Circuit Board

Vol. 39 No. 2

To find out which ABA Law Student Division circuit your school is in, read about your circuit, and get contact info for your circuit governor, visit www.americanbar.org/groups/law_students. To report news from your school, e-mail your circuit governor and studentlawyer@abanet.org.

1st Circuit. Brendan Sponheimer and James Murtha of Western New England College School of Law placed first at the ABA 2010 Law Student Tax Challenge. Neill O’Brien and Casey Nunez, also from Western New England College, were honored for best written submission in the competition held earlier this year and designed to more closely reflect everyday tax practice than traditional moot court competitions. New England School of Law students John Keeney and Rachel Portnoy won the National Tax Moot Court Competition. In addition to placing first in the oral advocacy competition, Keeney was awarded the best individual oralist. Sponsored by the Tax Section of the Florida Bar, the competition took place earlier this year in St. Petersburg, Florida.

2nd Circuit. Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law students Todd Grabarsky, Sarah Nadeau, and Daniel Pearlstein are among the 30 students chosen by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) to participate in its inaugural two-week program in New York, Berlin, and Poland for law and medical school students. Fifteen students were chosen from each field. The FASPE program instructs students on the contemporary ethical issues facing their professions—using the Holocaust and the conduct of their professions in Nazi Germany as a framework for study.

3rd Circuit. Students in the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Transnational Legal Clinic traveled to Ghana last spring to aid Liberian refugees, many of whom have been in Ghana’s Buduburam refugee camp since 1990. The Penn Law group conducted interviews with nonprofit organizations, legal service agencies, and United Nations representatives to learn about services to the refugees and their legal status. They also met directly with refugees to better understand their current living situation, and to discuss what short-term services and longer-term options may be available. The clinic will use the information to write a white paper providing recommendations to intergovernmental, governmental, and nongovernmental groups.

4th Circuit. Paul J. Griffin, a 3L at the Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, has been selected to serve on the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 2010–11 National Symposium Editorial Board. Griffin will be Campbell University’s first law student to serve on the editorial board.

5th Circuit. Several University of Miami School of Law students worked in Africa under the auspices of the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center at UM Law. Five HOPE Fellows will be working at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania, the Society for Democratic Initiatives in Sierra Leone, and with the Southern Africa Litigation Centre in South Africa. Miami scholar and third-year law student Margaret Courtney Jordan will be working at the Center for Health, Human Rights & Development in Uganda. Additionally, two HOPE Fellows, third-year law student Erin Boatman and second-year law student Sophie Brion, and six other UM Law students participated in a newly established Namibia course in June. The HOPE Fellows Program challenges students to identify unmet needs within agencies and devise sustainable projects to enhance the delivery through the Public Interest Leadership Board, where they serve for one year.

6th Circuit. Cleveland-Marshall College of Law was awarded the Law School Admission Council’s (LSAC) Diversity Matters Award in June. More than 200 law schools competed for the honor.

The award recognizes law schools that demonstrate a commitment to diversity and justice. LSAC encourages law schools to target high school students and first- and second-year college students from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in the legal field. Cleveland-Marshall sponsored programs that educated high school and early college students about the preparation for law school and the practice of law, including holding a half- day workshop for local high school students and a partnership developed with Central State University, Ohio’s only public historically black college.

7th Circuit. The Department of Foreign Affairs for the Philippines presented the DePaul University Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA) a Certificate of Appreciation for its DePaul Law Idol Karaoke Benefit Concert held during the 2009–10 school year. The benefit raised more than $1,000 for Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) victims in the Philippines. The September 2009 typhoon dumped more than a month’s worth of rain in just 1 hours and left scores dead.

8th Circuit. Students at the University of Minnesota Law School’s Innocence Project Clinic played a role in helping Koua Fong Lee get released from prison. He was sentenced to eight years in prison for criminal vehicular homicide and had served two-and-a-half years when Ramsey County District Judge Joanne Smith ruled that new evidence was sufficient to warrant a new trial. Students in the Innocence Project investigate claims in several ways including reviewing primary source material, such as police and forensic reports; transcript; and appellate briefs. They might talk to the trial and appellate attorneys who worked on the case and interview inmates in prison. And, as in Lee’s case, they might search out new evidence, interview witnesses, and secure signed affidavits.

9th Circuit. Chapman University School of Law students Cynthia Guzman, Stephanie Brou, and Chris Koras placed first overall for the Attorney/Client Division of the International Academy of Dispute Resolution’s Law School Mediation Tournament in Chicago held earlier this year. Chapman competed against 36 teams (108 students) from around the world, including the United States, India, Germany, England, Scotland, and Canada. Guzman, Brou, and Koras also placed fourth overall for the Mediation Division; Nico Cirigliano, Kyndell Paine, and Lisa Fiance placed fifth overall for the Attorney/Client Division; Koras placed eighth in the Top 10 Outstanding Mediator Division; and Guzman and Brou placed ninth in the Outstanding Attorney/Client Division.

10th Circuit. University of Arkansas School of Law third-year law students Ashley Driver, Taylor Mattson, and Allison Waldrip competed against more than 500 students from 118 schools in the preliminary rounds of the 60th Annual National Moot Court Competition in New York City this past semester. The three students then defeated the top-seeded team in the nation to win the title, along with Waldrip winning the Best Individual Oral Argument Award. The competition, which centered around two issues not yet decided by the Supreme Court, including a question regarding life sentencing without parole for juvenile defendants, was cosponsored by the New York City Bar’s Young Lawyers Committee and the American College of Trial Lawyers.

11th Circuit. At an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University Washington College of Law announced the release of a report titled “Picked Apart: The Hidden Struggles of Migrant Worker Women in the Maryland Crab Industry,” a comprehensive examination of the experiences of migrant workers in the Maryland crab industry. The clinic collaborated with Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. on the report. Two former migrant workers from Mexico discussed their experiences working as crab pickers on Maryland’s eastern shore. Representatives of the AFL-CIO, Public Justice Center, and Southern Poverty Law Center also spoke at the event.

12th Circuit. Students enrolled in Willamette University College of Law’s International Human Rights Clinic recently won asylum approval for two Clinical Law
Program clients who suffered atrocities in their native lands. The first case involved a Zimbabwe woman whose clan opposed President Robert Mugabe and whose family had been terrorized for years by war veterans from Zimbabwe. She had been subjected to two gang rapes, which left her pregnant and positive for HIV. Third-year student Joseph Schoser championed the woman’s cause. Eric A. Lentz and Amelia D. Champion, both of whom graduated in 2009, and 3L Jacey L. Liu assisted him. The second asylum case involved an Iraqi man who was kidnapped, tortured, and held for ransom by terrorists because his father worked for the U.S. Army. Third-year student Megan L. Johnson represented the man throughout the long asylum process. Keely M. Hopkins, also a 3L, assisted in the case and was present at the hearing. Hopkins currently represents the man’s mother, who also has an asylum claim pending.

13th Circuit. An article written by Baylor University School of Law student Nikki Laing, who graduates in 2012, is garnering attention in Texas. In her Baylor Law Review article, Laing presents an argument that could cost the state a few billion dollars a year. Entitled, “An Income Tax by any Other Name Is Still an Income Tax: The Constitutionality of the Texas ‘Margin’ Tax as Applied to Partnerships and Other Unincorporated Associations,” won a $1,000 prize for the best law review article at Baylor.

14th Circuit. Student members of the University of California Hastings College of Law Appellate Project won its Ninth Circuit appeal on July 14, 2010, in the published opinion, Hernandez Velasquez v. Holder. During their final year at Hastings, Katherine Mahoney and David Prager represented Leda Odeth Hernandez Velasquez in her petition for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) order denying a request to reopen her agency proceeding. The Ninth Circuit held that the agency’s failure to properly consider  Hernandez Velasquez’s evidence of mailing the change of address form to the BIA was an abuse of discretion. The court granted the petition for review and remanded the case to the BIA.

15th Circuit. In conjunction with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the focus of the University of Colorado School of Law’s American Indian Law Clinic has shifted to try to stop the trend of adoptions by non-Indians. Clinic students have taken on legal service projects for the tribe and continue to litigate Colorado Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) cases. Also, once it became apparent that the form used by some Colorado counties to gather information about a child’s tribal ancestry and provide notice to tribes of a potential ICWA case was inadequate, clinic students Kathryn Urbanowicz, class of 2010, and Zachary Wagner, class of 2011, developed a new form, “American Indian/Alaska Native Indian Child Welfare Assessment Form,” that became ready for statewide implementation in April.

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