Sturm College of Law News

Assistant Dean Dan Vigil comments on Pueblo conflict of interest case

December 17, 2009

Read the full article here.

Will 2010 bring a new era of leadership to Wall Street? Prof. Jay Brown weighs in

December 16, 2009

Read the full story HERE.

New Workplace Law certificate program announced

December 09, 2009

The DU Graduate Council has approved the University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s new certificate program in Workplace Law. Students who take a certain set of classes and experiences, and who maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above, will be eligible to receive the certificate, which will designate to potential employers that they have done so.

The DU Workplace Law program is one of the top labor and employment law programs in the country for JD students. Almost all existing programs are east of the Mississippi River, including Cornell, Michigan State, University of Minnesota, Chicago-Kent, Wayne State, and St. Louis. DU Law has the only comprehensive labor and employment law program in the Rocky Mountain Region and the Western United States, and one of the top programs in the country based on the number of dedicated employment and labor law faculty.

Workplace law has been a strongly growing legal field in the last two decades. The erosion of the common law employment-at-will doctrine has led to an explosion of employment litigation in recent years. The amendment of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in 1991 to include jury trial rights and the expansion of available remedies, including compensator)’ and punitive damages has increased the number of cases alleging invidious discrimination by employers. In addition, passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008) and passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 have also increased the demand for legal services in this field.

The emergence of an alternative labor union institution to the AFL-CIO, “Change to Win,” and the group of unions comprising it including the Service Employees International Union led by Andy Stern has the potential to revitalize the labor union Movement and challenge traditional structures of the law in the labor/management field. The American Bar Association Journal recently (Aug. 2009) tabbed labor law as one of five growth fields in the current economy. In Colorado, traditional labor is also surging. The Governor signed an Executive Order in November 2007 allowing state employees to join unions and collectively bargain.

Workplace law is front and center in the minds of businesses. A recent article in the Corporate Legal Times, surveying in house counsel, showed a majority of responding attorneys listing labor and employment issues as their number one source of liability exposure. At this time, workplace law cases represent one of the largest segments of the courts’ civil dockets. In Colorado, a number of labor initiatives were slated for the November 2008 ballot, including one for “just cause” discharge in private employment in Colorado.

An increasing number of students have indicated a strong interest in learning about and practicing in the area of workplace law. This is likely a result of increased career opportunities in this field, as well as the fact that workplace law is a uniquely accessible field (since most students have been employees and a number have been managers or employers). In fall 2006, DU law students formed a chapter of the Plaintiffs Employment Law Association (PELA), which has since been transformed into the Student Employment Law Association (ELA). The group serves DU students with an interest in labor and employment law, organizing programs that educate students about the practical and intellectual aspects of the field.

The new certificate is an important piece in DU’s Workplace Law program, and we believe it will be a helpful tool both for student recruiting and for job placement.

This is the second such certificate program that the law school has had approved. Last year, Prof. Ved Nanda led the way in getting approval for a certificate in International Law. Thanks go to Professor Roberto Corrada for making the Workplace Law certificate offering a reality.

Visit the Workplace Law Website.

Prof. Laura Rovner addresses isolation at Supermax prisons

December 07, 2009

Read the full story HERE.

Former FEMA Director Michael Brown to teach Patriot Act Course at DU Law

December 07, 2009

Read the full story HERE.

Prof. Ved Nanda weighs in on Obama’s visit with Indian Prime Minister

December 02, 2009

Click HERE for the full story.

Applications Now Being Accepted for: Erik B. Bluemel International Environmental Law Scholar 2010-11

December 01, 2009

Click HERE for additional information.

DU Law Bar Pass Rate Hits an All Time High of 91% & Ranks 53rd in Super Lawyer Graduates

November 20, 2009

Upon Further Review: DU Bar Passage Hits Its Highest Rate In Modern Times

Leaders at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law were beyond pleased when the initial results of the July 2009 Bar Exam passage rates were released in October.

And then, those results got better, moving higher when appeals of those who just missed passage were complete. In the final tally, released Nov. 17, DU’s passage rate hit 91 percent, the highest DU passage rate in modern times. The new passage rate should be posted on the Colorado Supreme Court’s Web site soon.

For a program that saw a passage rate dip below 60 percent just a few years ago in a February exam, the rate completes a turnaround that interim Dean Martin Katz believes is just the beginning.

“We’ve gotten good news followed by better news,” Katz says. “The entire faculty has taken the bar passage rate quite seriously and recognized that we wanted to do something about it. There is a renewed emphasis on taking steps to improve.”

In addition to the success of DU’s newest lawyers, the graduating class of 2009, the law school is relishing another dose of good news. The national magazine Super Lawyers’ newest law school rankings, issued this month, rank DU at number 53 in the country, and the highest ranked law school in Colorado. (See the rankings here.)

Katz says the high ranking is gratifying because Super Lawyers rates what’s really important: how successful DU law graduates are in their careers after school.

“We’re doing something right,” Katz says.

Achieving the new high in bar passage didn’t come by accident, he says. Katz and the faculty have worked for two years on building the passage rate, both by boosting admission standards to admit only students who have the best chance of succeeding in law school and passing the bar, but also by creating an entire program dedicated to passage.

Lecturer Scott Johns is director of the DU Bar Success Program. He says that while students are challenged throughout their years to learn their craft, they are also provided with intensive counseling and bar passage programs after they walk across the stage and accept a diploma.

Students are encouraged to devote the two months between graduation and the July bar exam to study and test preparation. Off campus, they are encouraged to avoid full-time work and dedicate themselves to study. And on campus, faculty conduct classes and lectures multiple times each week, followed by mock exams, writing assignments and personal coaching and reviews of student writing.

“A lot of it is building their confidence,” Johns says. “Students learn to think, ‘I can solve problems. I’ve got a good strategy for solving them and a good strategy for writing them down.’

DU Law student takes home Best Oral Advocate award in National Moot Court Competition

November 19, 2009

Team Captain Nicholas Mahrt and Colleen Kelley, both 3Ls, and Rob Palmer and Kelley Dziedzic, both 2Ls, competed in the inaugural Navy JAG Corps National Moot Court Competition at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida on November 12-14. The competition involved appellate advocacy in military justice and constitutional law in front of judges that included the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the highest military law court in the United States. Our students competed against teams from Harvard University, Yale University, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, Duke, Georgetown and George Washington University.

The DU Law team argued in three separate opportunities on day one in the preliminary round, and despite an outstanding performance, was not amongst the eight quarterfinalists (23 teams argued on day one). Nevertheless, Nicholas Mahrt received the award for Best Oral Advocate, presented by Deputy Judge Advocate General Rear Admiral Nanette DeRenzi, the second-highest ranking Naval Officer in the Navy JAG Corps.

Congratulations to the Moot Court team and their coach, Christopher Jung!

DU Law’s Environmental Clinic assists with suit protecting Valley Forge deer

November 16, 2009

Click HERE for the full story.

See story from DU Today.

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