June 5, 2017 - First Monday
We have come to the end of another academic year, the hallways are quieter and the parking lots less full here at the College of Law. This previous year was full of accomplishments and change. I am honored to lead our faculty and staff as we continue to provide access across all cultures and ideologies to the highest quality of legal education.
For many of us, summer is a time to take a break, and that is why the First Monday newsletter will take a short leave of absence from your inbox, returning for the 2017-18 school year in August.
2017 College of Law Commencement and Awards
This May, we celebrated spring commencement in Moscow and in Boise. A total of 87 students participated in the ceremonies. Several honors and awards were presented to students and faculty at our two Celebrate the Class receptions.
- Award of Legal Achievement — Jamie L. Bjorklund
This award is presented to the graduating student with the highest cumulative grade point average and honors the student’s outstanding dedication and success in the pursuit of academic excellence.
- Spirit of the Class Award — Louis M. Myers II
The recipient of this award embodies the values of the class, both in and out of the classroom, and has a commitment to the law school that is apparent throughout their activities. The recipient is not only one who might liven up a class with a thought-provoking question but is also a person who always has a smile, an encouraging word or a helping hand for their fellow students.
- Spirit of the Clinic Award — Andrew G. Price
This award is determined by clinic faculty. The recipient best represents the spirit of the clinic and demonstrates their passion for the work of the clinic.
- Peter E. Heiser Award for Excellence in Teaching — Professor Richard H. Seamon
This award is determined by a vote of the graduating class and recognizes outstanding dedication to students at the College of Law.
- Outstanding Student Service Award — Maria D. Vega
The recipient of this award is a leader who has devoted much of their time and energy to improving the law school community and enhancing the student experience. Not only should the recipient be a strong advocate for student ideas and concerns, but should also show a commitment to the law school both within the building and outside its walls.
- Pro Bono Above and Beyond Award — JJ Winters
The Above and Beyond award is given annually to the student who most strongly supports and who best exemplifies, over three years, the law school’s commitment to pro bono service.
- Diversity & Human Rights Award — Christine Mellick & Professor Kate Evans
This award is determined by the members of the diversity committee. The recipients of this award show leadership and compassion in assisting minority and underserved communities.
Summer Public Interest Funds
This summer, over 15 students from the University of Idaho College of Law are serving the public interest pro bono, thanks to awards from the College’s Summer Public Interest Fund Program. The program awarded about $37,000 to students working in Idaho, Washington, Alaska, Utah, and Tennessee for nonprofits and legal organizations.
The funds help cover the housing, transportation and living expenses of the students who are all working in unpaid positions. As a result, students are able to serve the public in these roles and avoid increasing their educational debt. These grants permit our students to gain legal experience while helping underserved communities
The Summer Public Interest Fund program was expanded in 2014 with seed money from the Idaho State Bar Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts Foundation, alumni and external donations, federal work-study funds, and fundraising from the College of Law’s student organizations.
Around 40 of our students are working in externships this summer. We have several federal judicial placements with Judge Randy Smith of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Salvador Mendoza of the Eastern District Court of Washington and Judge B. Lynn Winmill in Boise. Students are also placed with Chief Justice Roger Burdick and Justice Joel Horton of the Idaho Supreme Court, Gov. Butch Otter’s office and with the Fourth Judicial District judges. We have numerous other students working in various public defender and prosecutor offices.
Florence Study Abroad
This year we became an affiliate school to Gonzaga’s Florence Summer Law Program in Italy. This affiliation provides our students automatic permission to participate in the program. The program is delivered at the Gonzaga in Florence campus located in the heart of the University District of Florence, the cultural and historical center of the Italian city. The Florence Summer Law Program provides students the opportunity to study human rights topics from an international and comparative perspective. The Florence Summer Law Program begins each year shortly after final exams in May and lasts through most of June.
Legal Services Corporation
The new presidential administration has submitted a budget request that proposes the elimination of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), allocating $33 million to LSC for FY2018 to wind down its existence. This program provides funding for civil legal aid to those who cannot afford it, serving people across the country. The Legal Services Corporation promotes fairness in our courts, giving low-income people representation in custody disputes, wrongful evictions, denial of benefits cases and other legal issues. These services are vital, especially in the state of Idaho.
I stand along with ABA President Linda Klein, who has issued a statement, and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, who has signed onto a letter with 31 fellow attorneys general in opposing the elimination of federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation and legal services for rural and low-income residents. If you feel passionate about this cause, here are a few actions you can take:
- Sign up to be a Legal Aid Defender.
- Schedule a visit with your congressional representatives when they are at home during upcoming congressional recesses (July 3 – 7).
- Call or email your representatives to express your support for LSC.
- The ABA has created a resources page to help you in lobbying for LSC.
Have a great summer,
University of Idaho College of Law
Idaho State Bar Annual Meeting
July 12-14, 2017
Best Western Plus University Inn
New Student Orientation
Aug. 14 - Aug. 18, 2017
Aug. 15 - Aug. 18, 2017
First Day of Classes
Aug. 21, 2017