Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Welcome Class of 2018

LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law
2017-2018 Enrolled LL.M. Degree Candidates


 This fall, we welcome six new on-campus students, six new distance students, and nine returning distance students for a total of twenty-one LL.M. degree candidates taking classes with us this academic year.  In addition, we have a number of candidates who have completed their coursework and who will be actively working with us to finish their final article requirement for graduation in December. As was the case last year we anticipate the addition of some non-degree distance students enrolling in our Spring courses for transfer or CLE credit.

Our on-campus candidates come from Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Russia and Ukraine. Our distance students will be studying with us from their homes and offices in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Since we began the distance program in 2013, we have gradually increased the number of distance candidates enrolled each year (2, 6, 9, 12, 15), and we expect that trend to continue. Beginning Fall 2017, the University of Arkansas will allow our Program to enroll distance students at in-state tuition rates, an advantage afforded to all other distance programs on campus. This is expected to result in much greater demand for our courses going forward. We see quality distance education with the associated technologies as serving a growing role in education, and we are pleased to be at the forefront of that trend in law.

On-Campus LL.M. Candidates

Andrii Trapizonian (Kyiv, Ukraine)
Masters in International Economic Law, Kyiv National Economic University
LL.B., with honors, Economics & Law Institute, Cherkasy National University
Sub-Lieutenant, Department of Military Training

Daria Kotova (Moscow, Russian Federation)
Recipient of the Russia-US Legal Education Foundation (RUSLEF) Fellowship
LL.B., National Research University Higher School of Economics, Faculty of Law
Member of Jessup Moot Court team, winning 1st place at the national rounds, top-20 in international rounds

Erika Dunyak (Cleveland, OH)
J.D., Case Western Reserve University
B.A., German and International Studies, with concentration in Global Environmental Sustainability, University of Dayton
Legal Extern with Sustainable Economies Law Center; Legal Intern and Research Assistant, Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic; Sustainability Fellow with Office of Sustainability, Case Western Reserve University

Jamie Dickinson (Portland, OR)
Packaging & Labeling Specialist, Recreational Marijuana Program, Oregon Liquor Control Commission
J.D., University of Oregon School of Law
Staff Editor, Legallity Online Journal
Member, Law of Intellectual Property
B.S., Nutritional Sciences, University of Texas

Mary Susan Burns (Minneapolis, MN)
Attorney, Founder and President, Susan Burns LLC, Minneapolis, MN
Extensive experience in business law and business planning
J.D., Hamline School of Law
Hamline Law Review, Associate Editor
B.A. German, College of St. Benedict

Jose Ernesto Colon Villafene (San Juan, PR)
Recipient of the University of Arkansas Graduate School Benjamin Lever Fellowship
Law Clerk, The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas, LLP
Master of Business Administration, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Rio Piedras (Graduate Teaching Assistant)
J.D., Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Puerto Rico
B.S., Purdue University

New Distance LL.M. Candidates

Kimberly Bousquet (St. Louis, MO)
Partner, Thompson Coburn LLP
J.D., University of Oregon School of Law
Order of the Coif; Certificate in Environmental Law
M.S., Environmental Studies, University of Oregon
B.A., Biology, cum laude, Drury University

Colby Duren (Arlington, VA)
Policy Director and Staff Attorney, Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative
Former Staff Att’y for National Congress of American Indians
J.D., American University Washington College of Law
B.A. Vassar College

Garrett Blake Jackson (Norman, OK)
Staff Attorney, Chickasaw Nation
Former Legal Honors Attorney U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
J.D. University of Oklahoma College of Law
Certificate in Native American Law
American Indian Law Review
B.S., summa cum laude, Agribusiness/Pre-Law, University of Oklahoma
Certificate in Environmental Studies

Carla Stinnett (Sapulpa, OK)
Practicing Attorney & President, Stinnett Law
J.D., with highest honors, University of Oklahoma College of Law
Master of Liberal Arts, Oklahoma State University
B.S. (Agricultural Communications), Oklahoma State University

Amber Suitt (Atlanta, GA)
Project Attorney, Troutman Sanders eMerge Group
J.D., Georgetown University Law Center; Certificate, Refugees & Humanitarian Emergencies
B.A., History, Howard University

Michelle Johnson-Weider (Silver Spring, MD)
Program Analyst, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Food & Nutrition Service, USDA
Former Assistant Counsel, U.S. Senate Office of Legislative Counsel (Natural Resources)
J.D., cum laude, Stetson University College of Law
B.A., Anthropology, High Honors, Phi Beta Kappa, University of Florida
Returning Distance Candidates

Brenda Hall-Busch (Philadelphia, PA)
Special Counsel, Kessler, Topaz, Meltzer & Chek, LLP
J.D, New York Law School
B.A., English, Barnard College, Columbia University

Kelsey Unruh Davis (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Judicial Clerk, Honorable Judge Charles R. Malone, Sixth Circuit, Alabama
J.D., University of Alabama School of Law
B.S. Agribusiness, summa cum laude, Mississippi State University

Katherine Zewas Graham (Minneapolis, MN)
Associate Attorney, Maser, Amundson, Boggio & Hendricks, PA
Law Clerk for the Hon. Judge Larry Stauber,  Minnesota Court of Appeals
J.D., summa cum  laude, William Mitchell College of Law
Executive Editor, William Mitchell Law Review
B.A., American Studies, Magna cum laude, Carleton College

Alexia Kulwiec (Madison, WI)
Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin Extension, School for Workers
Extensive experience as a labor and employment law attorney
J.D., Chicago Kent College of Law
B.A., Economics, University of Notre Dame

Brian Mathison  (Fort Bliss, Texas)
Mathiason Law Firm (N.Y., Tex., N.M.)
Information Operations Officer, 1AD Combat Aviation Brigade
M.S., Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry, University of California, Davis
M.S., Finance, Indiana University Kelley School of Business
J.D., Indiana University School of Law
B.A., English Literature, Indiana University
B.S., Biochemistry, Indiana University

Brandy McAllister (Mabelvale, AR)
Risk Management Services Counsel, Association of Arkansas Counties
Attorney, Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund
J.D., magna cum laude, UALR William Bowen School of Law
B.A. Business Administration & Marketing, Mount Mercy College

Dave Nezzie (Albuquerque, NM)
Congressional Staffer, Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
J.D., The University of New Mexico
Indian Law Certificate
B.A., Anthropology and B.S. American Indian Studies, Arizona State University

Edward Peterson (Warner Robins, Georgia)
Private Practice, Warner Robins, Georgia
Significant prior experience with USDA (including service as Extension Agent, APHIS Quarantine Officer and Information Specialist)
J.D., Capitol University Law School
LL.M., Employment Law, John Marshall Law School
Masters of Plant Protection and Pest Management, University of Georgia
B.S., Biology, Georgia College

Saturday, August 12, 2017

LL.M. Program & the University of Arkansas Condemn Hatred, Violence & White Supremacy

In response to the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and its disturbing calls for white supremacy, it's important to stand up and celebrate the diversity reflected in our LL.M. Program.

Our proud alumni come from all across the United States and 18 foreign countries. They represent every race and almost all religions. We welcomed them all as our students, and we continue to support them as our alumni.

We are proud to quote our Chancellor, Joe Steinmetz who tweeted today "Diversity & inclusion are @Uarkansas values. We value free speech but condemn hatred, violence & white supremacy."

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Alumni News-Teena Gunter selected as participant in Class 31 of the Leadership Oklahoma Program

Leadership Oklahoma Class 31 Announced

On June 23, 2017, the Leadership Oklahoma Board of Directors officially acted to accept the members of Class 31; fifty-one of the state’s most outstanding leaders who will travel the state to learn about the critical issues facing Oklahoma and finding ways to initiate positive change for the benefit of all Oklahomans. Included amongst the selected participants is LL.M. Alumna Teena Gunter (LL.M. 1997). Ms. Gunter currently serves as General Counsel to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, in Oklahoma City.
Congratulations Teena!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

New Policy Delivers Tuition Savings to Distance Students

As we prepare for another rewarding year in the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law, it is my distinct pleasure to deliver an announcement regarding a new tuition policy for our distance education track. Our Program has now become even more of a "best value" in legal education.

Tuition Savings For LL.M. Distance Students

The University of Arkansas has adjusted the LL.M. Program tuition rate for our distance candidates, effective Fall 2017. Our program will now be consistent with other units on campus in allowing distance candidates enrolled in online courses to be eligible for the Arkansas resident tuition rate regardless of where the student resides. For out of state students, this essentially cuts their tuition bill in half.

For 2017-18, the Arkansas resident rate for the LL.M. Program will be $595.50 per credit hour. This rate will apply to any distance course taken by a distance candidate, whether synchronous, hybrid, condensed, or completely online.  In order to stay within the new policy, the distance candidate must not take any on-campus classes during the semester unless they are part of a hybrid distance course such as our condensed courses.

Out-of-state students who study on campus will still be charged the out-of-state tuition rate for each of their enrolled courses, although graduate assistantships and fellowships may reduce these costs considerably. Indeed, we are pleased that this year, all of our on-campus students are receiving assistance.

We are proud to deliver the most extensive curriculum in agricultural and food law available, and it now comes at an even more affordable rate. We know that many recent law graduates and practicing attorneys balance family obligations, prior school loans, and other financial demands. We are very pleased to be able to deliver this good news.

The new tuition rate also applies to non-degree candidates who attend via distance, taking one or more of our courses for law school credit or CLE credit.

If you have questions about the LL.M. Program or its costs, visit our website and contact us at LLM@uark.edu or call (479) 575-3706.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Calling all Alums from 2000-2010!

Our Throwback Thursday campaign continues. Check out some of the photos below and post or send in your pictures now!

Pictures can be sent to us at llm@uark.edu.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Throwback Thursday!

Throwback Thursday!

This week we're featuring our alums from the early days of the program. Alumni from the 80's & 90's-this means you! Share your pics here or send them to us at llm@uark.edu or by mail: School of Law, LL.M. Program, 1045 W. Maple Fayetteville, AR 72701
Next week we'll jump ahead to the 2000's.

Special recognition to our Program Founders, Jake Looney, Don Pederson, and Neil Hamilton.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Throwback Thursday, Recognize these faces?

Attention LL.M. Alumni - Throwback Thursday has begun!

We need your help.  We are looking for your photos, news stories, or other items of interest from your time in the LL.M. Program. We will post them on one or both of our social media sites -  the aglawllm blog and our Facebook page
Send your materials to us at llm@uark.edu, or mail copies to us at the address below.
University of Arkansas School of Law
LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law
1045 W. Maple St.
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Our alumni provide the best evidence of the success of our Program. We hope you will share your memories with us, and we're confident that everyone will enjoy the photos that we turn up. Lots of great stories to be told . . . 
In order to start the ball rolling, Sarah was "nice enough" to dig up a gem of a photo of Chris and me (both proud alumni) -  taken shortly before we joined the faculty.
Stay tuned and start looking through your photos!  


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

LLM Alum Monica Rainge: New Heirs Property and Mediation Center

We are proud to share this exciting news released by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, where our alumna, Monica A. Rainge serves as Director of Land Retention and Advocacy.

Federation/LAF Signs MOU with USDA Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Establishes Regional Heirs Property and Mediation Center 

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (Federation/LAF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the USDA Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in support of its Regional Heirs Property and Mediation Center. This partnership will support FSC/LAF’s efforts to assist minority and other socially disadvantaged landowners who own heirs property and/or land related disputes across the southern region. The lack of clear title or heirs property is one of the greatest barriers to accessing USDA programs for historically underserved communities. The MOU provides a working framework for cooperation between OASCR and FSC/LAF to increase access to USDA programs by minority farmers and ranchers. The primary purpose of the MOU is recognize FSC/LAF’s Regional Heirs Property and Mediation Center as an outreach service center with a primary focus on its membership and minority and socially disadvantaged landowners across the southern region. Over the last 50 years, FSC/LAF’s mission has been to reverse the trend of African-American land loss and to encourage land based economic development. The Regional Heirs Property and Mediation Center will work cooperatively with OASCR to identify traditionally underserved landowners within the southern states and assist them in resolving heirs property, land retention, and estate planning issues through mediation, legal assistance, outreach and education. Currently, the FSC/LAF serves as the USDA’s Certified Agricultural Mediation Program in Georgia and Mississippi. Measurable indicators will be an increase in the number of minority and socially disadvantaged landowners who are knowledgeable about the OASCR and FSC/LAF programs and services and are accessing USDA programs which support and secure their land tenure. 

For more information about this project, contact information for Monica is available on the official press release.

Monica is based in Atlanta, Georgia, but represents the Federation with work across the South. I was pleased to see her last week and hear about this important work. Monica and I both serve on the Board of  Directors of Farmers Legal Action Group.

Susan Schneider

Donald Judges Named Vice Provost for Distance Education, Global Campus Head

As posted on the University of Arkansas Newswire, July 17th, 2017

Donald P. Judges has been named as vice provost for distance education and leader of the Global Campus, effective July 1. He served in these roles in an interim capacity since April 2016 and has played a key role on the Global Campus leadership team since May 2015. He also maintains his faculty status with the School of Law, his academic home since 1989.
“Don Judges has been doing an outstanding job as interim vice provost for Global Campus, and I am excited that he will continue his efforts in the permanent role,” said Jim Coleman, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

“The role of online education is becoming an increasingly vital part of the University of Arkansas’ ability to reach and teach people all across our state and beyond,” Coleman said. “Additionally, under Don’s leadership, Global Campus is becoming an even more important innovator in adopting technology to improve course design and student learning for both online and in-person formats. I expect that Don will continue to do an excellent job ensuring that Global Campus makes significant contributions to several of the University of Arkansas’ guiding priorities.”

Over the past year, Global Campus performance metrics show a positive trajectory, including increases in online enrollments, development of new online courses and programs, non-credit workforce education offerings, support for U of A faculty, and revenues generated for the general fund and academic colleges.

“I am so proud to be part of a phenomenal team that continues to climb in all major areas,” Judges said. “And I’m excited about what we will achieve in the next year to support the campus in its efforts to keep pace with student expectations and needs.”

The Global Campus’ Fayetteville office expanded its range of services during the past year to begin reaching all instructional modes, including face-to-face. It supports the use of learning technology, instructional design and innovative teaching strategies that give faculty and students flexible, academically robust learning options.

The Global Campus’ office in Rogers provides non-credit workforce and continuing education programs developed through collaboration with U of A faculty, industry, organizations and government agencies. This work helps people further their careers and helps Arkansas fill skills gaps.
Judges first connected with the Global Campus in 2013, when the School of Law initiated an online track of its master of laws degree program in agricultural and food law. Judges continued to serve as an adviser to the Global Campus until he was appointed interim associate vice provost for distance education in 2015.

“I think that’s why I am such a big proponent for academic colleges to use Global Campus services,” Judges said. “I know how Global Campus helped me and my school when we needed it.”
Judges earned his juris doctorate from the University of Maryland in 1983 and his doctorate in psychology from the University of Tulsa in 1999. He held the E.J. Ball Professor of Law chair from 2005 to 2017 and the Ben J. Altheimer Professor of Legal Advocacy chair from 2000 to 2005.
About the Global Campus: The Global Campus supports U of A colleges and schools in the development and delivery of online, distance and workforce education programs and courses. It provides instructional design services, technology services and assistance with marketing, recruiting and strategic academic development.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Request to our Alumni

Please remember to send us information about your accomplishments, including new positions, publications, litigation news, and other professional achievements. We are always proud to acknowledge your accomplishments.

Susan Schneider,
William H. Enfield Professor of Law
Director, LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Alumni News: Jennie Zwaggerman Publication

I was delighted to discover the following thought-provoking article written by our alumna, Jennie ZwaggermanAgriculture, Intellectual Property, and Feeding the World in the 21st Century is an essay is based on the remarks that Jennie provided for the Morning Keynote Address at the 2016 Texas A&M Law Review Fall Symposium.

Jennie serves as the Director of the Career Development Center and Associate Director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University Law School. She also teaches a variety of food and agricultural law classes at the law school and serves as the President-Elect of the American Agricultural Law Association.  The abstract and citation to the article are embedded below.

Agriculture, Intellectual Property, and Feeding the World in the 21st Century
4 Tex. A&M L. Rev. 315 (2017)
Food. Agriculture. Technology. There is no doubt that when it comes to these areas of law, regulation, policy, and practice, there is much that binds them, and yet they are also very divisive. A quick scan of almost any major and reputable news source will provide articles on a daily basis that pertain to not just one, but often all three of these topics. They are independent industries — science, agricultural production, and food manufacturing, but the truth is that in today’s world, they intersect more than ever. Consumer understanding of each of these industries is far from complete, and that can lead to many issues when it comes to the adoption of technology, agricultural production, and consumer food choices. When you incorporate government regulation, international relations, and infrastructure challenges, it becomes clear that technology alone will not feed the world. Feeding the world requires looking at issues beyond production and manufacturing, and into the challenges and issues that limit access to food and inputs. This article provides the author’s perspective on a more holistic overview of the issues involving agriculture and technology that can both impede and support attempts to successfully feed the world. We cannot simply rely on technology to reach our goal of feeding the world.
Congratulations, Jennie. We are always proud of your work.

Susan Schneider
William H. Enfield Professor of Law
Director, LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law

Friday, June 23, 2017

Alumni News: Blake Rollins named Director of the Office of External and Intergovernmental Affairs, USDA

Alumni Update: Blake Rollins names Director of the Office of External and Intergovernmental Affairs, USDA

Blake was recently appointed by USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to serve as Director of the Office of External and Intergovernmental Affairs. In this new position, Blake is the Department's liaison to state and local officials, including Governors and State Agriculture Commissioners, and external stakeholders.

Prior to this position, Blake served as Legislative Assistant/Counsel to Senator John Boozman, advising the senator on agriculture and tax policies and as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

Congratulations Blake!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Alumni News: Secretary Perdue Names Anne Hazlett to Lead Rural Development at USDA

Secretary Perdue Names Anne Hazlett to Lead Rural Development at USDA

We are pleased to share news that LL.M. Alumna Anne Hazlett (2001) has been named Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at USDA. The press release announcing her position is included below. Congratulations Anne!

LL.M. Alumna Anne Hazlett
(Washington, DC, June 12, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has named Anne Hazlett, Chief Counsel to the Majority on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, to lead the Rural Development agencies at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Hazlett, whose title will be Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, will oversee the Rural Utilities Service, the Rural Business Service, and the Rural Housing Service within USDA and report directly to the secretary.  The announcement is in keeping with a realignment of USDA announced by Perdue in May and represents an elevation of Rural Development, which had previously been in the portfolio of an undersecretary, who in turn reported to the deputy secretary of agriculture.
“With this addition to USDA Rural Development, rural America will have a seat at the main table and have walk-in privileges with the secretary on day one,” Perdue said.  “With her background of advising the Senate committee overseeing agricultural and rural development issues, Anne Hazlett comes with a depth of knowledge and experience perfectly suited to her role in helping to restore prosperity to rural America.  We are excited to have her aboard.”
“Small towns and the people who call them home have been my life’s passion,” Hazlett said.  “It is with great enthusiasm and a deep commitment to rural America that I am eager to get to work at USDA and be a partner in crafting solutions to the significant challenges these communities face from economic opportunity to infrastructure, quality housing, and addiction.”
An Indiana native, Hazlett has worked on agriculture and rural issues for over fifteen years.  Working in both the U.S. House and Senate, Hazlett has most recently served as Republican Chief Counsel for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry where she was an advisor on many issues impacting rural America from Farm Bill programs to broadband and child nutrition.  In addition to her public service in Washington, Hazlett was the Director of Agriculture for her home state where she managed the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and was an advisor to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels on agriculture and rural issues.  Further, she served as Chief of Staff to Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman where she assisted in the creation of the state’s first Office of Community and Rural Affairs, an agency devoted to providing financial and technical assistance to rural communities, and supervised management of the state’s housing finance, energy, and tourism agencies.  Outside of public service, Hazlett was in private law practice where she advised clients on agriculture and environmental regulatory matters.
Hazlett is a graduate of Kansas State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural communications.  In addition, she holds a law degree from Indiana University and a masters degree in agricultural law from the University of Arkansas.
The increased emphasis on Rural Development at USDA is in recognition of the economic difficulties facing rural communities, which have lagged behind other parts of the country in prosperity.  Fighting poverty wherever it exists is a challenge facing this country, as nearly 85 percent of America's persistently impoverished counties are in rural areas.  Rural childhood poverty rates are at their highest point since 1986, affecting one in four rural children, with deep poverty among children being more prevalent in rural areas (12.2 percent) than in urban areas (9.2 percent).
It is important to note that the systems, functions, and internal structure of the Rural Development agencies will not be changing.  Removing the additional bureaucratic layer of an undersecretary will allow Hazlett as Assistant to the Secretary to obtain “go” or “no go” decisions directly from Perdue without having to have ideas or suggestions passed through channels in the office.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Alumni News: Kael Bowling joins Friday Eldredge & Clark LLP

Alumni Update: Kaelin Bowling

Congratulations to LL.M. Candidate Kael Bowling who joins Friday, Eldredge, & Clark as an associate in the firm’s Commercial Litigation and Regulation Practice Group. Kael's experience and background are highlighted on the firms website.

Kael completed his LL.M coursework in May of 2017. As a Candidate in the program, Kael served as a Graduate Assistant, teaching courses in Legal Research & Writing as part of the JD curriculum. He was also selected to participate as a Walmart Food Safety & Health extern during the fall semester serving under Senior Manager of Food Labeling, Amy White, also an alumna of the program as noted in an earlier blog post.

Congratulations Kael!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Professor Kelley teaches at Sytkyvkar State University in Syktyvkar in Russia's Komi Republic

Professor Christopher Kelley taught a two-day negotiation skills course on May 29 and 30, 2017, at Sytkyvkar State University in Syktyvkar in Russia's Komi Republic.  His students were fourth- and fifth-year language students, variously studying English, German, and French.

Professor Kelley was hosted at Sytkyvkar State University by Professor Yury Dubro.  Professor Dubro was at the University of Arkansas in the fall 2016 semester on Fulbright faculty development grant.

Professor Kelley's negotiation skills course is designed to introduce its participants to basic negotiation principles, including pre-negotiation planning using the concepts of best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA), reservation point (RP), and zone of possible agreement (ZOPA).  During most of the course, however, the participants negotiate hypothetical negotiation exercises, thus giving the course a "learning by doing" quality. 
Professor Kelley has taught negotiations variously at universities, law firms, and NGOs in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, and Kazakhstan.  He also has taught Transnational Negotiation and Interviewing, Counseling, and Negotiation at the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Lauren Manning Co-Founding New Chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition in Arkansas

LL.M. Alumna Lauren Manning is having a busy summer! In addition to writing, teaching, developing courses and continuing her work at Ozark Pasture Beef, Lauren reports that she is the process of co-founding a chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition in Arkansas. 

One of the first activities of the chapter will be a one day FSMA Produce Safety Rule training workshop on August 10 at the Pauline Whitaker livestock arena here in Fayetteville. It is only $20 and attendees will be FSMA certified by the end of the workshop. View the flyer and agenda below.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Join the LL.M. Class - Fall 2017

The LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law continues to accept applications for Fall 2017, with a few places remaining in our face-to-face and distance tracks, for full or part-time enrollment. With an expanded curriculum and a deep network of alumni mentors to help with job placement, our Program prepares attorneys for a career in agricultural and food law.

We have several Graduate Assistantships (GAs) to award to full time LL.M. candidates in our face-to-face program. These GAs provide for a full tuition waiver, health insurance (60% paid), and $5,000 stipend per semester in exchange for part-time work designed to build their professional reputation. GAs are still able to participate as full-time LL.M. candidates, with the degree anticipated in May 2018.

While awards may shift to accommodate the expertise of applicants, GA placements include:

  • An opportunity to advise and mentor the editorial boards for the three JD student-edited Journals, providing special counsel to the Journal of Food Law & Policy (law review or journal experience and an interest in scholarship required);
  • An opportunity to work with a small number Accelerated JD candidates who are attorneys licensed in foreign jurisdictions, assisting them with their transition to a U.S. law school setting
  • An opportunity to assist with a new pro bono initiative at the law school.

We are located in Fayetteville, Arkansas, a progressive college-town frequently recognized as one of the best places to live in the U.S. Most of our LL.M. students are from out-of-state; our alumni are from 40 different states and 18 different countries.

Interested attorneys and graduating 3Ls should complete the LL.M. application and indicate their interest in one or more of the GA opportunities. Contact us for additional information at LLM@uark.edu or call (479) 575-3706.

It is always the goal of the LL.M. Program to attract candidates that reflect the rich racial, cultural, ethnic, and geographic diversity of our global food system.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 Commencement-Congratulations Candidates!

The University of Arkansas School of Law Commencement Ceremony on Saturday May 20th marked the end of the 2016-2017 year. We congratulate our candidates on a successful year and look forward to expanding our list of distinguished Alumni to include all of our candidates -whether they participated with us in Fayetteville, or by distance from across the country. Attending the commencement ceremony this year and pictured below were LL.M. Candidates Kelly Nuckolls, Jessica Fritts, Jacob Kerksieck, and Catherine Baker. Congratulations Candidates!
From left, LL.M. Candidates Kelly Nuckolls, Jessica Fritts, Jacob Kerksieck, and Catherine Baker

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Summer Enrollment-It's not too late!

It's not too late to join us for one or more of our summer courses. Attorneys, Graduate Students & Professionals in related fields are welcome! Our first offering begins May 30th and combines flexible online lessons with weekly discussions each Wednesday from 6-7:20pm CST. Contact us at llm@uark.edu for more information and to enroll.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Congratulations to Brenda Hall-Busch: Publisher's Award Recipient

Denis Stearns taught our Spring 2017 Food Safety Litigation class, and as he and Bill Marler have done in the past, the students were asked to write an essay for their final exam.  This is a great example of how we try to couple our LL.M. educational work with practical skill and resume-building activities.

The best essay in the class was selected for publication in the daily online newspaper, Food Safety News, sponsored by Marler Clark.

We are delighted to announce that Brenda Hall-Busch was selected for this honor, and her article, One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison was published yesterday in Food Safety News. It was also reprinted in Food Industry Magazine.

Brenda is a part-time LL.M. candidate, taking her classes by distance and participating in class by video conference. Brenda resides and practices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received her B.A degree from Barnard College and her J.D. degree from New York Law School. We are delighted to have her in the LL.M. Program with us.

Our appreciation is extended to Denis for delivering a great class to our students this Spring, and to Denis and Bill for their years of support to our Program. Many students have benefited from their classes and learned not only food law, but were inspired by the dedication that these attorneys have to their clients and to food safety. We could not ask for better role models.

Congratulations, Brenda!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Alum Lauren Handel Named in Top Twenty Women Faculty of 2016

We were delighted to see our alumna Lauren Handel recognized for her dedication to sharing food law & policy expertise with the bar, selecting her as one of the Top Twenty Women Faculty of 2016.

Lawline just announced the winners and explained that their "content team dug deep into 2016 data, including the top courses and our most successful faculty. In particular, the team focused on identifying the top women faculty who, through their powerful CLE programs, influenced and inspired thousands of attorneys across the country."

The listing is published on the Above the Law legal blog.

Here is a reprint of the description they provided for Lauren's selection:

Lauren Handel (Partner, Handel Food Law)
In addition to her law degree, Lauren Handel also holds an LL.M. in Agricultural and Food Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law.  This no doubt has helped her build her specialized practice, through which she counsels and represents food, farming and alcoholic beverage businesses. Lauren is the author of A Practitioner’s Guide to Defending “Natural” Food Labeling Litigation, published in the Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture & Natural Resources Law, as well as a chapter on Urban Agricultural Nuisances and State Right to Farm Laws published by the American Bar Association in the book Urban Agriculture: Policy, Law, Strategy, and Implementation. 
Lauren’s CLE course, Food Labeling and Marketing Litigation Risks, provides an overview of food labeling regulation, the causes of action asserted by consumers and competitors, key defenses, and the types of labeling and marketing claims that plaintiffs have targeted in lawsuits. Lawline members call this a “balanced and fair presentation” and one that is “very informative” to attorneys as both practitioners and consumers. It’s the kind of course that gives “exactly the sorts of information” you’re “hoping would be presented” in a way that provides a solid “basic understanding of the topic,” should an attorney “ever wish to pursue it.”

Attorneys are wise to listen closely to Lauren's instruction.  Just last month, she won a multi-million dollar case for her food law client client.  Congratulation, Lauren. We are so proud of the work you do.

Friday, April 21, 2017

John Koller, Chief of the Dispute Resolution for PACA to visit LL.M. Program

On Tuesday, April 25th John Koller, Chief of the Dispute Resolution Branch (DRB) under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) will discuss how attorneys can provide effective legal counsel to clients in the produce industry as well as answering questions about the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, USDA's dispute resolution program, and his 32 years of experience in the agency. 

This presentation is part of our Regulated Markets in Agriculture course taught by Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Nathan Rosenberg.

John Koller serves as Chief of the Dispute Resolution Branch (DRB) under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).  John’s office works to educate stakeholders that buy and sell fruit and vegetables in interstate commerce on ways to successfully resolve and avoid contract disputes.  John has over 32 years of PACA experience.  In his early years with PACA, John was involved in resolving hundreds of informal complaints through various levels of mediation, conducting violation investigations, and bringing produce firms into compliance by obtaining a PACA license.   Before and while serving as Assistant Regional Director of a PACA Regional Office, he was involved in various high profile investigations touching on false accountings and failure to pay, PACA Trust violations, altered USDA inspections, bribery of USDA inspectors, unlawful employment, misbranding, and pursuing firms that operate without a valid PACA license.  John looks forward to continuing his rewarding experience with PACA and helping produce firms succeed in their business ventures.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Michael Roberts to visit LL.M. Program

On Tuesday, April 25th, LL.M. Alumnus and long time friend of the Program Michael T. Roberts will join Professor Satoko Kato during our Federal Regulation of Food Safety course as a special guest lecturer.

Michael T. Roberts, Executive Director,
Resnick Program for Food Law & Policy
Michael T. Roberts is the founding Executive Director of the newly established Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law. He is well versed in a broad range of legal and policy issues from farm to fork in local, national, and global food supply systems. He has recently authored the first major treatise on food law, titled, Food Law in the United States, published by Cambridge University Press. He is also co-editor of Food Law & Policy, a new casebook to be published by Wolters Kluwer. He has also written several other chapters and articles on food law topics. As we reported in a earlier blog post, Michael recently co-authored a White Paper that was recently released by The UCLA Resnick Program in Food Law &Policy, The Pursuit of Food Authenticity: Recommended Legal and Policy Strategies to Eradicate Economically Motivated Adulteration (Food Fraud). His 2016 China Food Law Update, co-authored by Chin-Fu Ling was published in the Fall 17 edition of the Journal of Food Law & Policy.

Mr. Roberts is actively involved in the development of food law and policy. He has guest lectured on food-law subjects at various law schools in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. He is a Research Fellow for Renmin University School of Law’s Center for Coordination and Innovation for Food Safety. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law for East China University of Science and Technology (Shanghai), where he lectures annually on food law topics. He also lectures frequently and is involved with the University of Tuscia, European Food Law Center (Viterbo, Italy). He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Michigan State University, where he teaches a distant education course on China food law. He serves on the advisory board for the World Food Law Institute and on the Editorial Board for MDPI Laws, an open access scholarly journal, which has addressed food law topics. Michael serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Academy of Food Law & Policy, a membership organization that serves as a forum for individuals and institutions involved in teaching and scholarship in the broad field of Food Law & Policy housed within the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Reece Franklin joins LL.M. Program Staff

Reece Franklin joins the LL.M. Program Staff as AV Distance Education Coordinator.

Please join me in welcoming Reece Franklin to the Law School and to the LL.M. Program. Reece will be serving as the AV Distance Education Coordinator, managing the technological aspects of the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law.
Reece brings some excellent experience having most recently served as Lead AV Technician at Presentation Services Audio Visual, a company that manages special events and conferences for major hotel chains in the North Miami area.

Reece graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ouachita Baptist University with a double major in Philosophy & Church Media Production Arts. He is also experienced in video production and editing.

 In addition to his work supporting the distance program, Reece will be assisting the program in the production of several marketing video's which we hope to release in early fall 17.

Reece and his wife, Anna Grace are relocating from North Miami, FL and look forward to being a bit closer to family and friends in Arkadelphia.

We're fortunate to have Reece join our team!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Legal Issues in Agricultural Land Tenure with Neil Hamilton

Professor Neil Hamilton returns to Fayetteville to teach a intensive short course on Agricultural Land Tenure

Last week, we were pleased to offer a new course in Agricultural Land Tenure developed and taught by Neil Hamilton, Emeritus Director of the Agricultural Law Center and Emeritus Professor of Law at Drake University Law School.

This intensive 2.5 day one credit course focuses on the role landownership and use plays in the operation of American agriculture. The course examines the history of federal land policy in the U.S. such as the Homestead Act and other land grants in forming our land ownership structure and will examine the current reality of land tenure in the U.S. , looking at who owns farmland and in what legal structures. 

Professor Hamilton is nationally recognized as a leader not only in agricultural law but sustainable agriculture. His current work focuses on the critical land tenure issues facing agriculture, and he designed a course for us on that topic. With the aging of American farmers and the amount of land in the control of non-farmers, who owns farmland and how it is farmed (in terms of sustainability) are big questions to address.

Our thanks to Professor Hamilton!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Michael Roberts and Resnick Program Release New Report

LL.M. Alumnus, Michael Roberts co-authored a White Paper that was recently released by The UCLA Resnick Program in Food Law &Policy, The Pursuit of Food Authenticity: Recommended Legal and Policy Strategies to Eradicate Economically Motivated Adulteration (Food Fraud).

Economically Motivated Adulteration (EMA), a form of food fraud has been in the media in recent years as unscrupulous food manufacturers are caught diluting their products, substituting inferior ingredients, omitting ingredients, and concealing their actions for economic gain. The White Paper notes that EMA often leads to food safety incidents and cheats consumers.
As with food law in general, the regulation of EMA can be convoluted, leading to weak enforcement by the government. Recognizing that the current political reality does not support new regulations, the paper recommends that the FDA enforce the existing statutory mandate against EMA for the benefit of consumers in a smart, efficient manner by setting enforcement priorities and by collaborating with science experts and the food industry. The paper also recommends that the food industry address food fraud by embracing the norm of food authenticity and establishing self-governance rules as it has done so with sustainability. Last, the paper proposes specific changes in litigation against food fraud.

Michael Roberts serves as the founding Executive Director of the Resnick Program. His co-author is Whitney Turk, a Research Fellow with the Program.

Special Note:  Michael will be joining us in the LL.M. Program at the end of the month to teach a class in the Federal Regulation of Food Safety course. It will be wonderful to have him back in Arkansas with us for a few days.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Nicole Civita presents at Just Food Forum

Since 2015, Harvard Law School has hosted the Just Food? conference bringing together food system workers, advocates, scholars, practitioners and other authorities to present on important developments in the Food system.

This year’s Just Food? conference focused on labor in the food system, exploring the issues most relevant to those who grow, harvest, prepare, and serve our food.

The Just Food? forum is a collaboration of the Harvard Food Literacy Project and Harvard Law School Food Law Society and is co-sponsored by our friends at the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School.

The one-day conference was packed with a series of excellent panelist, speakers, and presenters. Topics included agricultural worker rights, worker compensation in the restaurant industry, regulatory responses, and alternative ownership and operating models. Conference organizers hoped to shift attention toward a critical, but often overlooked, component of our food system: the  workers. "By amplifying the voices of those most embedded in our food system, we hope to educate participants, empower them to make positive change, and ultimately, work together to create a more just food system."

LL.M. Affiliate Professor Nicole Civita was invited to present a talk titled Ethics Over Exploitation: Moral Mapping of Food System Labor. A summary of the talk follows.

Conscious consumers in a market-based food movement seek to minimize the negative externalities of their food choices. But when we obtain our food through arm's length transactions, it is difficult to assess and avoid exploitation of people, places, animals, and commons. The Consumers, Certifications and Labels: Ethically Benchmarking Food Systems project is developing a comprehensive rating system for the ethics of food. This interactive session (led by a member of the project's Core Academic Team) explores the ethical issues associated with the labor and community components of the food system.

Nicole Civita is the Director of the Food Recovery Project and an Affiliated Professor with the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas. She is also Faculty and Assistant Director of the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems at Sterling College, where she organizes the School of the New American Farmstead. Using a multidisciplinary, solutions-oriented approach that pairs legal expertise with hands-on food craft, Nicole's scholarship and teaching focus on food conservation, justice, and resilience, planning for place-based and community-driven food systems, and the power and limits of a market-based food movement. She holds an LL.M. in agricultural and food law from the University of Arkansas School of Law, a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center, and an AB from Columbia University.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Allen Olson talks Agricltural Law on KUAF's Ozarks at Large podcast

Earlier this semester we blogged about long time friend and Alumnus Allen H. Olson returning to Fayetteville to teach a 3 day intensive course on Federal Farm Programs & Crop Insurance. While he was here, Professor Olson sat down with Kyle Kellams on Ozarks At Large to talk about Crop Insurance and what it means to practice Agricultural Law.

Listen to the full interview on the KUAF website.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Improving Our Food System, One Lawyer at a Time

Our vision in the Arkansas LL.M. Program has always been to bring people together.  Farm and food; rural and urban. East, west, and in between.  Most of our classes also include international perspectives - this year we have students from Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

If we talk to one another, we can usually find common ground and develop a better understanding of our own views as well as others.

What we teach is the law.  You need to know all sides of it if you want to be good at practicing it.

Our LL.M. classes provide the opportunity to explore the great diversity of food and agricultural issues -  to discuss, debate, and learn together about our food system.

Imagine a class where students from Texas get to discuss agricultural law and learn along with students from Oregon and New York City. Where students with a family tradition of farming can debate issues involving our food system with urban foodies. We bring together diverse voices united by their interest in our food system, from farm to fork.

I offer these thoughts because of the fond memories I have of a recent class (2011) that touched on all of these issues and perhaps best explains who we are.  One member of the class, Ben Thomas, was from Lubbock, Texas. After graduating from the LL.M. Program, Ben went to D.C. to work for the Senate Agriculture Committee and then served at USDA. He was recently appointed Commissioner of Agriculture in Montana.

The embedded video about Ben is what brought this all to mind.

Close friends with Ben were classmates Cassie Peters from the Oregon and Claire Mitchell from New York City.

Urban agriculture and local food systems are two of Cassie's special areas of expertise. She worked in West Virginia at Downstream Strategies and later served as the publisher of Florida Food and Farm magazine in Florida. Cassie is now back in Oregon running Cassie Peters Legal + Consulting, LLC where she provides comprehensive, thorough, and personalized legal services in the Willamette Valley and throughout Oregon. Her specialty is Cannabis law.

Claire Mitchell moved from New York City to Fayetteville, Arkansas to attend the LL.M. Program. Food law was and is her passion. Although as her photo reflects, she also loves mountain climbing.  Claire worked with the food safety firm, Marler Clark after the LL.M. Program and is now an Associate Attorney with Stoel Rives, LLP in Seattle, Washington. She's a business transactional and regulatory compliance attorney for the food, beverage, and hospitality industries, advising clients on product labeling, marketing, advertising, and packaging, product safety compliance strategies, state and federal liquor licensing matters, and commercial contract negotiation.

Three talented lawyers from three corners of the country, united by their interest in learning more about food and agriculture. Lifetime friendships formed.

Rest assured that I could easily expand this blog by describing the other great attorneys in the class or write a similar blog on another class year.

Making our food system stronger and more resilient, one lawyer at a time. We salute our wonderful alumni!

Susan Schneider