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Syracuse University College of Law Welcomes JDinteractive Class of 2023


On Aug. 12, 2019, Syracuse University College of Law welcomed 50 new students into JDinteractive (JDi), the College's ABA-accredited, fully interactive online law degree program. This is the second group of students to matriculate into the first-of-its-kind program, which combines intensive on-campus courses with online courses that contain both self-paced and live class sessions.

The new JDi students began their law degree studies with a weeklong residency in Syracuse, NY, where they took an immersive course designed to introduce them to the American legal system. The students also took part in other academic and social activities—along with new residential juris doctor, JDi Class of 2022, and masters of laws students—including meeting with distinguished alumni and attending a baseball game on August 14 between the Syracuse Mets and Durham Bulls at NBT Stadium. 

"JDinteractive once again has attracted a talented and ambitious group of students. I could not be more pleased to welcome them into the College of Law community and to a law degree program that is reimagining how legal education is delivered in the 21st century," says College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise. “I strongly believe their diversity of background and perspectives will broaden and deepen the student’s law school experience. I have no doubt this cohort will represent the College strongly and leverage their legal knowledge for the benefit of the profession and of society."

The JDi Class of 2023 gathers a diverse group of individuals from across the United States: 

• The cohort's average age is 35. 

• One-third identify as students of color.

• The students represent 29 states, including Alaska and Hawaii.

• Thirty percent were the first in their families to attend college.

• Approximately a quarter are members of the military or military-affiliated, including graduates of the US Naval Academy and US Coast Guard Academy, a retired US Army sergeant, a Lieutenant in the US Navy, and a US Marine Corps Master Sergeant. 

JDinteractive is designed to work with the schedules of students who are currently employed or have other commitments. Looking at students’ occupations, among the members of the Class of 2023 are an environmental supervisor for a multinational packaged foods company, a law firm chief operating officer, a police officer, a political media consultant, a vice president of sales in the telecommunications industry, a professor of musicology, a preventive case worker, an attending emergency physician, a pastor, a structural designer, a legislative analyst, and the founder of an insurance consulting firm. 

"We designed JDinteractive to deliver Syracuse University College of Law's J.D. program to well-qualified students who cannot relocate for a residential program, but who nevertheless desire a high-caliber legal education," says Associate Dean of Online Education and David M. Levy Professor of Law Nina Kohn. "The students themselves are proof that the program has the ingredients to entice highly motivated, deeply experienced, and academically strong individuals. Indeed, among the Class of 2023 are the holders of a Ph.D. in Computer Science, an M.B.A. in Accounting, a D.O. in Osteopathic Medicine, an M.S.L. in Business Law, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, to name a few."

JDinteractive Class of 2023
JDinteractive Class of 2023

Dirty Little Wars and the Law: Did Osama bin Laden Win?

David Crane

By David M. Crane

(Re-published from The Hill | Aug. 18, 2019) The past week marked the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. This laudable treaty, signed by every country, codified centuries of custom, treaties and protocols to protect individuals found on the battlefield. There are four articles to the Geneva Conventions protecting the wounded and sick, prisoners of war and civilians. This is an attempt to bring law and order onto the battlefield. These conventions are part of a larger set of treaties, protocols and rules called international humanitarian law, or the “laws of armed conflict.”

The Geneva Conventions were part of a promising four years after World War II that attempted to prevent the horrors of future conflict. The Nuremberg Principles were adopted, the United Nations Charter was signed, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Convention were created. These became the cornerstones to settle disputes peacefully and use force only as a last resort. The focus was on international peace and security.

Originally drafted to protect those found on the battlefield during international armed conflict, the protocols additionally drafted in 1976 brought in non-international armed conflict. The minimum standard under what is called “Common Article 3,” found in each of the four parts to the conventions and the additional protocols, is that regardless of status on the battlefield, everyone should be treated humanely. That remains the minimum today. Not maintaining this standard can be a war crime in and of itself. Essentially, any armed conflict is covered by the rule of law and those who break international humanitarian law are committing war crimes. 

For the past several decades, conflict has evolved from the vast industrial age conflicts, such as the World Wars and Operation Desert Storm, into the nuanced, kaleidoscopic conflicts of today. In these “dirty little wars,” the parties largely fail to follow the laws of armed conflict. There are no protections, particularly for civilians and even more importantly for women and children. The Geneva Conventions single them out to be especially protected; yet, one only has to look to the Syrian civil war to see that this key principle of law is ignored by all parties to that conflict. 

A majority of casualties in dirty little wars of the 21st century are civilians, a protected group under international law. Intentionally targeting civilians is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions. Those who violate this principle are war criminals and remain so for the rest of their lives, since there is no statute of limitations for such crimes. By way of example, we still prosecute Nazi camp guards from World War II, all of whom now are in their 90s ...

Read the full article.

Power on the Go: ILC Assists HopLite Power with Commercializing Novel Smartphone Charging Technology

HopLite Power

It's a frustration many can relate to. You're on the go with your smartphone, juggling business and personal calls and texts, when you suddenly realize you're low on power. No worries. Just dip into a friendly café with your charger and power up while you are getting coffee'd up. So you reach into your bag for the charging cable ...

Enter Hoplite Power, a startup company that has created a remarkable and convenient solution for those inevitable times when you leave home without your charger or when there are no power outlets nearby.  

A client of the New York State Science and Technology Law Center (NYSSTLC), part of the Syracuse University College of Law’s Innovation Law Center (ILC), Hoplite Power has developed a smartphone "charge-sharing" system. "Any customer who is low on battery can go to one of our kiosks in network and rent a portable battery pack to charge their phone on the go," says Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Nikolas Schreiber, adding that the kiosks operate in a similar way to a RedBox DVD dispenser or CitiBike bike rental kiosk. 

Each kiosk—called a Hoplite Hub—stores, dispenses, re-accepts, and automatically recharges Hoplites, which are small, ergonomically designed, universal battery packs for smartphones. These packs can be rented from and returned to any Hoplite Hub in the network.

"This means the customer can then charge when and where they need it, not having to remember to bring a battery or be tied down to an outlet. This system is perfect for high density and high value areas such as sports stadiums, live venues, and convention centers," notes Schreiber.

Schreiber recently took time to answer some questions about how NYSSTLC—and specifically second-year law student Viviana Bro and Adjunct Professor Dom Danna—have assisted Hoplite Power as it commercializes its novel technology. 

How did you discover the NYSSTLC/Innovation Law Center and the services it provides businesses and entrepreneurs?

We are working with NYDesigns Incubator, Futureworks, FuzeHub, the Industry Trade Advisory Committee (ITAC), the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC), the Manufacturing and Technology Resource Consortium (MTRC), and finally the Clean Energy Business Incubator Program (CEBIP). It was CEBIP that made the direct introduction to the Innovation Law Center and NYSSTLC.

What type of assistance has NYSSTLC provided Hoplite Power?

We were able to consult with NYSSTLC on a full intellectual property (IP) strategy, including prior art, freedom to operate, and patentability.

How useful has the NYSSTLC research and proprietary report been for your commercialization process?

The report and work done was quite good. While there were no amazing "aha" moments, it was incredibly assuring to look through some patents and understand that we did have freedom to operate where before we had some concerns.

Not just that. We were encouraged that there might be specific aspects of our technology—especially given a number of unique mechanisms—that could be patented, where, again, we had had our doubts.

Now that you have engaged NYSSTLC, what are the next steps for Hoplite Power?

We have been in the Design for Manufacturability (DFM) process for a year now, and ideally—in late summer 2019—we are just a few weeks away from our version 2 pilot launch. Following this launch and its success, we plan on to follow up by filing additional IP protections, including both design and utility patents. A strong IP and a functioning pilot will allow us to ideally raise capital by the end of the year.

What advice do you have for an entrepreneur looking to commercialize a new technology, based on your experiences so far?

There are so many ways to go with this, but I think one thing that gets lost is proving the product market fit. Your new technology might be cool, but if it does not serve a market need, then it is not a company. 

Being able to get into the market quickly and iterating through versions of the product is a very important aspect when building a successful company, regardless of the level of readiness. I know that we have taken too long to perfect things. Getting some test units in the market quickly—even in hardware, where it is very difficult—nevertheless is a driving force to building a sustainable company. 

Professor Shubha Ghosh Discusses Cayuga Nation's Defamation Lawsuit Against Showtime

Shubha Ghosh

Cayuga Nation Sues Showtime Networks for Defamation, Law Expert Says May be Difficult to Win

(Spectrum News | Aug. 15, 2019) "Offensive and defamatory,” is how the scenes from "Billions" are described in a new lawsuit against Showtime Networks.

The Cayuga Nation and federal representative Clint Halftown say a character was created to portray their people in a negative light.

The character's name is Jane Halftown, and she's a council member for the Cayuga Iroquois. She participates in an illegal casino land deal, using bribery and blackmail.

The lawsuit says permission wasn't granted to use those names.

But experts say it might be a tough case to win.

"Halftown is a public figure and it's a lot harder to force a public figure to bring a defamation lawsuit,” said Shubha Ghosh, a Syracuse University law professor. “The standard is higher."

Ghosh says the Nation has to prove more happened than just damage to their reputation.

"Would have to also show that that statement was used with technical term ‘reckless disregard for the truth,’” said Ghosh. “Basically, saying things that has no basis and fact, didn't research it ...

Watch the segment

Professor Cora True-Frost Participates in Exchanging Hemispheres Program

From Aug. 5-7, 2019, Professor Cora True-Frost participated in the Exchanging Hemispheres program at Mackenzie Law School, part of Mackenzie Presbyterian University, a private university in São Paulo, Brazil. True-Frost taught the short course "Comparative Constitutional Rights: US Supreme Court and STF Cases".

Mackenzie Presbyterian University and Interinstitutional Cooperation Coordination developed the Exchanging Hemispheres program to enhance international understanding and the exchange of ideas through the delivery of interdisciplinary short courses. 

Luiz Dellore, a recent College of Law Visiting Scholar, invited True-Frost to teach in the program. Dellore is a professor at Mackenzie and a law practitioner, as well as True-Frost's student during his semester in Syracuse. 

During her scholarly trip to Brazil, True-Frost also gave talks—on “Hot Topics Before the US Supreme Court: Rights Intersections in Context"—at the School of Magistrates of the 4th Federal Court in Porto Alegre and at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul. 

Law Library Fall Hours Posted

​The Law Library has posted its service desk hours for Fall 2019 on its Law Library Hours web page.

Regular fall service desk hours begin on August 19.

Professor Corri Zoli Comments on Foreign Countries' US Travel Warning

Corri Zoli

Commentary: A Fitter Statute for the Common Law of Patents

Shubha Ghosh

By Professor Shubha Ghosh

(Re-published from PatentLYO | Aug. 1, 2019) As a law professor, I am in the camp of those who are critical of the proposed bipartisan, bicameral legislation (“the Coons-Tillis bill”) to amend provisions of the Patent Act dealing with patentable subject. I am also in the camp of those who find the “two-step test” introduced by the Supreme Court in its Mayo v, Prometheus, 566 U.S. 66 (2012), and Alice v CLS Bank, 573 U.S. 208 (2014), decisions unworkable and inconsistent with its own precedent. I am also in the perhaps much smaller camp that is skeptical of the approach adopted by the Court in its Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad, 569 U.S. 576 (2013) decision (even if I agree with the result that identified genetic sequences are not patent eligible). Here are my thoughts about the Coons-Tillis bill and the comments in the letter from the ACLU and the law professors and practitioners organized by Professor Ted Sichelman of University of San Diego Law School.

A proposed provision of the Coons-Tillis legislation states: “No implicit or other judicially created exceptions to subject matter eligibility, including ‘abstract ideas,’ ‘laws of nature,’ or ‘natural phenomena,’ shall be used to determine patent eligibility under section 101, and all cases establishing or interpreting those exceptions to eligibility are hereby abrogated.”

The language expresses frustrations with judge-made exceptions to patentable subject matter based on implications drawn from the language of the Act or from judge made common law reasoning. If enacted, the amendment would not only remove established exceptions to patentable subject matter, but also would limit the power of the federal judiciary to create exceptions based on its own reasoning and interpretation of the Patent Act. Such legislation is in conflict with the long-established relationship between federal courts and Congress. If enacted, it would invite constitutional challenges claiming violation of the separation of powers, under Article III, of the Constitution. The proposed amendment would very likely be found unconstitutional.

Federal courts have as their role the interpretation of statutes. By abrogating the federal court’s power to develop any implications from the statutory language and to engage in common law reasoning in interpreting the statute, Congress invades long-standing judicial power.  Although a full analysis of the separation of powers is beyond the scope of this post, Congressional limitations on judicial power in other realms have failed under judicial scrutiny. At the extreme, Congress is limited in its power to legislate that federal courts cannot hear certain cases or controversies. See Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723 (2009) (suspension of writ of habeas corpus unconstitutional); United States v. Klein, 80 U.S. 128 (1871) (Congress’ limitations on claims relating to confiscated and abandoned property unconstitutional). But see Patchak v. Zinke, 138 S.Ct. 897 (2018) (Congress’ stripping federal court jurisdiction over claims arising from Department of Interior’s taking of land into trust was not unconstitutional).

I am not suggesting that the proposed abrogation goes as far as the suspect legislation in Boumediene and Klein. Federal courts can still adjudicate patent law questions under the Coons-Tillis bill. But the bill does put limitations on how courts can decide cases. This attempt to bind the way federal judges approach a federal question is as problematic as taking away their power to adjudicate in the first place. The Coons-Tillis bill if enacted as drafted will invite substantive litigation which may well lead to the legislation being struck down, in part, as an unconstitutional exercise of Congressional power.

The drafters of the ACLU letter express the concern that the abrogation of the established exceptions will essentially reverse the Supreme Court’s ruling in Myriad that isolated gene sequences are not patentable subject matter. I am not as sure of the specter of genes coming back under patent should Coons-Tillis be enacted. My hesitation stems from what I find to be the opacity in the Supreme Court’s analysis in Myriad. If the Court’s reasoning rested on a constitutional holding that natural occurring substances like genetic sequences are not the “discovery of an inventor” contributing to “progress” in the “useful arts,” as required by Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution, then perhaps the Myriad holding survives a possible enactment of the Coons-Tillis bill ...

Read the full article.

Professor William C. Banks Helps CNN Fact-Check the President

William C. Banks

Donald Trump made 78 false claims last week

CNN | July 30, 2019

Article II of the Constitution

"Then I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as President." -- July 23 speech at Turning Point USA's Teen Student Action Summit

Facts First: Article II of the Constitution, which outlines the powers of the executive branch, does not grant the president the ability to do "whatever" they want.

"The President's assertion is false, by a long shot," said William Banks, a law professor at Syracuse University. "The President, like every actor in our national government, is bound by the Constitution. Article II of the Constitution allows the President to take certain actions, but the list is quite short, especially compared to the long list of Congress's Article I powers."

The first line of Article II, Section 1 says, "The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." Subsequent items establish the process of choosing the president, who is eligible for the presidency, the State of the Union update the president must give to Congress, the president's role as commander-in-chief, and presidential powers such as making treaties and granting pardons. Notably, Article II also includes the provision that allows for the president to be impeached.

"The main point is that the President is subordinate to the Constitution and laws," said Banks. "He is not a monarch, nor running an autocracy."

Read the whole article.

Syracuse University College of Law Researchers Awarded CUSE Grants

Syracuse University

The effectiveness of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and other human rights treaties, the role of disability art in international relations, and exploring best practices for utilizing restorative practices in cases of elder abuse are the topics of Syracuse University College of Law research projects funded by the 2019 Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program. 

The purpose of the intramural CUSE Grant Program is to enhance interdisciplinary collaborations, to grow the research enterprise, and elevate scholarship at Syracuse University in order to attract extramural funding and facilitate high-quality scholarly output. CUSE Grants encourage faculty to build teams across campus and produce preliminary data that will help their efforts to obtain outside funding for basic, translational, and applied research, thereby increasing the recognition of the awardees, their programs, and the University.

"These CUSE grant awards will help to amplify the College of Law's strengths in disability law and policy, international law, and aging studies, " says Professor Lauryn Gouldin, Associate Dean for Faculty Research. "I am particularly pleased and excited that all three projects will invite world-class researchers and practitioners to the University and College. I congratulate the Principal Investigators and their colleagues on their awards."

2019 College of Law CUSE Grant Projects

Syracuse University Seminar on the Effectiveness of Human Rights Treaties

Principal Investigator: Professor Arlene Kanter, College of Law

Other College of Law Collaborators: Professor Cora True-Frost and Associate Teaching Professor Corri Zoli, College of Law

The Seminar on the Effectiveness of Human Rights Treaties will gather experts in different disciplines from within SU and around the world to develop new methodologies and indicators for assessing the effectiveness of human rights treaties. During the first two years, the group will focus on the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, adopted by the United Nations in 2006.

Specific objectives of the seminar are to develop a shared knowledge base of theories, methodologies, indicators, and practices that currently inform assessments of the effectiveness of human rights treaties; to bring together University faculty, staff, and students who research human rights enforcement, implementation, and monitoring; to invite to campus a select group of world-renowned scholars and practitioners; and to prepare a book proposal based on the new methodologies, indicators, and theories developed during the seminar. 

The project aims to leverage the results of the initial CUSE grant for external funding and to continue the seminar in order to advance innovative methodologies regarding the effectiveness of human rights treaties, which may provide the foundation for a new University-wide interdisciplinary human rights center or institute.

The Wordgathering Symposium: Cultural Diplomacy, Disability, and Literature

Principal Investigator: University Professor Stephen Kuusisto, Director of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach, Burton Blatt Institute

Co-Principal Investigator: Professor Diane Weiner, Associate Director of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach, Burton Blatt Institute

The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) Office of Interdisciplinary Programs' award will be used to facilitate ongoing work with the US Department of State and cultural organizations to explore the role of disability art in international relations. 

The Wordgathering Symposium formalizes an approach to disability literature, envisioning it as a core component in a University initiative in disability and cultural diplomacy. Modeled on work by University Professor Stephen Kuusisto, who has traveled extensively with American writers under the auspices of the US Department of State, BBI hopes to extend the University’s groundbreaking role as the first American university to develop a program in Disability Studies by creating an international project to introduce disabled writers from the US to several foreign locations.

This interdisciplinary research grant is tied to a foundation funding proposal currently in process that will establish an International Disabled Writer’s Program (IDWP) in partnership with the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. The CUSE Grant will fund a literary symposium at Syracuse University to showcase disability writing and plans for a larger international cultural diplomacy program that will introduce disability arts in select global locations. 

Restorative Practices and Elder Abuse: Opportunities and Challenges

Co-Principal Investigator: Professor Mary Helen McNeal, College of Law

Co-Principal Investigator: Professor Maria T. Brown, Aging Studies Institute, Falk College

The seminar Restorative Practices and Elder Abuse: Opportunities and Challenges will explore the challenges and opportunities presented by using restorative practices to address elder abuse. Elder abuse is an epidemic, affecting an estimated 141 million people worldwide, and numbers are expected to grow as the population ages. Existing research and scholarship measuring successful interventions and preventions is scant, and even less evaluates the use of restorative practices. 

Therefore, this seminar will gather a dynamic group of international scholars working at the intersection of restorative practices and elder justice. They will share their work, perspectives, and findings, resulting in a fruitful dialogue to further innovations in responding to elder abuse and to generate “best practices” for utilizing restorative practices in this context. 

Papers presented at the seminar will be published in an edited volume of the “Society and Aging” series. The Co-PIs previously secured a research grant to conduct empirical research, a literature review, and a community forum on this topic.

Commentary: Trump’s Role Model

David Driesen

Trump’s Role Model

By Professor David Driesen

(Project Syndicate | July 30, 2019) US President Donald Trump did not invent his immigration policy. Instead, he borrowed much of it from his fellow autocrat Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, who fanned anti-migrant sentiment among a large enough share of voters to gain the political power he needed to dismantle Hungarian democracy.

Given Trump’s imitation of Orbán, US liberals who bewail the cruelty and stupidity of Trump’s immigration policies, and conservatives who advocate “border security,” miss the point. Trump is not using such measures to try to make America great; like his role model, he is trying to manufacture an immigration-related crisis to help him establish an autocracy. And although Trump’s efforts in this regard are less far advanced than Orbán’s nine-year-old project in Hungary, he has made more progress than most Americans realize.

Orbán, like Trump, has made demonization of immigrants a defining feature of his administration. Both leaders pursue racist policies of turning back immigrants from the south (mostly Central American asylum seekers trying to enter the United States, and Syrians coming to Hungary). Both justify their policies in part by claiming – with little or no evidence – that immigrants fleeing extreme violence and poverty are engaged in terrorism.

Hungary has not experienced a terrorist incident. But Orbán nonetheless managed to secure a terrorism conviction of an exhausted and frustrated Syrian asylum seeker (later released) for throwing stones when the government built a razor-wire fence on Hungary’s southern border to block migrants making the arduous journey across the Balkans.

Similarly, Trump has sought to deflect attention from low crime rates in America’s immigrant communities by highlighting violent incidents among the much larger naturalized immigrant population. In particular, Trump repeatedly cited three brutal murders in California to bolster support for his harsh immigration policies.

The Hungarian government built its fence on the country’s border with Serbia in 2015. Trump has since copied Orbán by advocating construction of a wall on the much longer southern US border. And, just as Orbán used emergency powers to deploy Hungary’s army along its border and to build his fence, Trump has tried to use similar powers to order the US Army to fortify the southern border.

In defiance of international law, Hungary has limited asylum claims in order to prevent even immigrants fleeing extreme violence from entering the country. The Hungarian authorities have also put asylum seekers in detention camps pending processing of their applications, and have tried to restrict the number of asylum claims by relying on a third country, Serbia, to absorb the refugees ...

Read the whole article.

Carla Villarreal Lopez: A Rising Career in International Disability Rights

Carla Villarreal Lopez LL.M. '17 standing at the Alley of the Flags, Palais Des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.

Before arriving in Syracuse to pursue her Master of Laws degree, Carla Villarreal Lopez LL.M. '17 was already an experienced human rights lawyer. In her native Peru she served as a Commissioner at the Ombudsman's Office, as well as a professor at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. Today, with her master's degree and impressive awards added to her résumé, Villarreal Lopez is supporting the mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the heart of the international law community, in Geneva, Switzerland.

"In Peru, Carla engaged in advocacy efforts, monitored public policies on women and disability rights, conducted training programs, and worked for legal reforms in line with human rights standards, including the reform of the civil code on legal capacity," says Professor Arlene Kanter, Director of the Disability Law and Policy Program, and Villarreal Lopez's former professor and mentor. "Until recently, the rights of women with disabilities to access justice and to be free from violence were widely ignored by the international community. In Peru, however, Carla brought attention to this issue."

While at Syracuse, Villarreal Lopez's academic strengths and commitment to public service were recognized with one of the University's most prestigious awards. As the first law student ever to win the Robert B. Menschel Public Service Fellowship, Carla was able to augment her practical experience working in Washington, DC, for Women Enabled International.

"Carla is now working in the Office of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Geneva, as one of only two international fellows in the entire world—the other is also a Syracuse University graduate, Jean Molly Ameru G'18—to receive the prestigious Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation International Public Policy Fellowship," says Kanter. "I cannot underscore enough what a spectacular rise Carla has experienced in the world of international disability rights since she left Syracuse."

Villarreal Lopez recently took the time to answer questions about her burgeoning career, her tireless advocacy, and the state of international disability rights.

Why did you originally choose to focus your career on the rights of women and persons with disabilities?

I grew up surrounded by the devastating effects of an internal armed conflict in Peru and a dictatorship that corrupted institutions, jeopardized human rights, and impeded the democratic process. This context reinforced my decision to pursue a career in human rights. I consider law an effective tool of social change for implementing inclusive public policies and providing equal opportunities for the most excluded groups, including women and persons with disabilities. 

Given that you were already an accomplished lawyer and advocate on women’s and disability rights in your native Peru, why did you decide to pursue an LL.M. at Syracuse?

I was a Commissioner at the Women’s Rights Department of the Ombudsman’s Office and a Professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru when I received the Open Society Foundations’ Disability Rights Scholarship to study the LL.M. at Syracuse University from 2016 to 2017. 

It was the best option for advancing my career in disability rights because the College of Law offers human rights and disability-related courses conducted by amazing professors, including Arlene Kanter and Cora True-Frost. At the same time, I could complement my legal background with a course at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, which was important for me as a civil servant. 

Furthermore, College of Law Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew Horsfall and the staff of the LL.M. program have been very supportive, and every international student has a faculty advisor and a mentor. Likewise, the College of Law has a great infrastructure and all the resources for promoting an inclusive educational environment. The Disability Law and Policy Program is a leading academic center for disabilities rights worldwide. There are also different extra-curricular opportunities to be engaged, including the Disability Law Society, research assistantships, academic visits, international events, and more. 

What skills and lessons did you learn at Syracuse that have helped you further your advocacy? 

My experience at Syracuse University allowed me to grow as a researcher and human rights advocate. The College of Law helped me to foster critical thinking and the ability to analyze complex legal issues, as well as my research and writing skills. I co-authored, with Professor Kanter, an article on violence against women and girls with disabilities that was solicited for publication for a special volume of the Northeastern Law Review.

Syracuse University also strengthened my advocacy strategies and enhanced my ability to connect academia with legislative and policy reforms. Moreover, I learned more about the value of diversity and inclusive learning environments. I met persons from different cultures and backgrounds, and I learned from their experiences of promoting human rights in their own communities.

Can you describe your current work and activities at the UN Office of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities? 

I am a Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation International Public Policy Fellow serving Catalina Devandas, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I am responsible for assisting in research and supporting research-related activities with other special procedures and other human rights mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, treaty bodies, and UN agencies and programs, states representatives, civil society organizations, universities, and various institutions. I contribute to thematic reports with particular focus on persons with intellectual disabilities, analyzing literature, legislation, and good practices. I also assist with briefing notes, statements, presentations, material for awareness-raising, and follow-up activities, as well as organizing and coordinating expert meetings.

Catalina Devandas is an independent expert mandated to support the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). She develops a regular dialogue with states and other stakeholders; receives communications on violations of the rights of persons with disabilities; conducts country visits; and make recommendations on how to advance the rights of all persons with disabilities. 

How would you describe the current state of international disability rights?

Since the signing of CRPD in 2006, state parties have started to consider the exclusion of persons with disabilities as a problem that impacts society as a whole. There have been advances, but there are still many more challenges, including legal reforms in line with CRPD standards, such as legislation recognizing the legal capacity of all persons with disabilities. 

It is also fundamental to design, implement, and monitor inclusive public policies with consultation and active participation of persons with disabilities, as well as change discriminatory practices and attitudes in society. As the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has pointed out, only by embracing diversity can we aspire to a world in which nobody is left behind in the framework of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

You still have a long career ahead of you—what would you like to accomplish in the coming years?

I would like to work for the UN or any international organization to further implement human rights standards into domestic legislation and public policies, including the gender and disability perspective. I would like to be engaged in projects in Latin America, including Peru, in relation to issues that in particular affect girls and women, as well as persons with intellectual disabilities. For instance, I am very interested in working on inclusive education, legal capacity, sexual and reproductive rights, gender-based violence, and access to justice.

What advice would you give someone—especially a student of disability rights—thinking of studying for an LL.M. in Syracuse?

I would recommend to apply now and take advantage of all the opportunities Syracuse University can offer, including the Disability Law and Policy Program, a leading academic center for disabilities rights worldwide. Studying abroad is an amazing experience at the academic, professional, and personal level. Syracuse’s LL.M. Program offers interesting disability-related courses conducted by excellent professors, and you can complement this learning with courses at other schools for a truly interdisciplinary course of study. Plus, you will feel supported all the time in the best inclusive educational environment.

Solar Cell Manufacturer’s “Flexible” Approach Brings Renewable Energy to Unprecedented Places

Pvilion’s flexible solar panels can be integrated into clothing, as shown with this prototype jacket.

By Julia Scaglione

It’s 2019, and the world continues its rapid transformation. The physical earth itself changing in a time defined by environmental disruption, while exponential advancements in high tech are happening throughout the world. As the planet and technology undergo these developments, businesses—especially in the clean tech sector—must rapidly adapt to stay relevant or risk becoming extinct. 

One clean tech company, however, has been designed specifically to embrace change and stay abreast of these constant transformations. Meet Pvilion, a client of the New York State Science and Technology Law Center (NYSSTLC), part of the Syracuse University College of Law’s Innovation Law Center.

Pvilion can be viewed as a change-expert. Its business model is built quite literally upon the concept of “flexibility”. The company specializes in solar products, but these are not your typical rigid rooftop panels. Pvilion designs and manufactures a flexible solar-powered fabric that can be used on any surface. Want a solar-powered backpack or jacket? Pvilion can make it. Or perhaps you’re thinking bigger—flexible solar panels on a boat cover, tent, or even stadium roof? That can be done at the hands of the Pvilion team. 

Currently headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, Pvilion is not your standard DUMBO Brooklyn Community Laboratory startup. The company was born out of FTL, a business with nearly 25 years’ experience in advanced technology innovation. Specifically, FTL Solar—a subdivision of FTL—created the flexible solar cell technology that is the core of Pvilion’s business. Pvilion now operates as a small business led by co-founders CEO Colin Touhey, President Todd Dalland, and Vice President Robert Lerner. Although small in size, Pvilion’s operations—and its ambitions—are not miniscule in the slightest. 

Pvilion works daily with subcontractors and industry experts to innovate its solar cell technology in new and creative ways. One such partner may seem an unusual fit for a solar energy company: fashion giant Tommy Hilfiger. Pvilion has collaborated with the famous brand to create jackets and bags with USB charging capabilities. The unique partnership demonstrates Pvilion’s opportunity to work across a spectrum of markets due to its one-of-a-kind, adaptable technology. 

“Take a product like an umbrella,” Touhey says. “Solar cell manufacturers are trying to integrate their technology into the product, and umbrella companies are trying to add value to their product through working with cheap solar cell manufacturers.” In this and other cases, its novel technology places Pvilion in a rare market position, between companies scrapping at both ends of the value chain. Its custom fabric can enter as the happy medium between two ends of this economic spectrum. “Pvilion is in a unique position to be agnostic,” says Touhey, enjoying his position as a protagonist without many antagonists in the solar cell fabric game.

Looking toward the future, Pvilion aims to infiltrate new markets in addition to those they currently operate in. In order to optimize its penetration, the company has been working with the Innovation Law Center as a client of NYSSTLC. On behalf of NYSSTLC, faculty and students provide companies with assessments of their intellectual property, as well as market and regulatory landscapes, to promote the commercialization of new technologies.

Specifically, the students are helping Pvilion determine where to penetrate by providing—as part of its proprietary report—a comprehensive summary of different markets for their technology. The students are enabling Pvilion to make smart market decisions by using strategic, data-powered evaluation and streamlined quantitative analysis. 

Backed by the student research, Pvilion hopes not only to find industry partners in new markets, thus expanding its current reach but also to optimize its current partnerships and grow its business in the markets it currently participates in. Discovering its full potential is the aim. 

Touhey speaks on behalf of the Pvilion team when he says that they have a “grand vision for what the future of solar could be.” He adds, “We are thrilled about the new strategic market partnerships to come.” 

So, as the physical and technological worlds continue to evolve and companies attempt to adapt, keep an eye out for Pvilion—perhaps on a new jacket, bag, or tent—the “flexible disruptors” of the renewable energy industry.

Julia Scaglione is Communications Assistant for the New York State Science and Technology Law Center and a B.S. in Public Relations candidate (2020) in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Can the President Do Whatever He Wants? Professor William C. Banks Clarifies for The Washington Post

William C. Banks

While bemoaning Mueller probe, Trump falsely says the Constitution gives him ‘the right to do whatever I want’

(The Washington Post | July 24, 2019) President Trump believes the Constitution gives him a wide breadth of power. That’s the message he delivered―not for the first time—on Tuesday while addressing a crowd of teenagers and young adults at the Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit in Washington.

There are numerous viral video clips from Trump’s 80-minute speech at the conference, but one of the most controversial moments came as he discussed Article II of the Constitution, which describes the powers of the president.

Trump lamented the duration and cost of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, which he has repeatedly said found “no collusion, no obstruction" ...

... William C. Banks, a professor of law at Syracuse University, told The Washington Post on Tuesday that Trump’s comments are an affront to “basic points that every schoolchild learns in civics.” Trump took an oath to support and defend the Constitution when he became president, Banks noted, meaning he can only do what the Constitution permits him to.

“It’s certainly not a grant of unlimited power,” Banks said. “He’s not a monarch, he’s the chief executive ... and he’s bound to uphold the rule of law.”

The lawsuits Trump faces in federal courts serve as a reminder of that notion, Banks said. The professor cited various delays to Trump’s border wall, as well as the challenges the president has faced while implementing immigration reform ...

Read the full article

Dean Boise Visits DCEx Participants at the American Chemistry Council

Dean Boise speaks with DCEx students in July 2019.

Michael P. Walls L’84, Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs for the American Chemistry Council (ACC), welcomed Dean Craig M. Boise and DCEx participants to the trade association in July 2019, where they conducted an open dialog on the DCEx program and the College of Law. 

DCEx participants shared with Dean Boise their work placement responsibilities and discussed the evolving legal profession. Dean Boise then spoke about the success of the College’s Externship Program in the Capital and its expansion into New York City, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, GA. Stressing the importance of externships, Dean Boise explained that “there is a huge difference between sitting in a classroom and only learning substantive law, versus learning the law and applying it in the actual workforce that students hope soon to join.” 

Dean Boise also spoke about core initiatives and new programs at the College, including the re-branded and re-configured Innovation Law Center; the revamping of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism; the integration of Burton Blatt Institute within the law school; the Trial Advocacy Program’s inaugural Syracuse National Trial Competition; JDinteractive, the College’s online J.D. program; and the 3+3 program with three Atlanta-based HBCUs. 

Dean Boise’s visit with DCEx students at ACC concluded with a question and answer session, where participants raised concerns and posited ideas for the Externship Program and the College of Law.

Dean Boise speaks with DCEx students in July 2019.

Dean Boise speaks with DCEx students in July 2019.

BBI Chairman Peter Blanck Comments in The New York Times on Scalia Nomination to be Labor Secretary

Peter Blanck

Peter Blanck, Chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute, was quoted about class action suits and the Americans with Disabilities Act in a July 19, 2019, The New York Times article: “Trump’s Labor Pick Has Defended Corporations, and One Killer Whale.”

"Peter Blanck, a professor at Syracuse University who has written extensively about the disabilities law, said that class action suits are often critical to allowing individuals to realize their rights under the law. Absent the class certification, the plaintiffs agreed to a settlement with the company.

"In these and other lawsuits involving his clients, Mr. Scalia has 'consistently sought to narrow ADA protections on a variety of issues, including the definition of disability and class certification.'"

Read the whole article.

Professor Michael Schwartz Publishes Article on Health Care for Deaf People in Northern Ireland

Michael Schwartz
Schwartz, Michael. "What’s the CRAIC? Health Care for Deaf People in Northern Ireland." Touro Law Review, 35:1 (Symposium Issue on Disability Rights Law, 2019)

Northern Ireland, one of the four political entities constituting the United Kingdom (UK), is subject to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) because the UK ratified the UNCRPD on June 8, 2009, writes Professor Michael Schwartz in the Touro Law Review. Article 25 of the UNCRPD requires access to health care for people with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

A Fulbright scholar at Queen’s University Belfast in 2015, Schwartz conducted a study of deaf people’s access to Northern Ireland’s health care system. His study, confirmed over several subsequent visits to Northern Ireland, suggests that work needs to be done to fully effectuate Northern Ireland’s compliance with the UNCRPD.

Interviews with deaf people, sign language interpreters, and health care personnel underscore three key themes, observes Schwartz: the need for cultural awareness on the part of health care providers, the shortage of sign language interpreters, and the impact of the interpreter on the dynamic between the deaf patient and the hearing health care provider. 

"The overarching theme of the research demonstrates that there is an urgent need for training for all of the key stakeholders," writes Schwartz. "The article suggests several steps to address these themes."

Professor Doron Dorfman Discusses Disability Law & "Deservingness" on Ipse Dixit

Doron Dorfman

(Ipse Dixit | July 16, 2019) In this episode, Doron Dorfman, Associate Professor of Law at Syracuse University College of Law, discusses his article "[Un]Usual Suspects: Deservingness, Scarcity, and Disability Rights," which will be published in the UC Irvine Law Review. 

Dorfman begins by explaining his work on disability studies, health law, and law and psychology. He briefly explains the basis for modern disability law and how the ADA protects the rights of disabled people. 

He describes the empirical study, utilizing survey experiments as well as qualitative interviews, he conducted in relation to how Disneyland guests and parking lot users experience and perceive accommodations provided to disabled people. And he reflects on how the results of his study should inform our approach to disability policy. 

Listen to the Podcast.

Professor Deborah O'Malley Presents on Intergroup Dialog at Legal Storytelling Conference

Deborah O'Malley

Associate Teaching Professor Deborah O'Malley presented "Sharing Our Stories, Coming Together: The Power of Intergroup Dialogue in Legal Education" at the Seventh Biennial Conference on Applied Legal Storytelling at the University of Colorado at Boulder, July 9-11, 2019. 

"During my presentation, I talked about the intergroup dialogue I hosted at the College of Law in fall 2018," explains O'Malley. "I posited ways I believe intergroup dialogue can be utilized to help students develop key lawyering skills."

In May 2018, O’Malley was awarded a Syracuse University Diversity and Inclusion Grant for her project "SU College of Law Student Leader Transformative Dialogue". This project engaged student leaders in a dialogue group with their peers to help foster recognition and understanding of individual and group differences. A follow-up study investigated whether intergroup dialogue can be an effective tool for helping law students develop professional skills such as compassion, empathy, and the ability to recognize and appreciate multiple perspectives. 

"My session described how the College implemented intergroup dialogue to create new levels of understanding between, and action by, student leaders," adds O'Malley. "Participants were encouraged to share stories, listen actively, and suspend judgment during discussions addressing issues of privilege and oppression. In the wake of our success, I propose using intergroup dialogue as a tool to help law students develop key lawyering skills."

The Seventh Applied Legal Storytelling Conference was a collaboration of the Legal Writing Institute and the Clinical Legal Education Association. The program explored a spectrum of topics in legal storytelling, including presentations about wills, guardianships, criminal law, resistance and resilience, testimonial oaths, and gender discrimination.

Deborah O'Malley presents at the Seventh Applied Legal Storytelling Conference.
Deborah O'Malley presents at the Seventh Applied Legal Storytelling Conference.

Professor Corri Zoli Talks Iran & Economic Warfare on WAER

Corri Zoli

SU National Security Expert: "Economic Warfare" With Iran, Others Might Achieve Results

(WAER | July 17, 2019) With the Iran Nuclear deal hanging by a thread, a Syracuse University national security expert says Iran is using it as a tool to push back against the US, Britain, and other allies to gain a stronger foothold in the region.  Corri Zoli is a law professor and Director of Research for the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at SU.

"They can create enough of a division such that the EU will continue to back their nuclear deal and keep giving them support.  They can continue to try and beef up their economic standing, and still do their proxy war meddling in the region.  Then they can ultimately achieve their 'Persian Crescent,' the idea that they will try to  dominate the Middle East."

Zoli says the nuclear pact is full of structural and policy limitations that allow Iran to push the limits.  She says playing nice just doesn’t work with a pro-conflict actor like Iran that has repeatedly tried to destabilize the region.  Zoli says the sanctions are a form of diplomacy, even if it seems to be ramping up tensions.

"It's highly coercive.  It's highly hard power.  But as an alternative to actual military intervention, it's a very strong and powerful tool and the US is uniquely positioned to use it because we have one of the strongest economies in the world."

Zoli says the Trump administration’s economic sanctions are strategic, if not unpredictable, and could reap results that evaded the Obama administration’s softer touch.

"The accommodationist strategy can be extremely risky.  The more economic warfare strategy...not the soft power, but the hard power approach, can be more effective.  Political respect is a wonderful thing, a very idealist conception.  But many of these nations said 'prove it.'  Then you're in the realm of pragmatics.  Unless you play in that realm, it's very hard to get the policy outcomes that you want."


Professor Zoli says the Trump Administration’s use of what she calls “economic warfare” with Iran and others seems to be part of a larger and perhaps effective approach to pressure countries into action.  

"You've got all the hard power of economics, which is even more pernicious than war.  You can really destroy whole economies.  In a war, you can hurt certain areas of a country, but you usually don't grenade the entire economy.  Whereas with economic warfare, you truly can."

Zoli acknowledges this runs the risk of ramping up tensions with Iran, which is being targeted for violating the nuclear deal.  She says, however, that political polarization and personalities seem to distract from what might result in positive policy outcomes.

"You have the Middle East/North Africa region going through this enormous transformation right now.   Iran is trying to get leverage, trying to be an agent of change in that transformation. The gulf monarchies, with the US as an ally and others, are trying to block that power move."

Zoli says we’re seeing much the same strategy playing out with North Korea and its nuclear program.

"Where is the economic pressure on North Korea?  China.  There you've got the economic warfare web.  The Trump Administratiion and his advisors know that North Korea is essentially a client state of China.  Anything it decides to do or not do is going to be based on some kind of prior relationship with China."

Zoli knows allies might be a bit disgruntled, but NATO’s European states are contributing more to their own defense for the first time in history. 

Read the article on WAER.

Professor Peter Blanck Discusses the ADA and Web Accessibility on Knowledge@Wharton

Peter Blanck

"... [T]he whole point of the Americans With Disabilities Act is that people with disabilities, regardless of their impairments, should have the opportunity to do everything that people without disabilities do. That our environment, that we build, that we create, should not be made inaccessible."

On July 3, 2019, BBI Chairman Peter Blanck was interviewed on the Knowledge@Wharton podcast. Joining Blanck was Lex Frieden, Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Blanck and Frieden discussed companies being sued—such as Domino's Pizaa—for allegedly operating non-ADA compliant websites. They also addressed the future of accessibility, smart technology, universal design, and artificial intelligence.

Hosted by Dan Loney, Knowledge@Wharton is a daily, call-in business interview program, broadcast from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Listen to the podcast and access the transcript.

Professor Arlene Kanter's Disability Law & Policy Work Featured on The Heumann Perspective

Arlene Kanter

(July 12, 2019) Join Judy Heumann, former Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the US Department of State, and Professor Arlene Kanter in a webcast discussion about how Kanter's work as the Founder and Director of the Syracuse University College of Law's Disability Law and Policy Program has facilitated the discussion of disability and disability inclusion. 

Matthew Wallace L'19 Discusses Student Resolutions on ABA Law Student Podcast

Matthew Wallace

(ABA Law Student Podcast | July 12, 2019) This year, the law student division is bringing three resolutions for consideration before the ABA House of Delegates at the Annual Meeting. 

In this episode, Ashley Baker is joined by Matthew Wallace L'19 for a deeper look at two of these resolutions and what law students hope to achieve through them. First, they discuss the resolution calling for the ABA to encourage widespread adoption of pro bono scholars programs. 

Matthew explains the benefits of programs of this kind and offers insight into what this type of opportunity would look like for a typical law student. 

Later, they discuss how the resolution for increasing the number of law student division delegates from three to six would give law students the voice they deserve in the ABA House of Delegates. 

College of Law Announces 2019 Law Honors Awards Recipients

Law Alumni Weekend

On Sept. 20, 2019, the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association and the College of Law will celebrate the singular achievements of five alumni at the Syracuse Law Honors Awards Ceremony during Law Alumni Weekend.

This year’s award recipients have distinguished themselves with achievements in advocacy for the aging, military and veteran affairs, public service inside and outside the courtroom, employment and labor law, and environmental issues.

Congratulations to this year’s honorees:

  • Richard M. Alexander L’82, for his successful career in banking and finance services law, his leadership on behalf of the College and University, and his advocacy of justice for the aging.
  • Lt. Thomas M. Caruso L’14, for his service to the nation as a JAG officer and his tireless work on behalf of justice for military veterans.
  • Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91, for her active and engaged career on the bench and her unceasing support of her community, the rule of law, and diversity initiatives.
  • Bernard T. King L’59, for his nationally recognized body of work in employment and labor law and for his service to the College and his community.
  • Eileen D. Millett L’74, for her long and esteemed career in land use and environmental law, her public service on behalf of New York State, and her championing of environmental issues and regulation.

Read their biographies here.

Learn more about the Syracuse Law Honors Awards celebration, all Syracuse Law Alumni Weekend programs, and register at this link.  

Law Honors Awards recipients 2019
Law Honors Awards recipients 2019

Professor Shubha Ghosh Reviews the State of Gene Editing with ValueWalk.com

Shubha Ghosh

(ValueWalk.com | July 11, 2019) In this interview, Professor Ghosh discusses his background, the Human Genome Project, the current state of gene editing, 3D printing for organ operations, and gene editing regulation.

Can you tell us about your background as it relates to intellectual property?

I earned my law degree at Stanford Law School and took numerous courses in intellectual property and business law (as well constitutional law and international law). I did my third year paper on parallel importation of products protected intellectual property, and this work has been the basis for numerous publications, including a 2018 book from Cambridge University Press. I have taught intellectual property law courses at numerous law schools for nearly 25 years and am the author of several law school casebooks in the field of intellectual property law.  In addition to my scholarly work, I have served as a consultant in several cases involving intellectual property.

When I was growing up, I remember learning about the genome being mapped – can you explain what that means and how much we have progressed since then?

The Human Genome Project was a multi-country, multi-university project funded by the National Institute of Health, launched in 1990 and declared complete in 2003. The goal of the project was to identify the nucleotides, or chemical codes,  for all the genes in the human body,  over 3 billion base pairs.  After 13 years, the mapping was considered completed, but do keep in mind that the mapping is based on a composite across all samples that the many researchers were studying.  So there is much more to learn about the specific genes in any given individual and how they work.”

In addition to the NIH sponsored project, there was private sector initiative as well, and many companies are working to further understand the chemical structure and function of genes.

Can you help folks without medical or legal backgrounds understand the current state of gene editing?

It is perhaps best to think of two ways genes are manipulated. One is recombinant technology that allows for inserting new genes in existing organisms in order to create an enhanced organism. You can think about recombinant technology as doing in a lab what happens in nature whenever two individuals reproduce. Recombinant DNA technology has been with us for over three decades and is responsible for genetically modified crops as well as modified animals.

A relatively new technology called CRISP-R allows for gene editing in the body of a living organism, much like surgery allows for removal or implantation of tissue or mechanical/electronic devices.  This current technology is what the press refers to as gene editing. It is controversial because of the ethical implications and the still developing science of how such editing would work. There are legal debates ongoing over the patents, and much of the application is still in the preliminary phases ...

Read the full article.

Jonathan Pilat Selected for the Crime Victims Justice Corps

2L Jonathan Pilat

Second-year law student Jonathan Pilat has been selected to join the Equal Justice Works Crime Victims Justice Corps (CVJC) Student Program. Supported by an award from the US Department of Justice, CVJC mobilizes postgraduate fellows and law students across the country to deliver civil legal assistance and enforce the rights of crime victims.

Pilat joins 29 other public interest law students working alongside postgraduate fellows during summer 2019 at legal services organizations nationwide. Pilat is working at Legal Assistance of Western New York, and, as a member of the corps, he will receive a stipend for his public interest service. 

Student corps members help CVJC provide legal services to address issues—including family law, education, and employment—arising from crime victimization, as well as provide outreach and training to community partners.

Professor Roy Gutterman Discusses Court of Appeals POTUS Twitter Ruling

Roy Gutterman

Appeals Court: Trump Can't Punish Twitter Critics

(Multichannel.com | July 9, 2019) The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that President Trump can't selectively block people from his Twitter account because he does not like what they tweet, upholding a lower court ruling last May that that constituted "unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.

The three-judge panel ruling can be appealed to the full court.

The court said the President has used Twitter to conduct official business and interact with the public. The White House has said that tweets were official statements, so it did the spadework for the ruling itself ...

... “The Second Circuit today made a bold statement about how government officials like the president can use social media and how it relates to the flow of public information and debate on public issues," said Syracuse University Professor Roy Gutterman, director of the Tully Center for Free Speech. "The First Amendment prevents the president from blocking twitter followers because it would deprive users access to official government information. The opinion acknowledges that there are myriad First Amendment issues at play here, but the bottom line is the president should not deprive twitter users access to his official presidential account and reap the benefits of viewing his tweets, retweets and replies. If public speech is taking place in social media venues, then citizens should have access to the information under the First Amendment.”

Read the full story.

Inns & Outs of UK Law: LondonEx Wraps Up Its 42nd Summer Program

With the battle to choose a successor to Prime Minister Theresa May in its final stages, arguments about how the UK should leave the European Union still rumbling, and the possibility of a suspended Parliament and a subsequent constitutional crisis looming, summer 2019 is certainly an interesting time to study law in London. 

The College of Law's 42nd LondonEx summer externship program wrapped up on July 5, with the all-female group of 15 externs returning Stateside after an intensive six-week immersion in the UK legal, justice, and political systems. 

Supervised by LondonEx Director Professor Mary-Helen McNeal and Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew Horsfall, the students—including two from outside the College of Law—spent time in the classroom and in practice learning how the UK, European, and international legal systems work; reflecting on the differences in education and training of lawyers in the UK and in the US; and understanding the impact of culture on lawyering and professional environments. 

"This year's LondonEx program saw a dynamic group of students pursue externship opportunities at MSCI Inc., State Street Global Advisors, US Bank, Withers LLP, the AIRE Center, REDRESS, the Borough of Islington, Woolwich Crown Court, barristers' chambers—or 'sets'—and solicitors' firms," explains Horsfall. 

"I absolutely loved my placement," says 2L Frances Rivera Reyes, who externed at MSCI Inc. "All the passionate individuals in the team created a positive work environment and became connections that will last me a lifetime."  

Students began their London experience with a weeklong orientation session centered around five core themes. "This session offered foundational exposure to British legal education, the British legal system, comparative ethics and professional responsibility, British politics, and access to justice in criminal and civil settings," says Horsfall.

Lectures and events included a night at the theatre to see courtroom drama "Witness for the Prosecution"; panel discussions on life on an in-house counsel team and on "Women in the Law"; a discussion of European General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR); a seminar on "crime and punishment" by the Old Bailey Insight & Legal London Group; and shared perspectives from practicing barristers and solicitors.

"LondonEx program alumna Ashley Brickles-Shapiro L’10, Managing Director at FTI Consulting, also talked to the students about her experiences learning and now living and working in London, along with her husband and fellow LondonEx alum Jeffrey Shapiro L'10, an eDiscovery Support Manager at Clifford Chance," adds McNeal. 

An innovation for this year's program was a full day of lectures on international law and politics featuring alumnus Jim Bergeron L'90, Political Advisor to NATO’s Allied Maritime Command; Charlie Loudon, International Law Analyst at human rights advocates REDRESS; and Nuala Mole (founder) and Hannah Smith (International Legal Advisor), both of the legal charity the AIRE Centre. 

Site visits included a Legal London Walking Tour through the Inns of Court and visits to the UK Supreme Court, Parliament, the Royal Courts of Justice, and the Hackney Law Centre.

In addition to their externships and legal studies, the students enjoyed a traditional reception on the terrace of the Middle Temple Inn, one of the four Inns of Court, the professional associations that regulate barristers in the UK. "On the weekends, the students also traveled to Dublin, Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam, Marbella, Edinburgh, Stockholm, among other European destinations," adds Horsfall.

"The LondonEx program was definitely one of my best decisions since coming to Syracuse," concludes 2L Morgan Mendenhall, who assisted Peter Susman QC at Henderson Chambers. "It provided an opportunity to not only experience London but also to apply the legal skills I learned in my first year. The networking opportunities are unparalleled as they reach across the world!"

Amalfe Featured in "Client Service All-Stars"

Christine Amalfe

Christine Amalfe, Chair of the Gibbons PC Employment & Labor Law department, was featured in BTI Consulting Group's 18th annual "Client Service All-Stars" list, which lists only 335 attorneys nationwide.

Polimeni Joins Harter Secrest & Emery

Karianne Polimeni

Karianne Polimeni joined Harter Secrest & Emery as an associate in the firm's Real Estate practice.

Corelli Joins Harter Secrest & Emery

Mike Corelli

Mike Corelli joined Harter Secrest & Emery as an associate in the firm's Corporate and Transactional practice group.

Castro Wins 2019 Young Practitioners' Award

Camille Castro

Camille Castro, a Senior Associate PBGC Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate, won the International Pension & Employee Benefits Lawyers Association's 2019 Young Practitioners' Award for her paper, "'Where Did My Pension Go?' A Discussion of Pension Registries."

Pooler, Jr. Joins Bond, Schoeneck & King

Richard Pooler, Jr.

Richard Pooler, Jr. joined Bond, Schoeneck & King as Of Counsel in the firm's environmental and energy practice.

Yim Joins Drinker Biddle & Reath

Jinho Yim

Jinho Yim joine Drinker Biddle & Reath as a partner in the Corporate & Securities Group of the firm's New York City office.

Nicholas Joins Lathrop Gage

Anderson Nicholas

Anderson Nicholas joined Lathrop Gage's Denver office as Of Counsel in the Tax and Employee Benefits practice group.

Rhee Named in Chambers Review

Paul Rhee

Paul Rhee, a partner in the antitrust and competition practice group at Yoon & Yang was selected for inclusion in the 2019 Chambers Review - Asia-Pacific. Rhee was rated in Band 3 in the category of Competition/Antitrust - South Korea. 

Szopinksi Joins Hodgson Russ

Brianne Szopinski

Brianne Szopinksi joined Hodgson Russ as an associate in the firm's Real Estate & Finance practice.

Ravala Elected to Scholarship America Board of Trustees

M. Salman Ravala

M. Salman Ravala was elected to the Scholarship America Board of Trustees. Ravala is anattorney, arbitrator, and mediator at Criscione Ravala, LLP.

Villanueva Serves in Afghanistan

Derick Villanueva

Derick Villanueva is currently serving in Afghanistan as a Ground Section Chief for Operation Resolute Support.

Bateman Named Chair of United Way

Alex Bateman

Alex Bateman was named chair of the United Way of Long Island's Board of Directors. Bateman has served on the Board since 2011, most recently as Executive Committee Member.

Ruffer Named First Woman Managing Partner

Anne Ruffer

Anne Ruffer was named the first woman managing partner at Mackenzie Hughes, where she is Chair of the firm's Executive Committee and Chair of the Trusts and Estates department.

Allen Named Partner

Stephen Allen

Stephen Allen was named partner at Katz and Matz, a NYC law firm specializing in real estate.

Oppenheimer Elected Partner

Andrew Oppenheimer

Andrew Oppenheimer was elected partner at Hodgson Russ, where he focuses his practice on federal and international tax matters.

Mehta Joins Cantor Colburn

Ishir Mehta

Ishir Mehta joined Cantor Colburn as an associate attorney in the firm's patent practice.

Laster Joins Wisler Pearlstine

Macy Laster

Macy Laster joined Wisler Pearlstine as an associate attorney.

Nelson Elected Oswego Family Court Judge

Allison Nelson

Allison Nelson was elected Oswego County Family Court Judge after owning her own firm and practicing law in Oswego, NY for 20 years.

Billinson Joins Blank Rome

George Billinson

George Billinson joined Blank Rome as Of Counsel in the firm's Energy group in the Washington, DC office.

Swift Joins GrayRobinson

Richard Swift

​Richard Swift joined GrayRobinson as shareholder and member of the real estate and banking transactional practice groups in the firm's Naples and Fort Meyers offices.

Martin Elected Member at Bousquet Holstein

Julia Martin

Julia Martin was elected member at Bousquet Holstein, where her practice focuses on corporate income, franchise, gross receipts, sales and use, and personal income taxes.

Locke Joins Barclay Damon

Alexandra Locke

Alexandra Locke joined Barclay Damon's Syracuse office as an associate in the firm's Real Estate and Financial Institutions & Lending practice areas.

Scarfone Elected Partner at Barclay Damon

Nick Scarfone

Nick Scarfone was elected partner at Barclay Damon, where he is a member of the firm's Tax, Corporate, and Trusts & Estates practice areas and its Canada/cross-border cannabis teams.

Shubert Named in Best Lawyers

Ronald Shubert

Ronald Shubert, partner at Philips Lytle LLP, has been selected for inclusion in the 2019 Best Lawyers in America in the categories of real estate law and litigation.

The Hon. Nazak Nikakhtar L’02 Hosts This Summer’s DCEx Participants at the US Department of Commerce

The Hon. Nazak Nikakhtar L’02

The Hon. Nazak Nikakhtar L’02, Undersecretary for Industry and Security at the US Department of Commerce served as a Distinguished Guest Lecturer in the DCEx summer externship program.

Nikakhtar explained her role as undersecretary and the path she traveled before attaining her current position. Particularly, Nikakhtar expounded on the ideals of true grit and perseverance as key ingredients in successfully overcoming any obstacle students may face in achieving their career goals. Syracuse law students, Nikakhtar explained, “have more grit and perseverance than those from other law schools, which fundamentally differentiates us. It allows us to endure far more, which makes for more success in the long term.” 

Nikakhtar also spoke on the agency’s mission and current high priority issues that she and her team are facing, such as the US-China trade war, reorganization of global markets, US dependence on Chinese goods and services, Huawei as a national security threat, and arms control regulation and enforcement.  

After delivering her lecture, Nikakhtar answered questions from the participants relating to US trade and tariffs policies and employment-seeking advice. “Participants left the seminar with a better understanding of how trade and tariff policy are formulated and executed by the federal government,” says Terry Turnipseed, Faculty Director of Externship Programs.

Insight Into Diversity Profiles College of Law's HBCU 3+3 Agreements

A student studies in Dineen Hall.

(Insightintodiversity.com | June 21, 2019) For Syracuse University College of Law Dean Craig Boise, 10 percent African American enrollment in the 125-year-old college wasn’t good enough, even though that number is “pretty typical for law schools across the country,” he says.

The college hopes to double Black student enrollment within the next five years through a 3+3 admissions program, which is common in higher education. The idea is that it’s cheaper and quicker to complete two degrees when they’re bundled together. Syracuse’s program comes in the form of an agreement with three historically Black colleges or universities (HBCUs) in Atlanta: Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College.

Pre-law students who fulfilled the requisite coursework at their undergraduate institutions and meet admissions standards at Syracuse will be eligible to complete their bachelor’s and juris doctor degrees within six years, a year less than the typical seven.

“The problem from the standpoint of undergraduates going to law school is twofold,” Boise says. “One, cost is a big factor. Two, a lot of minority students, particularly African American students, come from a background where they have not had lawyers in their families or have not been exposed to the culture of … the profession" ...

Read the full story.

Commentary: French Law Criminalizing Data Analytics of Judicial Decision Making

Shubha Ghosh

By Professor Shubha Ghosh

France a month ago enacted a new legislative provision criminalizing the use of information about judges and their decisions to make predictions about judicial behavior. The provision is an amendment to a statute that protects the identity of litigants and is justified in part as a need to protect the privacy of judges. Slate has a good article summarizing the legislation: French Law Kicks Data Scientists Out of Court.

More than judicial privacy and reputation is at stake, however. Professor Dana Beldiman of Hastings College of Law and Bucerius Law School in Hamburg shared with me an editorial from the Legal Tribune Online, with the headline “Fruit of Knowledge is Forbidden Not Only in Paradise” (apologies for my translation). The editorial is highly critical of the law and also reveals perhaps the real impetus for the law: research by attorney, Michael Benesty, on the decision making by judges in asylum cases. His story details the response by judges and legislators to his disturbing findings.

Some people I have talked to about this law describe it as a response to the fears of big data and automation. This moral panic (la panique morale?), as I would describe it, may explain the reaction. Perhaps, the motivation is just plain embarassment for revelation of bias. Such a statute would be unconstitutional under US law, in light of the Supreme Court’s 2011 decision, IMS v. Sorrell (dealing with state statutes limiting access to prescription data used by pharma companies to promote their brands).


Courtney Abbott Hill L’09 Named a CALI Law School and Bar Exam Study Skills Fellow

Courtney Abbott Hill

Courtney Abbott Hill L’09, Associate Director for Student Affairs, Academic and Bar Support Programs, has been named a Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) Law School and Bar Exam Study Skills Fellow. She is one of seven fellows recently announced by CALI.

The Fellowship is comprised of members of the academic success community from US law schools. The goal of the Fellowship is to author CALI lessons to develop students’ critical-thinking skills. The materials will be peer-reviewed by the fellowship team and the CALI Editorial Board. Everyone at CALI member law schools will have access to these materials when they are published in late 2019. The Fellowship was created with the support of a grant from AccessLex Institute.

“My involvement in this project will provide an opportunity to share what we have learned and implemented for student success at the College of Law, as well as collaborate and learn from peer institutions as we create these lessons,” says Abbott Hill. “Inclusion in this project is reflective of our hard work in study skills and bar preparation, and I am proud to represent the College of Law among this group of my esteemed colleagues.”

Burton Blatt Institute & the ADA Live! Podcast Host Hon. Tom Harkin

Hon. Tom Harkin

The Hon. Tom Harkin—former Senator, Congressman, veteran, author, attorney, and chief sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)—was the featured guest on the July 3, 2019 broadcast of the ADA Live!, a podcast produced by the Syracuse University Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) and Southeast ADA Center. 

University Professor Peter Blanck, Chairman of BBI, interviewed Sen. Harkin in celebration of the 29th anniversary of this historic civil rights legislation.

Considered the "Emancipation Proclamation for people with disabilities," the ADA changed the landscape of America by prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in all aspects of public life, including employment, schools, transportation, local government programs, and places of public accommodation. 

To preserve the intent of the ADA after court rulings weakened its standards, Harkin and former Senator Orrin Hatch introduced the ADA Amendments Act to ensure continuing protections from discrimination for all Americans with disabilities. It was signed into law in 2008.

Harkin discussed how the ADA legislation came about, its impact over the last 29 years, and the future of civil rights protections for the more than 60 million people with disabilities living in the United States.

Listen to the podcast.

International Programs Adds Immersive European Human Rights Law Course

Professor True-Frost in the classroom with students in her European and International Human Rights Law course.

Continuing the College of Law’s commitment to diversify learning experiences and international study opportunities, the Office of International Programs offered students the chance to study human rights in Strasbourg, France, the seat of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and European Parliament.

Thirteen students—11 J.D. and 2 LL.M.—traveled to Strasbourg over the 2019 spring break to study a course on European and International Human Rights Law developed and taught by Professor Cora True-Frost L’01

Students began the course with an introductory session at Dineen Hall covering the history and structure of the Court before traveling abroad. In Strasbourg, students engaged both practical and theoretical aspects of topics such as the origins of European human rights law; the structure and procedures of ECHR; connections between civil, political, social, and  economic rights in the European Union; the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights; and implementation and enforcement of human rights law generally. European migration and disability law served as two focal points for analysis during the week.

Students also interacted with legal experts and practitioners from ECHR and the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and visited the highest domestic court of one of the Court’s member states, the German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, Germany.

“It was a wonderful experience to travel and teach in Strasbourg and Germany and to present these opportunities to dig deeper into international and European human rights law,” says True-Frost.

During their free time, students ventured to Paris, Luxembourg, and Basel, Switzerland, for cultural experiences. The group also visited Syracuse Abroad’s Strasbourg Center located on the banks of the River III.

“This course was inspirational and reminded me of the very reason I wanted to be a lawyer—to help those in need,” says Bill Hutcheson L’19. “The concluding tours of the immigration intake center and emergency immigration shelter drove home the notion that everyone has a right to live a dignified life. This mix of theory and reality demonstrated the impact we can have as future lawyers.”

Cold Case Justice Initiative Receives Syracuse/Onondaga NAACP Justice Award

Professor Emerita Janis McDonald and Professor Paula Johnson pose with the Justice Awards

The Cold Case Justice Initiative (CCJI) received the Syracuse/Onondaga NAACP’s Maye, McKinney & Melchor Freedom and Justice Award, presented at the NAACP’s 40th Anniversary Gala, on Friday, May 31, 2019. The evening celebrated the NAACP’s continuing advocacy for justice, equality voting rights, educational opportunity, and societal inclusion in Syracuse and Onondaga County. Co-founded by Professor of Law Paula Johnson and Professor Emerita Janis McDonald, CCJI at the College of Law seeks justice and accountability for racially motivated crimes during the Civil Rights Era. 

Founded in 1909 in Niagara, NY, the NAACP is one of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most prominent civil rights organizations. CCJI received one of several awards at the gala honoring individuals, organizations, and businesses for their local and national contributions. The Maye, McKinney, Melchor Award is named for William Maye, Langston McKinney, and Henry Melchor, who founded the first African American law firm in Syracuse, which opened the door for employment for attorneys of color and provided legal representation to under-served members of the community. 

“One of the greatest honors of our lives has been to receive the trust and friendship placed in us the last 12 years by so many of the families who lost loved ones due to racist killings during the civil rights era,” said Johnson in the acceptance speech. “Those families should be the ones given this award—for their courage, their resilience, and their determination not to allow us to forget or be silent when others deny justice.” 

Commentary: How I Took a Moot Court Hypothetical to a Law Review Article

Ryan Lefkowitz L'18

By Ryan Lefkowitz L'18

(Re-published from ABA for Law Students | June 27, 2019) I was introduced to appellate advocacy through my law school’s first year oral advocacy competition. Prior to beginning Syracuse University College of Law, I was largely unfamiliar with “appellate advocacy.” I went to law school to be a litigator and was eager to participate in any type of advocacy opportunity.

One competition was all it took for me to seek out more appellate advocacy opportunities, and I soon learned about Syracuse’s ABA Appellate Team. The school sent students to the ABA’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition to compete against students from across the country.

In college, I had majored in English, and oral and written advocacy had been the main reasons I had gone to law school. Competing on the ABA Appellate Team and arguing a point through a written brief and rounds of oral advocacy instantly appealed to me

My first year competing on the team, I was one of four teammates. We all relied on each other and collaborated to write the brief, with each of us taking a section and focusing on a specific issue. I had no idea how much these skills would translate into practice. It prepared me for the collaborative environment of drafting a motion as part of a team once I began working.

My second year on the team, I was one part of a two-person team. It was just two of us responsible for the brief, and we had to be able to argue both sides of our issues. We also had to have a robust understanding of each other’s issue to ensure the brief was cohesive and to field questions about the other issue during rebuttal.

As much as I relished the thrill of walking up to the podium and advocating, I also enjoyed research and writing. I have always seen researching as an opportunity to learn everything I can about a topic and the position I want to take. Writing allows for a plan on how to methodically deploy that knowledge. I looked forward to the unpredictability of oral argument – especially during competition rounds with hot benches. But being able to hand over a brief laid out with the arguments in the precise way I wanted them was equally gratifying.

The competition issue that year addressed whether Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act is applicable to the conduct of law enforcement. There was an incredibly rich body of law on the issue, and I tried to devour as much of it as I could. We began researching and writing in early November and never stopped. We were lucky to have professors, local practitioners, and judges who were exceedingly generous with their time and agreed to come moot us.

The Manhattan regional was one of the best experiences I had in law school. It was surreal to walk into the courthouse for the Southern District of New York, walk up to the podium, and begin arguing as a law student. We devoted so much time to preparing and to then get up and argue was very rewarding. We received valuable feedback that we were able to incorporate into our arguments as we advanced, and ultimately we ended up winning the Manhattan regional. The moment I realized we were going to nationals was unforgettable.

We celebrated and then turned toward nationals. In preparation, we increased practices. We updated our arguments based on what had worked at regionals, and continued to bring in attorneys and professors with fresh perspectives to moot us.

For nationals, we were supposed to fly from Syracuse to D.C., where the competition was held. We boarded the plane, but were quickly told to get off the plane due to weather. After this happened twice, we rented a car and drove over six hours to D.C. in order to make it for our first round early the next morning ...

Read the full article

Ryan Lefkowitz L'18 is a litigation associate at Schulte Roth & Zabel in Manhattan. 

Professor William C. Banks Featured in AJIL Unbound Cyber Attribution Symposium

William C. Banks
Banks, William. "The Bumpy Road to a Meaningful International Law of Cyber Attribution." AJIL Unbound, 113 (July 2019). 

Attributing computer network intrusions has grown in importance as cyber penetrations across sovereign borders have become commonplace, writes William C. Banks in an article featured in the American Journal of International Law's AJIL Unbound Symposium on Cyber Attribution

Although advances in technology and forensics have made machine attribution easier in recent years, identifying states or others responsible for cyber intrusions remains challenging. Banks' essay provides an overview of the attribution problem and its international legal dimensions and argues that states must develop accountable attribution mechanisms for international law to have practical value in this sphere.

Professor Peter Blanck Profiled by the Providence Journal

Peter Blanck

Inside Story: A Champion for People with Disabilities Calls for Further Reform

(Providence Journal | May 10, 2019) ... Peter Blanck is University Professor at Syracuse University and chairman of the school’s Burton Blatt Institute, arguably the foremost center of its kind in America. It is named for the man who wrote the game-changing 1966 book “Christmas in Purgatory” and went on to become a pioneer in what the center calls “humanizing services” for people living with disabilities.

Blanck is a modest man, and on our show, he described the center and its expanding missions matter-of-factly, if with pride:

“We have grown phenomenally, with offices in New York City, and Washington, and Atlanta, and Kentucky, and Syracuse, of course, and working all over the world,” Blanck said.

“Essentially, we follow Burton Blatt’s main principle, which is written about in [“Christmas in Purgatory”] that each person has value. We look cross-disability. We look over the life course, and we focus on ways in which we can help support — through policy and research — the inclusion of people with disabilities in all civic, social and economic activities.

“Most people with disabilities are poor and live in poverty. Most people with disabilities today lack employment. So we have large-scale programs, for example, on financial literacy, on economic security, on helping people be more involved, self-determined in making their own decisions about their lives to the maximum extent possible.”

Blanck spoke of the movement that led to closing Ladd and many similar institutions where abuse and neglect were common, and to the landmark law that advanced rights.

“The fires of reform were lit,” he said. “In the late 1980s, people with disabilities for the first time came together — advocates, to try to understand if disability rights could be thought of in a similar way as African-American rights, as sexual-orientation rights, as rights for women.

“Thanks to the leadership of many senators and really bipartisan efforts, the Americans with Disabilities Act was born in 1990, which was the first major comprehensive law in the world, really, that looked at employment, public services, telecommunications, living in the community" ...

Read the whole story.

Military.com: Online Program is Helping Military Members and Spouses Get Law Degrees

This Military.com article focuses on JDinteractive—the College of Law’s online J.D. program—and its ability to allow active military, the military-connected, and veterans to pursue their law degree without having to commit to a three-year residential program ...

From Okinawa to Germany and bases in the U.S., military spouses and active-duty troops are attending a law school in Upstate New York, thanks to the first online program accredited by the American Bar Association.

"You just click on the link," Michaela Gonzalez, wife of an Army Specialist in Vilseck, Germany, said of how she attends class at Syracuse University's College of Law ...

Read the full article here.

College of Law Alum Martin (Marty) Feinman L'83, director of delinquency training with the Juvenile Rights Practice at The Legal Aid Society of NY, re

Martin Feinman

College of Law Alum Martin (Marty) Feinman L'83, director of delinquency training with the Juvenile Rights Practice at The Legal Aid Society of NY, recently wrote an opinion article for the New York Law Journal on the lessons to be learned from the Central Park 5 Case.

ADA Live! Podcast to Feature Sen. Tom Harkin on July 3, 2019

Burton Blatt Institute

The Hon. Tom Harkin—former Senator and Congressman, veteran, author, attorney, and chief sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)—will be the featured guest on the July 3, 2019, broadcast of ADA Live! , a podcast produced by the Syracuse University Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) and Southeast ADA Center. University Professor Peter Blanck, Chairman of BBI, will interview Sen. Harkin in celebration of the 29th anniversary of this historic civil rights legislation. 

Harkin served Iowa in the U.S. Senate from 1984 until his retirement in January 2015, making him the longest serving Democratic senator from his state. Previously, Harkin served 10 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Iowa’s fifth congressional district. He is now Senior Advisor to the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Drake University, Des Moines, IA.

Early in his Senate career, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy asked Harkin to craft legislation to protect the civil rights of millions of Americans with physical and mental disabilities. Harkin knew firsthand about the challenges facing people with disabilities from his late brother, Frank, who was deaf from an early age. What emerged from that process would later become Harkin’s signature legislative achievement: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Considered the "Emancipation Proclamation for people with disabilities," the ADA changed the landscape of America by prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in all aspects of public life, including employment, schools, transportation, local government programs, and places of public accommodation. To preserve the intent of the ADA after court rulings weakened its standards, Harkin and former Sen. Orrin Hatch introduced the ADA Amendments Act to ensure continuing protections from discrimination for all Americans with disabilities. It was signed into law in 2008.  

In the podcast, Harkin will discuss how the ADA legislation came about, its impact over the last 29 years, and the future of civil rights protections for the more than 60 million people with disabilities living in the United States. 

To listen to the podcast at July 3 at 1 p.m. [Eastern] or any time after, visit SoundCloud ADA Live! and the ADA Live! website. Real-time captioning on July 3 at 1 p.m. [Eastern] will be available.

For more information, contact the Southeast ADA Center at 404.541.9001 or visit adalive.org.

Professor William C. Banks: Trump's Assertion "May Be Unlawful"

William C. Banks

(Associated Press | June 13, 2019) An expert in constitutional law tells the Associated Press that President Donald Trump's assertion that he would be open to accepting a foreign power's help in his 2020 campaign is not appropriate and "it may be unlawful."

Assistant Dean Andrew Horsfall L'10 Receives Fulbright to Attend International Education Administrators Seminar in Germany

Andrew Horsfall

Over a few weeks in October and November 2019, Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew Horsfall L'10 will travel to Berlin, Germany, to attend the 2019-2020 International Education Administrators Seminar. After a competitive process, Horsfall was awarded a J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board grant—funded jointly by the US Congress and the Fulbright Commission in Germany—to attend the intensive, two-week seminar. 

What is the International Education Administrators (IEA) Seminar?

IEA seminars promote cross-culture dialog among higher education professionals and government officials. They are designed to help us create connections with and to learn from the societal, cultural, and higher education systems of other countries, as well as establish professional networks among higher education colleagues from all over the globe. Fulbright offers IEA seminars in Germany, France, India, Japan, and South Korea. 

Are there specific goals you want to achieve for the College?

I expect the seminar will serve as a catalyst to explore and develop new international projects and partnerships for the College of Law and future collaborations for the University. Our faculty are innovative and globally-minded, and Germany offers a rich landscape of opportunities to pursue. 

I also want to advance the College's commitment to internationalization by expanding its portfolio of student-centered programs that promote exposure to diverse perspectives, the free exchange of ideas, and an appreciation for the Rule of Law. 

An attractive feature of Fulbright’s IEA seminar is the opportunity for candid discussion with US and German faculty and administrators regarding their experiences cultivating sustainable institutional relationships. I look forward to fresh ideas arising from these conversations, as well as from our exchanges regarding common challenges in delivering high quality higher education, such as changing student demographics, evolving needs of employers, and emerging technology. 

What activities are scheduled? 

I will join a group that will spend the first days of the seminar in Berlin. During this first segment, we will have an introduction to the German higher education system and its institutions and have ample networking opportunities within and across academic institutions, government agencies, and sponsoring organizations. The group will then be divided into subgroups to visit different institutions of higher education in Germany, before it reunites in Frankfurt.

Why did the German seminar interest you in particular?

Germany’s reputation as a global leader in emerging technology and innovation, coupled with its critical role in European geopolitics and security, make it a particularly ideal environment in which to explore trends in higher education and future academic partnerships. 

This is particularly true given the cutting-edge focus areas of some of the College’s research centers and institutes, such as the Innovation Law Center, Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute, and the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism.

Commentary: Legal Tech—Some Initial Perspectives from Germany

Shubha Ghosh

As in the US, law firms, businesses, and bar associations are grappling with issues of legal tech. My preliminary conversations over the past week with attorneys and academics in Hamburg, Germany, particularly at Bucerius Law School, reveals a vibrant debate over the design of legal practice, the unauthorized practice of law, and the bundling of legal services with technology. The Center for Legal Professions and the Center for Transnational IP, Media, and Technology Law and Policy at Bucerius are active hot spots for research and activism on these ongoing issues.

Recent developments in the US demonstrate the role of legal tech in document and case management. Wilson Sonsini’s announcement last month about a shift in its document software is one example. Axiom, a San Francisco based company that bridges in house and law firm representation, illustrates how new business forms address new ways for providing flexible legal services to business clients.

In Germany, the use of software applications to address compensation issues have challenged conventions on the delivery of legal services.Flight Right, software based services designed to protect consumers who are harmed by flight cancellations, has raised questions about the unauthorized practice of law. Software based services designed to compensate workers and renters who have been overcharged also have had bar associations at the federal and state levels concerned. Various working groups have made proposals for reforms to allow for more flexible provisions of legal services. I am studying these various proposals now and will comment on them in future posts.

In the meantime, innovative legal firms like Schnittker Möllman in Hamburg are leaders in integrating these new software and proto-AI approaches to legal services with traditional models of legal practice. One lesson from both the US and Germany is while legal software might empower clients, there is still a need to bundle the software with legal services. Trained attorneys help to make the applications more effective, a point that some may challenge but, in my assessment, will remain true. How such bundling occurs, however, is a matter of the market for and regulation of legal services.


Hunt Joins Hodgson Russ

Kenneth Hunt

Kenneth Hunt joined Hodgson Russ as a senior associate in the Trusts and Estates practice in Buffalo, NY.

Thomas Joins Bond, Schoeneck & King

Megan Thomas

Megan Thomas joined Bond, Schoeneck & King as an associate in the firm's School Districts practice.

Moynahan Promoted to Chief Deputy City Attorney

Karen Moynahan was promoted to Chief Deputy City Attorney for the Contracts, Utilities, and Environmental Section of the City of Portland, OR.

Sinsabaugh Joins Certilman, Balin Adler & Hyman

Brian Sinsabaugh

Brian Sinsabaugh joined Certilman, Balin Adler & Hyman as an associate in the firm's Litigation and Land Use practice groups.

Lerner Named Among DBusiness' "Top Lawyers"

David Lerner

David Lerner was listed among DBusiness' "Top Lawyers" for the metro Detroit area in the area of Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights Law.

Mastroleo Joins Bond, Schoeneck & King

Adam Mastroleo

Adam Mastroleo joined Bond, Schoeneck & King as an associate in the firm's Labor and Employment department.

Jacobson Joins Bond, Schoeneck & King

Nick Jacobson

Nick Jacobson joined Bond, Schoeneck & King as an associate in the firm's Labor and Employment department. 

Syracuse University College of Law Alumnus Frank Ryan L'94 Named US Chairman of DLA Piper

Frank Ryan L'94

Syracuse University College of Law Alumnus Frank Ryan L'94 has been named the next US Chairman of multinational law firm DLA Piper, the 4th largest law firm in the world, with offices in more than 40 countries. In his new position, Ryan will be responsible for the firm’s US operations, which includes more than 1,500 lawyers and nearly 3,000 total employees in more than 30 offices. 

Ryan became a Partner in DLA Piper’s New York City office in 2010 and is currently Global Co-Chair and US Co-Chair of the firm's Intellectual Property and Technology Practice and Deputy Chair of its Media, Sports, and Entertainment Sector. He is also a member of the firm’s US Executive Committee and Global Board.

Ryan is known for his broad experience in high-stakes litigation involving intellectual property, major commercial matters, and sovereign issues, as well as in counseling clients on media and sports deals and intellectual property portfolio development and protection. The long list of high-profile clients he has represented includes Disney, ABC, TomTom, Pac-12, Nike, ESPN, beIN Media Group, Al Jazeera, Medtronic, and ConMed. Ryan is also handling significant matters related to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

A 1990 Syracuse University bachelor of science graduate, Ryan was a four-year varsity letter winner in wrestling. At the College of Law, he distinguished himself academically and as an advocate, becoming a member of the Order of the Coif and the Justinian Honorary Law Society, receiving a Gerald Resnick Memorial Scholarship, and participating on advocacy trial teams. After graduating magna cum laude in 1994, Ryan joined Nixon Peabody, eventually becoming head of its Litigation Department.

Ryan is a member of the College of Law Board of Advisors and a 2017 recipient of a Syracuse Law Honors Award from the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association. He is a frequent guest lecturer and panelist for the College of Law’s Entertainment and Sports Law Society’s annual symposium. 

"On behalf of the College of Law, I congratulate Frank Ryan on this significant achievement. His accession to this role is not only a personal accomplishment but also one that reflects well on the College's strength and legacy in intellectual property law," says Dean Craig M. Boise. "I’m particularly pleased that Frank has remained committed to the College of Law philanthropically and programmatically. He has been eager to share his wisdom and his vision with our students and the rest of the College of Law community as a guest speaker and as a member of our Board of Advisors. Frank is a consummate example of what it means to be an Orange lawyer."

DLA Piper's partnership voted to elect Ryan as US Chairman on May 22, 2019. He will assume his new role effective Jan. 1, 2021, for a term of four years. 

Commentary: Jean-Pierre Bemba’s Request for Compensation for Damages from the International Criminal Court

David Crane

By David M. Crane

(Re-published from Jurist | June 9, 2019) Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo (Bemba) is the leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) and was the commander-in-chief of its military forces during the Central African Bush War from 2003-2004, during which the MLC was accused of committing war crimes, as well as, crimes against humanity.

Bemba was arrested on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role as the leader of the MLC  near Brussels in May 2008 and was handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on July 3, 2008. Bemba was held by the ICC for over two years before his trial began in November 2010, throughout the duration of his trial which lasted until 2014, and still after the conclusion of his trial, until his convictions on March 21, 2016.

The ICC sentenced Bemba to 18 years detention for war crimes and crimes against humanity convictions, plus an additional year and a €290,000 fine for witness tampering.

Bemba appealed his convictions in 2016, citing procedural and legal errors in the lower court judge’s ruling, which Bemba’s counsel said should have resulted in a mistrial. The ICC chamber to which Bemba appealed found on June 8, 2018 that the trial chamber had ignored significant testimonial evidence proving that Bemba had a limited ability to investigate and punish war crimes in the Central African Republic during and after the violence in 2003 and 2004. This conclusion lead to Bemba’s acquittal.

Bemba submitted a request for compensation to the ICC on March 8, 2019. The ICC Prosecutor and Registrar asked the judges to dismiss this claim, but the Pre-Trial Chamber II judges presiding over the claim denied this request.

Bemba’s claim totaled €68.8 million, including: €12 million for the period of his alleged unlawful incarceration, €10 million in aggravated damages, €4.2 million in legal fees, with the remaining €42.4 million being for property damage.

Bemba’s request for property damage compensation stems from those losses consequent to Bemba’s arrest and detention as well as those losses caused by the ICC’s mistakes in managing Bemba’s frozen assets, as the assets seized by the ICC upon Bemba’s conviction were allowed to rot.

The provisions of the law are that Article 85 of the ICC’s Rome Statute governs compensation claims by persons who have been arrested pursuant to the ICC’s jurisdiction or convicted by the ICC. The governing clause provides two primary bases for bringing claims for compensation: the first is found in Article 85(1) while the second is laid out in Article 85(3). Article 85(1) of the Rome Statute states that “[a]nyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.” Article 85(3) is vaguer and states that “[i]n exceptional circumstances, where the court finds conclusive facts showing that there has been a grave and manifest miscarriage of justice, it may in its discretion award compensation . . . according to the criteria provided in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, to a person who has been released from detention following a final decision of acquittal or a termination of the proceedings for that reason.”

Claims for compensation must follow the ICC’s Rules of Evidence and Procedure, specifically Rule 173(2), which requires that a request for compensation be submitted to the court no later than six months from the date the person making the request was notified of the decision of the court concerning unlawful arrest or detention; reversal of a conviction; or existence of a grave and manifest miscarriage of justice.

Any party seeking compensation on such grounds must submit a written request containing the grounds for and the amount of compensation being sought to the ICC’s Presidency. The ICC then designates a three-judge chamber to consider the request. Rule 174 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence provides that judges handling such requests may hold a hearing or determine the matter based on the request along with any written observations by the prosecutor and the party who filed the request.

In cases in which damages are awarded, judges shall take into consideration “the consequences of the grave and manifest miscarriage of justice on the personal, family, and social professional situation of the claimant.” However, it has been acknowledged that there is no exact formula for calculating such damages.

The ICC does not have precedent in awarding damages to those seeking compensation under the court’s jurisdiction, and there does not seem to be a set test to determine whether a party seeking compensation from the ICC will receive such damages – at this point, it is purely discretionary. However, it does seem as if the ICC tends to look to whether the claim for damages is viable under Article 85(1) or 85(3) of the Rome Statute and proper under Rule 173(2) before considering the amount of compensation requested …

Read the full article.

David M. Crane is a Syracuse University College of Law Distinguished Scholar in Residence.

Professor Nina Kohn Publishes on Elder Care and Intra-Family Contracts

Nina Kohn
Kohn, Nina. "For Love and Affection: Elder Care and the Law's Denial of Intra-Family Contracts." Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, 54 (2019). 

As the US population ages, writes David M. Levy L'48 Professor of Law Nina Kohn in Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, demand for care providers for older adults is rapidly growing. 

Although the law’s treatment of care contracts between older adults and their family caregivers has substantial implications for the country’s ability to meet this demand, there has been no prior empirical examination of the law’s current treatment of such agreements. Kohn's article fills that gap by assessing how courts and other legal actors treat intra-family agreements to pay family members for elder care. 

A look into a long-ignored area of case law—Medicaid eligibility determinations—reveals that courts, administrative law judges, and state regulators typically attach little or no monetary value to elder care provided by family members. Rather, payments for caregiving are routinely treated as fraudulent transfers. The result is that, in the name of combatting Medicaid fraud, states penalize older adults who pay for their own care.

Treating family-provided elder care as lacking monetary value stands in sharp contrast to the high cost of elder care purchased on the open market and is at odds with states’ increased willingness to directly pay family care providers. Kohn shows that this incongruence can be partially explained by public distaste for Medicaid planning and distrust of agents acting on behalf of older adults. Entrenched stereotypes about care work and related expectations about familial care also contribute to the law’s refusal to recognize these agreements and the economic value of care provided under them.

In her article, Kohn offers lessons for social policy, legal theory, and legal practice. On a policy level, it shows that states are engaged in counterproductive behavior that will discourage the very type of family care they purport to encourage. On a theoretical level, it indicates that attitudes toward care work and courts’ willingness to enforce contracts between family members have not changed to the extent commonly described by family law scholars. 

Finally, at a practical level, Kohn suggests that attorneys should adapt the advice they give clients to better account for distrust of agents.

Syracuse University College of Law Alumni to Receive Prestigious University Awards

Syracuse University

The Syracuse University Alumni Association and the Office of Alumni Engagement has chosen two College of Law alumni to receive prestigious University awards at Orange Central 2019, for achievements that are described as "truly exceptional". The awards celebration takes place Sept, 13, 2019, at the OnCenter ballroom in downtown Syracuse, NY.

The Melvin A. Eggers Senior Alumni Award is presented to alumni who graduated more than 50 years ago and who have demonstrated loyalty and service to the University. The 2019 Eggers Award will be awarded to Ronald Goldfarb '54, L'56 and his wife Joanne Goldfarb '57. Joanne is an accomplished architect, while Ronald has enjoyed a varied and successful career as an attorney, author, and literary agent. Together, they have a demonstrated history of philanthropy and have donated more than 1,500 books from their personal collection to the College of Law Library.

College of Law SULAA Board Member Kevin Belbey ’13, G’16, L’16—Director of Sports Broadcasting at The Montag Group—will receive the Generation Orange Award. Introduced in 2013, the Generation Orange Award recognizes recent graduates for their continued commitment to the University.

"We are very proud and fortunate that two of our alumni have been chosen for these prestigious SU awards," says Dean Craig M. Boise. "These awards are a testament to their achievements and their steadfast support of the College and University."

Syracuse University College of Law Announces Summer DCEx Placements

DCEx Program

On June 5, 2019, Professor Terry L. Turnipseed, Faculty Director of Externship Programs, announced that he had placed the last of 15 law students in top Washington, DC, externship program (DCEx) placements. 

"We have participants in the Department of Justice; two in the Department of Homeland Security; in the US Attorney’s Office for DC, the largest in the country; in the Patent and Trademark Office, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and National Labor Relations Board; and in a top 10 public defender service,  among other excellent law firms, nonprofits, and judicial positions. One-third of the placements are for students of color."

 Turnipseed notes that College of Law alumni have stepped up to assist with placements in the Capital. "Four high-level alums are placement attorneys this semester: Dennis L. Phillips L’81, Michael Walls L’84, James T. Dehn L’98, and Patrick Oot L’01." In addition, says Turnipseed, Allessio Evangelista L’95, Principal Assistant US Attorney for DC, played a role in the placement at that office. 

Federal Government Placements

3L Casey Bessemer 

US Patent and Trademark Office 

1L Skylar Salim 

US Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement 

2L Cody Lind

US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section  

3L Kevin Risch

US Department of Justice, US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia

2L Aly Kozma

US Department of Homeland Security, Office of General Counsel 

2L Kim Manas

US Commodity Futures Trading Commission 

3L Rodney Dorilas

National Labor Relations Board, Office of General Counsel  

3L Sarah Everhart

Employment and Training Administration, Office of Management and Administrative Services 

Local Government Placements

1L Robert Boehlert

Office of Public Defender (Montgomery County Maryland) 

Judicial Placements

1L Brandon Baker

The Hon. Dennis L. Phillips L’81, US Administrative Law Judge, US Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission 

Law Firm Placements

1L Sheridan Su

3L Saeed Khunaizi 

Garfield Law Group LLP (Immigration Law)

Nonprofit Placements

2L Kaitlyn Crobar

American Chemistry Council, Department of Regulatory and Technical Affairs

1L Shane Kelly

Electronic Discovery Institute

1L Roland Lindmayer

Insured Retirement Institute

Syracuse University Named a US Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence

Syracuse University

The US Intelligence Community has designated Syracuse University as one of eight national Intelligence Community Centers for Academic Excellence (ICCAE), with a funding award of $1.5 million over five years. Established in 2005 by Congress, the ICCAE program is designed to increase the number of culturally and ethnically diverse, multi-disciplinary professionals in the intelligence community. Syracuse University is one of only eight universities nationwide—including the University of Arizona, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and University of Southern California—and only one of two private universities selected.

In its proposal, Syracuse University will lead a consortium of schools—known as the Partnership for Educational Results/Syracuse University Adaptive, Diverse and Ethical Intelligence Community Professionals (PER/SUADE)—to recruit and educate talented, diverse students interested in public service careers in the intelligence field. The consortium’s partner schools include Norfolk State University, a historically black university; The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York and other institutions.

This multi-faceted recruitment and education initiative leverages the University’s leadership and strengths in a wide range of security-related disciplines, cutting across STEM, public affairs, law, forensics, military affairs, disability studies, and language and cultural studies. Building dynamic and sustained partnerships with the consortium partners will enable PER/SUADE to share complementary strengths and attract diverse students, like military veterans, as well as historically underrepresented students, including women; ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse students; and students with disabilities.

“It is an honor for Syracuse University to be selected for this auspicious designation,” says Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly. “This recognition acknowledges the tremendous research of faculty members engaged in these interdisciplinary fields and the strength of our academic enterprises committed to supporting a diverse set of scholars in the classroom and the field.”

Affiliated faculty members will support PER/SUADE’s mission by developing an intelligence-related curriculum, including major and minor degree options and a certificate program; professional development and faculty research opportunities; and culturally immersive experiences.

“This significant designation as an academic center of excellence and funding demonstrate scholarship and the impact of the University’s broadening research portfolio,” says Vice President of Research John Liu. “Syracuse University has a long history and commitment to excellence in research and education in public service and to the highly regarded values of diversity and ethics. Our faculty across various interdisciplinary fields are well positioned to further advance scholarship and education in global understanding and elevate our work in educating under-resourced students with diverse experiences and backgrounds.”

The program will provide students interested in pursuing a career in the area of intelligence with a strong academic foundation and experiences that will increase their success in finding a career in any of the US intelligence agencies. Along with their studies, ICCAE students will have opportunities to study abroad at more than 45 locations, with language instruction, cultural immersion and regional studies, and to participate in seminars, career talks, field trips and conferences.

“The goal of national security is to defend liberty as well as our physical security,” says Hon. James E. Baker, Co-Principal Investigator, Professor of Law, Professor of Public Administration, and Director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT). “This program will benefit our nation and all who live in it by producing a diverse group of adaptive and insightful intelligence professionals who hold an unwavering commitment to public service with a keen understanding of ethics and the rule of law. These values and virtues were embodied in the life of Judge Jack Downey [a US intelligence officer who was captured and detained in Chinese prisons during and after the Korean War], whose service is recognized in the form of the Downey Fellowship for academically excellent students.”

The partnership consortium will take a three-part approach to address current educational needs and challenges for the intelligence community. The approach recognizes that emerging professionals need to adapt to the demands of highly dynamic and changing environments; acknowledges that diverse perspectives and experiences enhance a person’s ability to analyze situations; and recognizes that the next generation of the best security and intelligence professionals will put ethics and the rule of law at the forefront of their analysis and practice.

“At its heart this effort aims to build a diverse workforce for the intelligence community that represents the full spectrum of our country’s population—reflected ethnically and culturally, and by gender, through sustainable national security education programs that will complement students’ primary areas of study,” says Vice Admiral Robert Murrett (Ret.), Principal Investigator, Maxwell School Professor of Practice, and Deputy Director of INSCT. “It will leverage contributions from virtually all the schools and colleges at Syracuse University, and provide additional career opportunities for our students.”


Professor Corri Zoli Explores Terror's Organizational Tactics in Terrorism and Political Violence Article

Corri Zoli
Zoli, Corri & Aliya H. Williams G'17. "ISIS Cohort Transnational Travels and EU Security Gaps: Reconstructing the 2015 Paris Attack Preplanning and Outsource Strategy." Terrorism and Political Violence, 31 (June 2019). 

In this article Zoli and Williams explore the underappreciated role of organizational tactics in terrorist violence in an understudied single case: ISIS’s execution of the Nov. 13, 2015 Paris attacks. 

It is one of the first systemic reconstructions of the journeys made by two ISIS strike cohorts in the coordinated attacks, as teams traveled from the Levant to Europe. In contrast to other high-profile attacks, terrorism scholars have not undertaken a detailed reconstruction of this event, even while open source information is now available. By examining the transnational travels of foreign terrorist fighters, the authors identify ISIS’s distinctive terrorist outsourcing strategy in which operatives used their experiences to adapt to changing security conditions, while EU governments revealed limited responses. 

Both elements in this tightly-knit dynamic—terrorist outsourcing savvy using FTFs and EU security policy failures—were necessary to achieve this high-profile attack. 

Zoli's and Williams' essay contributes to descriptive empirical and theoretical knowledge of terrorist tactical innovation and adaptive operational learning, as these capacities are enhanced by on-the-ground organized networks to increase organizational (versus so-called "lone wolf") campaign success. By using a single case interdisciplinary and exploratory framework, the authors claim that terrorism studies can delve deeper into superficially understood phenomena to isolate concepts with future cross-case value, such as cohorts and tactical adaptation.

Department of the Interior Director of the Departmental Ethics Office Scott de la Vega L’91 Kicks-off DCEx Summer Seminar Series

DCEx students with Scott de la Vega L'94

On May 28, 2019, Distinguished Guest Lecturer Scott de la Vega L’94 hosted the Summer 2019 DC Externship Program’s first seminar at the Department of the Interior (DOI). 

de la Vega currently serves as both the DOI’s Director of the Departmental Ethics Office and Designated Agency Ethics Official. Prior to joining the DOI, de la Vega served in various legal positions at the White House, including as Ethics Counsel to Vice President Joseph Biden L’68 and the Office of White House Counsel, as well as Managing Counsel for Operations in the Executive Office of the President. 

Prior to his lecture, de la Vega took participants on a private tour of the Main Interior Building, including its rooftop view of Washington, D.C. During the presentation, de la Vega discussed the DOI’s purpose and mission, his official role within the agency, and his personal experiences as a law student and an attorney. “Participants left the seminar with a solid understanding of what it means to be a government ethics attorney and the importance of upholding ethical values throughout their legal careers,” says Terry Turnipseed, Faculty Director of Externship Programs.

Two 2019 LL.M. Graduates Selected for the Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program

Chiora Taktakishvili and Kate Halenko

Master of Laws in American Law graduates Kate Halenko LL.M. ’19 (Ukraine) and Chiora Taktakishvili LL.M. ’19 (Georgia) recently began their summer placements in the Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program. The program extends their time in the United States beyond graduation in May to enable them to participate in internships that are aligned with their academic and career goals.

“The Muskie program is an excellent opportunity for Kate and Chiora to gain valuable hands-on experiences that put into practice what they have been learning in the classroom,” said Andrew Horsfall, Assistant Dean of International Programs, Syracuse University College of Law. “The goal is for the students to return to their home countries with even greater knowledge and perspectives in their chosen fields of law.”

Halenko is interning at Sayari Analytics in Washington, DC, as a Eurasia Team Analyst to support ongoing projects for government, financial sector, and multinational clients. She is working with a team of regional and subject-matter experts, tackling complex investigations of illicit networks across the world.

“After an extensive career in human rights protection and humanitarian relief operations, I studied at Syracuse Law to focus on the other side of the human rights equation, namely national security and counterterrorism studies. It seems odd that how in our turbulent times and fragile world people working on either side of the barricades, so to speak, rarely talk to each other, except for attacking each other's positions. I am interested in bridging that chasm with the help of changing current policies,” says Halenko. “I hope this internship will make it easier for me to pursue the job of my dream after valuable experiences at Sayari.”

Taktakishvili is interning at the Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights. She is working with the Human Rights Advocates program, which brings prominent human rights defenders from all over the world to the Columbia University to provide grassroots leaders the tools, knowledge, access, and networks to promote the realization of human rights and strengthen their respective organizations.

“For human rights defenders in countries with poor human rights records, sometimes international partnership and networks are the only support system available. My plan is to enable Georgian-American peer-to-peer networking and cooperation through human rights education projects, while also contributing to filling the gaps in human rights education, especially in minority rights and non-discrimination law,” says Taktakishvili. “The Muskie Internship program provides a unique opportunity to fulfill my future carrier goals, be immersed in an American working environment and test our new knowledge and academic skills in practice.”

The Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program is a summer internship program funded by the U.S. Department of State that provides emerging leaders from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia with the opportunity to gain real-world experience complementing and enriching their graduate studies in the United States.

Extern Attends California State Assembly Hearings

Amar Deol

On April 9, 2019, Amar Deol L'19 traveled to Sacramento, CA, with San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju to attend California State Assembly Hearings regarding AB 1636, a probable cause bill that the former San Francisco defender had worked on. While at the hearings, Deol and others had the opportunity to voice support for the bill. 

“It was a good learning experience to see another side of lawyering,” says Deol, who was a Spring 2019 extern at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. “I’m so glad I took this opportunity to get outside of the [Public Defender’s] Office to see how this processed played out.”

Deol poses with a bear statue within the California State Capitol
Deol poses with a bear statue within the California State Capitol

Diverse: Issues In Higher Education Highlights 3+3 Agreement with HBCU

Syracuse University College of Law

Syracuse Law Furthers Commitment to Access, Diversity in Legal Profession

(Diverseeducation.com | June 1, 2019) A new agreement between Syracuse University College of Law and Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College will fulfill a dual objective: diversifying the student body of the law school – and thus the legal profession – while also providing a pipeline for students from the three historically Black institutions to accelerate the time to their bachelor’s and juris doctor degrees.

The 3+3 agreement with the Atlanta University Center (AUC) schools would decrease the time it takes for students to earn their J.D. from seven years to six, reducing the cost of their education and allowing them to enter the workforce sooner. As part of Syracuse’s commitment to access and diversity in legal education, law school officials note that the program will additionally provide comprehensive outreach and supports to AUC students earlier in their higher education journey.

“While students are in this program – and they can indicate their interest in participating in this program as soon as they begin their undergraduate program – we intend to provide for them the kind of exposure to the practice and the profession, to lawyers that will help them master some of the subtle things about the way that law practice works, the way that law firms work [and] a lot of the language and the lingo that’s related to law so that they’re better prepared to be in law school and have a little bit of a leg up,” said Craig M. Boise, dean and professor of law at the Syracuse University College of Law.

Further, selected students will receive scholarships to offset the cost of their legal education, preparation for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and the opportunity to travel to Syracuse to get a sense of where “they will hopefully be studying law,” Boise said. Officials similarly anticipate giving AUC students access to Syracuse Law’s alumni base in Atlanta so they can shadow lawyers in practice or secure internships.

Another component of the new 3+3 agreement will be programming on “hot topics” in law. Officials aim for Syracuse law faculty members to travel to Atlanta to conduct presentations with students; some presentations may be day-long events, Boise said.

“We look forward to exploring those ideas with our partner schools as we move forward and as this program grows and expands,” he said. “We are not just saying, ‘Here we are. Come to the law school after your third year of undergrad,’” he said. “But we really want to provide assistance to students in making the transition into legal education.”

Administrators from the Atlanta HBCUs hailed the partnership with Syracuse for its mutual objective to boost their students’ academic and career success in the legal realm while saving them money.

“I am excited by the opportunities that this program will provide for our students who are interested in pursuing careers in law,” said Dr. Matthew B. Platt, chair and associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Morehouse. “This program is a testament to Dean Boise’s and Syracuse’s commitment to the recruitment of Black students, and I hope it serves as a model for law schools across the nation" ...

Read the full article.

Syracuse University College of Law Students Invited to Top Gun 2019

Dennis Scanlon L'19 and rising 3L Adam Leydig

For the third year in a row, Syracuse University College of Law has been invited to send advocacy students to compete in the prestigious 2019 Top Gun National Trial Tournament. Top Gun is an innovative, invitation-only trial competition in which the single best advocates from 16 of the top trial advocacy schools go head-to-head for the honor of being designated "Top Gun". The winner receives a $10,000 prize. 

Attending this year are Dennis Scanlon L’19 and rising 3L Adam Leydig, who also represented Syracuse at the 2019 National Trial Competition in San Antonio, TX, reaching the Elite Eight and winning the Tiffany Cup. Top Gun will be hosted by Baylor University School of Law in Waco, TX, on June 5-9, 2019. At Top Gun, Scanlon will represent Syracuse as the solo advocate, and Leydig will assist with the trial technology. 

"It’s a great honor for Syracuse to be invited to this competition," says trial team coach Joanne VanDyke L'87. VanDyke explains that, unlike other trial competitions, Top Gun participants do not receive the case file until they arrive at Baylor, a mere 24 hours before the first round of trials begin.

She adds that preparation for this exacting mock trial includes reviewing depositions, records, and photographs and taking a trip to the actual places where events in the case supposedly occurred. Shortly before each round, competitors are assigned witnesses who may be used at their discretion during the round. The jurors for each round are distinguished trial lawyers and judges.

Commentary: The Risk of Not Pursuing an Impeachment Inquiry

David Driesen

By Professor David Driesen

(Re-published from Newsday | May 23, 2019) As House Democrats wrestle with the question of whether to begin an impeachment inquiry, they need to consider the danger failing to do so poses to congressional oversight authority.

That was made clear on Wednesday when President Donald Trump declared that he could not work with Democrats as long as Congress continues to exercise its oversight of his administration, calling it “phony investigations.”

In response, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has pushed back against calls for impeachment from members of her Democratic caucus, said Trump is obstructing justice and that his actions amount to an impeachable offense.

That was bracketed by favorable rulings on the release of Trump’s tax returns and his financial records by federal courts this week. But that should not obscure the risks congressional oversight faces from a Supreme Court deeply skeptical of Congress.

An impeachment inquiry most likely would help the House obtain favorable rulings to overcome the administration’s stonewalling, as conservative judges recognize the need to investigate in the impeachment context.

There are signs the House understands that an impeachment inquiry would bolster the case for judicial enforcement of subpoenas. The resolution seeking a contempt citation against Attorney General William Barr for failing to provide the unredacted Robert Mueller report mentions determining “whether to approve articles of impeachment” against Trump and other officials as one of the purposes of the Judiciary Committee investigation now underway ...

Read the whole article.

New Article by Professor A. Joseph Warburton Examines Mutual Funds' Risky Borrowing Practices

A. Joseph Warburton


(Re-published from Whitman Voices | May 21, 2019) A new study forthcoming in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies provides evidence that mutual funds are borrowing in an attempt to improve their performance. But those attempts are not only falling short, they are creating more risk to investors who count on the funds to bolster their retirement savings.

“Economists often assume that open-end mutual funds do not leverage themselves by borrowing money, however the Investment Company Act of 1940 permits mutual funds to have a capital structure that is up to one-third debt,” said A. Joseph Warburton, professor of finance at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management and professor of law at Syracuse University’s College of Law. “This paper is the first to study the performance of open-end funds that exploit their statutory borrowing authority.”

Warburton constructed a database using information contained in annual filings of open-end domestic equity mutual funds covering 17 years from 2000 to 2016. He found a surprising number of funds – 18 percent – bulked up at some point by borrowing in an effort to juice performance after lagging in the mutual fund rankings. Ironically, those that borrowed underperformed their non-borrowing peers by 62 basis points per year on a total return basis, incurring greater risk, as well.

“These borrowers are plain-vanilla mutual funds, not the exotic investment vehicles often associated with leverage, such as alternative funds and levered index funds,” said Warburton. “Most people think their 401(k)s are safe, but there is hidden risk in the investment vehicle millions of Americans rely upon for their retirement savings.”

Unlike borrowing, the study found funds that use derivatives and other financial instruments perform about as well as unlevered mutual funds, before and after adjusting for risk, and with less volatility. This suggests that many mutual funds use derivatives to hedge risk rather than as a substitute for leverage through the capital structure.

“Borrowing may present a greater risk than derivatives, which have received more attention than borrowing,” said Warburton. “The average investor is virtually unaware of how much a mutual fund is borrowing and the associated effect on performance,” said Warburton. “The required semi-annual reports have very little detail and it’s not easy to find.”

Warburton maintains that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is too focused on the use of derivatives, overlooking the potential crisis mutual fund borrowing presents. Fund investors and regulators would benefit from collecting further data on mutual fund borrowing to provide greater transparency into mutual fund capital structure.

Pacific Standard Magazine Discusses Journalist Raid with Professor Roy Gutterman

Roy Gutterman


(Pacific Standard | May 13, 2019) On Friday, May 10th, freelance journalist Bryan Carmody awoke to police officers using a sledgehammer on the gate to his home in San Francisco. After Carmody allowed the police inside, they seized a variety of items, including computers, phones, and flash drives from his home and office. Carmody was detained in handcuffs for roughly five hours while police searched his home, KQED reports.

They were searching for the source of a leaked police report that Carmody had sold to three TV news stations, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The police report concerned the events surrounding the death of San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi in February at age 59. Adachi was known for being a watchdog of police conduct, the Chronicle reports. Just hours after his death, information from the leaked police report—including that Adachi had died from accidental overdose of cocaine and alcohol—appeared on various news stations.

Two weeks ago, investigators asked Carmody to identify the source that had provided him with the report, but he declined. The raid was "a step in the process of investigating a potential case of obstruction of justice along with the illegal distribution of confidential police material," a spokesman for the San Francisco police told NPR.

To learn more about what made this raid unusual, Pacific Standard spoke to Roy Gutterman, an expert in communications law and First Amendment rights. Gutterman is the director of the Newhouse School's Tully Center for Free Speech, and a member the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists and the faculty committee for the Government Accountability Project in Washington, D.C.

If a reporter obtains leaked documents, have they committed a crime?

Reporters get materials and documents they shouldn't have all the time. That's not necessarily a crime—and it shouldn't be considered a crime—unless the reporter played a pivotal role in obtaining the documents illegally, such as breaking into an office or hacking into a computer system. But simply having sources who give you materials you shouldn't have does not and should not constitute a crime.

As far as we know, Carmody didn't obtain those documents illegally. Was it still legal for the cops to search his home and office?

The police got a search warrant—I can't believe a judge approved the search warrant in the first place. The question of the probable cause as to whether the reporter played a role in a leak is a huge step away from what should be permitted under both the First and Fourth Amendment.

Why would a judge approve a warrant in this case? And what is the significance of having a warrant issued instead of a subpoena?

When police show up at a house or a business with a search warrant, everybody that is subject to that search warrant has to comply. There are legitimate law-enforcement reasons for that: the destruction of evidence, the preservation of evidence. However, I don't think a leak investigation is the kind of criminal matter that would warrant an early morning execution of a search warrant. At least you can file a motion to quash and challenge it and attempt to get it thrown out of court [with a subpoena]. There's no such luxury with a search warrant.

Again, [law enforcement is] coming to a freelance reporter's home. They're not going to an organized crime hideout or a drug stash or any place like that. So it just seems extremely heavy-handed. Law enforcement knew what they were doing: They knew that they could just go right in and execute the search warrant without having to worry about a legal challenge on the spot ...

Read the whole article

Syracuse University College of Law NTC Team Reaches Elite Eight, Wins Tiffany Cup

3L Dennis Scanlon and 2L Adam Leydig

The National Trial Competition (NTC) is one of the oldest, largest, and most prestigious mock trial competitions in the United States, featuring teams from more than 140 law schools and 1,000 law student competitors. This year's national finals were held in San Antonio, TX, on March 27-31, 2019. Having won its regional round, the College of Law NTC team advanced with 29 other teams to the national finals, where it reached the quarterfinals, making it one of the top eight mock trial teams in the nation. 

Furthermore, the team of 3L Dennis Scanlon and 2L Adam Leydig won the prestigious Tiffany Cup. Established in 1974, the Tiffany Cup was created by the Trial Lawyers Section of the New York State Bar Association. It is awarded to the New York State law school whose team has the highest cumulative point total at the NTC. 

Thanks to Scanlon and Leydig's win, the cup—created by jewelers Tiffany & Co.—will be on display in Dineen Hall for one year. Additionally, the College of Law collects a check for $7,500 and a plaque listing 2019 NTC Team members and coaches. This year, the NTC team was coached by Joanne Van Dyke L'87, Jeff Leibo L'03, Justin St. Louis L'17, and Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin. 

Commentary: Like the Warmbiers, Former CIA Detainees Deserve Chance to Seek Justice

David Crane

By David M. Crane

(Re-published from The Hill | May 19, 2019) In the headlines again recently was the tragic case of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, when it was disclosed that North Korea billed the United States $2 million for his medical treatment while a captive. Warmbier died in 2017 shortly after arriving home following more than a year in North Korean detention. Arrested by the North Koreans for spying, Warmbier was accused of ripping down a propaganda poster in a restricted area of his hotel in Pyongyang. He likely suffered unimaginable torture during his time in detention, but because of the opaque nature of the North Korean regime, little is known about his treatment and what caused the severe brain injury that led to his coma and death.

The news raised questions about the negotiations for Warmbier’s release and whether the medical bill the U.S. apparently had agreed to pay essentially was a ransom payment. The Trump administration has denied that it ever was paid. Warmbier’s mother, Cynthia, said that if she knew the North Koreans were after money she would have given it to them from day one. It is understandable that the relatives of victims of torture and cruelty by foreign governments are prepared to do anything to see them released and to gain justice for their families.

The Warmbiers received a modicum of justice in a federal court last December, when North Korea was ordered to pay the family over $500 million in damages. At the time of the ruling, his parents commented, “We are thankful that the United States has a fair and open judicial system so that the world can see that the Kim regime is legally and morally responsible for Otto’s death. … We promised Otto that we will never rest until we have justice for him.” The judge in the case noted that the award was substantial to deter the North Koreans from engaging in this type of behavior again.

Although the U.S. courts have offered a legal venue for the Warmbiers to seek judicial redress, under Article 14 of the Convention against Torture (CAT) and international legal standards, they also should have meaningful access to legal proceedings where the torture took place. They have a right to judicial redress, adequate compensation and means for as full a rehabilitation as possible. This is something that the United States and the 163 other signatories to the CAT have committed to and is an important tool for ensuring reconciliation, healing and prevention.

Unfortunately for the Warmbiers and their quest for justice, North Korea is unlikely to pay a damages award or to provide this sort of judicial process for redress and compensation. But imagine if similar torture, cruel treatment and even death happened to a U.S. citizen in a country that had signed the CAT. The United States surely would demand the right of our citizens to have access to judicial redress and the ability to seek adequate compensation for their treatment.

Indeed, if the United States expects other countries to open their courts for U.S. victims overseas, it needs to do that for those who claim torture and ill-treatment by the United States. Specifically, victims of the U.S. post-9/11 Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program thus far have been unable to seek meaningful redress in U.S. courts. These individuals were suspected of terrorism, rounded up in Afghanistan on promise of a bounty. After months or years of detention, many were released without charge or explanation ...

Read the full article.

David M. Crane is a Syracuse University College of Law Distinguished Scholar in Residence.

Professor Arlene Kanter Calls for CRPD Ratification in Touro Law Review

Arlene Kanter
Kanter, Arlene S. "Let’s Try Again: Why the United States Should Ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities." Touro Law Review, 35 (2019).

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted by the United Nations in 2006 and entered into force in 2008, explains Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence and Director of the Disability Law and Policy Program Arlene Kanter in Touro Law Review.

Since then, 177 countries have ratified the CRPD, but not the United States. "This is not the first time that the US has failed to ratify a human rights treaty," Kanter writes. "Of the nine core human rights treaties that the UN has adopted, the US has ratified only three. Based on this record, the US is considered to have one of the worst treaty ratification records in the world." 

After President Barack Obama signed the CRPD, the US Senate failed to ratify it, "not once but on two occasions." Kanter further explains that the CRPD goes beyond the rights provided in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). "However, that is not a reason not to ratify. In fact, the best reason for the US to ratify the CRPD is that ratification will help to fully realize the promise of the ADA and its 2008 amendments," she continues. 

In her article, Kanter argues that the Senate should ratify the CRPD without any further delay. The first section provides an overview of the CRPD, followed by a discussion of the ways in which the Convention differs from the ADA of 1990, as well as the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. The third section discusses the process that led to the failure of the Senate to ratify the CRPD, including responses to the arguments against ratification presented by a group of “Tea Party” Republican senators. 

Kanter's article concludes with an immediate call for the Senate to ratify the CRPD in order to fulfill its duty to Americans with disabilities. However, "given the current composition of the Senate and the isolationist policies of the Trump Administration," Kanter concedes that despite the many benefits of CRPD ratification, it is unlikely to occur any time soon.

Wentsler Named a Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year"

Stephen Wentsler

Stephen Wentsler, managing member at Wentsler LLC, was named a 2019 Patent Law "Lawyer of the Year" in Cleveland, Ohio, by Best Lawyers.

Hubbard Named in 40 Under 40

Tyson Hubbard

Tyson Hubbard, partner at Downey Brand, was named a 2018 40 Under 40 Honoree by Sacramento Business Journal.

Imhof Jr. Joins Vedder Price

John Imhof Jr.

John Imhof Jr. has joined Vedder Price as Global Transportation Finance Shareholder.

Murphy Named in Best Lawyers in America

Timothy Murphy

Timothy Murphy, managing partner at Hancock Estabrook, was named in the 2019 Best Lawyers in America.

Shaw Named in Best Lawyers in America

Steven Shaw

Steven Shaw, leader of the Real Estate Practice Area at Hancock Estabrook, was named in the 2019 Best Lawyers in America.

Pierce Named in Best Lawyers in America

Alan Pierce

Alan Pierce, partner and leader of the Appellate Practice at Hancock Estabrook, was named in the 2019 Best Lawyers in America.

Meagher Named in Best Lawyers in America

Walter Meagher

Walter Meagher, partner at Hancock Estabrook, was named in the 2019 Best Lawyers in America.