First Monday - March 5, 2012
In this issue:
- National Leader in Dispute Resolution and Mass Injury Compensation Will Deliver 2012 Bellwood Lecture
- Faculty, Staff, Students Engage in “Dialogues on Professionalism and Diversity”
- Alumna Emphasizes Professionalism in Overcoming Obstacles on “Path to the Judiciary”
- Law Review Starts On-Line Publishing, Announces Spring Symposium on “Genetically Modified Organisms”
National Leader in Dispute Resolution and Mass Injury Compensation Will Deliver 2012 Bellwood Lecture
Kenneth Feinberg, named in 2004 as the National Law Journal’s “Lawyer of the Year,”and listed repeatedly as one of the Journal’s “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” will deliver the next Sherman J. Bellwood Memorial Lecture at the College of Law. Feinberg has earned national prominence for his unique service as a mediator, arbitrator, and administrator of special funds established to resolve many of the nation’s most controversial and emotionally laden cases. He may be best known for serving, upon request by then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, as Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, in which he evaluated applications, determined appropriate compensation, and paid awards to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He subsequently described this heart-rending work in his book, What Is Life Worth? A few years later, Feinberg was designated as administrator of the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund following the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech. Currently, he serves at the request of the Obama Administration and British Petroleum as administrator of the BP Deepwater Horizon Compensation Fund, established to expedite compensation to victims of the Gulf oil spill.
Feinberg also has served as a Special Master in the Agent Orange, Dalkon shield, and DES (pregnancy medication) cases, as well as in asbestos litigation. In the commercial sector, he designed, implemented and administered an Alternative Dispute Resolution program for settling insurance claims made by victims of Hurricane Katrina and other Gulf hurricanes. He has served as Distribution Agent for AIG Fair Fund claimants, and has overseen the determination of salary limitations for top executives at companies that have received federal bailout assistance. In his capacity as an arbitrator, Mr. Feinberg helped determine the fair market value of the original Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination.
Feinberg will discuss his experiences, and will share his perspectives on American civil justice, in Boise and Moscow on October 3-4, 2012, with the main lecture taking place on the Moscow campus. Specific scheduling details are forthcoming. Further information about the Bellwood Lecture Series can be obtained from Associate Dean Helen Albertson. Information about the dispute resolution curriculum, including the Northwest Institute for Dispute Resolution, at the College of Law can be obtained from Professor Maureen Laflin, Director of Clinical Programs.
During the week of February 13, 2012, the College of Law conducted a special program, entitled “Dialogues on Professionalism and Diversity” for all faculty, staff, and students in Moscow and Boise. The program, supported by alumni donations, was facilitated by Dean Blake T. Morant of the Wake Forest University School of Law. Dean Morant, whose background includes service in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps and in private practice before entering academia, convened a series of 75-minute conversations with each class of students (1L, 2L, 3L Moscow, and 3L Boise) as well as multiple sessions with faculty and staff. The law faculty voted unanimously to require participation in these sessions – including participation by faculty members themselves -- in order to gather and share a full range of viewpoints on diversity and its connection to professionalism. Dean Morant reinforced this purpose by inviting the entire law school community to join him in a “[r]espectful exchange that encompasses different perspectives….”
Morant, a recipient of the Equal Justices Works Outstanding Law School Dean Award for leadership in nurturing a spirit of public service at Wake Forest, informed the students that his purpose was to “inspire constructive exchange” with them “on issues related to your future success as professionals in a global and diverse world.” With faculty and staff, Dean Morant convened discussions on how diversity can be understood in all of its dimensions, not limited to demographic representation, and on how professionalism can be promoted in the law school curriculum and culture in order to prepare students effectively for future success. Information about the program is available from Dean Don Burnett.
When the Hon. Darla Williamson (UI Law ’72), was a first-year law student -- one of only two women in her class -- a law professor told her she should quit law school, go home, get married, and have children. “I had an A in his class,” Judge Williamson later recalled, “and he’s telling me that I should quit….” She did not take his advice. She went on to become one of Idaho’s “first fifty” women admitted to the practice of law.
Judge Williamson recounted this story and many others during remarks in the College of Law courtroom on February 21, 2012. Her presentation, entitled “The Path to the Judiciary,” was sponsored by the Women’s Law Caucus with assistance from the Dean’s Office. Judge Williamson noted how her career after law school began in a one-person satellite office of Boise lawyer Allen Derr (UI Law ’59), located at McCall, Idaho. She was not readily accepted as a professional in the community. “I had a client walk in the door and he thought I was the secretary, and so he asked to speak to the attorney. I told him, ‘Well, I am the attorney.’ He says, ‘Okay, well, can you point me to where there are some male attorneys in town?’ ”
Judge Williamson recalled thinking at the time that women were not perceived as strong advocates. Later, however, she observed that women “can be tough as nails and very good advocates.” Judge Williamson established her own strong reputation, becoming a prosecutor and eventually a magistrate, in Valley County. She subsequently became a district judge, and was elected by her peers as the administrative district judge in Idaho’s Fourth Judicial District.
Judge Williamson told the law students that her “path to the judiciary” ran through professionalism. To emphasize the point, she distributed to her audience a list of factors utilized by the Idaho Judicial Council in questionnaires distributed to the Bar and utilized by the Council in evaluating applicants for appointment to judicial office. She pointed to the criteria of demeanor, integrity, industriousness, competence, and capacity to be impartial -- noting that all of these criteria are elements of professionalism. “Trying to be a professional – that’s how I stayed on my path,” she said. She concluded with a word of advice: “Law school is a professional environment. Don’t say or do careless things that can hurt you or hurt other students. Wherever your path may lead, it starts right here.”
Further information about the Women’s Law Caucus can be obtained from 2L student Jane Gordon.
Law Review Starts On-Line Publishing, Announces Spring Symposium on “Genetically Modified Organisms”
The venerable Idaho Law Review has begun publishing Volume 48, but this volume will differ from the preceding 47. The first issue of Volume 48, and the issues to follow, will be available in both the familiar hard copy and an on-line format. Volume 48, Issue 1, includes analyses of the interaction between the Second Amendment rights of students and the First Amendment rights of institutions of higher education; the role of pro bono service in legal education; a quantitative perspective on the influence of Seventh Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner; and the fundamental importance of the economically threatened state court system. Issue 1 also includes notes and comments analyzing recent developments in Idaho’s prosecutorial misconduct jurisprudence, Idaho’s legislative response to the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and the Ninth Circuit’s treatment of the Stolen Valor Act. Authors include ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson, Prof. Shaundra K. Lewis (Texas Southern University), Prof. Margaret M. Cordray (Capital University), Christopher C. McCurdy (Law Clerk to Chief Justice Roger Burdick, Idaho Supreme Court) and Ryan P. Thompson (Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP), as well as current editors of the Idaho Law Review.
The Law Review is also pleased to announce that its 2012 spring symposium will feature a topic of increasingly urgent importance at the intersection of law, technology, and international commerce: “Genetically Modified Organisms -- Law and the Global Market.” The symposium, to be held in Boise at the Owyhee Plaza Hotel on April 20, 2012, will feature presentations on the science-and-law interface; barriers and channels for trade in GMOs; issues of biodiversity and liability created by “genetic drift”; and social dimensions of the impact of GMO law on producers and consumers. The program should be of close interest to Idaho practitioners and public policy makers, especially in light of rapid technological advances in the agricultural industry. Further information about the symposium is available on the websiteLaw Idaho Review.
The Idaho Law Review is the scholarly publication of the University of Idaho College of Law. It exists to serve the bench, the practicing bar, and the legal academy as a forum for scholarly analysis of current legal issues, particularly those that are relevant to Idaho and the Pacific Northwest. Inquiries regarding subscriptions or other matters may be directed to 3L student Brian Schlect, Editor-in-Chief.