Tuesday, March 30, 2010

David Grahn to Return for Ag Policy / Budget Lectures

We are delighted to announce that David Grahn, Associate General Counsel for Rural Dev't at USDA will return to lecture on Agricultural Policy and the Federal Budget Rules on April 5-6. David taught this subject for us last year and the LL.M. candidates raved about how much they learned about the federal budgetary process and agricultural policy. David delivers a fast paced and real world explanation of how things work inside the Beltway, how budgetary rules often drive policy decisions, and how policymakers need to understand the process in order to advance their causes.

David is the Associate General Counsel for Rural Development at the United States Department of Agriculture. Mr. Grahn is responsible for the legal advice provided by the Office of the General Counsel to the Rural Housing Service, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation/Risk Management Agency, and the Farm Loan Programs of the Farm Service Agency. From 1996 through 2002, he was the Assistant General Counsel for Legislation responsible for the drafting and reviewing of legislation and the reviewing of Congressional testimony that affected agencies of the Department of Agriculture. He was detailed to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Nutrition during Congress' consideration of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996. From 1992 through 1995, David served as a Confidential Assistant to the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency. Mr. Grahn is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and Carleton College.

We are grateful for David's willingness to come to Arkansas to deliver this critical information. In order to avoid any conflict of interest or funding issues, David volunteers his time to the Program. His course represents a unique and very valuable opportunity for our candidates, and we are very grateful for his participation.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Phil Kunkel To Teach Agricultural Contracting Class

We are delighted to announce the addition of a new Visiting Professor to our ranks. Nationally recognized agricultural and commercial law attorney Phillip Kunkel will be with us April 14-16 teaching a new condensed course, From Field to Table: The Use (and Occasional Abuse) of Marketing Contracts and Production Contracts in Agriculture.

Phil Kunkel has represented clients in agricultural law matters throughout his distinguished career, from his early work representing farmers during the farm crisis of the 1980’s to his current work involving agribusiness. He is a past president and board member of the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) and is a popular speaker at the AALA conference each year. He has taught Agricultural Law at William Mitchell College of Law and is a frequent CLE lecturer on commercial financing, UCC, renewable energy, financial workouts, and bankruptcy.

Phil is a principal at the law firm of Gray Plant Mooty in St. Cloud and Minneapolis. He concentrates his current practice in commercial financing, project financing, and workouts and bankruptcy.

In his practice, he has represented senior lenders in more than 25 alternative energy financings totaling more than 1.75 billion; represented an administrative agent in a $400 million syndicated revolving credit facility for a multi-state integrated agricultural producer; represented an administrative agent in a $175 million syndicated financing for an agricultural processing facility in Missouri; and served as the Chapter 11 trustee and represented bankruptcy trustees in $30 million check kiting and $350 million Ponzi scheme cases in Minnesota and Missouri.

Phil’s recent publications include co-authoring the "Farm Legal Series," published by the University of Minnesota Extension Service (2009); and co-authoring the BUSINESS WORKOUTS MANUAL (West Publishing).

Phil received his J.D. cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School, and his B.S. from John╩╝s University in Minnesota.

For more information about the course, please contact Susan Schneider at sschneid@uark.edu.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Professor Don Pedersen Addresses LL.M. Class

On Thursday, March 11, we were delighted to welcome agricultural law scholar, Professor Don Pedersen back to the LL.M. classroom. Professor Pedersen served as the Director of the LL.M. Program in the early years and is credited with shaping the basic elements of the Program as it exists today.

Prior to coming to the University of Arkansas, Don was already a recognized leader in agricultural law. He was a full professor at Capital University in Ohio and had been instrumental in the founding of the American Agricultural Law Association. When he was hired, he was already in the process of drafting an Agricultural Law casebook for West Publishing along with Law Professors Keith Meyer (University of Kansas), Norman Thorson (University of Nebraska), and John Davidson (University of South Dakota). That book was published in 1985 and was used extensively. Don subsequently published the West Nutshell on Agricultural Law with Keith Meyer of University of Kansas.

In 1987, Don and Dean Jake Looney worked with LL.M. alumnus Chuck Culver to obtain a grant to the law school for the creation of a National Agricultural Law Center. Don served as co-PI with Jake on this grant until his retirement in 1998.

Don received his B.A. from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and his J.D. from Northwestern University. He had practice experience in Minnesota and began his teaching career at William Mitchell College of Law.

During the years that he served as Director of the LL.M. Program, Don taught whatever courses were needed, and his expertise included Agricultural Finance & Credit, Forestry Law, Agricultural Labor Law, Agricultural History and Policy, and Agricultural International Transactions. His students knew him as a professor with very high expectations, an exceptionally strong work ethic, and a sense of professionalism that was the quintessential model for all.

Don's lecture to this year's LL.M. class was a survey of the development of agricultural law as a unique discipline. Weaved into the discussion was the development of U.S. agricultural policy and the history of the LL.M. Program. It was a fascinating class, and one that we hope is repeated next fall and expanded for the next class of LL.M. candidates. Appreciation is extended to Don for all that he has done for agricultural law and for the LL.M. Program.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Presentation to the Arkansas Bar Association

The Arkansas Bar Association Law Schools Committee visited the law school today, and the Dean asked me to deliver a presentation to them about our work in the LL.M. Program. Here is the slide show I presented: PowerPoint Slideshow to AR Bar Association.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

International Perspectives - Rule of Law Class

Professor Christopher Kelley hosted a digital video conference with students and lawyers in Ukraine, New York City and the University of Arkansas as part of his Rule of Law colloquium this week.

The conference featured Jim Walden, a litigation partner in the Gibson Dunn New York City office. Walden, who is the co-chair of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Group, led a discussion of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Law students and faculty in Kyiv, Ukraine, took part in this innovative three-way video-conference.