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Disability Law Student 2L Matthew Yanez Featured by Syracuse Stories

Posted on Tuesday 11/30/2021
2L Matthew Yanez

Matthew Yanez L’23 has seen the justice system at work firsthand. Growing up in California, Yanez had an uncle who was incarcerated at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles. He and his father would visit his uncle on Saturday mornings, and that glimpse into the justice system sparked his interest in a career in law.

Yanez is a dual degree student in the College of Law, focusing on disability law and policy, and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, where he’s studying public administration. He’s certain the two degrees will advance him toward his career goals of working for the federal government in the Department of Justice to advocate for people with disabilities.

Yanez has already gotten some great experience under his belt—last summer he interned for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, where he reviewed settlement agreements enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act, drafted motions for civil litigation and put together a summary of Supreme Court cases involving disability rights. This exposure to his desired career path led him to join the Disability Rights Clinic at the College of Law so that he could continue working on amplifying disabled the voices of those with disabilities in the Syracuse community. The Disability Law and Policy Program at the College of Law, directed by Professor Arlene Kanter, has given Yanez the guidance needed to pursue his dreams of becoming a civil rights attorney.

His passion for disability rights—as well as his prior policy experiences with the Arc of the United States, the Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation at Loyola Law School and the American Association of People with Disabilities—led to an invitation to join a round-table discussion at the White House with other advocates and Vice President Kamala Harris. “It was a very humbling opportunity to be able to advocate for the needs of my community,” Yanez says. He had written detailed notes of the points he wanted to make about how recent voting restrictions will affect voters with disabilities and says the vice president was eager to discuss the role the White House can play in this fight …

Read the full story.

"Race and Justice in Central New York" Series Wins NYSBA Award

Posted on Tuesday 11/30/2021
College of Law

The New York State Bar Association Committee for Bar Leaders of NYS has announced that “The Bond, Schoeneck & King Series on Race and Justice in Central New York" is the 2021 winner of the NYSBA “Innovation Award” for medium-sized associations. The series—launched in fall 2020—is a collaboration among Syracuse University College of Law, Onondaga County Bar Association, Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, and other community partners and CNY law firms. The series was created with the goal of helping people examine and better understand the structure of local and national legal systems and their impact on disparate outcomes for those in historically disenfranchised groups.

As Professor Paula Johnson, Co-Director of Syracuse Law's Cold Case Justice Initiative and a "Race and Justice in CNY" project coordinator, explained at the series launch, “The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other unarmed Black people and people of color at the hands of law enforcement compelled the Bar Association and the College of Law to respond in ways that involved, informed, and collaborated across our community."

The inaugural event in the series was the “Racial Justice Community Book Read,” which discussed the memoir Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Professor Johnson and Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusion Suzette Meléndez, a member of this collaborative, were two of the facilitators who led these book discussions, along with other community members. The Series also included a June 2021 discussion of "The State of Police Reform in Central New York," a Facebook Live event moderated by Professor Johnson that convened officials from Syracuse-area towns and law enforcement organizations. 

"I am proud that our state bar association has recognized the strength, breadth, and significance of this initiative," says Dean Craig M. Boise. "It is no small feat to convene so many community partners, leaders, and members to respectfully and thoughtfully discuss matters of justice, police reform, and the rule of law. This award is testament to our partners' and sponsors' generosity and their commitment to candidly examining inequities found throughout our legal systems."

Militarizing Civilian Emergencies? Professor William C. Banks Interviewed for the NATO M4CE Project

Posted on Tuesday 11/23/2021
William C. Banks

Professor Emeritus William C. Banks recently was interviewed as part of the M4CE Project, an initiative of the NATO Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability, on the subject of military intervention in domestic natural and man-made emergencies: 

"At the Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability (FOGGS) we appreciate the role that military personnel and equipment can play and have already been playing in areas struck by natural or human-made disasters ranging from pandemics, like the current COVID-19 one, to floods, forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, industrial accidents and oil spills. We believe that this role has to be highlighted for policy makers and the public, and can be further improved on the basis of best practices that need to be collected and shared broadly." 

European policy news organization Katoikos, summarizes the M4CE interviews at its blog:

"Finally, perhaps the most significant challenge ahead relates to perceptions, both in terms of public opinion towards military involvement in civilian emergencies, and in terms of the military’s opinion about working alongside civilian authorities. As both Dr. William Banks and Mr. David Burke remind us, those nations with a complicated history of military abuse of power may hold deeply embedded but well-founded mistrust towards the military. Mr. Nikos Votsios raises the important question of whether militaries can be “convinced that providing assistance to state services and local communities in case of emergencies and disasters is in their mission” or constitute a distraction from the armed forces’ “real tasks.”

Watch Professor Banks' full M4CE Project interview:

Professor Doron Dorfman: Penalizing Preventative Mental Health Treatment for Law Students

Posted on Friday 11/19/2021
Doron Dorfman

(Law School Survey of Student Engagement/Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research | Nov. 19, 2021) The study of mental health of law students can be traced back to the late 1960s when research published in the Wisconsin Law Review found that “failure anxiety” has been a serious impediment for first-year law students’ ability to study. Research from the 1980s all the way to 2016 has shown that the stress and anxiety is not only a problem found among 1Ls, but also one that continues throughout the law school journey.

It has been known for decades that attending law school is an extremely stressful experience. As recent LSSSE data demonstrate, attending law school remains stressful and anxiety provoking. A 2020–21 LSSSE survey  module based on a sample of more than 2,000 law students shows that 77% percent of the students surveyed found the level of stress and anxiety in law school to be a 5 or higher on a 7-point Likert scale.

Much like the peers from 50 years ago, 50% of the sample say that the source of their stress or anxiety is “very much” due to concerns about academic performance.

In a new research project, I examine what I call the “the paradoxical legal treatment of preventative medicine” showing how while the law on the books, specifically the Affordable Care Act, contains avenues to promote and encourage preventive medicine, those efforts clash with other policies and decision-making processes that in action penalize those who take preventative measures. This contradiction creates a chilling effect on those trying to take preventative health measures and impedes the ACA’s original goal of promoting this important tool to foster the quality of health care.

One of the examples of this phenomenon is the Character and Fitness evaluations state bar associations conduct around the country, used to admit prospective lawyers into the bar …

Read the full article.

Professor Lauryn Gouldin Publishes Chapter in the "Handbook on Pretrial Justice"

Posted on Friday 11/19/2021
Lauryn Gouldin

Professor Lauryn Gouldin's chapter on "New Perspectives on Pretrial Nonappearance" appears in the Handbook on Pretrial Justice, edited by Christine S. Scott-Hayward, Jennifer E. Copp, and Stephen Demuth, published by Routledge (2022).

The Handbook covers the front end of the criminal legal system from pretrial diversion to pretrial detention or release. Often overlooked, the decisions made at the earliest phases of the criminal legal system have huge implications for defendants and their families, the community, and the system itself, and impact the entire criminal legal system.

This collection of essays and reports of original research explores the complexities of pretrial decisions and practices and includes chapters in the following broad areas: the consequences of detention, pretrial decision-making, community supervision, and risk assessment. 

#FreeBritney: BBI's Jonathan Martinis Helps The New Yorker Review the Case

Posted on Friday 11/19/2021
Jonathan Martinis

How Britney Spears Got Free, and What Comes Next

(The New Yorker | Nov. 13, 2021) ... Spears’s case has illuminated the impossible bind that conservatees can sometimes find themselves in: once a person has been formally deemed incapacitated, she might well lose the opportunity to ever prove her capacity. Few people who wish to fight their conservatorship have the chance to show that they are able to do more than what their conservators imagine. 

“There are hundreds of thousands of other Britneys across the United States, people who aren’t famous, but who deserve the same rights we all take for granted—until they get taken away,” Jonathan Martinis, the senior director for law and policy at a Syracuse University center for disability rights, said. “#FreeBritney can’t end with Britney being free" ...

Read the full article

Kimberly Lau recognized as Rising Star

Posted on Thursday 11/18/2021

Kimberly Lau, member of the SULAA Board of Directors, was recently published in this year’s New York Metro Super Lawyers 2021 magazine.  Kimberly was recognized as a “Rising Star” in the practice category of Schools & Education.  

Josh Goldstein elected to Common Council

Posted on Thursday 11/18/2021

Josh Goldstein, member of the SULAA Board, was recently elected to the Norwalk, CT Common Council.

Professor Mark Nevitt: Key Takeaways From the Glasgow Climate Pact

Posted on Wednesday 11/17/2021
Mark P. Nevitt

(Lawfare | Nov. 17, 2021) Nearly 200 nations signed the Glasgow Climate Pact on Nov. 13. Acknowledging the increasingly strong connection between climate change and its role as a threat accelerant, the pact explicitly states that climate change is a “social, economic and environmental threat.” It also called on world leaders to “strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.”

Climate change is the ultimate environmental and security destabilizer, exacerbating extreme weather, drought, wildfires, and sea level rise. Climate change is already destabilizing many parts of the world. This new climate-security reality was brought home just last month in the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate and other U.S. climate-security reports. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activity is now inextricably linked to broader security concerns. 

The Glasgow Climate Pact consists of 94 paragraphs and eight thematic subparts. In what follows, I highlight the key takeaways, some surprises, and what to look for in the future. 

  • The Rise of “Mitigation Ambition.” Since the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change was negotiated in 1992, international negotiators have focused on mitigation—reducing each nation’s GHG emissions pumped into the common atmosphere. The Glasgow Climate Pact provides a shot in the arm to global mitigation efforts. Paragraph 29 accelerates the timeline for nations to strengthen their mitigation plans—known as nationally determined contributions—by the end of 2022. The Paris Agreement envisioned that these updates would take place every five years, so this expedited timeline was hailed as a key Glasgow achievement. Still, while plans are important, implementation and execution will determine future climate progress. All eyes will be on COP27 in Egypt next year to examine these plans and assess what actions have been taken since Glasgow.
  • The Mission to “Keep 1.5 Alive” Is on Life Support. The 2015 Paris Agreement sought to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels and keep the global temperature increase “well below” 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Exceeding this threshold leads to irreversible, catastrophic harm. The National Intelligence Estimate stated that the world is well off-track to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals. While the Glasgow Climate Pact keeps the 1.5 goal alive, it is hanging by a thread. To have a chance of meeting this 1.5 goal, the world has just 98 months to cut worldwide GHG emissions in half. That’s not impossible, but it will require transformational action this decade …

Read the full article

Professor Nina Kohn Comments on the Power of the Nursing Home Industry in Politico

Posted on Tuesday 11/16/2021
Nina Kohn

"We Don’t Fix This Because We Just Don’t Care About Old People"

(Politico | Nov. 11, 2021) The sweeping social spending package inching its way through Congress contains billions of dollars for something that Americans don’t like to think about, and politicians don’t like to talk about: long-term care.

It’s the missing piece of the American safety net, and one that is particularly acute in an aging society. Long-term care — or what’s now called long-term services and support — is essential for millions of people who are elderly or people with disabilities who cannot do basic things such as feed, clothe or bathe themselves. But delivering such care is enormously costly, and Washington has addressed the issue only haltingly over the years ...

... “The nursing home industry is very powerful in state legislatures,” says Nina Kohn, an expert on aging and law at both Yale and Syracuse. “It’s really state sponsored market-failure. You are propping up an industry that people don’t’ want to use" ...

Read the full article.

COVID-19 and ADA Reform: Professor Doron Dorfman Speaks with Law360

Posted on Monday 11/15/2021
Doron Dorfman

COVID-19's Impact On Businesses Fuels ADA Reform Debate

(Law360 | Nov. 14, 2021) As business owners nationwide struggle to weather the pandemic, thousands have been hit with lawsuits alleging failure to comply with the accessibility standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, prompting renewed calls for reforms to protect inadvertently noncompliant business owners from litigation.

While business owners say they're being unfairly targeted by serial litigants for nonexistent or trivial violations, disability advocates argue that businesses have known the rules for over three decades and enforcement suits are exactly what the law stipulates — and are the best way to ensure businesses comply ...

... Doron Dorfman, an associate professor at Syracuse University College of Law, who has focused much of his research on disability law, agrees that the government could play a bigger role and that municipalities, in particular, should take an active role in ensuring accessibility at the design stage when approving building plans.

Stopping violations before they happen can go a long way toward fighting stigmas against people with disabilities, Dorfman says.

"Private enforcement models often create this stigma against the enforcers, the plaintiffs, who are just enforcing a law that's been in place for three decades," Dorfman says ...

Read the full article.

See also: Dorfman and Yabo. "The Professionalization of Urban Accessibility." Fordham Urban Law Journal, 47 (2020). 

E-subscriptions to the NY Times & Wall Street Journal available

Posted on Wednesday 11/10/2021

All SU faculty, students, and staff can sign-up for no charge digital subscriptions to the New York Times & Wall Street Journal.  Sign-up using your syr.edu account.

See the SU Libraries guides on the NY Times and WSJ for details on subscriptions and instructions on how to establish your free accounts.

Use Online Study Aids for Exam Prep

Posted on Friday 11/5/2021
student user with laptop
Take advantage of the Law Library's online subscriptions to many popular Law School Study Aids packages.  

See our Study Aids web page or use the links below to connect to the various collections:

Brenda A. Rigas appointed General Counsel at Excellus BCBS

Posted on Thursday 11/4/2021

Brenda Rigas has been appointed general counsel and senior vice president at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Over the past 14 years, Rigas has been the primary legal support for compliance and regulatory affairs at the organization and has managed the organization’s response to various high-profile matters. “Brenda has been managing the legal team for two years and has worked to better align the team’s resources with our business needs,” said Jim Reed, Excellus BCBS president and CEO. “She has developed trusted, collaborative relationships across the organization and with key outside counsels and regulators - we are proud to announce this appointment and have Brenda on our team.” In her new role, Rigas is chief legal officer and advisor for the organization, managing the full range of legal services and matters for all corporate operations and activities. 

Professor Nina Kohn: Realizing Supported Decision-Making: What It Does—and Does Not—Require

Posted on Tuesday 11/2/2021
Nina Kohn

"Realizing Supported Decision-Making: What It Does—and Does Not—Require." The American Journal of Bioethics, Vol. 21, Issue 11 (October 2021). 


Supported decision-making, a process by which people who might otherwise be unable to make their own decisions do so with help from other people, is rapidly gaining attention as an alternative to guardianship and other forms of surrogate decision-making for people with cognitive disabilities.

After exploring the potential benefits of supported decision-making for individuals with dynamic cognitive impairments, Peterson et al. (2021) argue that three steps are necessary to realize that potential: (1) identifying the domains where support is needed and desired by a decision-maker, (2) identifying the kinds of support needed and desired by the decision-maker, and (3) establishing a formal supported decision-making agreement (Peterson et al. 2021).

Professor Nina Kohn's commentary pushes back on this third step. It explains why a formal agreement, while often advantageous, is not essential to realizing supported decision-making. It then addresses a question left open by Peterson et al.: whether formal agreements, if executed, should have independent legal effect. After showing why these agreements should not have independent legal effect, the commentary suggests alternative legal interventions to help realize the potential of supported decision-making. 

New Database: Almanac of the Federal Judiciary

Posted on Monday 11/1/2021

​The Law Library now subscribes to the online  Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, an electronic directory of federal judges.  It includes biographies and judicial profiles of all active federal judges.

This Wolters Kluwer database has biographies of every active federal judge.  The Almanac provides "balanced, responsible profiles of every federal judge and all the key bankruptcy and magistrate judges -- profiles that include reliable inside information based on interviews with lawyers who have argued cases before the federal judiciary."

Access is provided to current Syracuse University College of Law students, faculty, and staff.  When connecting remotely, users will be prompted for their NetID logins. 

Professor Mark Nevitt Discusses Climate Change and National Security on Lawfare Live

Posted on Monday 11/1/2021
Mark P. Nevitt

A Discussion on Recent Climate Security Reports

(Lawfare Live | Oct. 28, 2021) Last week, the Department of Defense, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Department of Homeland Security and National Security Council each released their own reports addressing the issue of climate change as a national security threat. To unpack what's in the reports and what it all means, Natalie Orpett sat down on Lawfare Live with Mark Nevitt, associate professor of law at Syracuse University College of Law, and Erin Sikorsky, director of the Center for Climate and Security and director of the International Military Council on Climate and Security. 

Lawfare recently published Professor Nevitt’s article on the topic: “What You Need to Know About the New Climate Security Reports.”

Listen on Apple Podcasts.


Hailey Pooler and Jamie McLennan Prevail in 10th Annual BSK ADR Competition

Posted on Friday 10/29/2021
The winning BSK ADR team of 2Ls Jamie McLennan and Hailey Pooler is pictured with competition judge Brian Butler L'96.

The team of 2Ls Jamie McLennan and Hailey Pooler won the 10th Annual Bond, Schoeneck & King Alternative Dispute Resolution (BSK ADR) Competition, held in Dineen Hall on Oct. 29, 2021. They prevailed over 3Ls Lyndon Hall and Bradley Ace. McLennan also won Best Oral Advocate. 

Judging the final round were Hon. Anthony Paris L’73, a retired Justice of the New York State Supreme Court and Special Counsel at Costello, Cooney & Fearon; Hon. Bernadette Romano Clark L’89, a Justice of the Oneida County Supreme Court in the Fifth Judicial District of New York; and Brian Butler L’96, an attorney at Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC.    

The teams were asked to resolve a divorce settlement dispute between "Clara" and "Wally" and, specifically, assist with the negotiations over the allocation of property and debts, custody arrangements, support, and—most importantly to both of them—the division of their joint bank account. 

Professor Doron Dorfman Testifies to House Committee About Vaccine Mandates

Posted on Friday 10/29/2021
Doron Dorfman

Professor Doron Dorfman testified to the United States House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor Joint Hearing of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services on Oct. 26, 2021, on the topic of "Protecting Lives and Livelihoods: Vaccine Requirements and Employee Accommodations."

In his prepared remarks, Dorfman testified that, "The main question underlying this testimony is whether a COVID-19 vaccine requirement in the private workplace can stand under the current antidiscrimination doctrines, specifically the need to provide accommodations in the form of modifications from certain workplace policies to protected classes. My answer is yes ..."

Dorfman then outlined his testimony: "Part I briefly describes how the well-established rule on the employer’s prerogative affects the ability of employers to require their employees to get the

COVID-19 vaccine. It then discusses the proposed Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, which calls covered employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to produce a negative COVID-19 test before coming to work. 

"The testimony then turns to explain the legal standards for requiring employers to provide accommodations/modifications to employees who are members of three legally protected classes. Part II discusses the accommodation mandate for employees who are religious observers, Part III discusses the accommodation mandate for employees with disabilities, and Part IV discusses the accommodation mandate for pregnant employees."

Read the full testimony here.

News outlets reported on the hearing and on Dorfman's testimony:

MedPage Today Asks Professor Doron Dorfman About Vaccine Mandates

Posted on Thursday 10/28/2021
Doron Dorfman

Lawmakers Split Over COVID Vaccine Mandate for Workers

(MedPage Today | Oct. 27, 2021) Democratic and Republican lawmakers debated whether President Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate would help or hurt businesses and workers during a joint hearing of two House Committee on Education and Labor subcommittees on Tuesday.

Republicans argued that the new measures were a "power grab" that would exacerbate worker shortages, but Democrats saw the requirements as a win for both employers and employees.

"I hope that all of my colleagues will agree that workplace vaccination requirements are a critical tool to safely reopen our economy and protect the health of workers, their families, and their communities," said Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), chairwoman for the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections ...

... Doron Dorfman, JD, of Syracuse University College of Law in New York, explained that employers must "provide reasonable accommodation to employees sincerely holding religious beliefs," as long as they do not create an "undue hardship" for the employer.

However, Dorfman also said he did not know of any religion that prohibits vaccination and that employers have the right to conduct a "limited inquiry" to "tease out religious beliefs."

If an employee is opposed to a vaccine because fetal cell lines were used in development, but the employee also takes a medication that uses the same methodology, then it's not a "sincere religious belief" ...

Read the full article.

Professor Mark Nevitt: What You Need to Know About the New Climate Security Reports

Posted on Wednesday 10/27/2021
Mark P. Nevitt

(Lawfare | Oct. 26, 2021) Last week, the Department of Defense, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Department of Homeland Security and National Security Council released four distinct reports on the effects of climate change on national security. These reports were issued pursuant to requirements established in two executive orders issued by President Biden earlier this year: Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration. These four reports build off the Pentagon’s recent Climate Adaptation Plan and the Department of Homeland Security’s Climate Action Plan, issued in September and October, respectively. Read in conjunction with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report, the four reports present a full, albeit bleak, picture of a climate-transformed world.

These reports—particularly the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)—offer a clear-eyed analysis of the climate threats facing the nation and world. The NIE is produced by the National Intelligence Council, the most senior intelligence analysts with deep expertise on future threats facing the U.S. and the rest of the world. It should be mandatory reading for all security professionals. It is also a first-of-its-kind document, summarizing the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community in a candid, forthright manner.

Several broad climatic themes emerge from these reports. I’ve highlighted the following toplines below, with a particular focus on the NIE’s blunt analysis of the scope and scale of the climate crisis.

The World Is Far Off Track to Meet the Paris Climate Accord’s Goals

The NIE reaffirms what climate scientists have already warned: The world is off track to meet the Paris climate accord’s goals of keeping the Earth’s temperature from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial norms. Worse, estimates show that temperatures are expected to increase 2.0 degrees Celsius by midcentury. This is the NIE’s key takeaway

The Paris climate agreement binds 190 nations to a process that relies heavily on voluntary reporting without a clear, legally enforceable mechanism. The agreement sets a goal of “limit[ing] the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels” and “holding the increase in global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius.” Exceeding this threshold will lead to catastrophic, irreversible harm. Unfortunately, the NIE notes, “current policies and pledges are insufficient to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals.” Several key judgments flow from the NIE’s assessment that the world is poised to blast through these temperature thresholds. For example, with a 2.0 degree rise, 99 percent of coral reefs will suffer long-term degradation. This eliminates an entire ecosystem serving 500 million people who rely on coral reefs for economic and food security. And with a 2.0 degree rise, envision an ice-free Arctic summer every five years, increasing competition over resource and transit route access. 

The NIE’s blunt assessment provides sobering context for the upcoming U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, which now takes on an increased importance. How the NIE’s assessment will shape climate negotiations at Glasgow remains to be seen, but it is now impossible to deny the destructive climate emissions trajectory …

Read the full article.

Professor Arlene Kanter Looks at the Right to Work Remotely with the ABA Journal

Posted on Wednesday 10/27/2021
Arlene Kanter

Has COVID-19 made the workplace more accessible for lawyers with disabilities?

(ABA Journal | Oct. 26, 2021) Since March 2020, most law firms and legal organizations have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing their employees to work remotely and transition to more flexible hours. For some lawyers with disabilities, teleworking has brought significant benefits, including increased access to their clients and colleagues and to more job opportunities ...

... The question of whether people with disabilities will be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act if they do request telework is top of mind for many legal scholars, including Arlene Kanter, the founder and director of the Disability Law and Policy Program at Syracuse University College of Law.

For a forthcoming article in the Cornell Law Review, she examined cases from nearly every federal appellate court in the past decade that centered on whether working from home was considered a “reasonable accommodation” under the ADA. She found most courts ruled in favor of employers in those cases.

“Now that new technologies have allowed so many of us to work from home during the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is time to call for a new right to remote work under the ADA,” Kanter says. “With more remote work opportunities, jobs for individuals with disabilities will open up, especially for those people with disabilities who had been unable to get to work because of inaccessible transportation or who are simply not able to work in an office from 9-5" ...

Read the full article.

Noah S. Young to join L'Oreal USA

Posted on Tuesday 10/26/2021
Noah S. Young

​Noah Young will join L'Oreal USA as Assistant Vice President - Legal. He has worked in real estate development as a construction manager, as an executive, and the last 10 years as a lawyer. He has been a contract attorney for companies like Conair, Mars, and Avon. Noah is excited for having earned the opportunity to join the Number 1 Cosmetics company. 

Professor William C. Banks Helps Fact Check Patriot Act Claim with Politifact

Posted on Monday 10/25/2021
William C. Banks

No, the federal government isn’t using the Patriot Act to treat parents like domestic terrorists

(Politifact | Oct. 22, 2021) After U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland told the FBI and every U.S. attorney to pay attention to threats against school officials, top Republicans have charged that the Biden administration is cracking down on parents with legitimate gripes over school policies ...

... William C. Banks, founding director of Syracuse University’s Institute for Security Policy and Law, said there’s also nothing new about the need to distinguish between expressing deep anger with government workers and making criminal threats.

"The lines that may be crossed are the same ones that law enforcement has had to observe and navigate for most of the last century, since the U.S. Supreme Court said that the First Amendment protects expressive conduct up to the point that it incentivizes imminent lawless action," Banks said. "Likelihood of violence and imminence of it are the two key factors, and they are always fact-sensitive" ...

Read the full article.

Professor Doron Dorfman Describes "Fear of the Disability Con" to Bloomberg Law

Posted on Monday 10/25/2021
Doron Dorfman

Employers Have the Power to Make Workplaces More Accessible

(Bloomberg Law | Oct. 22, 2021) October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge the workplace contributions made by employees with disabilities. It is also a time to recognize that reasonable accommodations are so difficult to obtain that the U.S. workplace remains inaccessible to people with disabilities.

Reasonable accommodations require medical documentation of disability, and as my Fordham Law Review article “Disability Without Documentation” contends, obtaining sufficient medical documentation is time-consuming, costly, and humiliating, as well as legally suspect. Employers have the power to eliminate medical documentation requirements, and in turn, render their workplaces more inclusive ...

... Concerns that disability will be overclaimed perpetuate ableist stereotypes about people with disabilities, what Syracuse University College of Law Professor Doron Dorfman refers to as “Fear of the Disability Con.” People with disabilities do not exaggerate; rather, disability is underclaimed, and the ADA, underenforced. But if some documentation is needed, make it minimal. For example, an employee with an asthma medication prescription should be able to submit their prescription records to confirm their asthma diagnosis. No doctor need be involved.

Employers would benefit from a streamlined reasonable accommodations process too. Employees will spend the time that would otherwise be wasted chasing down disability verification being productive employees. Employers will have less paperwork to collect and review ...

Read the full article.

Professor Doron Dorfman Publishes on Pandemic “Disability Cons”

Posted on Friday 10/22/2021
Doron Dorfman
"Pandemic 'Disability Cons.'” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (October 2021). 

While the dust has not yet settled on the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that the pandemic has exacerbated or shed new light on myriad social and legal phenomena: from the politicization of public health measures to discussions of triage and the value of life. 

Professor Doron Dorfman's article discusses how the socio-legal phenomenon of the fear of the disability con has manifested itself in different ways through the progression of the pandemic, specifically with regard to include mask exemptions, vaccination priority, and permission to continue remote work.

Profanity Watch: Deseret News Talks with Professor Keith Bybee

Posted on Friday 10/22/2021
Keith Bybee

Why some conservative media stars are cussing like sailors and Democrats

(Deseret News | Oct. 17, 2021) Former Fox News personality Megyn Kelly says she enjoys having time to delve deeply into issues on her new talk show on SiriusXM. She also enjoys something that might make some of her audience uncomfortable.

“I (expletive) love the swearing,” Kelly said recently in a discussion with another SiriusXM host, Michael Smerconish.

... Keith J. Bybee, a professor of law and political science at Syracuse University and the author of “How Civility Works,” agreed, saying “In an abstract sense, profanities still exist. What’s changed is what words are on the list.” He said he recently watched a film from the 1970s that contained no profanity. “But there were lots of words in there that if you said them today, they would get you fired" ...

... With no “manners police” issuing edicts about what can be said in what is often called polite society, there’s little consistency in standards, and the marketplace decides what’s appropriate and not.

“There’s going to be this low-level static all the time about what constitutes civil and polite behavior,” Bybee said. “We learn it and apply it on a de-centralized basis. But there are big changes that take place in civility and manners over time" ...

... Bybee said it’s too early to say a sea change in societal norms is occurring. But every generation bemoans what it sees as a decline in civility, Bybee said. “Our problem is not the absence of civility; it’s the profusion of civilities: the different ideas people have about appropriate behavior" ...

Read the full article

Catherine A. Ray joins Bousquet Holstein PLLC

Posted on Thursday 10/21/2021
Catherine A. Ray

Catherine A. Ray has joined Bousquet Holstein as an Associate Attorney in the firm's Trust & Estates and Elder Care Practice Group and will work in the firm's Syracuse and Ithaca offices.

Prior to joining Bousquet Holstein, Catherine worked with clients at a private law practice preparing estate planning documents, including last wills and testaments and revocable and irrevocable trusts. In addition, she advised and represented small business owners on various employee benefits/ERISA matters affecting compliance of their qualified retirement plans, including identifying qualification failures and working with clients to ensure their qualified plans were appropriately corrected. Catherine also worked with clients to ensure they had policies in place to avoid future qualification failures. 

Originally from northern Virginia, Catherine is a graduate of Syracuse University College of Law, where she received the CALI Award for Estate Planning, the Pro Bono Service Award, and was an Orange Law Scholarship Recipient. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Virginia Tech. 

While in law school, Catherine focused her studies on estate planning and administration, and federal tax law, graduating with an Estate Planning certificate. Her experiences further include externing at a policy think-tank in Washington D.C.; providing services to indigent clients as a Student Attorney in the law school’s Bankruptcy Clinic; and externing at the Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan, New York.

Catherine resides in the City of Syracuse.

Professor John Wolohan Addresses American Sports Gambling with The Daily Caller

Posted on Wednesday 10/20/2021
John Wolohan

Americans Are Betting On Sports In Record Numbers. Here’s What It Means.

(Daily Caller News Foundation | Oct. 5, 2021) Legal gambling in the U.S. has surged since 2020, with revenue and profits shattering previous records with more states pushing for legalization.

In Q2 of 2021, revenue from commercial gambling exceeded $13.6 billion, crushing 2019’s Q3 record by 22.5%, according to data from the American Gaming Association (AGA). Q2 2021 revenue increased almost 500% compared to the second-quarter of 2020 ...

The AGA reported $6.7 billion paid in gaming taxes to state and local governments in 2020, down 34% from 2019.  The sharp drop was due to the pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions.

Legal sports gambling also protects the integrity of the sport, John Wolohan, professor of sports law at Syracuse University, told the DCNF.

“Legal sports gambling brings everything above board. Now, if you were looking at the integrity of the game, you can follow where the money was going,” Wolohan told the DCNF. “The casinos can look at where every specific bet goes and recognize if there are unusual trends in bets placed" ...

Read the full article.

Syracuse Law Symposium to Address the Threat of “Executive Authoritarianism”

Posted on Wednesday 10/20/2021
The Specter of Dictatorship

University Professor David Driesen's important new book—The Specter of Dictatorship: Judicial Enabling of Presidential Power (Stanford, 2021)—reveals how the US Supreme Court’s presidentialism threatens democracy and what the United States can do about it.

To celebrate the publication of the new book, Syracuse Law Review is presenting a day-long symposium that will address Driesen's major themes in panels that bring together nation’s top legal scholars of constitutional law, the Supreme Court, and the rule of law. The symposium—titled “Executive Authoritarianism”—will take place Nov. 12, 2021, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Syracuse Law's Melanie Gray Ceremonial Courtroom. The American Constitution Society and the Federalist Society are event co-sponsors.

Driesen's new book reflects on the political turmoil of recent years, during which many Americans were left wondering whether the US system of checks and balances is robust enough to withstand an onslaught from a despotic chief executive.

To answer this question, Driesen analyzes the chief executive's role in the democratic declines of Hungary, Poland, and Turkey. He argues that an insufficiently constrained presidency is one of the most important systemic threats to democracy, and he urges the US to learn from the mistakes of these failing democracies.

Driesen’s book is described as “a book for our troubled times” and “an eloquent and powerful account of the Framers' concern about ‘tyranny’” that “lays bare the previously underappreciated role played by unitary executive theory in ongoing processes of democratic erosion."

Moderated by Syracuse Law Professor Kristen Barnes, the first panel will examine “The Unitary Executive, Autocracy, and American History” with Jed Shugerman of Fordham University School of Law; Jennifer Mascott of the Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University; and Noah Rosenblum of New York University School of Law.

Syracuse Law Professor Mark P. Nevitt will moderate the second panel. Addressing “The Supreme Court’s Embrace of Executive Power” will be Julian Mortenson of the University of Michigan Law School; Tom Keck of Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs; and Heidi Kitrosser of the University of Minnesota Law School.

The final panel will look at “Reforming Presidentialism: Comparative and Domestic Perspectives” with moderator Professor C. Cora True-Frost of Syracuse Law and panelists Andrea Katz of Washington University School of Law; Cem Tecimer of Harvard Law School, and Robert Tsai of Boston University School of Law.

To view the full agenda and to register, visit law.syr.edu/EAsymposium.

Professor William C. Banks Helps CNN Explain Steve Bannon 1/6 Subpoena

Posted on Wednesday 10/20/2021
William C. Banks

College of Law Professor Emeritus William C. Banks was interviewed by CNN on Oct. 19, 2021, about former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon being held in contempt of a subpoena by the House of Representatives committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks on the Capitol. 

His interviews were seen during The Lead with Jake Tapper and The Situation Room—watch an ABC syndication of the interview.

Explains Banks, "We can go up and down the federal court hierarchy multiple times—so, District Court, Court of Appeals, and even the United States Supreme Court could potentially hear one of these cases. 

"Historically, one of the remarkable things about the clash between the executive and the legislature in this kind of setting, involving executive privilege and congressional demands for information, is that almost all of the time the parties have negotiated a settlement." 

WAER Interviews Professor Jenny Breen About CNY Ballot Measures

Posted on Wednesday 10/20/2021
Jenny Breen

CNY Voters To Weigh In On Voting, Election Proposals This November

(WAER | Oct. 15, 2021) Voters in Central New York will see more than just candidates for local office on the ballot this year. There are also five statewide ballot proposals to amend the state constitution.  WAER News a closer look at the three proposals tied to voting and elections.

The first proposal has multiple parts to it. Some are pretty innocuous: capping the number of state senators, counting incarcerated people at their last residence for congressional races, and requiring non-citizens and Native Americans to be included in the state’s total population count.

But then there's the part about amending the redistricting process. Jenny Breen is Associate Professor of Law at Syracuse University. She says it can be a lot to digest.

“By throwing it all in there, they’re asking you to vote on a lot of things in one proposal,” Breen said.

That's even if you don’t know much about, understand, or agree with the most substantial one. Breen says the reapportionment amendment reduces legislative vote thresholds for approving the redrawn maps, making it a less bipartisan process.

"By removing those higher vote thresholds, it’s going to be easier for a single party to shove through the process. However, that is irrelevant right now because the democrats have supermajorities, and they could surpass even the higher threshold. But it’s really more something down the road" ...

Read the full article

Houston Chronicle Interviews Professor Lauryn Gouldin About Bail Bonds

Posted on Monday 10/18/2021
Lauryn Gouldin

As Harris County judges take heat for felony bonds, critics point to unnoticed culprit: The bondsmen

(Houston Chronicle | Oct. 14, 2021) Judges set bail, but it’s the bondsmen who decide how much a defendant pays to get out of jail.

The long-held 10 percent standard—with defendants or their loved ones paying a tenth of the bail amount to a private company—is not gospel anymore in Harris County and likely never was. 

People have been securing their release from jail on lower fees for years, according to county data and bail agents ...

... Lowering rates would not be illegal, and part of that is because laws governing bail bonds industries are scant, said Lauryn Gouldin, a professor at the Syracuse University School of Law.

“The way the bail bonds industry has become a significant piece … in jurisdictions is not really something I think of being anticipated in any laws anyway,” she said ...

Read the full article

Emily A. Middlebrook included in 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyers - Rising Star

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021
Emily A. Middlebrook

Hancock Estabrook, LLP is proud to announce that Emily A. Middlebrook has been selected as an “Upstate New York Super Lawyer – Rising Star” for 2021. Emily A. Middlebrook is an Associate in the Labor & Employment Department. She represents both private and public employers in all aspects of labor and employment law.

Jaime J. Hunsicker included in 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyers

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021
Jaime J. Hunsicker

Hancock Estabrook, LLP is proud to announce that Jaime J. Hunsicker has been selected as an “Upstate New York Super Lawyer – Rising Star” for 2021.  Ms. Hunsicker is Counsel in the Elder Law & Special Needs, Tax and Trusts & Estates Practices. Ms. Hunsicker assists clients with trusts, estate planning and retirement planning matters.     

John G. Powers included in 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyers

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021
John G. Powers

Hancock Estabrook, LLP is proud to announce that John G. Powers has been selected for inclusion in “Upstate New York Super Lawyers” for 2021.  Mr. Powers is a Partner in the Litigation Practice and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee.     

Alan J. Pierce included in 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyers

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021
Alan J. Pierce

Hancock Estabrook, LLP is proud to announce that Alan J. Pierce has been selected for inclusion in “Upstate New York Super Lawyers” for 2021.  Mr. Pierce is a Partner in the Litigation Practice and Leader of the Appellate Practice.  He has more than 30 years of litigation experience, concentrating on appellate practice, insurance coverage, defamation and civil and commercial litigation. 

Mary C. King included in 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyers

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021
Mary C. King

Hancock Estabrook, LLP is proud to announce that Mary C. King has been selected for inclusion in “Upstate New York Super Lawyers” for 2021.  Ms. King is a partner in the Trusts & Estates, Elder Law & Special Needs, and Family Business Succession Planning Practices.  

Marion Hancock Fish included in 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyers

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021
Marion Hancock Fish

Hancock Estabrook, LLP is proud to announce that Marion H. Fish has been selected for inclusion in “Upstate New York Super Lawyers” for 2021.  Ms. Fish is a partner in the Trusts & Estates, Family Business Succession Planning, Tax, Corporate and Elder Law & Special Needs Practices. 

Daniel I. Berman included in 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyers

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021
Daniel I. Berman

Hancock Estabrook, LLP is proud to announce that Daniel B. Berman has been selected for inclusion in “Upstate New York Super Lawyers” for 2021. Mr. Berman is a partner in the Litigation Department and has more than 35 years of experience litigating cases throughout New York.   

Amber L. Lawyer included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Amber L. Lawyer: Corporate Law and Mergers and Acquisitions Law has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch. 

Stephanie H. Fedorka included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Stephanie H. Fedorka L'17: Labor and Employment Law - Management has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch.  

Riane F. Lafferty included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Riane F. Lafferty L'14: Labor and Employment Law - Management and Litigation - Labor and Employment has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch. 

Nicholas P. Jacobson included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Nicholas P. Jacobson L'14: Labor and Employment law - Management has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch. 

Kate I. Reid included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Kate I. Reid L'11: Education Law has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch. 

Sunny I. Tice included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Sunny I. Tice L'10: Real Estate Law has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch. 

David L. Nocilly included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce David L. Nocilly L'00 has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America. 

Suzanne O. Galbato included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Suzanne O. Galbato L'98: Commercial Litigation has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America. 

Laura H. Harshbarger included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Laura H. Harshbarger L'97: Education Law, Employment Law - Management; Labor Law - Management; and Litigation - Labor and Employment has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America. 

George R. McGuire included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce George R. McGuire L'96: Litigation - Intellectual Property; Litigation - Patent; and Patent Law has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America. 

Brian Laudadio included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Brian Laudadio L'96: Commercial Litigation; Litigation - Labor and Employment and Litigation - Municipal has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America. 

Cressida A. Dixon included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Cressida A. Dixon L'96: Trusts and Estates has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America. 

Brian J. Butler included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Brian J. Butler L'90: Commercial Litigation has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America. 

Martin A. Schwab included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Martin A. Schwab L'90: Trusts and Estates has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America. 

Paul W. Reichel included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Paul W. Reichel L'90: Public Finance Law; and Tax Law has been selected for

inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America. 

Stephen C. Daley included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Stephen C. Daley L'87: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law has been selected for

inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America. 

Dennis C. Brown included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Dennis C. Brown L'84: Litigation and Controversy - Tax; and Tax Law has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America. 

Hermes Fernandez included in 2022 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on Friday 10/15/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is pleased to announce Hermes Fernandez L'81: Administrative/Regulatory Law, and Health Care Law has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America. 

Professor Peter Blanck Addresses "Subminimum" Pay for Disabled Workers with Bloomberg

Posted on Wednesday 10/13/2021
Peter Blanck

‘Subminimum’ Pay for Disabled Workers Moves Closer to Extinction

(Bloomberg | oct. 12, 2021) Nearly 80 miles outside of Washington, a low-slung, almost windowless building abuts train tracks. Inside, socially distanced people work at long tables, some for less than minimum wage. Linoleum floors and graphic signage conjure memories of elementary school.

This is where Benji K. reports to work five days a week, as he’s done for 28 years. He’s nearly 50 years old now, with a graying mullet and a firm handshake. He wears a Kiss T-shirt—he’s a diehard fan, after seeing them perform live when he was young. He’s created a Kiss museum in his basement, where he collects band memorabilia, and dolls in particular—"too many to count,” he says.

Here at NW Works Inc., Benji, identified by his first name to help preserve his anonymity, assembles screw kits for SouthernCarlson, a tool and supply distributor. He uses a customized and color-coded pegboard to methodically count out the required number of screws. Benji then puts the screws in individual plastic bags. He’s paid based on the number of screw kits he completes each day.

“This is my favorite right here,” Benji said, referencing the kits. “I did 50 yesterday.”

Benji is one of nearly 44,000 workers in the U.S. who legally earn less than the minimum wage solely because he has a disability. For many, their hourly pay is far lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. At Benji’s workplace in Virginia, workers earn an average of $5.46 ...

... “There are people who can be moved to competitive employment and there are people who would have great difficulty doing that,” said Peter Blanck, head of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. Blanck has studied disability law, as well as the 14(c) program.

“We’re at a novel time where people are looking for ways to reform the 14(c) program, and it’s not as simple as just raising the minimum wage for everyone,” Blanck said. “You might have the same outcome whereby many people with disabilities who don’t need to be there just stay there" ...

Read the full story.

Brian J. Gerling L’99 Named Executive Director of Innovation Law Center

Posted on Monday 10/11/2021
Brian J. Gerling L'99

Syracuse University College of Law alumnus Brian Gerling L’99 is the new Executive Director of the Innovation Law Center (ILC). Gerling, who brings nearly two decades of intellectual property and commercial litigation experience to the role, takes the helm from M. Jack Rudnick L’73, who will remain engaged with the ILC as Senior Advisor.

Gerling most recently served the College of Law as an adjunct professor, teaching innovation law and technology law courses. In his new role, he will continue to teach as a member of the College of Law faculty. He also will retain his Of Counsel affiliation with Syracuse, NY-based law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, where his practice focuses on IP, data privacy, emerging technology, and economic development.

Gerling serves on the Board of the Central New York International Business Alliance and on the Technology Council of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, and he holds other ex officio board positions. In addition to his J.D., cum laude, from Syracuse University College of Law, Gerling holds a B.S. in Biology from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

As ILC Executive Director, Gerling oversees the center’s applied learning course—the Innovation Law Practicum—in which students from the College of Law and across Syracuse University gain practical skills and experience assisting companies with IP, regulatory, and market landscape research, as well as capital sourcing.

Gerling will work with Professor Shubha Ghosh and the Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute to administer the College’s Curricular Program in Technology Commercialization Law Studies. He also will direct the New York State Science and Technology Law Center (NYSSTLC), which is a grantee of the Empire State Development´s Division of Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR).

“As one of ILC’s brightest alums and biggest advocates—and a former student of its founder Ted Hagelin—Brian brings expertise and enthusiasm to the center. His deep and wide-ranging practice experience in IP law, and especially emerging technology, will enrich our students’ educational experiences,” says College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise. “I look forward to working with Brian to build on Jack Rudnick’s remarkable work expanding ILC and NYSSTLC so that our students continue to get real world experience working with a wide variety of technology clients.”

“It is an honor to direct the ILC; it has had such a profound effect on my career. It was my interest in marrying my passion for biotechnology and law that brought me to Syracuse, and Professor Hagelin left an indelible impression on me. I have used the principles and values that I learned at Syracuse Law throughout my career,” says Gerling. “To return to my alma mater in this capacity and to continue Ted’s and Jack’s legacies are both a privilege and deeply satisfying honor. I look forward to working with students interested in technology commercialization and the innovation economy and giving them the skills and practical tools they need for successful careers.”

Jack Rudnick became ILC’s second director in 2013. Since then, he has dramatically increased the number of clients served by the ILC and NYSSTLC, across green and clean tech, biotech, autonomous systems, and other industries; expanded the range of innovation ecosystem partnerships among ILC and New York-based economic development organizations; and helped launch graduates into careers at companies such as Deutsche Telekom, Eli Lilly, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, and the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Nicholas D'Ambrosio named Best Lawyer

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Nicholas J. D'Ambrosio, Jr.: Employment Law - Management; Labor Law - Management and Litigation; and Litigation - Labor and Employment has been selected for inclusion in 2022 Best Lawyers in America. 

Danielle Patricia Katz named Super Lawyer

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Barclay Damon is proud to announce that Danielle Katz: Business/Corp has been named a 2021 Upstate New York Rising Star. 

Teresa Bennett named Rising Star

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Barclay Damon is proud to announce that Teresa Bennett: Business Lit has been named a 2021 Upstate New York Rising Star. 

Kayla Arias named Rising Star

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Barclay Damon is proud to announce that Kayla Arias: Business Lit has been named a 2021 Upstate New York Rising Star. 

Michael Sciotti named Super Lawyer

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Barclay Damon is proud to announce that Michael Sciottii: Employment & Labor has been named a 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyer. 

Marcy Robinson Dembs named Super Lawyer

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Barclay Damon is proud to announce that Marcy Robinson Dembs: Estate & Probate has been named a 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyer. 

Buster Melvin named Super Lawyer

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Barclay Damon is proud to announce that Buster Melvin: Employment & Labor has been named a 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyer. 

Chris Harrigan named Super Lawyer

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Barclay Damon is proud to announce that Chris Harrigani: Employment & Labor has been named a 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyer. 

Jeff Dove named Super Lawyer

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Barclay Damon is proud to announce that Jeff Dove i: Bankruptcy: Business has been named a 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyer. 

Robert Barrer named Super Lawyer

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Barclay Damon is proud to announce that Robert Barrer: Prof. Liability: Defense has been named a 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyer. 

Brittany Lawrence named Rising Star

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Barclay Damon is proud to announce that Brittany Lawrence: Business Lit has been named a 2021 Upstate New York Rising Star. 

Jim Domagalski named Super Lawyer

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Barclay Damon is proud to announce that Jim Domagalski: Business Lit has been named a 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyer. 

Bill Foster named Super Lawyer

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Barclay Damon is proud to announce Bill Foster: PI - Products: Defense has been named a 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyer. 

Daniel McLane joins Duane Morris

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021

Daniel B. McLane has joined as partner in Duane Morris LLP’s Pittsburgh office as part of the firm’s Trial Practice Group. McLane serves as lead trial counsel in commercial litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts and before the American Arbitration Association. Recently, McLane was lead counsel, teaming with Sanchez, before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a landmark decision declaring that a “no-hire”/”no-poach” contract provision constituted an unreasonable restraint in Pennsylvania. McLane represents corporations in complex litigation including closely held shareholder disputes and custodian proceedings. He also represents oil and gas exploration companies in litigation throughout Pennsylvania. 

USA Today Interviews Professor Nina Kohn About Conservatorship Reform in the Wake of #FreeBritney

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021
Nina Kohn

It's not just Britney Spears. 1.3 million Americans are under conservatorships. Activists want reform.

(USA Today | Oct. 8, 2021) Sheila Owens-Collins hoped her ailing mother, Hattie Owens, would spend the last years of her life as she wished, as a retired schoolteacher living on her own in a spacious house in Houston, active in her church and community center.

“She envisioned her life at home, tutoring students and having kids coming over to swim in the pool or spend the holidays,” said Owens-Collins, a pediatrician in Rockville, Maryland. “Her biggest wish was never having to leave home.”

Instead, Owens was placed under a court-appointed guardianship after what Owens-Collins claims were a relative's attempts to gain access to Owens' finances through legal chicanery while her mother was hospitalized and under temporary guardianship ...

... Guardians, appointed to manage affairs of individuals deemed unable to responsibly make their own decisions, can be family members, attorneys or agency professionals. While their purpose is to help individuals live lives driven as much as possible by the individual’s own choices, such arrangements can be exploited for personal gain without proper oversight, said Nina Kohn, a law professor at New York’s Syracuse University who specializes in elder law.

"Advocates have known for decades that our guardianship system is deeply flawed," Kohn said ...

Read the full article.

CBS News Speaks to Bankruptcy Expert Professor Greg Germain About Executive Bonuses

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021
Greg Germain

Bankrupt companies gave $165 million in bonuses to top execs before going belly up last year

(CBS News | Oct. 7, 2021) Chuck E. Cheese, Hertz and J.C. Penney are three very different companies but share one thing in common: oddly timed executive bonuses before their corporate bankruptcy filings.

Each company gave its top executives a pay bonus last year just before declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy. So did Neiman Marcus, as well as oil companies Whiting Petroleum and Chesapeake Energy. All told, 42 companies awarded millions of dollars in so-called "retention" bonuses in the days leading up to their bankruptcies, the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, found in a new report ...

... In 2005, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which greatly limited debtor companies' ability to give out executive and worker retention bonuses without a bankruptcy judge's blessing. The bankruptcy rules, however, do not regulate what a company can do before it files for bankruptcy, said Gregory Germain, a bankruptcy expert and law professor at Syracuse University. 

Out of 7,300 companies that filed for bankruptcy last year, none asked for a judge's approval for retention bonuses, the GAO found. Instead, many gave the bonuses beforehand. 

Congress can fix this by passing a new rule, Germain said ...

Read the full article.

Professor David Driesen Joins Climate Discourse Podcast to Discuss Democracy, Climate Challenges

Posted on Thursday 10/7/2021
David Driesen

(Climate Discourse | Oct. 4m 2021) In this episode of Climate Discourse, Kate speaks to David Driesen about his personal path from music to law, Donald Trump inspiring his new book on judicial enabling of presidential power, the intersection of economics and law and the contemporary challenges of climate policy.

Listen to the podcast.

Unreasonable? Professor Doron Dorfman Comments to Yahoo! About United Airlines' Vaccine Mandate

Posted on Monday 10/4/2021
Doron Dorfman

COVID vaccine mandates: The key question challenging United Airlines’ policy

United Airlines (UAL) began firing some unvaccinated U.S.-based workers on Tuesday. However, the airline agreed to postpone plans to put another group of unvaccinated workers on mostly unpaid leave after they'd applied for medical or religious exemptions to its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.

Six of those exempted workers are challenging United's policy in a federal lawsuit in Texas, which employment lawyers say is likely to turn on the nature of the alternatives that United offered to employees who sought exemptions ...

... Those questions include whether under the ADA or Title VII the accommodations would impose an "undue hardship" on United, and whether whether the accommodations are considered reasonable. 

Syracuse University law school professor Doron Dorfman told Yahoo Finance that the indefinite nature of United's offer to keep exempt workers on leave could pose a challenge for its "reasonableness" defense.

"If I were to advise United, I would just do it year by year, or for six months," Dorfman said, explaining that a judge might find longer terms unreasonable. 

Read the full article

Professor Nina Kohn Helps Newsday Assess Nursing Home Inspection Records

Posted on Monday 9/27/2021
Nina Kohn

Newsday gets LI nursing home records that highlight conflicting views on enforcement

(Newsday | Sept. 7, 2021) New York's strategy for treating nursing home patients during the early months of COVID-19 is among the most debated public health issues to emerge from the pandemic.

State Health Department inspection records obtained by Newsday show that few Long Island nursing homes were found deficient or had substantiated complaints against them. The data is a point of conflict between the elder care industry and patient advocates.

During the first months of the pandemic in 2020, state inspectors found that only 16% of Long Island's 79 largely private nursing homes had deficiencies that jeopardized public health and violated public health guidelines, according to the inspection reports.

... But Professor Nina Kohn said state inspectors "do not always identify quality of care problems that exist in facilities" ...

Read the full article.

Professor Greg Germain Helps WalletHub with Bankruptcy and Credit Card Explainer

Posted on Monday 9/27/2021
Greg Germain

Ask the Experts: Bankruptcy & Credit Cards

Gregory Germain
Professor of Law, Syracuse University, College of Law

(WalletHub | Sept. 22, 2021)

What happens to a credit card that you get soon before filing bankruptcy?

Creditors are entitled to shut off your lines of credit as soon as you file bankruptcy, and they usually do. So you can expect that all of your lines of credit, including credit cards, will be shut off when you file bankruptcy. There is also a greater chance that a credit card company would challenge your ability to discharge your credit card debt to the creditor if you took out and ran up credit shortly before bankruptcy. Cash advances and luxury goods purchased within a few months before bankruptcy are presumed fraudulent, and the credit card company will more likely object to your ability to discharge those debts. I recommend that debtors who are planning to file bankruptcy keep sufficient cash to be able to deal with immediate financial needs. 

Also, you need to be careful about having money in your bank account if you also owe money to the same bank (on a credit card, line of credit, or car loan, for example). Banks have the right to freeze your accounts upon filing bankruptcy if you owe them money (and later set off your bank account against your debts). So it is better to have your bank accounts at a different institution than you have your loans. Often, you can move your money to a different bank before filing and should do so.

Can you get a credit card during bankruptcy?

It is completely up to a credit card company whether they want to give you a credit card. There is no entitlement to credit. It is very hard to qualify for a credit card shortly after you have filed for bankruptcy. 

The bankruptcy filing will be reported on your credit report for 10 years, and creditors will generally not grant new credit to someone who has recently filed bankruptcy. However, if you can establish good habits of paying your bills after bankruptcy and have a good job with reliable income, you can often qualify for a credit card with a small line of credit 6 months to one year after filing. And can often qualify for higher lines of credit as you develop a track record of paying on time.

Banks and credit unions often advertise programs that they claim will help you rebuild your credit. These include “secured” credit cards where you must keep money on a deposit equal to your credit line, and loans equal to the balance that you have on deposit. The bank takes no risk in making these loans because they are holding your money as security for repayment. Yet, they charge high rates of interest on your credit line and pay almost nothing on your deposit. They are a bad deal, and often do not help much in establishing credit. It would be much better to get a real unsecured credit card with a small credit limit and be sure to pay it off in full each month, to establish real credit.

Is there a difference between Ch. 7 and Ch. 13?

People who file Chapter 13 tend to have more wealth than those who file Chapter 7, so statistically may seem easier to get a credit card after a Chapter 13 than a Chapter 7 case, but I doubt that it has much to do with the chapter people filed under rather than the fact that they have greater assets. Chapter 13 is a much more expensive process (attorney’s fees and costs are much higher) and much more difficult to have a successful resolution. People should only file for Chapter 13 if they need to do something, like cure a home loan or restructure other secured debt, that they could not do in Chapter 7. Lawyers often steer people to Chapter 13 because they can charge you a higher legal fee, and they steer clients to Chapter 13 who cannot pay the full fee upfront. 

You should make sure that you understand the specific benefits of Chapter 13 over Chapter 7 and whether they are worth the much higher costs. Chapter 13 cases fail at very high rates, and the clients end up paying high expenses without getting any real benefits. Do not let an attorney steer you to Chapter 13 if Chapter 7 will solve your problems ...

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China, Climate Change, Credibility: Why It’s (Finally) Time for the US to Join the Law of the Sea Convention

Posted on Friday 9/24/2021
Mark P. Nevitt

By Professor Mark Nevitt

(Just Security | Sept. 23, 2021) With the world’s most powerful Navy and largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the United States is arguably the leading maritime nation. Yet the United States has failed to join the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the “Constitution of the Oceans” that codifies key principles for freedom of navigation, rule of law, and environmental issues for more than 70 percent of the earth. Since it opened for signature in 1982, a vocal minority of strident senators have thwarted U.S. ratification. Nevertheless, UNCLOS accession enjoys the support of a remarkably diverse coalition of American military, environmental, and industry leaders. As the United States resets its global agenda, it’s finally time to join the Law of the Sea Convention.

Indeed, the recent U.S. submarine deal with Australia highlights the importance of UNCLOS. As these nuclear submarines are built and delivered, they will serve as a counterweight to China’s excessive maritime claims, and uphold maritime rule of law and freedom of navigation – as enshrined in the law of the sea.

Today, 167 states and the European Union have joined UNCLOS, a testament to the treaty’s status and broad international acceptance. The U.S. absence at the table is more perplexing than ever, considering the emergence of three issues that will define international maritime governance in the 21st century. I label these issues the “Three Cs of Law of the Sea” – (1) China, (2) climate change, and (3) credibility. These three issues are coming into clearer focus as the United States resets its foreign policy and security posture after the post-9/11 era.

1. China. China’s maritime claims over an enormous swath of the South China Sea, based on an anachronistic “Nine-Dash Line,” are well-known. China invests enormous resources in building up contested “rocks” and “low tide elevations” into artificial islands. These excessive maritime claims are antithetical to core law-of-the-sea navigational provisions, maritime delineations, and sovereignty claims. This view was reaffirmed in the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) decision in Philippines v. China, a resounding defeat for China’s legal claims in the region. But China dismissed the PCA’s ruling, arguing that the international tribunal lacked jurisdiction over the matter. The United States is quick to point out that China agreed to submit to the PCA’s jurisdiction in accordance with Article 287 of the convention. China brushes aside any such criticism, noting the U.S. status as a non-party. Meanwhile, China’s South China Sea buildup continues apace, and China has refused to back down from its claims.

Earlier this month, a U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS BENFOLD, conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation in the South China Sea, challenging China’s maritime claims at Mischief Reef. And China recently took another step in its maritime brazenness by updating its 1983 “Maritime Traffic Safety Law.” This revision requires foreign vessels “to inform maritime authorities, carry relevant permits and submit to China’s command and supervision.”  This law applies to all Chinese territory, both inside and outside the South China Sea.

While it remains to be seen how this traffic safety law will be implemented, it is inconsistent with core navigational principles codified in UNCLOS. And the South China Sea could serve as a proxy for a larger conflict between the United States and China, a point chillingly made in the recent, bestselling novel “2034” by Admiral (ret.) James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman. Indeed, while the United States was fighting wars in the Middle East, China developed the largest navy in the world by size, with a force of 350 ships and submarines (the U.S. has 293).

U.S. accession to UNCLOS will not “solve” the South China Sea crisis, but doing so reaffirms the U.S. commitment to freedom of navigation in the region and positions the United States to meet the strategic competition with China. In accompanying U.S. diplomatic protests to China’s excessive claims, the United States highlights the importance of the principles enshrined in the Law of the Sea Convention. Last year, the State Department stated that the United States “stands with the international community in defense of freedom of the seas and respect for sovereignty.” The obvious question:  If these maritime principles are so important, why doesn’t the United States reaffirm them by joining UNCLOS?

2. Climate change. Climate change is fundamentally reshaping the ocean’s physical environment, resulting in a host of unresolved issues. The United States has rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, but there is now a convergence of unresolved maritime and climate governance issues where U.S. leadership is needed.

Consider the Arctic, a region that is warming at two to three times the rate of the rest of the planet, opening up trade routes and the possibility for natural resource extraction. The U.S. Alaskan continental shelf claim may extend out to 600 nautical miles, but as a non-party to UNCLOS, the United States is likely prohibited from making a submission to the Continental Shelf Commission, a key UNCLOS technical body that helps determine the scope and limitation of each nation’s continental shelf. Meanwhile, every other Arctic coastal state (Canada, Denmark, Russia, Norway) has joined UNCLOS. Not surprisingly, they have all made continental shelf submissions. Russia asserts a continental shelf that borders Alaska’s and extends to the North Pole via Lomonosov Ridge. By some estimates, the extended U.S. continental shelf is the size of two California’sa source of untapped economic potential. As the United States sits on the sidelines, Russia can rejoice at the unforced error and the resulting inability of the United States to avail itself of the Continental Shelf Commission …

Read the full article.

Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 to Bloomberg: Trump Unlikely to Prevail in NYT Suit

Posted on Friday 9/24/2021
Roy Gutterman

Trump Suit Against N.Y. Times, Niece a ‘Stunt,’ Lawyer Says

(Bloomberg | Sept. 22, 2021) Donald Trump’s lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump over an award-winning investigative report on his tax avoidance -- for which she provided crucial documents -- is just the former president’s “latest stunt,” her lawyer said.

Donald Trump accused Mary Trump and the Times in the lawsuit of conspiring to breach a confidential family settlement, but it’s doomed to fail because the 2001 deal cited by the former president was tainted by fraud and therefore never valid, attorney Roberta Kaplan said on Wednesday ...

... Roy Gutterman, director of the Tully Center for Free Speech and professor at Syracuse University, said Trump is highly unlikely to win anything from the New York Times or its reporters because legal precedent provides extensive protection to news-gathering activities. That applies to things they should not have, including leaked tax records, he said ...

Read the full article.

Innovation Law Center: Guardians of Innovation

Posted on Thursday 9/23/2021
Innovation Law Center

Cloud computing has been around almost as long as the internet, but for students like Jay Morrison ’22, the possibilities of on-demand computer services are limitless. “I remember cloud storage emerging when I was younger,” says the Syracuse University senior, referring to remotely stored data accessed from any device. “It’s astonishing how important the cloud has become to the infrastructure of the internet and to the livelihood of businesses.”

A computer science major in the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), Morrison recently completed a 10-week program at the Innovation Law Center (ILC) in Dineen Hall. Morrison and fellow ECS classmate Brianna Gillfillian ’24 were supported by a new grant award from the Syracuse Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement (SOURCE) in the Office of Research. As charter members of the SOURCE Undergraduate Research Assistants program, both students spent the summer helping ILC clients while learning the ropes of intellectual property (IP) commercialization and technology transfer.

One of their research projects involved the ILC’s IP Rights in Software guidebook. Working alongside instructors Molly Zimmermann and Dominick Danna ’67, ’71, the duo helped expand the text, which explores the role of IP protection in technology commercialization. The 28-page booklet is one of seven produced by the New York State Science and Technology Law Center (NYSSTLC), headquartered at the ILC in the College of Law. “Many of our clients are inventors and entrepreneurs,” notes ILC director Jack Rudnick L’73. “They need timely information about technology licensing, marketing and other commercialization challenges.” Thus, IP Rights in Software considers how three IP protection methods—patents, trade secrets and copyrights—maximize the commercialization potential for new software.

“The challenge is deciding whether the cost of seeking IP protection is worth the value it provides,” Morrison says. “Business owners want to know what method makes the most sense.”

ILC Meeting 2021

Creating Value, Protecting Resources

An attorney doubling as NYSSTLC’s managing director, Zimmermann says different types of IP protect different aspects of inventions. A patent, for example, excludes others from making, using, selling or importing an invention for a set time, usually 20 years. “Patents can’t protect algorithms or source code, but they can protect the new and useful process that the software implements,” she explains, adding that one can register source code with the U.S. Copyright Office. Trade secret protection, on the other hand, does not require disclosure of a software’s source code or system architecture.

“IP establishes its value by giving the owner a competitive advantage over others working in the same space,” continues Zimmermann, who specializes in IP policy and academic research issues. Each type of IP has its pros and cons, and combining these approaches, sometimes with trademarks (a fourth type of IP), is preferable. “That’s why we created the guidebook—to help people understand the ways that IP protects computer-based inventions,” says Danna, who also mentored students working on the guidebook in 2019. “Jay and Brianna are improving on what the text covers, making it more comprehensive and relevant.”

Speaking from her home in Kingston, Jamaica, Gillfillian observes that IP protection is often in a state of flux. “When I joined ILC, I didn’t know much about technology law. Now I feel like I understand the different ways that technology can be protected,” says the computer science major, who hopes to someday design her own protection software. “I also have learned about the importance of teamwork and faculty-guided research.”

She and Morrison came across ILC’s summer program on Handshake, an app that matches college students with jobs, internships and other opportunities. For Gillfillian, ILC has nurtured her passion for scholarly research. “We’re moving into a more technologically sophisticated era. Understanding the correlation between legal statutes and computer innovations will benefit my career,” she says.

Blending Law, Business, and Technology

Founded more than 30 years ago, ILC was the nation’s first program to apply scholarly legal analysis and experiential education to technology commercialization. Students of all stripes—notably ones in the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management—regularly vie for spots in the center’s experiential learning programs.

Cecily Capo, a second-year law student, partners with many of ILC’s 30-plus clients. “Getting hands-on experience with real technologies and real clients is something most law schools don’t offer,” says the former toxicology consultant. “Having this immersive experience has taught me about real-world application in law.”

In addition to helping Morrison and Gillfillian with their respective projects (including a joint one for Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York), Capo has proven her mettle as an ILC research associate. She recently advised a startup that makes applications for wireless charging as well as a client that provides soil-testing kits to farmers and home gardeners. “Not even first-year associates at most law firms get to interact with clients in this way,” she says. “ILC helps you try out an area of law that you’re interested in.”

Owing largely to Rudnick, ILC has evolved into a year-round, multiservice resource. He attributes the success of its summer program to grants from Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation, the Central New York Biotech Accelerator, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the GENIUS NY business accelerator, Launch NY and other local and state organizations. “Now that the SOURCE has joined our list of partners, we can provide more opportunities for undergraduates like Brianna and Jay,” says Rudnick, adding that each ILC student completes three to five research projects per summer.

Among the perks of working at ILC is getting hands-on training in legal and market research. “The experience is invaluable for anyone wanting to work for a technology-based company or an IP management firm,” says Danna, NYSSTLC’s commercialization expert, who also is an adjunct professor in the College of Law and an award-winning electrical engineer. “ILC students invariably become proficient in business and technical writing.”

Morrison agrees, adding that ILC’s summer program has enriched their and Gillfillian’s communication chops: “ILC has taught us that we can accomplish more as a group than as individuals. In the process, we find new ways to create value.”


Syracuse Law Introduces New Cultural Competency Curriculum

Posted on Tuesday 9/21/2021
Syracuse University College of Law

In May 2021, Syracuse University College of Law faculty voted to require that—beginning with the 1L class entering in Fall 2021—all J.D. students take a course addressing themes and materials of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the second or third year of law school. The aim of this Cultural Competency Curriculum requirement is to help students develop awareness of the ways identity, difference, culture, and explicit or implicit bias can condition and constrain the pursuit of equal justice under law.

"Law students must be prepared to practice in a diverse society so that they can become the best legal professionals possible in whatever legal capacities they serve in diverse local, national, and global communities," explains Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion Suzette Meléndez. "By incorporating the Cultural Competency Curriculum into their course of study, law students will learn to meet the legal needs of all clients who have diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives."

Syracuse law students will spend substantial time engaging in coursework that features substantive content relating to inequality, discrimination, cultural context, or cultural competency. By way of this requirement, law students also will learn that legal professionals have the obligation to ensure that the rule of law applies equally to all persons.

Students will be able to complete the two-credit requirement by any one of three approaches, which can include existing College of Law courses that are designated as focusing on DEI areas, case studies or modules beginning in orientation, or a new cultural competency course. Implementation will begin with the incoming JD residential Class of 2024, and it will apply to the JDinteractive online law program class that begins in the Fall of 2022.

Upon receiving the charge by Dean Craig M. Boise, the Curriculum Committee, chaired by Professor Paula Johnson, and the Committee on Inclusion Initiatives, chaired by Associate Dean Meléndez, worked collaboratively to develop the DEI requirement.

"This project involved all segments of the College of Law community—faculty, staff, and students—to meet our institutional responsibility to better prepare our students to serve society in legal capacities," says Johnson. "This means that our College is dedicated to doing the hard work, asking the hard questions, and engaging in problem solving to assure fairness and access to justice for communities throughout our society."

“The cultural competency requirement will provide students understanding of the critical importance of exercising fairness and equality in the legal system," says 3L Mazaher Kaila, Executive President, Student Bar Association. "Students will benefit in numerous ways, with a greater awareness of implicit or unconscious bias, cultural respect, and the ability to see different perspectives. Such a requirement will truly guide students toward effective advocacy for people of all races, genders, sexual orientation, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds."

The extensive work that resulted in this new graduation requirement has been followed by a 1L DEI Summer 2021 Initiative, explains Meléndez. College of Law faculty who teach first-year students have been working and meeting over summer 2021 to determine how DEI themes and material can be woven into the existing 1L curriculum.

"This work is a collaborative and innovative endeavor engaged in by many that reaches into each one of the courses taught for our first-year students, and they will be introduced to such topics and pedagogical approaches during orientation," says Meléndez. "The results of the summer initiative will be implemented in the 2021-2022 academic year and will culminate in an evaluative meeting at the end of each course that has engaged in this process."

Professor Peter Blanck Helps USA Today with Mask, Vaccine Exemption Explainer

Posted on Monday 9/20/2021
Peter Blanck

Fact Check: Neither ADA nor Civil Rights Act Offer a Blanket Exemption to Mask, Vaccine Requirements

(USA Today | Sept. 14, 2021) The claim: Disability and civil rights laws protect the right to shop without a mask or proof of vaccination

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic critics of mask and vaccination requirements have falsely claimed several laws exempted them from generally applied health protocols.

The latest claim uses a misguided interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to encourage others not to comply with businesses that require face coverings or proof of vaccination upon entry ...

Legal experts say ADA does not exempt individuals from following public health guidelines

Several disability law experts told USA Today the card misrepresents the ADA and has no legal basis for the assertions it makes.

“This is a bogus card that has no authority,” said Peter Blanck, a professor of disability and social policy at Syracuse University. “There is no blanket card that would protect anyone from following a mask mandate or showing proof of vaccination” ...

Read the full article.

How Online Education Adds Value: Professor Nina Kohn Discusses with National Jurist

Posted on Friday 9/17/2021
Nina Kohn

St. Mary’s to break new ground with fully online J.D. program

(National Jurist | Sept. 15, 2021) ... Some online education experts have concerns regarding asynchronous learning, feeling it can be less engaging if not done properly. However, it offers greater flexibility as students can access the lectures when they want to. They can also watch the lectures repeatedly. But it does not offer give-and-take opportunities in real time.

“A key benefit of live class sessions is that students get to practice the very skills they need to succeed as lawyers — including listening to others, responding to what others say, following a line of argumentation as it organically unfolds, and analyzing issues in real time,” said Nina Kohn, director of online education at Syracuse University College of Law, which offers a hybrid J.D. program.

In Syracuse’s program, at least half of each online course is synchronous, she noted.

Online education is seen as a way to offer nontraditional students the chance to get their law degrees. People caring for children or other family members can do so, as can those who don’t live near a law school.

“I regularly have students tell me that attending law school was a life dream, but one that really was not possible for them before our program, because given their personal circumstances, they couldn’t take regular, live classes in a non-online format,” Kohn said ...

Read the full article.

Higher Hopes? Professor Paula Johnson Assesses the Till Act for Beauregard Daily News

Posted on Tuesday 9/14/2021
Paula Johnson

"There were higher hopes": Did the FBI fail in trying to resolve civil rights cold cases?

(Beauregard Daily News (LA) | Sept. 13, 2021) A retired FBI agent was at a Christian retreat in the late 1990s when a churchgoer confided that he had witnessed a shooting of five Black men in 1960 that he believed had been racially motivated.

And when Congress started to pressure the FBI in 2007 to investigate dozens of cases involving violence by the Ku Klux Klan and other whites during the civil rights era, the retired agent told an active agent what he had heard, FBI documents say ...

... But as soon as the bureau learned that the Fuller son named by the witness also had died, its interest waned, just as it eventually did in nearly all of the other cases.

And the FBI missed questions, recently uncovered by the LSU Cold Case Project, about whether a different Fuller son who was still alive when the FBI did its work, could have been involved in what happened at Fuller’s house that day.

Asked about this, an FBI spokesperson, Tina Jagerson, responded: “We appreciate your interest in this topic; however, we do not have a comment for you.”

But Paula Johnson, co-director of the Cold Case Justice Initiative at Syracuse University College of Law, said that “in terms of criminal actions, we haven’t seen very much” resulting from the FBI’s work under the Till Act.

“There were higher hopes,” she said ...

Read the full story.

Aubre Dean L'20: Advocating for Social Justice and Committed to Service

Posted on Monday 9/13/2021
Aubre Dean L'20

During her first year at the Syracuse University College of Law, Aubre Dean L’20 was selected for a prestigious internship working for a federal district court judge. Though unsure how she would pay for a summer living in New York City, she accepted the offer. An alumni-funded grant through the Syracuse Public Interest Network in the College of Law provided the solution. 

Dean, who grew up in Texas, relished the energy in Manhattan and vowed to return there to work after graduation. She also gained invaluable legal experience and met one of her role models, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

A Culture of Support

The alumni support that made her internship possible is representative of the culture that drew Dean to Syracuse University. “At Syracuse Law, there’s an emphasis not only on learning but also on giving back to the community and to those who need assistance,” she says. Dean, a first-generation college student, credits the scholarships she received for making her graduate education attainable, and the supportive atmosphere at the College of Law for helping her learn the ropes and thrive. “There were so many incredible benefits that I got from being at Syracuse that I don’t think I would have had at another law school. And I am definitely still feeling those benefits now,” she says.

Dean also appreciated how the service-oriented culture extended to community engagement. “Whether through the clinical programs, the outreach events or the pro bono work, the opportunities I had to work in the community really fit with my own belief system,” she says. Dean volunteered at the College of Law’s Veterans Legal Clinic, lending her expertise to members of the military community as they navigated complex paperwork and procedures. She also contributed to a wide range of student organizations and causes, including as class president, in a leadership role with the Women’s Law Student Association, and as a member of OutLaw, an LGBTQ law and policy student organization.

Setting the Stage for Her Career

One of the most rewarding experiences of Dean’s academic journey was competing in moot courts with the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society. In moot courts, students develop arguments based on research and legal precedent, then present their cases while facing challenges and questions from scholars and legal professionals. In these competitions, Dean tackled complex issues such as undocumented immigrants and First Amendment rights, and protections for individuals identified as LGBTQ in jury selection. Dean and her classmates Shannon Bausinger L’21 and Joseph Tantillo L’21, coached by Professor Emily Brown L’09 and David Katz L’17, won in regional competitions and joined the top 28 teams from around the country for the national competition in New York City, where they made it to octofinals.

Participating in simulated courts helped Dean clarify her long-term goals. “Gaining a greater understanding of the Constitution and the protections it affords each individual was a highlight of my academic experience at Syracuse,” Dean says.

Paying It Forward and Giving Back

At the College of Law, Dean discovered a supportive community of faculty and peers, and her passion for civil rights law.

Soon after Dean graduated, she passed the bar exam and joined Warshaw Burstein LLC, a full-service law firm in New York City. She and her partner, Erika Simonson L’19, and their two dogs moved to an apartment in midtown Manhattan, and she enjoys living in the city she fell in love with during her years at Syracuse.

Dean is now gaining litigation experience in a wide range of areas of law. She has particularly appreciated being able to assist clients with their Title VII and Title IX lawsuits, handling cases involving discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion or sex.

Another area drawing Dean’s attention is fairness and equality in the law profession itself—particularly the historical practices that make the study of law prohibitive to many who would bring diversity to the field. “I believe that, for the legal profession to become as inclusive as it can be, it needs to better reflect the communities we serve,” she says. “It’s become a goal of mine to make not only the law more accessible, but the legal profession more accessible as well.”

One way Dean is working toward this goal is through her commitment to mentoring first-year and first-generation law students. She recently sat on a panel of College of Law alumni speaking on issues of diversity in the field and on the strengths that can be drawn from the challenges of being a first-generation student. “The adaptability and grit it takes to navigate an academic environment that is wholly unfamiliar are qualities that can make you a better attorney,” she explains.

Dean attributes much of her development as an attorney to alumni who recommended professional opportunities and mentored her. “Now that I am an alum, I want to give back as much as I feel I received from the Syracuse alumni network when I was a student,” she says. “I was really supported, and I want to make sure that the current students feel that same support.”


Paul W. Reichel named Lawyer of the Year

Posted on Thursday 9/9/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Paul W. Reichel has been named the 2022 "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers in America for Tax Law. Only one lawyer in any practice area in a city is honored as the "Lawyer of the Year."  Paul is a tax attorney who concentrates his practice in public finance transactions and taxation of business and non-profit organizations. He has extensive public finance experience, regularly serving as bond counsel to municipalities, school districts and public agencies. 

Brian Laudadio named Lawyer of the Year

Posted on Thursday 9/9/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Brian Laudadio has been named the 2022 "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers in America for Litigation – Municipal. Only one lawyer in any practice area in a city is honored as the "Lawyer of the Year."  Brian is an experienced litigator bringing business, trust and estates, and employment lawsuits to verdict for clients. His reputation as an aggressive litigator with a focus on commercial cases has helped him successfully handle a wide range of matters, including cases related to real estate and commercial leases, business contracts and torts and corporate dissolution proceedings. 

Stanley J. Tartaglia named to Best Lawyers

Posted on Thursday 9/9/2021
Stanley Tartaglia

Rivkin Radler is pleased to announce that Syracuse Law Alum Stanley Tartaglia has been named to the Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch in 2022 list

Pietruszka selected for Flaschner Award

Posted on Thursday 9/9/2021

It is with great pleasure that the American Bar Association Judicial Division National Conference of Specialized Court Judges (NCSCJ) has selected you to receive its 2021 Franklin N. Flaschner Award. You have been nominated for this award by Col. Linda Strite Murnane (Ret.). The Flaschner Award is given to a judge who embodies the high ideals, personal character and competence in performing judicial duties that were exemplified by the late Chief Justice Franklin N. Flaschner of the District Court of Massachusetts who has made significant contributions on local, state and national levels to continuing education of the judiciary and in other ways improved the quality of justice in courts with special and limited jurisdiction.

Christopher J. Burns named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 9/9/2021
Christopher J. Burns

Henson Efron would like to congratulate the following lawyers named to 2022 The Best Lawyers in America list: Christopher J. Burns - Elder Law, Litigation - Trusts and Estates, and Trusts and Estates Recognized 5 Years 

Disabled Faculty and Return to Work: Professor Doron Dorfman Discusses with Reuters

Posted on Wednesday 9/8/2021
Doron Dorfman

Colleges' standoff with disabled faculty over return-to-work seen as key test

(Reuters | Sept. 7, 2021) A battle brewing between U.S. colleges and faculty with disabilities is shaping up as a barometer of whether employers can order staff back to the office amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch the clip.

BBI Receives $6.2 Million Award for Southeast ADA Center to Advance Understanding of Disability Rights, Responsibilities

Posted on Wednesday 9/8/2021
Burton Blatt Institute

For the third time in 15 years, the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI)—headquartered in the Syracuse University College of Law—has been awarded a five-year, $6.2 million grant to advance and support understanding of rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through its Southeast ADA Center (SEADA Center).

The funding comes from the US Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Community Living National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

Based in Lexington, Kentucky, the SEADA Center is one of 10 regional centers in the ADA National Network, providing information, training and guidance about the ADA throughout the eight state Southeast region. BBI provides the center with analyses of legal issues affecting the ADA as well as other resources such as “plain language” legal briefs written by Syracuse Law students.

“The complexity of the issues facing the disability community is daunting, along with the increasing need for reliable information in the public domain. The Southeast ADA Center will continue to provide up-to-date, accurate and accessible information on all aspects of the ADA,” says Peter Blanck, University Professor at Syracuse University and Chairman of BBI. “The center’s role is, perhaps, most important than ever in making a positive difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families by fostering ADA understanding and compliance.”

“In the next five years, the Southeast ADA Center will continue to be an important source for information on the ADA,” says Barry Whaley, project director and co-principal investigator. “In addition, we will engage in dynamic research exploring the intersectionality of race, ethnicity and disability across the domains of employment, technology equity and poverty.”

SEADA Center’s educational and advocacy work—providing ADA training, technical assistance, research and user-friendly information—reaches and supports more than one million stakeholders annually across the Southeast region. The renewed funding will allow the center to achieve multiple objectives, including:

  • Encouraging and supporting meaningful partnerships among the disability community, government, business and community organizations to facilitate ADA implementation.
  • Improving and expanding training, technical assistance, and information dissemination that promotes voluntary compliance with the ADA.
  • Empowering individuals across the diversity of disabilities and at the intersection of race, ethnicity, age and gender to increase understanding of ADA rights and responsibilities.
  • Customizing and disseminating outreach materials to culturally and linguistically underserved populations, including Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), and Latinx communities.
  • Conducting research that produces new knowledge and understanding of barriers to employment and economic self-sufficiency, to increase the civic and social participation of people with disabilities.
  • Creating a comprehensive website with a searchable database that is regularly updated.
  • Supporting advocacy and education among students and youth with disabilities.
  • The new funding will support the center’s initiatives through 2026.


Professor Arlene Kanter Discusses Remote Work For Disabled Faculty with Reuters

Posted on Tuesday 9/7/2021
Arlene Kanter

U.S. workplaces look to college fights as return to work 'turning point' looms

(Reuters | Sept. 7, 2021) A legal battle is brewing over remote work between administrators at U.S. colleges committed to in-person classes and some faculty with disabilities. Experts warn it is a precursor of what awaits employers that order staff back to the office amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employment lawyers said higher education provides a key test of who can work remotely because it is a profession traditionally associated with in-person work.

But COVID-19 lockdowns proved what disabled teachers have argued for years -- that online teaching can be a successful way to accommodate them ...

... Court rulings over the past 15 years on remote work often sided with employers without requiring much evidence that telecommuting was unreasonable, said Arlene Kanter, a professor at Syracuse University College of Law. She expects that to change, thanks to the pandemic ...

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Syracuse Law Announces Plans to Offer AccessLex Institute’s Helix Bar Review to Students at No Charge

Posted on Wednesday 9/1/2021
Helix Bar Review

In a national first, Syracuse University College of Law has partnered with legal education nonprofit AccessLex Institute to offer AccessLex's interactive Helix Bar Review prep course free of charge to all Syracuse Law students.

Helix Bar Review is a state-of-the-art, comprehensive bar review program that offers students full access to the program during their third year of law school, up to 20 weeks before the bar exam. Early access is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Helix Bar Review, and it ensures that students with multiple responsibilities in law school, at work, or at home, can start their review early and complete the entire course on the schedule they choose.  Other bar preparation programs are not fully open to students until much later.

Helix Bar Review’s online, adaptive learning platform uses an integrated content approach, an active learning interface, personalized pathways, and flexible access options designed to adapt to individual learning styles and to help students efficiently use study time to confidently prepare for the bar exam. While Helix Bar Review uses all the traditional components of a bar review course—such as substantive law outlines, practice questions, and flashcards—the program employs active learning and other methods that are based on the most up-to-date learning science and support long-term retention of knowledge.

Learning methods include short videos, illustrations, checklists, and performance tests. In addition, Helix Bar Review uses gamification to provide supplemental practice opportunities, live “Ask the Experts” webinars that target frequently missed questions and misunderstood concepts, and intensive day-long workshops called “Pass Classes.”

“Continuing our track record of innovation in legal education, I am thrilled that Syracuse Law is the first school to partner with AccessLex as they launch their new Helix Bar Review program. This groundbreaking program offers the tools and preparation our graduates need to efficiently and effectively prepare for the bar exam,” says Craig M. Boise, Dean and Professor of Law. “At Syracuse Law, we are laser-focused on student success at every step of the law school journey. This partnership will give our students a distinct edge in studying for the bar exam—setting them squarely on the path to career success—while reducing their debt by eliminating the need to finance a commercial bar prep course.”

“We are grateful, honored, and excited to be partnering with Syracuse Law in bringing Helix Bar Review to its students. At AccessLex, we have long said it is an accident of history that the bar exam preparation industry exists as it currently does, which makes this, potentially, a seminal moment in legal education,” says AccessLex President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher P. Chapman. “As the leader of a law school whose reputation for innovation and progressive action is well known, Dean Boise recognizes that the Helix approach to bar prep tracks with his strategic vision for student success. It is why we feel Syracuse Law is a perfect partner for the public launch of this game-changing endeavor.” 

Currently, Helix Bar Review offers study materials for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). The non-profit company is currently developing non-UBE state-specific courses and anticipates it will release materials for non-UBE states, such as Florida and California, in 2023. In the meantime, the College of Law is making similar no-cost bar preparation arrangements for third-year students who plan to take the bar exam in those states.

“We know there are law students who do not purchase a commercial bar prep program because of the cost implications,” says Kelly Curtis, Teaching Professor and Director of Academic and Bar Support at the College of Law. “The additional cost of bar prep should never be a barrier to a graduate’s success on the bar exam. With this partnership, we remove that barrier.”

Professor Doron Dorfman Addresses "Suspicious Species" in University of Illinois Review

Posted on Wednesday 9/1/2021
Doron Dorfman
"Suspicious Species." University of Illinois Law Review, Vol. 2021, No. 4.

This article has been recognized as the 2019 Best Scholarship by a Junior Faculty in the study of compliance, awarded by ComplianceNET, and it was the first prize winner of the 2019 Steven M. Block Civil Liberties Award, awarded by Stanford Law School.

Service dogs and emotional support animals provide crucial assistance to people with disabilities in many areas of life. As the number of these assistance animals continues to grow, however, so does public suspicion about abuse of law and faking the need for such accommodations. 

Legislators have been directly reactive to this moral panic, and the majority of states have passed laws to combat the misrepresentation of pets as assistance animals. Consequently, people with disabilities who use service dogs feel the need to signal compliance to avoid harassment, questioning, or exclusion from spaces that do not allow pets. 

Taking an empirical law and psychology approach, Professor Doron Dorfman's article concerns itself with the possible sources of the phenomenon of misrepresentation, which I term “assistance-animal disability con.” The article also discusses the stigmatizing consequences of the moral panic surrounding faking the need to use assistance animals for the disability community. 

The article shows that: 

  1. People with disabilities who use service dogs signal their protected status using extra-legal norms that did not originally appear in federal legislation. They use accessories that indicate legality such as vests and choosing breeds of dogs that have traditionally been associated with service.
  2. The public has been most trusting of these visible signs of compliance in the form of vests indicating the authenticity of a service dog.
  3. In return, the legal system at the state level has adopted those extra-legal norms and translated them into black letter law through a reciprocal model of rulemaking.
  4. The psychological mechanism of “bounded ethicality” can explain people’s engagement with assistance-animal disability con. People misrepresenting their pets as assistance animals seem to not see their acts as unethical or illegal because the victims in the situation, people with disabilities, remain unrecognized in these people’s eyes. 

Based on these original findings, this article argues for legal reform and for the use of tools from the field of behavioral psychology to restore trust in the practice of employing assistance animals to support the needs of millions of Americans with disabilities. The suggested analysis extends beyond disability law, offering a deeper understanding of the relationship between social norms, new laws, and ethical decision-making.

Dean Boise Joins Statement Supporting AG's Call to the Legal Community Regarding Eviction Crisis

Posted on Monday 8/30/2021
Dean Craig M. Boise

Dean Craig M. Boise has joined fellow law school deans to support US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland's call for the legal community—including law schools—to assist individuals who potentially will be displaced in the looming housing and eviction crisis.

"As federal and local eviction moratoriums expire around the country, eviction filings are expected to spike to roughly double their pre-pandemic levels," observes Attorney General Garland. "The legal profession is well positioned to provide support for tenants, landlords, and courts during this crisis. Promoting access to justice to ensure that our justice system delivers outcomes that are fair and accessible to all, irrespective of wealth or status, is one of the highest ideals of the legal profession."

In response, the Dean's Statement—signed by Dean Boise—reads, "As law school deans responsible for training the next generation of lawyers to be stewards of an effective, equitable, and just legal system, we feel obliged to do our part. Therefore, we are working with our faculty and students to take immediate and meaningful action to combat this crisis. 

"Drawing on resources such as our pro bono programs, clinical offerings, and the service of our larger law school communities, we will help ensure that families and individuals facing eviction have the legal representation, counseling, and assistance they need to exercise their rights, that those entitled to the support of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program are able to access it, and that eviction proceedings are conducted in a fair and just manner."

Professor Nina Kohn Helps MarketWatch with Conservatorship Explainer

Posted on Monday 8/30/2021
Nina Kohn

Here’s What to Know About Guardianships and Conservatorships to Avoid Problems

(MarketWatch | Aug. 28, 2021) Guardianships and conservatorships, particularly their more negative aspects, have made headlines in recent months amid the battle by entertainer Britney Spears to remove her father as overseer of her financial affairs. But these legal arrangements may be necessary in certain instances, and those who potentially need to set one up should become acquainted with the good they do and the risks they hold.  

Because guardianships and conservatorships are regulated by state and local statutes, particular details vary. In many states, a guardian refers to someone who oversees personal needs, such as healthcare, feeding, and supervision and/or financial affairs, but in some states the term guardian refers to those who oversee personal affairs, while a conservator refers to those who oversee financial affairs. 

State courts have the power to appoint guardians or conservators for adults who are at risk because they are unable to make basic decisions for themselves. And the arrangement can only be revoked by the court.   

“[O]nce a guardian is appointed, the court is simultaneously removing the individual’s right to make that decision for themselves,” says Nina Kohn, a law professor at Syracuse University. “If a court found that I lacked the capacity to make my own healthcare decisions, and appointed a guardian to make those decisions, I would lose the right to make my own healthcare decisions" ...

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