2015 Denver Law Pipeline Conference features 24 speakers and over 100 attendees

March 28, 2015

The 2015 Denver Law Pipeline Conference, held Saturday, March 28, addressed topics of social justice lawyering, access to legal education, what law school is like, and the kind of work lawyers do. Attendees included over one hundred diverse students – undergraduate, high school and middle school – interested in law school and the legal profession. Highlights of this great day at Denver Law:

• To open the conference, Justin Hansford, Assistant Professor at St. Louis University School of Law, Kimberly Norwood, Professor at Washington University School of Law, and Carlton Waterhouse, Professor at Indiana University McKinney School of Law, spoke on the topic, “Lawyering for Social Justice: Race, Activism and the law on the Ground in Ferguson.”
• The 24 speakers at the 2015 Pipeline Conference included Denver Law students, faculty and staff; faculty members from five additional law schools; admissions officers and representatives from Denver Law, Colorado Law, Washburn Law and Wyoming Law; and four local attorneys.
• In addition to plenary sessions for all attendees, the conference included break-out sessions designed for undergraduate students and for high school/middle school students.
• Students registering to attend the conference came from 24 colleges and universities and 33 high school and middle schools.

DU Law’s VIS Team Wins Shanghai Moot Competition

March 19, 2015

shanghai moot competition

Spring 2015. The University of Denver Vis International Commercial Arbitration Team won the 5th Annual Moot Shanghai Competition in Shanghai, China. The Moot is a ramp-up tournament to competition in Hong Kong and Vienna. Thirty-two teams from twelve countries competed in four preliminary rounds followed by Quarter, Semi, and the Championship Round. Vis East team members Katie McAuley and Samantha Peaslee competed against the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) in the final round, winning the entire moot. Samantha Peaslee also received a Best Oralist Honorable Mention.

Pictured: Samantha Peaslee and Katie McAuley

Jessup Team Headed to Worlds for Third Consecutive Year!

March 17, 2015

Jessup team 2nd place


Spring 2015. Our Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Team competed at the Pacific Regional competition in Portland, Oregon. Defeating Hastings, the reigning five-year champion, our squad advanced to the Championship Round. For the 3rd consecutive year our team will be advancing to the international rounds (“Worlds”) in Washington D.C. Teammate Matt Thornton placed in the Top 7 Oralists. The team, pictured below, is comprised of J. Matt Thornton, Alex Jennings, Maral Shoaei, and Philip Nickerson. Coached by Megan Matthews, who is assisted by Molly McNab, and Coach Emeritus, John Powell.

Advocates Cup Champions!

March 16, 2015


advocates cup champs

March 2015. The Advocates Cup was successfully launched as the newest facet of DU Law’s Experiential Advantage Curriculum™. Pairing 1Ls with 2L & 3L partners, to help students be practice-ready graduates, The Advocacy Department proudly announces the following winners:


Arielle Hanser Steve Visioli Reid Dechant
Gavin Jacobs

The Professionalism Award

Elizabeth Austin
Alita King
Mackenzie Shields
John Steele

Best Overall Advocate
Dustin Heard

Best 1L Advocate
Tim Tarr

Both Best Advocate Winners received a free bar review course generously donated by Themis Bar Review

With Position Comes Power. Will You Use It? How?

March 13, 2015

The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, are exquisite tennis players. To the game they have brought strength and grace and resolve and toughness. They’ve succeeded and they’ve done it their way. So doing they taught tennis watchers a new model for success. They taught us that great players don’t have to emerge from the country club set or be the products of high-end tennis academies. The Williams sisters come from the playgrounds of Compton, California. They show us the best tennis player don’t require a cast of advisers and coaches and handlers that changes as often as the players’ court fashions. Venus and Serena had their father Richard and at some point they grew into self-reliant champions.

Their story is not entirely one of first impression in the game of tennis. Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe preceded them as African Americans who played the game at the highest level and won its greatest championships. Jimmy Connors honed his skills on the playgrounds of East St. Louis and was pushed forward, pressed and prodded really, by his mother. He too demonstrated fierceness. He too came into his own, depended on himself, and for a time stood at the very top of the tennis world.

Yet their difference is always how the tennis world sees the Williams sisters. Here’s an example: When they first began to stun the tennis world with strength and prowess, a plaint heard was that these two young women did not respect tennis tradition. They didn’t enter every tournament. They even skipped Grand Slam events! When they met in the finals of a tournament – and Venus and Serena were so good that this happened fairly often – the resulting match sometimes featured less than perfect tennis.

At the time I was an aging white dude learning the game. That was fun! I was soaking up the history of the game, reading about its greats as I tried with no great accomplishment to refine my strokes. And I bought into the criticism that, good as they were, Venus and Serena did not understand what playing the game meant and required. I was way wrong. Not for the first time and not for the last I adopted uncritically a perspective serving and preserving the powers-that-be, an understanding in line with the way things are.

Time has proven the Williams sisters to be wonderful exemplars of tennis excellence and true champions. They shaped careers that lasted longer than usual and included laudable success. This is especially true of Serena. She has spent time on the sidelines only to return to competition as strong as ever. Serena Williams turns 34 this year, well past the age when top players leave the court. She has won an incredible number of titles, including Grand Slams and Olympic gold medals, in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Today, Serena is ranked number one among all active women players. Any serious discussion of the greatest players ever includes Serena Williams.

Now to my point about position and power and the uses of power. The story dominating tennis this week is that Serena has announced she will end her fourteen-year boycott of the Indian Wells tournament. I won’t tell the story in depth, there are better sources and I hope you will read them. I like this telling by William C. Rhoden who writes as insightfully and incisively about sports and race as is possible. (I first typed “incitefully” above; though not a word dictionaries recognize, it describes how Rhoden writes, and I like it.)

Briefly, in 2001 at Indian Wells, Serena and Venus won through to the semifinals, where they were to meet. Venus, citing injury, did not play, moving Serena into the final match by default. Playing for the championship, Serena, along with Venus and their father who sat in the stands, was booed throughout the match by fans.

Serena won the championship match. Serena is tough. She and Venus announced they would never return to play again at Indian Wells, then and now a prominent early tournament on the women’s tennis circuit. Positioned as proven champions, the Williams sisters had the power to renounce their treatment at Indian Wells and choose not to grace that tournament with their talents again.

And now, in 2015, Serena has announced she will play at Indian Wells again. She’s ranked number one. She’s one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She has power. Her choice to return to play again at the place she renounced, as reported by Rhoden, is motivated by these times in which our nation is openly grappling with issues of race and power and politics: “I thought it was really good timing, not just for me but for Americans in general, to step up and say, ‘We as a people, we as Americans, we can do better, we can be better, we are better.’ ” Unstated by Serena is the opportunity she offers the fans at Indian Wells to cheer and applaud her with enthusiasm and respect as they should have done fourteen years ago.

Position brings power. Power can be used. This is how Serena Williams uses it. When you get power, how will you use it?

Randy Wagner (email me here)

Catherine Smith: Same sex marriage bans unconstitutionally harm children

March 09, 2015

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.”

So writes Denver Law’s Catherine Smith, who along with co-authors Lauren Fontana (Denver Law) Susannah Pollvogt (Washburn University School of Law) and Tanya Washington (Georgia State University College of Law) filed an Amicus Curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting petitioners in the marriage equality cases consolidated as Obergefell v. Hodges. Oral arguments will be heard by the Court on April 28, 2015.

Click here to read the entire brief.

Catherine Smith is Keynote Speaker at Diversity Pre-Law Conference, April 10-11, 2015

March 05, 2015


Shaquille Turner, 2L: “I am walking in my purpose”

March 04, 2015

Shaquille Turner, Denver Law 2L and President of the Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA), writes about his 2014 summer studies in Cape Town, South Africa in The Docket:

“This year has been the best year of my life thus far. I was able to visit the African continent—a desire I’ve had for a while that was fulfilled this past summer; I truly feel confident in my approach to law school, a confidence I thought I would not attain; and I am in the process of cultivating a beautiful relationship. Life is good. I am over half-way finished with law school and I feel that I am on the right path. I am walking in my purpose. There is a threefold challenge now: I must continue to glean every piece of wisdom I can from every experience law school provides; I must intentionally prepare for life after law school; and I must resist the temptation to succumb to discouragement and burnout.* If I can do these things, I know that I will be fine.”

The article is entitled Law Student Chronicles: Likhona Means Hope. Read the full text here.

Denver Law’s Jessup Team Advances to the International Rounds in D.C.

March 02, 2015

On the weekend of Feb. 27-March 1, 2015 Denver Law’s Jessup Moot Court Team headed to Portland, Oregon to compete in the Pacific Regional Rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Now in its 56th year, the Philip C. Jessup moot is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from over 550 law schools worldwide. The competition is a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. Denver Law Jessup team members J. Matt Thornton (Captain, 3L), Alex Jennings (3L), Maral Shoaei (2L) and Philip Nickerson (2L) placed second overall in the Pacific Regional Competition, thus earning the opportunity to advance to the White & Case International Rounds, which take place in Washington, D.C. in April. Denver Law’s team will compete against over 100 teams from 80+ countries for the Jessup Cup.

A special item of note from this year’s regional competition is that the Denver Law team was undefeated in the preliminary rounds, winning every judge in every oral argument. The team advanced to, and won, quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, defeating the Pacific Regional champions for the past five years, the University of California Hastings College of Law, in the semifinals. Twenty teams competed in the Pacific Regional competition. The team competed against seven teams and lost only in the final round against the University of Hawaii. Captain J. Matt Thornton received the award for 7th Best Oralist overall and the team’s written brief was awarded 6th place. The team was coached by Denver Law alumna and adjunct professor, Megan Matthews (JD’11), a former member of the Denver Law Jessup team. They also received valuable assistance from Coach Emeritus and Denver Law alumnus John Powell (JD’88) and alumna Molly McNab (JD’11). Congratulations to the Jessup team on a job well done!


Pictured from left: J. Matt Thornton (Captain, 3L), Maral Shoaei (2L), Coach Megan Matthews, Alex Jennings (3L) and Philip Nickerson (2L)

Ist Place!

February 25, 2015

1st PLACE!

Vis Moot Court Team


Spring 2015. The Denver Law Vis Team took 1st Place by winning the 9th Annual Michael Thorsnes International Arbitration Competition, hosted by the University of San Diego School of Law. The tournament was part of a series of moot court tournaments leading up to the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. Thirty teams competed, representing schools from around the country.

Denver Law was represented by Lorne Hiller, Mamie Ling, Cheyenne Moore and Giedre Stasiunaite. Mamie Ling and Giedre Stasiunaite arbitrated in the Championship Round. Giedre Stasuinaite was runner-up for Best Oralist.

Coren Hinkle

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