Saturday, March 29, 2008

Connections with Ukraine: Update on Professor Kelley's Work

As all of our alumni know, Associate Professor Christopher Kelley is a mainstay of the LL.M. program. An LL.M. alumnus himself, he has been on the faculty since 1998 teaching a variety of courses. He teaches half time in the J.D. program and half time in the LL.M. Program, and in both capacities has been especially recognized for his expertise in administrative law and environmental law. Over the years, he has taught Government Regulation of Agriculture, USDA Administrative Process and Practice, Agriculture & the Environment, Agricultural Cooperatives, Agricultural Policy, and Agricultural Perspectives. And, in recent years, he has expanded his interests to encompass a variety of international law issues, teaching Selected Issues in International Agriculture in the LL.M. Program.

Professor Kelley spent Fall semester 2005 in Ukraine as a Fulbright Scholar. During this time, he made many friends and professional contacts in Ukraine, and since his return to Arkansas, he has continued to develop important contacts. He is Of Counsel to the Inyurpolis law firm in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Professor Kelley has also become very active in international law work, serving as vice-chair of the Russia/Eurasia Committee of the American Bar Association Section of International Law (ABA International) and working on the World Justice Forum.

He recently published some of his thoughts on the importance of preparing lawyers for a transnational practice along with a retrospective of his time in Ukraine and a summary of recent opportunities that have developed for the School of Law. You can find his article online in the University of Arkansas publication, All Things Academic. It is titled, The School of Law and Ukraine.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Agricultural Biotechnology

This week, the LL.M. Program is immersed in the topic of agricultural biotechnology. Readings for the week include not only cases, statutes, and contracts, but also essays and news analysis on the controversial issues presented - including the regulation of genetically modified foods, the intellectual property rights in patented seeds, farmer liability, GMO drift, cloning, and food labeling issues.

The class began with the viewing of a Frontline/Nova documentary on agricultural biotechnology, Harvest of Fear. Following this, Professor Ralph Henry and his wife, Christine Daughtery took the students on a tour of the agricultural biotechnology labs on campus. Professor Henry teaches in the biological sciences department at the University of Arkansas and heads a molecular biology research laboratory. Dr. Daugherty is a fellow-scientist, with her PhD in biochemistry as well as her law degree from the University of Arkansas. She is currently is an attorney for Tyson Foods.

With this background, the class turns to Professor Neil Hamilton from Drake University School of Law for two and a half days of discussion and lecture. Professor Hamilton is the Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law and Professor of Law & Director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Professor Hamilton is a regular visiting professor and a great friend of the LL.M. Program.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Professor Lisa Pruitt To Speak

This week, Professor Lisa Pruitt will be joining us to discuss her work-in-progress titled "The Difference Place Makes: Latina/os in the Rural South."

Professor Pruitt is a University of Arkansas School of Law alumnus who now teaches law at the University of California-Davis School of Law. One of her frequent areas of scholarship concerns legal issues affecting rural America and rural culture, topics of great interest to our work in the LL.M. Program. And, with our rising Latino population in Arkansas, her current work promises to provide special relevance.

The following passage is taken from Professor Pruitt's UC Davis website, and I think it provides some excellent context for her work:
"It has become cliché to say so, but the world is indeed getting smaller. With globalization and the information society have come increased efforts to harmonize laws, whether regionally, as by the European Union, or globally as by the World Trade Organization. Conflicts of culture are unavoidable in such harmonization efforts -- whether the subject matter is intellectual property, child labor, financial markets or the rights of women."

Having worked with lawyers in more than 30 countries, it is perhaps not surprising that a common theme of Pruitt's research interests is how law and legal institutions manage and respond to cultural difference and cultural change. In her international postings before coming to UC Davis, Pruitt negotiated such cultural conflicts in several arenas: assisting in the adjudication of claims arising from the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran; investigating sexual assaults as war crimes in Rwanda; discussing intellectual property rights with government officials from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe; and studying the racial integration of the legal profession in post-apartheid South Africa. "Law students should begin thinking about these intersections of law and culture now because in the 21st century few lawyers will have practices without some trans-national dimension, and the rare ones who do will nevertheless encounter these issues in our own ethnically diverse nation."
Rural areas, often thought to be resistant to change, are confronting a wide variety of cultural upheavals - technological, structural, and social. While the world may be getting smaller, for rural residents, it may be more accurate to say that their world is getting much bigger.

Check out Professor Pruitt's excellent Rural Legalism blog for additional information and commentary about rural legal issues.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Visiting Professor Teaches Farm Taxation

Professor Roger A. McEowen was with us this past week, offering a condensed course in Agricultural Taxation. Professor McEowen is a nationally recognized expert in agricultural taxation. He is the Leonard Dolezal Professor in Agricultural Law at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where he is also the Director of the ISU Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation. Before joining Iowa State in 2004, he was an associate professor of agricultural law and extension specialist in agricultural law and policy at Kansas State. Professor McEowen is one of our regular visiting professors, and we are always pleased he can make time in his busy schedule to spend a week with us in Fayetteville.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Farm Policy Analyst to Speak on Organic Issues

Mark Kastel of The Cornucopia Institute will speak about issues in organic agriculture on Monday, March 10, 2008, in Room 339 at the University of Arkansas School of Law. The talk, entitled "Who Owns Organic?" will begin at 11:30 am and will conclude with a question and answer session. The event is free and open to the public.

Kastel co-founded The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group that advocates for family-scale farming. Kastel directs the organization's Organic Integrity Project, which acts as an organic industry watchdog.

This event is co-hosted by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), the Graduate Program in Agricultural Law and the National Center for Agricultural Law.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

LL.M. Alumnus at Penn State

Update to our Alumni News -
Ross Pifer, an alumnus of the LL.M. Program, was recently appointed to the position of Director of the Agricultural Law Resource & Reference Center at the Penn State University Dickinson School of Law. The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center is collaboration between Penn State Dickinson and Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Located at both the University Park and Carlisle facilities and funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Center is designed to provide the highest-quality educational programs, information and materials to those involved or interested in agricultural law and policy.
We look forward to collaborating with Ross on agricultural law issues!