November 4, 2015

Birmingham Police Chief and Major General A.C. Roper Guest Lectures in Professor Carodine’s Race Trials Class

On November 3, Birmingham Chief of Police A.C. Roper guest lectured in Professor Montré Carodine’s Major Race Trials class.

Chief Roper discussed the challenges facing law enforcement today and outlined strategies for more effective policing of all communities, including communities of color.  He also engaged the students in a roundtable style discussion and took their questions. Chief Roper is the father of 3L Krystle Roper, who is a student in Professor Carodine’s class.

“I invited Chief Roper because he is a dynamic speaker and leader doing exceptional work right here in Alabama. But I also wanted to provide balance to our class discussions on race and law enforcement, particularly in light of the national conversation taking place right now on these issues,” Professor Carodine said. “It is crucial to get perspectives from law enforcement officials as we grapple with these issues. And it was a special experience for all of us to see Chief Roper and his daughter Krystle interact — Krystle introduced her dad. It reminded us that the police aren’t just some unfeeling inhuman machines, but they are fathers, mothers, spouses, siblings, sons, and daughters — they are a part of our community.   Having the chief of police for a major U.S. city sit down and visit with us humanized the police in a way that is much needed throughout the country.”

Chief Roper is a Birmingham native who has over 30 years of law enforcement experience. He has been serving as Birmingham’s Chief of Police since 2007.  He studied at several universities and holds a B.A. and two Masters degrees, one of which is from the University of Alabama.  Chief Roper is also a Major General in the Army Reserves, currently commanding the 80th Training Command in Richmond, Virginia.  He has received numerous military awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star and the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award, which is given annually to the top U.S. Army Officers in the nation. He is a highly sought after speaker and has lectured nationally and internationally.

Race Trials Class

November 3, 2015

Law School Launches Business of Being a Lawyer Video Library

The University of Alabama School of Law announces today the launch of The Business of Being a Lawyer video library,, which integrates the “real world” practice of law with legal education. Two years in the making, the BBL video library is the first of its kind in legal education.

The BBL library provides more than 100 interviews of lawyers and judges from all types of practice of law, including private practice, in-house counsel, public interest, criminal prosecution and defense, as well as lawyers in fields such as business and higher education.

“The legal profession is undergoing dramatic changes which present opportunities for law students and lawyers who are aware of them and know how to adapt to them,” said Pamela Bucy Pierson, the Bainbridge-Mims Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law. “The lawyers in this library have shared their time and experience, providing advice that is practical, helpful, candid, and often humorous, on how to thrive in the legal profession of the future.”

Legal, psychology and financial experts in the library address:

  • Economic trends in the legal profession
  • Managing Stress, finding balance and building resiliency in the practice of law
  • Gallup Strength Finders and how to use these strengths in the practice of law
  • Financial planning advice for students and lawyers
  • Business etiquette issues that arise in the practice of law

About BBL

The Business of Being a Lawyer (BBL) is a law school course, CLE and book (West Academic, 2014) created by Pamela Bucy Pierson, the Bainbridge-Mims Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law, working with colleagues in academia and with practicing lawyers. BBL is based on the premise that each lawyer is a business – her own business. Whether working for a law firm or in solo practice, in a public interest or government office, or in a law-related field, lawyers need to understand their own balance sheets – their assets, liabilities, strengths, weaknesses, investments made in themselves, and investments needed. The Business of Being a Lawyer addresses the following four topics: (1) current economic trends in the legal profession and how these trends impact law students and lawyers, (2) personal financial planning basics, recognizing that one’s career choices are enhanced, or restricted, by one’s financial situation, (3) issues of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), skills for building EQ, and how such skills help navigate professional and personal challenges in the legal profession, and (4) “Free Agency”: how to be an effective free agent throughout one’s career, recognizing the fact that the average lawyer changes jobs seven times in a career.

October 23, 2015

Professor Rushin Weighs in on Obama Administration’s Strategy on Misconduct in Police Departments

Professor Stephen Rushin recently told the Los Angeles Times the Obama administration has taken police departments to court over allegations of misconduct or violations of civil rights.

“Under Bush, the Department of Justice took the view that they could not force, or did not want to force, police departments into court,” said Rushin, an expert on federal enforcement of police reform. “Under the Obama administration, they take the view that if a city isn’t willing to play ball, that the DOJ will go to court and force that city to comply.”

For more, read “Has Obama Administration’s Stepped-up Pressure On Police Departments Worked?”

October 22, 2015

Lee Copeland: Serving the State

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Alabama State Bar President Lee Copeland (’82) welcomed the bar’s newest members in October and said they were joining what he considers the “best profession in the world.”

“One of their duties is to keep it that way,” Copeland said, “and they can do that by having a high degree of professionalism.”

Lee Copeland Copeland brings that pride and passion to his term as the 140th president of the 17,700-member association. As he crafted his goals for his term, he was mindful the association is one of a handful in the country that serves both as a regulatory body and that provides benefits to its members.

In his first video message to members, Copeland took on the matter of state funding, urging members to speak to state representatives about the importance of funding the court system. The court system, like many state-supported organizations, is weathering budget cuts. Copeland argues the court system shouldn’t be subjected to changes in state funding because it is a separate branch of the government with a constitutional mandate.

“We need a stand-alone, self-funding mechanism that will be able to adequately fund the courts so that they can comply with the mandate that’s in our constitution,” he said. “The bar is actively looking into that, but it’s a long-term problem. It’s not going to be solved overnight.”

While at Alabama Law, Copeland was the kind of student who skipped class to watch tapes of Francis Hare giving a closing argument, and he will never forget how Dean Charles Gamble, filling in for a professor one semester, “made the world of endorsements and promissory notes as exciting as watching “CSI” on TV. It was in law school that others learned Copeland doesn’t take himself too seriously. Back then, he was a member of a supper club of sorts, whose members called themselves the Squires. The Squires purchased a plaque, placed their names on it as loyal servants of the Law School, sneaked in one day and hung in on the walls shortly before they graduated. (For years it hung near the Bedsole Moot Courtroom, but has recently gone missing.)

After graduation, Copeland clerked for Judge Truman M. Hobbs, Sr. of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama and later joined Copeland, Franco, Screws & Gill, where his father, Albert Copeland (’51), had been one of the firm’s founders. His current practice is mostly litigation, and he handles Business, Commercial, Consumer and Insurance Coverage Litigation.

Copeland always wanted to be an attorney, and colleagues describe him as warm, friendly and engaging – attributes that will be helpful during his term as president of the state bar.

“I don’t know that he’s ever made an enemy in the practice of law,” said Judge Truman M. Hobbs, Jr. (’83).  “He represents his clients, but he does it with dignity and courtesy.”

Copeland is the kind of attorney that juries tend to like because he has what Attorney Bobby Segall (’71) calls “a lawyer’s personality.”

“Lee has excellent judgment,” Segall said. “He is someone with the gravitas to be heard. People respect his opinion, and he’s a great problem-solver.”

Another of Copeland’s goals addresses several challenges within the profession. The bar recently started a task force to explore the development of a program that would match recent law school graduates with lawyers who are looking to retire. The two attorneys would work together for a period of time, and then the practice would be turned over to the new attorney.

A similar program in Iowa has had some success, and Copeland said he would like to model the program in Alabama. When thinking about law firms, he said there is a tendency to focus on the larger firms. In Alabama, though, more than two-thirds of the firms in the state have five or fewer lawyers.

The partnership would help increase employment and help retiring lawyers turn over their practices to those they can trust. Finally, it would ensure that lawyers continue to practice in rural areas.

“A lot of our smaller counties could use more lawyers, frankly, but you’ve got to find a reason to get them there,” Copeland said.

Copeland plans to continue the video messages, logging one every quarter, so that attorneys will know what the association is doing and how they can help. “It’s a rule for lawyers,” he said. “You look around the community, and it’s the lawyers who are always the Sunday School teachers, Little League coaches, on the Rotary board. Lawyers are used to rendering service.”

October 20, 2015

Legal Writing Director Receives Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award

Kimberly K. Boone, Director of the Legal Writing Program and Legal Writing Lecturer in UA’s School of Law, received the University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching – the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award – from The University of Alabama National Alumni Association.

150820_MW_law_school_orientation Boone was honored because she has built the most rigorous and effective legal writing program in the nation, Dean Mark E. Brandon said.

“It is the only legal writing program I have ever been around that works as advertised. And it works splendidly,” Brandon said.  “It engages students, top to bottom, with instruction in legal institutions, with legal reasoning, and with the tools for building and clearly articulating legal arguments.”

Additional honorees are Dr. Mark E. Barkey, professor in the department of aerospace engineering and mechanics in the College of Engineering; Dr. Paul Houghtaling, associate professor of voice and director of UA’s Opera Theatre in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Timothy S. Snowden, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences.

John Hodges, district vice president of the National Alumni Association, recognized, along with UA President Stuart R. Bell, the 2015 award recipients at the Tuesday, Oct. 20, fall faculty-staff meeting in the Bryant Conference Center.

An awards presentation also occurs at the NorthRiver Yacht Club with Lee Boles, president of the National Alumni Association.

About Kimberly K. Boone

Kimberly K. Boone is a magna cum laude graduate of UA’s School of Law. As a student, she was elected to Order of the Coif and Order of the Barristers. She was also a member of the Alabama Law Review and the Jessup International Law Moot Court Team. After graduation, she practiced with Lehr Middlebrooks Price & Proctor P.C. (now Lehr Middlebrooks & Vreeland P.C.) in Birmingham. She specialized in employment law matters. In addition to traditional litigation, she assisted her clients in creating employee handbooks, conducting internal investigations and providing EEO training for supervisors and employees. She was also a contributing editor for the Alabama Employment Law Letter and the Alabama Employer’s Desk Manual.

After five years in practice, she returned to the UA and joined the faculty. She has taught legal writing to one quarter of the first-year class since August 2000 and was appointed director of the Legal Writing and Moot Court Programs in 2003. She has also contributed to “1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor’s Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School,” now in its second edition. Along with her outstanding colleagues in the legal writing program, she has been selected to present at three national legal writing conferences and many regional conferences. She is honored to mentor many of her students and to work with colleagues who recognize the importance of teaching students to write and speak clearly. She hopes to continue to improve the legal writing and moot court programs by working with practicing lawyers to understand the skills students must have to succeed as lawyers. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and business administration from Huntingdon College and was a member of the Hooding Team for UA Law graduating classes of 2014 and 2015.

October 15, 2015

Morris Dees Receives Courageous Advocacy Award

The American Board of Trial Advocates presented its Courageous Advocacy Award to Morris Dees, founder and chief trial attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, at the organization’s National Board of Directors Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina.

The organization presents the award to a judge or advocate anywhere in the world who has demonstrated exemplary courage in the representation of clients and a firm commitment to the rule of law, even at great risk to personal freedom and safety, according to a news release.

“ABOTA applauds Morris Dees and his staff of 75 lawyers for bringing systemic reforms — legally and peacefully — to society,” said Joel W. Collins, Jr., president of ABOTA. “Mr. Dees has served as a tireless champion for those who could not defend themselves. He has endured numerous death threats, had his offices burned to the ground and has opposed some of the most violent hate groups in America. All the while, he has adhered to the rule of law to fight against those who conspire against the very principles that provide freedom in our country,” Collins said.

October 14, 2015

Law School Ranks in Top 10 as “Best Value” for Fifth Consecutive Year

The University of Alabama School of Law is ranked 5th among the nation’s “Best Value Law Schools,” according to The National Jurist magazine’s rankings for 2015.

This is the ninth time since 2004 The National Jurist magazine has published the list, and it is the fifth consecutive year the Law School has been ranked among the top 10 “Best Value Law Schools” across the country.

“We are pleased that this ranking recognizes two things that students and faculty at the School of Law have long known. We provide a program of high quality. And our program is affordable,” said Dean Mark E. Brandon. “These are important markers of an excellent law school.”

The ranking is designed to identify the law schools where graduates have the best chances of passing the bar and getting a legal position without taking on considerable debt. The National Jurist magazine considers the percentage of students who pass the bar exam, employment rate, tuition, cost of living and average indebtedness upon graduation.

For more information on the rankings, contact The National Jurist magazine.

October 8, 2015

Professor Delgado Helps Identify Best and Worst Supreme Court Cases Since 1960

Professor Richard Delgado was one of 16 constitutional law professors who helped Time magazine identify the best and worst Supreme Court decisions since 1960.

Time surveyed more than 50 legal scholars and received 34 responses. Decisions that championed civil and individual liberties or made democracy more participatory were repeatedly praised, while professors were more critical of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), which removed campaign-spending limits on corporations and unions, as well as Bush v. Gore (2000), which resulted in George W. Bush winning the 2000 presidential election.

Delgado chose Loving v. Virginia (1967) as the best decision. “The decision, which legalized interracial marriage, put the last nail in the coffin of the South’s system of racial apartheid.”

He selected Citizens United v. FEC (2010) and Bush v. Gore (2000) as the worst decisions. “Citizens United because it departed from precedent and distorted the political process in ruinous fashion; Bush v. Gore because it was unprincipled, result-driven, and exposed the court to well-deserved scorn.”

For more, read “The Best Supreme Court Decisions Since 1960” and “The Worst Supreme Court Decisions Since 1960.”

October 6, 2015

Professor Carodine Weighs in on Federal Settlement Alabama Will Receive for Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Professor Montre Carodine recently told it’s “an unfortunate development” that Alabama legislators are moving forward with a plan to divert $950 million of a federal settlement for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to the state’s General Fund.

Alabama lawmakers have not specified how they plan to spend the money that will go into the General Fund, and some are concerned the money will be used to alleviate future budget deficits.

“Those state officials who negotiated the settlement have continued with their plans to provide a windfall to the state’s General Fund despite the concerns raised earlier this summer by concerned citizens and some elected officials when the tentative settlement plans were announced,” Professor Carodine said. “This is an unfortunate development for those truly concerned about restoring the Gulf Coast region.”

For more, read “Disappointment Lingers for South Alabama Officials over Alabama’s Settlement in BP Oil Spill Case.”

October 2, 2015

Law School Selects Millard Fuller as 2015 Profile in Service

The University of Alabama School of Law Profiles in Service Series

Millard Fuller

Millard Dean Fuller

Millard Fuller, a 1960 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, co-founded one of the most well-known and successful nonprofit Christian organizations in the world, Habitat for Humanity International.

Fuller, who received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University, began his legal and business career in pursuit of monetary success – but after becoming a millionaire at the age of 29, he drastically changed directions and set out down a different path.  Fuller and his wife, Linda, gave their possessions away to charity and began working with Dr. Clarence Jordan at Koinonia Farm, a Christian community near Americus, Georgia.  The Fullers helped to initiate projects to aid the poor.  One focused on affordable housing.  Modest homes were built primarily by volunteers on a nonprofit basis and sold to low-income families, who paid no interest on the mortgages.  The families were expected to invest their own “sweat equity” by helping to build their own homes and the homes of other families.  This model became the basis for the Fullers’ founding of Habitat for Humanity in 1976.  By 2005, 200,000 homes had been built for a million people in 90 countries.  That same year, Fuller founded a similar housing ministry, The Fuller Center for Housing.

Fuller earned dozens of prestigious awards during his lifetime, including the Martin Luther King, Jr., Humanitarian Award, Professional Builder magazine’s Builder of the Year Award, the Bronze Medallion from the Points of Light Foundation, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.  In bestowing this award, former President Bill Clinton called Habitat “…the most successful continuous community service project in the history of the United States.”

Fuller passed away suddenly in February 2009 at 74. The University of Alabama School of Law is proud to count Millard Fuller among our most distinguished alumni.

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