of Idaho Commons, University Provost Douglas Baker presented the Juris Doctor candidates and the degrees were conferred by University President Duane Nellis. Don Soltman, member of the University of Idaho Board of Regents/State Board of Education, brought greetings and congratulations from the State Board.
As noted in last April’s edition of “First Monday,” the Class of 2011 has the distinction of performing approximately 10,800 hours of service pro bono publico. The graduates were congratulated on this demonstrated commitment to the public interest by the Commencement Speaker, Wendy J. Olson, United States Attorney for the federal District of Idaho. Ms. Olson, a native of Pocatello, received her legal education at Stanford, served in a federal judicial clerkship, worked in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and returned to Idaho, joining the U.S. Attorney’s office, in 1997. She rose to the rank of Senior Litigation Counsel and, in 2010, she was confirmed by the Senate, following nomination by the President, to become Idaho’s U. S. Attorney. In her commencement address, Ms. Olson outlined principles to guide the graduates’ personal and professional lives, illustrated by cases drawn from her career and by narratives of her own challenges.
Continuing a tradition of more than three decades, the College of Law faculty announced its annual Legal Merit Award for outstanding contributions to the legal profession, the administration of justice, and philanthropic causes. The 2011 award was bestowed upon Ford Elsaesser (UI Law ’78), senior partner in the Sandpoint-Coeur d’Alene law firm of Elsaesser Jarzabek Anderson Elliott & Macdonald. A bankruptcy law practitioner of national renown, Mr. Elsaesser has served as President and Board chairman of the American Bankruptcy Institute and as an adjunct instructor in the bankruptcy LL.M. program at St. John’s University in New York. He also has served as an adjunct law instructor at the University of Idaho and as the advisor for the College’s bankruptcy moot court competition teams (including a team that won the national championship). He has devoted much time as well to public service in his own community, serving on the boards of the Bonner County School District, Bonner County Hospital, Bonner County Airport, and the Pend Oreille Basin Commission.
The faculty also started a new tradition, awarding its inaugural Sheldon A. Vincenti Award for Exemplary Service to the Hon. Linda Copple Trout (UI Law ’77). This award, named for the beloved former dean and professor emeritus who passed away in 2010, recognizes individuals who have rendered exceptional service to the College of Law, generally in a capacity other than as an employee. Justice Trout, who retired from the Idaho Supreme Court in 2008, was Idaho’s first woman to serve on the Court and the only woman to serve as Chief Justice. She began her judicial career in Lewiston, where she had also practiced law, eventually becoming the Acting Trial Court Administrator for Idaho’s Second Judicial District, and then being elected as District Judge. She was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1992 and was elected by Idaho voters to two additional terms. She has served as an adjunct instructor in family law at the University of Idaho and as chair of the College of Law Advisory Council. She currently serves as the legal profession member of the College’s Self-Study Committee for continuing accreditation by the American Bar Association and continuing membership in the Association of American Law Schools.
The 2010-11 Student Bar Association president, Laura Keys, delivered theClass Remarks, which were rich in anecdotes -- both serious and humorous – recounting how the intimacy of the law school community had fostered close professional relationships among many faculty and students, even as the College of Law expanded its academic program in Boise. The law faculty bestowed its Award of Legal Achievement upon Ben McGreevy, the graduating student with the highest cumulative grade point average in the most recently graded academic term. The graduating class then conferred the Peter E. Heiser Award for Excellence in Teaching upon Professor Richard Seamon. As noted in the April edition of “First Monday,” other awards had been announced during the graduating class celebration banquet. Further information about the 2011 banquet and commencement ceremony may be obtained from Anne-Marie Fulfer, Director of Career Services.
Scholars Gather for International Law Roundtable on Environmental Governance
On April 28-30, 2011, in Coeur d’Alene, the College of Law reactivated its International Law Symposium series by sponsoring an International Law Roundtable, attracting scholars from universities across the United States and Canada. The Roundtable, entitled “Crossing Governance Gaps to Protect the Environment,” brought interdisciplinary perspectives to bear on the challenges of identifying transnational environmental problems and generating appropriate strategies for environmental protection. At the Roundtable, the College of Law’s Natural Resources and Environmental Law program hosted the diverse group of academics with expertise in political science, global environmental politics, economics, forest policy, fishery policy, international law and environmental law. The Roundtable covered three major governance themes, with a final session on environmental governance reform. Theme One focused on the relationship between science and environmental policymaking. Theme Two focused on the difficulties of bridging between top-down international/ national governance and bottom-up national/local governance. Theme Three discussed the relationship between state actors and non-state actors in creating and resolving environmental issues.
Further information about the International Law Roundtable is available from Professor Anastasia Telsetsky. Information about the Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program at the College of Law may be obtained by visiting the College’s website and by contacting Professor Barbara Cosens.
Idaho State Bar Extends Special Offer to Law Students and Graduates
On behalf of the Commissioners of the Idaho State Bar, President Deborah Ferguson has announced that in 2011, as in 2010, the Bar will waive registration fees for the Bar’s Annual Conference, to be held on July 13-15, in Sun Valley, for all law students, attorneys in practice three years or less, and attorneys who are not currently employed. The Annual Conference provides an exceptional opportunity for law students and recent graduates to attend high-quality CLE programs and to network with active members of the Bar. Further information about the Annual Conference and CLE programs is available on the Bar’s website and from Annette Strauser at the Idaho State Bar.