First Monday - October 3, 2011
In this issue:
- Economic Development Clinic Gets Underway: Helping Local Government and Business Collaborate for Success
- Class of 2011 Combines High Marks with High Values
- Work Moves Forward on Future Home of Idaho Law Learning Center
- Professionalism Characterizes “Day One” of Law School for the Class of 2014
- Trial Advocacy “Boot Camp” Takes Center Stage
Economic Development Clinic Gets Underway: Helping Local Government and Business Collaborate for Success
The College of Law, recently ranked 13th out of 200 accredited American law schools for clinical opportunities, has launched a new clinic with a unique purpose. The College’s Economic Development Clinic focuses on structures, strategies, and processes by which local government officials and business entrepreneurs can collaborate to produce successful economic development projects. The clinic, housed at the College’s Boise campus, will provide assistance on projects that foster sound economic development, enhance Idaho’s job base, and provide high-quality learning experiences for law students. The Economic Development Clinic complements the Small Business Legal Clinic directed by Lee Dillion, Associate Dean for Boise Programs. Together, these clinics reflect the business law and entrepreneurship emphasis in the College’s third-year program at Boise.
The Economic Development Clinic began operation this fall by responding to a request for assistance in Eastern Idaho. The clinic’s director, Professor Stephen Miller, and four third-year law students, traveled on September 26-27 to Teton County, where they met with county commissioners, county planning and building staff, the county attorney and sheriff, as well as real estate brokers/developers and nonprofits. The focus of the meeting was to help the county address legal issues arising from failed subdivisions in the county. During the boom of the last decade, Teton County was the fastest growing county in the state, but now the county of 10,000 residents is left with an inventory of 7,000 vacant subdivided lots, many with infrastructure in the ground and with no easy solution as to future use.
Professor Miller and the clinic students plan to return to Teton County in the spring to present their legal research. The clinic hopes to draw upon this case study in producing a resource document for other counties in Idaho facing similar issues.
The College of Law has many reasons to be proud of its most recent graduating class. The class of 2011 was the first statewide graduating class, comprised of 29 students who completed their third year in Boise as well as 75 students who pursued all three years in Moscow. The class raised the bar for devotion to public service, compiling approximately 10,800 pro bono hours of assistance to individuals of modest means as well as to courts and organizations providing access to justice. The class also set a high standard for bar exam performance, achieving a 90% first-time pass rate on the Idaho Bar Examination in July. The Idaho State Bar reported that the pass rate for all takers of the July examination was 81.5%.
For nearly a year, motorists driving past the old Ada County Courthouse (also known as the Capitol Annex) on the Capitol Mall in Boise have noticed signs erected by the Idaho Department of Administration, proclaiming the historic edifice to be the future home of the Idaho Law Learning Center. Now, motorists are seeing work on State Street that is part of a step-by-step process to turn the Law Learning Center vision into a reality. The Idaho Department of Public Works (DPW) is constructing a utility tunnel that will connect the old courthouse to the Capitol Mall geothermal and chilled water systems. Work also is slated to address additional domestic water, HVAC, electrical and elevator issues. After appropriating $176,000 for planning the Idaho Law Learning Center, the Legislature has followed up with $2 million, in increments of $500,000 and $1.5 million, for the renovations scheduled to date. The DPW has requested that the Permanent Building Fund Advisory Council include $4 million in the upcoming fiscal year (FY 2013) appropriation request in order to finish all the infrastructure work necessary to make the building habitable and rent-producing. The University of Idaho has raised an additional $1.1 million for tenant-specific improvements that will enable the building to serve as the venue for legal education, the State Law Library, continuing judicial education, and civic outreach. Under authority granted by the State Board of Education, the University is collaborating with the Idaho Supreme Court to develop the Law Learning Center, which will pay rent (“occupancy costs”) for the renovated building when it is ready to enter a new era of service to the law and the public.
For the ninth consecutive year, distinguished members of the bench and bar have collaborated with the College of Law to deliver a distinctive program entitled “Professionalism: First Day of Law School – Foundation of a Career” to the incoming class of law students. This fall, the future Class of 2014 received an introduction to legal education that focused on integrity and ethical conduct, with special emphasis on the importance of civility. The core of the program was a carefully crafted series of intimate discussions in which small groups of students meet with selected judges and lawyers to discuss scenarios that illustrate issues in professional responsibility. The issues included 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 program featured introductory remarks by Hon. Daniel Eismann (UI Law ’76), who was just completing his four-year term as Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court. After the small-group discussions, closing remarks were provided by Hon. Karen Lansing, Judge of the Idaho Court of Appeals. Later in the evening, students and their families heard from Reed Larsen (UI Law ’85), of Pocatello, President of the Idaho State Bar, who delivered the annual convocation address and sounded a passionate call for caring about clients and making a commitment to justice. Each of these speakers participated in the small-group discussions, along with following additional leaders of the Idaho judiciary and legal profession:
Idaho Court of Appeals Judge Sergio Gutierrez; Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden (UI Law ’85) and Deputy Attorney General Peg Dougherty; Judges Jeff Brudie (UI Law 84), Lewiston, and John Judge (UI Law ’84), Moscow; Idaho State Bar Commissioners Paul Daugharty of Coeur d’Alene, Molly O’Leary (UI Law ’94), and Robert Wetherell (UI Law ’83), both of Boise; past Idaho State Bar President Larry Hunter (Member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates); Deputy Bar Counsel Julia Crossland; and Idaho practitioners Jim Dickinson (UI Law ’81), chair of the Idaho State Bar Professionalism & Ethics Section, of Boise; Mikela French (UI Law ’08), Boise; Mary Giannini (UI Law ’84), Spokane; Stephen Brown (UI Law ’74), Boise; Tom Callery (UI Law ’78), Lewiston; Ted Creason (UI Law ’73), Lewiston; Tim Gresback, Moscow; Dana Heberholtz, Boise; Brian McClatchey, Bellingham and Worley; Stephen McCrea (UI Law ’74), Coeur d’Alene; Kendal McDevitt (UI Law ’95), Boise; Kinzo Mihara (UI Law ’07), Spokane; Sherry Morgan, Boise; and Laird Stone (UI Law ’79), Twin Falls.
In total, 27 judges and lawyers volunteered their time as mentors and speakers on the first day of the 2011 1L orientation program. The College is grateful to all of them for their unselfish service to legal education, as well as to the Idaho State Bar for its co-sponsorship of the program. Further information about the orientation/professionalism program is available from Dean Burnett.
The fall of 2011 marked the 33rd anniversary of the College’s annual “boot camp” trial advocacy program. The week-long intensive program, modeled after the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, provides students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn practical skills in courtroom advocacy from experienced faculty and widely known judges and practitioners. At the conclusion of the week-long session, the students test their skills by trying a case to live juries consisting of the new 1L students.
From year to year, the program alternates between criminal and civil cases. This year the focus was on criminal prosecution and defense. The program’s in-house teaching corps consisted of Professor Maureen Laflin, who for twenty years has organized the program, and clinical faculty member Pat Costello, in his 12th year of service as an instructor. The program also included noteworthy visiting instructors: Noel Larrivee, a University of Montana trial advocacy instructor who has taught in all 33 years of the Idaho program); David Nevin (UI Law ‘’78), criminal defense practice, Boise; David Metcalf, staff attorney, United States District Court for the District of Idaho; Jan Bennetts, Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, Boise; Teresa Hampton (UI Law ’83), Federal Defenders of Idaho, Capital Habeas Unit; Tom Monaghan, Federal Defenders of Idaho, Boise; and Traci Whelan, Assistant United States Attorney, Coeur d’Alene.
The College thanks each of these practitioners for making the “trial ad” program one of the distinctive elements of an Idaho legal education. Further information about the program is available from Professor Laflin.