Should doctors be asked to report to health insurers when patients aren’t following their treatment plans? Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine – the top medical journal in the world – TU College of Law Associate Professor Matt Lamkin addresses workplace “wellness” programs that tie the cost of employees’ insurance to their health behaviors. Under these insurance plans, employees with chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure can see their insurance costs rise by thousands of dollars if they fail to follow their doctors’ instructions. Lamkin writes that although these programs seek to reduce health care costs by improving employees’ health – both of which are worthy goals – they can also come with hidden costs.
“Requiring physicians to report their patients’ noncompliance to insurers can threaten the trust that a productive doctor-patient relationship depends on,” Lamkin said. “If a patient knows that a negative report from her physician will cause her insurance costs to skyrocket, she may be less honest with her doctor about her health behaviors.”
Professor Lamkin joined The University of Tulsa College of Law in 2013. Prior to entering academia, he served as a policy advisor to the mayor of Indianapolis, an attorney at one of the world’s largest law firms and a fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Law and the Biosciences.
You can read the article, “Physician as Double Agent: Conflicting Duties Arising from Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs,” at the New England Journal of Medicine.
A team of 16 TU law and psychology students traveled to Karnes City, Texas, this summer to help provide legal support to women and children seeking asylum in the United States.
The Karnes City family detention center, which detains women and children seeking asylum in the U.S., can best be described as chaotic. A coordinated effort between GEO, the private prison company that owns the detention center, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the detention center at Karnes City is a stressful first step to seeking asylum.
The team from The University of Tulsa — clinical law Professor Mimi Marton; psychology Professor Elana Newman; psychology doctoral student Chelsea Shotwell Tabke; the legal fellow for the Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network, Robin Sherman; 16 law students; and three law students that were originally assigned as interpreters — went on the service-learning trip to provide legal assistance to the women detained there.
The Credible Fear Interview
In Karnes, the students prepared the female detainees for their Credible Fear Interview (CFI). A CFI is a first-screening to determine whether a detainee will be able to present a viable asylum case in U.S. immigration court. To pass the screening, a woman must prove that she has a credible fear of being sent back to her country. If she doesn’t pass the screening, she can have a CFI review by an immigration judge, but if she still doesn’t pass, then she is likely to be deported.
The CFI requires one to relive horrendous encounters. Clients hailed from all over the world but mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The students learned that one of the biggest factors driving these families out of their countries was incredible gang violence. “These are countries in which, as one woman from El Salvador told us, ‘The gangs control my country,’ and that is really true from the top government position down to the local police force,” said Marton. The other common problem they saw was women fleeing domestic violence, where they reported that there was no mechanism in their country through which they could seek protection from their abuser.
In addition to preparing clients for the CFI, the TU team also conducted intake interviews with women who had just arrived in Karnes, prepared advocacy briefs, searched for sponsors to whom the families could be released, and led informational sessions on the next steps after release from the detention center. By the end of their five days, they had served more than 200 detainees.
Dealing with the trauma
Interviewing traumatized clients can be hard and emotional work, which is why TU’s Psychology Department was included. Newman and Tabke were responsible for providing psychological support for both the clients and the TU team. Some of their everyday tasks included assisting the law students in conducting trauma-informed interviews, providing crisis intervention for distressed clients and helping mitigate the legal team’s vicarious traumatization. “Most lawyers are trained to work with clients who are more advantaged, and not who are in captivity,” said Newman on training the law students for the interviews.
Stephen Yoder, one of the law students who went on the trip, said the most challenging part of being in Karnes City was hearing the stories. “These women and children had faced a lot of abuse or a lot of legitimate fear in their home countries,” he said. “It really took a toll on us as a group.”
Marton points out that these experiences are necessary to teach the students the importance of pro bono legal work. “Oftentimes the idea of giving back gets lost in the busy day of a lawyer,” said Marton. “This project highlighted two issues: one, some of the massive injustices that we see in immigration law today; and two, the important role that lawyers can play in resolving those injustices.”
The importance of Karnes City experience
Trips like the one to Karnes City are invaluable to students.
“Something that I think maybe I didn’t do enough while I was in law school was actually getting real-life client interviewing experience,” Sherman said. Interviewing clients like the ones in the Karnes City family detention center gives students the perspective that these people are more than just legal cases. “If you don’t work with the non-legal issues that your client presents, you won’t be successful at the legal representation. It really is opening their eyes beyond the silo of being a lawyer and how important it is to gain other skills,” said Marton.
Law student Jose Gonzalez found something more than just legal experience. “I learned compassion and empathy. I learned that everyone is a real person and that they have real emotions, that they went through very, very hard things in their lives and they’re just trying to find some help,” he said.
TU will be returning to Karnes City Detention Center in the future under the program with RAICES. To learn more about TU Law’s Immigrant Rights Project, click here.
The latest issue of The Energy Law Journal (ELJ), produced by students at The University of Tulsa College of Law and members of The Energy Bar Association, is now available online. It includes an article written by a TU College of Law student Taylor Moult titled, “Haphazard Federal Rulemaking Meets Judicial Review: Ballast Water Regulation Receives No Deference to Agency Interpretation.”
ELJ is a peer-reviewed legal publication that provides insightful, thought-provoking, relevant commentary on current issues involving federal and state regulatory and energy topics. Contributors include leading practitioners, key officials of federal and state regulatory agencies, federal judges and scholars.
According to Robert Butkin, law professor and director of the Sustainable Energy and Resource Law (SERL) program at TU, recent topics have included national and international energy and environmental policy, legal and regulatory issues, the relationship between federal and state regulatory systems and new developments in the regulation of oil and gas production in oil-producing states.
Created by the Energy Bar Association (EBA) and first published in 1980, ELJ’s readership includes more than 2,000 subscribers, who are leading practitioners, policymakers and academics from all other the world. The journal is published twice a year.
In 1986, a partnership was established between ELJ’s governing board and The University of Tulsa College of Law under which TU law students edit the publication. This successful partnership, now spanning more than three decades, has enabled hundreds of TU Law students to work closely with leading practitioners and government officials in the energy industry and has exposed students to cutting-edge policy and legal issues.
The EBA board sets high standards for inclusion in the journal; and in the last five years, 13 TU law students have had articles selected for publication — a testament to their high-caliber work. The ELJ professional editors contribute to the students’ understanding by presenting at an annual workshop on energy law and policy for incoming ELJ members, and the professional board also provides funding to enable an ELJ student to serve as an intern on the staff of a congressman or senator who serves on an energy or environmental committee.
Students who have served on the journal have pursued successful career paths in the fields of energy and environmental law. Recent ELJ alumni include an attorney with a major independent oil company in Tulsa, the director of energy policy with the National Association of Manufacturers, an assistant attorney general of Oklahoma working in the fields of energy and public utility regulation, and a staff attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund. This academic year, 25 2L (second year) law students have elected to join the ELJ which is more than one-fourth of the entire class.
“It is an honor to have been selected as the school’s OBA Outstanding Student in 2018. The friends, colleagues and mentors I have gained at TU will have a lasting impact on my career and the rest of my life. I would not have achieved this honor without their help. It has always been the faculty at TU and the attention they give, aided by small class sizes, which have been instrumental to my education and success at the school.”
Summers is an articles research editor for the Tulsa Law Review and the research assistant to Professor Russell Christopher. His honors include: Creek Nation Higher Education Doctoral Grant; The Sovereignty Symposium’s Chief Justice John B. Doolin Writing Competition (3rd place); 1L Class Negotiation Competition (1st place); the Oklahoma Bar Foundation Fellow awards recipient; and CALI awards (the “CALI award” is given to the student with the highest grade in a class) in Contracts, Criminal Law, Basic Corporate Law and Legal Writing III.
During his time at TU, Summers has gained experience at multiple levels of the federal court system through externships for the Honorable Stephanie K. Seymour, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and the Honorable Gregory K. Frizzell, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
He also served as a summer associate at Davis Graham & Stubbs in Denver, Colorado; McAfee & Taft in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and GableGotwals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Prior to entering law school, Summers worked as a business analyst for Williams, Access Midstream and Chesapeake Midstream for five years.
Summers has authored a forthcoming article for the American Indian Law Journal titled “Rethinking the Federal Indian Status Test: A Look at the Supreme Court’s Classification of the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma.”
Summers grew up in Dallas, Texas, and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma, studying abroad at the Hashemite University in Zarqa, Jordan.
Outside of law school, Summers enjoys running, traveling and spending time with his fiancé, Amanda King, and golden-doodle, Ollie.
After graduation, Summers will serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Claire V. Eagan, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in Tulsa, Oklahoma for one year. Following that, Summers will serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Jacques L. Wiener, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, Louisiana for one year.
The University of Tulsa College of Law (TU Law) has recently been recognized by Above the Law as #37 in its 2018 Top Law School rankings. Above the Law’s rankings focus on student outcomes from the graduating class of 2017 including employment, costs and debt, and alumni satisfaction.
Above the Law limits their list to the top 50 law schools including those with quality employment prospects outside of their particular region as well as for students who do not graduate at the top of the class.
For the same year, TU Law is also ranked as #15 nationally and #1 in Oklahoma for 2017 graduate employment in full-time, long-term Bar License required and JD Advantage positions ten months after graduation.
Soon, she will release the first of its kind Resilience Strategy addressing health, justice and economic opportunity for a more equitable Tulsa. “I amplify people’s voices who are consistently silenced,” said Douglass. “I enjoy seeing other people’s light shine.”
With an undergraduate degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M University, Melissa Revell knew she wanted to pursue a career in the healthcare industry. Her studies led her to the field of law and to The University of Tulsa.
As a third year law student, Revell is worked in Washington, D.C. as a legal extern for both the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA).
“I spent the last semester of law school externing in Washington, D.C.”
“Working in Washington, D.C., the last semester of law school has rounded out my perspective on health care, by allowing me to see health care from the vantage point of a federal administrative agency,” said Revell. “I’m excited to take what I’ve learned from these experiences back to Tulsa where I’ll be working after graduation.”
At the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Revell consults with and drafts opinions for administrative law judges on Medicare disputes. At AHLA, she writes articles on recent healthcare decisions, legislation and regulatory changes for the agency’s newsletter sent to its 14,000 members.
“I’ve observed how healthcare attorneys provide objective counsel with compassion.”
In the summer of her second year, Revell interned at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, conducting legal research and advising counsel of issues of informed consent, patient discharge and advance directives. “My experience at St. Jude greatly impacted me, as I learned first-hand how their positions require the attorneys to provide objective counsel, while approaching delicate issues with compassion.”
Revell first became passionate about health care in her undergraduate years when she shadowed several physicians, operated a breast cancer research lab and volunteered in a prenatal clinic.
“Melissa came to me early with the goal of securing an opportunity in Washington, D.C. in health law. She used her network from her internship at St. Jude to focus in on where she wanted to be. We worked together on a plan within the externship program that allowed her to get course credit for two placements concurrently. Through her own tenacity, she is getting double experience and exposure in her preferred practice area,” said Lauren Donald, assistant dean for experiential learning at TU Law.
Revell is joining McAfee & Taft in Tulsa as a healthcare attorney.
During her time at TU Law, Revell was selected as a William W. Means Professionalism Endowed Scholar and a Steele Scholar. She served as an articles research editor of the Tulsa Law Review in 2017-18 and as an associate editor in 2016-17. She also earned four CALI Excellence for the Future awards in Legal Writing II, Legal Writing III, Constitutional Law II and Insurance Law.
“One of my favorite things about TU Law is the high caliber of the professors and how vested they are in their students. I love living in Tulsa, and I believe that Tulsa is a perfect size legal market for a new attorney to begin his or her career,” said Revell. After graduation, Revell is joining the healthcare practice group at McAfee & Taft in Tulsa.
For more information on externships at The University of Tulsa College of Law, visit us online.
Ido Kilovaty has been appointed to hold the Frederic Dorwart Endowed Assistant Professor of Law position at The University of Tulsa College of Law. He will teach cybersecurity law, internet law and international law.
Kilovaty comes to TU from Yale Law School where he was a Cyber Fellow for the Center for Global Legal Challenges, a Resident Fellow for the Information Society Project, and involved in co-teaching a course titled, “The Law & Technology of Cyber Conflict” offered both to law students and computer science majors.
“I am delighted to be joining The University of Tulsa College of Law,” said Kilovaty. “I am very much looking forward to be working with the outstanding faculty and students at Tulsa.”
At Yale Law, Kilovaty developed a project to connect the legal and technical aspects of cybersecurity.
At Yale Law School, Kilovaty developed a cross-disciplinary project on cybersecurity bringing together lawyers, policymakers and technology experts to engage in constructive discourse on the current state of affairs on cybersecurity law and policy. The project was a collaboration between Yale Law School and Yale University’s Department of Computer Science designed to bridge the gaps between the legal and technical aspects of cybersecurity.
Kilovaty earned his Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree from Georgetown University Law Center, his Master of Laws (LL.M.) from the University of California Berkeley School Of Law, and his Bachelor of Laws LL.B.) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Jan Schlichtmann is a nationally known environmental and civil justice lawyer whose work has inspired a book and movie. Schlichtmann, named one of “The Best Lawyers in America” via peer review process, is coming to The University of Tulsa as part of the Richard B. Risk Continuing Legal Education Practicum Series.
Schlichtmann graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1973 followed by a law degree from Cornell University in 1977. He began private practice in 1978 in Massachusetts and it did not take long for his work to be recognized.
Schlichtmann is most known for his work on the federal lawsuit Anderson v. Cryovac, Inc. where he represented eight families from Woburn, Massachusetts, in 1986. There were multiple instances of leukemia that affected each of the families and, after taking the case, Schlichtmann alleged from the evidence he found that the water was being contaminated by Cryovac, a subsidiary of W. R. Grace and Company; Beatrice Foods, the operator of a tannery; and UniFirst, a laundry service. UniFirst settled first and the money received from that company was put to the case against the other two. The jury found Beatrice not liable, but Schlichtmann received a settlement from Cryovac. This case and the events surrounding it were documented in the book A Civil Action written by Johnathan Harr in 1995. The book became a best seller, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction and was made into a 1998 movie starring John Travolta as Jan Schlichtmann.
Since the case in Woburn, Schlichtmann has won many other cases and is known for his work in civil justice, science and the environment. In the late 1990s, he represented 69 Toms River, New Jersey families, who claimed that their children had developed cancer from pollution by three companies. They reached a settlement in 2001. Schlichtmann was also a co-founder of the Legal Broadcast Network (LBN) in 2004. LBN helps bring attention to important issues of law through blogs and podcasts
Schlichtmann has also lectured at many law schools and conferences offering his insights from his experiences. Schlichtmann’s Tulsa lecture is titled, “Justice & The Lawyer – Lessons from the Environmental Wars.”
TU Law alumnus Dick Risk makes the TU Law CLE Practicum Series possible.
Prior to the lecture, there was a private reception and showing of A Civil Action at the Circle Cinema with lecture sponsor and TU law alumnus, Richard “Dick” Risk, in attendance. TU law students, alumni and lecture registrants were invited.
Risk graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1963 and decided to attend law school in 1998. After graduating in 2001 at age 60, he decided to start his own solo practice. He settled a large class action suit early in his law career and wanted to do something for TU so he used part of the settlement to create an endowment for the law school in 2011. “At then-Dean Janet Levit’s suggestion, we created a practicum series to help new graduates of the law school learn things about practicing law that the law school doesn’t teach,” said Risk.
These regular lectures are available to students, the Tulsa legal community and anyone with interest in law. Risk wanted to add special lecture to the series. He said, “I suggested to Dean Lyn Entzeroth that we should consider in addition to the regular noon series having a speaker who would be recognized by the general public to talk about the virtues of the legal profession and its positive impact on our society. I immediately thought of Jan Schlichtmann, and I’m thrilled he accepted my invitation for this event.” Risk had heard Schlichtmann speak at two different seminars and thought he was a powerful speaker and a delightful person. “Jan and I are both advocates for truth and justice, and I am honored that he will be the first evening lecture sponsored by the Risk Practicum Series,” said Risk.
There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Lorton Performance Center preceding Jan Schlichtmann’s lecture at 6 p.m. and the event is free and open to the public.
The University of Tulsa College of Law welcomes Warigia Bowman as a new assistant professor of law. She will teach administrative, energy and water law.
“We are honored and excited to add such an accomplished professor to our faculty,” said Lyn Entzeroth, dean of the college. “Her experiences and knowledge are unmatched, and our students will truly benefit.
Bowman’s interests include the effects of agriculture and climate change on water resources, as well as wind and solar energy. She has published several articles in the telecommunications area and has developed significant expertise with regard to censorship and hate speech.
Will teach administrative, energy and water law.
“I am incredibly pleased to be returning to the Southwest. I am proud to be a Westerner and thrilled to be joining the faculty at The University of Tulsa School of Law,” said Bowman. “This is a fascinating and dynamic period in water, energy and natural resources. The coming decades are likely to witness a revolution in the production, use, regulation, and legal regimes with regard to all kinds of energy and water and Oklahoma will be the epicenter of these changes.”
Earned a doctorate from Harvard and a J.D. from UT-Austin.
Bowman earned her doctorate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where she was the Hauser Fellow for Nonprofit Management and the Oppenheimer Scholar for African Studies. Bowman holds two degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and her Juris Doctor from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. She holds an undergraduate degree in history from Columbia College of Columbia University in New York, where she was the Harry S. Truman Scholar for Public Service.
Bowman joins TU Law from her position as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service where she taught Field Research Methods and Theory, and Practice of Global Development. Previously, she served as assistant professor of Public Policy at the University of Mississippi and visiting assistant professor at American University in Cairo, Egypt.
Before academia, Bowman was a trial attorney for the U.S. Dept. of Justice.
Before becoming an academic, Bowman served as an honors trial attorney in the environmental division of the U.S. Department of Justice during the Clinton Administration and as a briefing attorney for the Texas Supreme Court.
She has recently published articles in The Journal of Modern African Studies, The Innovation Journal and The William and Mary Policy Review. Additionally, she has been an invited lecturer at the University of Washington, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the National Intelligence University.
The University of Tulsa College of Law has been selected as one of the “Best Law School Buildings” by preLaw Magazine, March 2018. TU Law received an “A” for its campus facility, aesthetics, technology, library and amenities.
Tyler Roberts, editor of preLaw magazine noted in the article, “When applying to law school, it is important to consider the academic rigor of each school, its employment statistics and its bar-passage rate. But don’t forget that once law school starts, you could be spending 40-60 hours a week there. You may spend more time – at least awake time – there than you do at home. This is why preLaw magazine started its evaluations of law school buildings in 2014.”
TU Law building’s points-of-interest include:
MABEE LEGAL INFORMATION CENTER (LAW LIBRARY)
The Mabee Legal Information Center (MLIC)is a resource-rich and technologically advanced facility giving students and the Tulsa legal community access to the highest standard in legal study and research. The MLIC has a 400,000-volume collection and is staffed with three professional librarians. The building also provides space for three law journals, certificate programs and the school’s alumni office. Features include an electronic classroom, compact shelving, and digital access to electronic and alternative research sources. During regular business hours, students, faculty and staff may reach a reference librarian at 918- 631-2404 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TU LAW DIGITAL COMMONS
The University of Tulsa College of Law preserves and allows users to access the intellectual output of our community in the TU Law Digital Commons. This repository is a joint project of the Mabee Legal Information Center (MLIC) and the college’s Department of External Relations.
Classrooms are equipped with the latest technology including HD projection systems, touchscreen controls, computer and laptop connections (VGA and HOM1), integrated audio systems with wireless capabilities, Sympodiums, Blu-ray players, document cameras and built-in classroomcapture/recording systems. See the classrooms in our TU Law virtual tour. All classrooms are linked together with a full HD mesh that allows audio and video to be transmitted between rooms. The Pit, a student lounge, is equipped with a fully integrated audio system and a quad screen video wall used for digital signage applications and event broadcasts.
WM STUART PRICE AND MICHAEL C. TURPEN COURTROOM
The Price and Turpen Courtroom at TU Law is designed for the future of legal instruction. The courtroom boasts a state-of-the art sound system, broadcast and HD recording capabilities, HD video conferencing equipment and a wireless network. The courtroom is used for moot court competitions, classroom instruction and a number of symposia and lectures throughout the year.
BOESCHE LEGAL CLINIC
The Boesche Legal Clinic houses the Immigrant Rights Project, the Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network and the Lobeck Taylor Community Advocacy Clinic. The facility allows law students the opportunity to meet real clients and face challenges in a workplace setting. Students are able to put legal skills and classroom education to the test while under the close supervision of a staff attorney.
An elevator is located in the Mabee Legal Information Center (MLIC) to provide easy multilevel access to the various research facilities.
An elevator is also located in the College of Law lobby for access to the Pit and lower level of the MLIC.
All classrooms at the College of Law are accessible without having to use stairs.
All of the restrooms at the College of Law and in the MLIC are ADA compliant.
The restrooms in the MLIC and on the east side of College of Law are larger and more accommodating for persons with disabilities.
SUSTAINABLE FEATURES OF THE LAW SCHOOL BUILDING
The University of Tulsa Law building contains a number of modern sustainable features including:
Building automation for temperature and humidity controls
Occupancy sensors for lighting
Efficiency optimization of existing light fixtures in remodeled areas
Variable frequency drives on key air handlers and heating water pumps
Recycling stations for students, faculty and administrators
M. Dalton Downing, a third-year law student at The University of Tulsa College of Law, recently won first place in a national writing competition sponsored by the Association of Securities and Exchange Commission Alumni (ASECA).
His first-place finish came with a $5,000 prize and a trip to the ASECA Annual Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C. The annual dinner featured the most prominent members of the U.S. securities community, including current and former SEC Commissioners. Downing was honored alongside Alan L. Beller, former SEC Division Director of Corporate Finance, who is the 2018 William O. Douglas Award Recipient.
The title of his winning paper is Picket Signs Versus Pocket Books: Using U.S. Securities Law to Compel Corporate Lobbying Disclosure. The Tulsa Law Review originally published the article in Fall 2017, and it will be reprinted by ASECA later this year. You can read the article at this link.
Downing is currently writing two other articles, one addressing corporate political spending from a state law perspective and the other making the case for a self-funding SEC.
During his time at the University of Tulsa College of Law, Downing served as editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Law Review and recently externed with Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Stephanie K. Seymour. Following graduation this spring, he will join the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP.
Aisosa Arhunmwunde is a third-year law student at The University of Tulsa College of Law who is working towards a career in immigration law. Originally born in Nigeria, Arhunmwunde immigrated with her family to Canada where she earned her undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Manitoba.
After college, she decided to continue her education in law school. “I realized early that laws are dormant until a person is there to enforce and interpret them for people,” said Arhunmwunde. “It was then that I realized I wanted to be the voice of those who needed help with their legal rights.”
“TU Law allowed me to start school in the spring semester.”
Originally, Arhunmwunde looked at TU Law because she wanted to begin law school in the spring semester and TU offers spring, summer and fall starts. After she compared schools, she realized that TU’s robust experiential learning program, excellent academics, diverse student body and the affordable cost of obtaining a legal education was right for her.
Elizabeth McCormick, JD, associate dean of Experiential Learning and director of the Clinical Education Program at TU Law said, “Aisosa brings the unique and valuable perspective of her own experience as an immigrant and international student to her work with immigrant clients. She has seized on every available opportunity to gain first-hand experience in immigration law and in representing real clients. The combination of her intellect, passion and empathy will be a great benefit to her and her clients in the future.
After completing her internship, Arhunmwunde traveled to Ghana which was funded by TU Law’s Public Interest Board. Based in Accra, she conducted interviews with citizens on the street who were displaced in order to help them find living spaces. She was one of a cadre of students from around the world there to conduct human rights work in the field.
“Law school is challenging but worth it if you choose the right one for you.”
“It is truly rewarding to have a client whose case you’ve work on call and tell you their asylum is approved and they no longer fear going to jail. It is so worth it,” said Arhunmwunde. “Law school is challenging like everything worthwhile, but it is easier and more enjoyable if you choose a law school that gives you the tools and sets you up for success before you put a foot out of the door.” During her time at TU Law, Arhunmwunde served as the associate editor of the Energy Law Journal, secretary of the Black American Law Students Association and was a member of the Women’s Law Caucus, Board of Advocates and the West African Students Association.
The 26th annual competition included 200 law students from 45 schools and was hosted by the Arizona State University (ASU) Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law NALSA Chapter in Phoenix and the ASU Indian Legal Program.
200 students from 45 law schools competed
Each year, the moot court competition gives students from across the U.S. an opportunity to argue the most compelling issues in federal Indian law and tribal governance. Throughout the year, team conduct intensive legal research to write an appellate brief and prepare oral arguments.
“The College of Law is very proud of Manuel and Randall for achieving this honor in the national NALSA moot court competition,” said Lyn Entzeroth, dean of the TU College of Law. “Students in our Native American Law education program have the opportunity to study with our outstanding Indian Law faculty. Manuel and Randall are impressive students who represent our law school well.”
“I was shocked when our team was announced as the victors.”
Pallarez said, “As a two-year member of the National NALSA Moot Court Team, it was an honor and a privilege to represent TU Law in Phoenix. I am most thankful to our coaches, June Stanley and Brenda Christie (Tulsa-area attorneys). It was their belief in our abilities that made the victory possible. I will be the first to admit that I was shocked when our team was announced as the victors. The entire weekend felt like a dream as we kept advancing. The most satisfying part of the victory was being able to win with a great friend, two great coaches, and for the entire TU community. This will absolutely be a memory that I cherish for a long time.”
Young added, “Throughout the competition, every team we played would have made their law schools proud. Particularly in from the elite eight moving forward, we encountered insightful legal analysis and stellar advocacy. Competing with our colleagues from among 45 sister schools helped us hone our arguments going into the final round. That being said, as an alumnus of The University of Tulsa’s History and English programs, and now a 3L at the TU College of Law, I felt especially prepared to learn quickly, think of my feet and argue persuasively. In my mind, our accomplishment represents not only our personal dedication, but also the University’s mission to foster critical thinking and excellence.”
More than 30 Tulsa-area high school students participated in The University of Tulsa College of Law’s Judge Carlos Chappelle Minority Law Awareness Day (MLAD) in February 2018. Sponsored by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) as part of its Diversity Matters Initiative, the annual event provides students with the opportunity to meet with and learn from legal professionals and TU Law students.
“MLAD offers high school students a chance to experience what it is like to be on a law school campus, mingle with legal professionals, visit with a judge and tour a law firm,” said Eruore Oboh, admission counselor and diversity outreach coordinator for the TU College of Law. “The day is organized to showcase, in a fun and relaxing atmosphere, the journey of a legal professional from education all the way to judgeship. MLAD is also a chance for the law school to connect with local high school students and foster relationships so they may look to us for resources to begin and thrive in the field of law.”
Law Professor Johnny Parker began the day with opening remarks. The students were then treated to a presentation by TU Law alumna and immigration attorney with Fry & Elder, Lorena Rivas. Rivas is dedicated to helping minority teens overcome personal and societal obstacles that may get in the way of pursuing educational and employment goals. As a first-generation American whose parents emigrated from Mexico, Rivas has worked to serve and represent her Latino community and family as a community leader and role model.
Students also participated in a mock negotiation conducted by TU Law’s Black Law Student Association, toured the Tulsa County Courthouse meeting with Judge Sharon Holmes and shared lunch with legal professionals in TU’s Allen Chapman Student Union Great Hall.
Participating schools included Booker T. Washington High School, McLain High School for Science and Technology and Union High School.
2018 MLAD volunteers included law students and the following:
Andrea Kulsrud, manager of contract administration and negotiation, ONEOK
Christine Umeh, attorney, Still She Rises in Tulsa
Christy Caves, associate dean and director of TU Law’s Professional Development Dept.
Elizabeth McCormick, TU law professor and director of the Immigrant Rights Project
Jacqueline Higgs Caldwell, vice president for diversity and engagement and director of the TU Presidential Scholars Program
Kaushiki Chowdhury, attorney, Still She Rises in Tulsa
Kevinn Matthews, attorney for health and safety at WPX Energy
Mimi Marton, TU law professor and director of TU’s Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network
Rachel E. Gusman, junior partner with Graves McLain
Aisosa Arhunmwunde, 2L
Cordal Cephas, 2L
Courtney Nelbach, 3L
Janay Clougherty, 3L
Jazzmin Wilson, 2L
Jose Gonzalez, 2L
Lashandra Peoples-Johnson, 2L
MaryJoy Chuba, 1/2L
Pierre Robertson, 1L
Robert McClendon, 2L
Sofia Miranda, 1L
Stephanie Jackson, 3L
High School Counselors and Administrators:
Amber Meadors-Fouda, business and technology instructor, McLain High School
Amanda Howell, Union Career Connect
Angela Jones, counselor, Booker T. Washington High School
Darick C. Morton, dean of students, McLain High School
Shelley Kerr, counseling secretary, Booker T. Washington
The event is named for The Honorable Judge Carlos Chappelle who was the presiding judge for the 14th District Court in Tulsa County and was the first African American to hold this position.
TU Law shares LSAC’s commitment to increasing diversity in the legal profession by providing guidance and encouragement to high school students in hopes that they will consider attending law school and pursue a career in law.
TU Law’s next event is The Judge Carlos Chappelle Pathway to Law Academy scheduled for Friday, March 30, 2018.
TU Law student and Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA) Student of the Year Hope Forsyth is serving as an extern for Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Stephanie K. Seymour. Forsyth’s skill set along with support from TU Law professors and the professional development office helped her secure this coveted legal externship.
“After hearing a judge speak in my first year of law school, I knew I wanted to learn at the federal court level,” said Forsyth. “Internships and externships in chambers involve learning from judges and their staff, observing the court in action, analyzing both frequent and unusual legal issues, and drafting written work for the judge to consider including in orders and opinions. Working for judges in law school gives an incomparable lesson in how to be an effective advocate.”
Forsyth is externing at the appellate level in her final year of law school.
Now, Forsyth is a third-year student at The University of Tulsa College of Law. She is the executive editor of the Tulsa Law Review, a student member of the Council Oak/Johnson-Sontag Inn of Court and a member of Phi Delta Phi. She has earned 11 CALI Excellence for the Future Awards for the highest grade in various classes and the George and Jean Price Award for legal reasoning, research and writing.
In addition to her appellate externship with Senior Judge Stephanie K. Seymour, Forsyth has gained experience at multiple levels of the court system through internships with Chief Judge Gregory K. Frizzell, former Magistrate Judge T. Lane Wilson and Magistrate Judge Paul J. Cleary, all of the Northern District of Oklahoma.
Forsyth credits her professors at TU Law for providing a solid education, mentorship and individual attention to all students. “TU Law is a close-knit and mentoring community with world-class legal professors,” said Forsyth. “They’ve had a formative influence on my education.”
“TU Law is a close- knit and mentoring community.”
Forsyth grew up in Cushing, Oklahoma, where her father practices law. Outside of law school, Forsyth is an America’s Test Kitchen home recipe tester and a volunteer sacramental catechist at her Catholic parish.
After graduation, Forsyth will join GableGotwals in Tulsa as an associate attorney.
In 2018, The University of Tulsa College of Law has the largest number of externship placements in the school’s history. The school’s externship program allows students to be matched with attorneys and judges to obtain real-world, practical experience for academic credit.
“This is a record-setting semester for our externship program,” says Lauren Donald, assistant dean for experiential learning and TU Law 2007 alumna. “More than 30 percent of our law students are completing externships this year. Currently, we have students externing in Oklahoma and in cities across the U.S. including Denver, Dallas, Ft. Worth, New York City and Washington D.C.”
Legal externships provide the opportunity for students to move from thinking like lawyers in the classroom setting to operating like lawyers in practice settings. They also provide significant experience and knowledge in specialized areas of law including immigration, energy, environmental, corporate and judicial law.
Third-year law student, Preston Brasch, recently returned from an externship at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “While at Harvard, I met extensively with clients who had fled persecution. I spent much of my externship preparing their asylum claims, assisting with research, drafting court filings and securing expert testimony,” said Brasch.
“Learning about my clients’ lives was a humbling experience – I felt a sense of responsibility to serve them well, knowing how much trust they gave the clinic. In many cases, their lives depended on us effectively advocating on their behalf because if forced to return to their home countries, there was a great chance they would face serious harm,” said Brasch.
HRIC Managing Attorney Phil Torrey spoke very highly of his TU Law intern. “Brasch was more like a colleague than a student.” Sabi Ardalan, assistant director of the HRIC added, “We were very grateful to have Preston Brasch as a part of our legal clinic in the summer of 2017. He did incredible work researching and writing, meeting with clients and preparing case filings. TU Law clearly prepared him very well for this summer externship.”
To learn more about externships at TU law, visit us online. TU Law is rated a U.S. News and World Report Top 100 Law School and a preLaw Magazine Best Value Law School. For information on admissions, visit us online today.
Need previously clerked for U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Roberts and Alaska Superior Court Judge Vanessa White, and worked at the Alaska Attorney General’s Office in the Child Protection Section.
Need focuses her practice on municipal, Alaska Native, environmental and natural resources law representing business and individual clients as both plaintiff and defense.
She received her bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and her juris doctor from The University of Tulsa College of Law. She is a member of the Alaska Bar Association, American Bar Association and Anchorage Bar Association.
This article, written by Lauren Donald, assistant dean for experiential learning at TU, was first published in the Tulsa Business & Legal News.
The externship program at The University of Tulsa College of Law is one of the most robust programs of its kind, offering students an effective and comprehensive bridge to go from law student to lawyer.
TU Law’s proximity to the thriving, urban setting of the city and its engaged legal community ensure that externs have opportunities in a variety of exciting and relevant placements. In addition to local resources, students also take advantage of externships across the U.S. and abroad in government agencies, public interest organizations, courts, law firms and corporations.
Through externships, students build confidence in their ability to practice, feel the pleasure and challenge of work that matters, and find a path from lawyering experiences to a rewarding career.
Said Keaton Taylor, a second-year law student and extern with the Tulsa County Public Defender: “During (the law student-to-lawyer) transition, new skills become necessary for success; skills that can only be learned by doing. Externships are crucial to future lawyers. The externship program gives me the opportunity while still in school to begin navigating the new terrain of an attorney.”
Supervisors also find reward in helping lay a foundation for a student’s career. April Merrill, Legal Aid attorney for Medical-Legal Partnerships, says that through her practice students are exposed to real-world issues and sometimes of the darker side of life.
“This is often the first real-life experience the student has interacting with actual clients who are entrusting their problems to us,” she said.
Through these experiences, she hopes to instill in students a desire to serve low-income persons as these future lawyers move on in their careers.
Merrill has invested time as a supervisor in building the student experience.
“I strive to take the students from the legal theoretical framework to the practical, everyday practice of law,” she said. “As the students are allowed more client interaction and responsibility for drafting and research, I can see their confidence grow.
“Those ah-ha moments, as Oprah calls them, are the most rewarding. As a supervisor teaching a concept and to see it suddenly click, it’s really meaningful.”
Under the direction of engaged supervisors such as Merrill, students begin to identify their path and develop marketable skills.
“Law school is like an oyster producing pearls,” Taylor said. “For a pearl to hold value, it must be polished. Experiential learning increases my value as a pearl. I aspire to be the shiniest pearl on the market so I need to polish my skills as soon as possible. The externship program at TU allows me to do that.”
Oklahoma voters know that the time is right for criminal justice reform for our state, and they showed it by passing State Questions 780 and 781 by wide margins last November. Not all stakeholders were on board: Just before the questions took effect on July 1, some Sheriffs and District Attorneys raised concerns about rising county jail populations, since many low-level drug and property offenders are no longer eligible for terms in state prisons. While overcrowded jails are a real problem, the state can do much more to solve it by reforming bail practices than by undoing recent reforms.
Like state prison populations, both urban and rural local jail populations have dramatically increased to a point that is breaking our ability to operate them safely. Oklahoma County jail, for example, was originally designed to hold 1,200 inmates; its average daily population has reached twice that size in recent years. But the vast majority of jail inmates in Oklahoma County – about 80 percent – are being held pretrial, which means they haven’t yet been convicted of a crime but can’t afford bail to get out of jail before their case is resolved. Nationwide, about 9 in 10 pretrial inmates have a bail amount set but are unable to meet the financial burden to be released from jail.
Jurisdictions across the country have shown that we can reduce that number by implementing an evidence-based, pretrial release program that relies on individual risk assessments rather than money bail. Doing so at the state level would save counties huge amounts of money without risking public safety.
Pretrial detention doesn’t just contribute to jail overcrowding. It also creates big problems for defendants, their families, and taxpayers. It costs over $51 a day to house an inmate in jail. In many counties, this cost falls on the inmates themselves through jail fees — and if they can’t afford bail they aren’t likely to be able to pay off the fee debt, either. When those fees can’t be collected, the costs must be covered by city and county taxpayers. An extended pretrial stay in jail may also result in a defendant losing their job, losing their children to state custody, and being evicted from their home. That’s part of why defendants who are detained before trial are much more likely to plead guilty and take a plea bargain — whether or not they are actually guilty — to obtain faster release from incarceration.
We have better options to make this system more just and less expensive. Instead of using money to secure bail, courts should use the information available to them to determine who is at most risk to reoffend or fail to appear for their court date. Strong, empirically-based pretrial risk assessments have been developed and put into use federally and in several states. The Arnold Foundation’s Public Safety Assessment (PSA) is one risk assessment tool that estimates the likelihood that the defendant will commit a new crime, commit a new violent crime, or fail to appear for their court date. These policies save taxpayer dollars, improve public safety, and reduce unjust outcomes for low-income defendants.
For example, Allegheny County (PA) Jail saw a a 30 percent decrease in the number of defendants sent to jail after preliminary arraignment once they integrated a risk assessment tool into their bail setting process, among other reforms. Washington D.C. has gone even further by eliminating money bail in favor of pretrial release that may come with conditions like GPS monitoring, regular drug testing, and checking in at court by phone or in person. Over the last five years, 90 percent of those released under D.C’s system have remained arrest free before their cases were resolved.
“This creates a paradox for those sitting in jail: bond out and be required to hire an attorney who charges $350 per hour, or stay in jail and risk losing your job, home, and children, only to then feel pressured to take a plea deal for less time in incarceration.”
In the absence of these reforms, private bail bondsmen often play the role of facilitating release by paying off bail and supervising defendants in exchange for high interest charges on the bail amount. Proponents of the current money bail systemcontend that bail bondsmen save taxpayers money and do the job of making risk assessments in the interest of public safety. But bail bondsmen do not have a standardized, evidence-based system for determining who is a potential threat to public safety, and they do not consider the type of crime committed in their assessment of who they will bond out. They also don’t face a penalty if the defendant they bond out commits a new crime after release. These incentives mean that bondsmen are primarily concerned whether defendants are a flight risk and whether they will be able to pay off the interest, not whether they are likely to commit a new crime.
The second major issue is access to justice for low income defendants. Only those who cannot afford to hire an attorney are eligible for representation by a Public Defender. Under Oklahoma law, when a defendant posts bail it creates a “rebuttable presumption” that the defendant is not indigent, making it more difficult for them to be represented by a Public Defender. This creates a paradox for those sitting in jail: bond out and be required to hire an attorney who charges $350 per hour, or stay in jail and risk losing your job, home, and children, only to then feel pressured to take a plea deal for less time in incarceration.
Just this month, 67 former District Attorneys and Department of Justice officials from across the country – groups that are rarely outspoken proponents of reform – filed a brief detailing how money bail harms the criminal justice system and urging wider adoption of individual assessment of defendants. In Congress, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) showed the bipartisan support for bail reform with a bill that would provide grants to local justice systems that implement risk assessments. With criminal justice reform remaining at the center of attention in Oklahoma, the time is right for bail reform. We should not let State Questions 780 and 781 stand alone. We should build upon them with evidenced-based reforms.
This article was originally published August 16, 2017.
Hot off the presses – the first issue of volume 53 of the Tulsa Law Review has been released and is available online and in print. The publication features important legal scholarship including an article titled, Fighting Rape Culture with Noncorroboration Instructions by Tyler Buller, assistant attorney general, Iowa Department of Justice. The article catalogues the criminal justice system’s long history of discrimination against sexual assault victims and proposes an effective solution to dismantle barriers that currently prevent the successful prosecution of sex crimes.
The publication also features articles by TU Law students Dalton Downing and Randall Young. Downing’s article lays out the need for greater transparency in corporate lobbying expenditures, and Young’s article compares the Supreme Court’s opinion in Crawford v. Washington to the history of the right of confrontation.
Click here for full access to Tulsa Law Review, Vol. 53, Issue 1.
“I am proud to introduce the Tulsa Law Review’s inaugural issue of Volume 53, which builds on the rich tradition of publishing innovative and thought-provoking articles from legal scholars worldwide,” said M. Dalton Downing, editor-in-chief of the publication. “The articles in this edition address a broad range of prescient issues in our society across the spectrum of legal scholarship — from criminal law to international trade law to securities law.”
“This issue is the result not only of the wonderful work of our contributors, but also the tireless efforts of the Tulsa Law Review editorial staff, which includes more than forty outstanding second and third-year law students at the University of Tulsa College of Law,” Dalton said.
Tulsa Law Review, founded in 1964, is the oldest and largest student-run publication at The University of Tulsa College of Law. Publishing three to four issues each year, TLR receives more than 1,500 submissions annually and publishes a wide range of legal scholarship from professors, judges, practicing lawyers and renowned legal thinkers. The publication is indexed in LexisNexis, Westlaw and HeinOnline; and each issue is distributed nationally and abroad to law school libraries, private law firms, public legal organizations and individual subscribers.
The 2017-18 editorial board includes:
Editor in Chief: M. Dalton Downing
Executive Editor: Hope Forsyth
Notes & Comments Research Editor: Kymberli Heckenkemper
Production Editor: Chase Winterberg
Articles Research Editors: Amanda Gibson, Melissa Revell, Emalie Rott, Randall Young
Managing Editor: Alexander Lemke
Executive IT Editors: John Farley, Steve Pontius
Supervising Editors: Colin Byrne, Blair Hand, Vanessa Lock, Matt Primm, Trey Purdom, Alexandra Simmons
Staff Editors: Austin Hilterbran, Casey Johnson, Morgan Johnson, Caleb Jones, Mike Shouse
Associate Editors: Demi Allen, Alec Bracken, Cordal Cephas, Alexandra Dossman, Meghan Drake, Matt George, Joshua Hansen, Dallas Jones, Scott Major, Allison Martuch, Robert McClendon, Sarah McManes, Laurie Mehrwein, Madison Mosier, Lacy Pulliam, James Rayment, Violet Rush, Brent Smith, Clint Summers, Samantha Tober, Houston Wells