Monday, August 31, 2015

Welcome to the New and Returning LL.M. Class!

We are pleased to welcome the largest LL.M. class ever -  with 21 students enrolled full and part time. They are a fantastic group, and we could not be more proud of their accomplishments.  Their enthusiasm for agricultural and food law studies is inspiring.

Dean Stacy Leeds welcomes the new LL.M. class
Our twelve new face-to-face LL.M. candidates come from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, South Carolina, Ukraine, Russia, and Italy. Over half of the class are experienced attorneys, the others are recent graduates.

Our nine distance candidates are a mix of returning part-time candidates and new candidates (both full and part-time). They will be joining us from California, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  Eight are experienced attorneys, and one is recent graduate.

We are proud to once again have distinguished military veterans in the class.

In addition to our degree candidates, we have two law students from other law schools enrolled in our regular semester classes for transfer credit, and we have an Agricultural Economics graduate student taking classes as well.

Photos coming soon as we blog about our introductory class with Professor Neil Hamilton, a special trip to the Fayetteville Farmers Market, and a welcome party at LL.M. alumna, Amy White's house. Stay tuned!

Here are brief bios of our class includes (new and part-time returning):

Face-to-Face Candidates 

J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law
B.S., Psychology, Kansas State University

J.D, Northeastern University School of Law
B.S., Psychology, University of Iowa
Admitted to practice law in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Iowa
Recent professional experience includes: Staff Attorney, General Counsel’s Office, Employers Mutual Casualty Company

Master in Human Develop’t & Food Security, Universita’ Degli Studi Roma Tre
J.D., Loyola University School of Law
B.A., Philosophy, Spelman College
Military Education: Command Staff College, Marine Corps University; Expeditionary Warfare School, Marine Corps University
Admitted to practice law in Louisiana
Recent professional experience includes: Ethics Officer, The International Fund for Agricultural Development, Rome, Italy; Action Officer, Judge Advocate Division, United States Marine Corps

J.D., Vermont Law School
B.A., Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder
Admitted to the Bar in Massachusetts and Vermont
Recent Professional Experience: VT Statewide Coordinator, Antibiotics for Food & Water Watch

J.D., Georgetown University Law Center (Georgetown Immigration Law Journal)
B.A., Law, Sophia University, Tokyo
Admitted to practice law in New York
Recent professional experience includes: Counsel, Shearman & Sterling LLP, New York, Tokyo

J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (McGeorge Law Review)
Oxford University, Summer 2010 Legal Exchange Program
B.A., Legal Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
Admitted to practice in California
Recent professional experience includes: Adjunct Professor, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law; Associate, Desmond, Nolan Livaich & Cunningham

Ph.D., Research Institute of State Department and Municipal Government of Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine (anticipated)
Master of Laws, diploma cum laude, Nat’l Law University named after Yaroslav the Wise (NLU)
Bachelor of Laws, diploma cum laude, Nat’l Law University named after Yaroslav the Wise (NLU)
Ukrainian Lawyer
Professional experience includes: Junior Associate, Inyurpolis Law Firm (ILF), Investment Consulting Department

Master of Laws, The Law of the World Trade Organization, Saint-Petersburg State University
Bachelor of Laws, Saint-Petersburg State University
Russian Lawyer
Professional experience includes: Legal Counsel, JSCB Intrust Bank

J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law (South Carolina Envtl Law Journal)
B.A., Political Science, Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Furman University
Admitted to practice in South Carolina
Professional experience includes: Practice Administrator, John R. Ross M.D., PA; Litigation Associate, Nexsen Pruet, LLC

J.D., University of Missouri School of Law
B.A., English, Southern Illinois University
Admitted to practice law in Missouri
Professional experience includes: Associate, Law Offices  of Edwin W. Orr

J.D., Cumberland School of Law (anticipated 2015)
B.S., in Animal Science (Equine), Auburn University, cum laude

LL.B., Kyiv National Economic University named after Vadym Hetman
Master of Laws, Energy Law, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
Ukrainian Lawyer
Professional experience includes: Law Consultant, Ukrainian Mining Company, LLC; Law Consultant, Privat Bank

Distance Candidates Include

J.D., University of Denver
M.B.A., Finance, University of Colorado Boulder
B.S., Zoology/Animal Biology, Colorado State University
Admitted to practice law in Colorado
Recent professional experience includes: Of Counsel Attorney (real estate and
land use), Garfield & Hecht, P.C

J.D., Maurer School of Law, Indiana University - Bloomington
M.S., Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry, University of California, Davis
M.S., Finance, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business
B.A., Indiana University, English Literature
B.S., Indiana University, Biochemistry
Admitted to practice law in New York, Texas and Florida
Recent professional experience includes Instructor (Chemistry), in the Department of Chemistry and Life Science, United States Military Academy, West Point; extensive legal experience in military, including legal support to Joint Special Operations Taskforce in Afghanistan

J.D., cum laude, University of New Hampshire School of Law (Pierce Law Review)
B.S., English Literature, Northeastern University
Admitted to practice in Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire
Recent professional experience includes his current position as Of Counsel with Dickinson Wright PLLC in Michigan; Extensive prior experience including Service as Captain in the United States Marine Corps

J.D., University of New Mexico School of Law
B.A., Anthropology, Arizona State University
B.S., American Indian Studies, Arizona State University

LL.M., Employment Law, John Marshall Law School
J.D., Capitol University Law School
Masters of Plant Protection and Pest Management, University of Georgia
B.S., Biology, Georgia College
Admitted to practice in Georgia
Professional experience includes his current position as solo practitioner in Warner Robins, Georgia, prior experience as USDA extension agent and APHIS quarantine officer

J.D., University of San Francisco School of Law
B.A., English Writing & Literature, University of San Diego, Departmental Honors
Professional Experience: Adjunct Professor, California Western School of Law; Admitted to practice law in California
Recent professional experience includes: Attorney, Gilliland & Burgess, APLC; Street Law Instructor & Facilitator, University of San Francisco School of Law

J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law
B.S. B.A., Dual Degrees in Finance and Accounting, University of Arkansas
Admitted to practice in Arkansas
Professional experience includes his current position as Special Advisor, Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce: former aide to Senator Mark Pryor

J.D., Southern University Law Center
B.S., Business Administration Pre-Law, Louisiana State University
Admitted to practice Law in Louisiana
Recent professional experience includes: Louisiana House of Representatives, District 87; The Law Office of Ebony T. Woodruff Harvey, Louisiana

Saturday, August 29, 2015

LL.M. Alum, Richard Flournoy, Chief of Staff, USDA Risk Management Agency

We are pleased to congratulate Richard Flournoy on his new position as Chief of Staff at USDA - Risk Management Agency (RMA).  Richard serves under fellow alumna, Brandon Willis, the USDA RMA Administrator.

Prior to being Chief of Staff, Richard was tapped to serve as Acting Director of the Appeals and Litigation Staff for USDA RMA. Before that, he served as the Special Assistant to the RMA Administrator.  In that position he served as the liaison between the Administrator and the Deputy Administrators, drafted policy memoranda, responded to congressional inquiries and advised the Administrator.

Before joining RMA, Richard was a USDA, Farm Service Agency Agricultural Program Specialist, serving as Peanut Marketing Assistance Loan/Loan Deficiency Payment Lead, a position he accepted immediately after completing the LL.M. Program.

Richard received his J.D. from Mercer University - Walter F. George School of Law, where he served on the Mercer Law Review.  He received his LL.M. degree in Agricultural & Food Law from our Program in 2011.

We are particularly proud of Richard's good work at USDA and the leadership he provides. We congratulate him on his success.

On a personal note, Richard and Michelle Carney were married this year in Little Rock, Arkansas. Congratulations and best wishes to Richard and Michelle!

Monday, August 24, 2015

In addition to Ag & Food Law - Eugenio Lomba Receives Award

Not all of our graduates find their ultimate career path in agricultural and food law positions. Professional opportunities often come up that take us off the path we initially envisioned.  Eugenio Lomba, an alumnus from Puerto Rico provides a good example.

For the past eight years, Eugenio has served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations Division (DHS-HSI), detailed to the U.S. Attorneys Office in San Juan. He prosecutes narcotics and money laundering cases with some sporadical civil forfeiture cases as well.

We are proud to report that last December, Eugenio was recognized with the DHS HSI San Juan Prosecutor Award. He is pictured here receiving the award. 

In an email exchange, Eugenio wrote, "I am convinced that my training and the education I received at the University of Arkansas played a significant part in my performance and accomplishments. I am very proud to be an alumni of the LL.M. Program."

Congratulations, Eugenio! We are proud as well of your important work.  

We strive to assure that the education we offer our students has a broad application to a wide range of professional possibilities. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

LL.M. Candidate Christina Rice Begins Harvard Fellowship

We are very pleased to announce that Christina Rice, LL.M. candidate in last year's class, has just begun her work as a Clinical Fellow in the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), a division of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School.

In this position, Christina will report to Emily Broad Leib, the Director of the FLPC and work with the clinic staff and students on a broad range of international, federal, state, and local policy projects that address the health, environmental, and economic impacts of our food system.

FLPC’s projects fall into four main categories: Food Policy Councils and Food Systems Planning; Food Access and Obesity Prevention; Food Waste; and, Sustainable Food Production.

Christina will serve as the lead attorney on one or more FLPC projects, manage client and partner relationships, work closely with law students enrolled in the clinic, assist in the development of classroom courses in conjunction with the clinic, represent the clinic to local and regional food policy groups and at national conferences, attend to clinic administrative needs, and help to set and implement the vision for the ongoing development and success of the Clinic.

Christina earned her J.D., with honors from Charlotte School of Law and her B.S., in Business Administration & Finance/Accounting from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She will complete her LL.M. degree by finishing her final article this Fall.

We should note that Christina is our second fellow at the Harvard Law FLPC.  She replaces LL.M. alumna Alli Condra, who is now in Oregon practicing in the Portland office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

Congratulations, Christina.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Secretary of Agriculture, Wes Ward featured in Agri Arkansas

LL.M. Alum and Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward featured in Agri Arkansas. 

We are pleased to share that LL.M. Alum Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture was featured in a recent episode of Agri Arkansas which aired on AETN in late July. If you missed it, you can catch the episode on the AETN Website.

As a Candidate in the LL.M. Program, Wes served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business from Arkansas State University and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law.  

Ward joined the Marine Corps in 2000 and has deployed to both Afghanistan and Jordan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  His current reserve unit is the 3rd Civil Affairs Group (CAG) located in Great Lakes, Illinois.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Urban Agriculture Law & Policy 2015 Course Projects

Our Urban Agriculture Law & Policy course, taught by Nicole Civita, explores the legal issues raised by the rising interest in urban agricultural activities. This course surveys the history, contemporary attributes, and varied benefits of urban cultivation. And, it examines the legal dimensions of urban agricultural production, distribution and marketing.  It involves the study of planning, land use, zoning, and resource management law.  It also considers the potential for urban agricultural activities to support community development and food security and examines the work of local food policy counsels and initiatives.

Urban Agricultural Law & Policy was offered for the first time last Fall semester, and the students enrolled conducted a semester-long study of urban agriculture in a city, neighborhood or metropolitan area of their choosing.  They each conducted a high-level food system assessment, audited existing agricultural and food policies, identified areas for reform and advocacy, and proposed a food action plan that balanced the varied interests in their selected region.

Professor Civita was very impressed with the work of her students and arranged for selected projects to be posted publicly, with student permission.  They are linked below.  We hope that the assessments and policy proposals will inspire urban leaders around the country and across the globe.

Diane MacDonald, Candidate, LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law

Anna Dey, Candidate, LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law

Maranda White, Candidate, LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law

An Oasis in a Food Desert: Revitalizing Food Production and Nutrition in the Salt River Valley
Trevor Findley, LL.M., Agricultural & Food Law

Christina Rice, Candidate, LL.M. Program in Agricultural  Food Law

Tiffany Alvoid, Candidate, LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law

Urban Agriculture Law & Policy is offered again this Fall in the LL.M. Program, and we look forward to what interesting projects this year's class will develop.

Alumni News: Mandy Meadors in External Affairs at Southern Power

We are pleased to announce that our J.D. and LL.M. alumna, Mandy (Thomas) Meadors has accepted a project manager position in Southern Power External Affairs office, effective July 29. In this role, she will perform legislative, regulatory, governmental and community affairs activities at state and local levels.  Southern Power is a subsidiary of Southern Company, an American electric utility holding company based in the southern United States. It is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with executive offices also located in Birmingham, Alabama. The company is currently the 16th largest utility company in the world and the fourth largest in the U.S.

Mandy earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Central Arkansas and both a juris doctor and masters of law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law. Mandy began her career in Arkansas, where she practiced law for several years, litigating cases before judges and juries, appearing before various governmental entities and advising institutional clients on regulatory issues. In 2012, she relocated to Birmingham and completed a bucket-list item – becoming a chef. She graduated culinary school and worked with Chef Frank Stitt in his nationally renowned restaurant, Highlands Bar & Grill.

We are always proud of the diverse interests and talents of our graduates, and we are delighted to see them achieve professional success.  Many of the skills developed in the LL.M. Program in administrative law, regulatory compliance, and public policy are easily adaptable to a variety of careers.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Nicole Civita: "Resilience: The Food Policy Imperative for a Volatile Future"

Our alumna and professor, Nicole Civita recently published an excellent article in the Environmental Law Reporter, Resilience: The Food Policy Imperative for a Volatile Future45 Envtl. L. Rep. 10,663 (2015).   This article is on the cutting edge of legal analysis on the concept of resilience as applied to food systems and will be certain to spark an important dialogue.

To sustain a growing population on a changing planet, food policies at all levels — community, regional, national, and global — must promote judicious resource use, prioritize stewardship, align with ecosystems, advance social and distributive justice, consider national security, and position us to weather long- and short-term disruptions, both climate change-driven and otherwise. This Comment considers the power of a profuse human population, reviews climate consequences of the way we have been satisfying our food needs, and demonstrates the exigencies of new approaches to withstand the mounting pressures and disruptions assailing agriculture. It offers resilience as an essential organizing imperative for agrifood systems, policies, and laws. In so doing, the Comment explores the nature and value of resilience, outlines the characteristics of resilient food systems, identifies benefits of orienting our food future around resilience, and suggests preliminary steps in the direction of reforming agrifood policy for resilience.
Nicole serves as an Affiliated Professor and the Director of the Food Recovery Project at the University of Arkansas School of Law.  She teaches Urban Agriculture and Food Justice Law & Policy in the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law.  She is also on the faculty at Sterling College in Vermont and serves as the Assistant Director of the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems.  She tweets on behalf of the Food Recovery Project @ConserveFood and blogs at

LL.M. Alum (and author) Mark Cohen: How to Write a Bad Contract

Mark Cohen, one of our LL.M. alumni, is a practicing attorney in Colorado. One of his specialties is legal writing -  good, readable, and clear legal writing -  something that is all to often neglected in contract drafting.  As his law firm's website provides:
My passion is drafting documents and helping clients resolve disputes arising out of documents (or the lack of them). I believe the distinction between litigation and transactional work is often artificial. Business, contract, intellectual property, employment, and real estate litigation are almost always the result of poor drafting, insufficient investigation, or an incomplete negotiation.  I prefer plain English over "Legalese."  Plain English lowers costs, improves productivity, increases credibility, and reduces misunderstandings. . . 
Mark recently published an amusing and very educational satirical article in the Colorado Lawyer, How to Draft A Bad Contract (Aug. 2015). It considers and pokes fun at contract drafting.

The Michigan Bar Journal will be reprinting the article as well.

Last May, Mark was honored by the Colorado State Bar Association for his service on the Editorial Board of The Colorado Lawyer magazine.  See, Alumni Update: Mark Cohen Honored by Colorado State Bar Association (Apr. 20, 2015).  His other publications include two works of fiction, Bluetick Revenge and The Fractal Murders.

Congratulations, Mark. Our alumni are encouraged to send us news from their work so that we can post about their accomplishments!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

2015 Supplement and Website for Food Farming & Sustainability

In 2010, Professor Susan Schneider published the book, Food, Farming, and Sustainability: Readings in Agricultural Law.  The book was designed for use in teaching a law school course in agricultural law but has been useful in a variety of contexts.

With the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, a new Census of Agriculture, and a host of other recent developments, Professor Schneider has been working on an update. She is pleased to report that the 2015 Supplement is done. This 120 page document is available for free download to anyone interested, whether or not they have purchased the book.  She hopes it will be a helpful resource.

Rather than embedding links in the Supplement, as links change and some documents can be hard to find, Professor Schneider developed a companion website that she will continue to monitor, keeping the links up to date.

The website is at, and the Supplement is available for free download as a pdf on the Resources page.  A new edition of the book will be out in 2016.

food farming sustainability