Middle school scholars get a taste of law school for a morning

Higher Achievement Baltimore students took part in moot court arguments Friday at the Angelos Law Center's moot courtroom.

Higher Achievement Baltimore students took part in moot court arguments Friday in UB’s John and Frances Angelos Law Center’s moot courtroom.

More than 20 middle school students taking part in Higher Achievement Baltimore’s six-week Summer Academy gathered Friday morning at the John and Frances Angelos Law Center for a discussion of professional ethics, moot court arguments and discussions with UB law students, faculty and staff.

The youngsters, known as Higher Achievement scholars, met with Professors David Jaros and Renee Hatcher, Associate Dean Vicki Schultz and Director of Diversity Initiatives and Recruitment Mark Bell, as well as with law students Michelle Battle, Brandon Floyd and Keri Hickey.

Higher Achievement was founded in 1975 in Washington, D.C., to create opportunities for underserved young people. The year-round, multiyear academic enrichment and mentoring program for students in fifth through eighth grade aims to improve youngsters’ performance in school and to introduce them to college life and professional opportunities.

The nonprofit opened its Baltimore branch in 2009 and, more recently, has expanded to Richmond, Va., and Pittsburgh, Pa.

The organization has worked with more than 10,000 young people in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, according to its website. Higher Achievement reports that, on average, 95 percent of participants are accepted to top high schools and 93 percent go on to college. Also on average, students who complete the program raise their GPA by at least one letter, graduate with a B average and attend school more often.

Higher Achievement’s scholars are 80 percent African-American and 10 percent Latino, the group reports. The nonprofit focuses on middle schoolers because, it says, half of students who drop out do so right after middle school. Moreover, it says, students in communities served by Higher Achievement are 10 times more likely to drop out of high school than are their peers in more affluent areas.

Learn more about Higher Achievement.

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Study-abroad students take a tour of Aberdeen’s Town House

Aberdeen 2016

Catherine Moore, coordinator of international law programs, sends news from Scotland, where 14 University of Baltimore law students are taking part in the annual study-abroad summer program in Aberdeen.

The students toured the city’s Town House with John M. Reynolds (center-right, in tie), the deputy provost for the City of Aberdeen and a councillor in the Aberdeen City Council. He was the Lord Provost of the City of Aberdeen from 2003-07.

The City Council meets at the Town House, whose tower is a major landmark in the city in northeastern Scotland.

In addition to the UB participants, eight students from other U.S. law schools are taking part in the program, including one student from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

The program provides students with insight into the laws of another country, a new perspective on the American legal system, and a look at the challenges of representing clients in a global economy. Courses are taught by University of Baltimore and University of Maryland law faculty, along with members of the University of Aberdeen law faculty.

This year the program runs from July 11 to Aug. 5.

Click here to learn more about the Aberdeen study-abroad program and here to learn about UB’s Center for International and Comparative Law.

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Green on the brightening employment outlook for law grads

Assistant Dean for Law Placement Jill Green

Assistant Dean of Law Career Development Jill Green

Assistant Dean of Law Career Development Jill Green, J.D. ’94, spoke with The Daily Record for a July 20 story, “Employment prospects improve for Md.’s law school grads.”

The percentage of Maryland law graduates who found jobs requiring bar passage edged up slightly this year to 58 percent, compared to 62.4 percent nationwide. Meanwhile, the percentage of unemployed grads seeking work has declined, with 4.9 percent of last year’s UB School of Law grads and 6.3 percent of graduates of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in that category, the newspaper reported. The national average is 9.7 percent, it said.

Roughly a quarter of UB and Maryland law graduates found “J.D. advantage” jobs, positions for which bar passage is not required. Nationwide, less than 14 percent of employed 2015 grads held such positions, according to The Daily Record.

Green and Donald Tobin, dean of the University of Maryland law school, both said they expected the trend to continue because a large percentage of law students do not plan to practice law after commencement.

“The bar passage-required jobs, people want to call that the gold standard – but not everyone going to law school wants to take the bar or be a practicing attorney,” Green told the newspaper. “We have a population that’s coming to get the education because they want to advance in their career, particularly in the federal government, or they may want a law degree to go into business.”

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Koller urges action to promote ‘clean, authentic’ competition

Professor Dionne Koller

Professor Dionne Koller

In the wake of Russia’s athletic doping scandal, Professor Dionne Koller contributed an article to U.S. News & World Report urging the leaders of international sport to overhaul their governance structure and rules to “sincerely promote clean, authentic competition.”

On Monday, the World Anti-Doping Agency released a report about widespread, state-sponsored doping in Russia in at least 30 sports. The report concluded that Russia’s government was behind the doping and had orchestrated cover-ups. The agency has urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Russian athletes from the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

If Russians are banned from this summer’s games, it would be the first time athletes were not allowed to compete because of reasons related to sport. (Athletes have been banned in the past because of political transgressions by their countries.) The IOC is to make a decision in the coming days.

In “Five Ring Fraud” (July 20), Koller says “foot-dragging” by the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency over longstanding allegations of Russian doping occurred because the governing bodies do not have clear rules that would authorize an investigation into such claims.

“Without any standards for taking action in these situations, the IOC is seemingly making it up as it goes along – and the credibility of international sport is hanging in the balance,” writes Koller, the director of UB’s Center for Sport and the Law.

Koller also called on the IOC’s corporate partners — including NBC, Coca-Cola, General Electric, McDonald’s and Procter & Gamble – to hold the Olympic committee’s feet to the fire.

“By standing idly by and continuing to support an Olympic Movement that does not yet fully respect honest, clean competition, they – and we – are quickly becoming worldwide partners to fraud.”

Learn more about Professor Koller.

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Weich, Jaros comment as judge acquits officer in Gray case

Dean Ronald Weich and Professor David Jaros weighed in Monday morning with commentary as Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams handed down three verdicts of not guilty in the trial of Baltimore police Lt. Brian Rice.

Weich and LaMarr Darnell Shields, CEO of The Cambio Group, an education-based consulting organization, were interviewed by Tom Hall on WYPR’s Diane Rehm Show. Jaros was interviewed outside Courthouse East by WBAL-TV and The Baltimore Sun. He also spoke with The New York Times, among other news outlets.

Rice, the highest-ranked of the six officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray in April 2015, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Rice’s was the fourth case to go to trial. One earlier case ended in a hung jury and a mistrial; the other two were bench trials before Judge Williams, who acquitted both officers on all charges.

Asked by Hall what justice for Gray would look like, Weich said: “In my view, justice demands a process. It demands individualized consideration of the facts and the law that applies to each of these police officers, just as Freddie Gray and others deserve to be treated as individuals.”

Shields said that while the local community needed to understand the legal process, the legal community should also understand citizens’ frustration with the outcome of the cases so far.

“The folks in the city, it’s almost like we’re looking for a win,” he said. “There is this feeling of, Who’s going to fight for us? Even if we take it to the legal system, it still seems we’re not going to win.”

Responded Weich: “Let’s ask ourselves … where’s the win? Is there anything we can point to, some hopeful signs here?”

He enumerated a few: The $6.4 million civil award to Gray’s family, a new city police commissioner, the passage of Maryland’s Justice Reinvestment Act, a forthcoming new mayor and new City Council members and, finally, the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s investigation of the Baltimore Police Department.

“These are steps that I think are signs of accountability even in the absence of criminal convictions,” Weich said.

Jaros, who observed the trial, said the not-guilty verdicts were no surprise.

“I think we were expecting this,” he said in the WBAL-TV interview. “There was not a great deal of different evidence than what we’ve seen in the past.”

Jaros told The Sun that prosecutors are “going to have to step back and reassess their evidence” against the officers still awaiting trial.

Officer Garrett Miller’s trial is set to begin July 27. Officer William Porter, whose first trial ended in a hung jury, is to be retried beginning Sept. 6. Officer Alicia White’s trial is to start Oct. 13.

Learn more about Dean Weich and Professor Jaros.

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Barrett King is first man to lead board of Women’s Law Center

Barrett R. King, J.D. '06

Barrett R. King, J.D. ’06

University of Baltimore School of Law alumnus Barrett R. King, J.D. ’06, has been named president of the board of directors of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland. He succeeds Kelly Powers, J.D. ’06.

King is the first man to act as president of the board in the 45-year history of the Women’s Law Center.

“This position is an honor for me because so many friends, mentors, classmates and icons of the legal community held this position before me and ultimately believed I could be the right person, at this time, for the job,” King said in a news release announcing the law center’s new officers.”This presents an opportunity for the Women’s Law Center to show its members, clients and the public that women’s rights are not a women-only issue.”

King has been affiliated with the Women’s Law Center for more than 10 years, first as the co-founder of Students Supporting the Women’s Law Center at the UB School of Law and, starting in 2012, as a member of the center’s board. He has served as the chair of the board’s Judicial Selections Committee and, most recently, as vice president.

King practices law with King Hall LLC in Ellicott City, where he focuses on guardianship, estate planning and administration, estate and tax litigation, elder law and business law.

Powers is a principal in Miles & Stockbridge’s Family Law and Private Client Group. Her practice focuses on international child abduction matters, custody, child support and protection from domestic violence, among other areas.

Sandy Daniels is the new vice president of the Women’s Law Center board of directors and Gina Snee is the new treasurer. Snee received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Baltimore in 1995.

The new officers began two-year terms on July 1.

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UB-Kennedy Krieger initiative helps meet unique legal needs

From left: Professor Angela Vallario, Maureen van Stone and UB law students Kelly Mccrea, Sarah Bordner, Brittany Strickland, Meghan Meyer, Robert Mitchel, Christopher Stock and Suraj Vyas.

From left: Professor Angela Vallario, Maureen van Stone and UB law students Kelly Mccrea, Sarah Bordner, Brittany Strickland, Meghan Meyer, Robert Mitchel, Christopher Stock and Suraj Vyas.

The University of Baltimore Foundation announced this week that it has awarded a $20,000 Fund for Excellence grant to a new joint initiative of the UB School of Law and the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD).

The program brings together UB law students, volunteer attorneys, Kennedy Krieger students and family members of young adult patients who, due to neurodevelopmental conditions and other disorders of the brain, have unique legal needs.

Professor Angela Vallario, J.D. ’91, who teaches estate and trust law, met with MCDD’s Maureen van Stone to launch the initiative. Vallario recruited several former students who are now practicing law and assigned each attorney two law students.

An April event kicked off the project and featured a presentation by Vallario and Louise Michaux Gonzales, a special-needs attorney with Hylton & Gonzales. Afterward, the pro-bono lawyers, with help from the law students, drew up powers of attorney and/or advance medical directives for several relatives of Kennedy Krieger patients.

Among the pro-bono lawyers was Jennifer Brennan, J.D. ‘15, an elder law attorney with Alisa K. Chernack LLC. Chernack is a 1991 graduate of the UB School of Law.

Brennan helped the stepmother of a Kennedy Krieger patient with a major brain injury. The stepmother spoke only Spanish and didn’t have legal authority to make medical decisions for her stepdaughter. Brennan, who speaks Spanish, worked with two UB law students to create an advance medical directive and a power of attorney for the stepmother.

The pro-bono lawyers and law students will also assist patients’ families with other public-benefits and estate-planning matters, such as wills and special-needs trusts.

A July 1 column in The Daily Record focuses on the UB-Kennedy Krieger initiative.

“I teach all UB Law students trusts and estates,” Vallario said in the column by Joe Surkiewicz. “I’m always thinking of ways to mesh service and education. In my classes, instead of hypotheticals, I bring in live people who get their wills done for free. But it’s hard to find sophisticated clients, and I want UB Law to be in a unique position.”

Kennedy Krieger annually provides clinical services to more than 21,000 patients, about 15 percent of whom are young adults with disabilities, Surkiewicz writes.

For more information, contact Professor Angela Vallario at avallario@ubalt.edu or 410-837-4619.

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