Friday, December 30, 2016

CLEA Newsletter Winter 2016-17


Together with the CLEA Newsletter Committee, I am very happy to announce that the Winter 2016-17 issue of the CLEA Newsletter has just been posted here:

In this issue, you'll find lots of interesting content, including: CLEA's Strategic Plan; articles on clinical teaching by Robert Kuehn (Washington Univ.-St. Louis), Jennifer Oliva & Valena Beety (WVU), Dana Malkus (St. Louis Univ.), and Rebecca Nieman (Thomas Jefferson); CLEA committee and advocacy updates; and several announcements about upcoming events at the AALS Annual Meeting in San Francisco.  Plus, you'll find good news from our colleagues around the world.

Thanks, and Happy New Year

CLEA Newsletter Committee
Lauren Bartlett (Ohio Northern)
Tanya Asim Cooper (Pepperdine)
Susan Donovan (Alabama)
D'lorah Hughes (UCI Irvine)
Kate Kruse (Mitchell Hamline)

December 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sign-on Letter Opposing the Nomination of Sessions

Law professors at several schools—including Denver, Georgetown, Washington and Lee, U.C. Berkeley, Northwestern, and University of Chicago—have organized a sign-on letter asking senators to reject the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General because it "presents a very real threat to civil rights and civil liberties, to underrepresented groups and people of color, and to the principles of inclusion and tolerance we all hold dear."   They have also launched a related fundraising effort to take out ads in local newspapers targeting senators who are undecided about their vote. 

The letter already has 1100 signatures and counting.  You can add your signature at  The fundraising goal is $13,000 and the group has raised about $10,500 to pay for newspaper ads. You can pitch-in to the fundraising effort at

December 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The ABA sues the Dept. of Education to protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The ABA issued this statement describing its suit against the Department of Education to protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program after recent actions by the DOE to redefine qualifying work.

Here is an excerpt from the ABA's statement:

The suit, which also includes four individual plaintiffs who were denied eligibility under PSLF, details how the Department of Education changed the eligibility requirement for work that was clearly “public service” after already approving the work and after individuals made decisions and loan repayments based on those approvals. . . .

The complaint contends that the individual plaintiffs (Geoffrey Burkhart, Michelle Quintero-Millan, Jamie Rudert, and Kate Voigt) made financial and life decisions based on the program. Not only did they follow the rules of the program by making loan payments while employed in public service jobs, but three of the plaintiffs received verification from the DOE that their jobs qualified under the program. A fourth plaintiff, Quintero-Millan, believed she qualified because she worked in a public service job for a nonprofit that the Department of Education had already certified as qualifying for the program. The plaintiffs were later informed that their jobs no longer qualified and their previous payments did not count towards the program.

December 20, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Comparative Law for Spanish-English Lawyers: Legal Cultures, Legal Terms and Legal Practices

My very first job after law school was in Ecuador.  Pause and think about that.  As a newly-minted lawyer, my first job was in Spanish, not English; in a civil, not common law, jurisdiction; and in a country that I had never even visited before I moved there for a year.  And, not surprisingly, I struggled.  I declared victory the day I pieced together the vocabulary and the wherewithal to get my suits dry-cleaned.  Which is to say nothing of the struggle of learning the history, culture, context, and daily practice of Ecuadorian law.

A new book, Comparative Law for Spanish-English Lawyers: Legal Cultures, Legal Terms and Legal Practices / Derecho comparado para abogados anglo- e hispanoparlantes: Culturas jurídicas, términos jurídicos y prácticas jurídicas (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 2016), takes a close look at the legal systems of the U.S., England, Spain, and Mexico to give bilingual lawyers a foundational understanding of the common principles and practices in these jurisdictions, as well as practical and doctrinal insights into a variety of English- and Spanish-speaking jurisdictions.  The book, written by Professors S.I. Strong of the University of Missouri, Katia Fach Gómez of the University of Zaragoza, and Laura Carballo Piñeiro of the University of Santiago de Compostela, examines “various types of legal authorities and how such materials are interpreted and applied in the two legal traditions” (7), discusses substantive areas of law and procedure, and then looks at etiquette and practice in the two traditions. The book is a bilingual text geared to helping those who are conversationally fluent in a second language achieve legal fluency. The authors envision the book being used in both group and individual study, and it is available in both hard copy and electronic form (Elgar is currently offering a discount on website sales). If you are interested in the book, visit Elgar for more information or contact Professor S.I. Strong.

December 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"The Privilege of Stillness" - Aleppo

The Privilege of Stillness


See the hordes of humans trying to escape, let it pass quickly.

See the buildings blown into dust, scroll faster.

See the child marred by mud and blood, let it hastily roll over you.

The mind hides from itself, defiantly shouting: I will not be moved. I simply cannot bear witness to this suffering. I cannot and I will not. I am choice. I am privilege. I am closed, clamped and wound down, tightly shut off and sealed. I will not be moved because I choose not to be moved.

See the hordes of humans trying to escape, let it pass quickly.

See the buildings blown into dust, scroll faster.

See the child marred by mud and blood, let it hastily roll over you.

Until the heaps of images and stacks of grief mount so high they finally tumble into a single question: why

Slowly cracks of light appear through doorway’s spine; slowly the wheels of the mind unlock and spin around reason like a tire falteringly trying to grip the pavement in a deluge. The mind no longer completely hidden from itself, softly responding:  It is for your own protection. The Color of Fear explains it well. I do not have the courage to face another reality, as it would alter mine. Validating your experience will surely invalidate my own. Your already broken actuality will absolutely break mine. Can I survive myself so that you might live? And with more questions, light spills through the doorway and wheel finds the groove.

See the hordes of humans trying to escape, look at the picture.

See the buildings blown into non-existence, open the article.

See the child marred by mud and blood, haunted, and finally read the words: “A complete meltdown of humanity.”


Fall into history, crash into sharing, stagger into realization: one minute of learning is never wasted, one ounce of compassion is never squandered, and one moment of shared humanity has the capacity to haphazardly propel you into the person you hope to be. Though it is often too late, it is never too late.

Now, move.

December 13, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 12, 2016

"Water your own grass"

I watched the little video below, and it completely reminded me of something I learned from Nancy Levit at a AALS Clinical Law Conference presentation a few years back. Nancy may not know it, but her advice profoundly changed something in me (and hopefully future generations of lawyers - thank you, thank you, thank you for your books Nancy and Doug)!

"The best advice I ever heard and internalized was to "water your own grass." This is applicable to so much in life be it work, relationship or friendship. If you truly care about something, invest in it, get curious about it, figure out how, even in small ways, you can improve it, and you will not regret the exercise. Even when you find aspects you don't appreciate (as you surely will because everything is "flawed"), your picture will be formed with such a new and complex understanding that it's impossible not to find beauty and some measure of clarity in such a tangled web. Good luck out there. Oh, and I almost forgot, this includes the "self" too, you beautiful, flawed, complicated human! (from my Facebook interwebs post this morning). Enjoy!


December 12, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Long Walk Home

Long walk home

For the first time today, I noticed I was walking like a Jamaican. Jamaicans don’t “walk” so much as they stroll, they saunter, they meander…and it wasn’t until about halfway home that I realized I wasn’t racing to one of the imaginary finish lines I often create in my mind. I was suddenly just walking. And that revolutionary act transported me to a world that I occupy but am not really a part of. The observation from those moments was enough for me to rethink my whole racing strategy because there was real, tangible joy to be found on the other side, where sandals meet the road.

During that long walk home, my eyes locked onto other eyes and held gazes that revealed humanities composed of infinite stories and ancestors, as complex, rich and meaningful as my own.  I felt and can internalize and identify with the phrase “the grass tickled my feet.” I have now heard the songs of birds while discovering a mahogany-magenta-maroon color that I’m not sure Crayola’s 96 has managed to capture in quite the same way as that flower. I heroically survived a tense encounter with a ferret (what Jamaicans call a rrrat – a hard r laced with a trace of disgust) as he watched me, watching him, watching me; both of us wary and thankful as we parted ways. And remarkably, my body remembers how to walk, though I have often created my own abnormal, unsustainable, ungodly rhythms that leave me sweating, exhausted and aching, my body knows my natural stride includes a gentle swinging of hips, though I have long tried to subdue it, and feet that don’t so much step but glide over asphalt and ant; how quickly I unlearned all the harsh lessons I’ve taught myself.  

When you suddenly appreciate how full a moment can be and see what was previously unseen, in reflection, you also come into close contact with what’s absent. On that long walk home, I did not think about the election once. I did not think about what I would have for dinner or a snack. I didn’t think about buying Christmas gifts or creating grocery lists or any lists at all. The omnipresent, self-induced anxiety cycle ceded for while allowing new prioritization and restructuring of a truth long suppressed: connection over technology, natural over manufactured, curiosity over fear, inhabiting over externalizing, and journey over destination.

And I want that for you, my dearest friends. I want you to walk with me, if even for just a few seconds. I know during this time of year, that during this time in history, that with a society constantly telling us there is not enough time and that we are not enough, telling us only about absence, lack, scarcity and need…that walking this way can seem impossible. But I am witness to what’s on the other side and my desire for you is stronger than the misguided belief of impossibility.  You can see humanity the way I saw it, hear the birds sing the way I heard them, experience color the way I saw it, you can trust and come home to yourself; forgetting by letting yourself remember what you have always known. Forget the broken hearts and promises, forget the election and divisiveness, forget the endless amount of work that will always exist, forget the real and self-created responsibilities, forget the hurt, the past and the pain for just a little while. Let your body do what you are convinced it doesn’t know how to do; let it lead you home. Connect. Commune. Wonder. Inhabit. And for just a little while, may your destination not be nearly as important as your journey. As they say in Jamaica, “Walk gud my friend, walk gud.”*

*An expression used to wish good fortune and a good trip on departing travelers (Wiwords)

December 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)