Q-and-A: Catherine Smith takes a close look at the ruling in the same-sex marriage case

July 01, 2015

Interviewed for the University of Denver Magazine, Catherine Smith, professor of law and Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity and Inclusiveness at Denver Law, offers her analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision in the landmark same-sex marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges. Click here for the Q-and-A session.

Historic SCOTUS decision establishing right to same-sex marriage cites brief by Catherine Smith

June 26, 2015

The historic decision establishing that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage, announced by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, 2015, cites an amicus brief submitted by Denver Law professor Catherine Smith to support the proposition that “[m]arriage also affords the permanency and stability important to children’s best interests.” (Obergefell v Hodges, 2015, at page 15). Professor Smith, who also serves DU’s Sturm College of Law as Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity and Inclusiveness, co-authored the brief with legal scholars Lauren Fontana, Susannah Pollvogt and Tanya Washington. Their brief states that Supreme Court precedent “unequivocally establish[es] that states may not punish children based on matters beyond their control.” And “state marriage bans inevitably and necessarily perform exactly this impermissible function because they deprive children of same-sex couples legal, economic and social benefits associated with the institution of marriage.”

Denver Law Offers Diversity Fellowship for Lawyering Process Teaching Position

June 19, 2015

The posting for the position described below is found on the DU jobsite here.

NYTimes Room For Debate on “How Fluid is Racial Identity?” features Nancy Leong

June 17, 2015

Our society, writes Denver Law associate professor Nancy Leong, “values racial identities differently in different circumstances.” Leong joins a group of academics and commentators discussing issues presented by the example of Rachel Dolezal, enmeshed in a controversy about her racial identity. Professor Leong concludes that, “So long as different racial identities have different values, the racially fluid will have an incentive to present themselves in the way most favorable under the circumstances.”

In the same forum, Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Kierscht Professor of Law at the University of Iowa and a recent speaker at Denver Law, writes about the social construction of race. “Like race, racial identity can be fluid,” she explains. “How one perceives her racial identity can shift with experience and time, and not simply for those who are multiracial. These shifts in racial identity can end in categories that our society, which insists on the rigidity of race, has not even yet defined.” But, she continues, “the social, political and economic meanings of race, or rather belonging to particular racial groups, have not been fluid.” They run so deeply that “[m]ore than 50 years ago, Congress enacted the most comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation in history, the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Half a century later in 2015, the same gaps in racial inequality remain or have grown deeper.”

See the discussion in its entirety here.

Chancellor Chopp reports on the “State of Inclusive Excellence at the University of Denver”

June 08, 2015

DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp issued an update today on the university’s efforts during the past several years to achieve greater diversity and make DU a more inclusive environment. “Building a stronger culture of inclusive excellence at the University of Denver is a shared vision and a shared responsibility,” wrote Chancellor Chopp. “As we build upon the progress others have helped us to achieve, we must also recognize that there will always be more to do—and that we must continue to advocate for and create positive change.” Her update lists and links to reports and statements tracing steps taken and recommendations and commitments made in 2014 and 2015 and includes the announcements that Dr. Liliana Rodriguez has been appointed the new Vice Chancellor for Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence and that Dr. Frank Tuitt has been named Senior Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost on Diversity and Inclusion.

June 2015 Edition of IACA Newsletter

June 04, 2015

Link (PDF) »

Legal Aid Jobs Await Law School Graduates

June 02, 2015

Please click the link below for an interesting article about legal aid jobs.

More Info »

LSAC rates Denver Law First Place in the Diversity Matters Awards

May 30, 2015

Denver Law took first place in the 2015 Diversity Matters competition sponsored by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). Yvonne Cherena-Pacheco, Associate Director of Admissions, and Iain Davis, Assistant Dean of Admissions (see photo below), accepted the award at the LSAC Annual Meeting and Educational Conference, held May 27 to 30, 2015, in Coronado, California. The First Place Diversity Matters Award recognizes Denver Law’s pipeline efforts, which include the law school’s active partnership with the Denver Urban Debate League and the annual Denver Law Pipeline Conference. See more about the Diversity Matters Award here and here.

DU Law’s Jessup Team Performed Exceptionally at International Rounds in D.C.

April 27, 2015


The University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s Jessup International Law Moot Court Team has just returned from the International Rounds of the competition in Washington, D.C., where 127 finalist teams competed for the Jessup Cup. Now in its 56th year, the Jessup competition is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from over 600 law schools from over 80 countries. The competition is a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice. This year’s issues dealt with legal questions mirroring those arising from the Crimean secession, as well as treaty interpretation. The team members are: J. Matt Thornton (Captain, 3L), Alex Jennings (3L), Maral Shoaei (2L), and Philip Nickerson (2L).


The DU Jessup Team performed extremely well, advancing out of the preliminary rounds for the first time in six years. Only the top 32 seated teams advanced and of those 32, the team was ranked in 8th place overall and was undefeated in the preliminary rounds. Only 5 United States teams advanced out of the preliminary rounds this year. Alex Jennings placed as the 28th best oralist and Philip Nickerson placed 86th, out of over 500 oralists. At the Go Nationals Dress Ball (a costume party where teams dress in something related to their home country), the team members went as miners and were the hit of the party. The team is coached by Denver Law alumna and adjunct professor, Megan Matthews (JD’11), with valuable assistance from Coach Emeritus John Powell (JD’88) and alumna Molly McNab (JD’11).


Restricted Access for Final Exams Period

April 24, 2015

From April 28 – May 15, 2015, access to the library is restricted to DU Law students, faculty and staff and those with legitimate legal research needs. You will need to swipe your DU identification card in the card reader at the front door if you want to enter the library during restricted hours. If you forget your card or the card reader does not accept it, please knock on the door so that a library employee can assist you. For more information, visit the Library Hours page.

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