In this issue:
Clinic Students in Moscow Help Needy Clients Resolve Disputes and Obtain Justice
In last month’s “First Monday” we featured the work of third-year students in our three Boise clinics. As part of our continuing coverage of clinical education – in which the University of Idaho has been ranked 13th out of approximately 200 ABA-accredited law schools for availability of student opportunities – we look at some of the work our Moscow students have been doing.
Clinic students in Moscow, like their counterparts in Boise, consistently report that although clinic is a significant time commitment, it has made their final year of law school both exciting and inspiring. The students gain confidence in their skills and abilities as advocates, and leave our clinic prepared to enter the legal profession. Moreover, having served clients with limited financial means, the students graduate with an appreciation of every lawyer’s professional responsibility to assure access to legal services and justice for members of their communities.
General Practice/Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Clinic
Under the supervision of clinic instructor Jessica Long, our students in the General Practice/DVSA Clinic provide a wide range of services for clients. We currently have ten students helping clients with family law matters, landlord-tenant disputes, criminal misdemeanor charges, collections defense, and property law issues. Our students also have drafted wills and assisted with probating estates. In 2012, our students provided approximately 2,936 hours of legal work to the community. Additionally, through a grant from the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, our clinic was able to serve the legal needs of 43 victims of violence over the past year.
Our students provide free legal representation to Latah County residents who would otherwise not be able to obtain legal services. The clinic experience enables students to appear in District Court representing clients and advocating on their behalf. Our students spend a significant number of hours interacting with clients, pro se litigants, and opposing counsel, gaining experience in interviewing, fact gathering, fact analysis, negotiation, and advocacy. The students also draft court pleadings and correspondence, improving their legal writing and communication skills. Additionally, the students gain the practical skills needed to be an effective attorney, including law practice management, time management, and case management. Each student manages several cases simultaneously, and is responsible for filing documents with court, maintaining the paper and electronic files for our office, keeping the clients informed of all developments in their cases, prioritizing case work, and meeting with the supervising attorney to review the cases and reflect on the clinic experience each week.
Bertha Clayton (see photo), a current student, summarizes her experience as follows: “Working in the General Practice/DVSA Clinic has given me a solid and diversified foundation from which to draw upon when I begin practicing law. I have had the opportunity to practice the skills that I’ve learned in law school, represent clients in court proceedings and develop my own practice style. I’m most proud that I’ve helped clients solve problems who wouldn’t otherwise have access to legal representation.
Kelly O’Neill (see photo) has found her experience as an intern in the Mediation Clinic to be “both trying and rewarding.” She said it is gratifying “to be able to offer a helping hand during a difficult life transition, such as a divorce or a child custody modification, and to end with a unified agreement that will help both parties more forward with their lives.”
Students in the Mediation Clinic co-mediate disputes with guidance from a supervising attorney. Low-income parties are referred to our clinic from Second District Family Court Services, the Nez Perce Tribal Court, federal and state court judges and clerks and local attorneys. Typical disputes concern custody, child support, property division, neighborhood disputes, and landlord-tenant matters. Mediation clinic interns also represent parties in alternative dispute resolution proceedings, such as the “triage conference” held in a civil rights case O’Neill handled. In that federally referred case, mediation clinic students represented 13 patients involuntarily committed to a California state mental hospital in a Section 1983 action over conditions of their hospitalization. Overall supervision of the Mediation Clinic is provided by Professor (and acting Clinical Director) Pat Costello.
"My service as a mediator has taught me the importance of patience and empathy for clients trying to resolve a legal issue" O’Neill said, adding: "There are two sides to every story and mediation allows each party to hear and understand his or her opponent’s perspective on the issue. It is this exchange of ideas that often times allows our clients to come to a workable solution that satisfies both parties."
All of the students in these two Moscow clinics, like their counterparts in our Boise clinics and immigration clinic (to be covered in a future edition of “First Monday”), will leave law school with a greater appreciation of what it means to help people resolve the legal issues they face. They will be better members of our profession and our communities for it.
Further information about clinical programs at the University of Idaho College of Law can be obtained from Professor Pat Costello.
Outreach Programs to Feature Legal History (Senator Borah) and Modern Controversy (Hydraulic Fracturing)
In March the College of Law will offer two outreach programs for the bench, bar, and general public.
Idaho Legal History Exhibit Open House
Tomorrow (March 5, 2013) the College of Law and the Idaho State Law Library (operated by the College under an agreement with the Idaho Supreme Court) will unveil an Idaho legal history exhibit honoring former Idaho U.S. Senator William E. Borah. The exhibit will open with a ceremony at the Idaho State Law Library on the fifth floor of the University of Idaho Boise Center (Water Center Building), 322 East Front Street, at 5:00 p.m. The ceremony will include remarks by Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, former Idaho Attorney General and Borah historian David Leroy, and Idaho journalist/historian Marc Johnson.
Following the ceremony, the exhibit will remain on continuous display. The exhibit includes photos, documents, and other historical artifacts showcasing Senator Borah’s career as a lawyer and as a public servant. Materials in the exhibit are on loan from David Leroy’s personal collection. Members of the bench, bar, and general public are invited to attend the opening ceremony and to visit the exhibit. The program is an example of how the Idaho State Law Library, with administration and resources provided by the University of Idaho, can enhance the public’s appreciation of legal history and its relevance to issues of today. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Further information is available from Lee Dillion, Associate Dean for Boise Programs.
Legal Aspects of Hydraulic Fracturing: Idaho Law Review Symposium
This Year's Idaho Law Review Symposium will be conducted on March 29, 2013, at the University of Idaho Boise Center. The symposium will address an issue of high-profile current interest: Legal Aspects of Hydraulic Fracturing. The symposium will bring together an interdisciplinary panel of legal, scientific, and business experts to discuss issues related to hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Topics will include: (1) the science and technology of hydraulic fracturing; (2) the regulation of hydraulic fracturing’s environmental effects; (3) the role of state and local governments in regulating hydraulic fracturing; (4) current legal hot topics in the field, such as the role of trespass and trade secrets; and (5) the role of hydraulic fracturing in a clean energy future for the country.
The College of Law will be live-streaming the symposium to Moscow…and the world…for the first time ever! The College plans to offer 5 CLE credit hours for $145, regardless of whether an attorney attends in-person or by live-stream. The live-stream will be free for those not receiving CLE credits. Registration is available online. Further information from the symposium’s faculty adviser, Stephen Miller.
Law Professor Honored as One of Idaho's "Women of the Year" for 2013
Professor Wendy Gerwick Couture (see photo) has been honored as one of Idaho’s fifty “Women of the Year” by the Idaho Business Review. The award, presented last week in Boise, celebrates Idaho’s most successful women from public, private, and charitable or business sectors. The annual award ceremony focuses on the high points and the lessons that have contributed to each woman’s unique business and professional experiences. At this year’s ceremony, more than 500 people were in attendance, including the Boise faculty, College of Law administrators, and many of the College’s third-year students in Boise.
Professor Couture teaches business law and is a nationally recognized scholar in securities and related topics. View her profile for more information