Sturm College of Law News

Dragon Boat Festival makes an example out of DU grad

July 21, 2009

Click HERE for the story.

Instructor Scott Johns weighs in on the stresses put on Southwest Airlines’ fleet

July 15, 2009

Instructor Scott Johns describes the rough treatment Southwest Airlines planes undergo with the airlines’ aggressive flight schedule, in the “Denver Post. Please Click Here for More Information

Prof. Kristian Miccio comments on a domestic violence case in this month’s O, the Oprah Magazine

July 15, 2009

Prof. Kristian Miccio is quoted in a story about a horrific domestic violence case in North Carolina in this months “O, the Oprah Magazine”:

MSLA Program Co-Sponsors the 2009 Futures Conference

July 08, 2009

The MSLA program co-sponsors the 2009 Futures Conference with the College of Law Practice Management September 24 – 26. International experts will interact with attendees regarding the future of the practice of law. Winners of the 5th Annual InnovAction Awards will present their law practice business innovations. Open to the public. Register online.

Bar Passage Update from Interim Dean Katz

July 07, 2009

Bar Passage Update from Interim Dean Katz

What we have done, and our goals and timetables

We have taken several steps at the College of Law to address the bar passage issue. What follow are some highlights that illustrate the immediate impact of our efforts, as well as steps that will have an impact in the future.

Some steps that appear to have had an immediate impact include:

  • Offering a Bar Success program. This free program is available to all SCOL graduates and is designed to supplement commercial bar courses. So far, the data suggests that this program helps our graduates pass the bar.
  • Identifying and guiding at-risk students. Any student whose law school GPA falls below 2.6 (placing them at risk for failing the bar), is limited in the courses they can take – effectively requiring them to take more bar courses. Such students must also participate in counseling designed to help them with bar passage.

Other steps that will have an impact in the longer term include:

  • Changing the profile of our entering class. Certain pre-admission indicators, specifically LSAT scores and undergraduate GPA, correlate with bar passage. Beginning with the class entering in the fall of 2008, we significantly reduced the number of students we admit whose pre-admission indicators suggest a high risk for bar failure. For example, our 2005 entering class – the class which just completed the July 2008 and February 2009 Bar Exams – included 60 students with pre-admission indicators that suggested a significant risk of bar failure. In comparison, our 2008 entering class – which will take the July 2011 exam – included only 18 students in the risk zone. And as of July 1, our 2009 entering class includes only 10 students in the risk zone.
  • Changing the law school GPA required for good standing. Law school GPA also correlates with bar passage. Beginning with the class that entered in the fall of 2008, we changed the GPA required to maintain good standing at the SCOL. Students whose GPA falls below a 2.0 are simply dismissed. Students whose GPA falls below a 2.3 are given one semester to raise their GPA to a 2.3; if they fail to do so, they are dismissed.

The effects of these latter steps will not likely be seen until the students in those classes take the bar, beginning in July 2011. However, there is cause for optimism. First, based solely on their pre-admission indicators, our statistical consultant predicts that the first class entering under our new program, which will take the bar in July 2011, should pass at a rate of 86%. Second, we are already doing better than our pre-admission indicators would predict. For example, based solely on their pre-admission indicators, our statistical consultant predicted that the class entering in 2005, with 60 risk zone students, would have a pass rate of 77%. Yet this class passed the July 2008 bar at a rate of 84%. In other words, the class entering in 2005 outperformed its expected pass rate by 7%.

Accordingly, between the improved entering class and the other strategies we have adopted, it appears realistic to believe that we can achieve both of our goals for bar passage – a first time pass rate of at least the state median on all exams and a first time pass rate of at least 90% for July exams – by July 2011.

I look forward to continuing to report progress on this important issue.

DU Law grad moonlights as soap opera star

July 02, 2009

Environmental Law Clinic Helps Win Protection for Endangered Species

June 25, 2009

“[This] was an awesome victory for Friends of Animals, the antelope and the clinic. Amelia Piggott ’09, Chris Hudson ’09 and Sarah April ’10 each put in hundreds of hours on this case over the past 9 months. This is truly their victory.” Prof. Mike Harris, director of the Environmental Law Clinic


Friends of Animals Win: African Antelope Shielded From Safari Club and Trophy Tourists

WASHINGTON D.C., June 23, 2009 —/WORLD-WIRE/— A decision has been issued in FRIENDS OF ANIMALS v. KEN SALAZAR (Civil Action 04-01660): The Interior Department’s US Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by issuing a blanket exemption allowing trophy hunting at U.S. ranches of endangered African antelopes.

Friends of Animals (“FoA”) and others sued the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of Interior on the grounds that the Service unlawfully exempted US-bred scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelles from prohibitions against harming, harassing, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, or collecting endangered species.

Section 10 of the ESA allows some uses for “scientific purposes or to enhance the propagation or survival of the affected species,” if the government publishes notice and allows for public comment for each “good faith” application for an exemption or permit at every stage of the proceeding. It does not provide a means to authorize the sport hunting of these animals.

The antelopes at issue are native to northern Africa. Today, addax and dama gazelles are nearly wiped out, due to hunting, war, desertification of habitat, human settlement and agribusiness. Scimitar-horned oryx are virtually extinct; most live on Texas hunting ranches, where they are bred. In 2005, following a Friends of Animals lawsuit, these antelopes were listed as endangered, but the government issued a rule creating a loophole for captive-bred antelope, claiming “captive breeding in the United States has contributed significantly to the conservation of these species.”

“This is disingenuous,” said Lee Hall, legal director for Friends of Animals, noting that the Service’s exemption follows similar fragmentations of ESA listings, resulting in removal of protections for gray wolves, Gunnison’s prairie dogs, and Queen Charlotte goshawks for political and commercial purposes.

Under Bush’s leadership, the federal government has eroded the Act’s protections to cater to local governments and special interests. In July 2008, for instance, the Service removed protections for Preble’s meadow jumping mice in Wyoming while keeping the Colorado populations on the endangered species list — so protections would end at the state line.

“The Obama administration must reject this fragmentation of the Endangered Species Act,” said Hall. “We’re glad the party’s over for ranches that allow hunters to kill antelopes, typically pimping the oryx for around $3500 each, and the gazelles and addax for more.”

The Endangered Species Act’s subsection 10©, said the court, shows that Congress intended an individualized permitting process, to provide meaningful public participation. Yet advocates have been kept from even finding out which ranches were operating under the loophole. The Safari Club, which intervened as a defendant, said advocates could find their information on the Internet.

But US District Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. wrote, “Blanket exemptions under regulations are anathema to this intention because they allow the FWS to permit a great number of exemptions at once without providing the detailed information to the public that would be required in an individualized analysis.”

Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral expressed appreciation for the outstanding work of the University of Denver Environmental Law Clinic. Feral added, “We are heartened by the message the federal court has sent this week against exploitation. Why would the government allow the hunting of these antelope any more than they’d allow the hunting of a chimpanzee?”

“We’d like the federal government to protect the animals currently in captivity, who number about 2000 or more, from harm at the hands of hunting enterprises.”

Priscilla Feral, President, Friends of Animals, Darien, Connecticut
Current tel: (at Primarily Primates sanctuary): 830.755.4616, or mobile: 203.219.0428. E-mail:

Lee Hall, Legal Director, Friends of Animals,
Tel: 610.964.0090. Email:

Mike Harris, Director of the Environmental Law Clinic,
University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Denver, Colorado
Tel: 303.871.6140, or mobile: 720.841.0400. Email:

Copyright © 2009, World-Wire. All rights reserved.
Issuers of news releases and not World-Wire are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
World-Wire is a resource provided by Environment News Service

Professor Kristian Miccio:  Recent Hate Crimes Interview

June 17, 2009

On June 9, Professor Miccio was interviewed on AM 760 concerning the shooting at the US Holocaust Museum and hate crimes in the US.

On May 28, Professor Miccio was quoted in an AP article carried in the Miami Herald, LA Times, NY Times and Washington Post.

Prof. Michael Sousa interviewed by Fox Business News on the GM Bankruptcy

June 02, 2009

Immediately after President Obama addressed the nation regarding General Motors filing for bankruptcy, Fox Business News interviewed DU Law Professor Michael Sousa. Professor Sousa, an expert on bankruptcy law, was asked for his thoughts on the filing. The video can be viewed here (search for “Sousa” using the video search form).

Denver Water Law Review Goes Paperless!

May 19, 2009

Congratulations to the University of Denver Water Law Review for becoming a partner in the ABA Best Practices for Office Paper Management program and also as a Law Office Climate Challenge Partner for its efforts and success in going paperless.

The Water Law Review has reduced its paper use dramatically by utilizing a paperless production editing process while maintaining the integrity of its sources.

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