digital initiatives logo library logo

First Monday Newsletter Archive

Please Note: these newsletters were harvested in 2015. Some functionality has been disabled. Links may be broken or out of date.
For current news, please visit First Monday.

College of Law

Administration Office: 208-885-2255
Dean’s Office: 208-885-4977
fax: 208-885-5709
Menard 101
711 S. Rayburn Drive

Mailing Address:
College of Law
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2321
Moscow, ID 83844-2321


phone: 208-364-4074
fax: 208-334-2176
322 E. Front St., Suite 590
Boise, ID 83702

First Monday - December 5, 2011

In this issue:

Business Law Scholar-Practitioner to Join Law Faculty in Moscow

The College of Law has completed the process to fill a new tenure-track faculty position in business and corporate law on the Moscow campus. Sarah C. Haan has accepted the College’s offer of appointment to the position, effective in the 2012-13 academic year. The appointment is subject to ratification by the University of Idaho Board of Regents. Ms. Haan received her baccalaureate degree in history from Yale College, where she received the Edwin W. Small Prize and the Clarence W. Mendell Prize. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from Columbia University, where she was Articles Editor of the Columbia Law Review and was named a James Kent Scholar and Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. She has engaged in the private practice of business law in New York City, has been a law teaching fellow at Columbia, and is currently teaching at Pace University Law School in White Plains, New York. Her scholarship agenda encompasses business law and international business law issues.

This new position at Moscow will allow the College of Law to deliver two of its large enrollment second-year courses, Business Associations and Professional Responsibility, in sections, thereby enhancing faculty-student engagement in the classroom. Sectioning also will give students greater flexibility in course scheduling, enabling them to take increased advantage of specialized, interdisciplinary, and clinical courses during their second and third years. In addition to the sectioned courses, Professor Haan will teach other business law-related offerings in the curriculum.

A tenure-track faculty appointment is the culmination of a national search, including review of resumes submitted to the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) as well as resumes submitted directly to the College of Law. Screening interviews with selected candidates, primarily at the annual AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference in Washington, D.C., are followed by a limited number of on-site interviews at the College of Law. An offer is made by the Dean if and when authorized by the law faculty. Further information about the faculty appointment process is available from Professor Elizabeth Brandt, Associate Dean for Faculty.

Permanent Building Fund Recommends Continued Investment in Idaho Law Learning Center

Pursuant to a recommendation by the Permanent Building Fund Advisory Council, chaired by Senator Denton Darrington, the Permanent Building Fund of the State of Idaho has submitted to the Governor a request for appropriation of $1.5 million for continued renovation of the historic old Ada County Courthouse, which has been designated by the Idaho Department of Administration as the future home of the Idaho Law Learning Center. The request, if and when approved by the Governor, would be part of the Executive Budget submitted to the 2012 session of the Idaho Legislature.

The Permanent Building Fund previously has sought and received from the Governor and the Legislature $2 million for renovation, plus approximately $176,000 for initial planning, of the Idaho Law Learning Center. Renovation currently is underway, as anyone driving on State Street, between the Capitol and the Idaho Supreme Court, has noticed recently. If the current $1.5 million request is fulfilled, a concluding installment of approximately $2 million is expected to be requested for the 2013 legislative session.

When renovation of the building’s infrastructure is completed, a set of tenant-specific improvements will be undertaken with more than $1 million in separate funds already raised by the College of Law. With these improvements the Idaho Law Learning Center, a collaborative undertaking of the Idaho Supreme Court and the University of Idaho, will be a distinctive venue for legal education, the Idaho State Law Library (now operated by the College of Law under agreement with the Supreme Court), continuing judicial education, and law-related civic education for the public. While awaiting completion of the renovation, the University of Idaho’s legal education program in Boise and the main collection of the State Law Library are located in the University of Idaho/Boise Center (“Water Center Building”) at Front and Broadway Streets. Visitors are welcome.

Further information about the Idaho Law Learning Center and current operations in the University of Idaho/Boise Center can be obtained from Lee Dillion, Associate Dean for Boise Programs.

Students Demonstrate Advocacy Skills in National Moot Court Regional Competition

On November 18-19, 2011, the College of Law hosted the Northwest (Region 13) Round of the National Moot Court Competition. The competing teams hailed from law schools in Montana, Oregon, and Washington in addition to Idaho. The University of Idaho fielded two teams, one from Moscow and the other from Boise. Both of the Idaho teams were competitive, advancing past the preliminary rounds to the quarterfinals, with the Boise team advancing again to the semifinals. The Moscow team of Doug Robertson, Jeff Slack, and Mike Kirkham was coached by faculty member Laurie O’Neal. The Boise team of Renee Karel, Ky Papke, and Nolan Sorenson was coached by volunteer Boise lawyers (and occasional adjunct instructors) Nels Mitchell and Tom McCabe. (The eventual winning team came from Seattle University, and the runner-up from Lewis & Clark. Each Idaho team had a close loss to the winning Seattle team.)

The competition was held in Boise at the (new) Ada County Courthouse, where the students and their coaches had the real-world experience of competing in functional courtrooms. The College of Law is grateful to all of the students, staff, and faculty, as well as volunteer members of the bench and bar, who organized, conducted, and judged the competition. Further information about competition is available from 3L student Lauren Vane, President of the Board of Student Advocates.

U.S. Department of Justice Re-Designates College of Law to Provide Education Loan Repayment Assistance

The University of Idaho is pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Justice has approved the continuation of the “John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program” and has (again) designated the College of Law to administer the program in Idaho. The namesake of the program is an aptly named former president of the National District Attorneys Association who was an ardent advocate for lawyers in public service. The federally funded program provides educational loan repayment assistance to selected, qualifying state and federal public defenders and state prosecutors. Applicants need not have graduated from the University of Idaho.

Applications for loan repayment assistance, and information about eligibility and selection, are available at the following website: The deadline for applications is December 31, 2011. Questions and requests for additional information may be directed to the program administrator, Helen Albertson, Associate Dean for Students and Administration.

“Where American Legal Education Is Headed … Idaho Is Already There.”

The Fall 2011 edition of the College of Law magazine, “Idaho Law,” has been mailed to alumni and friends. The magazine contains articles ranging from recent curriculum reforms to faculty and alumni profiles, news, and notes. Readers of “First Monday” who have not received a copy within the next week, and who would like to have a copy, are invited to contact the magazine’s editor, Terri Muse, Director of Development for the College of Law.

Some copies of the mailed magazine were found to contain publishing errors in the Dean’s Message. For clarification, the correct message is reproduced below:

Where American Legal Education Is Headed … Idaho Is Already There

“I skate to where I think the puck will be.” – Wayne Gretzsky

Strategic planners are fond of citing one of hockey’s greatest players for the profoundly simple proposition that the future belongs to those who do not merely follow a crowd. The future belongs to those who see where current events are leading, and who chart a course to be there when the events arrive. In legal education, this means identifying the trends in a world permanently transformed by the “Great Recession.”

Our profession is changing. Cost-conscious clients are decreasingly willing to support the expensive, layered hierarchies of practitioners in “big law” firms. In 2010 the percentage of American law school graduates hired by “big law” firms declined to 21% from 26% the previous year. At the same time, the percentage of graduates entering private firms or public sector offices with 2 to 11 lawyers rose from 32% in 2009 to 39% in 2010, and those entering private practice as solo practitioners rose from 3% to 6%. These jobs, long prevalent in Idaho, are not “consolation prizes” in the job market. Although they pay entry-level salaries lower than those still found in “big law” jobs, they are attractive to graduates who have attended cost-effective law schools like the University of Idaho, whose debts are manageable, and who choose this kind of practice because it brings deep satisfaction from serving communities and people of ordinary or modest means.

A “flatter” and more competitive environment is also producing a new kind of specialization in which firms are differentiated, not only by their subject-matter focus, but also by their position on a spectrum of relations with clients. At one end of the spectrum, high-volume routine work is becoming a “commodity” to be purchased as inexpensively as possible, especially by repeat “customers” in a legal services market. Firms at this end of the spectrum are providing unbundled legal services and struggling to cope with global outsourcing. At the other end of the spectrum, where a lawyer’s work requires nuanced expertise and experience-based judgment, and where close personal and professional relations have been carefully nurtured between lawyer and client, the practice is solidly grounded in the lawyer’s role as a problem solver and counselor. This is the role prominently played by Idaho lawyers -- especially those whose value to clients has been enhanced by combining legal expertise with interdisciplinary competencies in science, business, dispute resolution, and ability to work across cultures.

We further find that opportunities for holders of the J.D. degree are expanding beyond the traditional practice of law. As noted by the American Bar Foundation and the National Association of Legal Career Professionals (NALP) Foundation in a collaborative report, After the JD II: Second Results from a National Study of Legal Careers (2009), approximately 17% of lawyers three to eight years out of law school, work in government (including public administration and the military) rather than in the private practice of law. Another 6% work in various types of public interest organizations, and yet another 19% work in business (some in corporate counsel positions but others in executive and management jobs where the J.D. degree is preferred or advantageous rather than required). This leaves approximately 58% in private practice -- a figure that moved down to approximately 51% between 2008 and 2010. The other 49% hold jobs outside the traditional practice that often pay as much as, or more than, the average starting salaries for traditional law jobs. Such jobs are attractive to young lawyers with families who seek shorter work weeks and more regular hours. They are in no sense “second class” jobs.

These trends – the resurgence of small firms that cultivate personalized lawyer-client relationships, the demand for lawyers with problem-solving and cross-disciplinary competencies, and the expansion of jobs in allied professions -- all favor the recipients of an affordable legal education that gives them the economic flexibility and practice readiness to take advantage of emerging opportunities. The trends are converging at the University of Idaho.

In this issue of Idaho Law, you will read about our new curricular structure that combines disciplinary rigor with interdisciplinary breadth. You will learn about our professional skills instruction in Moscow and Boise, featuring innovative externships and a clinical education program ranked 13th for student opportunities among the nation’s 200 accredited law schools. And, you will sense our pride in the class of 2011, which devoted well over 11,000 hours to pro bono service and then proceeded to post a 90% first-time pass rate on the Idaho bar examination.

For these graduates and others to follow, the post-recession world will not be easy. But they are well prepared, having received their education at a place where the future is arriving.

Don Burnett
Dean and Foundation Professor of Law