Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lauren Medoff, Staff Attorney at AdvoCare International, LP.

We continue to receive good news from our Alumni with new position announcements, this one from Lauren Medoff.

Lauren Medoff now serves as a Staff Attorney with AdvoCare International, L.P. AdvoCare is a premier health and wellness direct-selling company that offers energy, weight-loss, nutrition, and sports performance products. Lauren reports that her work focuses on research and development to improve the AdvoCare product line, as well as lobbying for state and federal matters affecting both the direct-selling and supplement industry. In addition, Lauren trains distributors on policy and procedure, while also working on state and federal compliance issues.

Lauren was in the LL.M. class of 2011. She obtained her J.D. degree cum laude, from the University of Miami; her B.A. degree, cum laude from the University of Florida, with a major in Psychology; and her B.S. degree, University of Florida, cum laude with a degree in Criminology. Lauren served as a Federal Certified Legal Intern with the U.S. Attorney's office working on issues involving food safety and criminal liability.  She served as a Research Assistant to Professor Susan Schneider during her LL.M. studies.

Lauren's position with AdvoCare perfectly blends her interests in sports and nutrition, and as Lauren accurately states, this placement is "another win for the LL.M. family." Congratulations Lauren!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Chris Saunders, Staff Attorney with NC Research Division

Another in a series of alumni news posts -  Congratulations to Chris Saunders.

We are delighted to report that Chris Saunders has accepted the position of Staff Attorney with the North Carolina General Assembly Research Division.  In this role, Chris responds to state legislators' research requests, drafts legislation, and will staff committees when the legislative session resumes in 2013.  Chris's areas of specialization are food and agriculture, animals and wildlife, state and local government, emergency management, and administrative law.  This is a perfect fit with his interests and the skills he honed as an LL.M. candidate.  As part of the hiring process, Chris was told that the LL.M. was very helpful in evidencing his special expertise. We are delighted to have helped such a talented attorney find a great job in his home state. And, we are confident that Chris will do an excellent job in his new position.

Chris received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from North Carolina State University.  He received his J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law.  He co-authored a presentation at 2010 American Agricultural Law Association Symposium, Solar Energy: Is It Really A Bright Idea for Farmers? with Ray Starling, General Counsel, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  His professional experience includes work with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.  He attended the LL.M. Program 2011-2012 and was selected for the Henry Law Firm Graduate Assistantship.  He obtained his LL.M. degree in 2012, completing his final article entitled, Public Agricultural Research in the United States: Structure, Shortcomings, and Future Benefits.  Immediately after completing his course work, Chris worked in D.C. with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

David Jackson, Senior Director of Customs and Industry Compliance

We have had a very busy semester in the LL.M. Program, and our alumni have been even busier.  I have lots of new position announcements to report, beginning with this great news from David Jackson.  More to come -  the good news is stacked up on my desk!  So stay tuned -  

In September, David accepted a position with the Retail Industry Leaders Association as the Senior Director of Customs and Industry Compliance.  RILA is a trade association representing the interests of the largest retailers in the country, and among its members are Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Safeway, Dollar General, Whole Foods, Apple, Gap, Ikea, and other very well known retailers.  In his new position, David with many teams in the organization - the International Trade group where his experience with customs practice is helpful, as an attorney in the Legal Affairs department, and as a regulatory advisor for those submitting comments to Federal Register notices.  He reports that he has a broad spectrum of responsibility is really enjoying the experience.

While David came into the LL.M. Program with prior import experience, his LL.M. Program studies included both coursework involving food law & policy issues and an externship at Walmart.  Don Wiseman, senior associate general counsel for food safety and regulatory compliance and consumer product safety and compliance, was his externship supervisor at Walmart. David's experience working with Don at Walmart was a definite asset to him in landing the RILA position.

Prior to accepting the position with RILA, David worked with Robert Lehrman and Lehrman Beverage Law.   David will be publishing two articles for a new Springer publication entitled The Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics.  David's articles involve the WTO Agriculture Agreement and the WTO SPS Agreement.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Rocky Ford" Listeria Cantaloupe Outbreak – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - How a Fruit Killed 33 Americans

On Friday, November 9th, food safety attorney, Bill Marler delivered a special public forum on food safety titled, "Rocky Ford" Listeria Cantaloupe Outbreak – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -  How a Fruit Killed 33 Americans.  His presentation was recorded, and it is embedded below.

An accomplished attorney and national expert in food safety, Bill Marler has become the most prominent foodborne illness lawyer in America and has played a major force in food policy. His firm, Marler Clark, has represented thousands of individuals in claims against food companies whose contaminated products have caused life altering injury and death. Marler Clark sponsors the acclaimed online daily newspaper, Food Safety News.

Bill Marler's presentation is part of the condensed course that he teaches for us in the LL.M. Program on food safety litigation and policy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

USDA OGC Associate Counsel David Grahn Returns to Teach

David Grahn is back with us, offering a fast-paced look at federal budget issues in Washington including Scoring, Paygo, OMB, and OIRA.  His course, fondly called, How OZ Really Works, explores how budget scoring and related calculations drive substantive policy decisions behind the scenes.

David serves as Associate General Counsel for International Affairs, Food Assistance, and Farm and Rural Programs in the Office of General Counsel of the USDA. He has served at USDA OGC since 2002 and was promoted to a new expanded position in 2011. Also in 2011, he was awarded the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award for his service to the U.S. government, and he received the Excellence in Agriculture Award from the American Agricultural Law Association.

From 1996 through 2002, David was the Assistant General Counsel for Legislation, responsible for drafting and reviewing legislation affecting the USDA. He was previously detailed to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, where he worked on the 1996 Farm Bill. From 1992 through 1995, David served as a Confidential Assistant to the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and Carleton College in Minnesota.

When USDA Secretary Vilsack spoke at the American Agricultural Law Association annual symposium last month in Nashville, he praised David's service to the USDA and the wise counsel he provides. We are very grateful to David for his willingness to teach - he volunteers his time to the Program - and his course provides our candidates with a unique window into Congressional budgeting and policy making.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Food Safety Litigation Class Presents Plaintiff and Defendant's Perspectives

Members of our LL.M. class are thoroughly enjoying their Food Safety Litigation class taught by attorney Bill Marler.

Yesterday, they were treated in the morning to presentations from Bill, speaking as the most successful food borne illness plaintiff's attorney in the United States. They learned about his practice, his clients, and the passion that he brings to his work.

Then, as a new twist to the class, Bill brought in attorney Josh Swiger from Atlanta, Georgia, as Bill's special guest speaker for the afternoon session. Josh is Of Counsel with the Wienberg, Wheeler, Hudgins, Gunn & Dial law firm, where food borne defense work makes up a large portion of his practice. Josh's representative case work in this area includes:
  • Successfully resolved punitive damages and personal injury claims against food processor client during bifurcated trial in Federal Court in Utah in 2011;
  • Represents Mid-West beef processor in national E. coli outbreak in the Summer of 2008 with over 80 confirmed cases linked to the outbreak;
  • Represents California lettuce processor in Northeast E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in November-December 2006 (Taco Bell E. coli outbreak);
  • Represents California spinach processor in national E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in August 2006.
It was a tremendous opportunity for our class, and we are very grateful to both Bill and Josh for their contributions to our curriculum.

Bill is back in the classroom today, discussing his work with Stephanie Smith's case and his pro bono representation of the FSIS officials sued in the BPI "Pink Slime" defamation suit against ABC news. This afternoon he delivers his public forum, The “Rocky Ford” Listeria Cantaloupe Outbreak – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -  How a Fruit Killed 33 Americans

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bill Marler Speaks on "Rocky Ford" Listeria Cantaloupe Outbreak

Please join us for the following special public forum at the University of Arkansas School of Law,  Friday, November 9th, featuring Bill Marler of Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm -

The “Rocky Ford” Listeria Cantaloupe Outbreak – 
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly  How a fruit killed 33 Americans
November 9, 2012 
1:00 - 1:50 p.m.   CLE credit approved in Arkansas
Room 339, University of Arkansas School of Law

An accomplished attorney and national expert in food safety, William (Bill) Marler has become the most prominent foodborne illness lawyer in America and a major force in food policy in the U.S. and around the world. Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, has represented thousands of individuals in claims against food companies whose contaminated products have caused life altering injury and even death. Marler Clark sponsors the acclaimed online daily newspaper, Food Safety News.

Bill Marler's presentation is part of the condensed course that he teaches for us in the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law on food safety litigation and policy.  Marler Clark also sponsors a Graduate Assistantship position in the LL.M. Program, allowing one of our candidates to write for Food Safety News.  Andrew Frame, B.A., Auburn University (Journalism and Communications); J.D., Mississippi College School of Law, cum laude is the 2012-13 recipient of the Marler Clark Assistantship.  We are grateful to Bill Marler, Marler Clark, and the professionals at Food Safety News for their support to our LL.M. Program.  And, we are particularly delighted to welcome Bill back to Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Allen Olson Teaches Federal Farm Programs Class

Allen Olson is back with us teaching in the LL.M. Program as one of our condensed course professors.  He is teaching a course on Federal Farm Programs, and he teaches it with a real emphasis on what it's like to represent farmers, including those with large and small operations.

With over 30 years of experience as a practicing lawyer, much of it involved in representing farmers and agribusinesses, plus prior teaching experience in the LL.M. Program, we are always delighted to welcome Allen back to Fayetteville.

Allen received his B.A. from Cornell University in 1971, his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1974, and his LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1996. He has practiced law in Virginia, Nebraska and Georgia.

He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Agricultural Law Association and is a past Chair of the Agriculture Law Section of the Georgia State Bar. He is the author of numerous articles on agricultural law topics and is a frequent speaker at agricultural law conferences nationwide.

Allen has a law office in Albany, Georgia with a practice concentrated on agricultural law matters, including federal farm programs, payment limitations, USDA administrative appeals, crop insurance litigation, conservation easements, farm business planning, and other matters affecting farmers and related agricultural businesses.

This is the third year in a row that Allen has taught this course.  He has been warmly received by the LL.M. candidates and maintains contact with several of our alumni who are developing their practices.  We are grateful for his assistance and his expertise.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fayetteville 2030: Food City Scenario Plan

The LL.M. Program is pleased to support the work of the Community Design Center, an outreach center of the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas in its exciting work on urban agricultural planning for future area growth.

As was announced last week, an interdisciplinary team at the University of Arkansas will work with the City of Fayetteville and local non-governmental organizations to create Fayetteville 2030: Food City Scenario Plan. This urban agricultural plan will be designed for a city that is expected to double in population over the next 20 years. The goal is to incorporate local food sourcing within the city.

The design center recently received $15,000 in seed money from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to begin the project. The award is part of the new Decade of Design awards sponsored by the AIA in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. The project may well serve as a national and international model for agrarian urbanism.

I was delighted to meet with some of the architecture students a few weeks ago to introduce law and policy issues into their discussion at the invitation of Professor Jeffrey Huber, assistant director for the Community Design Center and adjunct professor in the Fay Jones School.  One of our current LL.M. candidates, Sara Albert, plans to do work with urban agricultural initiatives next semester, working with Professor Huber on this project. We are fortunate at the University of Arkansas to have the Community Design Center taking such a leadership role on emerging issues.

Read more about this exciting project in the full announcement, available on the School of Law's website, Design Center to Partner with City, Local NGOs to Create Urban Agricultural Scenario Plan.

American Agricultural Law Association Conference in Nashville

I recently attended the annual American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) conference, held this year in Nashville, Tennessee. Eight of this year's LL.M. candidates accompanied me to the conference, and I was pleased to have them there.  LL.M. Candidates Andy Frame and Erin Kee had been to an AALA conference before, but for the others, it was a new experience. Lauren Handel, Adam Soliman, Abe Inouye, James Haley, Blake Rollins, and Uche Nwude - welcome to the AALA.

There were about 220 attorneys in attendance.  Twenty-four were alumni of our LL.M. Program -  excellent representation -  and it was great to them and to catch up with all of their news.

Our first speaker was USDA Secretary Vilsack who delivered a fast-paced analysis of current initiatives at the USDA and slammed Congress for failing to pass the 2012 Farm Bill. The Senate passed its version, and the House Committee passed a version as well. But, the House leadership has refused to bring the bill up for a full vote in the House.

Secretary Vilsack also took the opportunity to acknowledge three agricultural leaders in the crowd -  Neil Hamilton, Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law, Professor of Law, and Director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University;  Neil Harl, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Iowa State; and the USDA's own David Grahn, Associate General Counsel for International Affairs, Food Assistance, and Farm and Rural Programs Division.  He thanked David for his wise counsel, his dedicated service to the USDA, and his extensive knowledge of farm policy.  He called him "one of the best lawyers I know." This was a great introduction for our LL.M. candidates -  David will be joining us November 12-13 for a condensed session on farm policy.

It was again my pleasure to present during our opening plenary sessions, providing an update on food law developments over the past year.  Appreciation is extended to LL.M. Candidate Nicole Civita for her assistance with my presentation.  I am proud to report that twelve of our alumni were presenters at the conference.

Jeff Peterson (Principal, Gray Plant Mooty) delivered the Commercial Law Update during the Friday morning plenary session.

Alison Peck (Associate Professor, University of West Virginia College of Law) coordinated and moderated the new Friday morning plenary session, The State of American Agricultural Law.

Beth Crocker (General Counsel, South Carolina Dept of Agriculture) and Jason Foscolo (Food Law Attorney, Jason Foscolo, LLC) presented on The Pros and Cons of Cottage Food Regulation.

Joel Cape (Everett, Wales & Comstock) and Terence Centner, (Professor, U. of Georgia College of Ag. and Environmental Sciences) spoke on Pesticide Spray Drift: Liability and Litigation.

Rusty Rumley (Staff Attorney, National Agricultural Law Center) presented on Protecting Clients in Hunting, Recreational and Agri-tourism Enterprises.

Jeff Ferrick (General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer, The Clemens Family Corp.) Beth Rumley (Staff Attorney, National Agricultural Law Center) spoke on Real World Implications of Farm Animal Welfare Laws and Agreements.

Alison Peck (Associate Professor, University of West Virginia College of Law) moderated and Ross Pifer (Clinical Professor, Director of the Rural Economic Development Clinic, and Director of the Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center) and spoke at the session on Energy Development and Farmland Impacts.

Harrison Pittman (Director, National Agricultural Law Center) coordinated and moderated the plenary session on Saturday afternoon, The Farm Bill in 2012: Looking Forward by Looking Back? Anne Hazlett, Republican Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry underRanking Member Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas presented.

Other alumni in attendance were Michael Knipe (USDA Office of General Counsel), Lauren Medoff (AdvoCare International), Claire Mitchell (Stoel Reeves), Cassie Peters (Downstream Strategies), Jennifer Zwaggerman (Drake University School of Law), Alli Condra (Harvard Law School Food Law & Policy Clinic), Teena Gunter (Oklahoma Dept of Ag, Food & Forestry), Paul Goeringer (University of Maryland), Judd Jensen (Baumstark Braaten Law Partners), and Stanley Lawson (Stanley R. Lawson Attorney at Law).  Such a very impressive group!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

LL.M Alum Cassie Peters Publishes Report on Local Food System

There is increasing demand for locally grown and raised food throughout the country, and in West Virginia, one of our alumni is working to assist the growing number of farmers and local food businesses working to meet this demand.

Cassie Peters, who received her LL.M. degree in 2012, serves as the Agriculture and Food Policy Manager of the Land Program at Downstream Strategies.  Her work focuses on issues
related to sustainable agricultural methods, local food systems, and urban agriculture. The Land Program offers expertise in land-based issues ranging from rural economies to food systems, with services that include land use planning, food system assessments, and economic and policy analyses for a variety of issues related to agricultural science and policy, energy, and food systems.

Last week, Cassie and her Downstream Strategies co-workers released an important local food system report, West Virginia Food System: Opportunities and Constraints in Local Food Supply Chains.  This report examines the existing local food supply chain infrastructure in the state, including processors, aggregators, distributors, and retail markets. The report includes profiles of local food businesses and a directory of local food resources. The report was produced for West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition and West Virginia Community Development Hub, with funding from the Benedum Foundation and the blue moon fund.  The report will be extremely helpful in West Virginia's developing local food systems and also serve as a helpful model for other states to follow.  We are proud of Cassie's leadership in this emerging area of law and policy.

Food Safety and Developing Countries

LL.M. Program alumna, Mirriam Kutha recently published an excellent essay in Food Safety News, Why Low-Income Countries Should Care About Food Safety.  In it, Mirriam notes that while food safety is "one of the most ignored areas of policy in low-income countries, especially in Africa" food safety concerns are a threat not only to domestic consumers but involvement in international trade.  There are barriers that are encountered.  Developing and enforcing a food safety system is expensive and requires a significant commitment of resources.  And, food insecurity concerns may cause food safety issues to stay in the background.  Mirriam effectively argues, however, that the development of a food safety regime can actually "[b]oost food safety on a local level, [i]ncrease revenue through international food trade, and [b]olster food security."  It is a thoughtful essay based on additional work she has done in this area.

Mirriam just was awarded her LL.M. degree in Agricultural and Food Law.  She also holds an LL.B. with honors from the University of Malawi.  She holds a Certficate in Growing Solutions to End Hunger from the ONE Campaign and WFP USA.  Her professional experience includes being an Assistant Lecturer in Law at the University of Malawi and a Senior Resident Magistrate Judiciary Malawi.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Visit to Tri-Cycle Farms

The LL.M. class took a trip to visit an amazing community farm in the heart of residential Fayetteville -  Tri Cycle Farms.  There, they really do what their motto provides, "building community through soil."

Tri Cycle Farms describes itself as "a community urban farm working to address food insecurity by growing food and teaching others to grow food."

Friends and neighbors have worked together to reclaim 2 acres of urban landscape, creating a beautiful, productive garden that has produced an amazing amount of good food - all in the first year of the project.  Their continuing goal is to "strive to create community by reconnecting with the land, with people, with food, and with each other."

The LL.M. class took a Wednesday afternoon trip to Tri Cycle, located just south of campus. There, we met the force behind the farms' effort and its founder, Don Bennett.  Don spoke with passion and determination. As Don explained, the name, "Tri” Cycle Farms, refers to the use of the produce they grow:  one third is donated to those in need; one third is goes to those who help do the work to grow it; and one third is sold to generate money to invest back in the farm.

Although Tri Cycle has only been in operation for just over a year, they are already actively involved in teaching gardening and farming skills, donating fresh organic nutrient-dense food to those experiencing food insecurity, hosting classes on the use of fresh produce and herbs, doing community outreach, and sharing their vision for the development of sustainable community-based food system.

Legal and policy issues come up in many ways.  The City of Fayetteville is now considering an urban agriculture initiative, and an number of groups are assessing both current and proposed ordinances. A city's legal structure can either help or impeded the development of urban farms and related agricultural activities. The visit to Tri Cycle led the class to consider all of these issues.  And, it led several in the class to volunteer at Tri Cycle and several more to attend the Tri Cycle Farms fundraiser, the First Annual Pesto Fest at Greenhouse Grille. We hope to stay abreast of Don's efforts as well as the legal and policy issues raised by urban and community-based agriculture.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dinner with the Adams and Hutts

After the first night of the class, Law School Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Registrar, Rhonda Adams and her husband Chuck, a University of Arkansas English Professor and the Associate Dean of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences hosted a wonderful dinner party at their Fayetteville home for Professor Hutt and his wife Catherine, the LL.M. class, and selected law school faculty and administrators.  This event allowed the LL.M. candidates to interact informally with Professor Hutt, continuing their classroom discussions in a welcoming informal setting. It was a wonderful evening.

We were also delighted to have the opportunity to talk with Professor Hutt's wife, and Dean Chuck Adams' sister, Catherine. Catherine Adams Hutt is a food policy professional of great distinction in her own right.  Catherine is a Senior Advisor at Leavitt Partners and a partner in Sloan Trends. She is also the founder and president of the not-for-profit regulatory think tank, The Rialto Conference, serves on the board of the Institute of Food Technologists, serves as a consultant to the National Restaurant Association and Food Regulatory Solutions, and is a principal in RdR Solutions. She is the former Chief Quality Officer for McDonald’s Corporation and Coors Brewing Company and a former Assistant Administrator for the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

We were pleased that LL.M. alumna Margie Alsbrook was able to join us for Professor Hutt's class and our dinner gathering.  While Margie was in law school, she served as the first editor of the Journal of Food Law & Policy. The Journal was honored to publish Professor Hutt's article, Food Law & Policy: An Essay in its first issue, and Margie worked with Professor Hutt through the publishing process. Margie now serves as a Washington County Justice of the Peace and an attorney with Alsbrook Legal Services.

Our appreciation is expressed to Rhonda and Chuck for hosting such a wonderful gathering for us.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Condensed Course Taught by Peter Barton Hutt

We were pleased to add a very distinguished professor to the ranks of condensed course professors in the LL.M. Program this semester, Peter Barton Hutt.

Professor Hutt has taught Food & Drug Law at Harvard for the past 18 years and is the lead author of the casebook, Food and Drug Law: Cases and Materials (Foundation Press, 1st edition 1980, 2d edition 1991, 3d edition 2007).  He has published more than 175 book chapters and articles on Food and Drug Law and on health policy.

Professor Hutt is a senior counsel in the Washington, DC law firm of Covington & Burling, specializing in Food and Drug Law. From 1971 to 1975 he was Chief Counsel for the Food and Drug Administration. While at FDA he drafted the legislation that became the Medical Device Amendments of 1976, and beginning in 1962 he has participated in the drafting of most of the major legislation amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  He has testified before the House and Senate more than 100 times either as a witness or as counsel accompanying a witness.He has represented the national trade associations for the food, prescription drug, nonprescription drug, dietary supplement, and cosmetic industries.

From Professor Hutt’s bio on the Covington & Burling website:
Mr. Hutt was named by The Washingtonian magazine as one of Washington's 50 best lawyers . . .  and as one of Washington's 100 most influential people; by the National Law Journal as one the 40 best health care lawyers in the United States; and by Global Counsel as the best FDA regulatory specialist in Washington, DC.  Business Week referred to Mr. Hutt in June 2003 as the "unofficial dean of Washington food and drug lawyers."  In naming Mr. Hutt in September 2005 as one of the eleven best food and drug lawyers, the Legal Times also referred to him as "the dean of the food-and-drug bar."  In April 2005, he was presented the Distinguished Alumni Award by FDA.  In May 2005, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for research advocacy by the Foundation for Biomedical Research.
Professor Hutt lectured for two full days, covering many of the most important aspects of food regulation by the FDA.  He engaged the class in lively discussions and provided an invaluable inside look at FDA regulation.

Friday, October 5, 2012

LL.M. Candidates Tour Tyson Discovery Center

This year's LL.M. class had the opportunity to tour Tyson Foods' state-of-the-art 100,000-square-foot Discovery Center on the campus of its world headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas.  This new facility, which opened in 2007 houses over one hundred of the company's research and development staff. In addition to offices and meeting areas, the Discovery Center has 19 kitchens, multiple product testing areas, and a 40,000-square-foot multi-protein, USDA-inspected pilot plant. To see a video of the Discovery Center go to the Tyson Videos website.

Some of the goals of the Discovery Center are to stimulate new product development and to decrease the time that it takes get new products on the market.

It was a very interesting tour conducted by University of Arkansas School of Law alumna, Christine Daugherty.  Christine is the Director of Intellectual Property & Technological Development at Tyson Foods.  Previously, she served as Senior Counsel in Tyson's legal department, and before that as a Patent Attorney with Wright, Lindsey & Jennings, LLP.  Christine's office is located in the Discovery Center, close to the R&D professionals that she advises.  Her insight into the design of the Discovery Center as a research and development hub and her explanation of the ongoing activities at the Center were fascinating.

Appreciation is extended to Christine and to Tyson Foods for our tour.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lauren Handel on Prop 37

LL.M. Candidate, Lauren Handel did a guest lecture in our Food Law & Policy class last Friday.

Lauren has been researching and writing on Proposition 37 in California -  the proposition on the November ballot in California that calls for the labeling of Genetically Engineered food products.  She did a great job analyzing the specific language of the ballot measure and the legal issues that may well come up if it passes. Current polling indicates that it is likely to pass.

The labeling of food products produced through genetic engineering has been a contentious issue since the technology was first introduced decades ago. Controversy surged in recent years as more GE products were approved and consumers became more active in questioning how their food was produced. The FDA has consistently said that labeling is not required so long as the product is essentially the same as the non-GE product. The Just Label It campaign states that it has gathered over 1 million signatures on its request to the FDA to revisit its labeling policy.  In this environment, the Prop 37 initiative has gained significant media attention and even more attention from the affected industries. The stakes are high for all concerned, with not only labeling issues but product segregation,  stream of commerce, and enforcement issues all in play.

In class, Lauren dealt effectively with the legal issues presented - what does Prop 37 require, what exemptions are provided, and what are the likely challenges if it passes.  Thanks, Lauren -  great job.  I am fortunate to have such a talented class of LL.M. candidates this year -  and I hope to rely on them throughout the year for this kind of presentation.

You can read the series of articles Lauren wrote analyzing the ballot issue on Jason Foscolo LLC - Food Law, the blog of Agricultural & Food Law Attorney (and LL.M. Alumnus) Jason Foscolo.

Appreciation is extended to Jason for working with our LL.M. candidates and providing a forum for their publications on his popular blog. 

Lauren received her B.A. from the University of Maryland (Government & Politics), cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, cum laude. She served as a staff member on the GEORGETOWN LAW JOURNAL and was the recipient of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Student Advocacy Award. Before joining us in the LL.M. Program, she was a partner with McDermott Will & Emery LLP in New York, practicing in the area of civil litigation in federal and state courts, products liability and environmental law.  She is admitted to practice in New York, the District of Columbia, Maryland, the Supreme Court of the United States, and the District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of New York.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Professor Neil Hamilton & LL.M. Alumni at Harkin Portrait Unveiling

Professor Neil Hamilton was in Washington, D.C. last week when Iowa Senator Tom Harkin was celebrated at a Capitol Hill reception that included the unveiling of Senator Harkin's official portrait.  This portrait will be hung among those of other past chairmen of the Senate Agriculture Committee on the walls of the Committee’s hearing room.

The guest list for the unveiling was a roll call of prominent figures in agriculture including U.S. Agriculture Secretary, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, current Senate Agriculture Committee chair, Debbie Stabenow, ranking member Pat Roberts, former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, our friend, Professor Hamilton and many staffers who served on the Committee. Two of our LL.M. alumni served under Senator Harkin on the Agriculture Committee -  Doug O'Brien and Amy Lowenthal.  Both were in attendance at the unveiling. Doug now serves as Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at USDA, and Amy serves as Assistant Counsel to the Inspector General at USDA.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

Alli Condra Accepts Fellowship at Harvard

We are delighted to report that recent LL.M. graduate, Allison Condra has accepted a fellowship position with Harvard Law School's Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation.  She will work with the Center’s Food Law and Policy Clinic on a broad range of federal, state, and local policy projects "to increase access to nutritious food for poor and low-income individuals and families, reduce diet-related diseases, and maximize small farmers’ access to food markets."  She will report to clinic director, Emily Broad Lieb, a recognized new leader in the food policy arena.

The Food Law & Policy Clinic at Harvard has been involved in a wide range of work, including outreach and training for state and national government officials and community groups. They recently published the Good Laws, Good Food Toolkit for Putting Local Food Policy to Work for Our Communities.

Alli received her B.A. from California Lutheran University (Interdisciplinary Studies in Pre-Naturopathic Medicine) and her J.D. with High Honors from Drake University Law School, earning a Certificate in Food & Agricultural Law.  Alli was with us in the LL.M. Program during the 2011-2012 academic year as the recipient of the Marler Clark Graduate Assistantship. This assistantship allowed her to write articles for the acclaimed online newspaper, Food Safety News sponsored by Marler Clark. Alli completed her final article, Food Sovereignty in the United States: Supporting Local and Regional Food Systems, this summer and received her LL.M. degree in August.

Congratulations, Alli - we know you will accomplish great things!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Exciting New Positions for LL.M. Alumni

With the new school year beginning, we are going to need to pick up the pace of our posts.  Lots of news to report.  Professor Neil Hamilton was with us this last week, teaching An Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture, and we celebrated with our Alumni Reunion and Welcome Celebration.  I will be posting pictures soon!

However, what we do in the Program is often surpassed by the success of our graduates as they apply their agricultural & food law knowledge in rewarding new employment opportunities.

Here is some exciting news regarding two very impressive women that we were proud to have in our LL.M. Program.  Both are University of Arkansas graduates through and through, with their undergraduate and J.D. degrees from the University of Arkansas.

Shannon Mirus was recently promoted to the position of Vice President - General Counsel with the Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corporation. In this position, she is responsible for all legal and regulatory matters involving the company, including property acquisition, contracting and proceedings before the Arkansas Public Service Commission and Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Her promotion was recently featured in the SW Times Online, People in Business.

Before joining AOG as counsel, Shannon served as a staff attorney for the National Agricultural Law Center. Her work at the Center focused on risk management, regulatory affairs, business organizations, and landowner liability as well as being responsible for the center’s grant-writing program.

Shannon received her bachelor's degree in Agricultural Business, her J.D. degree, and her LL.M. degree in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas.

We are also delighted to announce that Kerri C. Boling was recently appointed Corporate Counsel in the Legal Department, at Tyson Foods, Inc.  Prior to this appointment, Kerri was with the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels as an Associate Attorney in their Des Moines, Iowa office.  Her work there with the food and agriculture industry team was great preparation for her return to Northwest Arkansas and work for Tyson. We are delighted to have her back in the area and know she will do a great job for Tyson.  She received her bachelor's degree in Agriculture/Agricultural Business and J.D degrees from the University of Arkansas, and was a member of the LL.M. class of 2010-11.

Congratulations to Shannon and Kerri -  we are proud of your accomplishments.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Welcome Class of 2013

The attorney candidates admitted to the LL.M. class of 2012-13 are a talented and fascinating mix. They come from Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York,  South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, British Columbia, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia.  They include experienced practitioners and a law professor, as well as talented recent law graduates. 

Although only three candidates are international students, languages spoken in addition to English include Arabic, Cantonese, French, German, Mandarin, and Spanish.  Candidates have worked, studied, and volunteered their services in the U.S., Canada, China, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Venezuela. The candidates described their interest in the Program as including an interest in local food systems, concern about food security and sustainability, an interest in animal agriculture, a desire to serve the agricultural sector, and a deep interest in “the delights and politics of food.” They are cooks, farmers, and passionate consumers, as well as attorneys, and each wants to learn more about agricultural and food law.  We are proud of their many accomplishments and delighted to welcome them to the Program.

Sara M. Albert
B.A., Southern Methodist University (Liberal Studies), cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
J.D., Southern Methodist University
Journal experience: International Lawyer
Legal experience includes: Solo Legal Practice (corporate transactions, franchising, and intellection property law); Jenkens & Gilchrist (International franchising);  Locke Purnell Rain Harrell (corporate transactions, international franchising, oil and gas transactions);  Thompson & Knight (Bi-lingual Legal Assistant, Tax Department); Despacho Joaquin Morell, Spain (Bi-lingual private law practice, real estate, estate planning, and tax law)
Other professional experience includes Marketing and Sales for ArtHouse Homes and Sales Associate for Ellen Terry Realtors
Extensive civic experience includes: Service on the Board of Directors of Parkland Foundation; Service on the Board of Trustees of Southwestern Medical Foundation, Temple Emanu-El, and The Hockaday School; Service on the Executive Committee of the Anti-Defamation League
Admitted to practice law in the State of Texas

Thamer Alshehail
B.A., Islamic Law, Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University
High Diploma of Law, Imam Mohammed Bin Saud Islamic University
LL.M., Valparaiso University
Legal Experience Includes: Legal Advisor to the Saudi Food and Drug Authority

Nicole Civita
B.A. from Columbia University (American Studies / Special Program in Creative Writing)
J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, Georgetown University Law Center
Legal experience includes:  Associate Attorney with Hogan Lovells, Los Angeles, a member of the firm's Litigation, Arbitration, and Employment practice group; Student Attorney, Georgetown Juvenile Practice Clinic;  Legal Intern, Lawyers for Children’s America (Bergstrom Fellowship)
Public interest and Not-for-Profit work includes: Executive Council and founding member of the Friends of the Alliance Council (The Alliance for Children’s Rights)  (founding member);  Program Specialist & Case Manager, Adoption House; National Service VISTA Volunteer, Americorps VISTA
Media experience: Television Production Coordinator, Television Production Assistant, Literary Assistant
Admitted to practice law in California, New York, and the District of Columbia

Ada Chan
B.S., Fordham University, cum laude (Psychology, Psi Chi, National Honor Society)
J.D., St. John’s University School of Law
Legal experience includes Judicial Intern, The Honorable Laura Visitacion-Lewis, New York Supreme Court; Extern, Federal Trade Commission; Intern, Street Vendor Project; Intern, Bronx Legal Services; Translator, Multilingual Legal Advocates.
Publication: What Are Pubic Views On Using Video To Deter Crime And Consumer Fraud?  (Abstract), The General Psychologist, 43 (2), 3 and in Modern Psychological Studies: Journal of Undergraduate Research University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, 14 (1), 16-26.
Admitted to practice law in the State of New York

Andrew D. Frame
B.A., Auburn University (Journalism and Communications)
J.D., Mississippi College School of Law, cum laude
Experience includes Judicial Intern, The Honorable David Chandler, Mississippi Supreme Court; Law Clerk, Randall Segrest; Legal Intern, Office of Indigent Appeals
Other professional experience:  Realtor, Keller Williams Greater Athens, Athens, Georgia

James D. Haley
B.S.B.A., Columbia Southern University, summa cum laude
M.B.A., Columbia Southern University
J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law, magna cum laude
Executive Editor, Journal of Food and Law Policy
Legal experience includes: Extern, Walmart Environmental Compliance
Service in the United States Marine Corps: Operations Chief, Training Chief, Platoon Commander, Platoon Sergeant, Section Leader, and Weapons Systems Instructor

Lauren Handel
B.A., University of Maryland (Government & Politics), cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, cum laude
Journal experience: Staff Member, Georgetown Law Journal
Recipient of International Academy of Trial Lawyers Student Advocacy Award
Legal experience includes: Partner, McDermott Will & Emery LLP (civil litigation in federal and state courts, products liability and environmental law); Intern, National Association of Child Advocates
Recipient of inMotion’s 2009 Commitment to Justice Award for Pro Bono Service
Publications include: chapter on Contesting Citations in Occupational Safety and Health Law Handbook (Government Institutes, 2007)
Admitted to practice in New York, the District of Columbia, Maryland, the Supreme Court of the United States, and the District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of New York
Todd S. Heyman
B.A., Georgetown University, (Government) magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Sigma Alpha
J.D., Stanford Law School
Law school experience includes service on the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, Public Service Fellowship, and service on Steering Committee, West Coast Conference on Progressive Lawyering
Legal experience includes: Partner, Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP (complex litigation, typically class actions, involving employment, consumer, securities fraud, and antitrust laws);  Law Clerk, The Honorable Nancy Gertner, U.S.D.C. (D. Mass.);  Law Clerk, Public Citizen Litigation Group; Clinical Student, East Palo Alto Community Law Project; Law Clerk, Brancart & Brancart
Recipient of Super Lawyer and/or Rising Star awards, Massachusetts, 2009, 2010, 2011
Admitted to practice in the State of Massachusetts

Abraham Inouye
B.A., UCLA (Political Science)
J.D., J. Reuben Clark Law School
Journal experience: Associate Editor, International Law and Management Journal 
Legal experience includes: Associate Attorney, Barritt Smith, Los Angeles (employment law); Mediator and Teaching Assistant, J. Reuben Clark Law School; Law Clerk, Law Offices of Michael J. Zhaang; Extern, T&C Law Firm, Hangzhou, P.R. China
Admitted to practice law in California

Erin Elizabeth Kee
B.A., College of Charleston (Political Science), cum laude, Phi Sigma Pi
J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law
Masters of Environmental Law and Policy, Vermont Law School
Legal experience: Contract Attorney, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP;  Legislative Research Intern, Rural Vermont, Farm Advocacy Group; Law Clerk, The South Carolina Department of Agriculture, Office of the Commissioner; Community Outreach Intern, The Sustainability Institute
Admitted to practice law in the State of South Carolina

Angela Uchechukwu Nwude (Uche)
LL.B.,Nigerian Law School, Enugu, Nigeria
LL.B., Hons. B.L., University of Lagos
Diploma in Educational Management, University of Ibadan
Professional certifications:  Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management, Institute of Arbitrators
Professional experience includes: Legal Associate, Ossai and Co.; Legal Associate, Hill City Associates;  Court Attache, Magistrate Court, Ikeja; Chamber Attache, Ossai and Co.
Member of the Nigerian Bar Association

Andrew Blake Rollins (Blake)
B.A., Taylor University, (History) cum laude
J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law
Legal experience:  Law Clerk, Judge Jon B. Comstock; Law Clerk, Ledbetter& Associates; Law Clerk, Wilson and Associates
Other experience includes Leadership Development through Student Mobilization, a Christian leadership program

Adam Soliman
B.S.c., University of Alexandria, Egypt (Agriculture Economics)
M.S.c., University of British Columbia, Canada
J.D., University of Hong Kong
Thesis: Impacts of Individual Transferable Quotas in Canadian Sablefish Fisheries: An Economic Analysis
Legal experience:  Legal Intern, Hong Kong Refugee Advice Center; Legal Intern, Gilt Chambers, Hong Kong
Other professional experience includes Program Coordinator, University of British Columbia; Teaching and Research Assistant, University of British Columbia; Managing Director, McSoil Tours, Inc., British Columbia; COO, VP of Sales and Export, and Production Manager, The Soliman Group, Egypt (international food business including vegetable farm and processing company)

Pamela A. Vesilind
B.A., Guilford College (Major: Political Science; Minor: Vocal Studies)
J.D., Vermont Law School, cum laude
Legal experience includes: Visiting Assistant Professor and Fellow, Center for Agriculture & Food Systems, Vermont Law School;  Law Clerk, the Honorable Dennis R. Pearson, Chittenden Superior Court; Legal Intern, Southern Environmental Law Center; Legal Extern, United States District Court for the District of Columbia; Legal Intern, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
2011 SBA Faculty Award Winner (Teacher of the Year)
Publications include:  Food Consumers’ Illusory “Right to Know”, 17 Nexus: Chap. J. L. & Pol’y __ (2011-12) (anticipated);  NAFTA’s Trojan Horse& The Demise of the Mexican Hog Industry, 43 U. Miami Int.-Am. L. Rev. 701 (2011) (anticipated); Continental Drift: Agricultural Trade & the Widening Gap between European Union & United States Animal Welfare Laws, 12 Vt. J. Envtl. L. 223 (Winter 2011);  Animal Law, Obscenity, & the Limits of Government Censorship, 4 Char. L. Rev. 59 (2009)(with Cheryl Hanna);  
An Analysis of E.702.1: Transfer of Regulator Oversight & Special Requirements for Facility & Herd Management, Position Paper for the Vermont Agency for Natural Resources, Dept. of Fish & Wildlife (editor)
Admitted to practice law in the State of Vermont and the State of North Carolina