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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 ...

Read the full article

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

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

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

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.”

https://www.syracuse.edu/stories/guardians-of-innovation/

Syracuse Law Introduces New Cultural Competency Curriculum

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

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

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

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

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.”

https://www.syracuse.edu/stories/beorange-aubre-dean-civil-rights/

Law Students: Sign-up for e-subscriptions to NY Times & WSJ

Friday 9/10/2021

​No charge digital subscriptions to the NY Times & WSJ are available for SU students & faculty.  See the SU Libraries guides on the NY Times and WSJ for details.

New Database Content: ProQuest Congressional & Executive

Friday 9/10/2021

ProQuest Congressional has added full-text Executive branch documents to its vast collection of congressional material.

The database now includes Executive Orders, Presidential Proclamations, and other Executive branch publications.  These materials can be retrieved along with the extensive legislative and Congressional content already available in the database.

Paul W. Reichel named Lawyer of the Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

https://news.syr.edu/blog/2021/09/07/bbi-receives-6-2-million-award-for-southeast-ada-center-to-advance-understanding-of-disability-rights-responsibilities/

Professor Arlene Kanter Discusses Remote Work For Disabled Faculty with Reuters

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 ...

Read the full article

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

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

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

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

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" ...

Read the full article

The National Trial League—a New Advocacy Competition Format—Kicks Off with 12 Top Trial Teams

Monday 8/30/2021
National Trial League

The National Trial league (NTL) is a brand-new advocacy trial competition that brings together 12 top national trial teams to compete in a season-long format, resembling a traditional sports league. The bi-weekly matches will be conducted virtually using short fact patterns. The inaugural NTL season starts on Aug. 31, 2021, and concludes on November 9, with matches taking place on Tuesdays.

Explains NTL organizer Professor Todd Berger, Director of Advocacy Programs at Syracuse University College of Law, "Before the NTL, trial competitions occurred over the course of several days and featured a long and complex fact pattern. While some trials in the real world resemble that construct, many involve much shorter fact patterns and are tried over a few hours, particularly bench trials."

Berger adds, "We envision the National Trial League as a partnership between each member institution. Without a doubt the league’s greatest strength is the quality of all 12 advocacy programs. It’s an honor to have each school join the league."

The 12 inaugural NTL teams have been divided into two conferences of six teams each to guarantee seven rounds of competition. Each team will have five bi-weekly matches against conference opponents, ensuring a round-robin within the conferences. Then, beginning in the fourth week of the season, each team will have one cross-conference match selected at random.

The final week of the season will feature the last cross-conference match, with seeding based on a team’s conference standing. Based on the overall win/loss record, the top two teams from each conference will advance to the playoffs.

Notes Berger, "By launching NTL, we hope to create more opportunities for students to learn advocacy skills in a competitive format and to expose students to the types of cases they will take to trial as attorneys. Plus, it creates opportunities for schools to compete outside of the traditional two-to-three-day weekend tournament structure."

Follow the league at nationaltrialleague.org. The website will feature the NTL schedule, standings, a week-by-week scoreboard, and a player profile section with biographies of competing students.

Teams for the 2021-2022 NTL Season

  • Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
  • Emory University School of Law
  • Georgia State University College of Law
  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Ohio Northern University Claude W. Pettit College of Law
  • South Texas College of Law Houston
  • St. Mary’s University School of Law
  • Suffolk University Law School
  • Syracuse University College of Law
  • University of Illinois-Chicago John Marshall Law School
  • University of South Carolina School of Law

Stack named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Gerry Stack was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Tax Law

Smith named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Lynn Smith was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Corporate Law

Sciotti named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Michael Sciotti was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Employment Law - Management; Labor Law - Management; Litigation - Labor and Employment

Rudnick named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Jack Rudnick was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Corporate Law

Roe named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Kevin Roe was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Environmental Law

Melvin named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Buster Melvin was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Labor and Employment

McAuliffe named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Kevin McAuliffe was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Project Finance Law

Leja named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Andrew Leja was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Environmental Law

Hubbard named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Peter Hubbard was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Banking and Finance Law; Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law

Harrigan named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Chris Harrigan was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Commercial Litigation; Litigation - Labor and Employment 

Gilberti named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Bill Gilberti was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Environmental Law

French named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Dan French was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Criminal Defense: White-Collar

Dove named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Jeff Dove was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law

Ciardullo named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Fran Ciardullo was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Health Care Law

Barrer named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Robert Barrer was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Commercial Litigation

Barclay named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Will Barclay was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Corporate Law

Alcott named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Lee Alcott was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Commercial Litigation

Domagalski named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Jim Domagalski was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Commercial Litigation; Construction Law

Foster named Best Lawyer

Thursday 8/26/2021

​Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Bill Foster was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Insurance Law

Vaccines in the Workplace: Professor Doron Dorfman Discusses with CNYCentral

Wednesday 8/25/2021
Doron Dorfman

White House says it will pull 'every possible lever' to require vaccination

(CNYCentral | Aug. 24, 2021) There's a growing push for employers, schools and other institutions to require vaccination against COVID-19 now that the Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval for the use of Pfizer's two-dose vaccine in people 16 and older.

On Tuesday, members of the White House COVID-19 response team said the federal government would be looking for more ways to encourage private sector players to "step up" and require shots ...

... Doron Dorfman, an employment law professor at Syracuse University College of Law, noted that the legality of employer mandates was never in question, even when the vaccine was under emergency use authorization.

"The full authorization of the vaccine might be triggering more employers to require it ... but it's not a legal issue," Dorfman explained.

It has long been understood that employers could require employees to get vaccinated to ensure a safe work environment, among other reasons. The position was upheld earlier this year by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In July, the Justice Department issued a legal opinion, stating that federal law does not prohibit public agencies and private businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccines, including those authorized under emergency use.

Outside of discriminatory behavior, the law gives employers a lot of leeway to hire or fire at will, Dorfman said. "As long you don't have an anti-discrimination law against people who don't want to get vaccinated...they are not a protected category under the law" ...

Read the full article.

Masks on Campus: Professor Doron Dorfman Speaks with University Business

Tuesday 8/24/2021
Doron Dorfman

(University Business | Aug. 23, 2021) hort of temporary court intervention—which happened recently in South Carolina—public colleges or universities have struggled to skirt around state bans on mask or vaccine mandates. A few K-12 school districts in Florida and Texas have challenged them under threats from their governors, though there is some uncertainty whether those will continue.

However, some individuals who work or attend institutions of higher education could make headway against those executive orders, especially on masks. For example, students and employees who are immunocompromised—or are caregivers for those who are—could ask their institutions for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Individuals themselves would not be looking to mask themselves, but rather ask that those they come in close contact with be masked up because of the dangers of COVID-19.

Colleges and universities likely would have to grant them modifications in some form, according to Syracuse University Professor Doron Dorfman, because those requests would meet several standards laid out Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Titles I and II of the ADA. For faculty, that could mean an arrangement such as remote instruction options or mask accommodations, but students could appeal directly to federal courts if they did not get relief.

“I think wearing a mask is a reasonable accommodation,” Dorfman says. “A lot of people are immunocompromised. They just need to evoke their rights. They need to request a modification from the institution" ...

Read the full article.

Syracuse University College of Law Welcomes New Students at its 2021 Convocation

Monday 8/23/2021
College of Law

On Aug. 19, 2021, Syracuse University College of Law welcomed 239 new students at a Convocation ceremony held in Hendricks Chapel on the Syracuse University campus. The new student body includes 142 students in the residential juris doctor program (Class of 2024); 97 students in the online JDinteractive program (Class of 2025); plus 32 LL.M. students, four doctoral students, eight visiting scholars, four semester exchange students, and three international students in the two-year J.D. program.

The students heard from Syracuse University Chancellor and President Kent Syverud, College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise, and Joanie Mahoney L'90, President of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. 

Addressing the students, Dean Boise observed that, "This Chapel is an appropriate space to reflect on your 'future moment.' For there are many unprecedented challenges that await your bright minds, sharp skills, and deep sense of justice. Today’s news headlines speak of climate change and human security; justice for communities of color; the rights of vulnerable populations; public health mandates versus individual rights; and respect for the rule of law and democracy abroad and at home. 

"Our faculty are leading experts in these topics and more! They, and the laws that impact them, will come alive for you in the classroom. At Syracuse, we will inspire you, prepare you, and help you gather and hone the tools to shape lives and change the world. I know—we know—that’s why you are here!

President Mahoney reminded the students that "The world needs people educated in the law more than ever. We have seen chaos and dysfunction across the globe and we have seen it in our own country. The United States has been held up for generations as a shining example of self-governance and a place where people can achieve great heights, not by virtue of their birth but by virtue of their education, hard work, and tenacity. 

"But we have seen that the opportunity is not always equal, and we have to remain vigilant and protect our democracy if we expect our children to live in the land of freedom that was described in our history books."

Chanceller Syverud challenged the new students "to embrace the whole of what Syracuse University has to offer: "Starting today, you are part of a dedicated community of educators, researchers, scholars, and practitioners. You will learn from a community that draws its vibrancy from the diverse backgrounds and experiences represented here. You are at a University that is rich with ideas and perspectives. I so envy the opportunities before you this day."

Overview of Incoming J.D. Students

Class size: 239

  • J.D. Residential: 142
  • JDinteractive: 97
  • J.D. Residential Transfer: 2 
  • JDinteractive Transfer: 3
  • J.D. Two-Year: 3
  • Selectivity rate: 32.74%*

LSAT Scores

  • 75th: 160*
  • 50th: 157**
  • 25th: 154

Undergraduate GPA (uGPA)

  • 75th: 3.72
  • 50th: 3.51***
  • 25th: 3.18

Higher Degrees

  • Master’s Degrees: 46, including in business, education, and nursing
  • Ph.D.s: 4
  • M.D.s: 3

Diversity

  • Average Age: 29
  • Gender: 117 male, 128 female, 2 did not disclose/non-binary/transgender
  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC): 37% (89 students)****
  • First-Generation Students: 63
  • LGBTQ: 20

Military-Affiliated

  • Veterans/Active Duty: 15
  • Military Affiliated: 13

Geography

  • States Represented: 35, including District of Columbia and Guam
  • Countries Represented Other than US: 13 (Brazil, Canada, China, Honduras, India, Japan, Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, US Virgin Islands, and Vietnam
  • Languages Spoken: 17, including Arabic, Chinese, Ewe, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Telugu, and Vietnamese

*Syracuse Law saw a 30% applications increase for 2021-2022 (a 31% increase for the J.D. residential program and 28% increase for the JDinteractive program).

**A median LSAT of 157 is the highest the College of Law has seen in the 10 year history that the ABA has been collecting data, and a 160 75th percentile LSAT is also the highest in that 10 years.

***A median GPA of 3.51 has only been beaten once—by last year’s 3.53 median uGPA.

****37% is the highest percentage of BIPOC students in the 10 year history of reports.

Sofia L. Rezvani joins Higgs Fletcher & Mack

Monday 8/23/2021
Sofia Rezvani

Higgs Fletcher & Mack (HFM) is proud to welcome attorney Sofia Rezvani, who will join the Firm’s Healthcare Law, Business Litigation and Professional Liability Practice Groups. Rezvani previously worked at a New York-based litigation boutique, where her practice focused on defending physicians, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other medical professionals in malpractice litigation and various licensing and disciplinary proceedings. She has also represented companies and individuals in a variety of general business litigation matters. Rezvani earned her Juris Doctor degree from Syracuse University College of Law and previously earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Davis. 

"Covid Changed All That:" Professor Arlene Kanter Quoted by The New York Times on Remote Learning

Monday 8/23/2021
Arlene Kanter

For Some College Students, Remote Learning Is a Game Changer

(The New York Times | Aug. 23, 2021) ... In fact, long before the pandemic, many students with disabilities had been calling for such accommodations, often to little avail. The past year, however, has made remote instruction seem more feasible. While some colleges have resisted remote learning as an accommodation, others say they are considering it.

“The argument in the past, pre-Covid, was, ‘Of course, an online course is fundamentally different than a course in the classroom,’” said Arlene Kanter, an expert in disability law at the Syracuse University College of Law. “Well, Covid changed all that.”

Colleges and universities are generally required to provide “reasonable” accommodations or modifications for qualified students with disabilities — as long as those changes do not “fundamentally alter” the nature of the program or pose other undue burdens for the institutions ...

Read the full article.

Syracuse Law LL.M. Program Celebrates 10 Years; Welcomes New Cohorts

Monday 8/23/2021
College of Law

At the Syracuse University College of Law Convocation on Aug. 19, 2021, the Office of International Programs welcomed one of its largest cohorts to date: 32 LL.M. students, representing the legal education systems of 15 countries; four doctoral students in the College's inaugural S.J.D. class; eight visiting scholars; four semester exchange students; and three new students in the two-year J.D. program.

For the first time, Syracuse Law welcomes students from Afghanistan, Finland, Liberia, the Netherlands, and Uzbekistan.

In 2021-2022 the Office of International Programs celebrates the 10th year of its Master of Laws program. According to Assistant Dean of International programs Andrew S. Horsfall L'10, since the fall 2012, the College has conferred 207 LL.M. degrees to students from 55 countries.

"This year’s LL.M. class is comprised of a truly impressive group of students attracted to Syracuse through meaningful partnerships and institutional relationships," says Horsfall. "The group includes five Open Society Fellows, including four Disability Rights Fellows and one Civil Society Leadership Fellow; three Fulbright Scholars; and four students from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)."

Horsfall added that among those assisting and advising the new international students are several Syracuse Law LL.M. Student Mentors: Mazaher Kaila, Marisol Estrada Cruz, Anthony Levitskiy, Carlos Negron, and Tia Thevenin.

Fall 2021 LL.M. Class

  • Sadaf Baseer (Afghanistan): Baseer was awarded a Fulbright grant to pursue her LL.M. studies. She obtained her LL.B. from the American University of Afghanistan in 2018. Prior to coming to Syracuse, she worked as a Program Administrator for The Big Word, an organization under the Ministry of Defense that helps train and provide interpreters to support U.K. operations in the region. She is a passionate advocate for human rights who plans to dedicate her LL.M. studies to the rights of women and children.
  • Princeton Bormain (Liberia): Bormain completed a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Liberia in 2017 and his LL.B. from Lovely Professional University in India in 2021.  He holds several specialized certificates, including two from Harvard University.  He plans to pursue courses in criminal law and international law.
  • Violet  Bundi (Kenya): Bundi received her LL.B. from Kenyatta University in 2013 and a Postgraduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law in 2016.  Before moving to the US, she was a managing partner and lawyer at several firms in Kenya. Bundi now lives in Syracuse, NY, and she intends to enroll in courses that will prepare her to sit for the New York Bar Exam.
  • Ana Elena Calderon (Mexico): Calderon completed her LL.B. from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in June 2021. In 2018, she interned at Baker McKenzie where she focused on commercial and civil litigation. She is also the founder and president of AccMex, a student group focused on the improvement of education in rural areas. Her LL.M. studies will focus in business and commercial law.
  • Maria Chaidez (Mexico): Chaidez completed her LL.B. from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in 2021. She has interned with judges and notary publics and plans to dedicate her LL.M. studies to subjects tested on the New York Bar Exam.
  • Ubah Chibueze (Nigeria): Chibueze completed his LL.B. at Ebonyi State University in 2018 and a postgraduate law degree from the Nigerian Law School in 2019. Since graduating, he has worked as a lawyer in Nigeria, most recently at a private law firm. Chibueze is interested in studying alternative dispute resolution and courses tested on the New York Bar Exam during his LL.M. studies.
  • Quirine Comans (Netherlands): Comans completed her Bachelor of Law and Business Administration at the University of Amsterdam in May 2021. As an undergraduate, she served as a legal assistant at a private law firm. Comans will be a member of the Syracuse University women’s field hockey team while enrolled in the LL.M. Program. She plans to focus her studies on general subjects in American law and the US legal system.
  • Fabiano de Araújo Saraiva (Brazil): Saraiva holds an LL.B. and postgraduate certificate in criminal procedure from the Federal University of Ceará. He also holds master’s in mediation from the University Carlos III de Madrid in Spain and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in law from Salamanca University in Spain. Saraiva is a professor at the University Center of João Pessoa in Brazil where he teaches mediation, negotiation, and civil procedure. He also serves as a public prosecutor for the State of Pernambuco. He plans to study class actions and constitutional law.
  • Mohamed Elansary Mohamed (Egypt): Elansary was awarded an LL.M. fellowship from the Open Society Foundation’s Civil Society Leadership Award Program.  He holds an LL.B. from Helwan University and a diploma in International Law from Cairo University.  Since 2011, he has worked as a lawyer and legal researcher at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies where his practice focuses on criminal law, labor law, and administrative law. He will study human rights law and international law.
  • Nino Elbakidze (Georgia): Elbakidze was awarded an LL.M. fellowship from the Open Society Foundation’s Disability Rights Scholarship Program. She obtained her LL.M. from Ivane Javakishvili State University of Tbilisi, in Georgia, in 2003. She participated in the 2018-2019 Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program during which she pursued coursework in human rights law at American University’s Washington College of Law. She has more than 18 years experience working to support human rights. Prior to joining her current position as Executive Director and Senior Researcher for the Human Rights Advocacy and Democracy Fund, Elbakidze worked as a Senior Human Rights Fellow for Sector3, an NGO based in Tbilisi, serving as a hub for development work with other civil society organizations.
  • Carlos Galaviz (Mexico): Galaviz received his LL.B. from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in 2020. His area of interests focuses primarily on international and business law. He plans to enroll in courses that will help him prepare for the New York Bar Exam.
  • Nana Gochiashvili (Georgia): Gochiashvili was awarded an LL.M. fellowship from the Open Society Foundation’s Disability Rights Scholarship Program. She holds an LL.B. and a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University in Georgia. She holds a Master’s in Social Work from Ilia State University. Gochiashvili is a project coordinator, social worker, and board member of the Partnership for Human Rights. She is also a member of the National Prevention Mechanism of the Public Defender of Georgia, where she makes recommendations about the protection of children’s rights. She also serves as the Social Work Practice Coordinator in the Social Work Program at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.
  • Amos Imafidon (Nigeria): Imafidon holds an LL.B. from Amborse Alli University in Edo State, Nigeria. He graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 2017. Imafidon has been a legal officer at Zenith Bank PLC since 2019. In this position, he drafts and reviews bank agreements and advises on regulatory compliance. He plans to study corporate and commercial law.
  • Oyakhilome Isaac (Nigeria): Isaac obtained his LL.B. with honors from the University of Hertfordshire in the U.K. in 2017. He plans to study national security and counterterrorism law while enrolled in the LL.M. Program.
  • Mahliyo Jumaeva (Uzbekistan): Jumaeva obtained her LL.B. from Tashkent State University of Law in Uzbekistan in 2018. Since graduating, she served as the head of the Human Resources Department for the Uzbekistan National Stadium and as a lawyer for the Uzbekistan Cycling Federation. Most recently, she has been the Chief Specialist of the International Cooperation Department at Tashkent State University of Law where the forecasts political, economic, and social trends. Jumaeva will study banking law.
  • Lotta Lampela (USA): Lampela holds both a Bachelor and Master of Arts in History from Oulu University in Finland. She also holds an LL.M. in International Law from Helsinki University. She was the Chief Superintendent of the Finnish Security Intelligence Service and an intelligence advisor for the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre. Before recently moving to the US, Lampela served as a policy advisor for the Delegation of the European Union to the International Organizations in Vienna where she represented the EU and its member states at the UN Office of Drugs and Crime and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. She plans to enroll in courses that will prepare her for the New York Bar Exam.
  • Usman Munawar (Pakistan): Munawar received his LL.B. from the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan. He is the Managing Partner as his own law firm in Pakistan where he practices civil, criminal, and family law. Munawar will enroll in business and commercial law courses while enrolled in the LL.M Program.
  • Sabrina Nardilla (Indonesia): Nardilla is a Fulbright recipient who obtained her LL.B. from the University of Gajah Mada Yogykarta, in Indonesia, in 2017. She works as a Human Rights Analyst in Indonesia’s Ministry of Law and Human Rights’ Research Agency where she engaged in socio-legal policy research on a variety of human rights issues, including working conditions in the palm oil industry. Her LL.M. studies will focus on legal research, law and society, and human rights.
  • Comfort Nkana (Nigeria): Nkana obtained her LL.B. from Obafemi Awolowo University in 2015 and graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 2016. Since graduating, she has practiced commercial litigation and real estate law at private firms in Abuja, Nigeria. Nkana also serves as a legal volunteer at the Taroz Care Foundation, which works to combat sexual violence against women and girls. She hopes to gain a greater exposure to American law during the LL.M. Program.
  • Blessing Nwaigbo (Nigeria): Nwaigbo obtained her LL.B. from Nnamdi Azikiwe University in 2014. She graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 2015 and completed a postgraduate certificate in Petroleum and Environmental Law from Rivers State University in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, in 2018. She served as associate counsel of a private firm since 2016, where she practices commercial and property law. Nwaigbo intends to sit for the New York Bar Exam after graduation.
  • Ositadinma Nwosu (Nigeria): Nwosu received his LL.B. from Abia State University in 2012 and graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 2014. Since graduating, he has worked as lawyer in private practice where he focuses on commercial law and litigation. Nwosu plans to enroll in courses in commercial law and human rights law. He also intends to become eligible to sit for the New York Bar Exam.
  • Livingstone Ochieng (Kenya): Ochieng holds an LL.B. from Moi University School of Law and a post-graduate diploma in law from the Kenya School of Law. He has been an associate advocate in private practice since 2020 where he practices a wide range of law, including criminal, civil, and family law. He plans to study human rights, constitutional, and criminal law.
  • Dawit Oro (Ethiopia): Oro has been awarded an LL.M. fellowship with the Open Society Foundation’s Disability Rights Scholarship Program. He completed his LL.B. in 2007 from Ethiopia’s Dilla University and recently obtained an LL.M. in Human Rights Law from Addis Ababa University. Oro is currently working as a public prosecutor for Ethiopia’s Federal Attorney General. In his practice, he works to review and harmonize the laws of Ethiopia with its commitment to the United Nation’s CRPD while advocating on behalf of persons with disabilities in Ethiopia.
  • Sindy Perez Ospino (Colombia): Perez holds an LL.B. and a postgraduate certificate in international human rights from the Universidad del Atlántico in Colombia.  She works as a communications coordinator for En-Vero, a human rights organization in Colombia. In this role, she reviews wrongful convictions and communicates with alleged victims of human rights violations. Perez hopes to study international law, human rights law, immigration law, and postconflict reconstruction.
  • Macarena Ramos López (Mexico): Ramos is finishing her LL.B. at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and comes to Syracuse under a dual-degree program. She has interned, studied, and worked in London, Milan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. During her LL.M. studies, she will pursue courses in international business law and corporate law.
  • Beheshta Rasekh (Afghanistan): Rasekh comes to Syracuse as a Fulbright award grantee. She obtained her LL.B. from the American University of Afghanistan in 2020. She is a Program Assistant for the non-governmental organization Afghans for Progressive Thinking, where she works on projects to extend dialogue and debates on peace, education, and democratic values. During her LL.M. program, she plans to focus her studies in human rights and criminal law.
  • Oreofe Salako (Nigeria): Salako graduated with an LL.B. from the University of Ibadan in 2015. She graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 2016. Salako has worked as a legal associate at a firm in Lagos where she practices commercial law. She plans to study intellectual property and technology law.
  • Manuel Sarkis Reyes (Mexico): Sarkis is finishing his LL.B. at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and comes to us under a dual-degree program.  During his studies at ITAM, he has held internships in criminal law and human rights defense. He plans to study international and business law.
  • Ahmed Oday Shawka (Iraq): Shawka is a Fulbright award recipient who obtained his LL.B. from the Babylon University, in Iraq, in 2016. During his studies, he studied abroad at the University of Texas at Austin in 2015. Prior to his LL.M. studies in Syracuse, he worked as a Public Relations Officer with Samyoung Co and as an Immigration Assistant with a consulting agency in Baghdad. During his LL.M. studies, Shawka plans to study courses in immigration law, business law, and criminal law.
  • Natalia Shurygina (Russian Federation): Shurygina obtained her LL.B. from the Uralskij Economic Institute in 2013 and a Master’s in philosophy from Kurganskij Gosudarstvennyj University in 2018. She was a law clerk in a commercial court in Kurgan and now serves as in-house counsel for a ride-share company. Shurygina intends to study intellectual property and technology transfer law.
  • Wesen Teklestandik (Ethiopia): Teklestandik is a Disability Rights Scholarship recipient sponsored by the Open Society Foundation. He holds an LL.B. and an LL.M. in Human Rights Law from Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa University. He is a public prosecutor with Ethiopia’s Federal Attorney General. In this work, Teklestandik works directly with claimants pursuing disability and human rights violations. He is a founding member of the Ethiopian Lawyers with Disability Association.
  • Riffat Ul Muntaha Qureshi (Pakistan): Quershi completed her LL.B. at Islamia University of Bahawalpur in Pakistan. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Science from the University of Punjab, Lahore, and a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from Fatima Jinnah Medical University in Lahore. She also holds an M.S. in hospital administration and M.B.A. from the University of Binghamton. Qureshi has held several legal positions in a medical setting, most recently acting as chief defense counsel at the Academy of Family Physicians of Pakistan. She plans to enroll in courses that will prepare her for the New York Bar Exam.
  • Michel Vejar (Mexico): Vejar is finishing her LL.B. at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and comes to us under a dual-degree program. While enrolled in ITAM, Vejar was a member of the civil law clinic. She also interned at a tax consulting law firm.

Inaugural S.J.D. Class

  • Renci “Mercy” Xie (China): Renci Xie is a 2020 graduate of the College’s LL.M. program and a recipient of the Wonderland Scholarship. She holds an LL.B. from the Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing, China. Prior to coming to Syracuse, she worked as a trainee lawyer in a private firm where she worked on inclusive education cases for children with disabilities and as a legal translator. Her S.J.D. research will focus on the role of human rights indicators in advancing the right to inclusive education for students with disabilities in China pursuant to Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Her advisor will be Professor Arlene Kanter.
  • Ricardo Macedo Pereira (Brazil): Pereira is a 2018 graduate of the Syracuse LL.M. Program. Previously, he obtained a Master of Laws from the University of Brasilia in 1997 and a Ph.D. from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 2003.  He has worked as a federal prosecutor for the Public Ministry of Labor and Employment. He was also a professor and senior researcher at the University Center of the Distrito Federale and the University of Brasilia. Pereira’s S.J.D. research will focus on expanding enforceable legal protections for people with disabilities who face discrimination in employment in Brazil. His advisor will be Professor Antonio Gidi.
  • Jawad Salman (Palestinian Authority): Jawad Salman is a 2018 graduate of the College of Law’s LL.M.  program, where he was a recipient of the LL.M. Fellowship offered by the Open Society Palestinian Rule of Law Program. He received his LL.B. from An-Najah National University in Palestine in 2016.  He has served as an advisor and lecturer in Mathematics, Physics, and Management at Noor Taalemy Institute in Jerusalem.  Most recently, he has taught courses in tax law, public finance, administrative law, insurance law, and commercial law at An-Najah National University Faculty of Law. His S.J.D. research will focus on a comparative study of the tax policies of foreign income of the United States, the Palestinian Authority, and Israel. His advisor will be Professor Robert Nassau.
  • Yohannes Zewale (Ethiopia): Yohannes Zewale earned his LL.M. from the College of Law in 2019, where he received the Open Society Disability Rights Scholarship. He obtained his LL.B. from Addis Ababa University College of Law in 2015 and has held positions at the Addis Ababa University School of Law Free Legal Aid Project, the Ethiopian National Association of the Blind, the Wogen Children and Mother’s Association, and the Ethiopian Center for Disabilities and Development. He is currently a lecturer at Addis Ababa University. His S.J.D. research will focus on a comparative legal analysis of the application of the requirement of “reasonable accommodation” under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and Ethiopian law. His advisor will be Professor Michael Schwartz.

Two-Year J.D. Program Class

  • Jeongbae Choi (South Korea): Choi earned his LL.B. from Seoul National University in 2004. He has since worked for the National Assembly of Korea as a Legislative Research Officer, where he researched and drafts legislative materials for the representative body of South Korea. His legislative experience includes work on the Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Committee, the Legislation and Judiciary Committee, and the Finance and Fair Trade Team of the National Assembly Research Service.
  • Luiz Felipe Kazeker (Brazil): Kazeker obtained his LL.B. from the Adventist University of São Paulo in 2016. He also earned his LL.M. with a specialization in Immigration Law and Policy from American University’s Washington College of Law in 2020. He has held several internships in Washington, DC, including at the World Bank and the Washington College of Law Justice Clinic. Prior to beginning his J.D. studies, he worked as an immigration law case manager for the DC-based law firm of Hayman-Woodward PLLC.
  • Brian Sampaio (Brazil): Sampaio is a 2020 graduate of the LL.M. Program. He obtained his LL.B. from the State University of Feira de Santana in Brazil in 2015.  He worked as a lawyer for the Public Ministry of Labor, where he handled labor law violations cases before coming to Syracuse to pursue his LL.M. and J.D. studies.

2021-2022 Visiting Scholars

  • Smitha Nazir (India): Dr. Smitha Nizar is a Fulbright Postdoctoral Visiting Scholar from India. In her postdoctoral research, she examines the need to align India’s national laws with the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and to uphold the basic rights for persons with disabilities.  She is pursuing research supervised by Professor Arlene Kanter
  • Satoshi Kawashima (Japan): Professor Kawashima teaches at Okayama University of Science and Kanagawa University’s Graduate School of Law. During his visit, he will pursue the study and research of US disability rights laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act under the supervision of Professor Arlene Kanter.
  • Kihan Lee (South Korea): Professor Lee teaches at Dankook University’s Faculty of Law. He is also Chair of the Korea Social Service Policy Institute. He will engage in the study and research of comparative environmental regulation, with specific focus on the United States and South Korea, and economic and legal efforts to combat climate change under the guidance of Professor David Driesen.
  • Kyoungtae Hwang (South Korea): Hwang is a intellectual property and blockchain lawyer and researcher working with Professor Chris Day and Shubha Ghosh. He is making a return research visit to the College of Law to explore the legal framework of blackchain and cryptocurrency in the United States.
  • Patricia Pizzol (Brazil): Professor Pizzol teaches class actions and civil procedure at Pontificia Universidade Catolica de São Paulo. She will undertake a comparative study of class actions and methods of standardizing judicial decisions, under the guidance of Professor Antonio Gidi.
  • Natalia Chernicharo Guimaraes (Brazil): Professor Guimaraes teaches civil procedure at University of Juiz de Fora. She will research comparative civil procedure and class actions, under the guidance of Professor Antonio Gidi.
  • Mieczyslaw Sprengel (Poland): Professor Sprengel teaches international relations, international law, and economics at Adam Mickiewicz University. He will undertake research of international law and politics, with specific focus on European-Australian relations, under the guidance of Professor Cora True-Frost.
  • Levan Nanobashvili (Georgia): Nanobashvili is a Fulbright Teaching Scholar and a practicing intellectual property lawyer in Georgia. He plans to engage in the study and research of intellectual property law, internet law, and the teaching methods and pedagogy of these subjects under the guidance of Professor Shubha Ghosh.

Fall 2021 Exchange Students

  • Jakub Domanski (Poland): Domanski is enrolled in the University of Bialystok. During his semester in Syracuse, he will pursue courses in business law, administrative law, and European Union law.
  • Costanza Giuntini (Italy): Giuntini is enrolled in the University of Florence. She plans to enroll in courses in evidence, criminal law, and women and the law during her semester in Syracuse.
  • Matilde Manfriani (Italy): Manfriani is enrolled in the University of Florence. She will enroll in subjects related to commercial transactions, business associations, corporate finance, and climate change during her semester in Syracuse.
  • Federico Paganelli (Italy): Paganelli is enrolled in the University of Florence. He will study subjects in banking law, negotiations, and business law during his semester in Syracuse.

Professor Peter Blanck Pens OpEd on Vaccines and Universities' Duty of Care

Monday 8/23/2021
Peter Blanck

Uni students have had to be vaccinated against other diseases—COVID-19 is no different

(The Conversation | Aug. 22, 2021) Should universities require students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before attending campus once vaccines are readily available in Australia?

Professor Iain Martin, vice-chancellor of Deakin University and former dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland, says yes.

Campus life is filled with potential super-spreader events. Students attend lectures, seminars, social events and industry functions.

Student immunisation and screening requirements existed for certain courses before the pandemic. COVID-19 vaccinations are now required for students in certain circumstances. They include those who enter premises that have government-driven mandatory vaccination requirements, such as restricted vulnerable facilities. Examples include hospitals, residential aged care, disability accommodation services and correctional centres.

Until now, Australian universities have not sought to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all students. However, Martin says:

“I am unequivocally of the view that we have a duty to be vaccinated unless there is an overwhelming health reason why an individual cannot take any of the available vaccines.”

In response, National Union of Students president Zoe Ranganathan accepted the importance of vaccinations, but called for a less “punitive” approach.

In Canada, some have suggested mandatory vaccinations should apply only to students on campus. Those who refuse to get vaccinated “should be offered online alternatives” ...

Read the full article.

Heidi L. Wickstrom named Best Lawyer: Ones to Watch

Friday 8/20/2021
Heidi Wickstrom

Heidi L. Wickstrom (J.D. 2007) has been included in the 2022 Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch. Ms. Wickstrom is currently an attorney at the Illinois law firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard where she focuses her practice on personal injury, medical malpractice and products liability.

Kent Knickmeyer named Lawyer of the Year

Friday 8/20/2021

Thompson Coburn attorney, Kent Knickmeyer, has been recognized by the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® (by BL Rankings). Kent was named as one of the 2022 Lawyers of the Year, Litigation - Securities.

Professor Doron Dorfman: Students with Disabilities Could Sue Their Schools to Require Masks

Thursday 8/19/2021
Doron Dorfman

(The Washington Post | Aug. 19, 2021) The school year is upon us, and the mask wars have flared up again. School board meetings attract parents adamantly opposed to their children wearing masks as well as parents, pediatricians and public health experts who say that mask-wearing is crucial to keeping children safe and curbing the pandemic.

Educators face special challenges in those states—including Florida, Arizona, Texas and Iowa—where governments have barred state-funded schools, colleges and universities from requiring their students to wear masks in the classrooms.

While ordinances barring mask mandates are harmful to our community at large, they particularly hurt individuals with certain disabilities such as cancer or various forms of autoimmune diseases who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. Which raises a question: Could disability rights law offer a way to cut through the controversy—establishing a legal right for some students (and teachers) to receive the “accommodation” of being protected by masks in schools? We believe the answer is yes ...

Read the full article.

Professor Nina Kohn: Britney Spears’ Case Has Shown Why Guardianship Laws Need to Change

Thursday 8/19/2021
Nina Kohn

(The Guardian | Aug. 18, 2021) Around the world, fans of pop star Britney Spears celebrated her father’s announcement last week that he would resign as her conservator. This development is welcome news for Spears and her supporters, dubbed the #FreeBritney movement. 

But it will not end Spears’ conservatorship, which has prevented her from making decisions about her own life since it was established shortly after she had a mental breakdown in 2008. Nor will it prevent others from finding themselves in similar situations. That will require changing the underlying legal systems that created Spears’ predicament.

While many have only recently learned of conservatorship thanks to the #FreeBritney movement, this legal process is neither new nor unique to the US. It is a common court proceeding in which the court appoints someone to make decisions for individuals the court has found cannot make decisions for themselves. California – where Spears lives – calls this proceeding conservatorship and calls the appointee a conservator. 

More commonly, it is called guardianship and the appointee is called a guardian. While Spears has drawn attention to guardianship, the process typically entangles those far less privileged. Changes in the pop star’s situation , as welcome as they may be, won’t themselves trigger the reform of a legal mechanism mainly experienced by people society has historically treated as expendable ...

Read the full article.