Monday, August 30, 2010

New Public/Private Assistantship Program Announced

We are pleased to announce a new public/private partnership that connects the LL.M. Program with leaders in the food and agricultural legal communities. This partnership allows us to offer two new graduate assistantships, matching our candidates with law firms and agencies working on the cutting edge of our food system.

Two distinguished law firms, Bassett Law Firm LLP and the Marler Clark Law Firm are our first partners in this program, and their participation is indeed an honor for us.

Bassett Law Firm LLP, located in Fayetteville, serves clients in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. Since the firm’s founding in October 1981 by the late Bill Bassett and his two sons, Woody and Tod, Bassett Law Firm LLP has enjoyed many accomplishments and sustained growth. The foundation of the firm has been and remains its commitment to the service of its clients, the profession, and the community.

In 2005, Bassett Law Firm LLP was included, for the third time, in Corporate Counsel magazine’s list of “Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies?” In 2006, Small Firm Business included Bassett Law Firm LLP in the publication’s recognition of “Small Firms with Fortune 250 Clients.” The Bassett Law Firm LLP was recently selected by CitiScapes Metro Monthly as the area’s “best law firm” in the periodical’s “Best of Northwest Arkansas” edition. And, in 2009 the United States Department of Defense recognized Bassett Law Firm LLP as one of only three employers in Arkansas to receive the “Pro Patria” award for the most exceptional support of employees who serve in the National Guard or Reserve.

Included in a wide range of community service, Bassett Law Firm LLP has been a particular friend to the University of Arkansas School of Law. The firm annually sponsors the Trial Advocacy scholarship prize to a J.D. student selected by the law faculty. And, thanks to a generous $100,000 gift from the firm, the law school is proud to have its premier W.W. Bassett, Jr. Classroom.

Agricultural Law is a significant practice area for Bassett Law Firm LLP. Partner, Vince Chadick and firm attorney, K.C. Tucker are both graduates of the LL.M. Program in Agricultural Law. A number of LL.M. candidates have clerked at the firm. Vince Chadick is a popular adjunct professor in the LL.M. Program, teaching Regulation of Livestock Sales each fall.

Bassett Law Firm has agreed to participate in the assistantship program for both semesters of this year.

Marler Clark is often recognized as the nation’s foremost law firm representing victims of foodborne illness. Since 1998, Marler Clark attorneys have been involved in almost all of the major food poisoning cases in the U.S., representing victims of Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7, Hepatitis A, Listeria, Norovirus, Salmonella, and Shigella outbreaks across the country.

In addition to their work on behalf of victims in the courtroom, Bill Marler, Bruce Clark, and Denis Stearns formed OutBreak, Inc., the nonprofit, consulting arm of the firm. OutBreak was founded with the "radical notion that the same lawyers who sue on behalf of victims of foodborne illness are best suited to help responsible companies with their food safety challenges." The attorneys travel several days a month, giving speeches to and consulting with food-industry groups and environmental health agencies.

Marler Clark also founded Food Safety News, the acclaimed online national daily newspaper reporting on food safety and related issues.

Bill Marler has been a tireless supporter of the reform of our food safety laws, through frequent media interviews, the very popular Marler Blog, his active Twitter feed, and his "Put a Trial Lawyer Out of Business" campaign.

Denis Stearns is a frequent author and speaker on a wide variety of topics related to food, law, economics, and policy, and is the author of two book-chapters, a law journal article, and numerous other articles, essays, and opinion pieces. His most recent article, ON (CR)EDIBILITY: Why Food in the U.S. May Never Be Safe, is soon to be published in the Stanford Law & Policy Review. He also has published with School of Law's Journal of Food Law & Policy.

Bill Marler and Denis Stearns will co-teach a condensed course on food safety liability this November. Marler Clark will participate in the assistantship program during the Fall semester 2010.

We are delighted to partner with these leaders in the legal community and are grateful for their support. Our appreciation is also extended to the Graduate School at the University of Arkansas, former Dean of the Graduate School, Dean Collis Geren, Associate Dean Patricia Koski, and Dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law, Cynthia Nance.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

On the personal side . . .

Just had to post a couple of pictures that I received from our alumni. Above is the birth announcement for Ignacio - the beautiful new son of Liliana Reyes Botaro and her husband Ricardo Molano León. Liliana was in the LL.M. Program last year and is continuing work on her thesis.

And, below - two of our wonderful alumni in D.C., Cara McCarthy who works at USDA GIPSA and Amy Lowenthal, who works in the USDA Office of the Inspector General. That handsome young man in the middle is Amy and her husband Don's son, Gabriel.

2010 Fall Semester Courses

Last week, the LL.M. candidates completed their condensed course with Professor Hamilton, the Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture. This week, the regularly scheduled fall semester classes begin. These classes are described as follows:

Agriculture & the Environment
This course has always been one of our core courses in the curriculum. It examines the tensions between the desire to produce food and fiber efficiently and the concern for the protection of natural resources. Agriculture is increasingly criticized for its impact on the environment. This impact and its regulation will be discussed and debated. The application of the major federal environmental statutes to agricultural operations will be presented, with discussion of the exemptions for agriculture and the impact of industrialized agricultural production on environmental regulation. Professor Christopher Kelley, a tenured professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law has taught this course and related environmental courses since joining the faculty. Professor Kelley has taught agricultural law, natural resources law, forestry law and related subjects in a number of settings including the University of North Dakota School of Law, the University of South Dakota School of Law, the William Mitchell College of Law, and at the Drake University School of Law Summer Agricultural Law Institute. He has practiced agricultural law at large law firms in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and with small firms in Fargo, North Dakota and Camilla, Georgia.

Food Law & Policy
This course examines the network of laws that govern food safety and food labeling and considers how well this network works to protect and advise American consumers. It considers the regulation of food by the Food & Drug Administration and by the US Department of Agriculture, weaving policy issues into the discussion of the U.S. food system. Professor Schneider is a tenured professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law and has served as Director of the LL.M. Program since 2000. She began teaching this course in 2007, shifting her research focus and her presentations to the area of food law and policy. She has practiced and taught agricultural and food law for all of her legal career, teaching at William Mitchell College of Law and at the Drake University Summer Agricultural Law Institute and practicing with firms in Minnesota, North Dakota and Washington, D.C.

Regulation of Livestock Sales
This course examines the Packers & Stockyards Act, with a focus on the prohibition of unfair practices, industry consolidation and antitrust concerns, mandatory price reporting, and the protections provided for livestock marketing. Professor Vince Chadick has taught this course for several years , successfully weaving his practice experience into the classroom. He is a very popular adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law and a shareholder in the Bassett Law Firm in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He holds his LL.M. in Agricultural Law and practices in the areas of agricultural, environmental, business, and commercial law. He was one of the attorneys involved in the landmark case brought by the state of Oklahoma against Arkansas poultry processors for the contamination of waters flowing into Oklahoma from Northwest Arkansas, spending much of last fall and early winter in trial. The parties are still awaiting a decision.

Food, Farming & Sustainability
This new 3 credit course will be adapted from the casebook by the same name, in publication with Carolina Press and authored by the instructor, Professor Schneider. It will consist of one hour of traditional lecture/discussion and two hours of special presentations each week. The course is designed to provide an issues-based study of some of the complex topics that make up the body of agricultural law. It will be divided into discreet units designed to introduce some of the critical legal issues facing the industry and consumers today. Agricultural commercial law, environmental law, federal farm policy, labor law, food labeling, farm animal welfare, the global food system and other topics will be included, each presented in the context of a current issue. The course will provide a mix of law and policy, and it is designed to spark thoughtful dialogue.

Independent Research/Readings in Agricultural & Food Law
This independent study course offers LL.M. candidates an opportunity to explore an area of interest or a particular reading that is not addressed elsewhere in the curriculum. One popular approach is to select one or more books on a food or agricultural law topic for study, with an oral and written book review required. Professor Schneider approves all plans of study and provides guidance throughout the semester.

In addition to our regularly scheduled semester courses, we are delighted to add a new condensed course to our Fall line up. The week of November 2, we will offer Unsafe Food & Product Liability. This new condensed course will be structured on a recent publication, Contaminated Fresh Produce and Product Liability. It will begin with an historical overview to show how product liability law (especially strict liability) developed, highlighting early cases involving defective food. It will pivot into political, economic, and regulatory issues, using a case-study approach derived from real cases and clients. The course will be team-taught by nationally recognized trial lawyers, Bill Marler and Denis Stearns with the firm of Marler Clark in Seattle, Washington. Bill Marler visited the LL.M. Program last fall, speaking to a packed audience regarding his experiences representing the victims of food borne illness. We are delighted to welcome him back with his partner, Denis Stearns who has published extensively on food safety issues and teaches and lectures at several other schools including UCS and Michigan State.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thank you to our Friends

Today we finished up the first class of the new semester - a condensed course called An Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture taught by Professor Neil Hamilton. Professor Hamilton has taught this introductory class for us for a number of years, and it is always a good way to start off the year. This year, it seemed to go exceptionally well - we have a great group of new LL.M. candidates that really appreciated the special opportunity presented by Neil's visit.

Although most readers of this blog will know Neil - check out the wonderful article about him that was posted in a recent Des Moines magazine, Hamilton. As noted in the article, he is "one of the world’s preeminent experts on sustainable agriculture."

This year Neil was particularly energized and yet very reflective as he kicked off his sabbatical year with his visit to Arkansas. The class was a great success - with lots of good discussion and a fast-paced overview of some of the biggest issues in agricultural law.

This afternoon, we were delighted to have a special visitor - LL.M. alumna Janie Simms Hipp was in town and stopped by to welcome the new class. Janie delivered an inspiring call to action regarding the legal needs in rural America and discussed her work with Native Americans. Janie, a member of the Chickasaw tribe and a long time advocate on behalf of family farmers, now serves as Senior Advisor for Tribal Affairs to USDA Secretary Vilsack and also directs the USDA Office of Tribal Relations. We are grateful for Janie's continued support for the Program and hope that she will visit whenever she has a chance to come home to Arkansas. The LL.M. candidates are already making plans to visit her in D.C.

A great week to start off an exciting new year!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Introducing the LL.M. Class of 2011

This fall, we welcome the largest LL.M. class ever, with an enrollment of nineteen candidates - seventeen new LL.M. candidates and two returning part-time candidates - in a class composed of a mix of experienced attorneys and recent law graduates.

Our experienced attorneys have professional experience that includes leadership at Wal-Mart as Sustainable Development Director, Judge Advocate service at the Pentagon, service as an FAA Regional Environmental Counsel, and international trade experience as a practicing attorney. We also welcome a professor of law from Yeunganam University in the Republic of Korea.

Our recent law graduates obtained their degrees from the University of Iowa, Ohio State University, Washington University, the University of Oregon, Hofstra University, the University of Miami, Mercer University, Novgorod State University in Novgorod, Russia, and our own University of Arkansas School of Law.

Brief biographies of the incoming class are provided below.

Kimberly Arnao

J.D. Pace University School of Law, cum laude, Certificate of Specialty, Environmental Law
B.A., Rutgers College (Biology, Natural Resource Management)
Admitted to practice, Ohio
Former Regional Environmental Counsel, Federal Aviation Administration, Southern Region
Other professional experience includes service as Deputy Regional Environmental Counsel, U.S. Air Force; Assistant Staff Judge Advocate, United States Air Force
Recipient of Commendation, Achievement, and Meritorious Service medals, U.S. Air Force.

Kerri Boling
J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law
B.S., University of Arkansas (Agriculture/Agricultural Business)
Served as a law clerk in the Legal Department of Tyson Foods; Clerked for Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Jim Gunter; Clerked for the USDA Office of General Counsel in Kansas City
Research Assistant, National Center for Agricultural Law
Co-authored the first Arkansas Beef Audit Report for the Arkansas Beef Council; authored case summaries published on the National Agricultural Law Center’s website; contributor to Arkansas Cattle Business Magazine.

Richard Burnett

J.D., University of Oregon
B.S., Brigham Young University (Agronomy/Environmental Science)
M.S., Agronomy, Brigham Young University
Graduate Teaching Fellow, Department of Biology, University of Oregon
Co-author, The Great Tikal Earthwork Revisited, 32 JOURNAL OF FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY 41 (2007); Final Report: Re-evaluation of the Earthworks at Tikal, Guatemala: Phase 2, National Science Foundation (2007)
Thesis: Stable Carbon Isotope Evidence of Ancient Maya Agriculture at Tikal, Guatemala.

Marie David
LL.B., University of Benin, Benin, Nigeria
Barrister-at-Law, Nigerian Law School, Lagos, Nigeria
Georgia Institute of Real Estate, Atlanta Georgia
Certificate in Computer Training/Development, DeKalb, Georgia
Former Director of Sustainability, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; previous positions with Wal-Mart include, Director of Social Responsibility, Social Responsibility Manager, Project Specialist for Global Supply Chain Management
Prior Experience includes Consultant, eBusiness Solutions, General Electric Power Systems; and Product Development Manager & Senior Technical Analyst, United States Advanced Network.

Richard Flournoy
J.D., Mercer University, cum laude
B.A., University of Georgia, cum laude (Political Science)
Member, Mercer Law Review
Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement in Legal Writing; CALI Awards for Excellence in Legal Writing and in Commercial Transactions;
Secretary, Mercer Environmental Law Society
Internship as Agricultural Liaison to the Governor of Georgia; Private practice legal clerkships; Campaign Intern, Gary Black for Agriculture.

Jason Foscolo
J.D. Pace University Law School
B.A., Fordham University (History)
Admitted to practice law, New York
Former Deputy Branch Head, Judge Advocate Support, Marine Corps, Pentagon
Prior experience includes service as Deputy Station Judge Advocate, Defense Counsel Marine Corp Air Station, Iwakuni, Japan
Author of a recurring professional responsibility column in weekly JAG publication
Former staff attorney, Sullivan & Cromwell, New York.

Alexandra Gainsteva
Law degree from Novgorod State University in Novgorod, Russia
Professional Communications Translator, Novgorod State University
Study at UA School of Law as visiting scholar, 2009-2010
Former Legal Counsel, Novgorod Regional Social Organization (“Consumers Union”); Internships with Federal Registration Service of Russian Federation and Dept of Home Affairs, Novgorod Region
Admitted to practice law in Russia.

Maxim Gubarev
Law degree from Novgorod State University in Novgorod, Russia
Russian-American Summer Law School in Saint-Petersburg; Jessup Jessup Moot Court Competition, Russian national rounds; Prometheus program at the University of Tartu (Estonia), studying European law, policies and international relations
Study at UA School of Law as visiting scholar, 2008-2009
Internships with Export-Import customs brokerage firm in Novgorod, dealing with Russian Customs Service and at the Russian largest retail company - "Thunder" Ltd., working for the department of Analysis and Investigations (Novgorod branch)
Recipient of the Russia-U.S. Legal Education Foundation and Oxford-Russia Fund academic grants
Admitted to practice law in Russia
Authored Responsibility of Transnational Corporations for Human Rights Violations for the International Legal Conference, Novgorod State University.

David Jackson
J.D., University of Kansas
B.A., George Mason University (English)
Former practicing attorney, Miller and Company, P.C
Admitted to the Missouri Bar and the Court of International Trade Bar; Passed Customs Broker Examination (license application pending)
CALI Award for Excellence in Advanced International Trade; International Trade Assistant, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service
Co-authored book chapter, Toward Equal Human Dignity in Free Trade Agreements, with international law scholar, Professor Raj Bhala, Rice Distinguished Professor, University of Kansas School of Law
Other professional experience includes: University Professor, Department of Management and Economics, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Beijing, People’s Republic of China (teaching oral communication and written composition); RBL Investigator and Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

Tae Huan Keum (attending the LL.M. Program on his sabbatical)
Law Professor (Administrative Law, Agricultural Law), College of Law, Yeunganam University
LL.B., Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
LL.M., Administrative Law, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
LL.D., Administrative Law, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
Admitted to practice law, Republic of Korea
Publications include, The WTO Case Against U.S. Subsidies on Upland Cotton (2009); The Meaning of the U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Lingle v. Chevron (2008); Advocate for the Agriculture and Agriculture Law (2007); The Reviewability of Rule in Korea, China and Japan (2007); The Text and Intent in Interpretation of Administrative Law (2007); The Historical Transition of Management Subjects of Agricultural Water & Water Rights (2007); The Substantial Evidence Test in the Federal Administrative Procedure Act (2007); LEGAL ISSUES IN EVERYDAY LIFE (2006); ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS (coauthor) (2005).

Lauren Medoff
J.D., University of Miami, cum laude
B.A., University of Florida, cum laude (Psychology)
B.S., University of Florida, cum laude (Criminology)
Intern and clerkship experience: Service as a Federal Certified Legal Intern with the U.S. Attorney’s Office involving food safety and criminal liability issues; Private practice clerkships; Internships with the Children & Youth Law Clinic and with the Florida Fifteenth Judicial Circuit
Co-chair of the University of Miami School of Law School Ambassadors; Inter-club Counsel member; 2009 Orientation Committee Leader.

David Milender
J.D., University of Iowa B.A. (Political Science)
Purdue University (Political Science), Highest Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa
Clinical and internship experience: Prosecutor Intern, Muscatine County Attorney’s Office, Legal Clinic (Law & Policy in Action and Immigration Program); Lake County State Attorney’s Office
Justice, Student Judicial Court
Other professional experience: Supervisor/Project Coordinator, Kleffmann Group (supervised collection of agricultural market data).

Claire Mitchell
J.D., Hofstra University, Concentration in Energy and the Environment
B.A. Villanova University, magna cum laude
Certificate in Mediation Skills approved by the New York State Office of Court Administration
President, Legal Emergency Aid Project; Treasurer, Hofstra Law Women; Program Coordinator, National Institute for Trial Advocacy
Clerking experience in private practice and internships with Nassau County Supreme Court and Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office;
Editorial Assistant for BAR/BRI Bar Review
Authored Who’s Your Daddy: A Proposal for Paid Family Leave to Promote the Growth of Families, 27 HOFSTRA LABOR & EMP L.J. 199 (2010).

Kathryn Peters
J.D., University of Oregon
B.A., University of Oregon (Accounting)
University of Oregon Award of Excellence 2007-2010;
Clinical experience, serving as a volunteer, intern and extern for the Lane County Legal Aid and Advocacy Center and externing with the Small Business Clinic
Research Assistant, Professor Nancy Shurtz
Authored Creating an Urban Agricultural Revolution, J. ENVTL. L. LITIG. (forthcoming 2010)
Other professional experience includes ownership of Dark Hollow, a natural fiber clothing line, with responsibility for design, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution, as well as all aspects of financial accounting; and, service as a Licensed Tax Preparer, H&R Block.

Jeremy Pyle
J.D., University of Oregon School of Law
B.A., DePauw University (Political Science)
Clerkship experience at the Western Environmental Law Center, the Oregon Department of Justice, and Cascadia Wildlands; Internship with Oregon State Representative Jules Kopel Bailey
Organizer, Public Interest Environmental Law Conference
Officer, Land Air Water.

Dorian Slaybod
J.D., Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University
B.A., The Ohio State University (Sociology)
President of the Environmental Law Society, the American Constitution Society, and the Jewish Law Students Association
Legal internship experience with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Governor’s office, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office (working with the Alternative Energy Task Force), the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, and with a private law firm
Legal clerkship experience in agricultural labor law with the Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (Migrant Farmworker Program); and with a private law firm (working in civil rights and employment discrimination litigation)
Authored A Lack of Consensus: The World’s Conflicting Policies on Biofuels and The Obama Administration’s Stance on Biofuels, both published in the ABA Ag Management Committee Newsletter; Contributor, ABA YEAR IN REVIEW, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources 2008 and 2009 Annual Reports.

Stacey Sturner
J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law
B.A., University of Texas (Government)
Current position as staff member, Northwest Arkansas Council
Former Legislative Assistant to Senator Dale Bumpers, Washington, D.C.; Legislative Affairs, Internal Revenue Service, Washington, D.C.

Benjamin Thomas
J.D., Washington University School of Law
B.A., Austin College (English Literature, German)
Recipient, Scholar in Law Award
Vice President, Women’s Issues, Support & Education
Participant in the Congressional and Administrative Law Clinic, Federal Trade Commission, Office of Chairman Leibowitz
Steiger Fellow, New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, Antitrust Division
Internship with Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc.
Authored Note: Fifth Circuit Interpretation of the Packers & Stockyards Act in Wheeler v. Pilgrim’s Pride: Finally Giving Farmers a Chance
Other professional experience includes: Manager of Farm Services, J.B. Thomas Enterprises, Inc. and service as an English Language Teaching Assistant for the Austrian-American Fulbright Commission in Rankweil, Austria.

Allison Waldrip
J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law
B.A. (English Literature/Broadcast Journalism) University of Arkansas, cum laude
Numerous oral advocacy awards including Best Oral Advocate, National Moot Court Competition; member of the First Place Team, National Moot Court Competition; Best Oralist, Ben J. Altheimer Moot Court Competition; member of the First Place Team William H. Sutton Barrister’s Union Trial Competition
Clerkship experience in private practice
Served as Assistant to the Director of Communications, Dean’s Office, Univ. of Arkansas School of Law
Former News Anchor & Station Manager, University of Arkansas Television.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

LL.M Alumni Speak at National Ag Law Conference

The law firm of Faegre & Benson LLP held a major conference July 28 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This Food, Agriculture & Biofuels National Conference focused on"Agricultural Production to Food Consumption: Meeting the Challenges for Sustainable Success." It was designed for "senior industry leaders, including executives, senior representatives, and lawyers," and there were over two hundred attendees.

The LL.M. Program was well represented. Professor Christopher Kelley delivered a presentation on agriculture & the environment. Another alumnus, Professor Alison Peck from the University of West Virginia School of Law, spoke on agricultural biotechnology. Faegre & Benson Attorney, Jennie Williams Zwaggerman was one of the conference organizers and moderated the food labeling session.