In this issue:
Law Faculty Combines Meeting in Boise with Outreach to Business Law Community
Demonstrating the “one statewide law school” concept, the College of Law convened its April 20, 2012, faculty meeting at the University of Idaho Boise Center (“Water Center” Building), where the College delivers its third-year program and operates the integrated law library/State Law Library under agreement with the Idaho Supreme Court. Although the meeting was linked to Moscow (regular meetings in Moscow are also linked to Boise), nearly all of the Moscow faculty traveled to the state capital on this occasion. The faculty conducted regular business during the meeting; in addition, the faculty reviewed the ongoing initiative to provide a full three-year program in Boise that will complement the Moscow program, and the faculty discussed establishing a second-year curriculum in Boise as the next step toward that goal. Such a proposal is being crafted, in consultation with University leadership, for submission to the Board of Regents/State Board of Education. The State Board directed the University to return to the Board for further discussion of a three-year program when the Board in 2008 authorized the third-year program in Boise and approved the University’s collaboration with the Supreme Court in developing an Idaho Law Learning Center.
While in Boise, the Moscow-based faculty also joined their Boise-based counterparts in outreach activities. Of particular importance was a “business roundtable,” organized by Professor Wendy Gerwick Couture (see photo). The roundtable, which attracted business law practitioners and in-house counsel from many of Idaho’s major law firms and business corporations, focused on the theme, “Educating Idaho’s Future Business Attorneys.” Participating faculty members explained the College’s curricular emphasis in business law and entrepreneurism and highlighted the College’s business-related clinics in Boise: the Small Business Development Clinic, Economic Development Clinic, and Law-Income Taxpayer Clinic (which has small business proprietors among its clients). The roundtable’s participating lawyers responded with insights on domestic and global challenges facing present and future business attorneys. They suggested ways for legal education to help the profession address those challenges, and they offered comments on preparing students to be problem-solvers who bring value to their clients. The roundtable’s lively dialogue will furnish a basis for increased collaboration with the business law community. Further information about these collaborative efforts can be obtained from Professor Couture and from Lee Dillion, Associate Dean for Boise Programs.
Law Advisory Council and University of Idaho Foundation Look to the Future as University Announces Public Phase of Capital Campaign
On April 28, 2012, the University announced the public phase of an “Inspiring Futures” capital campaign to raise $225 million (the largest campaign ever mounted by an Idaho university). The campaign, which envisions at least $6.5 million for the College of Law, seeks to stimulate private giving in support of student success, innovation and discovery by faculty, programmatic advances through strategic partnerships, and world-class facilities for teaching, learning, and research.
In close conjunction with the campaign announcement, the College of Law Advisory Council and advisory councils of several other UI colleges held their regular semi-annual meetings in Moscow. During its meeting on April 27, the Law Advisory Council reviewed progress in fund-raising for the College, examined student admissions and employment data, analyzed new directions in the curriculum, and discussed the programmatic relationship between the full three-year program in Moscow and the current third-year program in Boise. The Council unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming its support for establishing a complementary three-year program in Boise and for developing a second-year curriculum in Boise as an intermediate step. Meanwhile, at a concurrent meeting, the Board of Directors of the University of Idaho Foundation passed a similar resolution, reaffirming the Board’s support for moving forward with the law program in Boise in order to fulfill the University’s statewide mission in legal education.
At the conclusion of the Law Advisory Council meeting, Council members thanked outgoing chair James C. Dale ‘82 (see photo top left), of Boise, for his dedicated and generous service. The Council elected vice chair Tore Beal Gwartney ’93 (see photo right), of Boise, to be the next chairperson, and elected Charles A. (“Chuck”) Homer ‘’74 (see photo bottom left), of Idaho Falls, to serve as the next vice chair. The full membership of the Law Advisory Council can be viewed on the College’s website. Further information about the Law Advisory Council, the University of Idaho Foundation, or the capital campaign is available from Terri Muse, Director of Development for the College of Law.
College of Law Faculty and Students Earn Recognition for Work on Economic Development
Lawyers can be powerful enablers of economic development, and the University of Idaho is preparing them for that role. For example, law student Jacob Pierson recently collaborated with other students at the University of Idaho and Washington State University present a business plan in the 11th Annual Business Competition, a global competition culminating in a final round at Rice University in Houston, TX. The plan submitted by Jacob and his collaborators provided a roadmap for developing the business potential of a food scientist’s invention. The plan earned 5th place among more than 1600 worldwide entries in the competition. Judges in the final round at Rice University included venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Another illustration comes from the College’s Economic Development Clinic, supervised by Professor Stephen Miller (see photo) in Boise. This clinic gives students an opportunity to assist Idaho communities in creating legal frameworks for sustainable development and job creation. One of the initiatives undertaken by the Clinic during 2011-12 has been to assist Teton County, Idaho, in its development planning. Here is the text of a recent letter sent to the College by the chair of the board of county commissioners, the county planning administrator, and the prosecuting attorney, describing the students’ work and the benefits derived from it:
"Students from the University of Idaho’s College of Law Economic Development Clinic, in conjunction with their director, Stephen Miller, have been working with our local government officials for the past two semesters (Fall, 2011 and Spring, 2012). Four students [Ky Papke, Marete Meador, Jeffrey Butler, and Cally Younger] each semester have done research and written draft documents that, given our County’s budget and resource limitations, we could not have completed without their help. The students made two trips across the state to do on-site research which included site visits and location familiarization as well and stakeholder interviews and information sharing sessions with local officials including the commissioners, prosecuting attorney and the sheriff.
"Specifically, the work the students completed for the county included a memorandum concerning the legal authority for an administrative review and enforcement procedure in Idaho as well as draft language for adding code sections that would allow for such review. Additionally, the Clinic worked on a nuisance ordinance and language to add to the building, zoning and subdivision code that would enable the administrative review process. Code enforcement is a difficult issue in our county because right now, all infractions are processed as misdemeanors. An administrative review process would allow more enforcement options.
"The Clinic also prepared a memorandum concerning the legal authority to vacate platted subdivisions. This is a large problem in our county which has over 7,000 platted, vacant lots that are contributing to low land values and a general stagnant economy. The clinic students not only researched the legal authority to vacate platted lots, they also researched other land use tools such as Transfer of Development Rights and Adequate Public Improvement Ordinances that might also help mitigate the costs of development in the county.
"Lastly, the Clinic reviewed development agreements in Idaho including their use and authority as a development document. They reviewed our current Development Agreement Template and made recommended edits. This will be extremely helpful moving forward as we enter into new development agreements and renegotiate existing agreements for development projects.
"Professor Miller and his students were great to work with. They were responsive, available and thorough. They seemed to understand the issues and worked to deliver a product that would be helpful for our community. They pushed our department years ahead of what we would have been able to do without their help."
Further information about the Economic Development Clinic may be obtained from Professor Miller.
Curricular Emphasis in Natural Resources & Environmental Law Enables Students to Acquire Law-and-Science Expertise
One of the pillars of strength in the College’s full three-year program at Moscow is the opportunity for students to pursue a curricular emphasis in Natural Resources & Environmental Law (NREL), including the distinctive Water Resources (“Waters of the West”) program. This emphasis enables students to prepare for careers in which they will combine their doctrinal knowledge of law with an understanding of methods of scientific inquiry and analysis that illuminate issues of public policy and that often shape the adjudication or mediation of disputes. Students can earn J.D. degrees concurrently with a Professional Science Masters degree or with Masters degrees in Environmental Science, Bioregional Planning, and Water Resources. (A Ph.D. degree in Water Resources is also available.) Further information about the NREL emphasis, including program requirements, faculty profiles, research projects, externships, and other student opportunities can be found in the Natural Resources and Environmental Law Newsletter Spring 2012.
Concurrent degree (“4L”) student Mark Cecchini Beaver is an example of a future lawyer with law-and-science expertise. While completing his concurrent J.S./Masters degrees in the “Waters of the West” program, Mark already has been awarded a one-year fellowship from the Hydropower Research Foundation for his thesis work, which focused on developing a systems model for addressing questions raised during the Columbia River Treaty review process. Along with the title “Hydro Research Fellow,” Mark will receive a stipend, tuition, fees, and health benefits, and he will be an invited participant in the Hydro Fellows Roundtable in Louisville, Kentucky, this summer. His advanced interdisciplinary expertise, acquired through the “Waters of the West” program, will open doors to a fulfilling, influential career. Additional information about the “Waters of the West” program is available from Professor Barbara Cosens (see photo).