In this issue:
Law Advisory Council Provides Timely Guidance on Strategic Planning and Curriculum Design
On October 24-25, 2010, the College of Law Advisory Council conducted its fall meeting in Moscow. The Council asked Idaho Falls attorney and State Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis (UI Law ’80) to continue serving as chair for a third term in 2010-11, which he unselfishly agreed to do. The Council also chose Boise attorney James C. Dale (UI Law ’82) to serve as vice-chair. Senator Davis and his immediate predecessors as chair, former Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Copple Trout (UI Law ’77), and Idaho Falls attorney C. Timothy Hopkins, have provided active leadership during the Council’s participation in strategic planning for the College’s programs in both Moscow and Boise. During this year’s fall meeting, the Council met with faculty, with UI President M. Duane Nellis, and with student leaders; reviewed the American Bar Association’s approval of the third-year program in Boise; discussed the planning for a full three-year branch curriculum in Boise, for the development of the Idaho Law Learning Center in conjunction with the Idaho Supreme Court, and for the future expansion in the size of the faculty in Moscow and Boise; furnished commentary and guidance on career planning for students, private fundraising, and the faculty’s re-design of the first-year curriculum (see last month’s “First Monday” newsletter for details on the curriculum re-design); and reviewed proposed revisions to the Council’s by-laws.
Council members participating in these discussions, in addition to Senator Davis and Mr. Dale, included Hon. Daniel Eismann (UI Law ’76), Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court; Hon. Larry Boyle (UI Law ’72), Senior United States Magistrate, U. S. District Court for the District of Idaho; attorney Theodore “Ted” Creason (UI Law ’73), Lewiston; attorney Thomas High (UI Law ’79), Twin Falls; attorney Charles “Chuck” Homer (UI Law ’74), Idaho Falls; attorney Danielle Hunsaker (UI Law ’04), Portland, Oregon; attorney Dennis McLaughlin (UI Law ’67), Spokane, Washington; Hon. John T. Mitchell (UI Law ’85), District Judge, First Judicial District of Idaho, at Coeur d’Alene; attorney Mack Redford (UI Law ’67), Member of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, Boise; attorney Connie Taylor (UI Law ’93), Vancouver, Washington; and attorney William “Bud” Yost (UI Law ’69), Nampa.
The Law Advisory Council consults with the dean and law faculty on institutional planning, advocacy for the law school and public legal education in Idaho, curricular design, student recruiting and admissions, career development, and attracting highly qualified faculty and staff. A full list of current and emeritus members of the Law Advisory Council may be viewed on the College of Law website. Further information about the Council may be obtained from Terri Muse, College of Law Development Director (firstname.lastname@example.org).
State Bar Leaders Conduct On-the-Ground Review of Idaho Legal Education
One of the unique features of public legal education in Idaho is the annual composition of a special visiting committee, comprised of the Idaho State Bar Commissioners and President of the Idaho Law Foundation, to conduct an on-the-ground review of Idaho’s public law school. This tradition, approximately 30 years old, has fostered closer relations between the legal profession and the legal academy than can be found in most other states. The College of Law received its 2010 annual visit on November 11-12, in Moscow. Participating as members of the visiting committee were attorney and ISB President James Meservy (UI Law ’79), Jerome; Commissioner Deborah Ferguson, Deputy United States Attorney, Boise; attorney and Commissioner Reed Larsen (UI Law ’85), Pocatello; attorney and Commissioner Molly O’Leary (UI Law ’94), Boise; Commissioner Paul Daugharty, Coeur d’Alene; and attorney and ILF President Katherine Moriarty (UI Law ’90), Idaho Falls. The visiting committee was accompanied by Diane Minnich, ISB/ILF Executive Director; Brad Andrews, ISB Bar Counsel; and Mary Hobson (UI Law ’77), Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program Legal Director.
The visiting committee met with faculty, UI President M. Duane Nellis, and student leaders; in addition, they visited classes and convened a general gathering of students to discuss their futures in the profession and their experiences at the College of Law. The visitors received reports and engaged in active discussion about law school admissions and careers; the College’s distinctive pro bono program; the College’s third-year program in Boise, with its business law focus; the College’s collaboration with the Idaho Supreme Court on the Idaho Law Learning Center; the College’s expanded research and writing program, and re-designed first-year curriculum, in Moscow; and the College’s upper-division areas of emphasis in natural resources and environmental law (NREL), Native American law, and litigation and dispute resolution (LADR). University’s current budget challenges. The meetings also addressed the fiscal outlook for higher education in Idaho and the challenge of keeping legal education affordable.
The College of Law is grateful for the “Idaho collegiality” and support fostered by these annual leadership visits. Further information can be obtained from Dean Don Burnett (email@example.com).
Early Admissions Statistics Show Idaho Improving on the National Average
As readers of “First Monday” will recall, the College of Law experienced a 16% increase in applications in the 2009-10 admissions cycle, compared to a nationwide increase of approximately 8%. As a result, the College’s entering class of 132 students was enrolled from a total applicant pool of 862 prospective students. The pool may shrink slightly in the coming year. During economic cycles, when the economy shows signs of improving, applications to graduate and professional schools tend to diminish as would-be applicants return their attention to the job market. Indeed, the 2010-11 admissions cycle shows early signs of following this trend. Nationwide, the number of applicants seeking admission to U.S. law schools thus far in the fall of 2010, as reported by the Law School Admissions Council, has decreased by approximately 9%. At the University of Idaho, however, the decrease to date has been approximately 3%. The College of Law appears to be drawing strength from the cost-effectiveness of its educational program and from the recruiting efforts of Director of Admissions Jenifer Finney and our Associate Dean of Students and Administration Helen Albertson, as well as from the opportunities the College now provides in both Moscow and Boise.