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July 24, 2018
"Law school can be intense, and it might feel lonely sometimes, but we are never alone."
By Yasmin Perez Ortiz
Colorado Women's College graduate and Vermont Law School student
There is no doubt that DU Women’s College gave me the tools I needed to succeed in law school. My first year in law school was like a never-ending roller-coaster trip. I am a rising 2L at Vermont Law School where I am pursuing a career in environmental law. One of the skills that I developed at DU Women’s College and that I have found useful is critical thinking. In law school, we learn how the law works and how to apply it but it takes critical thinking to question what has been established. Moving from Puerto Rico to Colorado, I learned to question the values, the moral, and the worldview of the people around me. I learned that questioning is a way of understanding that allows you to have effective communication with those who do not agree with you. At times, it is expected of us to accept something as “the truth.” But as Justice Sotomayor stated in her Trump v. Hawaii dissent: “Deference is different from unquestioning acceptance.” However, to be successful with these inquiries it is imperative to be respectful. It is only by respecting our peers' opinions that we can have constructive arguments promoting change. Moreover, showing respect to those with a different point of views means that they will respect you as well.
On September 2017, hurricane María hit Puerto Rico. I had no communication with my family, I felt alone, stressed out, and did not know if I was going to be able to finish my first semester. The experience showed me that little actions like acknowledging my peers, listening to them, and being respectful, contributed to developing a community of people that were there for me when I needed it the most. Without expecting it, in law school I found a new family. It was this sense of community that moved me to give back. Today, I served as Chair of the Latino Law Student Association in Vermont Law School, I am a Student Ambassador, and I am proud to say that I was elected to be a Staff Editor at the Vermont Environmental Journal of Law. Lastly, I have the honor to be a part of the Sonia and Celina Sotomayor Internship Program during the Summer of 2018.
Law school can be intense, and it might feel lonely sometimes, but we are never alone. If you made it to law school it means that there was a battery of people pushing you to be better, to become a version of yourself that you could never imagine. Often, I have the impostor’s syndrome and I wonder how I made it here. English is not my first language, I have experienced financial hardship, and my family is far from me. But the things that make me feel insecure about myself are also what motivates me to work harder. Growing up, I looked up to women in power but most of them did not look like me. Yesterday, I looked up to the eyes of Justice Sonia Sotomayor and thanked her for her kind words during the internship’s reception and for once again, making me feel like I was not alone. Yesterday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor told me “You are not alone mija.” I couldn't have a better way to finish my first year!
April 25, 2018
Speaking out in Denver about the Muslim travel ban case
President Trump’s travel ban, issued shortly after he took office, faced legal challenges from the start. Yesterday (4/24), the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the matter, as the Justices review “whether President Trump’s travel ban is a necessary step to protect the country from terrorism or an illegal and unconstitutional fulfillment of campaign promises to ban Muslim immigrants.” (See Washington Post article here) The case is heard on appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, where a three-judge panel had disallowed the ban from taking effect. In a similar case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, that court also struck down the ban. Last December, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the ban prior to consideration whether to let it stand or not.
Early this morning a small group of demonstrators took up position outside the Tenth Circuit U.S. Appeals Court building in downtown Denver, members standing behind banners and holding signs that urged the Court to strike down the ban, which bars travelers from six Muslim countries (Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad and Somalia) and North Korea and Venezuela.
Access a recording of the oral arguments here.
Expect a final ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in June.
April 12, 2018
Denver Law Professor Annecoos Wiersema visits International Law class at Metro State University
On Thursday, April 12, 2018 Denver Law Professor Annecoos Wiersema was a guest lecturer at Metro State University. Professor Wiersema met with students from Metro Professor Amy Eckert's International Law class, speaking about response to Syria, especially the use of force as outlined in doctrines of international law, in light of recent events there. A lively discussion ensued. Professor Eckert (third from the left above) is a Denver Law alumna. See below (November 3, 2017) for more news about Metro State University students.
April 4, 2018
Call for Papers: "The Trump Administration and the War on Diversity"
March 29, 2018
Promoting diversity in the legal profession: Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP establishes the Michael D. Nosler Scholarship
The Nosler Scholarship provides $10,000 toward law school tuition upon completion of a paid clerkship with Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie during the first semester of the recipient's second year of law school. Applications are due April 20, 2018. See details below:
November 26, 2017
Denver Law Prof César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández writes in NY Times Op-Ed that courthouse arrests by ICE "threaten the very operation of our judicial system"
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, associate professor at Denver Law, criticizes a tactic employed by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents - arresting undocumented immigrants at U.S. courthouses when they appear on matters unrelated to their immigration status, for example, domestic violence cases. In a New York Times Op-Ed piece, Professor García Hernández calls this "a deeply worrisome trend because arrests at courthouses don't just derail the lives of unsuspecting people who are detained, they threaten the very operation of our judicial system." He urges local and state officials to push back on this federal practice. "Fear and uncertainty caused by this type of courthouse arrest," he writes, "are already keeping people away from the halls of justice." See the full text of the article here. Professor García Hernández is the author of the Crimmigration Blog.
November 21, 2017
One reason Denver Law partners with Denver Urban Debate League: See these stats on college enrollment of high school debaters
The Denver Law/DUDL (Denver Urban Debate League) partnership creates the opportunity for hundreds of students from metro area high schools to develop their analytic and presentation skills while sparring with their peers over issues and questions that profoundly affect our world. DUDL's offices are in the law school, our building is home to two major tournaments each year, and DUDL's founders include Denver Law professor Roberto Corrada and Denver Law alum Rico Munn. We are proud of this connection, and we recognize the accomplishments of the high school debaters who participate in DUDL. For example, a recent news item posted on the NAUDL (National Association for Urban Debate Leagues) webpage states the finding that urban debaters are more likely than their non-debating peers to attend college. In Denver, 76% of urban debaters in the class of 2016 enrolled in college compared to 52% of graduating seniors from the same schools. And the same advantage holds in other cities where urban debate is sited. See the article here. Want to get involved in urban debate? DUDL invites community members to become judges for its debate tournaments. Please email Diversity@law.du.edu if you are interested.
November 16, 2017
Catherine Smith participates in ABA webinar examining law school diversity initiatives
Catherine Smith, Denver Law associate dean for diversity and inclusion, took part in today's webinar entitled Best and Worst Practices in Law School Diversity Initiatives. Speakers:
- Catherine Smith, Associate Dean of Institutional Diversity and Inclusiveness, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
- Susan Kuo, Associate Dean of Diversity & Inclusion, University of South Carolina
- Troy Riddle, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, The John Marshall Law School
- Moderator: Daiquiri Steele, Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Assistant Professor of Law in Residence, The University of Alabama School of Law
Dean Smith addressed the importance of strategic partnerships Denver Law has formed with Denver Urban Debate League (DUDL) and with CampusPrep.org, a supplier of low-cost LSAT prep courses (at 38:00 in the webinar). She characterized diversity efforts as "a work in progress" (43:50) and described Denver Law pipeline programs that "level the playing field" for diverse students - middle school, high school and undergraduate - aiming to attend law school (56:00).
The webinar was presented and sponsored by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.
November 13, 2017
Denver Law Professor Catherine Smith weighs in on the Rights and Interests of Children at issue in Masterpiece Cakeshop
In 2012, a Colorado cakemaker turned away a couple wishing to order a cake for their upcoming marriage. The couple was composed of two men. In the cakemaker's view, supplying a cake to celebrate a same sex marriage would violate his religious beliefs. The couple complained to the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and that agency ordered the baker to fill the order, citing Colorado’s public accommodations law, which bars businesses selling to the public from discriminating based on sexual orientation. The cakemaker brought suit, claiming in the case Masterpiece Cakeshop LTD, et al v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, that to compel him to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple unconstitutionally violates his free speech and free exercise rights. A Colorado court ruling sided with the couple. The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court on appeal, with oral arguments scheduled for December 5, 2017.
Denver Law professor Catherine Smith sees in this dispute another example how the children of LGBT people bear the brunt of exclusionary practices in the public marketplace because of social animus directed against their parents. She points out other examples: in Michigan, a pediatrician refused to treat an infant based solely on the fact that the child had lesbian mothers; in Kentucky, a judge refused to hear adoption cases of children involving LGBT adoptive-parents-to-be; in Tennessee, a nondenominational private school rejected enrollment for a pre-kindergartener and his 8-month-old sister after discovering that the children had two dads.
Professor Smith and four co-authors have submitted an amici curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, supporting the same sex couple and advocating for the rights and interests of children of LGBT parents. They argue “an expressive or religious exemption to sexual orientation discrimination prohibitions will deny children of LGBT parents equal access to the public sphere, inflict upon them psychological harm, and interfere with the integrity and closeness of their families — contrary to the aims of public accommodation and anti-discrimination law, and LGBT equality principles advanced in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges.” See the full text of their amici brief here.
November 3, 2017
Thirty-five Metro State students visited Denver Law on Friday, November 3, 2017. They toured the building and met with Catherine Smith, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusiveness. Next, Professor Sam Kamin engaged the students in a discussion about death penalty jurisprudence. The students got a chance to ask questions about law school preparation and the application process. Nine Denver Law students, including five Metro State University grads, joined the students for lunch. Thanks to the students for attending and to faculty and staff at MSU for promoting this event. Special thanks to Professors Robert Hazan and Barbara Koehler at Metro for supporting this pipeline initiative.
October 16, 2017
Friday November 3 is "Metro State Day at Denver Law"
September 28, 2017
High School Students Argue Moot Court Issues at Denver Law
On September 27, 2017, six teams composed of students from William Smith High School in Aurora argued cases bearing on constitutional law topics. They met in the William S. Hoffman Courtroom at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law before a judicial tribunal of Dave Davis and John Kearney, teachers at Wm. Smith H.S., and Denver Law's Randy Wagner. The students, 10th to 12th graders, are members of Kearney's 4-week all-day Constitutional Law class. They were well prepared and argued the cases in excellent fashion.
September 6, 2017
William Smith H.S. Students Visit Denver Law
Today 20 students from William Smith High School, 10th to 12th grade, visited Denver Law. Wm. Smith H.S. is an expeditionary learning school* in Aurora, CO. The students first met with Professor Tom Romero then attended a Torts class taught by Professor Catherine Smith. They shared lunch with law students Jessica Cordera and Gideon Irving and Associate Director of Admissions Yvonne Cherena-Pacheco. During a tour of the law building, the Wm. Smith students met law student Kiah Ellis. Teacher John Kearney and Assistant Principal Kristin Wiedmaier accompanied the group.
* "Dedicated to providing a diverse student body with outstanding academic and character education through engaging project-based work, the school enjoys a 90% graduation rate with alumni attending colleges and universities, technical schools, and the workforce. Projects integrate fieldwork, guest experts, and authentic audiences, bringing curriculum to life. Hands-on work reflects a workplace environment in order to prepare students for their future. Students develop products and presentations that demonstrate the knowledge and technical tools of professionals. At William Smith, students learn to create the lives they want to lead." (https://wshs.exloer.com/about)
September 6, 2017
DACA Resources at DU
In her statement addressed to the DU community, Chancellor Rebecca Chopp wrote:
The University of Denver continues to support DACA, along with over 600 other colleges and universities, and we hope that our national leaders will find a way to continue policies that allow these bright and dedicated students, faculty members and staff to thrive in the DU community and the country.
Click here for a full accounting of "DACA Resources at DU."
September 5, 2017
Denver Law Faculty and Staff Statement on DACA
September 5, 2017
To Our Students and Our Community:
As faculty and staff of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, we write to express our wholehearted disagreement with the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In tandem with other recent policies and programs designed to break up families, cause fear and panic in our communities, and directly harm those who have dared to dream that America would not turn its back on them, this decision is antithetical to our shared work of diversity and inclusion.
Like most institutions of higher learning, DREAMers and undocumented individuals are integral to our community at the University of Denver. DREAMers have graduated from our law school and university. Many have become leaders in their fields, including the Colorado bar. Many have worked selflessly to serve underserved communities throughout the state and the country. Whatever their paths, we cherish the DREAMers in our community. They inspire us with their commitment to our institution and contribute immeasurably to the diversity of views and experiences that are integral to our broader educational mission.
For this reason, we wish to reiterate our absolute, unequivocal, and unwavering support for our DREAMer and undocumented students. We will continue to support you regardless of what transpires in the coming weeks and months. DREAMers are an integral part of our community, and in our view the announcement today does not change that in the slightest.
We know that this is an anxious time for many of you. As always, we hope that you will seek us out if we can be of help to you, and that you will also take advantage of the other law school and university resources available to you.
With solidarity and respect:
Anne Aguirre Ryan Allen Rachel Arnow-Richman Rebecca Aviel Debra S. Austin Tanya Bartholomew
Mohammed Bellifa Eric Bono Stacey Bowers Diane Burkhardt Stefanie M. Carroll Alan Chen
Yvonne Cherena-Pacheco Roberto Corrada Patience A. Crowder Susan D. Daggett Laura Dean
Catherine M. Dunn K.K. DuVivier Nancy Ehrenreich Christopher Engle-Newman Ian Farrell
Casey Faucon Kalyani Fernando Alexi Freeman Samantha Galvin César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández
Nicole B. Godfrey Rashmi Goel Felicia Ho Jessica R. Hogan Meghan Howes Mark Hughes
Danielle C. Jefferis Beto Juárez Sam Kamin Michael Kovaka Margaret Kwoka C.J. Larkin
Christopher N. Lasch Nancy Leong Justin Marceau Patti Marks Lucy Marsh
Kristian McDaniel-Miccio John D. McKee Amy B. McLellan Lauri Mlinar Viva Moffat
Rachel Moran Suzanna Moran Ved Nanda Steve Pepper May Piatek Justin Pidot
Randolph A. Robinson II Tom Romero Laura Rovner Tom Russell Tanya Z. Salih
Laurie Saraceno Colleen T. Scarola Kari L. Shafenberg Michael R. Siebecker Catherine Smith
Don C. Smith Michael D. Sousa Erin H. Stearns Judith C. Stein Robin Walker Sterling
Kate Stoker Celia Taylor David I. C. Thomson Ann S. Vessels Randy Wagner Lindsey Webb
Annecoos Wiersema Amanda Williams Jeanne Zokovitch
October 21, 2016
KIPP Students Visit Denver Law
On Friday October 21, 2016, eleven students from Denver Collegiate High School and Counselor Lisa Gibbs visited Denver Law. They sat in on a Criminal Law class for 1Ls taught by Professor Rashmi Goel. 3L Laura Lopez led a tour of the law school. They lunched on the patio outside the Forum, speaking there with Professor Beto Juárez. KIPP comprises 200 schools located in 20 states and serves 80,000 students. KIPP’s mission is to help “students from educationally underserved communities develop the knowledge, skills, character and habits needed to succeed in college and the competitive world beyond.” That’s great pipeline work! Read about the KIPP Through College Program here.