In this issue:
Idaho Law Learning Center Receives $1 Million Gift Commitment
The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, one of Idaho’s premier philanthropic organizations, with a long record of supporting education, has committed $1 million to the University of Idaho College of Law for development of an Idaho Law Learning Center in Boise. The Law Learning Center, a collaborative undertaking by the University of Idaho and the Idaho Supreme Court, will provide a synergistic location for legal education, the Idaho State Law Library, continuing judicial education, and law-related education for the public. The planned home of the Law Learning Center is the old Ada County Courthouse, situated directly between the Supreme Court and the Statehouse in a “Capitol Area District” listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The gift was announced on the steps of the courthouse in a ceremony that featured remarks by President Duane Nellis; Chief Justice Daniel Eismann (UI Law ’76); Lieutenant Governor Brad Little; Laura Bettis (UI Law ’03), a director of the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation; Mike Rush, Executive Director of the Idaho State Board of Education; Boise Mayor David Bieter (UI Law ’87); and Dean Donald Burnett.
The Foundation’s generous gift will enable the University to implement specific renovations needed to configure the courthouse -- which recently served as the Capitol Annex while the main Capitol Building was being remodeled -- into the multipurpose Law Learning Center. The building, owned by the State of Idaho, also will undergo general renovations planned by the Division of Public Works in the State Department of Administration. In 2008 the Idaho Legislature appropriated funds for preliminary planning of an Idaho Law Learning Center, and in 2010 the Legislature provided an initial $500,000 to the Permanent Building Fund for commencement of the general renovations.
Until the Idaho Law Learning Center is ready for occupancy, the College of Law will operate its new third-year program in Boise at the University of Idaho Boise Center (“Water Center”) Building, a modern state-of-the-art facility with videoconferencing connectivity to the Menard Law Building in Moscow. As reported last month in a special edition of “First Monday,” the third-year program has received approval from the American Bar Association. The program, designed to complement the main program in Moscow by focusing largely on business law and entrepreneurism, has an enrollment of thirty students this fall. To date, the College of Law has received more than $1.5 million in private gift commitments, including the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation donation, in support of the Idaho Law Learning Center and the University of Idaho’s fulfillment of its statewide mission in legal education.
Further information about the College’s third-year program and proposal for the Idaho Law Learning Center may be obtained from Dean Burnett (firstname.lastname@example.org) or from Lee Dillion (email@example.com), Associate Dean for Boise Programs.
2010 Entering Class Shows Heightened Interest in College of Law
The College of Law in August welcomed an entering class of 132 students – a number substantially higher than the recent historical average of 105-110, and higher than a target of 120-125 established in light of anticipated enrollment of some students in the third-year program at Boise. The growth in the size of the entering class was the result of an increase in the “yield” rate on offers of admission as well as a 16% increase in applications (862 compared with 743 the previous year). This percentage increase was twice the national law school average increase of approximately 8%. The elevated interest in the University of Idaho appears to reflect the recruiting expertise of Jenifer Finney, Director of Admissions, and Helen Albertson-Ploucha, Associate Dean for Students and Administration, as well as a 2009 “value” ranking of of the College of Law in the nation’s “top ten” law schools based on cost of attendance, bar exam outcomes, and job placement success. The planned expansion of the third-year curriculum, creating opportunities in both Moscow and Boise, also may have contributed to the heightened student interest.
The median LSAT score of the newly enrolled students is 154 (with a high of 171), representing approximately the 60th national percentile. The median undergraduate grade point average is 3.30 (with a high of 4.00). Of the 132 first-year students, 59 (45%) are women and 24 (18%) are from minority groups. Students classified as Idaho “residents” comprise 46% of the class, while many others have Idaho family or close personal connections. Idaho residency continued to be a strong factor in admissions decisions: offers of admission were made to 57% of the in-state applicants, compared to 40% of the out-of-state applicants.
The “Class of 2013” brings a remarkable variety of life experiences to the study of law. The class includes teachers, small business owners, pastors, collegiate and professional athletes, a McNair Scholar, a professional ballet dancer, a ski instructor, an active duty sergeant in the Army National Guard, a Navy operations specialist, and an opinion columnist. Volunteer services include the AmeriCorps, the Special Olympics, the American Civil Liberties Union, “Race for the Cure,” and a variety of other philanthropic and community activities. The students hail from 24 states and two Canadian provinces, and have lived in 40 different countries for periods of one month or longer. Sixty members of the class speak a second language, and seven speak three or more languages.
Leaders of Idaho Bench and Bar Bring Professionalism Message to New Law Students
Now in its eighth year, a distinctive program entitled “Professionalism: First Day of Law School – Foundation of a Career” has become one of the “signatures” of the University of Idaho College of Law. The program puts professionalism at the heart of every incoming student’s introduction to the law school experience. The content of the program focuses on integrity and ethical conduct, with special emphasis on the importance of civility. The core of the program is a carefully crafted series of intimate discussions in which small groups of students meet with selected judges and lawyers to discuss scenarios that illustrate issues in professional responsibility. The issues include truthfulness and fairness in litigation, cooperation with fellow officers of the legal system, fiduciary obligations to clients, reasonableness of fees, conflicts of interest, the duties of lawyers vis-à-vis difficult or dishonest clients, and pro bono service.
This year’s program, conducted on August 16, 2010, featured introductory remarks by Hon. Daniel Eismann (UI Law ’76), Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court, and closing remarks by the Hon. Karen Lansing, Chief Judge of the Idaho Court of Appeals. Later in the same day, students and their families heard from the Hon. Warren Jones, Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court, and Second District Judge John Stegner, UI Law ’82) during the 1L convocation. Each of these speakers also participated in the small-group discussions with students, along with following additional leaders of the Idaho judiciary and legal profession:
Idaho Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones; Idaho Court of Appeals Judge Sergio Gutierrez; Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden (UI Law ’85) and Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane; Judges Barbara Buchanan (UI Law ’83), Debra Heise, Juneal Kerrick (UI Law ’81), and Jerold Lee (UI Law ’95); Idaho State Bar Commissioners Paul Daugharty, Deborah Ferguson, and Reed Larsen (UI Law ’85); Deputy Bar Counsel Julia Crossland; past Bar President William F. “Bud” Yost (UI Law ’69); Nez Perce tribal attorney Julie Kane (UI Law ’89); and Idaho practitioners Robert Aldridge (past chair of the Idaho State Bar Professionalism & Ethics Section), Jan Bennetts, Tom Callery, Jim Dickinson (UI Law ‘’81), current chair of the Professionalism and Ethics Section), Peg Daugherty, Anne Dwelle (UI Law ’88), Julian Gabiola (UI Law ’96), Karen Gowland (UI Law ’84, chair of the Idaho State Bar Professional Conduct Board), Savi Grewal, Ammon Hanson, Lisa Holmes (UI Law ’91), David Kerrick (UI Law ’80), Shasta Kilminster-Hadley, April Linscott, Michael Peacock (UI Law ‘’78), Gene Petty, Sunil Ramalingam (UI Law ‘’97), Elizabeth Schierman (UI Law ’05), Kim Toryanski, and John Zarian.
In total, 38 judges and lawyers volunteered their time as mentors and speakers on the first day of the 2010 1L orientation program. The College is grateful to all of them for their unselfish service to legal education. Further information about the orientation/professionalism program is available from Dean Burnett (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Trial Advocacy Program Attracts Distinguished Visitors to Moscow
In August, 2010, the College of Law marked the 32nd anniversary of its annual “boot camp” trial advocacy program. The week-long intensive program, modeled after the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, provides students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn practical skills in courtroom advocacy from experienced faculty and widely known judges and practitioners. At the conclusion of the week-long session, the students test their skills by trying a case to live juries consisting of the new 1L students.
From year to year, the program alternates between criminal and civil cases. This year the focus was on civil litigation. The program’s in-house teaching corps consisted of Professor Maureen Laflin, organizer of the program; clinical faculty members Pat Costello, Carole Wells (UI Law ’03), and Barbara Lock; and externship/pro bono director Trapper Stewart (UI Law ’01). Teachers also included noteworthy visiting members of the bench and bar:
Hon. J. Kelley Arnold (UI Law ’61, U.S. Magistrate, Western District of Washington), Hon. John Stegner (UI Law ’82, District Judge, Second Judicial District of Idaho), Noel Larrivee (Montana attorney and instructor at the University of Montana, who has taught in all 32 years of the Idaho program), Newal Squyres (Holland & Hart, of Boise), Merlyn Clark (UI Law ’64, Hawley Troxell Ennis & Hawley, of Boise), Fred Hoopes (Hopkins Roden Crockett Hansen & Hoopes, of Idaho Falls), Briane Nelson “Nels” Mitchell (UI Law ’78, Mauk & Burgoyne, of Boise), David Metcalf (Staff Attorney, U.S. District Court, District of Idaho), Connie Taylor (UI Law ’93, Henderson Law Office, Vancouver, Washington), Keely Duke (Hall Farley, Oberrecht & Blanton, of Boise), and Scott Zanzig (Hall Zanzig Claflin & McEachern, of Seattle).
The College thanks each of these judges and lawyers for making the “trial ad” program one of the distinctive elements of an Idaho legal education. Further information about the program is available from Professor Laflin (email@example.com).