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Emergency Powers and Policing: Professor William C. Banks Talks to Rewire

Posted on Thursday 4/22/2021
William C. Banks

How Emergency Powers Pave the Way for Police Brutality at Protests

(Rewire | April 21, 2021) When curfew hit at 8 p.m. on April 13 in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, it felt like someone had flipped a switch.

Reporters on the ground say the protest outside the police department had been peaceful, full of speeches and songs. 

But the environment quickly changed as law enforcement began to use more aggressive tactics, firing less-lethal rounds, tear gas and flash grenades at protesters in an attempt to disperse the protest ...

... In 1878, The Posse Comitatus Act was passed to prevent the federal military from engaging in law enforcement activity. There was a desire for the military and law enforcement to be separate entities.

"They're supposed to keep the peace, prevent disturbances, quell disorder, but not enforce the law. That's for the cops," said William Banks, professor emeritus at the Syracuse University College of Law.

But states aren't burdened by that restriction.

"If the governor wishes, depending on how the state law is written, National Guard forces could enforce the curfew or engage in a search or make an arrest of an individual who's violating the law," Banks said.

In the past 20 years, the lines have further blurred. That's because military-grade force doesn't just come from the military. 

Since 1997, federal programs have transferred surplus military equipment to local police departments. Police departments often respond to protests in full tactical military gear, with gas masks, shields and armored vehicles. 

For instance, as NPR reported, St. Paul suburb Cottage Grove's police department alone acquired $1 million in military gear during the Trump administration. The department received 39 bayonets in December 2019.

"That kind of a force, particularly if it's made distant from the people by virtue of the equipment that they use and the paraphernalia that they wear, and the rules of engagement that follow, they're no longer being responsive to the people," Banks said ...

Read the full article.

Santos Vargas elected as Chair of the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors

Posted on Wednesday 4/21/2021
Santos Vargas

Santos Vargas was selected chair-elect of the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors during the board’s quarterly meeting held April 16. Vargas, a shareholder at Davis & Santos in San Antonio, will take office in June and will  serve as chair until June 2022.

Jeffrey Fasoldt has been admitted to practice in New York State

Posted on Wednesday 4/21/2021
Jeffrey C. Fasoldt

Bousquet Holstein PLLC is pleased to announce that Jeffrey C. Fasoldt, Jr. has been admitted to practice law in New York State and is now an Associate Attorney in the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group. Prior to joining the firm, Jeff participated in the firm’s Summer Associate Program, following his second year of law school, where he assisted with a variety of complex real estate and land use matters.

Jeff graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University College of Law in 2020. During his time in law school, Jeff served as a Research Assistant to Professor Robin Paul Malloy, focusing on the interactions of land use, real estate, and disability law. In addition, Jeff worked as an Associate Notes Editor on the Syracuse Law Review. Jeff was also a member of the Justinian Honor Society during both his second and third year. During law school, Jeff worked as a judicial intern for the Honorable David N. Hurd in U.S. District Court. Jeff is also a cum laude graduate of St. Bonaventure University . He grew up in Avon, NY and now resides in Downtown Syracuse. 

ABA Student Podcast: 1L Meghan Steenburgh Discusses National Security Concerns with Professor William C. Banks

Posted on Wednesday 4/21/2021
ABA Student Podcast

Critical Issues in National Security Law

(ABA Law Student Podcast | April 20, 2021) In the daily onslaught of news from all corners of the globe, it is sometimes difficult to decipher the implications of current events within our own country. 

From the pandemic, to cybersecurity, to international relationships, linking current events and national security interests to law helps us understand our country’s responses to the things we see in the media. ABA Law Student Podcast host 1L Meg Steenburgh talks with Professor William Banks of Syracuse University about the most critical national security issues facing our nation both at home and abroad, including China tensions, nuclear weapons concerns worldwide, the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, and more.

William C. Banks is a Syracuse University College of Law Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor and Emeritus Professor at the College of Law and the Maxwell School as Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs.

Listen to the podcast.

Flood named Parter at DeWitt LLP

Posted on Wednesday 4/21/2021

Brian T. Flood – Class of 2000, has been named Partner at the law firm of DeWitt LLP of Green Bay, Wisconsin. For many of his clients, Brian takes on the role of corporate counsel, advising them on all aspects business law.  His practice focuses on business transactions, banking, litigation, real estate, and employment law. 

A Message from Dean Boise Regarding the Murder Conviction of Derek Chauvin

Posted on Wednesday 4/21/2021
College of Law

Dear College of Law Community,

Yesterday, a guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin case was rendered. Today, my thoughts are with the family of George Floyd, hoping that they may find peace in yesterday’s pronouncement. While justice may have been served, we know that they continue to grieve—and to suffer and to fear as do so many of our Black citizens, neighbors, families, and friends. 

The verdict is but one step along the path toward greater law enforcement accountability for interactions with Black people and people of color in this country. A critical component of progress will be the continued reform of policing practices at all levels, including here in Syracuse and Central New York. We will continue to move that work forward through the ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium and other initiatives.

As a College of Law Community that dedicates itself to the rule of law, our mandate as citizens and as professionals is as clear as ever: to examine, to question, and to press forward for justice as a universal good.  

Together and individually, our commitment must be reflected in our actions, as only action will address the deeply ingrained racial injustices that surround us. We also must hold ourselves accountable for creating and fostering—right here—a Community where all of us feel safe and supported in that pursuit.  

In solidarity,

Craig M. Boise
Dean and Professor of Law
College of Law

Bloomberg Discusses Vaccine Passports and ADA Liability with Professor Peter Blanck

Posted on Wednesday 4/21/2021
Peter Blanck

Big Tech Unleashes Vaccine Passports as Privacy Questions Loom

(Bloomberg Law | April 19, 2021) Fans of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets are flashing more than game tickets these days when entering Barclays Center.

They’re also required to show a recent negative Covid-19 test, a vaccination card, or their Excelsior Pass—New York’s first-in-the-nation “vaccine passport,” which uses QR codes on a smartphone to prove test results or vaccination against the disease.

The IBM-created Excelsior Pass, which debuted last month, is among a growing number of apps that could help Americans safely return to sporting events, theaters, restaurants, and flights.

But they’re also raising privacy concerns ...

... But the ADA does require employers to keep their workers’ vaccination information confidential. That could stymie the ability to share passport data with third parties, like service providers who may want to assure clients that the workers going to their homes or businesses have gotten their shots.

And getting workers’ consent to disclose their vaccine passports wouldn’t eliminate the threat of ADA liability, as courts could view that as coercive or discriminatory, said Peter Blanck, a Syracuse University law professor who’s written books on disability bias ...

Read the full article.

Professor Doron Dorfman Cited in Slate Video Game Accessibility Article

Posted on Tuesday 4/20/2021
Doron Dorfman

Fake Reddit Post Starts Serious Debate About Video Game Accessibility

(Slate | April 20, 2021) The subreddit r/legaladvice is supposed to be Reddit’s space to ask simple legal questions. That’s why so many of the threads revolve around subjects like taxes, housing, employment, or family law—common issues where the legal framework has gradually developed over a long period of time. But every once in a while, somebody posts a legal question that energizes the Reddit community with its seeming pathos and originality.

That was the case recently when a user going by the name poelegalthrowaway00 posted a question describing unique challenges that they faced with the video game Path of Exile, a hugely popular action role-playing game set in the dark fantasy world of Wraeclast. The user wrote:

I can’t use one hand and some fingers on the other after an industrial accident. I do things on the computer using mouse and 3 foot pedals. I play this game called Path of Exile, and in the game you need to refresh 4 potion buffs every 3-8 seconds. I physically can’t press 4 keys every few seconds so I use a macro that automatically does it for me ...

... One of the ironies of the poster’s false claims is that it overlaps with an actual theme of disability law discourse. Doron Dorfman of Syracuse University College of Law argues that “Fear of the Disability Con” has inspired a moral panic. According to Dorfman, there is a negative stereotype about people who are faking disabilities and abusing the law—for example, disingenuously claiming disabled parking spots, applying for public benefits, or requesting special academic accommodations—and this stigma serves to erode the overall public legitimacy of those rights ...

Read the full article.

Syracuse University College of Law Faculty Place Scholarship in Top Law Journals

Posted on Tuesday 4/20/2021
College of Law

Re-affirming Syracuse University College of Law’s position as a leader in cutting-edge legal research, several top 50 law journals have accepted or published Syracuse Law faculty articles during 2020-2021. Addressing a spectrum of topics—including criminal justice reform, disability, health care, long-term care, constitutional law, climate change, and zoning—among Syracuse Law’s recent, notable placements are:

Doron Dorfman, “The PrEP Penalty,” Boston College Law Review (forthcoming 2022)

Using the example of PrEP—a highly effective, FDA-approved HIV-prevention treatment—Professor Dorfman demonstrates how moral judgments around sexuality, which are unsupported by clear data, color public health decisions at both the policy and patient levels.

Doron Dorfman, “Suspicious Species,” University of Illinois Law Review (2021)

Taking an empirical law and psychology approach, Professor Dorfman assesses the “moral panic” and “assistance-animal disability con” surrounding the perceived misrepresentation of pets as assistance animals and how people with disabilities who use service dogs are compelled to signal compliance to avoid harassment, questioning, or exclusion.

David Driesen, The Political Remedies Doctrine,” Emory Law Journal (forthcoming 2021)

The “political remedies doctrine” maintains that courts ought not adjudicate separation of powers claims until both political branches of government have asserted their rights. By arguing that courts should not apply this doctrine—except perhaps to avoid adjudication of challenges to bipartisan legislation signed by the president—Professor Driesen also provides new insights about the proper role of bargaining in resolving separation of powers, general theory about the relationship between law and politics, and understandings about how courts should approach justiciability.

David Driesen, “The Unitary Executive Theory in Comparative Context,” Hastings Law Journal (2020)

Professor Driesen analyzes the debate in the United States over the unitary executive theory in light of other countries’ experiences, primarily through case studies of recent democratic decline in Hungary, Poland, and Turkey. Driesen urges rejection of the unitary executive theory, which he maintains is a potential pathway to autocracy. An appreciation of the dangers that unitary theory poses to democracy should reframe the debate.

Nina Kohn, “Nursing Homes, COVID-19 and the Consequences of Regulatory Failures,” Georgetown Law Journal Online (2021)

Professor Kohn explores the COVID-19 crisis in America’s nursing homes and its lessons for the future of long-term care. Her essay discusses how regulatory approaches employed in other parts of the US healthcare system could be used to create a more humane and resilient long-term care system.

Nina Kohn, “Legislating Supported Decision-Making,” Harvard Journal on Legislation (forthcoming 2021)

Fueled by the promise of supported decision-making and mounting concerns about guardianship, states are rapidly adopting statutes that purport to enable and promote supported decision-making and advance the rights of persons with disabilities. Professor Kohn observes that these statutes typically do neither. She further explains that the gap between the concept of supported decision-making and state legislation is the result of a confluence of political agendas. Kohn argues a person-centered approach is essential to empower individuals with disabilities.

Lauryn P. Gouldin, “Reforming Pretrial Decision-Making,” Wake Forest Law Review (2020)

Professor Gouldin argues that pretrial reform efforts aimed at shrinking the country’s swollen jail populations do too little to change fundamental aspects of judicial decision-making that have been a persistent source of pretrial dysfunction. She analyzes the decision-making processes that have historically led judges to rely too heavily on pretrial detention and overly restrictive release and outlines the costs of these flawed decisions. Gouldin calls for greater emphasis on judges’ obligations to mitigate harm and promote successful pretrial release.

Mark Nevitt, “Is Climate Change a National Emergency?UC Davis Law Review (forthcoming 2021)

Professor Nevitt asks whether climate change—and its multifaceted impacts—is an emergency that warrants using supplemental legal authorities. If so, what federal emergency authorities are available, and what are the normative stakes to democratic governance if a president declares a climate emergency?

Mark Nevitt, “The Remaking of the Supreme Court: Implications for Climate Change Litigation and Regulation,” Cardozo Law Review (2020)

With the accession of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, a conservative judicial majority appears cemented for decades to come. Professor Nevitt addresses how this transformed Supreme Court might impact future environmental and climate change cases, what influence it will have on policymaking, and how it will affect the ability of plaintiffs to address challenges.

Danielle Stokes, “Zoning for Climate Change,” Minnesota Law Review (2021)

Professor Stokes draws upon a substantial body of scholarly work that advocates for federal or regional collaboration in renewable energy policymaking and for more balanced and dynamic federalism in the energy sector. She argues that the current fragmented and localized system of energy governance—including zoning and land use planning—can delay and even deter renewable energy project development.

Hon. James E. Baker: Ethics and Artificial Intelligence—A Policymaker's Introduction

Posted on Tuesday 4/20/2021
Hon. James E. Baker

Policymakers contemplating the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence will find, if they have not already, that existing laws leave huge gaps in deciding how (and whether) AI will be developed and used in ethical ways. The law, of course, plays a vital role. While it does not guarantee wise choices, it can improve the odds of having a process that will lead to such choices. Law can reach across constituencies and compel, where policy encourages and ethics guide. The legislative process can also serve as an effective mechanism to adjudicate competing values as well as validate risks and opportunities. 

But the law is not enough when it contains gaps due to lack of a federal nexus, interest, or the political will to legislate. And law may be too much if it imposes regulatory rigidity and burdens when flexibility and innovation are required. Sound ethical codes and principles can help fill legal gaps. To do so, policymakers have three main tools: 

  • Ethical Guidelines, Principles, and Professional Codes
  • Academic Internal Review Boards (IRBs)
  • Principles of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Below is a primer on the limits and promise of these three mechanisms to help shape a regulatory regime that maximizes the benefits of AI and minimizes its potential harms. 

This paper addresses six specific considerations for policymakers:

  1. Where AI is concerned, ethics codes should include indicative actions illustrating compliance with the code’s requirements. Otherwise, individual actors will independently define terms like “public safety,” “appropriate human control,” and “reasonable” subject to their own competing values. This will result in inconsistent and lowest-common-denominator ethics. If the principle is “equality,” for example, an indicative action might require training data for a facial recognition application to include a meaningful cross-section of gender and race-based data.
  2. Most research and development in AI is academic and corporate. Therefore, Institutional Review Boards and Corporate Social Responsibility practices are critical in filling the gaps between law and professional ethics, and in identifying regulatory gaps. Indeed, corporations might consider the use of IRBs as well. 
  3. Policymakers should consider the Universal Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence (detailed below) as a legislative checklist. Even if they don’t adopt the guidelines, the list will help them make purposeful choices about what to include or omit in an AI regulatory regime consisting of law, ethics, and CSR. 
  4. Academic leaders and government officials should actively consider whether to subject AI research and development to IRB review. They should further consider whether to apply a burden of proof, persuasion, or a precautionary principle to high-risk AI activities, such as those that link AI to kinetic or cyber weapons or warning systems, pose counterintelligence (CI) risks, or remove humans from an active control loop.
  5. Corporations should create a governance process for deciding whether and how to adopt CSR national security policies answering the question:  What does it mean to be an American corporation? They should consider adopting a stakeholder model of CSR that is, in essence, a public-private partnership that includes input from consumers and employees as well as shareholders and the C-Suite.
  6. Policymakers, lawyers, and corporate leaders should communicate regularly about the four issues that may define the tone, tenor, and content of government-industry relations: uniformity in response, business with and in China and Russia, encryption, and privacy.
  7. Where government agencies, corporations, and academic entities have adopted AI Principles, as many institutions now have, it is time to move from statements of generic principle to the more difficult task of applying those principles to specific applications. 

Dean Craig Boise’s 4 Cs for Leadership: Consult, Build Consensus, Communicate, Course-Correct

Posted on Tuesday 4/20/2021
Dean Craig M. Boise

(Syracuse Post-Standard | April 20, 2021) Law Day is held May 1 every year to celebrate the role of law in American society and to deepen understanding of the legal profession.

Asked about Law Day this year, Craig M. Boise, dean of Syracuse University’s College of Law, sees special significance:

“I think the events of just this year have illustrated how important the rule of law is. We saw an attack on the U.S. Capitol by people who would have overturned the results of a valid election. That was a wake-up call for people to realize we tend to take for granted the system that we have, where we believe that the law is supreme. It’s more important than an individual, than an individual leader, that we have a system of law. Law Day celebrates that and hopefully draws attention to it outside of the community of lawyers.

“The rule of law is a fragile thing, and it can be lost. Even up until recent years, the U.S. has been an exporter of the concept of rule of law. The ABA (American Bar Association) has a project that works to implement the rule of law in other countries and develop sound legal rules.

“It’s important that all of us inform ourselves about issues and that we participate, particularly in our local governments. That’s the kind of involvement with the law and development of policy that can draw people together because it’s local. I think that people should be involved and understand that it’s on us to preserve the democracy that we have" ...

Read the full article.

Advocacy Honor Society Announces Award, Scholarship Winners at 2021 Virtual Banquet

Posted on Friday 4/16/2021
College of Law

The Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honors Society (AHS) held its virtual banquet on April 15, 2021, presided over by Faculty Director Professor Todd Berger and AHS Executive Director 3L Joseph Tantillo.

Opening the banquet, Dean Craig M. Boise praised the advocates for posting "another banner year for the Advocacy Program."

"Given the challenges, the Program could have been forgiven if it had 'stepped back' this year and 'waited for the dust to settle,'" Boise said. "But you did quite the opposite—embracing virtual tournaments, adding and planning new hosted competitions, and boosting our national reputation to such an extent, we are now ranked #11 in the nation for Trial Advocacy by U.S. News and World Report."

In addition to jumping 16 places in two years in the U.S. News national rankings, the Advocacy Program is also #7 in the nation according to the 2020 Fordham rankings for trial competition, released in October 2020. 

Dean Boise noted some other highlights for 2020-2021, a year in which competitions were held online due to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • In February, Syracuse Law swept the National Trial Competition Region 2 tournament for the second year in a row, again sending two teams to the NTC national finals and lifting the Tiffany Cup for the third year in a row. 
  • Two other teams also won their regional rounds for the second year: the Black Law Students Association Trial Team and the National Moot Court Competition Team. The BLSA team then made it to the elite eight of their national tourney, the Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition.
  • In October, the second Syracuse National Trial Competition became one of the first live-streamed tourneys in the nation, convening 22 top teams, managing nearly 50 trials, and gathering an 150 volunteer evaluators.
  • AHS then launched a new competition in March, the Transatlantic Negotiation Competition, in collaboration with Queen's University in Belfast, bringing together 60 students and judges (including alumni) from 23 countries. 
  • The program is now in the planning stages for a third Syracuse Law intercollegiate tournament, which will be a national moot court competition with a focus on disability law. 

Thanking alumni for their assistance through the year, coaching teams and judging competitions, Dean Boise announced the creation of the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society Alumni Association, which will keep Program alumni in close touch and encourage further engagement after graduation.

Dean Boise finished his remarks by wishing 2021-2022 AHS Executive Director 2L Olivia Stevens best of luck and by welcoming the evening's special guests: Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin; Lee Michaels L'67; Emil Rossi L'72 (along with his daughters Rachel and Gemma L'01); and Everett Gillison L'85, Chief Administrative Officer, Defender Association of Philadelphia, and a 2020 Law Honors Awards recipient. 

The following awards and scholarship were bestowed at the banquet: 

  • Executive Director's Award: 3L Tyler Jefferies
  • Faculty Advocacy Director's Award: 3L Sharon Otasowie
  • Ralph E. Kharas Award: 3L Joseph F. Tantillo
  • Lee S. Michaels '67 Advocate of the Year Award: 2L Marina De Rosa
  • Emil Rossi L'72 Scholarship Award: 2L Amanda Nardozza
  • Richard Risman Appellate Advocacy Award: 3L Joseph F. Tantillo
  • Models of Excellence in Advocacy Award (In Honor of Everett Gillison L'85): 2L Olivia Stevens and 2L Kelsey Gonzalez
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers: 3L Joseph Celotto and 3L Christy O'Neil

The following 3L students were admitted to the Order of Barristers: Carly Cazer, Joseph Celotto, Lisa Cole, Ken Knight, Allison Kowalczyk, Christy O'Neil, Sharon Otasowie, and Joseph F. Tantillo

Professor Nina Kohn Explores Nursing Homes, COVID-19, and Regulatory Failure in Georgetown Law Journal Online

Posted on Friday 4/16/2021
Nina Kohn
"Nursing Homes, COVID-19, and the Consequences of Regulatory Failure." Georgetown Law Journal Online, 110 (Spring 2021)

Professor Nina Kohn's essay explores the COVID-19 crisis in America’s nursing homes and its lessons for the future of long-term care. It challenges narratives portraying nursing homes as the unfortunate victims of COVID-19 by showing how the crisis is the foreseeable result of regulatory gaps and failures that have long enabled nursing homes to engage in systemic neglect. 

Kohn then shows how regulatory approaches employed in other parts of the US healthcare system could be used to create a more humane and resilient long-term care system. It concludes by considering the implications of such reforms for enhancing equity and reducing structural ageism. 

Syracuse Law Review and SUNY Upstate AMA/MSSNY Announce Writing Competition Winners

Posted on Wednesday 4/14/2021
Syracuse Law Review

Syracuse Law Review and the SUNY Upstate Medical University American Medical Association/Medical Society of the State of New York (AMA/MSSNY) Board have announce the winners of their COVID-19 Writing Competition. The special contest—announced in December 2020—encouraged graduate students of Syracuse University and SUNY Upstate to write or co-author original articles on the theme of “COVID-19: Lessons Learned and Where Do We Go from Here?”

  • Olivia Chen (SUNY Upstate) and Natasha Pandit (SUNY Upstate) won first place for "A Proposed Policy Solution to Provide Remote Prenatal Care after the COVID-19 Pandemic."
  • Roland Lindmayer (College of Law) took second place with "The Liquidity Pandemic: A Recent History of the Federal Reserve and Economic Implications of Historically Aggressive Actions during the COVID-19 Pandemic."
  • Rebecca Harris (SUNY Upstate) third place article is titled "Extroversion as a Potential Risk Factor for Increased Spread of COVID-19 in the United States During a Global Pandemic."

In addition to publishing the winning articles, SLR has selected six additional submissions for its journal: 

"The Rise in Family Violence During the COVID-19 Era" (Ann Ciancia, College of Law); "A Bioethical Argument to Provide Direct Payments to Undocumented Immigrants in a COVID-19 Economic Stimulus" (Michael Conroy, SUNY Upstate); "A Bitter Pill to Swallow: The Inevitability of the Global Pandemic" (Anthony Corsi, SUNY Upstate); "Is China to Blame for COVID-19?" (Melanie Ngo, SUNY Upstate); "COVID-19 Within the Mass Incarceration System" (Almasa Talovic, SUNY Upstate); and "Only the Rich Can Afford a Free Vaccine" (Connor Wiest, SUNY Upstate).

"A big thank you goes to the Syracuse Law Review staff and the SUNY Upstate AMA/MSSNY Board for making this competition a success. Congratulations to the winners!" says SLR Editor-in-Chief 3L Nikkia Knudsen. "Thank you also to our faculty judges and advisors, who provided their time and unwavering support—from the College of Law: Professor Emeritus Peter Bell, Professor Emily Brown, Professor Robin Paul Malloy, Professor Aliza Milner, and Professor Danielle Stokes and from SUNY Upstate: Dr. Daryll Dykes, Dr. Rebecca Garden, Dr. Travis Hobart, and Professor Edward McArdle."

Professor Mark Nevitt: Should the COVID-19 Vaccine Be Required for the Military?

Posted on Monday 4/12/2021
Mark P. Nevitt

(Just Security | April 12, 2021) By some estimates, approximately one-third of U.S. military service members have opted out of the COVID-19 vaccine. Some think that number could be higher, for example, according to a new report, nearly 40 percent of U.S. Marines are declining vaccinations. An earlier December report from the nonprofit advocacy group Blue Star Families estimated that nearly half of military members would decline the vaccine if offered. In response, six members of Congress recently sent a letter to President Joe Biden, asking him to make the vaccine mandatory for all military service members.

In what follows, I address three questions that have arisen from the U.S. military’s ongoing efforts to vaccinate members of the armed forces:
Can military members be legally required to receive the COVID-19 vaccination?

  • Can military members be legally required to receive the COVID-19 vaccination?
  • What lessons from earlier military vaccination efforts (e.g. anthrax) can be applied to COVID-19?
  • What is the impact on vaccination refusal on military readiness?

Ultimately, yes—but this answer requires a bit of nuance and process. As of this writing, the president and defense secretary have not ordered mandatory vaccination for the military (or the general public for that matter). COVID-19 vaccination remains strictly voluntary for all military service members, consistent with earlier pledges by Biden that he would not make vaccinations mandatory. But that could change, particularly for deployed service members who work in tight quarters where infection rates can spike quickly. For now though, DoD appears committed to the voluntary vaccination approach.

As a statutory matter, in 2003, Congress passed a law (10 U.S.C. § 1107a) that requires informed consent prior to military members receiving vaccinations issued under an emergency use authorization (EUA). All three COVID-19 vaccinations being used in the United States —ModernaJohnson & Johnson and Pfizer—are being administered under an EUA. And all three have not been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration. By some estimates, full approval may take up to two years.

But, according to the law, the president can waive this informed consent requirement if he determines that it is “in the interest of national security” to do so. While Biden has not done this, some members of Congress have called upon him to do just that.

If this informed consent provision is ultimately waived, military commanders can clearly order military members in their command to receive the vaccine. This is consistent with the “Failure to obey an order or regulation” under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Even if the informed provision is not waived by Biden, a mandatory military vaccination order may survive challenges in military criminal courts implementing the UCMJ. Federal civil courts would likely scrutinize such a move much more closely. This is based upon prior decisions and the military’s experience in implementing the anthrax vaccination program, which I turn to below.

Relatedly, outside the military context, over 100 years ago, the Supreme Court upheld a local Board of Health’s authority to require smallpox vaccinations during a smallpox epidemic. As Professor Lawrence Gostin at Georgetown Law has previously arguedJacobson reaffirms the “basic police power of the government to safeguard the public’s health.” This decisionJacobson v. Massachusetts, has been relied upon during this pandemic to implement mandatory mask wearing and social distancing.

What lessons from earlier military vaccination efforts (e.g. anthrax) can be applied here?

Quite a few. The anthrax vaccine was administered as an “investigational new drug” (IND) in the late 1990s. Congress passed a law in 1998 (10 U.S.C. § 1107), effectively requiring informed consent from military members prior to administration of INDs such as anthrax. This is a different but analogous law to the COVID-19 emergency use authorization. President Bill Clinton signed an executive order in 1999, reaffirming the informed consent requirement and laying out the process for seeking a waiver. But both President Clinton and Bush did not waive the informed consent procedure. The mandatory anthrax vaccination program was administered anyway, although it was started and stopped several times in the early aughts. This was due to issues with the manufacturer’s ability to pass inspections and disagreements about whether the anthrax vaccine was administered consistent with its labeling. Perhaps not surprisingly, orders to take anthrax vaccinations were challenged by military service members in both military and federal courts.

As military commanders ordered anthrax vaccinations, some service members refused, arguing that they had not provided their informed consent to the anthrax inoculation. Federal courts heard civil, administrative, and constitutional challenges, while military judges heard challenges under the UCMJ …

Read the full article.

Syracuse University Law Alumni Association Condemning Asian Hate

Posted on Monday 4/12/2021
College of Law

On behalf of the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association (SULAA), we call on every member of our College of Law family to stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in condemning the torrent of anti-Asian racism, hatred, and acts of violence around the country.

Since the start of the pandemic, a wave of xenophobia has reignited a surge of discrimination and violence targeting the AAPI community. In 2020 alone, anti-Asian hate crimes rose nearly 150% in our nation’s largest cities, according to a new report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

The recent killings of Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng in Atlanta have added to the trauma of these abhorrent acts of hate. And from San Francisco to New York City, there continues to be a slew of malicious beatings against Asians. The numbers of reported Asian hate crimes are staggering, and the AAPI community is scared and concerned. Sadly, it takes videos and social media posts to cause the public at large to take notice and start this necessary dialogue.

The suffering of the AAPI community has been underreported, ignored, or has altogether gone unnoticed for more than a century. That must end now. SULAA believes silence is not an option. As a legal community, nationally and locally, we must challenge ourselves to do more. As legal practitioners we have an ethical duty not to “look the other way,” but to proactively and vigorously pursue equality and justice.

Join us in calling for more protections for every member of our society, especially our fellow citizens and neighbors who have been historically overlooked. As President Joseph R. Biden L’68 said following the recent attacks on Asians in Atlanta and New York City, “We can’t be silent in the face of rising violence against Asian Americans.”

To the College of Law’s AAPI community, we acknowledge your concerns. You are not invisible. You matter. We stand with you in solidarity to stop Asian hate.

The SULAA Board of Directors

Further Reading

Please explore these resources to learn more about the current and historical context, and to find ways to offer tangible support in the fight against anti-Asian violence and interlocking systems of oppression:

  • The AAPI COVID-19 Project provides a non-exhaustive, community-gathered list of educational, cultural, mental health, hate-crime reporting, and other resources of need.
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice seeks to advance civil and human rights for Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all. 
  • Stop AAPI Hate tracks and responds to incidents of hate against AAPI communities in the US.
  • National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum advocates for political and structural change around reproductive health, immigrant rights, racial justice, and economic justice.
  • Hollaback! offers anti-harassment/bystander intervention trainings.

Professor Nina Kohn Discusses NY Nursing Home Accountability with AP

Posted on Monday 4/12/2021
Nina Kohn

Reforms follow deadly year in New York nursing homes

(AP | April 10, 2021) After a deadly year in New York’s nursing homes, state lawmakers have passed legislation intended to hold facility operators more accountable for neglect and potentially force them to spend more on patient care.

Rules passed in recent days as part of a state budget deal would require for-profit homes to spend at least 70% of their revenue on direct patient care, including 40% on staffers who work directly with residents.

Under the deal, set to be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, home operators will also face limits on their profit margins. Any profits in excess of 5% would have to be sent to the state ...

New York’s law was among the nation’s most protective, and state Attorney General Letitia James called for lawmakers to repeal it in January.

“What immunity provision did is give a green light to facilities to engage in practices and staffing patterns known to create unreasonable risk to residents,” Syracuse University School of Law professor Nina Kohn said ...

Read the full story.

1Ls Payton Sorci and Nicco Vocaturo Prevail in the 2nd Annual Entertainment and Sports Law Negotiation Competition

Posted on Friday 4/9/2021
1Ls Payton Sorci and Nicco Vocaturo

The team of 1Ls Payton Sorci (pictured, top) and Nicco Vocaturo (pictured, bottom) prevailed over the team of 3Ls Travis Swanson and Jordan Ferbrache in the final round of the Entertainment and Sports Law Negotiation Competition, held on April 8, 2021. The second annual competition was held in conjunction with the seventh annual Entertainment and Sports Law Symposium, the first time both events were held completely online.

Competition judges were Professor Elizabeth August L’94; Kevin Belbey L’16, Vice President of Sports Broadcasting, The Montag Group; and Beverly Sarfo, General Counsel, TVO.

The dispute negotiated by the students addressed an endorsement deal with Nike signed by athlete Aroldis Chapman. However, because of the effects of the pandemic, the relationship between the parties has become strained. Nike believed that Chapman has not endorsed their brand adequately throughout the pandemic; Aroldis believed negative tweets from a Nike spokesperson have defamed his character. Before filing suit, the parties agreed to have their respective counsels meet to resolve the issue privately.

Fill in the Blanks: ILC Research Reports Give Innovators an Edge

Posted on Friday 4/9/2021
Innovation Law Center

By 3L Meredith Wallen

As of April 2021, faculty and students in the Innovation Law Center (ILC) are finalizing client presentations for the spring semester. Given current coronavirus pandemic restrictions, clients once again will meet virtually with research teams for presentations that will summarize the intellectual property, regulatory, and market landscape findings relevant to the respective technologies.

Spring 2021 ILC clients are developing innovations in green building systems, medical technology, biometrics, streaming media, and infrastructure logistics:

MicroEra Power

This Rochester, NY, team is exploring commercialization options for its inventive solutions for retrofitting existing HVAC systems in commercial buildings to make them more cost effective and energy efficient. ILC research seeks to identify other HVAC improvements in patent and public literature to help assess the improvements that are most likely to obtain patent protection.

In addition, the research facilitates awareness of existing new technology in the market insuring MicroEra does not inadvertently subject itself to liability for infringing on other patents. By understanding what investors and potential licensees might identify in similar searches, ILC clients such as MicroEra increase the likelihood of choosing the best commercialization pathway for new technology.

Organic Robotics

Developed in Ithaca, NY, from Cornell University technology, this platform technology invention utilizes networks of sensors to read body movements. ILC research is helping to explore one of the technology’s applications that will be of interest to big league sports teams. Organic Robotics has developed variations of its technology for a number of applications, and ILC research also will help differentiate where the best opportunities are in light of existing technology developments in their innovation space.

NSION Technologies

NSC3 is a media broadcasting and management solution to provide situational awareness during events and disasters. The NSC3 platform provides integrated media streaming from multiple sources to multiple devices in real-time while optimizing video speeds and allowing live data transfer using secure connections and data encryption.

This technology originated in Finland, and it is being introduced to the US market through a startup located in New York State. ILC research will provide NSION with an analysis of the potential for patentability and infringement based on other developments in the space. Market research is also being conducted to assess industries beyond public safety that the NSC3 technology could be marketed in.


Skip-Line provides real time information on fleet location, material usage, and application performance for contractors completing road work. This technology is meant to create and utilize navigation trajectories, also known as drive vectors. ILC research provides an analysis of competing intellectual property and its potential effect on patent protection and infringement on other technologies, as well as market information on automotive-related industries and regulatory and liability information. Additionally, regulatory analysis is identifying relevant state and federal level regulations and liability issues.


Commercializing University of Buffalo technology, Optimed is working to promote the clinical transaction of fundamental lab research into human clinical treatments to reduce pain and suffering, enhance quality of life, and improve oral health. Specifically, ILC faculty and students have been working on identifying prior art relevant to the assessment of patentability of 3D-printing dentures, as well as performing regulatory and market research.

Triton Bio

Triton Bio creates devices that isolate microbes from biological samples, and it is looking into entering the point of care diagnostics market. ILC research includes the identification of  patents within the clinical diagnostics setting that are considered point-of-care devices and that currently isolate bacteria for diagnostics. In addition, a market analysis on all relevant diagnostics competitors within the current market is being performed.

The research and analysis outlined for the spring 2021 clients is typical of the sort of assistance provided by ILC during the summer and fall sessions. Summer research requests currently are lining up, so now is the time to get in touch if you are interested in increasing your chances of success with an ILC research report.

Professor Shubha Ghosh Analyzes SCOTUS' Java/Google API Decision

Posted on Thursday 4/8/2021
Shubha Ghosh

Supreme Court ruling on Java APIs eases developer worries

(TheServerSide.com | April 6, 2021) Developers can feel some relief now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Google in its landmark copyright case versus Oracle.

Oracle sued Google more than a decade ago, claiming that the search engine giant infringed Oracle's copyrights by using more than 11,500 lines of Java code from Java APIs created by Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired in 2010. That code was used to create the Android mobile operating system.

The Supreme Court of the United States' (SCOTUS) decision overturns two lower court rulings in favor of Oracle, and ruled that Google's use of the APIs falls under the fair use doctrine of copyright law ...

... some question the finality and clarity of the decision. Shubha Ghosh, a law professor at Syracuse University, said that while the ruling for Google was not surprising, predicting the court's reasoning was more difficult as the ruling was not as broad as some wanted.

"The ruling is narrow," Ghosh told TheServerSide. "Some were hoping the Court would create a categorical rule that APIs are not copyrightable. Instead, the Court ruled narrowly that Google's use of the declaration code was not infringement. This would mean that software developers can follow what Google did with impunity. That is narrow. But the Court's reasoning implies that not all copyrighted software will be treated the same. This is Justice [Clarence] Thomas' and [Samuel] Alito's concern: It creates a huge hole in software copyright law."

Moreover, the ruling suggests that fair use has an important role in guiding the use of copyrighted software. What that role is may be the subject of future litigation ...

Read the full article.

Daniel L. Blanchard joins Jackson Lewis P.C.

Posted on Wednesday 4/7/2021
Daniel L. Blanchard

Daniel L. Blanchard (M.P.A., 2011 and J.D., 2011) has joined national labor and employment law firm Jackson Lewis P.C. as an associate in the firm’s Philadelphia office. Daniel focuses his practice on representing employers in workplace law matters, including pre-litigation claims and litigation, as well as preventive advice, counseling, and investigations. 

Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 Addresses Sedition Laws with The Guardian

Posted on Wednesday 4/7/2021
Roy Gutterman

Why aren't we calling the Capitol attack an act of treason?

(The Guardian | April 5, 2021) During Donald Trump’s presidency, the UC Davis law professor Carlton Larson spent a lot of time on the phone telling journalists: “It’s not treason.”

Trump’s behavior towards Russia: not treason. All the FBI investigations Trump labeled as treason: also not treason. Then came the 6 January attack on the Capitol by hundreds of Trump supporters. That was treason according to the founding fathers, Larson wrote in an op-ed the next day.

But in the three months since 6 January, however, there has been little public discussion of “treason” as the framework for understanding what happened, Larson said. “Everything was ‘Treason, treason, treason,’ when it wasn’t, and now you have an event that is closer to the original 18th-century definition of treason than anything that’s happened, and it’s almost silent. Nobody is using the term at all,” he said ...

... Sedition laws in the early 20th century, including the Sedition Act of 1918, was “not only focused on World War I”, but “really focused on shutting down socialists and communists, who the government thought were going to be a threat to democracy”, said Roy Gutterman, the director of the Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University.

The supreme court at the time upheld convictions of “small groups of dissidents” who were “distributing fliers speaking out against the US government”, Gutterman said. That included socialists passing out flyers advocating that Americans peacefully resist the draft, which the supreme court at the time ruled was not protected as free speech ...

Read the full story.

Kory A. Crichton joins Fox Rothschild LLP

Posted on Monday 4/5/2021

Kory A. Crichton has joined Fox Rothschild LLP in Morristown, NJ as an associate in the Family Law Practice. Kory represents clients in a full range of family law matters, and has significant experience in matrimonial law, including divorce and domestic violence proceedings. Prior to joining Fox, Kory was an associate at a Morristown-based family law firm. He previously was a law clerk for the Honorable Ralph E. Amirata of Morris County (NJ) Superior Court, Family Division and the Honorable Mary F. Walrath of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

WAER Interviews Professor Mary Szto About Experiences with Anti-Asian Hate

Posted on Monday 4/5/2021
Mary Szto

Syracuse University Professors Share History and Experiences of Anti-Asian Racism

(WAER | April 1, 2021) The March shooting in Atlanta that left six Asian women and two others dead along with other recent acts of violence against Asians across the country have exposed previously overlooked anti-Asian racism in America,  and even here in the city of Syracuse.

Syracuse University Law Professor Mary Szto explains such racism is rooted in history, such as laws excluding Asian immigration and internment camps that held Asians captive during World War Two. 

More recently, the narrative switched to claim that Asian people are models of assimilation.

“We wanted to promote the model assimilative minority myth, which as we know was fulfilling several goals, right,” said Szto. “To unfortunately drive a wedge among minorities and then to basically, again put Asians in a box, by labelling them as a model of assimilation.”

Szto says the model minority myth has suppressed anti-Asian hate and prejudice.  Sociology Professor Yingyi Ma says violence against Asian-Americans is often not defined as a hate crime.  Ma says this racism also targets Asian international students at campuses such as Syracuse University ...

Read the full story.

Kyle J. Somers joins Wisler Pearlstine

Posted on Monday 4/5/2021

​Kyle J. Somers has joined the Education Law Team of Wisler Pearlstine LLP. Somers has dedicated his practice to representing school districts and other public entities for over a decade. He currently serves as solicitor for a number of school districts in Pennsylvania. Matters on which he regularly advises his clients include board governance, policy development, public records, employment and labor issues, special education and student civil rights. A graduate of the University of Delaware (2006), Mr. Somers earned his law degree magna cum laude from Syracuse University in 2009 where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Syracuse Law Review. He is a resident of Limerick Township.

Professor William C. Banks Speaks to El Paso Matters About UTEP Cyberattack

Posted on Friday 4/2/2021
William C. Banks

(El Paso Matters | April 1, 2021) After three weeks of its network systems not fully being restored, the University of Texas at El Paso has yet to provide details about the “unauthorized and potentially malicious intrusion” that caused the networks to fail ...

... William C. Banks, a professor of law emeritus at Syracuse University, says an outage could be expected to take weeks or longer to repair. 

“A lot of the damage requires rebuilding an internal system and that’s not something you can just flip the switch and it’s done,” he said ...

... Although it’s hard to tell, Banks also speculates that the university could have been hit with a ransomware attack. 

The U.S. government’s cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency defines ransomware as “an ever-evolving form of malware designed to encrypt files on a device, rendering any files and the systems that rely on them unusable.” Ransom is typically demanded and perpetrators usually threaten to leak important files and data if the ransom is not paid. 

“If they were hit by ransomware, they may be unable to talk about it or may not want to talk about it,” Banks said ...

Read the full article.

CCJI Helps Launch Wharlest and Exerlena Jackson Legacy Project

Posted on Thursday 4/1/2021
Wharlest and Exerlena Jackson Legacy Project

To honor the sacrifice and memory of two civil rights activists from Natchez, MS, Syracuse University College of Law's Cold Case Justice Initiative (CCJI) helped launch the Wharlest and Exerlena Jackson Legacy Project with a two-day virtual symposium for public junior and senior high school students in both Natchez and Syracuse on March 26-27, 2021.

Wharlest Jackson was an employee at the Armstrong Tire Plant who was active in the Natchez NAACP along with his wife, Exerlena. He was killed in February 1967 by a bomb planted on his pickup truck. Although no one was arrested for the murder, the FBI believed a group associated with the Ku Klux Klan was involved.

On hand to help launch the Legacy Project named for their parents were Wharlest Jackson Jr. and Denise Jackson Ford, who spoke at the event titled “Honor Their Memories; Continue Their Legacy.” In fact, several generations of Jackson family members were present, in addition to other friends and community members who knew the family.

In addition to honoring the Jacksons' sacrifice, the Legacy Project aims to provide resources to enable junior and high school students to achieve their goals and to continue the Jacksons’ dedication to civic engagement.

Friday's program introduced participants to the Jacksons and their civil rights legacy and included a short film tribute by CCJI volunteer Kendall Anderson. Saturday convened Natchez-area educators and civic leaders and included several concurrent panels on topics designed to inform and inspire junior and high school students.

Among the participants, representing Syracuse Law, were CCJI Co-Founder Professor Paula C. Johnson; alumna Pthara Jeppe L'19, Wolinsky Fellowship Attorney, Disability Rights Advocates; 3Ls Alexander Bejaran Estevez and Dianne Jahangani; 2Ls Moriah Combs, Hilda Frimpong, Mazaher Kaila, Kayla Wheeler, and Keyashia Willis, and 1Ls Kendall Anderson, Gabriela Groman, Camisha Parkins, and Iain Phillips.

Jahangani told the Concordia Sentinal newspaper that when she joined CCJI she, "delved in more deeply with the various projects that we have; it was late August 2020 when I was introduced to Mr. Wharlest Jackson Sr.’s cold case.”

A Legacy Project for the Jacksons had already been discussed, Jahangani said, but it stalled when the coronavirus pandemic began. CCJI then decided to move forward with the Legacy Project virtually "and hopefully in the future be able to have this be in person one day,” she said.

Jahangani, who is research assistant for Professor Johnson and CCJI, added that connecting students in Natchez and Syracuse was a "wonderful opportunity to build that networking connection."

To further assist the school students, Syracuse Law students have offered to become "Life Buddies"—or mentors—to help them navigate the next steps in their lives. Junior high and high school students who register in the Life Buddies program will be assigned a law student who can answer questions about the path to college and other career decisions. 

CCJI continues to investigative the Jackson case and continues their legacy for racial justice and equality. 

Wharlest and Exerlena Jackson Legacy Project
Wharlest and Exerlena Jackson Legacy Project

Joe Di Scipio L’95 Gives DCEx Students an Inside Look at Political Advertising Issues

Posted on Tuesday 3/30/2021
Joseph Di Scipio L'95

On March 22, 2021, students from the Spring 2021 Washington, DC, Externship Program (DCEx) heard from Joseph Di Scipio L’95, who offered a seminar discussing FCC compliance issues for broadcasting stations. 

Di Scipio is an accomplished legal expert in FCC regulatory compliance who currently serves as Senior Vice President, FCC Legal & Business Affairs and Assistant General Counsel at Fox Corporation. He is responsible for all FCC regulatory matters relating to Fox Corporation’s television stations, including negotiating retransmission consent and other distribution agreements, spectrum issues, M&A activity, and other special projects. 

Also holding an M.P.A .from Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Di Scipio serves on the National Association of Broadcasters Board of Directors and has previously served as the President of the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association. Di Scipio continues to provide support to Syracuse Law students and alums.

In preparation for the seminar, students viewed various political candidate and issue-related advertisements along with substantiation documents which compared claims made in the advertisements to the facts collected from the public record. 

After presenting these recent case studies, Di Scipio led an in-depth analysis and discussion surrounding FCC compliance with respect to political and issue-related advertisements. Di Scipio discussed with students his decision-making process, which includes a step-by-step analysis and risk-balancing test that takes into account the brand’s reputation, candidate rights to air advertisements, and sustaining ad revenues. 

Professor Corri Zoli Speaks to SCMP About Xinjiang, Global Brands, and Human Rights

Posted on Tuesday 3/30/2021
Corri Zoli

(South China Morning Post | March 30, 2020) Scores of Chinese and foreign companies producing “well-known global brands” may be involved in human trafficking, forced labour and other human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region, a United Nations working group said on Monday, calling more attention to an issue that Beijing is increasingly on the defensive about.

“Several experts appointed by the Human Rights Council said they had received information that connected over 150 domestic Chinese and foreign domiciled companies to serious allegations of human rights abuses against Uygur workers,” the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said ...

... Corri Zoli, director of research at the Institute for Security Policy and Law at Syracuse University in New York, called accounts of abuse in Xinjiang from groups including Human Rights Watch “increasingly reliable” and said they buttressed the UN working group’s investigations.

“These specific reports, data collection and outreach efforts are unifying international pressure from many angles,” Zoli said. “What we are seeing in this issue is the first-generation of the supply chain wars with complex information campaigns overlaid on these conflicts" ...

Read the full article.

Professor Doron Dorfman Publishes Crisis Standards of Care Study in Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law

Posted on Monday 3/29/2021
Doron Dorfman
Ari Ne’eman, Michael Ashley Stein, Zackary D. Berger, and Doron Dorfman. "The Treatment of Disability Under Crisis Standards of Care: An Empirical and Normative Analysis of Change Over Time During COVID-19." Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law (Forthcoming 2021).

Forthcoming in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, this paper is the first empirical study to show how state Crisis Standards of Care changed their treatment of disability and rationing overtime during the pandemic. 

Explains Professor Doron Dorfman, "We coded Crisis Standard of Care (CSC) rationing plans from 35 states to show how disability rights organizations were able to work with the Health and Human Service Office of Civil Rights to influence health policy. Many CSC have been changed overtime during the pandemic to make sure disability is not a cause for preventing care in situations of scarcity."

The authors conclude that disability rights movement’s successes in influencing state triage policy should inform future CSCs and set the stage for further work on how stakeholders influence bioethics policy debates: "We offer thoughts for examining bioethics policymaking reflecting the processes by which activists seek policy change and the tension policymakers face between expert delegation and mediating values conflicts."

3Ls Alex Eaton and Tyler Jefferies Prevail in the 2021 Grossman Trial Competition

Posted on Monday 3/29/2021
3Ls Alex Eaton and Tyler Jefferies

The team of 3Ls Alex Eaton and Tyler Jefferies, arguing for the defense, won the 43rd Annual Lionel O. Grossman Trial Competition held virtually on March 25, 2021. Jeffries also won Best Advocate. The prosecution team of 2Ls Will Hendon and Nate Kelder were the other finalists for this Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society (AHS) intramural competition, held virtually for the first time in its history.   

The Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby L'85, US District Court Judge for the Northern District of New York, was presiding judge for the final round. The Hon. Rodney Thompson L'93 and the Hon. Bernadette Roman-Clark L'89 joined Judge Suddaby on the bench.

The teams argued the case of District of Orangeville v. Logan Dunn. "This was a double homicide charge where two little girls were killed in a house fire, believed to be started by the defendant, the girls adopted father who never wanted children," explains 3L Joseph Tantillo, AHS Executive Director. "The defense prevailed in proving the innocence of their client, in particular by an excellent cross examination of the prosecution’s expert witness, which demonstrated the flaws in her fire investigation techniques."

Tantillo continues, "Trial is the most difficult type of advocacy to perform over Zoom, and our competitors did a wonderful job. The final was one of the best we’ve seen in years, and the judges echoed that sentiment. Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who made the competition a great success."

Praising the student advocates at the end of the competition, Judge Suddaby said, “I’ve been doing this a long time, since law school. I’ve judged a lot of moot court competitions; the four of you are four of the best I’ve ever seen. Those were the two best opening statements in a moot court competition since I’ve been doing this … I’m just so impressed with all of you; you have a great future ahead of you.”

Truth and Lies: Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 Discusses Dominion Fox Lawsuit with The Washington Post

Posted on Monday 3/29/2021
Roy Gutterman

Fox News sued by Dominion in $1.6 billion defamation case that could set new guardrails for broadcasters

(The Washington Post | March 26, 2021) Dominion Voting Systems on Friday filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, alleging that the network purposely aired false claims about the company’s role in the 2020 presidential election in order to boost ratings.

It’s the latest in a series of legal actions that experts say could force broadcasters to exert more caution in an era when prominent newsmakers — in this case, a cast of characters that included some of former president Donald Trump’s top allies — have been increasingly willing to spread disinformation.

In the lawsuit, Dominion argued that Fox and several of its on-air personalities elevated baseless claims about the voting company rigging the 2020 election and allowed falsehoods by their guests to go unchecked, including a wild claim that the company’s machines were manufactured in “Venezuela to rig elections for the dictator Hugo Chávez” and that Dominion’s algorithm manipulated votes so that then-President Trump would lose ... 

... The suits could also cause broadcasters “to be more cautious or ask tougher questions of its sources or even make disclaimers on air” as it considers how to handle or disseminate questionable information, said Syracuse University law professor Roy Gutterman.

“Like the other lawsuits, what constitutes truth and lies in a heated political discussion is at the heart of the matter,” he said. "But so is how a broadcaster … addresses these types of issues" ...

Read the full article.

Liberty University Prevails in Inaugural Transatlantic Negotiation Competition

Posted on Thursday 3/25/2021
TANC Graphic

Liberty University School of Law of Lynchburg, VA, won the inaugural Transatlantic Negotiation Competition (TANC), hosted by Syracuse University College of Law and Queen's University, Belfast, across March 19-21, 2021. Students from Symbiosis Law School from Hyderabad, India, were the runners-up. 

Over the weekend, the Competition gathered 80 students and close to 100 judges from 23 countries—spanning seven times zones, nine languages, and three continents, along with every corner of the United States.  

Giving law students from across the globe the opportunity to hone negotiation and communication skills in a transnational setting, TANC places particular emphasis on the importance of cross-cultural negotiation and communication to resolve disputes and facilitate client agreements.

"As expected, the final round was expertly negotiated and very close. Congratulations to Liberty University, as well as to runner up, Symbiosis Law School," says Professor Todd Berger, Director of Advocacy Programs, Syracuse Law. "I am grateful to competitor teams for their hard work, expert negotiation, and spirit of international cooperation. Thank you also to judges and volunteers who made this inaugural competition run smoothly, and especially to our friends and colleagues at Queen's University, Belfast. We look forward to seeing everyone in future years." 

“We were pleased to partner with Syracuse University College of Law on the inaugural Transatlantic Negotiation Competition. Thanks to our collaborators and volunteers, the Competition proved an excellent platform in which to offer students practice in essential international and cross-cultural negotiation skills,” says Alexys Santos, President and Coach, Alternative Dispute Resolution Society, Queen's University, Belfast. Adds Vice President Kevin Marshall, “Throughout the weekend, the students conducted themselves expertly in terms of cultural competency, diplomacy, and respect. Well done to Liberty University, Symbiosis Law School, and all the teams.”

In each round, teams faced each other to resolve problems presented in simulations of fact patterns commonly encountered in international business, trade, or political disputes. Teams were evaluated by a panel of three judges, with at least one judge from either Europe or the United States.

"I am thrilled with the success of the inaugural Transatlantic Negotiation Competition, thanks in no small part to the hard work of Intercollegiate Competition Director Tyler Jefferies, Alternative Dispute Resolution Division Director Allison Kowalczyk, and assistance from our wonderful partners at Queens University, Belfast: Alexys Santos and Kevin Marshall," says 3L Joseph Tantillo, Executive Director, Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society, Syracuse Law. "For Professor Berger and me, this competition marks a new chapter for Syracuse’s Advocacy Honor Society, one in which student advocates use technology to build bridges with colleagues from across the globe. Congratulations to Liberty University School of Law and all our participants. We look forward to welcoming teams back next year."

Professor Mary Szto Speaks to Media About Rise in Anti-Asian Attacks

Posted on Monday 3/22/2021
Mary Szto

This Is Where 150 Years Of Ignoring Anti-Asian Racism Got Us

(Buzzfeed News | March 20, 2021) ... Anti-Asian racism is deeply rooted in American history. Discriminatory laws restricted Asian immigration, excluded Asians from citizenship, land ownership, and employment in most industries, and prohibited them from marrying white people. Ordinances outlawed Chinese hairstyles and methods of carrying groceries. 

In San Francisco in the 1870s, Chinese people were regularly robbed and beaten to the point that they had no residential option outside of Chinatown. In LA in 1871, a mob lynched 15 Chinese people and destroyed and looted homes, but the sentences of the eight convicted rioters were overturned on “legal technicalities,” according to Syracuse University law professor Mary Szto. By 1940, “only two residential districts in Los Angeles permitted ‘Orientals.’”

“Although today they may seem like quaint tourist attractions, Chinatowns arose because of discrimination,” Szto wrote.

Read the full article.

In shooting's aftermath, local Asian Americans seek solidarity from tragedy

(Albany Times-Union | March 19, 2021) Over time, Asian-Americans were used as a pawn by the U.S. government who furthered the “model minority” stereotype in an effort to drive a wedge between Asians and other ethnic groups, said Mary Szto, a teaching professor at Syracuse University College of Law.

Now Szto believes the U.S. is entering a new era of Asian exclusion, one many believe has been fanned by former President Donald J. Trump and other Republican officials’ repeated attempts to underscore the connection between China and the coronavirus, often using racist terms as a descriptor ...

Read the full article.

BBC Talks to Professor Nina Kohn About Britney Spears Conservatorship Case

Posted on Monday 3/22/2021
Nina Kohn

(March 19, 2021) Professor Nina Kohn talks to the BBC World News about Britney Spears' conservatorship: Why it's so unusual. And what it reveals about our laws.

Watch video on Professor Kohn's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/1355929360/videos/10225202715919070/

Professor NIna Kohn Speaks to BBC World News.

Professor Danielle Stokes' "Zoning for Climate Change" Accepted by Minnesota Law Review

Posted on Friday 3/19/2021
Danielle Stokes
"Zoning for Climate Change." Minnesota Law Review, 106 (Forthcoming 2021).

No one seriously questions that an improved and decarbonized energy supply system is a key component of climate change mitigation, writes Professor Danielle Stokes in her abstract, but the United States’ system of federalism complicates the siting of utility-scale renewable energy facilities. 

The new Biden Administration presents the United States with an opportunity to reimagine how this country regulates renewable energy siting, allowing for substantial national progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Currently, primary siting authority for renewable energy projects rests with state and local governments, which generally exercise that authority through zoning and land use planning, while the federal government approves most interstate energy delivery systems. This fragmented system of governance can delay and even deter project development, simultaneously thwarting the optimal logic in developing a national renewable energy generation system. 

Proactive renewable energy project planning offers one potentially effective – and constitutional – solution to this renewable energy federalism dilemma, particularly in conjunction with negotiated siting guidelines and a centralized siting agency. 

Drawing upon the substantial body of scholarly work that advocates for federal or regional collaboration in renewable energy policymaking and for more balanced and dynamic federalism in the energy sector, this Article further advances those goals while also shifting the focal axis and underscoring renewable energy as the locus for expanding energy federalism and mitigating climate change. 

Syracuse University Mourns Loss of H. Douglas Barclay L’61, Life Trustee and Former Board Chair

Posted on Friday 3/19/2021
H. Douglas Barclay L'61

H. Douglas Barclay L’61, of Pulaski, New York, a Syracuse University Life Trustee and former Board Chair whose renowned career in public service included 20 years in the New York State Senate and positions under two U.S. presidents, died March 14 at age 88.

Barclay was elected to the Syracuse University Board of Trustees in 1979 and served as a Voting Trustee until 2007. He held several leadership roles during his time with the Board, including chair of the Board from 1992 to 1998; chair of the Board Investment and Endowment Committee from 1985 to 1992; chair of the $160 Million “Campaign for Syracuse University”; and chair of the search committee for the Chancellor in 1991.

Barclay was also a member of the College of Law Advisory Board. In 1984, he received the George Arents Award, the University’s highest alumni honor.

“Doug was such a force in his professional life of public service, yet he found time to remain connected to his alma mater and serve Syracuse University in many valuable ways,” says Board Chair Kathleen Walters ’73. “On behalf of the Board, we extend our deepest sympathies and support to Doug’s wife, Dee Dee, the entire Barclay family and everyone who knew and loved Doug.”

Barclay earned a J.D. from Syracuse University’s College of Law in 1961 and a B.A. from Yale University in 1955. He served in the United States Army from 1955 until 1957. He was recognized with honorary degrees from Syracuse University, Clarkson University, the State University of New York at Oswego, Le Moyne College and St. Lawrence University.

Barclay and his wife, Sara “Dee Dee” Seiter Barclay, provided the lead gift for the establishment of the H. Douglas Barclay Law Library in the College of Law. They generously supported other initiatives in the College of Law, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University Athletics, Syracuse University Libraries and international enrollment.

“A towering figure in local, state and national government, Doug never forgot his Central New York roots,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “Doug remained a strong advocate of Syracuse University, and we all benefitted from the knowledge and experience he brought to the Board and the generosity he showed to our students.”

Barclay was elected to 11 consecutive terms in the New York State Senate from 1965-84. During his tenure, he chaired the Senate Codes Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Select Task Force on Court Reorganization and the Senate Republican (Majority) Conference.

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush appointed Barclay a public board member of the Overseas Private Investment Corp. He served there until 1993, when his successor was named. In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Barclay to represent the United States at the inauguration of the president of the Republic of Costa Rica and to serve as a member of the panel of conciliators at the International Center of the Settlement of Investments Disputes. He also served as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of El Salvador from 2003-07.

“Ambassador Barclay was a larger-than-life figure whose distinguished career in public service spanned many years,’’ says College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise. “He made many significant contributions to the University, the College of Law, New York state and the nation. The College of Law community extends our deepest condolences to the Barclay family.”

Barclay was counsel to, and former partner of, Barclay Damon LLP, Central New York’s oldest law firm, with offices throughout New York, Boston, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., and Toronto. He specialized in banking and administration law.

Barclay was chair of the Board of Directors of Douglaston Manor Inc., and owner and operator of Douglaston Salmon Run fishing reserve and Quality Machined Products (QMP), a family-owned and operated machined products company. He was past chair of the Board of Directors of Panthos Corp., QMP Enterprises, Eagle Media and CenterState CEO (formerly the Metropolitan Development Association).

Barclay also chaired the Compensation Committee of KeyCorp, which operates through Key Community Bank and Key Corporate Bank. His previous board service included KeyBank of Central York, Key Trust Company of Florida, Key Financial Services, Key Pacific Bancorp, Empire Airlines, Syracuse China Corp., Giant Portland and Masonry Cement Co., Coradian Corp., Mohawk Airlines, and Excelsior Insurance Co.

A former overseer of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, Barclay was a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and chair of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Central New York. He was also the former president (1991-2003), chairman emeritus (2003-present) and member of the Board of Directors of the Syracuse Metropolitan Development Association. Barclay also served on the New York State Economic Development Power Allocation Board, the Board of Directors of Modern Courts, and the Board of the New York Racing Association.

Barclay was a recipient of the Private Sector Initiative Commendation from the President of the United States; the John Jay Education Award from The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York; and multiple El Salvadorian honors, including the “Noble Amigo de El Salvador” (“Noble Friend of El Salvador”) award from that country’s legislative assembly in 2006, and the Republic of El Salvador’s Award of the Orden Nacional Jose Matias Delgado en el Grado de Gran Cruz de Plata in 2007.

Doug is survived by his wife Dee Dee and their children Kathryn, David, Dorothy Chynoweth G’88 (School of Education), Susan G’91 (School of Education) and William L’95 (College of Law) and 10 grandchildren, including granddaughter Sara Chynoweth ’15 (Martin J. Whitman School of Management) and grandson William Chynoweth ’18 (College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs), G’19 (School of Education).

Professor Nina Kohn Discusses Guardianship Reform with CNBC

Posted on Thursday 3/18/2021
Nina Kohn

Guardianship experts say put wishes in writing

(CNBC | March 16, 2021) Scott Cohn joins ‘The News with Shepard Smith’ to report how one man’s guardianship went wrong ...

Syracuse University Professor Nina Kohn says the system—a patchwork of laws—needs better monitoring and more resources. "What's at stake are our basic liberties and basic rights."

Watch the clip.

Melody Westfall L’09: Environmental Attorney Connects Students with Opportunities

Posted on Monday 3/15/2021
Melody Westfall L'09

Melody Westfall L’09 has spent most of her life with the splash of ocean water not far away. She grew up in Bar Harbor, Maine, near Acadia National Park, and reveled in the outdoors. After high school, she served in the U.S. Navy for nearly six years, working in public affairs while stationed in Guam and Okinawa. Today, as the managing attorney of Westfall Law PLLC, she lives in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where she oversees offices in St. Croix and St. Thomas, as well as the firm’s headquarters in Syracuse’s Armory Square. “Syracuse is the only time in my life that I didn’t live on the ocean,” says Westfall, a Syracuse University College of Law graduate.

While island life is ingrained in her, it was in landlocked Syracuse that Westfall found the focus for her professional career, combining her interests in environmental issues and law. Before enrolling at the College of Law, she had worked as an executive search consultant for two years in Tokyo and earned a bachelor’s degree in government from the University of Maryland Global Campus in Japan, taking mostly night classes while stationed there.

As a law student at Syracuse, Westfall embraced the opportunity to experience a full-time, on-campus academic environment for the first time. She became a member of the Syracuse Law Review, interned with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and participated in the Community Development Law Clinic. “We met with the nonprofits we were forming, and that was a big reason why I was interested in forming a small but diverse corporate practice,” she says. “It was a fantastic experience.” She also discovered the benefits of the collaborative relationship between Syracuse University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).

Interdisciplinary Approach to Environmental Law

An innovative, interdisciplinary Earth sciences course in contaminant hydrogeology introduced Westfall to environmental law. Professor Don Siegel in the College of Arts and Sciences was teaching Earth sciences graduate students how to be expert trial witnesses, and he recruited law students to act as attorneys for a simulated trial. “Everybody got super into it,” Westfall says. “I learned that to be a good environmental attorney, I needed to know the science behind it and not just the law.”

The experience motivated Westfall to boost her law degree with a master’s in environmental science and hydrogeology from SUNY-ESF. With Siegel as her faculty advisor, she found herself in that course again—this time as a hydrogeology graduate student playing an expert witness. “I didn’t tell any of the law students that I was an attorney until the class was over. It was fun and a really great experience,” says Westfall, who also served as a SUNY-ESF instructor, teaching a course she developed on water law ...

Read the full article.

Voice of America Interviews Professor Emily Brown About Amazon Union Drive

Posted on Friday 3/12/2021
Emily Brown

Amazon company workers at a warehouse in Bessemer, AL, are trying to organize a union, what many analysts see as a milestone event for the American workforce, while Amazon continues its efforts to disrupt a possible "yes" vote. 

The Voice of America Eurasia Division asked labor law expert Professor Emily Brown for her analysis.

Professor Brown's segment begins at 47' 36". 

Watch the March 9, 2021, segment.

Mazaher Kaila: A Powerful Voice for Justice

Posted on Thursday 3/11/2021
Mazaher Kaila

Well before she knew exactly what a lawyer was, Mazaher Kaila ’19, L’22 knew she wanted to be one. “I might have first gotten the idea from my sister,” she confesses. “But I knew, even when I was in fourth or fifth grade, that lawyers had a voice and the power to make change. That appealed to me.”

Kaila, who is now a second-year student in Syracuse University’s College of Law, moved with her family from Sudan to Central New York when she was four years old. She quickly developed an understanding of certain challenges she’d face growing up in the United States. 

“I’m Black, female, an immigrant and Muslim. That puts me pretty much at the lowest level when it comes to social advantage and privilege,” she says. But, she explains, this understanding also fueled her ambitions. “Civic engagement is a core value for me. I have always aspired to help the communities I’m from.”

A Goal in Mind

Growing up, Kaila loved art, played several sports, and was curious about technology and engineering. But by the time she transferred to Syracuse University as a sophomore, she had discovered political science and knew she wanted to learn more. “I realized that to make meaningful change in society, I needed to understand the systems that power it—government and politics—and that’s insight I would gain by studying political science.”

Her goals were further clarified by an internship with a city court judge in Mount Vernon, New York, the summer before her sophomore year. “This was the first time I met a Black woman practicing law. 

She was passionate and caring, and treated everyone with the same level of respect, including those before her for sentencing,” Kaila says. The experience transformed what had been a dream without a frame of reference into a concrete possibility for her own future and gave Kaila an aspiration to work toward ...

Read the full story.

Jonathan Orkin joins Bousquet Holstein PLLC

Posted on Wednesday 3/10/2021
Jonathan Orkin

Jon practices in a variety of areas of the law but primarily in the areas of divorce, child custody and child support litigation.  He is also trained in collaborative law and is a member of the Ithaca Area Collaborative Professionals. Jon has practiced law in Ithaca and the surrounding counties since 1983. Jon serves as the attorney for the Ithaca Housing Authority, as a lecturer in the trial advocacy program at the Cornell University School of Law, as Town Justice for the Town of Genoa, New York, and as a member of the King Ferry Fire Department. Jon is a graduate of Ithaca College, earned his master's degree at the University of Michigan, and graduated from Syracuse University College of Law, where he was honored with membership in the Order of the Coif. 

NYS Start-Up Resources Help Vita Innovations Develop a “Smart” Face Mask

Posted on Wednesday 3/10/2021
Longsha Liu

By 3L Meredith Wallen

With help from New York State’s “innovation ecosystem,” Vita Innovations CEO Longsha Liu—along with co-founders Ray Wei, Jason Chen, Julia Isakov, Rishi Singhal, and Kristen Ong—have moved at lightspeed in startup terms toward their goal of developing a vital signs monitoring mask for COVID-19-challenged health care facilities.

The impetus for the “smart” mask came one day when a young daycare teacher from Milwaukee went to her local emergency room describing chest pain and tightness of breath, one of dozens of patients Liu had witnessed waiting for hours in the ER where he was volunteering.

However, for this patient an inconvenient ER wait turned to tragedy. Initially, she was deemed a nonsignificant health risk and triaged to the lobby. After waiting two and a half hours in the ER, the patient left without being seen and instead went to an urgent care clinic. The patient collapsed less than an hour later due to a heart attack, dying en route to the same hospital she had left earlier that day.

One objective of Vita Innovations’ new technology—the VitalMask—is to avoid such tragedies by giving medical care workers a simple and convenient way to monitor triaged patients’ vital signs, while keeping them masked against COVID-19 and other airborne infections.

The objective of  VitalMask’s embedded technology is to monitor blood oxygen level (SpO2), pulse, body temperature, breath rate, and the continuous placement of mask. This data will then be sent via Bluetooth to a central monitoring station.

Vita’s multi-faceted smart mask concept won at the NYC Health Hackathon in February of 2020. Urged on by the Hackathon mentors and judges, Liu said he and his team decided to “accelerate our development and potential, and Vita Innovations was established to create the VitalMask.”

Although all four of Vita’s co-founding team had medical device design and development experiences necessary for getting VitalMask off the ground, Liu describes the Vita’s business strategy in terms of the challenge of being full-time students at Cornell University without nuanced knowledge of medical device development. Acknowledging these two facts, the team of four has expanded to eight. By recruiting external talent, Vita has compensated for its specific deficits in knowledge and perspectives while ensuring continual growth and development.

In addition to forming an effective team, Vita has been able to access several New York State innovation ecosystem resources. For instance, the company was selected as a participant in the Medical Device Innovation Challenge (MDIC) at the CNY Biotech Accelerator. MDIC offers an intensive mentorship where experts are assigned to each team based on the participant’s specific goals. In addition, MDIC provides networking opportunities and designs special events for innovators tailored to support its program.

Another benefit the MDIC offers is legal and commercialization research for each team provided by the Innovation Law Center (ILC) at Syracuse University College of Law. Vita worked with ILC to obtain research on relevant markets, information on prior art in the technological space, and regulatory requirements. ILC students—working under supervision—provided a written research report, meeting with the Vita team via Zoom to present the findings.

“It was a great help to us to get free and thorough research done into the extent our intellectual property was protectable, and it has informed our company strategy,” says Liu. “ILC also provided us with market research into the medical device industry, as well as a SWOT and Five Forces analysis.” Liu noted the students working on this project were extremely passionate, diligent, and excited to learn about the subject matter.

Liu and his team described their experience with MDIC and Executive Director Kathi Durdon as “incredibly valuable and eye-opening. Each mentor meeting was well-organized, thorough, and specifically tailored to the needs of our team at all costs.”

Liu adds, “The mentors with whom our team worked, in particular, made the experience exceptionally rewarding because they offered assistance, ingenious ideas, and exceptional feedback at every discussion, showing a genuine interest in our company’s product.”

Liu notes that although not all roadblocks brought to the attention of MDIC mentors were able to be immediately resolved, they offered an abundance of connections and resources. “Our team has been able to achieve many important milestones thanks to MDIC’s help, including the completion of our desktop software application, securing funding for short-term operations, and further securing our IP through a second provisional patent application.”

As Vita has gone through the design and prototyping process, they have worked with potential users both potential VitalMask wearers, and health care providers. Liu admits that obtaining materials to best suit the comfort and wearability of the mask has presented some challenges, but they have been assisted by yet more New York State innovation ecosystem resources, such as the Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM)/Integrated Electronics Engineering Center (IEEC) at Binghamton University. Additionally, their team has sought design assistance from Manufacturing & Technology Enterprise Center (MTEC) and has worked with Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center for 3D printing needs.

The Vita experience is typical of the relationships being forged among MDIC and ILC participants. Vita was one of five medical device-related technologies that the ILC researched in the most recent round of awards. The other technologies include a wireless fetal monitor, a device to assist developmentally delayed children self-direct early stage exploration, a means to reduce surgeries stemming from problems with prolonged catheter use, and a means for post-concussion monitoring.

Most recently, Vita Innovations has been accepted into the Blackstone & Techstars Launchpad Fellowship, which comes with $5,000 non-dilutive funding. Additionally, two members of the Vita Innovations team, Julia Isakov and Kristen Ong, have joined Liu in being accepted among individuals selected globally to be part of the 2021 Clinton Global Initiative University Social Impact cohort.

Furthermore, Vita Innovations has been accepted for Phase 2 of the Values and Ventures Competition, and the company has officially contracted the professional manufacturing expertise of the Manufacturing and Technology Enterprise Center in New York to help refine a professional version of its hardware.

Applications for MDIC mentorship program are being accepted through April 30, 2021. Selected MDIC teams will again have the opportunity to work with the ILC and receive critical legal and market research to help get important innovations from lab to market.

Professor Nina Kohn's Expertise Featured at PolitiFact

Posted on Wednesday 3/10/2021
Nina Kohn

New York nursing homes granted legal protection, but not ‘blanket immunity’

(PolitiFact | March 6, 2021) Assemblymember Ron Kim has been concerned about nursing home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, and his policy disagreements with Gov. Andrew Cuomo garnered national attention after he said Cuomo bullied him during a phone call.

New York approved broad legal protections for health care facilities during the pandemic as part of the 2020-21 state budget. The protections, retroactive to March 7, were meant to relieve some of the burden on the health care system amid an emergency. They were narrowed in August.

But legislators have said the protections were not widely known when the New York State Legislature passed the budget in April. Kim, who voted against the budget for other reasons, said that he found out about them from a reporter months later.

In an interview with Brian Lehrer on WNYC, the Queens Democrat said that Cuomo "issued a legal blanket immunity, and snuck that into our budget, giving these facilities essentially a license to kill, a get-out-of-jail free card." 

These legal protections are a source of concern for people whose loved ones died in nursing homes, and we wondered about the breadth of the legal immunity granted to nursing homes ...

... Nina A. Kohn, a distinguished scholar in elder law at Yale University and a law professor at Syracuse University, said Kim’s use of "blanket immunity" is how she would expect a layperson to use the term. But legally speaking, it’s not accurate, because the law does not say that you can never be held liable for anything. 

Nonetheless, Kohn said, the law gives "a green light for facilities to understaff and underresource. The language seems plain to me."

Read the full article.

Joseph Jasper: Pursuing the Dream of a Law Degree Online

Posted on Tuesday 3/9/2021
Joseph Jasper

1L Joseph Jasper joined the U.S. Army in 2008, right after graduating from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He later earned a master’s degree in technology management. But the dream he held closest always seemed to be just out of reach: he wanted to become a lawyer. “My aunt was a very successful attorney, and I always looked up to her,” he says. “I think that an understanding of our nation’s laws provides a way to empower oneself and protect others who are not aware of the basic privileges the law provides.”

Jasper, a chief warrant officer, was assigned to a new position as a supply officer at Fort Drum last February. Because of the army base’s location in a remote area of Upstate New York, the dream of attending law school seemed even more elusive. “Then the stars aligned,” he explains. “I was scrolling through my news feed just a week after receiving my new assignment, and I learned about Syracuse University College of Law’s online J.D. program called JDinteractive. I was enticed by the hybrid format and the fact that it was accredited by the American Bar Association.” He quickly researched the entry requirements, registered for the Law School Admissions Test and applied—just meeting the deadline for fall 2020 admission.

A Surreal Moment

“A dream come true” is how Jasper describes the experience of receiving his acceptance. “It was a surreal moment,” he says. “I have not stopped being excited about the opportunity to attend such a reputable university in pursuit of my legal education. I’m still not sure I fully believe it!”

JDinteractive, the country’s first fully interactive online law degree program, combines live and self-paced online classes with short on-campus residencies and experiential learning opportunities. Classes are taught by distinguished faculty, and the degree earned is identical for both residential and online students. The program offers a full slate of student support services, including academic counseling, tutors, study groups and bar exam preparation, as well as opportunities to join the student-run Syracuse Law Review and other organizations.

For Jasper, JDinteractive’s benefits go far beyond those of typical law programs. “As an active-duty member of the military, the flexibility and after-hours availability are what I value most,” he says. “There is also a personal touch on the part of the University’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs, which I appreciate. Before I enrolled, they answered all my questions and discussed future congressional initiatives.” The Post-9/11 GI Bill and a scholarship cover more than half of Jasper’s tuition, and Syracuse University’s military-friendly reputation has earned it a designation as the country’s number one private school for veterans by Military Times. “People across campus show interest and support,” Jasper says ...

Read the full article.

Lustig joins Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel LLP.

Posted on Monday 3/8/2021
Steven D. Lustig

With nearly 20 years of experience, Lustig has been named among the leading trademark attorneys in the 2021 edition of the World Trademark Review’s WTR 1000. His practice focuses on United States and international trademark clearance and prosecution, trademark litigation, internet domain name registration and dispute resolution, e-business issues relating to intellectual property, customs enforcement, anti-counterfeiting measures, trade dress and unfair competition enforcement. 

His practice also focuses on intellectual property transactions and related due diligence. In addition, he counsels clients on all aspects of copyright protection and unfair competition, as it relates to trademark law and brand protection. 

“We look forward to Steven joining the team at Panitch Schwarze,” said Martin Belisario, a partner at the firm. “His experience and skillset expand our trademark capabilities and will provide value to our clients.” 

Lustig graduated from Brandeis University with a bachelor’s degree and then went on to obtain a law degree from Syracuse University College of Law as well as to receive a master’s degree from Syracuse University Maxwell School.

Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 to AP: Cuomo Brothers Interviews Entertaining but Inappropriate

Posted on Friday 3/5/2021
Roy Gutterman

The lighter days of CNN’s Cuomo Brothers show are long gone

(AP | Feb. 19, 2021) Some television shows age much better than others.

For CNN, last spring’s prime-time banter between Chris Cuomo and his older brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, looks worse in hindsight as the governor’s administration is questioned about its role in failing to disclose the true number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths.

CNN is covering that story, but not on Chris Cuomo’s show. The network said it had reinstated a prohibition on Cuomo interviewing or doing stories about his brother that it had temporarily lifted last spring ...

... “I found these interviews to be very entertaining, and perhaps Chris could ask questions of his brother that other people can’t,” said Roy Gutterman, a media law professor at Syracuse University. “But from the very beginning, I thought it was wildly inappropriate."

“It’s Journalism 101,” he said. “We tell our students you shouldn’t interview your family and friends" ...

Read the full article.

Professor Kelly Curtis on WSYR: Six in 10 Women Experience Sexual Harassment

Posted on Thursday 3/4/2021
Kelly Curtis

6 in 10 women experience sexual harassment, SU law professor explains

(WSYR | March 3, 2021) While the allegations against Governor Cuomo have come to the surface, a Syracuse University professor of law is reminding everyone that sexual harassment is still something many people experience.

The recent accusations have sparked important conversation about this kind of behavior.

“When we think about how substantial, how deep that runs for women in the American workplace, it is a very frequent experience. So, when I say it’s a new legal concept, it is in a way. It is not a new experience for women,” explained Kelly Curtis, teaching professor at Syracuse College of Law.

According to a Pew Research Center report, six in 10 women and three in 10 men report experiencing sexual harassment in their life ...

Read the full article.

Professor Nina Kohn in Newsweek: NY Nursing Home Lobbying Money Was "Well Spent"

Posted on Wednesday 3/3/2021
Nina Kohn

Andrew Cuomo's Nursing Home Shield Means 'They Got Away with Killing Our Mom'

(Newsweek | March 3, 2021) ... "If we had robust government enforcement, it might not be as big a problem to have the liability shield, but that is not what we have," says Syracuse University law professor Nina Kohn, an expert in elder law. "Government regulators have fallen down on the job."

Across the country, says Kohn, nursing home regulators have been known to regularly classify code violations as less serious than they actually are, and penalties long been so minimal they were often seen as largely toothless. A change in how the government issued nursing home fines under the Trump administration reduced penalties even further.

During the pandemic, other methods of uncovering worrisome conditions were stripped away when the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services effectively banned facility visits by family members and ombudsmen, except in limited circumstances.

With the addition of the liability shield, there was hardly any way at all to ensure nursing home operators were safeguarding their residents during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, rather than just protecting their bottom line.

"The nursing home lobby knew exactly what it was doing," says Kohn. "This has been an effective way for facility owners and operators to protect themselves from liability — and not just liability for problems caused by COVID-19, but also for serious problems and patterns of behavior that predated the pandemic.

"This," she says, "was lobbying money well spent" ...

Read the full article.

Villanueva on his second tour

Posted on Wednesday 3/3/2021
Lt. Derick C. Villanueva

Mr. [Derick C.] Villanueva is currently on his second tour in Afghanistan where he continues to serve as a military advisor to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). Mr. Villanueva works with ANDSF officers in the areas of Professional Military Education and Aviation Program Management. Prior to his tours in Afghanistan, Mr. Villanueva served as an advisor to foreign militaries in Africa, the Middle East, Korea and Eastern Europe. Mr. Villanueva received his Juris Doctor from Syracuse College of Law and his Masters of Arts (Economics) from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Administration.

College of Law Announces Creation of Diversity and Inclusion Student Resource Center

Posted on Wednesday 3/3/2021
Hon. Sandra L. Townes L'76

At the second annual Black Law Students Association Black History Month Ceremony, held virtually on Feb. 25, 2021, Dean Craig M. Boise announced the creation of the Sandra L. Townes L'76 Diversity and Inclusion Student Resource Center. The Resource Center will be housed in the Law Library annex, in a room named by Board of Advisors Member Susan K. Reardon L'76, who was a classmate of Judge Townes. 

In addition to announcing the Resource Center, Judge Townes was honored during the ceremony for her dedication to the law, education, and her community by keynote speaker the Hon. George Daniels, of the US District Court Southern District NY, as well as Judge Townes' son—James W. Townes III L’01—and friend Cathy Richardson L'76.

"The Resource Center holds much promise for the College of Law and beyond," says Dean Boise. "Befitting its title, its uses will be diverse. It will be a place for contemplation and reflection; a safe space for robust conversation and exploration; and a learning center for pressing research and intellectual inquiry."

That last function is entirely fitting for the jurist for whom the room is named. Judge Townes was both a champion of the law and of education, having been an English teacher at Corcoran High School in Syracuse before entering law school.

"The students who learn in this space will know they follow in the footsteps of one of the College's most illustrious and pioneering alumna," Dean boise adds. "I look forward to visiting the Resource Center often and working with our students and faculty to curate important, historical, and evolving resources within it for sharing, experiencing, and actualizing diversity and inclusion."

Cottrell joins Hodgson Russ

Posted on Tuesday 3/2/2021
Brandon R. Cottrell

Hodgson Russ is pleased to announce that Brandon Cottrell has joined the firm as a Senior Associate in its Real Estate practice. Brandon is based in the Rochester and Buffalo offices.

Brandon concentrates on commercial real estate and finance transactions. He represents clients on a local and national basis in the acquisition, disposition, financing, developing and leasing of shopping centers, office, industrial/manufacturing and warehouse space, mixed use and multifamily properties. Notable development projects that Brandon has assisted on include casinos, golf courses/country clubs, hotels/resorts, solar and wind farms and student housing. Brandon represents borrowers and lenders in various financing transactions that include construction and permanent mortgage financing, asset based lending, equity and other mezzanine financing, bridge loans, credit facilities and equipment leases.

Brandon graduated first in his class at Syracuse University College of Law, and is a cum laude graduate of SUNY Geneseo, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting.

1L Tia Thevenin: An Olympic-Sized Dream

Posted on Tuesday 3/2/2021
Tia Thevenin

A former student-athlete is trading in her spikes for a career in law.

(Syracuse Stories | March 2, 2021) This time last year, Tia Thevenin ’18, L’23 was training to compete for a spot on the Canadian Olympic team. But all the talent in the world could never have prepared her for the summer games’ eventual postponement due to COVID-19.

“Our training suddenly got sporadic,” recalls the competitive hurdler, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. “I had planned to go to law school anyway, so I sped up my timeline. Walking away from the sport—and Team Canada—was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. It’s also exciting to do something new.”

That “something new” is studying law. Despite offers from other outstanding schools, Thevenin has returned to her alma mater as a first-year J.D. candidate in the University’s College of Law. She is eager to join the growing ranks of New York-qualified lawyers working in Canada—a credential enabling the Toronto native to argue cases on either side of the border.

Originally interested in criminal justice, Thevenin now sees herself going into sports and entertainment law or corporate law. “I want to use my skills to do the greatest good for the greatest number,” she says ...

Read the full story.

Professor Corri Zoli: Intelligence Strategy Highlights Workforce

Posted on Tuesday 3/2/2021
Corri Zoli

A new plan aims to retain and recruit diverse experts.

By Corri Zoli & Brian Holmes

(AFCEA Signal | March 1, 2021) For many in the U.S. intelligence community, choosing the profession was neither a career goal nor even a consideration until later in life. Few set out to join the agencies that comprise the community while in high school or college. This pattern—usually based on a knowledge gap—needs to change immediately to meet the United States’ national imperative for a talented and diverse workforce.

Because the U.S. intelligence community’s federal workforce is responsible for a disproportionate impact on the country’s security and has global implications, leaders must take a more proactive stance, driven by their external academic engagement programs, to meet their own staffing strategies. The 2019 National Intelligence Strategy clearly expresses this imperative. In addition, the need for a workforce of experts also requires using innovative engagement solutions for intelligence community advisers to understand better and even drive technology advances in real time to broaden their own knowledge base.

The reasons for the current makeup of intelligence community employees are many. Historical unfamiliarity with the community can produce a schizophrenic public perception, resulting in an overly homogeneous workforce. In addition, a deficiency of education about a potential career in the field creates an inherent barrier to entry for many potential employees; therefore, a smaller pool of candidates for the agencies to draw on.

Unfortunately, this paradigm is counter to research that shows intelligence community agencies would benefit from socially diverse groups, which are more innovative and better at solving complex nonroutine problems, a typical environment for an intelligence officer ...

Read the full article.

Klimow passed away Feb. 2021

Posted on Monday 3/1/2021

​Sergei (Sarge) Klimow passed away February 5, 2021. He attended high school at Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, VA, Colgate University, and Syracuse University College of Law. His extensive legal career began in Binghamton, NY at the Office of the Broom County District Attorney, eventually moving his family to Phoenix, AZ where Sergei applied his legal expertise toward a long career in mortgage banking and real estate development. 

Collins appointed co-vice chair

Posted on Monday 3/1/2021

Alphonso Collins '84 L'95 has been appointed co-vice chair office managing partner for the New York office of Cozen O'Connor.

Newsday Interviews Professor William C. Banks About Trump's Legal Troubles

Posted on Monday 3/1/2021
William C. Banks

Trump's legal troubles grow even though he's out of office

(Newsday | Feb. 28, 2021) Donald Trump is out of the White House but as a private citizen he’s not out of legal hot water on multiple fronts.

On Thursday, Trump’s lawyers turned over eight years’ worth of tax returns to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who is pursuing possible tax fraud charges.

It marked the latest development in one of many legal fights ahead for the ex-president.

In New York, State Attorney General Letitia James is pursuing a lawsuit claiming the Trump Organization overstated the value of a Westchester property to get a tax break, only to later understate its value when it came time to paying the property tax bill.

Elsewhere, Trump is facing an investigation into his attempt to coerce Georgia officials to "find" enough votes to change the election outcome there. At least one lawsuit has been filed about his role in promoting the Jan. 6 attempt to take over the U.S. Capitol and block the Electoral College vote.

And there are still lawsuits by women who say Trump sexually harassed them.

No previous president has left office in so much legal trouble, scholars say ...

... "There are various possibilities here about hiding assets or overvaluing, or undervaluing, assets," said William C. Banks, a Syracuse University Law professor. "These are garden variety crimes that people with more money than me or you get investigated for."

He said Trump and his supporters will claim prosecutorial overreach and it’s possible some officials might decide not to push some cases further.

"Prosecution in the city of New York or the state of New York or elsewhere is, ultimately, a judgment call," Banks said. "You don’t have to bring charges. Even if you bring charges, you don’t have to go to trial" ...

Read the full article.

Professor Mark Nevitt: Is Climate Change a National Emergency?

Posted on Monday 3/1/2021
Mark P. Nevitt

(Just Security | Feb. 25, 2021)  Members of Congress recently introduced legislation mandating the declaration of a national climate emergency, while Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) invited President Joe Biden to declare climate change a national emergency. Reaction to these calls for a climate emergency has been mixed. Some environmentalists cheered. Others argued that using emergency powers to address climate change won’t help Biden fight it and would pose an unacceptable risk to democratic governance. 

These criticisms are not unfair, and they deserve careful consideration. But in light of the current, sobering state of climate science as well as the scientists’ call to take transformational action this decade, a climate national emergency should not be dismissed out of hand.

To be sure, declaring a climate emergency will not “solve” the climate crisis, and it shouldn’t be a substitute for legislative efforts and the work of the international Paris Climate Agreement (which the United States recently re-joined). It would, however, send a powerful signal from the White House about the urgency of the climate crisis—while also activating several legal authorities that could be put to work immediately. It would also reflect reality. A legal climate emergency acknowledges what climate scientists and experts already know: We are in a state of planetary emergency.

Climate Change: The One-Shot Problem

Climate change is unlike any problem facing the nation and the world: It has been aptly described as the “mother of all collective action” problems and a “super-wicked” problem.

Climate change is complicated by a unique temporal characteristic that penalizes inaction. Because greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions stay in the atmosphere for decades, dithering on climate action imposes escalating costs that rise over time. Unlike other thorny problems (e.g. health care, immigration), we may lack the luxury of ever coming back to the political system for a climate retry in the future—this is the so-called “one shot” problem. At some point, the effects of climate change will be too acute, have had too much impact, or be too late to stop or reverse. Climate scientists exclaim that now is the time for political leaders to take our “climate shot” or risk irreversible, catastrophic harm, not just to Americans, but to humans as a species …

Read the full article.

Green releases 39th book

Posted on Friday 2/26/2021
Tim Green

Tim Green, a New York Times-bestselling author, former NFL defensive end, former Fox Sports broadcaster, and attorney with Barclay Damon LLP, has published his 39th book and the third book in his sports-based trilogy, Baseball Genius: Grand Slam, co-authored with Derek Jeter, available in stores and online now. In addition to being a bestselling author and retired defensive end with the Atlanta Falcons, Green is an attorney with Barclay Damon, where he has been integrally involved for the past 20 years in the development and growth of the firm's client base, particularly in energy, intellectual property, and national insurance coverage litigation. Green is recognized as a lead point of contact for the firm's largest energy and utility clients, including numerous Fortune 500 companies.

2L Hilda A. Frimpong Becomes the First Black Student to Lead Syracuse Law Review

Posted on Thursday 2/25/2021
Hilda A. Frimpong

Second-year law student Hilda A. Frimpong has been elected by her peers as the next Editor-in-Chief of Syracuse Law Review. When she assumes her duties for Volume 72 (2021-2022), Frimpong will be the first Black student to lead the Law Review since it began publishing in 1949.

"It is wonderfully timely to announce this news during Black History Month," says College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise. "February is a time to reflect on the lives and legacies of our Black College of Law community members and to contemplate and help activate the bright future of our students. Congratulations on your trailblazing accomplishment, Hilda. I look forward to learning about the plans you and your team have for Volume 72, and to reading the articles and notes you gather."

"This is wonderful news for Hilda Frimpong, Syracuse Law Review, and the College. I am proud to serve as the Law Review Advisor during this groundbreaking and overdue moment in its history," says Professor Robin Paul Malloy. "Law Review teaches leadership and professionalism, and Hilda's peers and professors knows these are qualities she has in abundance. Best of luck to Hilda and her newly elected Executive Board on next year's Volume 72." 

"I am honored to serve in this role because of the trust and support that my peers gave me by electing me Editor-in-Chief," says Frimpong, who is specializing in the law and technology program while at Syracuse Law. "I am honored to break down barriers as the first person of color and first Black woman in this role. I am proud that my expertise and unique perspective will be added to the legacy of Syracuse Law Review."

Referring to the College of Law's Black History Month 2021 project, which highlights the lives and legacies of its Black alumni, Frimpong says, "The posts remind me that I stand on the shoulders of many great women and men before me. I will continue our legacy of providing distinguished scholarly works to the legal community."

Addressing her pioneering role at Syracuse Law Review, Frimpong quotes Vice President Kamala Harris, who in January 2021 became the first woman and first person of color elected to her high office: "In the words of Vice President Harris, 'While I may be the first, I won’t be the last.' I want to inspire students who didn’t previously see themselves represented on Law Review to seek journal membership and to strive to build and strengthen our position as experts, and in turn our legacy."

Currently, Frimpong serves as an editorial staff member for Volume 71 of the Law Review, edited by 3L Nikkia Knudsen. Other second-year law students elected to the Volume 72 Executive Board are:

  • Managing Editor: Leita Powers
  • Form and Accuracy Editors: Elisabeth Dannan, Katy Morris, Kayla Pigeon, and Hayley Rousselle
  • Lead Articles Editors: Shannon Cox and Meghan Mueller
  • Senior Notes Editor: Emily Hildreth
  • Legal Pulse Editor: Morgan Steele
  • Business Editor: Lyndon Hall
  • Computer Editor: Shelby Petro
  • Alumni Editor: Ryan Marquette


Professor Nina Kohn: Netflix's "I Care a Lot" Should Worry You

Posted on Wednesday 2/24/2021
Nina Kohn

(The Hill | Feb. 24, 2021) A stranger knocks on the door. The older woman who answers the door is informed that the visitor is now her legal guardian and will make all decisions for her. Within days, the older woman has been placed in a nursing home and her home sold so that the stranger may profit.

It’s a perfect opening for a psychological thriller. In fact, it is the opening for Netflix’s new featured movie “I Care a Lot,” starring Rosamund Pike as Marla, a ruthlessly ambitious woman who has made a business out of exploiting older adults. Her method: petitioning a local court to appoint her as emergency guardian for older adults whom she alleges cannot make decisions for themselves.  

Unfortunately, the plot of “I Care a Lot” — despite its share of plot twists and theatrics — is not as far-fetched as it might seem ...

Read the full article.


Syracuse Sweeps National Trial Competition Regional for Second Year

Posted on Tuesday 2/23/2021
College of Law

Syracuse University College of Law has swept the National Trial Competition Region 2 tournament for the second year in a row. In doing so Syracuse sends two teams to the NTC national finals and takes home the New York State Bar Association Trial Lawyers Section Tiffany Cup for the third year in a row. 

Second-year law students Marina DeRosa and Amanda Nardozza won first place at the regional—which took place across Feb. 20-21, 2021, hosted by Fordham Law—while the team of 3Ls Joe Celotto and Christy O'Neil came in second. (Celotto and O'Neil were on Syracuse's 2019-2020 NTC regional winning teams.)

Syracuse students also were among individual award winners. De Rosa took home the award for Best Closing Argument and O'Neil won for Best Cross-Examination. 

"This is a historic result for Syracuse and an affirmation of the skill and dedication of our students, coaches, and all who support them," says Professor Todd Berger, Advocacy Program Director. "Last year's teams bested 20 other schools, and this year's team dispatched 18 other competitors. Many congratulations to Marina, Amanda, Joe, and Christy—we are so proud of your accomplishment. And thank you to coaches Joanne Van Dyke L'87 and Peter Hakes. Good luck to the teams at nationals!"

The 2020-2021 regional problem addressed a wrongful death action filed by plaintiff Kelly Taylor against Big City Electric Cooperative, Inc. Taylor's husband had died in a grass fire allegedly caused by sparks from a transformer pole belonging to Big City Electric. 

National Trial Competition Region 2 Winners
National Trial Competition Region 2 Winners

Hon. James E. Baker Featured on Ipse Dixit Podcast

Posted on Tuesday 2/23/2021
Hon. James E. Baker

Host Brian L. Frye and Institute for Security Policy and Law Director the Hon. James E. Baker discuss Baker's new book "The Centaur’s Dilemma: National Security Law for the Coming AI Revolution"(Brookings, 2021). 

Baker begins by explaining why he thinks artificial intelligence requires us to think about the relationship between people and machines in new ways. He describes some of the national security implications of artificial intelligence technology and its implementation. And he reflects on how policymakers should think about those questions.

Listen to the podcast.

Allyssa-Rae McGinn Wins Hancock Estabrook 1L Oral Advocacy Competition

Posted on Tuesday 2/23/2021
Alyssa-Rae McGinn

First-year law student Allyssa-Rae McGinn is the winner of the 11th Annual Hancock Estabrook 1L Oral Advocacy Competition, besting Caleb Gieger in the tournament's final round held via Zoom on Feb. 22, 2021.

McGinn becomes the first student in the College of Law's JDinteractive online law degree program to win the Hancock intramural tournament. She is also JDi representative to the College's Disability Law Society.

The final round was judged by the Hon. Mae A. D'Agostino L'80, the Hon. Therese Wiley Dancks L’80, and the Hon. Brenda K. Sannes, all judges for the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York; College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise; and Timothy P. Murphy L'89, Managing Partner, Hancock Estabrook LLP.

"Throughout the competition, the level of skill and advocacy on display was extremely impressive," says Professor Todd Berger, Advocacy Program Director. "Reaching the final round is an extremely impressive accomplishment, so many congratulations to our winner, Allyssa-Rae McGinn, and runner-up, Caleb Gieger. Thank you also to the student volunteers and distinguished judges for making our 11th Hancock Estabrook competition a great success."

Competition Director 3L Shannon Armstrong explains that the case posed in the final round—Winston Schmidt v. Nick Miller—involved a fictional town's light decorating contest and the concept of an "attractive nuisance".

"Winston Schmidt wanted to win the decorating competition, so he built a tunnel of lights out of a carport wrapped in wire fencing and lights," explains Armstrong. "His neighbor, six-year-old Nick Miller, watched Winston create the light tunnel and was very excited to see the finished project."

When Miller asked his parents if he could visit the light display, his parents said no, given that it was the child's bedtime. "So Miller snuck out of his house. He then decided to climb the light tunnel, but he could not make it to the top and fell, seriously injuring himself." 

The issues before the court were whether the "state of Calangeles" should adopt an "attractive nuisance" doctrine and also whether the light tunnel was such a nuisance. Competition winner McGinn argued for the respondent, while Caleb Gieger argued for the petitioner. 

Professor Nina Kohn Discusses NY Nursing Homes' "Liability Shield"

Posted on Monday 2/22/2021
Nina Kohn

Professor Nina Kohn Discusses NY Nursing Homes' "Liability Shield"

De Blasio gives "credit" to Democrat for not backing down from governor

(PIX11 | Feb. 18, 2021) Mayor Bill deBlasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have been at political odds over many things, and now, de Blasio is siding with Queens Democrat Assemblymember Ron Kim in Kim's feud with the long-time chief executive of New York state.

Kim said Wednesday the governor threatened his career during an angry phone call last week, something Cuomo's staff denied ...

... Health department officials finally acknowledged more than 4,000 additional COVID deaths could be linked to nursing homes, bringing the total for all long-term care facility deaths to 15,000 or more.

There was also lobbying by the Greater New York Hospital Association to get a liability shield provision into the state budget last year, according to Professor Nina Kohn of Syracuse University.

"It protects the entire corporate chain, and it protects them from civil and criminal liability," Kohn noted. "It protects them from any liability for shortages in resources or staff."

"There has been a very modest amendment," Kohn said, resulting in the partial repeal of the liability shield ...

Read the full article.


WSYR Newsmakers Interviews Professor Roy Gutterman L'00

Posted on Monday 2/22/2021
Roy Gutterman

WSYR Newsmakers Interviews Roy Gutterman L'00

(WSYR | Feb. 19, 2021) Roy Gutterman L'00 is Director of the Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. On Newsmakers, he discusses the First Amendment and Free Speech issues that became high profile during the second impeachment trial of former President Trump.

Watch the clip.

Cody Carbone L’16 Discusses Legislative Affairs with DCEx Students

Posted on Thursday 2/18/2021
Cody Carbone L'16

As part of the spring 2021 Washington, DC, Externship Program Cody Carbone L’16 spoke with College of Law DCEx students on February 8 about his work on Ernst & Young’s Federal Legislative Affairs Team. Carbone described his job as divided between acting as a voice for EY on Capitol Hill and communicating legislative updates to EY’s partners.

Carbone explained that he represents the firm and its partners through building relationships across Capitol Hill. He communicates EY’s policy viewpoints to these policymakers, which can range from issues in financial services, accounting, and agriculture, to emerging technology. 

In relaying to EY’s partners what is happening on Capitol Hill, Carbone must read 150-plus page laws, boiling them down to six bullet points for a briefing. He said that the skills in condensing material he gained in his Legal Communications and Research classes has helped him succeed in this aspect of his job. 

Carbone holds a J.D. from the College of Law as well as an M.P.A. from the Maxwell School. After passing the bar in July 2016, he began working at EY, a global professional services network considered one of the “Big Four” accounting firms. 

Carbone observed that EY has been fortunate not be impacted as much as other companies by the difficulties COVID-19 presents in terms of telework. The only major difficulty Carbone said he has faced is communicating with congressional and administrative members, especially new members. He mentioned how much harder it is to create a trusting and engaging relationship “over Zoom and a telephone than over beer and a steak.” However, besides that difficulty, he said that EY has adapted well to online work.

Carbone ended his presentation by giving the DCEx students advice to not be afraid of networking because it can be a very important tool in finding summer internships or post-graduation employment. Throughout law school, and even today, Carbone messaged College of Law alumni via LinkedIn. Starting a message with “I am a SUCOL student/alumni” will receive an positive response from any alumni, he said. The job-searching process can be stressful, he noted, but College of Law students should not be worried. “If you went to Syracuse and you graduated from SUCOL you will get a job, from my experience.” 

As a law student, Carbone was heavily involved in the Student Bar Association, eventually becoming SBA president during his 3L year. As an SBA member Carbone was able to set policy, vote on College of Law issues, and network. This confirmed to him that he wanted to work in policy and the government after graduation. During his 2L summer, Carbone worked as a summer associate at EY’s Office of Public Policy in Washington, DC. A few months into his 3L year, a full-time position opened up—and he got the job. 

Cody Carbone’s career provides students with an example of how a College of Law degree can advantage a graduate in any career. Although he is not representing clients at EY, Carbone nevertheless is interpreting complex laws and negotiating with Washington, DC, “politicos”—a job he is extremely well prepared for as a joint Syracuse Law/Maxwell School alumnus. 

SPL Researcher Matt Mittelsteadt Publishes AI Verification Report with CSET

Posted on Thursday 2/18/2021
Mechanisms to Ensure AI Arms Control Compliance

The rapid integration of artificial intelligence into military systems raises critical questions of ethics, design and safety. While many states and organizations have called for some form of “AI arms control,” few have discussed the technical details of verifying countries’ compliance with these regulations. 

In this peer-reviewed report—"Mechanisms to Ensure AI Arms Control Compliance"—Institute for Security Policy and Law AI Policy Research Fellow Matthew Mittelsteadt offers a starting point, defines the goals of “AI verification” and proposes several mechanisms to support arms inspections and continuous verification.

The report is part of a research partnership between SPL and the Center for Security and Emerging Technology investigating the legal, policy, and security impacts of emerging technology.

Mittelsteadt explains that his report defines “AI Verification” as the process of determining whether countries’ AI and AI systems comply with treaty obligations. “AI Verification Mechanisms” are tools that ensure regulatory compliance by discouraging or detecting the illicit use of AI by a system or illicit AI control over a system.

Despite the importance of AI verification, few practical verification mechanisms have been proposed to support most regulation in consideration. Without proper verification mechanisms, AI arms control will languish. 

To this end, Mittelsteadt's report seeks to jumpstart the regulatory conversation by proposing mechanisms of AI verification to support AI arms control.

Judge Watson elected Fort Bend Juvenile Board Chair

Posted on Wednesday 2/17/2021
Judge Teana Watson

Members of the Fort Bend County Juvenile Board unanimously elected Judge Teana Watson Chairwoman of the Board on Feb. 3. She is the first African-American and female to be elected as the Fort Bend Juvenile Board Chair. The juvenile board includes all of the sitting District, County Court at Law Judges and the County Judge. It serves as the board of directors of “Juvenile Justice” in Fort Bend County. 

Private Antitrust Suits? Professor Shubha Ghosh Talks to The Washington Times

Posted on Monday 2/15/2021
Shubha Ghosh

"More powerful than Standard Oil:" Small newspaper chain challenges Big Tech

(The Washington Times | Feb. 11, 2021) A small West Virginia newspaper chain’s antitrust lawsuit against Google and Facebook is blazing a trail, industry insiders say, for news outlets struggling to get out from under the thumb of Big Tech.

Doug Reynolds, the founder and managing director of HD Media, filed the federal lawsuit without other news outlets.

More of this type of antitrust litigation seems certain, however, newspaper industry executives say ...

... “The private company can’t simply say, ‘I’m being harmed,’” said Shubha Ghosh, a law professor at Syracuse University. “You have to show harm to competition.”

Still, Mr. Ghosh envisioned some kind of class action litigation against Google and Facebook by various news media organizations that claim similar harm ...

Read the full article.

Professor Lauryn Gouldin Analyzes Illinois Bail Reform for NBC News

Posted on Monday 2/15/2021
Lauryn Gouldin

Did Illinois get bail reform right? Criminal justice advocates are optimistic

(NBC News | Feb. 15, 2021) When a Cook County court judge set Timothy Williams' bond at $10,000 for a traffic charge, he knew he would be going to jail. There was no way, even after gathering everything he had, that he could come up with that amount of money.

So for the next two months, still legally innocent, Williams, 34, waited in jail.

On the other side of the bars were his wife, Brittany Williams, their newborn and three other children — all under the age of 10. The couple had just started a small business and moved to a condominium in the suburbs outside of Chicago.

Not long after Williams’ incarceration, his wife began struggling. She wasn't able to manage both the new company and children, leading to the business’s eventual collapse. Without a steady income, she lost their home and had to move in with her sister-in-law. Timothy Williams was finally released after a judge lowered his bond to $5,000, which was paid for by the Chicago Community Bond Fund.

"It devastated our family," Brittany Williams, 30, said. "People don't understand how severe it is to put someone in jail just because they can't pay their way out. And it doesn't just hurt them; it hurts every person connected to them."

But the long-standing practice may come to an end as Illinois is expected to pass legislation that will fully end the use of money bond ...

... "When you set a price for release for people who are charged with a particular kind of offense, that immediately creates two different outcomes for people with money and people without money," said Lauryn Gouldin, a professor at Syracuse University College of Law. "In that way, it's just an automatic wealth-based detention system, not one based on risk."

Without a trial or verdict, these individuals wait in jail, sometimes for several months, losing jobs, homes and relationships in the process, she said. Gouldin added that it makes it more likely that these individuals will also plead guilty just to get out of jail ...

... While public safety seems to be the trigger word surrounding calls to roll back bail reform, maintaining a money system does not actually manage risk, Gouldin said.

In Chicago, where a large portion of the Illinois prison population resides, a 2020 study by researchers at Loyola University Chicago found that bail reform efforts in Cook County since 2017 have had no impact on new criminal activity or new violent criminal activity by those defendants released pretrial. In fact, the study found that the avoided bond costs actually saved defendants and their families more than $31.4 million in the six months after bail reform was implemented.

Similar outcomes were seen in Washington, D.C., where 98 percent of all people released in 2016 were not rearrested for a new violent crime pretrial.

“If you are setting a cash bail figure because the idea is to incentivize somebody to return to court, over time, for a large population of people, it's just become the reason that they are held in jail. It's not being used as any incentive anymore,” Gouldin noted. “And it can't ever really be an incentive about public safety risk. People don't refrain from committing crimes because they've paid a bail figure. They refrain from committing crimes because they don't want to be caught and punished" ...

Read the full article.

Professor William C. Banks Discusses Trump's Second Impeachment with China Daily

Posted on Thursday 2/11/2021
William C. Banks

Senators OK trial to impeach Trump

(China Daily | Feb. 11, 2021) Opening arguments in the historic second impeachment trial of former US president Donald Trump will start Wednesday after the Senate voted to approve its constitutionality, but a conviction will be "highly unlikely", experts say.

Six Republicans joined all the Democrats in the Senate to vote in favor of allowing the first trial of a former president to take place ...

... A Senate conviction requires a two-thirds majority, but it is highly unlikely that 67 senators will line up against the former president, according to William Banks, distinguished professor emeritus at the Syracuse University College of Law in New York.

"The main explanation for Republican senators' support is their belief or fear that Trump continues to control the national party and that many Republican voters do (believe that), too," Banks told China Daily ...

Read the full article.

Silver joins Schenck, Price, Smith & King

Posted on Tuesday 2/9/2021

Schenck, Price, Smith & King LLP today January 28, 2021 that five New Jersey attorneys, including Mark Silver, will join the Firm’s growing roster of high-profile attorneys as partners. Mark Silver’s practice spans a wide variety of legal concentrations. He regularly handles matters involving commercial disputes, product liability and pharmaceutical litigation, employment litigation, securities litigation, and white collar criminal matters. He has defended several major pharmaceutical manufacturers in a variety of complex lawsuits including mass tort claims and class actions in multi-district federal litigation.

WSJ Speaks to Professor William C. Banks About Second Impeachment Trial

Posted on Tuesday 2/9/2021
William C. Banks

Jamie Raskin Leads Democrats in Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial

(The Wall Street Journal | Feb. 7, 2021) Rep. Jamie Raskin faces an immediate challenge as the top prosecutor in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump : Many of the senators acting as jurors don’t think there should be one.

The Maryland Democrat was picked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to serve as the lead impeachment manager in the Senate trial that starts Tuesday. The 58-year-old former constitutional-law professor will lead eight other Democrats in seeking to persuade the Senate to convict Mr. Trump of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

In a legal brief last week, Mr. Raskin alleged that Mr. Trump “created a powder keg” in which hundreds of people “were prepared for violence at his direction.” Mr. Trump’s lawyers have argued that Mr. Trump didn’t engage in insurrection, saying that he had “exercised his First Amendment right under the Constitution to express his belief that the election results were suspect” and that he hadn’t incited violence ...

... Actions can be impeachable without being criminal offenses, and lawmakers have wide latitude in determining what rises to a “high crime or misdemeanor.” Under the criminal code, a 1969 Supreme Court ruling holds that the government can punish inflammatory speech only if it is both intended to incite and likely to incite “imminent lawless action.”

In a criminal case, a prosecutor would have to prove that Mr. Trump “could have reasonably foreseen that his incitement was likely to lead to all hell happening at the Capitol,” said William Banks, a law professor at Syracuse University ...

Read the full article.

Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 Speaks to AP, WaPo About Smartmatic Defamation Suit

Posted on Monday 2/8/2021
Roy Gutterman

Free speech expert Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 recently was quoted by Associated Press and Washington Post surrounding the defamation lawsuits by election technology company Smartmatic against Fox News, Rudy Guiliani, and Sidney Powell over their alleged election fraud accusations. 

Voting company sues Fox, Giuliani over election fraud claims

(AP | Feb. 4, 2021) ... The complaint also alleges that Fox hosts Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro also directly benefitted from their involvement in the conspiracy. The lawsuit alleges that Fox went along with the “well-orchestrated dance” due to pressure from newcomer outlets such as Newsmax and One America News, which were stealing away conservative, pro-Trump viewers.

Roy Gutterman, a media law professor at Syracuse University, said the lawsuit is compelling and based on specific examples and facts, not frivolous claims.

“This is a perfect example of why we have the law of defamation in first place,” said Gutterman, a former reporter ...

Read the full article.

Smartmatic files $2.7 billion defamation suit against Fox News over election fraud claims

(The Washington Post | Feb. 4, 2021) “This complaint establishes a compelling narrative in its 270-plus pages,” Roy Gutterman, who directs the Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University, said in an email to The Washington Post. “It will certainly be interesting to see how the defendants frame their responses" ...

Read the full article.

Remote Services

Posted on Thursday 2/4/2021

The primary contact for the Law Library remains our Reference Department, which can be contacted through email:  reference@law.syr.edu, phone: 315-443-9572, text: 315-516-8661, or Zoom session.  These access points are monitored Mon-Thurs: 9am-8pm; Fri & Sun: 9am-5pm.  Outside of these hours, please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Borrowing Books
If you want to check out a book from the print collection, email circ@law.syr.edu with the book's title and call number from the Library Catalog.  Library staff will retrieve the book and ship it to you via UPS or schedule you for a curbside pick-up.  This service is also available for books owned by other campus libraries: simply email circ@law.syr.edu.

Curbside Pick-up
If you are a student studying remotely in the Syracuse area, you can now schedule a curbside pick-up, outdoors on Irving Ave., of the books you've checked out. Email circ@law.syr.edu with the book's title and call number from the Library Catalog, and indicate that you want to pick it up curbside.  Library staff will retrieve the book and email you to schedule a curbside pick-up on Irving Avenue.  When picking up curbside, please do not exit your vehicle.  Keep your mask on, and we will deliver your items to your car.

Scan and Send
We are able to provide scanned copies of print materials on a limited basis.  Details will vary based on the length of the requested item, so send scan requests to reference@law.syr.edu.

Renewing Books
Please use the self-renewal feature built in to the library catalog at https://catalog.syr.edu/vwebv/login.  Although we will not charge overdue fines this semester, please renew your books anyway so that they show up in the library catalog as still borrowed, or "not available". 

Returning Books
If you have books checked out, please email circ@law.syr.edu when you are ready to return them.  We will send you a UPS shipping label so you can send the books back to us, or we can schedule a curbside drop-off on Irving Ave.


Professor Joseph Warburton: Business Development Companies Are Risky Investments for Consumers

Posted on Wednesday 2/3/2021
Joseph Warburton

New research by Professor A. Joseph Warburton, Professor of Law at Syracuse University College of Law and Professor of Finance at Syracuse University Martin J. Whitman School of Management, shows that consumer investments in Business Development Companies (BDCs) are at risk. The paper—“Venture Capital for Retail Investors”—was published in The Business Lawyer (Vol. 76, No. 1), a leading peer-reviewed business law journal.

A BDC is a type of investment company that finances small and growing American businesses. After raising capital in public markets, BDCs then fund companies considered too small or risky by traditional lenders. Many BDCs are open to retail investors and offer an alternative to private venture capital firms that are often out of reach. BDCs are favored by Congress, which excused them from key provisions of the regulations that govern mutual funds and other investment companies. BDCs are allowed, for example, to incur greater leverage through borrowed money.

Warburton’s research shows that BDCs live up to their reputation for paying high dividend yields to their investors and that their total returns—stock returns plus dividends—appear to match or beat the benchmark indices.

These high yields mean that BDCs are attractive to those seeking income in today’s low interest rate market, particularly among retirees or those about to retire. However, the study also finds that BDCs are risky investments. The average BDC incurs substantially greater risk than the market benchmarks and significantly underperforms the benchmarks once you take into account the extra risk.

“BDCs are highly leveraged and their performance is volatile. On a risk-adjusted basis, publicly traded BDCs significantly underperform the benchmarks, trailing by more than four to six percentage points per year, on average, over time,” says Warburton. “In other words, the typical BDC does not appropriately compensate investors for their risk. Investors would be better off putting their money in an index fund tracking high-yield bonds or leveraged loans.”

The performance of BDCs was significantly impacted by the COVID pandemic and subsequent market adjustment, explains Warburton. During March 2020, shares of publicly-traded BDCs declined by over three times as much as the benchmarks, on average.

“Many BDCs employ leverage, which amplifies broader market movements,” Warburton adds. “In addition, BDCs invest in small and mid-size businesses that were hit hard by the pandemic-induced shutdowns.”

BDC Performance Graph
BDC Performance Graph

The figure shows the performance of $10,000 invested in an index of publicly traded BDCs during 2020, compared to two market benchmarks (high yield bonds and leveraged loans). The $10,000 investment in BDCs was worth $9,115 at the end of 2020, versus $10,711 if invested in high yield bonds and $10,312 if invested in leveraged loans. BDCs were also more volatile over the year than the benchmarks, which themselves are among the riskiest parts of the fixed income market.

While Congress has championed BDCs as a way for small and mid-size businesses to obtain financing and grow, it has not analyzed whether BDCs are worthwhile investments for the public. Warburton recommends that “retail investors and their financial advisors should consider the paper’s findings before investing in publicly traded BDCs.

So, while their high dividend yields are attractive, BDCs are risky investment vehicles that can significantly underperform once you adjust for their greater risk-taking. “If you want to add a BDC to your portfolio, be sure to consider its track record because performance varies by BDC,” advises Warburton. “Avoid BDCs with a history of negative risk-adjusted performance.”

"Security Needs to Be a Priority:" Professor Corri Zoli in GovExec.com

Posted on Monday 2/1/2021
Corri Zoli

Law Enforcement Alert to Potential Violence at Federal Facilities

(Government Executive | Jan. 29, 2021) Federal law enforcement personnel are “operating with increased readiness” in the wake of a Homeland Security Department alert warning that elected officials and government facilities are potential targets for violence, a department spokesperson said Thursday evening. 

Three weeks after the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol, the acting Homeland Security secretary issued a bulletin on Wednesday saying that domestic violent extremists “motivated by a range of issues, including anger over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and police use of force have plotted and on occasion carried out attacks against government facilities … DHS is concerned these same drivers to violence will remain through early 2021 and some [domestic violent extremists] may be emboldened by the January 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., to target elected officials and government facilities" ...

... Corri Zoli, Associate Teaching Professor at Syracuse University Law School and Director of Research for the Institute for Security Policy and Law, said it’s important to send the message that security needs to be a priority for all federal facilities—not just the U.S. Capitol and for members of Congress. “We have plenty of law enforcement tools to consistently prosecute attacks against federal facilities" ...

Read the full article.

Professor Nina Kohn to AP: NYS Nursing Homes Have a Bad Incentive

Posted on Monday 2/1/2021
Nina Kohn

AG Slams NY's Legal Shield for Nursing Homes, Hospitals

(AP | Jan. 29, 2021) New York's attorney general has joined calls for the state to loosen a partial immunity from lawsuits and criminal prosecutions it had granted to nursing homes at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring.

In a report issued Thursday, Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, documented how a number of homes failed to follow proper infection-control protocols as the virus raged.

Patients with COVID-19 were mingled in some homes with residents who didn't yet have the virus. Staff members weren't properly screened for illness. Some homes made sick employees keep coming to work, even though they could potentially infect others on the job. Others maintained dangerously low staffing levels that endangered residents, the report found ...

... Syracuse University College of Law professor Nina Kohn said the state’s current law does protect nursing homes in ways that might encourage bad choices about staffing and patient protections.

“If they’re not going to be held accountable for harm to residents and they’re going to be paid either way, you’ll have a certain percentage of facilities who made the business decision to engage in practices that unreasonably endanger the resident,” Kohn said.

“They’re accepting residents in many cases knowing they have staffing shortages, knowing they’re not equipped to meet their needs,” she added ...

Read the full article

Hon. James E. Baker Interviewed on New Books Network

Posted on Thursday 1/28/2021
James E. Baker

The Centaur's Dilemma: US National Security Law for the Coming AI Revolution

By Kyle Beadle | New Books Network

From facial recognition to online shopping, artificial intelligence has become the backbone of the internet and has led to an unprecedented extraction and utilization of personal data. As a result, AI has rapidly outpaced existing free speech, privacy, and national security law.

In The Centaur’s Dilemma: National Security Law for the Coming AI Revolution (Brookings Institute Press, 2020), Judge James E. Baker deploys his extensive experience in national security law to argue for AI regulation through legislation ...

Listen to the interview

"A Crip Reckoning" to Reflect on the 30th Anniversary of the ADA

Posted on Thursday 1/28/2021
Burton Blatt Institute

Burton Blatt Institute’s (BBI) Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach (OIPO) series (Dis)courses: Interdisciplinary Disability Dialogues continues on Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET with “A Crip Reckoning: Reflections on the ADA@30.”

Join a distinguished panel of thought leaders and scholar-activists for a discussion of ableism, cultural change, equity, creativity and intersectionality in the context of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The event is free and open to the public. Zoom participants will have the opportunity to pose questions to the panel after the discussion.

Sponsored by University Lectures and the Syracuse University Office of Diversity and Inclusion—and moderated by BBI OIPO Director and University Professor Stephen Kuusisto—“A Crip Reckoning: Reflections on the ADA@30” will welcome the following writers, activists, educators, innovators and disability advocates:

  • LeDerick Horne—a poet, speaker and advocate who uses his gift for spoken-word poetry as the gateway to larger discussions on equal opportunity, pride, self-determination, and hope for people with disabilities.
  • Naomi Ortiz—a writer, poet, facilitator and visual artist whose work focuses on self-care for activists, disability justice, intersectional organizing and relationship with place.
  • Pratik Patel—the director of information technology access for the City University of New York and owner of EZFire Enterprises LLC, which consults on a variety of technology projects on accessibility for people with disabilities.
  • David James (DJ) Savarese—an author, public speaker, “artful activist” and “practicing optimist,” who works to make self-determined lives a reality for non-traditionally speaking people
  • Alice Wong (she/her)—a disabled activist, media maker, consultant and founder/director of the Disability Visibility Project, an online community dedicated to creating, sharing and amplifying disability media and culture.

Copies of panelists’ selected texts are available for purchase via the Syracuse University Bookstore. To register for “A Crip Reckoning” and to request accommodations, visit the webinar registration page. The event will be recorded, and an accessible video will be shared via the BBI OIPO webpage.

Teams Announced for the Inaugural Transatlantic Negotiation Competition

Posted on Thursday 1/28/2021

Syracuse University College of Law and Queen’s University Belfast School of Law, co-hosts of the Transatlantic Negotiation Competition, have set the field for the inaugural competition to be held virtually March 19 and 20, 2021.

Europe and Asia

• Bucerius Law School (Hamburg, Germany) 

• Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, Hungary) 

• Jagiellonian University (Kraków, Poland) 

• Newcastle University Law School (Newcastle upon Tyne, England) 

• Queen's University Belfast (Belfast, Northern Ireland) 

• Queen Mary, University of London (London, England) 

• Symbiosis Law School (Hyderabad, India) 

• University of Florence (Florence, Italy) 

• University of Vienna (Vienna, Austria) 

United States

• Baylor Law School (Waco, TX) 

• Chapman University, Fowler School of Law (Orange, CA) 

• Fordham University School of Law (New York, NY) 

• Georgetown University, Law Center (Washington, DC) 

• Pace Law School (White Plains, NY) 

• Suffolk Law School (Boston, MA) 

• Syracuse University College of Law (Syracuse, NY) 

• University of Houston Law Center (Houston, TX) 

“The global response to this unique competition was very strong, with nine outstanding institutions representing seven countries that will be competing against some of the top American law schools,” says Professor Todd Berger, Director of Advocacy Programs, Syracuse University College of Law. “We want to thank the evaluators and judges who will have the difficult task of deciding the outcomes of the competitions. Best wishes to all the competing teams.”

The competition gives law students on both sides of the Atlantic an opportunity to hone their negotiation and communication skills in a transnational setting, with particular emphasis on the importance of cross-cultural negotiation and communication in resolving disputes and facilitating client agreements.

In each round of the competition, one team from the United States and one from Europe will face each other to resolve a series of problems presented in a particular factual scenario. The scenarios are not dependent on the law of a particular country, and they are the type commonly encountered in international business, trade, and political disputes.

“Collaborating with Syracuse University College of Law on the competition is a rewarding experience for the students at both institutions. The organizational, teamwork, and international relations skills learned are in demand in the legal profession,” says Alexys Santos, President of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Society at Queen’s University Belfast School of Law. “Participants in the competition will hone their negotiation skills and expand their cross-cultural experiences,” says Kevin Marshall, Vice President of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Society at Queen’s University Belfast School of Law.

For more information, click here.

Dixon appointed Public Administrator

Posted on Wednesday 1/27/2021

Cressida Dixon has been appointed to serve as public administrator for Monroe County, NY, the first female attorney to serve in the role here.

Implications of Van Buren v. United States and the Reach of the CFAA

Posted on Wednesday 1/27/2021
Sehseh Sanan

Implications of Van Buren v. United States and the Reach of the CFAA

By 3L Sehseh Sanan

The United States Supreme Court recently heard arguments on the reach of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The case, Van Buren v. United States considers the CFAA’s definition of “exceeding authorized access.” It is the first time the Supreme Court has reviewed the CFAA, which was enacted in 1986 to address hacking but which has been amended a number of times since.

The Court’s decision may have implications for computer use policies in a variety of business situations involving employee and licensee access to computers and databases.

The CFAA aims to penalize anyone who intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or who exceeds authorized access and obtains information stored on that computer.

18 U.S. Code § 1030(a) states:

(a) Whoever—

(2) Intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access, and thereby obtains—

(A) information contained in a financial record of a financial institution, or of a card issuer as defined in section 1602(n) [1] of title 15, or contained in a file of a consumer reporting agency on a consumer, as such terms are defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.);

(B) information from any department or agency of the United States; or

(C) information from any protected computer;

(6) the term “exceeds authorized access” means to access a computer with authorization and to use such access to obtain or alter information in the computer that the access-er is not entitled so to obtain or alter…

With the text of the statute in mind, Van Buren addresses the CFAA by asking whether a person who is authorized to access information on a computer for certain purposes violates Section 1030(a)(2) of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act if he/she accesses the same information for an improper purpose.

Nathan Van Buren was a police officer in Georgia who utilized a police database to search license plates in exchange for money, and not in the course of his employment.

Van Buren argued the federal CFAA statute is meant to prevent computer hacking and unauthorized use of electronic systems, and it applies only if the defendant obtains information that he was under no circumstances entitled to obtain. 

Under Van Buren’s argument, the CFAA was not intended to and should not penalize defendants under federal criminal law when they are authorized to access a computer or database but use it in an unauthorized way.

The government’s argument hinges on the inclusion of “so” in the clause “is not entitled so to obtain or alter” in the definition of “exceeds authorized access.” If the Court accepts the government’s argument, then investigations, prosecutions, and sanctions under the CFAA will broaden significantly.

What does this case mean for entrepreneurs? Businesses that depend on employee and licensee access to computer processes and databases may need to carefully review computer access policies and provide adequate guidance to employees and licensees.

Examples of potential areas of prosecution include:

  • Using a database of customer information to provide customer information to someone outside the company.
  • Accessing a licensed database and using the information for other unauthorized purposes.
  • Using a work computer to download personal programs.
  • An employee modifying system files that are not in the scope of their job.
  • Making files public that are supposed to be private.
  • An employee utilizing a password that does not belong to them.
  • An employee utilizing their own password to access information that is prohibited by computer use policies, confidentiality agreements, and employment contracts.
  • An employee using a work computer to download trade secrets in order to compete against their employer.

However the Court decides the decision is likely to influence computer-based businesses, including users such cybersecurity experts, journalists, and researchers who may have difficulty accessing information.

If the Court rules in favor of the government’s prosecution under CFAA, the scope of what is considered a computer crime will broaden, and the control exerted over users will increase. On the other hand, if the Court does not support the application of CFAA to unauthorized uses of information, there are concerns that privacy rights will decrease.

"A Lot of Substance:" Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 Reviews Dominion Lawsuit for Reuters

Posted on Wednesday 1/27/2021
Roy Gutterman

Giuliani faces tough test in Dominion's $1.3B defamation suit - legal experts

(Reuters | Jan. 25, 2021) Legal experts say an initial review of the defamation suit filed by voting machine company Dominion against Rudy Giuliani indicates a carefully documented, detailed case that has a good chance of moving ahead in court. Giuliani called the suit, which seeks $1.3 billion in damages, an "act of intimidation," and says he may counter sue.

Watch the clip.

Professor Michael Schwartz: Lawyers Should Provide Sign Language Interpreters for Deaf Clients

Posted on Tuesday 1/26/2021
Michael Schwartz

(syracuse.com | Jan. 26, 2021) I’m a lawyer, and I’m Deaf. I write to compliment Attorney William Mattar for his television advertising of his firm’s legal services. Mattar’s ads are funny, endearing and most importantly, they are open captioned and therefore accessible for Deaf and hard of hearing viewers. The ads demonstrate Mattar’s inclusion of, and respect for, members of this community.

Under federal law, television commercials less than five minutes in length are not required to be captioned, so despite not being compelled by law to caption his commercials, Mattar is to be applauded for doing the right thing.

Not only are they accessible, Mattar’s commercials offer a model to legal providers who wish to advertise their services on television. His ads humanize him. He is shown in various contexts familiar to the viewers: a bowling alley where he gets only two points on a roll of the ball; a bar where he tells a joke that falls flat; watching TV with his mother; and writing a check in his office that brings smiles to his clients ...

Read the full article.

1L Matthew Yanez Chosen for Prestigious AAPD Summer Internship

Posted on Tuesday 1/26/2021
1L Matthew Yanez

First-year law student Matthew Yanez, recipient of a Dean's Scholarship and a JK Wonderland Scholarship, has been chosen to be an American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) summer intern.

"This is a prestigious summer internship that receives hundreds of applications each year from undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities from all academic fields within the US," explains Professor Arlene Kanter, Director of the Director of the Disability Law and Policy Program. "Only a fraction of those students are selected each year."

AAPD Summer Interns work in congressional offices, federal agencies, and disability organizations. "However, the benefits of the Fellowship continue beyond the summer, as some of the most accomplished leaders in the disability field in the US are former AAPD interns," says Kanter. "It was my pleasure to recommend Matthew, who joins other DLPP alumni who have interned at AAPD, including most recently Lauren Galloway L’19, a 2017 AAPD Summer Intern."

Yanez is a young disability advocate who is determined to create an inclusive and equitable world for all. Before law school, he worked with several non-profit groups, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the National Association of the Deaf, and Arc of the United States.

In addition to his J.D., Yanez hopes to pursue a joint master of public affairs degree at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Policy. In an interview in the College of Law alumni magazine, Yanez said he hopes his degrees will give him the tools he needs to help dismantle and eradicate injustices that people of color, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations face.

Flanagan included in Irish Legal 100

Posted on Monday 1/25/2021

Timothy J. Flanagan G'75 L'78, a partner in Cullen Dykman's Litigation Department, has been included in the Irish Legal 100 for 2020 which is put together by the Irish Voice. Fellow honorees include Supreme Court Justices John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Professor Roy Gutterman L'00: The Challenges in Putting a Price Tag On Free Speech

Posted on Friday 1/22/2021
Roy Gutterman

(Law 360 | Jan. 19, 2021) Nominal damages might not be something many lawyers really think about. They are just that, nominal—a small, inconsequential, symbolic amount awarded to a plaintiff acknowledging that they suffered a harm, but no significant monetary loss.

It might be even more surprising that this question of something as basic as nominal damages reached the US Supreme Court in a case testing free speech rights. 

Yet, this was the issue argued last week at the court in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski.

Maybe there is even something ironic that nominal damages were the centerpiece of Supreme Court arguments over something as grand as First Amendment rights and speech about something as vast as religion.

Many First Amendment free speech cases are often proxies for an underlying issue—civil rights, war protests, campaign finance and other hot-button issues. 

Here, the nominal damages argument finds itself wrapped up in the case of two college students—Chike Uzuegbunam and Joseph Bradford—who wanted to let the world, or at least a small sliver of the world at Georgia Gwinnett College, know about their evangelical Christian beliefs.

The school had a policy in place that required speakers to secure permission to speak or distribute materials on campus in a designated free speech zone. 

Uzuegbunam had his permit and his religious material ready for the sharing when campus police shut him down, claiming someone complained about his presence, threatening him with a disorderly conduct charge and potential punishment. Because of the threat of punishment, which the officer implied could result in discipline or even expulsion, Uzuegbunam packed up and left.

Then, he engaged the Alliance Defending Freedom and went to court ...

Read the full article.

Fashion Looks to Paris (Agreement): Professor Mark Nevitt Speaks to WWD

Posted on Friday 1/22/2021
Mark P. Nevitt

What Rejoining the Paris Agreement Signals to Fashion

(WWD | Jan. 21, 2021) While the U.S. rejoining the Paris Agreement is just the beginning of a bold rush into environmental stewardship, the action should not be overlooked because of the message it signals to fashion.

Why does this brush of the penstroke matter?

A Cross-Industry Sustainability Push

“Rejoining the Paris Agreement is a signal to the world that the U.S. ‘is back’ on the international climate stage,” said Mark Nevitt, an associate professor of law and expert in environmental and climate change law at Syracuse University’s College of Law. “The U.S. is the world’s largest historical greenhouse gas emitter, and U.S. leadership is crucial for making international climate progress and reducing our emissions. As the Senate is 50-50 and there is a slim Democratic majority in the House, passing bold climate legislation will be challenging.”

It is a 30-day process that began Wednesday for the U.S. to officially rejoin the agreement, but the process of undoing previous environmental rollbacks and rewriting law to realize the bold pledge of making the country carbon-neutral by 2050 is more daunting.

Nevitt believes the Environmental Protection Agency will be the main lever under the Biden-Harris administration “to push [Biden’s] environmental agenda,” both in communication and action. And as for the largely unregulated and highly polluting fashion industry, Nevitt foresees it in the mix of broader industry overhaul.

“I think there will be more focus on all industries that contribute to climate change, to include fashion. Look for the new Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Michael Regan, to push broad sustainability policies across the U.S. economy. For fashion, this will likely highlight the need to reuse clothing, streamlining supply chains to reduce the carbon footprint,” he said. “While only so much can be done by law or regulation, look for a broad push via public communications on sustainability across all industries, to include fashion and its environmental impact" ...

Read the full article

Criminalizing Speech? Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 Talks to CNN

Posted on Thursday 1/21/2021
Roy Gutterman

Violence at Capitol and beyond reignites a debate over America's long-held defense of extremist speech

(CNN | Jan. 19, 2021) With most Americans hoping this week's expected inauguration protests look nothing like the Capitol siege, questions emerge about unrestrained free expression, long championed by First Amendment theorists as a benefit to society, no matter how ugly and hateful.

The optics may be disturbing, especially so soon after the riot, with the potential of protesters -- many of like mind with those who stormed the Capitol -- screaming, or worse, at troops and police standing guard outside the razor wire-topped fences surrounding the Capitol.

Is allowing this type of expression "good" for America? An old First Amendment theory -- known as the safety valve -- says it is, that permitting groups to express themselves releases pressure, ensuring objectionable ideas aren't driven underground where they might boil over into violence.

Permitting free speech, including hate and extremist speech, is often cast as a universal boon, reinforced in idioms such as, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant" and "I don't agree with what you say, but I'll defend your right to say it" ...

... Roy Gutterman, director of Syracuse University's Tully Center for Free Speech, worries, he said: Once you start criminalizing speech, where does it end?

"Europe and Germany and France, they have different histories and obviously their laws have criminalized certain speech that we would legally accept here," he said. "The categories of speech that we criminalize are really specific and narrow, and narrow for a reason. I'm not sure a new category of illegal hate speech would really comport with the First Amendment, and maybe I'm being naive" ...

Read the full article.

South China Morning Post Taps Professor Corri Zoli for Inauguration Comment

Posted on Thursday 1/21/2021
Corri Zoli

Biden inauguration: new US president pledges to unify a tense, divided nation while fighting a pandemic

(South China Morning Post | Jan. 21, 2021) Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, taking on the daunting task of trying to heal a nation that has been battered over the last year by a pandemic, economic malaise, political violence and incessant attacks on America’s democratic institutions by the man he is succeeding, Donald Trump.

In a 21-minute inaugural address that sought to unify a tense and divided America, President Biden called on the country to “lower the temperature” or else risk destroying itself ...

... Corri Zoli, a professor at Syracuse University’s law school and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, said that Biden in his speech had “answered several concerns and criticisms well—he disarmed concerns that unity was a fantasy or dream”.

“He referenced the depth of his commitment to the nation (Constitution, etc.) by using Lincoln’s commitment ‘by his very soul’ to the Emancipation Proclamation—important for those who worry Biden is not up to the task,” she said by email ...

Read the full article.

The Legal Examiner Talks to Professor William C. Banks About Domestic Terrorism Cases

Posted on Wednesday 1/20/2021
William C. Banks

Domestic terrorism prosecutions reach all-time high

(The Legal Examiner | Jan. 19, 2021) The insurrection attempt by a mob on the nation’s capitol may be part of a larger trend of increasing incidents of right-wing domestic terrorism. 

“I think it’s not a one-off,” said William C. Banks, law professor at Syracuse University College of Law.  “We’re in a very critical period right now that might even abate or reverse itself. I’m hopeful that it will. I think we’re going to have to see.”

Banks said he hopes the leadership of Joe Biden’s administration will have a “more calming effect” than President Trump. 

Last year saw the highest number of domestic terrorism prosecutions brought by the federal government around the country in the 25 years since government tracking of these cases began, according to a report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. Banks is not affiliated with TRAC.

In all, U.S. Attorneys’ offices brought 183 domestic terrorism cases in 2020, compared with 90 in 2019, 63 in 2018 and 69 in 2017, according to the TRAC report, which used data the clearinghouse obtained through litigation ...

Read the full article.

College of Law Adds Vincent H. Cohen '92, L'95 to Its Board of Advisors

Posted on Tuesday 1/19/2021
Vincent Cohen Jr. '92, L'95

Syracuse University College of Law is pleased to announce the addition of Vincent H. Cohen '92, L'95—Partner at Dechert LLP, based in Washington, DC—to its Board of Advisors. Cohen is widely recognized and honored for his work in high-stakes litigation and investigations, representing global industry leaders in the technology, finance, and defense sectors. Also a member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees, he embodies the talent, leadership, and public service found throughout the College's diverse alumni community. 

“Vince Cohen's service to the University, College, his community, and our nation is exemplary. His strong advocacy in matters of leadership, diversity, equality, equity, and ethics will serve us well,” says Dean Craig M. Boise. "I look forward to Vince’s invaluable counsel as we continue to innovate our curriculum, expand our reach, and prepare our students for a fast-evolving legal profession." 

“Vince has been lauded by his peers—and by the University and College of Law—as a standout leader and rising star in the legal profession, one whose legal and business acumen, client focus, and public service will be guiding lights for Syracuse law students,” says Board of Advisors Chair Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83. “I know I speak for the rest of the Board of Advisors when I say we are excited to get to work with Vincent and to propel our College forward.” 

“I welcome this opportunity to deepen my commitment to Syracuse University and the College of Law and to add my perspectives—including those I bring from the SU Office of Multicultural Advancement's Advisory Council—to Dean Boise’s and the Board’s initiatives. In my leadership role at Dechert, and through my clients, I have a front-row seat to how the legal profession and our business sectors are fast evolving, and I look forward to helping Syracuse continue to lead the way in adapting to these changes,” says Cohen. “Syracuse is a special place for me and my family. My father was an undergraduate and law school graduate, and my mother is from the city of Syracuse; it is where my parents met. It is an honor to serve my alma mater and to strengthen my bonds with this community.”

Before joining Dechert’s 125-strong White Collar team five years ago, Cohen was Acting US Attorney for the District of Columbia (2015-2016), the largest US attorney’s office in the nation. From 2010-2015, he served as the office’s Principal Assistant US Attorney. Last year, he was elected to Dechert’s Global Policy Committee, a 14-member body that oversees the firm’s 26 offices worldwide. Since joining Dechert, Cohen has chaired the Black Lawyers Alliance, a firm affinity group, 

Cohen has received the Presidential Star Award from the National Bar Association for his contributions in the field of law. He also has received the Director’s Award from the US Secret Service and a Public Service and Humanitarian Award from Walker Memorial Baptist Church for his work in ensuring equal justice for the people of Washington, DC. 

He has served as general counsel and remains an active member of 100 Black Men of America Inc. (Greater Washington), an organization focused on improving the quality of life of minority youth in the nation's capital. As an educator, Cohen is a trial advocacy instructor at Harvard Law School's Trial Advocacy Workshop and a frequent lecturer at Syracuse, Georgetown, and Harvard law schools.

Cohen is consistently recognized by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer in white-collar crime and government investigations for the District of Columbia, and he is listed by Legal 500 US for corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense. He was recently recognized by the Washingtonian Magazine as a Top Lawyer in Washington, DC. 

Among other citations, Cohen was named as one of Savoy Magazine's Most Influential Black Lawyers in America; one of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America by Lawdragon. The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) named Cohen a Rainmaker, describing him as “an exceptional diverse attorney whose business acumen and dedication to proactive client development set him apart as a leader in the legal profession.” In 2020, he was named one of Profiles in Diversity Journal’s first-ever Black Leaders Worth Watching and in 2018 the publication honored him with the 2018 Diversity Leader Award for his commitment to diversity. 

In addition to his service on the University Board of Trustees, Cohen—a former member of the Syracuse University men's basketball team—serves on the Board's Athletics and Finance committees and the Office of Multicultural Advancement's Advisory Council. He is a former member of the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association Board of Directors and received an inaugural Syracuse Law Honors Award from the College in 2015. In 2008, he accepted the Chancellor’s Citation for Distinguished Alumni Achievement in Law.

To honor his late father—Vincent Cohen Sr. ’57, L’60—Cohen has endowed an Our Time Has Come Scholarship for Syracuse Black and Latino students through the Office of Multicultural Advancement. The elder Cohen was an All-American and Syracuse Men’s Basketball All-Century Team basketball player who became a successful corporate attorney in Washington, DC, and who received the George Arents Pioneer Medal in 1986, the University's highest alumni honor. 

Professor Shubha Ghosh Reviews Trump's Twitter Ban on KatieCouric.com

Posted on Tuesday 1/19/2021
Shubha Ghosh

Did President Trump’s Ban From Twitter Violate Free Speech? These Experts Say Not Exactly

(KatieCouric.com | Jan. 14, 2021) Major tech platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, have either permanently banned or restricted President Donald Trump from their platforms in response to his inflammatory rhetoric that culminated in a mob of his supporters storming the U.S. Capitol last week in an effort to block certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

The moves were aimed at preventing further efforts to incite violence and followed months of the president’s unfounded claims of voter fraud and refusal to concede his election loss. As the president denies that he played a role in the violence that led to his second impeachment, both he and his allies have decried these actions, claiming censorship and a violation of their First Amendment rights. 

Syracuse University law professor Shubha Ghosh pushed back against these assertions, saying private companies — no matter how large — don’t have to comply with the First Amendment because it is meant to protect people from being silenced by the government.

“It’s no different than any other private business refusing service to somebody,” Ghosh, who specializes in antitrust law, said. “So if somebody goes into a grocery store or a movie theater or a bar and starts acting in an unruly way, let’s say, the private establishment is within its rights to have them be barred or to have them thrown out of the establishment" ...

Read the full article.

Syracuse University College of Law Welcomes 13 LL.M. Students for Spring 2021

Posted on Friday 1/15/2021
College of Law

In January 2021, the College of Law welcomed a new group of 13 students enrolled in our Master of Laws (LL.M.) program. "Despite the continued barriers and uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, this new spring cohort includes foreign lawyers representing the legal systems of five countries," says Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew S. Horsfall. "These students will join the 11 returning LL.M. students who began their studies in this past fall and spring, along with three visiting scholars."

The LL.M. cohort will maintain its wide reach across time zones and locations; with seven students located in Syracuse, another five located elsewhere in the Eastern Time Zone, and 12 located abroad in Brazil, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, India, and Mexico.

"Our LL.M. students will continue to receive outstanding academic advising from members of our law faculty, including professors Todd Berger, Chris Day, Doron Dorfman, Shubha Ghosh, Antonio Gidi, Margaret Harding, Arlene Kanter, Suzette Melendez, Robert Nassau, and Cora True-Frost," says Faculty Director of International Programs Arlene Kanter.

In addition, the LL.M. students and visiting scholars will receive advising support from International Programs Academic Coordinator Kate Shannon and LL.M. student mentors Audrey Fick, Mazaher Kaila, Kylie Mason, and Troy Parker.

LL.M. Students (Spring 2021 Cohort)

Sumayyah Alanazi (Saudi Arabia) obtained her LL.B. in 2015 from Al Jouf University in Saudi Arabia.  She is a member of the Saudi Bar Association. She intends to study intellectual property and technology law.

Amani Alosaimi (Saudi Arabia) obtained her LL.B. from Taif University in Saudi Arabia in 2013. Since graduating, she has held an internship at International Legal Systems in Taif before coming to Syracuse to study legal English at Syracuse University’s English Language Institute. Alosaimi intends to study corporate and family law.

Samuel Alvarenga Goncalves (Brazil) obtained his LL.B. from the University of Itaúna and a master of laws degree from Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paolo, both in Brazil. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Law from Brazil’s Federal University of Minas Gerais. Alvarenga Goncalves serves as a state prosecutor in the state of Rondônia where he specializes in public health matters. He intends to study class actions and civil procedure.

Eduardo Cândia (Brazil) earned his LL.B. from Dom Bosco Catholic University, in Brazil. He also holds masters and doctoral degrees in “Social Relations Law”, and is pursuing a PhD in Economic, Financial and Tax Law, all from the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paolo.  Mr. Cândia has worked as a public prosecutor in Brazil for 17 years and has published law review articles and books. He plans to enroll in courses that will prepare him for the New York Bar Exam.

Hugo Carrasco Soulé López (Mexico) obtained an LL.B. and Ph.D. in Law from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He is a professor of law at UNAM, where he teaches civil procedure, contracts, class actions, and health law. He has published law review articles and books. He is also in-house counsel for Johnson & Johnson. He plans to study constitutional law, civil procedure, and courses that will prepare him for the New York Bar Exam.

Israel Correa Da Costa (Brazil) obtained his LL.B. degree from Metodista University in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2016.  Since graduating, he has worked as a partner in his own firm where he practices consumer litigation. Costa will study business and corporate law, as well as courses to prepare him for the New York Bar Exam.

Milena de Oliveira Guimaraes (Brazil) holds an LL.B. from Maringá State University in Brazil. She also obtained masters and doctoral degrees from Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paolo. She is a professor and a lawyer in Brazil, where she most recently served as a law clerk in the criminal law court for the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso. Guimaraes will enroll in courses in Commercial Law, Torts, and Civil Procedure.

Ana Sylvia Espinoza (Mexico) is finishing her LL.B. at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and comes to us under a dual-degree program. She held an internship position at Baker McKenzie’s Mexico City office and for a private attorney. She plans to study tax law, corporate compliance, and international business transactions.

Zaiden Geraige Neto (Brazil) obtained his LL.B., Masters, and Ph.D. from Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paolo. He has also studied at Harvard University. Geraige Neto is an attorney at a hospital in Sao Paolo, where he handles contractual and litigation matters. He will study class actions and civil procedure.

Vitus Imo (Nigeria) obtained his LL.B. from Ebonyi State University in Abakaliki, Nigeria, in 2018. He also graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 2019. He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association. Imo has worked in private practice since graduating and plans to enroll in courses that will prepare him for the New York State Bar Exam. 

Sajid Masih (Pakistan) obtained his LL.B. in the University of the Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan, in 2017. He has worked for a local branch of the police authority in his state. He has also been an active member of NGO PEACE Pakistan, an organization that focuses on education and human rights. Masih plans to enroll in courses that focus on human and civil rights.

Paola Ontiveros Vazquez (Mexico) obtained her LL.B., LL.M., and Ph.D. from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). As a professor of law, she has written extensively about mediation and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. She will enroll in courses that will expose her to mediation and negotiation practices in the United States.

Sebastian Valenzuela (Mexico) is finishing his LL.B. at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and comes to us under a dual-degree program. During his studies, he has worked as a legal assistant for a casino management company as well as with a federal court. He will study constitutional law, civil procedure, and administrative law.

Returning LL.M. Students

Ahmed Al Shattawi (Iraq) obtained his LL.B. from Al-Nahrain University in Baghdad, Iraq. Soon after his LL.B studies, he emigrated to the United States, settling in Syracuse, where he obtained a degree in Electrical Engineering and works for Anaran, a local engineering and technology company. He will focus on courses that will expose him to American business law and culture along with subjects tested on the New York Bar Exam.

Alanood Alhammad (Saudi Arabia) obtained her LL.B. from Al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh.  She worked at the Saleh Abdurhman Alatrum law office before coming to the US in 2019 to study Legal English. Alhammad plans to deepen her understanding of business law while enrolled in the LL.M. Program.

Saad Alqahtani (Saudi Arabia) obtained a LL.B. from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia in 2010. He has worked as a legal investigator in the Public Administration for Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Transportation in Riyadh since 2011. Alqahtani intends to pursue courses in labor law, international law, and criminal law.

Vein Barazi (Syria) completed her LL.B. at Damascus University in Syria in 2007.  She worked as a lawyer in Syria for six years before relocating to the US. In her practice, she focused on transactional law, civil litigation, and intellectual property. She will enroll in courses that will prepare her for the New York Bar Exam.

Fildous Hamid (Ghana) obtained both a diploma in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Administration from the University of Ghana. She also obtained an LL.B. from MountCrest University College in Ghana in 2018. Hamid is interested in labor law and international criminal law. She is currently living in Germany while her husband is there for work, and she plans to sit for the New York Bar Exam upon completion of her LL.M. degree. 

Karla Lellis (Brazil) obtained a LL.B. from the Metropolitan University of Santos in 2001. Before joining the LL.M. Program, she was living in Boston, MA, where she volunteered her time in an immigration and family law practice. She intends to take classes that will help prepare her for the New York State Bar Exam.

Lorena Martinez (Mexico) is finishing her LL.B. at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and comes to us under a dual-degree program. She served as a research assistant for the co-director of the World Trade Organization in Mexico where she focused on international commercial law. Martinez will enroll in tax law and arbitration courses.

Carolina Mendez de Leon (Dominican Republic) completed her LL.B. at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in the Dominican Republic in 2015. Upon graduation, she worked as a case manager at R. Mendez & Associates in Santo Domingo. She intends to pursue courses in intellectual property, wills & trusts, corporate law, and bar-tested subjects.

Kwabena Mensah (Ghana) is the recipient of the J&K Wonderland Scholarship. He obtained three degrees from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana: a Bachelor of Arts in Religion, Human Values, and Philosophy; a Master of Arts in Communication Studies; and a bachelor of laws. He currently works as a broadcast journalist with an emphasis on telling the stories of persons with disabilities in Ghana. Mensah received the 2018 Ghana Journalists Award for Best New Reporter in 2018. He intends to study disability law, media law, and courses that will prepare him for the New York State Bar Exam.

Isaac Onyango (Kenya) is the recipient of the JAF Foundation Scholarship. He obtained his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Nairobi in Kenya in 2016 and a postgraduate diploma from the Kenya School of Law in 2018. He is an advocate with the High Court of Kenya and has worked as a Human Rights Advocate and Strategist with the Down Syndrome Society of Kenya for the last three years. He will pursue courses in disability law and international human rights.

Ersi Qeva (Albania) obtained LL.B. and LL.M. degrees from the University of Tirana in Albania. He emigrated to the United States in 2015 with his wife and has been living in Albany, NY. He plans to study criminal law and take the New York State Bar Exam upon graduation.

Spring 2021 Visiting Researchers

Dr. Smitha Nizar is a Fulbright Post-Doctoral Visiting Scholar from India. In her post-doctoral research, she examines the need to align India’s national laws with the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and to uphold the basic rights for persons with disabilities. 

Hojin Choi is a 2016 alum of Syracuse University College of Law’s J.D. program. As a student, he participated in the LondonEx summer program, served as the Research Assistant to Professor Aviva Abramovsky, and pursued courses and internships in disability law. Upon graduation, Choi remained in Syracuse to pursue employment with the local disability rights community. He is currently pursuing research projects supervised by Professor Arlene Kanter as well as conducting research for the Burton Blatt Institute.

Mohammad Ali Akbari Shandiz (Iran) obtained his LL.B. and LL.M. from Tehran University’s School of Law, in Iran, in 2010 and 2013, respectively. He worked in Iran for several years as a researcher and lecturer. From 2016 to 2017, he was a Visiting Scholar at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, where he focused his efforts on a research project titled: The Approach of the U.S. Legal Regime to Protect Geolocation Data Privacy. He earned a second LL.M., with a focus on intellectual property law, from George Washington University’s School of Law in 2018. He is currently working to pursue a PhD at the University of Turin’s School of Law with a continued focus on intellectual property and geolocation data privacy issues. During his research visit, Shandiz will engage in the study and research of data privacy in autonomous vehicles under the guidance of Professor Shubha Ghosh.

Spring 2021 DCEx Program Includes Government, Nonprofit, Judicial, and Corporate Placements

Posted on Thursday 1/14/2021
College of Law

Continuing its strong track record of top experiential learning placements, the spring 2021 Washington, DC, Externship Program (DCEx) begins with nine students set to gain practical legal experience across government, nonprofit, judicial, and corporate organizations. 

"I am quite pleased with the quality of the positions," says Faculty Director of Externship Programs and DCEx Program Director Terry Turnipseed. "We have five participants at the US Department of Justice, including two in the Tax Division for the first time, as well as a student at the Securities and Exchange Commission, one at the Insured Retirement Institute, a tax/retirement trade association, and one working with the Hon. J. Jeremiah Mahoney L’69, Chief Administrative Law Judge at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development."

Turnipseed notes that all externship with be remote, except an in-house placement at Orbis Technologies, hosted by alumna Erin Lawless Miller L’10, Vice President of Corporate Business Services. 

Spring 2021 DCEx Placements

Federal Government

  • US Department of Justice, National Security Division
  • US Department of Justice, Office of Legal Policy
  • US Department of Justice, Tax Division
  • US Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland, Southern Division
  • Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Trading and Markets

Nonprofit Placements

  • Insured Retirement Institute

Corporate Placements

  • Orbis Technologies

Judicial Placements

  • The Hon. J. Jeremiah Mahoney L’69, Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Office of Hearings & Appeals

No Conviction? Professor William C. Banks Comments on Trump's Second Impeachment

Posted on Thursday 1/14/2021
William C. Banks

House impeaches Trump once more

(China Daily | Jan. 14, 2020) With the US Capitol secured by armed National Guard troops inside and out, the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for a historic second time, indicting him for "incitement of insurrection" in the storming of Congress a week ago.

As impeachment heads to the Senate, President-elect Joe Biden said he hoped the Senate can balance a second impeachment trial of Trump with "other urgent business" of the nation, which remains gripped by the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement released hours after the bipartisan House vote, Biden did not take a position on whether the Senate should convict Trump, but again condemned the violent attack on Capitol Hill ...

... William Banks, distinguished professor emeritus at the Syracuse University College of Law in New York, said the House vote on impeachment was not surprising.

"It underscores that he is the ONLY President in US history to be impeached two times. It is clearly a stain on his record and should underscore the view that his presidency was an aberration in the US," Banks told China Daily.

Some Republicans joined because Trump lost the election, he can't impact them directly in the future, and in addition, Trump's actions were far more grave and harmful this time around, Banks said.

"I predict no conviction in an eventual Senate trial, and with luck the Senate will relegate the trial to off hours so they can begin working on the Biden agenda," Banks said. "It should have little impact on the Biden administration" ...

Read the full article.

Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 Provides CNN With a First Amendment Explainer

Posted on Wednesday 1/13/2021
Roy Gutterman

The First Amendment doesn't guarantee you the rights you think it does

CNN | Jan. 12, 2021

Read the full article.

Scenario: You are banned from a social media platform.

This is not a First Amendment issue, though plenty of people think it is.

Scenario: You are fired from you job for something you say in public or online.

If you work for a private company, it's probably not a First Amendment issue.

Scenario: A university or public group cancels a speech or presentation by a controversial figure.

If it's a private institution, it's probably not a First Amendment issue. If it's a public institution, the lines can get blurry.

Scenario: You are arrested for saying something critical of the government.

Definitely a First Amendment issue. But, like pretty much everything in law, there are exceptions and nuances.

Scenario: Your comment or post is deleted on an online forum.

It's a private company, so it's not a First Amendment issue.

Scenario: You are arrested for recording police activities in public.

A First Amendment issue -- usually.

What speech isn't covered under the First Amendment?

  • Obscenity
  • Fighting words
  • Defamation
  • Child pornography
  • Perjury
  • Blackmail
  • Incitement to imminent lawless action
  • True threats
  • Solicitations to commit crimes
  • Plagiarism of copyrighted material

Professor William C. Banks Helps Explain Insurrection Act for USA Today

Posted on Tuesday 1/12/2021
William C. Banks

What is the Insurrection Act and how could Trump use it? Here's what to know

(USA Today | Jan. 11, 2021) False social media posts swirled late Sunday that President Donald Trump in the wake of the U.S. Capitol riots had invoked the Insurrection Act, a law that allows the president to deploy the military to quell rebellion.

Tweets sharing images of military personnel in Washington continued to spread Monday morning and became a trending term on Twitter. However, Trump has not invoked the law.

The law, which has existed in various forms since the time of George Washington and in its current state since the Civil War, allows the president to dispatch the military or federalize the National Guard in states that are unable to put down an insurrection or are defying federal law ...

... William Banks, a Syracuse University College of Law Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor, said that when thinking about the Insurrection Act, it's important to remember one of the most basic principles of the United States' founding: that the military not be involved in civilian affairs.

"The Insurrection Act lays into U.S. law an exception to that background principle," Banks said.

In most cases, a state would want to rely on National Guard troops in situations of unrest. The Insurrection Act is generally reserved for when "things are really bad," Banks said ...

... Hoffmeister and Banks said, however, there was no need for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act on Jan. 6. given the federal government's control of the district's National Guard and federal law enforcement. Invoking the Act would have further allowed Trump to send active-duty military to the district when he already in effect had control over its National Guard and federal police ...

Read the full article.