Innovative and Outstanding Programs

The Association of American Law Schools shares examples of innovative and outstanding programs to foster ideas and showcase the diverse approaches to legal education at AALS Member Schools.
 

Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law

New Clinic Offers Legal Services to Entrepreneurs in Food and Beverage Industry
Pace Law has launched a new clinic that offers free legal services to small- and medium-sized farms, mission-oriented food and beverage entrepreneurs, and food justice non-profit organizations. A small group of second- and third-year students in the Food and Beverage Law Clinic attend a weekly seminar and complete projects that focus on transactional work, including business formation, contract negotiation, real estate transactions, and food safety and marketing regulations. The clinic is part of the Pace-NRDC Food Law initiative, a collaboration between the law school and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to expand the capacity of the legal community to help build sustainable and equitable regional food systems.

 

University of Baltimore School of Law

Law School Launches First Post-J.D. Certificate in Family Law

The University of Baltimore School of Law has established the nation’s first post-J.D. Certificate in Family Law. The curriculum, which offers a blend of theory and practice, seeks to prepare lawyers to handle not just the increasing volume of family law cases but also the mounting complexity of these cases, as well as the shift away from family law litigation toward alternative dispute resolution. The program is intended for new attorneys beginning to practice family law and for experienced attorneys who want to add family law expertise to their practice.

 

University of Pennsylvania School of Law

Joint Programs Provide Law Students with Perspectives to Effect Social Change

Penn Law students now have the option to pursue three unique joint-degree and certificate programs through the Penn School of Social Policy & Practice: JD/Master of Social Work, JD/MS in Social Policy, JD/MS in Nonprofit Leadership, and Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership. The joint-degree programs enhance students’ understanding of the intersection of law and social change. Students can apply their legal interests to address complex social problems and engage with social issues from a wide range of perspectives.

 

Albany Law School

Law Students Help Provide Legal Assistance to Rural Farmers

Albany Law School has developed a pilot program that brings legal services with a focus on business creation to rural communities in the state of New York. The Rural Law Initiative partners law students with rural lawyers and judges to learn about rural legal practice while providing educational programs and legal services to small and startup businesses. The pilot program aims to bridge the gap between the needs of businesses and legal service providers.

 

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Law Students Help Native American Tribes Draft Wills

Denver Law has launched a program to help Native American tribes draft free wills. The Tribal Wills Project gives students the opportunity to gain practice experience interviewing clients, reviewing documentation, and drafting the wills. Supervising volunteer attorneys review the wills and power of attorney documents before preparing them for signing. The program has helped over 75 Native American clients in Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Utah.

 

Seattle University School of Law

Law School Satellite Campus is First Law School Program in Alaska

Seattle U Law has opened its ABA-approved Alaska Satellite Campus in Anchorage, Alaska, making it the first law school in the state. It offers an Alaska-centered curriculum and experiential learning opportunities to students from any ABA accredited law school who may join the Alaska Summer and 3L Programs.

 

University of Colorado Law School

Law Students Help Tech Start-Ups Through Internship

Colorado Law has partnered with Bryan Cave LLP and tech company Fathym, Inc. for an internship program in which students who have completed the Tech Lawyer Accelerator Program, work with a start-up organization in its early stages. Students will help the start-up with affordable legal services while immersing them in technology law and practice.

 

The George Washington University Law School

Pre-Orientation Gives New Students a Look into Public Interest Work

The George Washington University Law School introduces new students to public interest and pro bono work through its pre-orientation program. The three-day program allows students a close look at these potential career choices, which often inspires 1L students to follow a career path in public interest or public service.

 

University of Michigan Law School

Michigan Law Creates Unemployment Insurance Clinic for 1L students

The Unemployment Insurance Clinic at Michigan Law allows 1L students to get first-hand experience working with social justice issues and to put what they learn in the classroom into practice. Second- and third-year students also have the opportunity to mentor students in the clinic and work on advanced oral and written advocacy.

 

Duke Law School

Duke Law Creates Dual Degree Program in Bioethics and Science Policy

Duke Law’s dual-degree JD/MA in Bioethics and Science Policy immerses students in the interrelationships of law, science, ethics, and policy. This unique program allows students to complete both degrees in three years, to work collaboratively and across disciplines on briefs that translate science and emerging technologies for the courts, and to work side-by-side with faculty members.

 

Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

Loyola Launches First Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Law Programs on West Coast

Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, has launched Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Law programs, the first of their kind on the West Coast. These programs allow students to interact with the advanced technological community surrounding them and provide experiential education. The interdisciplinary program includes classes taught at the Seaver College of Science and Engineering on the Silicon Beach campus of Loyola Marymount University.

 

Widener University Delaware Law School

New Program Supports Delaware Inventors

The Delaware Patent Pro Bono Program provides inventors in the state with free legal guidance throughout the patent application process. The program operates in cooperation with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and students can assist registered patent attorneys.

 

University of California, Berkeley School of Law

Death Penalty Clinic Recognized for Innovation

UC Berkeley Law’s Death Penalty Clinic has been named as one of the 15 most innovative law school clinics in the country by a national education magazine. Although located in California, the clinic focuses most of its work in the South where there is a chronic shortage of resources and qualified counsel. Students work on capital cases at all levels—pre-trial, direct appeal, and post-conviction.

 

University of Texas School of Law

Offering Legal Assistance to Austin’s Small Businesses and Startups

The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic helps small business owners tackle legal obstacles. Most recently, they have provided transactional law assistance to individuals in hoping to get their food truck businesses up and running and work through various regulations. Each semester, students work in teams under attorney supervision, assisting three or four clients who would otherwise be unable to afford legal assistance to start their businesses.

 

University of Akron School of Law

Serving Clients Facing Re-Entry from the Criminal Justice System

The Re-entry Clinic offers students exposure to public sector practice while allowing them to assist clients in applying for employment certificates, sealing convictions, seeking pardons, and expunging criminal records for victims of human trafficking.

 

Wayne State University Law School

Providing Legal Services to Patients with Cancer

Law students at the Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic assist low-income cancer patients in the Detroit metropolitan area. Partnering with the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center, the clinic offers students the opportunity to learn practical skills while serving the needs of patients receiving treatment at the center.

 

Whittier Law School

Partnering with a Legal Aid Society to Create an Incubator Program

The Whittier Legal Access Program links recent law graduates with clients in need of affordable legal services. The program was created with the non-profit Legal Aid Society of Orange County, which provides client referrals and shares space and infrastructure with the new attorneys. Both organizations provide mentoring to recent graduates on legal and business issues.

 

Baylor Law School

Baylor Law School’s Professional Development Program

Baylor Law’s professional development seminars impart the practical skills of being a lawyer, including dealing with clients, ethical issues, law firm economics, billing and time management so students learn acquire business acumen even as well as professionalism and are prepared to succeed from the outset of their careers.

 

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Cleveland-Marshall’s Convertible JD Option Removes some of the Risk Associated with Law School

A unique program at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law gives students the option of converting their first-year credits toward a Master’s of Legal Studies degree awarded with just one additional course. The risk-free option spares students the expense of pursuing three-year J.D. degrees and gives them knowledge valued in many other careers, including dealing with healthcare regulation, law enforcement, compliance and contracts.

 

Roger Williams University School of Law

Partnering with law firms and community groups to help Rhode Island’s poor

The Pro Bono Collaborative links Roger Williams University law students with mentors in law firms and community leaders to identify and address the unmet needs of Rhode Island’s poorest residents. With a score of projects ranging from helping victims of domestic violence to assistance for the homeless to providing expungement advice, the three-way partnership has been lauded by the Legal Services Corporation and held out as a national model by the Consortium for Access to Justice.

 

University of California, Hastings College of Law

Baking a Bigger Tech Pie: Startup Legal Garage Works to Serve Women and Minority Entrepreneurs

With support from major law firms and foundations, students at UC Hastings College of the Law are helping aspiring women and minority tech entrepreneurs get businesses started in the largely male-dominated Silicon Valley world. The Startup Legal Garage provides corporate and intellectual property advice to early-stage startups, with leading attorneys in the Bay Area supervising students’ pro bono work.

 

To submit a program for consideration for Innovative and Outstanding Programs, contact Jim Greif, Director of Communications at jgreif@aals.org.

Faculty Highlights

The Association of American Law Schools is proud to highlight the teaching, scholarship and innovation of law faculty at AALS Member Schools.
 

City University of New York School of Law

Professor Honored for Work to End Violence Against Women

CUNY School of Law Professor Julie Goldscheid is a recipient of the American Bar Association’s 20/20 Vision Award, honoring individuals who advance the work of the Violence Against Women Act and the Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence. Professor Goldscheid is a nationally recognized expert whose decades of work on behalf of survivors of gender violence has included arguing before the Supreme Court, directing programs, and authoring numerous articles and other publications to advance survivors’ rights and gender equality.

 

University of Texas School of Law

Bankruptcy Law Expert Named to Texas Academy of Distinguished Teachers

Mechele Dickerson, the Arthur L. Moller Chair in Bankruptcy Law and Practice at the University of Texas School of Law, has been honored with the distinction of being named to the 2015 University of Texas Academy of Distinguished Teachers. She is a nationally renowned expert in bankruptcy law and consumer debt and the first law school faculty member to be honored with this distinction in 13 years.

 

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Professor Recognized for Public Interest Advocacy

Loyola University Chicago School of Law Professor Mary Bird was named the 2015 recipient of the Chicago Bar Foundation’s Schrager Award for her work in public interest law and expanding the Loyola Street Law Program and other public interest initiatives. Professor Bird developed the Loyola Law Academy which allows underprivileged high school students to meet with law students and practitioners to learn more about careers in law.

 

Lewis & Clark Law School

Frasch Honored with Inaugural Excellence in Teaching Award by AALS Animal Law Section

Pamela Frasch, Assistant Dean, Animal Law Program and Executive Director, Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School has been announced as the inaugural recipient of the AALS Section on Animal Law award for teaching, scholarship, and service. Her expertise and compassion in animal law has inspired her students and fellow lawyers for the past 20 years.

 

Texas A&M University School of Law

Professor Honored by AALS Section on Minority Groups

The AALS Section on Minority Groups has selected Professor Sahar Aziz of Texas A&M University School of Law as the 2016 recipient of the Derrick A. Bell Award which honors junior faculty members who have made extraordinary contributions to legal education, the legal system, or social justice.

 

Boston College Law School

Panel Celebrates Professor’s New Book

Boston College Professor Mary Bilder’s book Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention was honored at a panel sponsored by the Cough center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy. The Bancroft Prize winning book reveals how James Madison extensively edited his notes from the 1787 Constitutional Convention and serves to make readers pause and think about if such a source can be considered impartial and accurate.

 

Widener University Delaware Law School

Professor Honored by Delaware State Bar Association for Role as Mentor

Widener University Delaware Law School Professor Dana Harrington Conner has been given the Delaware State Bar Association’s Distinguished Mentoring Award for her work mentoring and inspiring young Delaware lawyers. She also serves as the director of the Delaware Civil Law Clinic and co-director of the Family Health Law & Policy Institute at the school.

 

Temple University Beasley School of Law

Professor Receives Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award from AALS Section

Professor Marina Angel of Temple University Beasley School of Law has been chosen as the recipient of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award given by the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education, which honors individuals with a distinguished career of teaching, service, and scholarship for at least 20 years. Her impactful work focuses on women in legal education and the profession, violence against women, school shootings, and abused women who kill their abusers.

 

Georgia State University College of Law

Professor is Co-Author of Book Addressing Legal Education in a Changing World

Georgia State University College of Law clinical professor and director of experiential education Lisa Radtke Bliss co-edited Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World with three others. They saw the book as a follow up to 2007’s Best Practices in Legal Education, and a way to help educators design a curriculum that will address changes in legal education and better prepare future lawyers.

 

University of Michigan Law School

Michigan Law Professor Receives Student Award for Excellence in Teaching

Professor Julian Davis Mortenson was named the recipient of The University of Michigan Law School’s Law’s L. Hart Wright Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015. Chosen by students, Mortenson has been praised for his passion for Constitutional Law and the individualized attention he gives to his students.

 

University of North Dakota School of Law

North Dakota Law Professor Patti Alleva does “What the Best Law Professors Do”

Harvard University Press’s publication “What the Best Law Teachers Do” has recognized Professor Patti Alleva, University of North Dakota School of Law, as one of the nation’s best law professors in the country. The four-year study undertook to identify the methods, strategies, and personal traits of professors whose students achieve exceptional learning. Professor Alleva has been recognized for her exceptional talents and contributions to teaching.

 

Stanford Law School

Bringing Excellence to Research and Teaching

Previously an Assistant United States Attorney, Professor Sklansky now uses his talents to benefit scholarship and students at Stanford Law School. He is the author of the acclaimed evidence casebook, “Evidence: Cases, Commentary and Problems,” and has contributed to better understanding of a variety of topics relating to criminal justice. A committed teacher, Professor Sklansky has won campus-wide distinguished teaching awards.

 

University of Missouri School of Law

Producing Successful, Professional Litigators

With more than 25 years practice as a successful litigator, Chuck Henson, University of Missouri School of Law, now works tirelessly to prepare students to become effective advocates. His goal is helping ensure that future trial lawyers are effective, but always professional, in advancing the interests of their clients.

 

College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law

Inspiring Students to be Lawyers and Good Citizens

William & Mary Law’s 2015 graduates honored Professor Adam Gershowitz with the Walter L. Williams, Jr. Memorial Teaching Award, given each year to recognize outstanding law teaching. He is noted for his expertise in criminal justice and valuable scholarship. His amicus brief on behalf of criminal procedures has been cited by the Supreme Court in Riley v. California, a case forbidding warrantless cell phone searches.

 

Gonzaga University School of Law

American Legal System 101 for Spokane Refugees

When Gonzaga Law Professor Megan Ballard organized a half-day workshop for refugees on American law and justice, 180 newcomers turned out to hear from a judge, police officer, public defenders and a prosecutor (several of them Gonzaga graduates). Law students served as volunteers. One refugee said he had never before felt comfortable in the presence of the police. Helping “reduce their fears was quite powerful,” said Ballard. A refugee aid organization now plans to make the workshop an annual event.

 

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Experiential Learning Gives Denver Law Graduates an Edge

Denver Law professor Robert Corrada’s students learn labor law by forming a union and engaging in collective bargaining, and grapple in administrative law classes with how to regulate a real life Jurassic Park. Corrada’s innovative methods have helped make Denver Law an exemplar of experiential learning where students learn real world skills in simulations, legal clinics and externships as well as classrooms. He now holds the nation’s first legal “Modern Learning” chair.

 

University of Baltimore School of Law

Computer Mapping Provides Insights into Supreme Court Decisions and Dissent

Numerical scorecards on Supreme Court rulings abound, but University of Baltimore law professor Colin Starger has created a visual way to understand the high court’s decisions and dissents. His novel mapping software produces sophisticated, almost genealogical charts that plot relationships between majority, concurring and dissenting opinions extending over decades.

 

University of Utah Quinney College of Law

Role Model for Students and Advocate for Victims of Crime

When Paul Cassell teaches criminal law, procedure, and crime victims’ rights to University of Utah law students, he brings the perspective of one who has been a federal judge, prosecutor and advocate before the Supreme Court for child pornography victims. Once a clerk for Chief Justice Warren Burger, Cassell also has spoken out forcefully against cuts in funding for public defenders. His career stands as a model for those committed to the pursuit of justice.

 

St. Thomas University School of Law

Former Federal Prosecutor Leads Fight for Drug Sentencing Reforms

St. Thomas University law professor Mark Osler is among the country’s most successful advocates for criminal justice reform. He won the 2009 Supreme Court case that vindicated a judge’s refusal to impose a sentence for selling crack cocaine 100 times longer than for selling the drug in powder form. Author of Jesus on Death Row, he’s staged mock trials of Christ to dramatize opposition to the death penalty. Letters from prisoners inspired him to found the first law school clinic that works to obtain commutations or pardons for federal prisoners.

 

Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

Professor Alexandra Natapoff Delves Deep into Misdemeanors: “Petty is the New Big.”

With one sentence, Professor Alexandra Natapoff summarized the thesis of her newest scholarly pursuit: examining the often-underappreciated area of misdemeanor crimes and the consequences of their disproportionately low profile convictions as compared to felonies.

 

To submit a law teacher for consideration for Faculty Highlights, contact Jim Greif, Director of Communications at jgreif@aals.org.