September 10, 2018

Journey to JD Program Empowers High School Students to Pursue Law

Journey to JD Program Empowers High School Students to Pursue Law

For one week this summer, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law hosted 20 rising high school juniors who immersed themselves in the legal profession. Through the Journey to JD (J2JD) program, founded by the Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI), this diverse range of students gained a basic understanding of the legal system and were empowered to explore a career in law.

This unique opportunity is the brainchild of Karen Hester, CEO of the CLI. She previously implemented a similar program in Kansas and brought it with her here to Denver.

Hester created the program to address the lack of diversity in the legal profession. She wanted young people to get a chance to learn basic of legal concepts, meet legal professionals and learn how a legal education could be a part their future.

“If we can get young people with an interest in law, show them what they can do and that they can do it, and they see people that are similar to them, so they realize that it is not impossible to do, then we are that much closer to reaching our goal of having a diverse profession,” Hester said.

Immersive Legal Learning  

J2JD is aimed at incoming high school juniors from a wide range of backgrounds and hometowns across the state who have an interest in law.

“I thought that law wasn’t for everybody, and definitely, this program helped me view that it is,” said J2JD participant Stacy Pineda, student at Atlas Preparatory School, Colorado Springs.

The program was meticulously designed to be a focused, as well as activity- and education-packed, week that engaged students from start to finish.

“It’s a really rich, concentrated opportunity. It would be hard to imagine a week that had more opportunities and more content packed into it,” said Denver Law Associate Professor Rebecca Aviel, who served as the professor for the program.

This year, students spent mornings learning law from Aviel, studying materials that the associate professor uses in her first-year law student classes.

“These are high school students getting law school materials,” Aviel related, adding the curriculum focused on substantive principles of the legal system, building analytical skills that lawyers need and gaining insight into the everyday life of someone who has a law degree.

In the afternoons, the class headed out on field trips to Denver where they met legal professionals, including politicians with a J.D. degree, a Colorado Supreme Court Justice and more. 

“Students were really able to see how these two spheres hold together: What it is that lawyers learn in the classroom and how these lawyers take that out into the world and do the kind of work that they want to do,” said Aviel.

For students, it exposed them to the wide array of career doors that open for those with a J.D. degree.

“We talked to a lot of different types of attorneys, so it was really interesting, and I really enjoyed getting to learn how broad the spectrum of careers can be,” said J2JD participant Joslyn Hays, a Gunnison High School student.  

Students emphasized the value of these opportunities to connect with members of Denver’s legal profession “I would recommend this program because it’s such an incredible learning experience, along with the relationships you make. A crucial part of being a lawyer is the networking you have with other people, and this program gives you the best of both worlds,” related participant Imari Hicks, DSST Stapleton High School in Denver. The evening events, such as rock climbing at the Ritchie Center, bowling downtown and a scavenger hunt with attorneys, gave students a chance to explore Denver and experience the kind of work-life balance that is essential to sustainable careers in the legal field.

In all, the week-long program offered students a chance to fully immerse themselves in the law and foster a love of higher education. And Aviel hopes that it will also make students feel like part of the DU community. “I would love to have you come to the University of Denver and get that chance to discover if law is right for you, and even if it’s not, we hope that you’d then go off into the world with an invigorated sense of discovery,” said Aviel. 

Into Action

The program was possible thanks to partnership between CLI, Denver Law and several generous sponsors.

“The partnership with DU has been so critical to the success of the program. DU has been a major player in all of this, from the planning phase to implementation,” Hester said.

In addition, J2JD was funded almost entirely through donations, so the students did not pay anything other than a small deposit.

“The community here in Denver has been so supportive,” Hester said, adding that anyone is welcome to get involved and help the program grow. “We welcome you to be part of the J2JD program,” said Hester. “There’s so many ways you can get involved, from volunteering time to spreading the word. This is just the first step of many, and we can’t do it without you.”

If you or an incoming high-school sophomore you know would be interested in this immersive J2JD opportunity, please visit

Check out more about the program by watching the video below!

August 16, 2018

University of Denver Sturm College of Law Offers New Professional Part-Time JD Program

#14-ranked part-time JD program now offered in convenient hybrid format.

August 16 – DENVER – The University of Denver Sturm College of Law transformed its #14-ranked (U.S. News & World Report) part-time JD program to make it more accessible to students with competing professional or familial commitments. Effective fall 2018, students admitted into the Professional Part-Time JD Program can complete all of their required courses in a convenient hybrid format, through a combination of state-of-the-art online instruction and weekend on-campus classes.

First-year students enrolled in the new Professional Part-Time JD Program come to Denver on eight weekends each semester for in-class sessions, with the remaining instruction provided online, in an asynchronous format capable of being accessed on each student’s own schedule.

Students are taught by full-time faculty members, in a program designed in consultation with a national leader in online legal pedagogy. After completing their first two years of required courses, students can choose from the entire breadth of the Denver Law curriculum, including externships, clinical courses, and a wide range of doctrinal classes offered in a variety of formats.

Students also benefit from the law school’s full range of scholarships, financial aid and co-curricular programming, including academic support, professional advising, mentoring, and access to a network of roughly 17,000 Denver Law alumni.

“The University of Denver Sturm College of Law has offered a nationally-acclaimed part-time JD program for more than 100 years. Our goal was to make this historic and mission-driven program even more accessible, affordable, and attentive to work-life balance—while, at the same time, preserving its exceptional quality and rigor,” said Dean Bruce Smith. “I have met the roughly 35 students in our inaugural cohort and look forward to teaching them this fall. Quite frankly, the academic credentials, professional experience, and geographic reach of our inaugural class exceeded even our loftiest expectations.”

Students matriculating in fall 2018 come from a broad range of professional backgrounds, including compliance, education, financial services, government contracts, health care, human resources, social work, and sports management. Several have advanced degrees, in fields ranging from business to engineering to molecular microbiology. Many have extensive records of public service. And while the majority of students live and work in Colorado (including Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Greeley, and Highlands Ranch), the convenient educational format (and ease and affordability of Denver International Airport) has made it possible for students from as far away as Utah, South Carolina, and Texas to attend.

Johnathan Clark, vice president of Workplace Planning and Advice at Fidelity Investments, is one of the students in the inaugural class. He is based out of Salt Lake City, Utah and says he looked at other part-time law programs but found Denver Law’s to be the best fit.

“I always liked the idea of earning a JD but didn’t think that as a working executive that was possible. When I heard about the format, I was excited because it allows me to continue to progress through my career, while at the same time go to law school,” Clark said. “I was accepted to a few other programs, but Denver Law, by far in my opinion, was structured best to fit my schedule.”

Through honing critical thinking skills, learning from Denver Law’s respected faculty and networking with fellow students, Clark sees the Professional Part-Time JD Program as an opportunity to advance his career.

“The credibility of the faculty, their experience and the work that they’ve done is very exciting. We’ve also got a really diverse, unique set of professions and backgrounds in the cohort that will make a program like this, which caters to working professionals, even more valuable.”

For more information on the Professional Part-Time JD Program, please visit, email or call 303-871-6135.

August 10, 2018

Denver Law Faculty Members Promoted

The Sturm College of Law is honored to announce that the Board of Trustees of the University of Denver approved the promotions of seven Denver Law faculty members, effective August 1, 2018: Bernard Chao, Christopher Lasch, and Justin Pidot to the rank of Professor of Law; Kevin Lynch and Lindsey Webb to the rank of Associate Professor of Law, with tenure; and Samantha Galvin and Erin Stearns to the rank of Associate Professor of the Practice of Taxation.

Bernard Chao (Professor of Law)

A graduate of Purdue University (BS, Electrical Engineering) and Duke Law School, Professor Chao is a prolific and widely-respected scholar in the fields of intellectual property and empirical legal studies. A former Silicon Valley patent attorney, he has published a series of provocative articles in top law journals, including the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the California Law Review, the Washington University Law Review, the Boston College Law Review, and the Wisconsin Law Review. He directs the Intellectual Property Certificate Program at Denver Law and co-directs (with Professor John Campbell) the Denver Empirical Justice Institute. In fall 2018, he will be teaching an innovative course in Contracts as part of the law school’s new Professional Part-Time JD Program.

Christopher Lasch (Professor of Law)

A graduate of Columbia College (BA, History) and Yale Law School, Professor Lasch is a nationally-recognized scholar, teacher, and public commentator on matters at the intersection of immigration law and criminal law. A former Robert M. Cover Clinical Teaching Fellow at Yale Law School, he co-directs (with Professor Robin Walker Sterling) the law school’s Criminal Defense Clinic and its newly-launched Immigration Law & Policy Clinic—the latter, supported by a $414,000 grant from The Beacon Fund. His most recent article, entitled “A Common Law Privilege to Protect State and Local Courts during the Crimmigration Crisis,” appeared in the Yale Law Journal Online.

Justin Pidot (Professor of Law)

A graduate of Wesleyan University (BA, Government) and Stanford Law School, Professor Pidot is an acclaimed scholar in the areas of environmental law, federal courts, and administrative law whose recent articles have appeared in the Stanford Law Review, the Minnesota Law Review, and the Maryland Law Review. His innovative casebook (Practicing Environmental Law) seeks to orient students to the ways that environmental lawyers actually litigate and counsel. Professor Pidot served as Deputy Solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior from 2016-17, and will visit the University of Colorado Law School during the fall 2018 academic term.

Kevin Lynch (Associate Professor of Law, with tenure)

Professor Lynch joined the Denver Law faculty in 2009, having previously earned his undergraduate degree from Rice University (BA, Biology) and his law degree from New York University. As co-director of the law school’s Environmental Law Clinic, he works with students to furnish legal representation to national, regional, local, and tribal environmental advocacy organizations in matters arising under the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Forest Management Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act, among other statutes. His recent articles on regulatory takings, fracking, and preliminary injunctions have appeared in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, the University of Cincinnati Law Review, and the Florida Law Review.

Lindsey Webb (Associate Professor of Law, with tenure)

A graduate of Wesleyan University (BA, American Studies) and Stanford Law School, Professor Webb served as an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center before joining the law school’s clinical faculty in 2013. A former Deputy State Public Defender in the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office, Professor Webb has taught students in both the Civil Rights Clinic and the Criminal Defense Clinic. Her publications on the Fourth Amendment, criminal sentencing, and race and the law have appeared in the Washington Law Review, the Seton Hall Law Review, the NYU Review of Law & Social Change, and the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law & Social Change.

Samantha Galvin (Associate Professor of the Practice of Taxation)

Professor Galvin joined the Denver Law faculty in 2013, having previously received her JD and LLM in Taxation from the University of Denver and having later clerked on the United States Tax Court. She currently serves as Assistant Director of the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, a clinic within the Graduate Tax Program that represents more than 250 clients per year in proceedings involving the Internal Revenue Service and the Colorado Department of Revenue. Professor Galvin also writes a prominent blog (Procedurally Taxing – that addresses developments in the United States Tax Court.

Erin Stearns (Associate Professor of the Practice of Taxation)

Professor Stearns joined the University of Denver faculty in 2012, and directs the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. She earned her JD from Northeastern University and her LLM in Taxation from the University of Denver and having previously served as a clerk on the New Hampshire Supreme Court and as an associate attorney at law firms in New Hampshire and Colorado. A noted authority on the representation of low-income taxpayers, she has co-authored a chapter on civil penalties in an American Bar Association publication devoted to representing clients before the IRS.

“These seven promotions testify to the excellence of our faculty at the Sturm College of Law and to our commitments to interdisciplinary inquiry, experiential learning, and the public good,” observed Dean Bruce Smith. “In 2018, we enjoyed our highest ranking ever in U.S. News & World Report and were one of only 11 law schools nationwide with six or more programs ranked in the top 25. The principal engine of this institutional success is our stellar, creative, and dedicated faculty.”

July 17, 2018

Denver Law Professor Alan Chen Named University Lecturer

Congratulations to Professor Alan Chen, Sturm College of Law, the recipient of this year’s University of Denver University Lecturer award. The University Lecturer award is one of the University’s most distinguished honors, based on creative and scholarly merit, as well as recommendations of faculty and colleagues.

Chen’s expertise centers on constitutional and First Amendment law, the law of federal courts and public interest law. He has co-authored two books, “Public Interest Lawyering: A Contemporary Perspective” and “Free Speech Beyond Words: The Surprising Reach of the First Amendment.” Before entering the world of academia, Chen served as a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Chicago office, and today, he maintains an active litigation docket with high-profile civil rights cases like Oklahoma’s botched execution of Clayton Lockett by lethal injection.

Bruce Smith, dean and professor in the Sturm College of Law, called Chen a “dedicated, compassionate and expert scholar-teacher of the highest order.” He added that students have described Chen as “engaging, challenging, entertaining, approachable, and incredibly knowledgeable—in sum, an absolute jewel in DU’s faculty crown.”  

Chen and six other distinguished recipients of this year’s faculty awards will be recognized later this year at DU’s annual Faculty and Staff Awards Luncheon.

Read more about this year’s faculty award winners.

June 21, 2018

Professor Roberto Corrada Elected Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

The University of Denver Sturm College of Law is pleased to announce that Professor Roberto Corrada, the Mulligan Burleson Chair in Modern Learning, has been elected as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting excellence in the realm of labor and employment law, whose international membership is limited to the most distinguished professionals in the field. The organization is widely regarded for advancing civility, professionalism and understanding in workplace law and serves as a resource to governmental bodies, the judiciary and the legal community at large. Professor Corrada is the first law professor in Colorado, and one of a select few legal academics in the College’s history, to achieve this significant honor.

“Roberto Corrada is a titanic figure in the field of labor and employment law, an innovative and highly-respected teacher, and an impassioned advocate for equity, opportunity and inclusivity,” stated Dean Bruce Smith. “Election to the College is an impressive and richly deserved honor, and the entire University of Denver community celebrates this magnificent achievement.”  

May 21, 2018

Prof. Nantiya Ruan cited by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in SCOTUS Ruling

Ruan’s scholarship relied upon in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis.

Read the Brief here.


Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208