In this issue:
The College of Law supports, and is enriched by, an exceptional array of student organizations serving the law school community and enhancing the co-curricular dimensions of a legal education. At few other American law schools of any size do student organizations demonstrate such vitality and make such important contributions. This issue of “First Monday” is dedicated to these organizations and their achievements during the 2006-07 year to date.
College of Law Student Organizations
Public Interest Law Group spends “alternative spring break” in New Orleans
Fourteen UI law students devoted their spring break in March to furnishing pro bono aid to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As the students discovered, thousands of hurricane victims are still living in deplorable conditions. The victims’ need for legal assistance is so great that it is still being inventoried. Needs include regrouping of families, obtaining relief funds and insurance proceeds, gaining possession of family property, undertaking the administration of decedents’ estates, entering contracts for rebuilding homes, seeking enforcement of existing contracts with defaulting construction firms, and addressing a host of other personal problems. The cases were heart-rending. Many students were moved to tears by the hopefulness and gratitude expressed to them by people in distress. The students’ travel and other expenses were largely covered by funds raised by the students themselves, by funding from the law dean’s office, and by a generous grant from the office of UI President Timothy White. A weblog maintained by students during their New Orleans experience may be accessed Public Intrest Law Group's Blog.
Highlights from other student organizations (listed alphabetically):
The student chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union co-hosted Diversity Week with the Multi-Cultural Law Caucus and held a Blood Drive at the College of Law. The group showed the film "Women's Rights," from the ACLU Freedom Files, raised money for a local women's organization, and co-sponsored a “Moscow public policy summit” with the ACLU of Idaho and the Idaho Women's Network.
The Board of Student Advocates had an all-time record number of students compete in the intraschool McNichols Moot Court Competition. In external competitions, two teams participated in the regional round of the national moot court competition, hosted in Boise by the College of Law. One of the teams received runner-up “best brief” honors. Two teams participated in the national bankruptcy moot court competition in New York, with one of the teams advancing to the “sweet sixteen.” Two mock trial teams competed in Seattle, and an environmental law moot law team advanced to the national quarterfinals in New York. The BSA also raised over $3,200 at its annual talent show/auction to help send students to these competitions next year.
A new chapter of the Christian Legal Society began last fall, sending four members to the 2006 National Conference held in San Antonio, Texas. The CLS holds open meetings on campus as well as weekly Bible studies off campus, and supports a local “Meals on Wheels” project.
The Environmental Law Society created a mentor/mentee program with the Idaho State Bar section on Environment and Natural Resource Law; established a public interest environmental law pro bono program with Advocates for the West; and brought guest speaker/environmental lawyer Laird Lucas to campus.
The student chapter of the Federalist Society brought guest speakers to campus for lectures and debates on legal issues of current interest including judicial independence, eminent domain, immigration, and reproductive rights. The student chapter sent a delegation to the annual Federalist Society Student Symposium at Northwestern University in Chicago and sponsored a successful charity golf-scramble last fall.
The German Law Journal has become the source of the most contemporary and comprehensive English-language coverage of developments in German jurisprudence, as well as its intersection with European and International Law. Students from the UI College of Law rotate monthly editing duties with students from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto. This year the Idaho student editors helped finance a shipment of law books to a law school in Macedonia and published a special issue on the future of Kosovo, coinciding with the release of the UN report marking the path to Kosovo's eventual independence. The Idaho editors are currently in the process of listing the Journal with both Westlaw and LexisNexis.
The student division of the Idaho Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers conducted a program on the Fair Housing Act. The program, presented on behalf of Idaho Legal Aid in Lewiston, helped the Lewiston legal aid office qualify for federal funding to assist in housing cases.
The Idaho Law Review, which includes 41 second and third year law student members this year, has finished its third issue of the current volume and has just completed the 2007 Idaho Law Review Symposium--a CLE event now in its 15th year. Held on March 30 in Boise and attended by approximately 100 lawyers and public officials, this year’s symposium brought together local and national experts on urban growth and land use law. The law review has settled into new offices on the third floor of the Menard Law Building and will soon begin its 2007 “patrons” fundraising campaign.
The student chapter of the Idaho Trial Lawyers Association participated in the parent organization’s conference at McCall last semester, continued to clear debris from an “adopted” two-mile segment of U.S. Highway 95, and sponsored a career panel featuring small-town practitioners from Idaho and Washington.
The newly founded Intellectual Property Club established conference calls with the governing council of the IP Section of the Idaho State Bar; volunteered for the UI International Jazz Collection during the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival; organized a lawyer panel, featuring practitioners from Seattle and Chicago, on careers in intellectual property law; and created a pop culture "Knowledge Bowl" for students, faculty, and staff.
The International Law Students Association organized an information drive and letter campaign on the genocide in Darfur; sent three boxes of law school texts to Macedonia; hosted an “Italian lunch” for students; participated (with some students presenting scholarly papers) in the UI annual International Law Symposium at Coeur d'Alene; and engaged in Citizenship Day through the Washington State Immigration Lawyers Association.
The J. Reuben Clark Law Society, an organization open to all students and devoted to promoting public service and integrity in the practice of law, began to develop a publication entitled, “When I Turn 18" -- a pro bono project designed to help young adults understand their new legal rights and responsibilities.
The Law School Support Association, an organization that supports partners, spouses, and families of law students, conducted an opening social event, book club, and fall carnival. The organization’s spring events will include the children’s Easter egg hunt, “Finals Weenie,” and “S'mores Roast.”
The Multicultural Law Caucus implemented a mentor/mentee program with UI undergraduate students; hosted guest presenter, Professor Teri McMurtry-Chubb, Coordinator of the Fairhaven Law, Diversity, and Justice Center at Western Washington University; organized diversity dialogues on cross-cultural competence with diversity consultant-trainer Sam Byrd; presented a viewing of the film, "In the Light of Reverence,” about the Native American struggle to protect cultural property and sacred lands; and adopted a family in Moscow, providing them a Thanksgiving meal. With assistance from Stoel Rives LLC, the organization also helped three law students attend a national Latina/o conference in Seattle last fall.
The Non-Traditional Law Group provided a social support network for students who have come to law school after substantial careers in business, government, or other occupations.
In addition to undertaking the “alternative spring break” mentioned above, the Public Interest Law Group educated local high school students about legal issues, applied for grants for public interest internships, and worked with the Court Appointed Special Advocates to provide Guardian Ad Litem training to students who would like to work with abused, abandoned, or neglected children.
The UI chapter of Phi Alpha Delta, the largest fraternity in the College of Law and one of the oldest organizations on campus (dating to 1911), has provided a variety of social programs and service projects in the Moscow community. PAD also collects and re-sells used law books and study materials.
The Sexual Orientation Diversity Alliance (SODA) strives to help all students feel welcome at the law school regardless of sexual orientation. In April the organization will host a panel discussion on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy,” featuring UI law professor Alan Williams, a former Marine Corps military judge, and Aaron Tax, staff attorney at the Service Members Legal Defense Network. The organization has co-sponsored the Moscow “public policy summit” that recently included discussions about passing an employment non-discrimination act in Moscow, as well as a panel on legal issues facing same-sex couples in Idaho.
The newly formed Student Advocates for Hispanic/Latino Support and Awareness (SALSA) works closely with the College of Law Legal Aid Clinic to translate documents as well to provide interpreters for client interviews and meetings. SALSA's fundraising activities include an annual Enchilada Extravaganza and upcoming Fajita Fiesta for the students, faculty, and staff at the College. SALSA recently co-sponsored a guest speaker from Mexico who discussed post-NAFTA social and economic issues.
The Student Bar Association serves as an administrative umbrella and funding source for many of the other student organizations. The SBA works closely with the College of Law administration. In addition, the SBA has organized monthly brown bag luncheons that encourage faculty, staff, and students to mix and mingle; sponsored the law school’s first annual law school homecoming celebration; co-sponsored a “Clarence Darrow” professional theatre performance in the law school courtroom; aided in the Bellwood Lecture Series events; organized the first annual law school “community service” day; and consulted on physical improvements to the Menard Law Building and library study areas. This spring the SBA will conduct the annual Barristers’ Ball in conjunction with a program honoring the service of retiring faculty members Dennis Colson and Craig Lewis.
The College of Law Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has offered free tax assistance to the university and surrounding community; expanded its tax preparation services to offer free tax assistance on the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation; and, for the fourth year in a row, has sent a student team and advisor to Alaska during spring break to prepare tax returns for Native peoples in remote villages.
The Women's Law Caucus recently hosted guest speaker (and former UI general counsel) Georgia Yuan, this year’s president of the National Association of College and University Attorneys. The organization has sponsored fundraising events in connection with Heart Disease Awareness Week, is providing publicity on Women’s History Month, and is coordinating a networking event in Moscow, enabling WLC members to meet members of the McNichols American Inn of Court and visiting judges of the Idaho Court of Appeals.