Saturday, August 29, 2009

LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law

I am pleased to announce that we received the final administrative approval for our name, and we can now officially describe ourselves as

The LL.M. Program in
Agricultural and Food Law

This change does not affect what anyone's degree is - those who have their LL.M. degree proudly mounted on their office wall note that the degree conferred is a Masters of Laws degree. That remains the same. What will change is our ability to expand our outreach to those interested in food law - recruiting candidates and assisting in career placement. For while agricultural law has always been intertwined with food law, not everyone has understood the connection.

It is interesting to recall that when former Dean and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Jake Looney started the LL.M. Program, Professors Neil Hamilton and Rob Leflar taught Food & Drug Law as part of the initial curriculum.

Over the years, the LL.M. curriculum has shifted to address the needs and interests of the times, and with food law emerging as a significant area of focus in both practice and popular culture, our curriculum has expanded in that direction. We now offer Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture, Food Law & Policy, Emerging Issues in Food Law, and Selected Issues in Food Law. Agricultural Biotechnology, Agricultural Perspectives, and Agricultural Labor Law all have significant food law related components. Indeed, the production of food is one of the most significant reasons why agricultural law as a special discipline exists.

We hope that by changing the way we identify ourselves, we can explain connections that have too often been missed - farming is largely about the production of food, and food law is about the path that food takes, as they say, from the farm to fork. And, we can further our course offerings and opportunities to include more work in the area of international food law, global trade in food, and world food security issues.

Food law as an area of legal study, policy development, and legal practice is an exciting and emerging emphasis - with an increasing need for legal expertise.

Please join us in spreading the word about The LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law. We are the only advanced legal degree program in either agricultural law or food law.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Meet the New LL.M. Class

Joshua Bailey
B.A., English, Ouahita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas
J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law, Fayetteville, Arkansas

In law school, Josh was the President of the UA School of Law Environmental Law Society and in that role organized the multi-state environmental law conference held at the School of Law in 2007. He was a semi-finalist in the Benjamin J. Altheimer Moot Court competition, and he has significant clerkship experience in Arkansas and Texas. This experience includes work on “green technologies” involving agriculture, the legal issues involving concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), oil and gas law, and environmental litigation under the Clean Water Act and CERCLA. Josh is currently drafting an article on the state regulation of the environmental impacts of natural gas production.

Liliana Reyes Botero
Attorney at Law, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Columbia
Specialist in Research, Legal Theory, Facult├ęs Universitaires Saint Louis, Brussels, Belgium (Doctoral Formation in process)

Liliana is from a farming family in Columbia, and her experiences with rural peasants, poverty, and corruption led her to pursue a career in law. She worked with FINAGRO (Fondo para el Financiameinto del Sector Agropecuario in the Agricultural Fund of Securities and was promoted to the Legal Vice Presidency. In 2008, Liliana was selected to participate in the USDA sponsored Cochran Fellowship Program in Good Agricultural Practices at the University of California at Davis.

Prior to coming to Arkansas, Liliana has been pursuing the degree of specialist in research in legal theory offered by the European Academy of Legal Theory in Brussels, Belgium. This distinguished program is hosted by the Facult├ęs Universitaires Saint Louis, with classes in English and French that are taught by professors from different universities throughout the world (USA, other countries of Europe, Latin America, Australia, and India. She presented the dissertation of her thesis in late July.

Also during the last year, to maintain her connections to the agricultural sector, Liliana completed two online Columbian courses, Good Agricultural Practices and Agriecology and Rural Development through .

Emily Bridges
B.A. in Political Science, magna cum laude, Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law, Fayetteville, Arkansas

This past year, Emily served as a special research assistant to Professor Tim Tarvin working on the Legal e-source project. This award-winning project undertaken by the School of Law Legal Clinic and UA Continuing Education provides legal information to non-profit entities. During law school, Emily served as the student editor of the Journal of Islamic Law & Culture. She externed with Arkansas Circuit Court Judge David Clinger and clerked with two law firms in Fayetteville. She is admitted to the Arkansas bar.

Marie David
Diploma in Teaching and Counseling, Teachers Training College, Benin, Nigeria
LL.B. University of Benin, Benin, Nigeria
Barrister-at-law, Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria

Marie serves as the Director of Sustainability at Wal-Mart, working with business units across Wal-Mart stores to implement sustainability initiatives. She coordinates efforts with private brand categories to pilot the Wal-Mart sustainability index initiative and integrates social Life Cycle Analysis and social metrics into the broad definition of sustainability. She is working to develop a business model that connects small scale entrepreneurs with global supply chains, focusing on providing value and market access. Prior to her current position, Marie served sequentially as Project Specialist for Global Supply Chain Management, then Social Responsibility Manager, and then as Director of Social Responsibility.

Marie first learned about the LL.M. Program through her work with our alumnus, Erimar Von Der Osten and his work with the Agile Agriculture project of the UA Center for Applied Sustainability. She is particularly interested in our work in agricultural sustainability, agricultural labor law, and international rural development initiatives. As Marie will retain her full time position with Wal-Mart, she will join us on a part time basis.

Nastasya Knyazhishcheva
Diploma in Law, Velikiy Novgorod State University (high honors)St. Petersburg, Russia

Nastasya enters the program with a strong background in Russian commercial and real estate law. Before joining us, she served as a junior attorney in the St. Petersburg office of the American company, Capital Legal Services, LLC., where her work included the review and preparation of civil agreements, contract negotiations, and licensing arrangements. Prior to this position, she was employed as a specialist of the Corporate Department where she worked on commercial offers for Japanese investors. She has also served as Assistant of Registrar with the Department of Justice on Registration of Ownership Title to Real Estate and Transactions Therewith, and worked at the Federal City Court for the city of Novgorod. She published her masters thesis, The Role of Zemstro in Medicine of XIX Century in Russia, in the University Journal and received a second place award for it. She has received letters of commendation for her legal research. Nastasya is particularly interested in agribusiness and commercial law as applied to the food and agricultural industries.

Baylen Linnekin
B.A., Sociology, American University, Washington D.C.
M.A., Learning Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
J.D., American University Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C.

Baylen was a Note and Comment editor for the ADMINISTRATIVE LAW REVIEW at American University Washington College of Law. Prior to law school, he received his Masters degree in Learning Sciences and worked extensively in education and technology. He used this expertise in law school in his role as research assistant, creating digital media simulations for use in law school courses. He is co-authoring an article on the outcome of classroom simulation exercises.

Baylen’s interest in food and agriculture is well documented. He has been active on food policy issues for some time, writing, publishing, and blogging on current issues. His recent publications include, Parents: The One-Ingredient Recipe for Healthier Children, and The ‘Duckathlon’ Pushes Back Against NYC’s Anti-Food Tyranny. Last Spring, Baylen was a panelist at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society and the Association for the Study of Food & Society held at Penn State University; and he was also a panelist at the 12th Annual Association for the Study of Law, Culture & the Humanities Conference at Suffolk University School of Law.

Danny (Walt) McCarter
B.S., Agri-business, Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, Arkansas
J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Walt does valuable work for the National Ag Law Center, University of Arkansas School of Law, serving as Research Associate and preparing cases for posting on the aglaw website. In addition, he clerks with the Bassett Law firm, a Fayetteville law firm with a recognized agricultural law practice. Walt has experience in the food industry, as prior to law school, he was the Production Supervisor for Atkins Prepared Foods in Atkins, Arkansas, supervising 75 employees and two processing lines. There he conducted employee meetings, set work schedules, verified payroll, documented injuries, handled suspension and termination procedures, and prepared daily production reports.

Suzanne McMillan
B.A., Sociology/Anthropology Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana
Certificate in International Law, Pace Univ. London Law Program, London, England
J.D., Pace University School of Law, White Plains, New York

Suzanne was the recipient of the Pace Law School Academic Achievement Scholarship, the Louise and Lawrence Ottinger Public Interest Law Scholarship, and the Charles H. Revson Student Public Interest Fellowship. She has a strong background and interest in the issue of animal law and animal welfare. She is the Founder and was the President of the Pace Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. She worked closely with two of her law professors on the Pace Law School Animal Law blog and, she interned with the Equal Justice Alliance in researching the constitutionality of the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. She also served as an intern for the Westchester County District Attorney, working on animal cruelty prosecutions. She spent her last semester of law school studying European and comparative international law in London through the Pace University London Law Program, earning a certificate in international law.

Vivek Nemane
B.S., Horticulture, College of Horticulture, Maharashtra State Agricultural University (PDKV), Maharashtra, India
LL.B., Indian Law Society’s Law College, University of Pune, Pune (Maharashtra), India
LL.M. , International Law and Human Rights, Criminal Law and Criminology Department of Law, University of Pune, Pune (Maharashtra), India
M.A. in Development Studies, Specialization: Governance and Democracy, International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands
M.A. in Public Policy, Specialization: International Public Policy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Vivek is currently finishing up an internship with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN at the regional office for Europe and central Asia in Budapest, Hungary. He was the recipient of the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship by the European Commission, and he received his Diploma in European Union Law, through the European Public Law Center, Athens under the EU-India POROS Project funded by the European Commission.

In addition to Vivek’s academic achievements, he has significant agricultural experience, serving in the positions of Farm Manager and Plant Nursery Supervisor, as well as working with the Regional Fruit Research Station.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

LL.M. Degrees Awarded

I am pleased to report that a record number of past LL.M. candidates submitted final drafts of their completed articles this summer, and we are proud to announce that they have been awarded the Master of Laws degree. And, I am also pleased to report that the class of 2006 met their goal of having a 100% graduation rate.

Congratulations to Brandon Willis (Washington, D.C.) , Patrick Roberts (Mississippi), Angela Galvis Schnuerle (Texas), Sarah Massimore Buhite (Pennsylvania), Cara McCarthy (Washington, D.C.), Shannon Mirus (Arkansas), Elizabeth Springsteen (Arkansas), Rusty Rumley (Arkansas), Ashley Schweizer (Kentucky), Regina Leal de Oliveira (Brazil), and Irina Feofanova (Russia).

Great work - congratulations!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Welcome to the Incoming LL.M. Class - Our 30th Class of LL.M. Candidates

Monday, August 17 marks the first day of the 2009-10 academic year for the LL.M. Program. In an orientation session scheduled for 8:00 a.m., we will welcome our new class. After orientation, Professor Neil Hamilton will begin our first course, The Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture.

This year promises to be special in two respects. First, this class is the 30th LL.M. class to have attended the Program. We hope to use our 30th anniversary to recall the history of the Program, to show appreciation to everyone who has made the Program such a success, and to look to the future - a future where agricultural law is even more fully recognized as a critical area of legal study.

Second, we hope to announce a change in the descriptive title of our program to LL.M. in Agricultural and Food Law, reflecting the inseparable bond between food and farming, between farmers and those who purchase the fruits of their labor.

We have an exceptional group of LL.M. candidates in the Program this year. They come from American University Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C.; Lewis & Clark School of Law in Portland, Oregon; Pace University School of Law, White Plains, New York; Novgorod State University, St. Petersburg, Russia; Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Columbia; Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria; Indian Law Society’s Law College, University of Pune, Pune (Maharashtra), India; Gujarat National Law University, Gandhiinagar, Gujarat, India; and, our own University of Arkansas School of Law. I will introduce them individually in a subsequent post. We are delighted to have them with us, and they promise to continue the excellent tradition of success established by our alumni.