First Monday - October 1, 2012
In this issue:
- Graduating Class of 2012 Earns High Pass Rate on Idaho Bar Examination
- Bellwood Events Will Explore Innovative Solutions to Extraordinary Cases
- Legal Aid Clinic Earns Victory for Family Fleeing Religious Persecution
Our students make us proud. After donating more than 10,000 hours of pro bono service to persons of modest means and to organizations providing access to justice, the graduating class of 2012 went on to post an 87% first-time pass rate on the Idaho summer bar examination – compared to 79% for the graduates of other law schools taking the Idaho exam for the first time. (The overall first-time pass rate was 83%, buoyed by the University of Idaho’s 87%.) The significance of the Idaho exam is enhanced by the fact that it is a genuinely national test of doctrinal competency. In 2012 Idaho became one of the first ten states to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). Two adjoining states, Utah and Washington, have adopted the UBE, effective in 2013.
The Academic Support Program at the College of Law assists students in planning for the bar examination, in addition to working with students to enhance their study habits, writing proficiency, and examination skills during the law school years. Further information about bar examinations and academic support may be obtained from Nancy Luebbert (UI Law ’98), Academic Support Director.
On October 3-4, Idahoans will have a unique opportunity to see and hear the nation’s leading authority on mediating disputes and administering compensation in mass injury cases. Kenneth Feinberg has served as the chief architect of legal compensation for the nation’s most daunting, contemporary tragedies, including 9/11, Agent Orange, the shootings at Virginia Tech, and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He has been listed repeatedly in “Profiles in Power” as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America, and he was selected as the 2004 National Law Journal’s “Lawyer of the Year.” Most recently, he has agreed to administer a resolution process for claims arising from the child abuse incidents at Penn State University.
Feinberg has written two intriguing books on the heart-rending and often thankless task of trying to do justice in mass injury cases. In What is Life Worth: The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11 (2005), he explains the intellectual and emotional aftermath of one of the nation’s most traumatic events. In Who Gets What: Fair Compensation after Tragedy and Financial Upheaval (2012), he draws upon many cases to analyze the uses and limits of financial compensation when lives have been lost, bodies have been maimed, livelihoods have been wrecked, and economies and ecosystems have been upended.
During his visit to Idaho, Feinberg will participate in an interview for Idaho Public Television and will speak in Boise and Moscow. In Boise he will offer remarks as the honored guest at a reception hosted by the College of Law at 5:30 p.m. (MDT), Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the Boise Centre on the Grove. The reception is free and open to the public; however, seating is limited and an RSVP is requested. Email RSVPs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Moscow the morning of October 4, Feinberg will participate in a panel discussion on resolution of complex disputes. The program, aimed primarily at law students, will be held at the College of Law. The afternoon of October 4, Feinberg will deliver the Sherman J. Bellwood Memorial Lecture on the topic, “Unconventional Responses to Unique Catastrophes: Tailoring the Law to Meet the Challenges.” The site of the Lecture will be the University of Idaho Administration Building Auditorium. Doors open at 3 p.m. and the lecture begins at 3:30 p.m. (PDT). The lecture is free and open to the public. No reservations are required. The lecture also will be webcast on U-Idaho Live.
See these links for further information about Kenneth Feinberg’s distinguished career and about the 2012 Bellwood lecture.
In our legal aid clinic (recently ranked 13th out of approximately 200 law school clinical programs for availability of learning opportunities), students have won a heartwarming victory for a family seeking asylum in the United States to escape religious persecution overseas. Under the supervision of Professor Monica Schurtman, students Gabriela Contreras and Zaida Rivera, who have since graduated, represented an Egyptian Coptic Christian client, his wife, and a three-year-old daughter. The family sought and obtained asylum and work authorization in the United States.
The background of the case involved the fall of the Mubarak government and the rise in power of Salafi Islamic extremists who seek to “cleanse” Egypt of Christians and others who do not support Salafi tenets. Salafi extremists particularly targeted the Clinic’s clients, because the husband/father made his living by running a construction company that had done work restoring and building Christian churches. Some extremists physically attacked all three members of the family and threatened them with death on a number of occasions. They also kidnapped the three-year old; however, she survived, and shortly, thereafter, the family fled to the United States.
Upon receiving word of a favorable decision from Homeland Security on their asylum request, the husband/father wrote to Professor Schurtman, “I and all my family in Egypt and here say to you thanks very much for the great effort you have made with us and we pray to God to give you the strength to continue in this great work. With your help my dark future change[d] to be [a] future … of optimism and I have now the ability to build a future for me, my wife and my daughter. I do not find anything in the world [to parallel] what you have done ….”
See this link for further information about clinical legal education at the University of Idaho.