First Monday - November 5, 2012
In this Issue:
- Students Demonstrate “Remarkable” Skills in 24th Annual McNichols Moot Court Competition
- Board of Regents Approves Second-Year Law Curriculum for Boise
- Natural Resources & Environmental Law Symposium Focuses on Sustainable Communities
At the College of Law, advocacy is an essential part of the program of legal education, starting with the appellate argument in the first-year Legal Research and Writing course and continuing into upper-division courses that comprise the College of Law’s distinctive “Litigation and Dispute Resolution” (LADR) curricular emphasis. Second-year students have an opportunity to hone their skills in the Hon. Raymond C. McNichols Intramural Moot Court Competition. The late Judge McNichols was one this state’s most highly respected jurists as well as one of the College’s closest friends and most distinguished alumni. The competition named for him is now in its 24th year.
The McNichols competition is a test of both talent and commitment. Each student is required to write a full appellate brief that is carefully evaluated and ranked. Each student participates in one or more rounds of oral arguments, culminating in a final round that is a signature event in the College’s academic year. The mandatory early rounds of oral argument are judged by faculty as well as by other members of the law school community. In the final round, judges and justices from the state and federal courts of Idaho, and from neighboring jurisdictions, gather to engage the best and brightest students in an memorable rite of professional passage. During this year’s final round, held in Moscow on November 3, the judges commended the students on making arguments worthy of practitioners in federal and state appellate courts, and said it was “remarkable” that 2L students should demonstrate such poise and preparation.
The winner of the final oral argument was Paul Hendrickson, who came to the College of Law with a baccalaureate degree from the University of Utah. Joining him in the final round was eventual runner-up Kendra Lotstein, who received her undergraduate degree from the University of Idaho. Oral argument semifinalists were Ryan Jacobsen (BYU- Idaho) and Michelle Wood (Boise State University). Mr. Hendrickson also received the awards for best brief and best overall advocate, based on a combination of brief-writing and oral argument. Lindy Hornberger (University of Lethbridge, Canada) earned the runner-up brief award.
The final round was judged by the Hon. N. Randy Smith, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; Hon. Daniel T. Eismann, Justice (and past Chief Justice) of the Idaho Supreme Court; Hon. Susan Owens, Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court; Hon. Rosanna M. Peterson, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington; and Michael E. McNichols (UI Law ’63), partner in the Lewiston law firm of Clements, Brown & McNichols. Mr. McNichols, son of the competition’s namesake, is a long-time supporter of the competition and one of the principal donors of funds for student awards.
The 2012 competition, which attracted 25 participants this year, was conducted under the auspices of the College’s Board of Student Advocates (Ryan Hunter, President). Principal organizers were Katherine (Katie) Berst and Kristina Fugate. This year’s problem, focusing on constitutional criminal procedure, was developed by student Reed Anderson, who wrote the case record and bench memorandum. Laurie O’Neal acted as faculty advisor, and she received a special commendation from the students for her eighth consecutive year of service in that capacity.
Further information about the McNichols Competition may be obtained from Professor O’Neal.
On October 18, the University of Idaho Board of Regents (State Board of Education) approved a proposal by the University of offer second-year law courses in Boise, supplementing the third-year curriculum already offered there, and complementing the main Juris Doctor degree curriculum delivered in Moscow. The State Board also approved the University’s request to include a line-item appropriation request for $400,000 annually, in support of faculty, staff and library for the second-year law curriculum, as part of the State Board’s higher education Fiscal Year 2014 funding requests. The package of requests will go the Governor, for consideration as part of his Executive Budget, which then will be transmitted to the Legislature for consideration during the 2013 legislative session.
The primary focus of the Boise curriculum, which started with third-year students in 2010, is upon business law, entrepreneurism, and economic development. Because law students today begin to specialize their studies during the second year, a broadened Boise curriculum will enable more students to pursue a full set of courses in these specialty areas, as well as to take advantage of employment and externship opportunities in Idaho’s capital city. Students in Moscow will be able to participate, by real-time distance education, in many of the upper-division specialty courses, and will benefit from the College’s expanded contacts with law firms and government agencies in southern Idaho. Moscow students already have begun to benefit from the College’s addition of a career development officer in Boise, whose purpose is to expand job opportunities for law students in both Moscow and Boise.
One of the College’s foremost curricular emphases is Natural Resources & Environmental Law (NREL), which draws upon the depth of the College’s faculty in that subject area as well as interdisciplinary connections to other colleges comprising the University of Idaho. The location of a law school at a major land-grant research university provides opportunities for collaborative teaching and scholarship that are unavailable at many other American universities.
Demonstrating this interdisciplinary strength, the College’s NREL faculty hosted in Boise, on October 11-13, a symposium of academics and land use professionals on the topic, “Realizing Sustainable Communities in a Post-Recession West.” The interdisciplinary group of participants, assembled by College of Law Professor Jerrold Long, sought to identify and describe an attainable, sustainable West, and the community, policy, and legal tools that might achieve it. The conversation centered on a case study from Teton County, Idaho, presented by the local officials and activists who work every day to develop that community.
Participants, in addition to Professor Long, were College of Law Professors Stephen Miller and Dale Goble, together with experts in land use law, economics, and policy from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville; the Sonoran Institute at Bozeman, Montana; the University of California at Santa Cruz; the College of the Environment at Western Washington University; the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy in Washington, DC; the University of Wyoming; Middlebury College of Connecticut; the University of Idaho’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology; Valley Advocates for Responsible Development in Driggs, Idaho; and land use officials of Teton County, Idaho. One of the participants, an economist, lauded the interdisciplinary scope of the symposium, stating in a follow-up message, “This was a great workshop. I am very impressed with U Idaho.”
Further information about the symposium and about the College’s NREL curricular emphasis may be obtained from Professor Long.