Support UB Students for Public Interest

1The University of Baltimore Students for Public Interest (UBSPI) holds an annual auction that raises money for stipends to help UB law students working for public-interest organizations over the summer. Last year, the auction raised enough to cover 14 stipends.

As the 24th Annual Public Interest Gala & Auction approaches, we will share testimonials from students who have benefited from the generosity of UBSPI donors.

Every donation to UBSPI supports not just our students but also the important work they do to advance social justice in the Baltimore region.

Please join the University of Baltimore community in supporting this worthy endeavor by making a cash donation or by attending the auction on Friday, Feb. 23.

Harry Snoots, 2L
Mid-Shore Pro Bono (MSPB)

“While working with Mid-Shore Pro Bono (MSPB), I was able to interact with clients who needed help in areas such as elder law, consumer protection, foreclosure prevention, debtor assistance/collections and family law. I had the chance to watch attorneys at work in a variety of situations: I witnessed the creation of wills and powers of attorney for elderly and ailing clients; I sat in on an Orphan’s Court hearing on an estate dispute; I observed the interactions between a family law attorney and parties to custody disputes and divorce; and I listened in on several phone calls by a general practice attorney who answered questions on topics ranging from contracts and employment to tax sale and landlord-tenant disputes. I also helped create a guidebook by The People’s Law Library for clients in family law cases to represent themselves pro se in three of the five counties served by MSPB.”

2The annual event — which features a live auction, a silent auction and a raffle — will take place Friday, Feb. 23 at the John and Frances Angelos Law Center. Food and drink will be provided and attire is cocktail-formal.

Student tickets are $20. General admission tickets are $30 until Feb. 9 and $40 thereafter. Order tickets here or click on the image.

Contact Michelle Junot ( for more information.

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Dynamic duo: Tax Moot Court team receives ‘glowing praise’

Tax team 2018 II

Tax Moot Court Team members (from left) Dara Polakoff and Selena Qian

Professor Fred Brown reports that the UB Tax Moot Court Team finished in fourth place in the oral argument portion of the 2018 National Tax Moot Court Competition held last weekend in Saint Pete Beach, Fla.

Brown said team members Dara Polakoff and Selena Qian performed “wonderfully” throughout the competition and received “glowing praise” from the judges for their knowledge of the law and facts, creative arguments, responsiveness to questions, clarity, speaking technique, poise and persuasiveness.

Said Brown: “After advancing to the quarterfinals, the UB team qualified for the semifinals with a resounding win against LSU. In a splendidly argued semifinal match against the University of Alabama, UB was defeated in a split decision among the judges. UB then faced the University of Oregon in the consolation round, [which was] argued before U.S. Tax Court judges, where the UB team was defeated in another split decision and finished in fourth place out of 11 teams.”

Continued Brown: “Dara and Selena displayed tremendous diligence and determination during the competition and in the months of research, writing and preparation leading up to it.”

He also noted that Polakoff and Qian argued more times than any other team in the competition, yet most of the other teams – including the top three – had three members.

This was the second time Qian argued in the National Tax Moot Court Competition semifinals and consolation round. During her two years on the team, Qian argued in 11 matches — a UB record, Brown said.

Learn about Professor Fred Brown and the Graduate Tax Program, which he directs.

Learn about UB’s Moot Court program.

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Law schools, MVLS offer help to people who owe back taxes

The University of Baltimore School of Law, with the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, will offer a free program on Saturday, March 3 to help Marylanders who make less than $14.50 an hour and owe back taxes.

The “Offer in Compromise” program allows taxpayers to offer the Internal Revenue Service an amount they can afford to pay in exchange for the IRS’s dropping the amount owed in back taxes. The amount actually paid is decided based on each individual’s financial situation, as well as on other circumstances, according to an article in The Daily Record.

John Snyder III, the director of UB’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, and the director of the University of Maryland’s tax clinic will give a joint presentation to the taxpayers before student-attorneys from the two law schools meet with taxpayers individually.

Attendees must register in advance and have an annual household income of less than $54,000. 

Saturday, March 3, 2018
10 a.m. to 12 noon
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service
201 N. Charles St., Suite 1400
Baltimore, MD 21201

To register, call Janice Shih at MVLS at 443-541-4061.

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14 evening students inducted into law school’s honor society

PHOTO -- Shannon House Program 1-30-2018_Page_1Fourteen evening students were inducted last week into the Royal Graham Shannonhouse III Honor Society, which recognizes University of Baltimore School of Law students who have distinguished themselves academically after completing 32 credits.

Day students are inducted into the honor society in the fall. Fifty-one students were inducted in September 2017.

The minimum grade point average for induction is 3.15. Students who have achieved a GPA of 3.7 or higher are inducted as Distinguished Scholars.

The honor society is named after a longtime, and revered, UB law professor. In a July 2010 obituary in The Baltimore Sun, Shannonhouse was recalled as a “beloved taskmaster” who had a “profound influence on his fledgling law students.”

Alumnus Wilbur “Bill” Bolton, J.D. ‘73, a bankruptcy attorney in Harford County, was the guest speaker at the Jan. 30, 2018, evening induction ceremony.

Here are the most recent Shannonhouse inductees; an asterisk denotes a Distinguished Scholar:

Kimberly Andrews
Adrianne Blake
Bradley Clark
Erin Donohue
Valerie Glynn
Michael Hagan
Davida Harmon*
Andrew Harvey
Jeremy Hesselbein
Elizabeth McKelvy*
Rebekah Nickerson*
Joshua Perry*
Jeffrey Phipps*
Christopher Thibeault

Congratulations to you all!

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Juvenile Justice Project files amicus brief in Court of Appeals

Laurence M. Katz Professor of Law Jane Murphy reports that students and faculty in UB’s Juvenile Justice Project clinic filed an amicus curiae brief in the Maryland Court of Appeals in four cases challenging the life sentences of four people convicted of crimes as juveniles.

Read the amicus brief from the Juvenile Justice Project.

The Juvenile Justice Project joined the law schools at the University of Maryland and American University, as well as Philadelphia’s Juvenile Law Center and the ACLU of Maryland, in filing briefs that support the claim that life sentences with parole in Maryland are de facto life without parole sentences, since the governor must approve parole and has done so rarely in the last two decades.

The Court of Appeals’ decision in the cases may determine the fate of the almost 200 juvenile lifers in Maryland’s prisons, including several clients represented by the Juvenile Justice Project, Murphy said.

Oral argument is scheduled for Feb. 6 and a decision is expected in late spring.

Learn more about Professor Murphy and the Juvenile Justice Project.

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Feb. 5 talk kicks off ‘Poor People’s Campaign: 50 Years Later’

Poor People's Campaign flyerOn Monday, Feb. 5, author Gordon K. Mantler will give the first talk associated with UB’s new special topics course, “Poor People’s Campaign: 50 Years Later.”

Mantler, the author of Power to the Poor: Black-Brown Coalition and the Fight for Economic Justice, 1960-1974 (2015), is a former newspaper reporter who now teaches at George Washington University.

The lecture series will run from February through May in conjunction with the special topics course, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Poor People’s Campaign organized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The class will revisit the campaign’s themes of justice, freedom and jobs by examining homelessness, income inequality, voter suppression, addiction and other issues that affect marginalized people today.

Mantler’s lecture is free and open to all.

Monday, Feb. 5, 2018
5:30 p.m.
Mebane Turner Learning Commons
Town Hall
(1415 Maryland Ave., Baltimore, MD 21201)

Learn more about the course.

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Keyes: Limiting legal immigration spurs rise in illegal migration

Liz Keyes, low-res

Professor Elizabeth Keyes

Professor Elizabeth Keyes, director of UB’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, was interviewed by WalletHub as part of a project titled “Economic Impact of Immigration by State” (Jan. 30, 2018).

“Unfortunately, no,” was Keyes’s response when asked if the Trump administration’s immigration plan would reduce the rate of illegal immigration to the United States.

Said Keyes: “History has shown that reducing the paths to legal migration has the unintended consequence of increasing illegal migration. … When our immigration system does not fit the migration our country needs, illegal immigration is a predictable result.”

She also emphasized that people fleeing violence have the right to seek asylum in the United States – and that nothing the Trump administration proposes can change that right, which is laid out in the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Asked if the United States should tighten its legal immigration policies, Keyes said U.S. requirements are extremely tight as is: “It is intensely difficult to migrate to the United States already.”

Keyes added that while the U.S. immigration system does need an overhaul to catch up with 21st-century migration needs and interests, “doing so without deliberation would be dangerous, and tying the overhaul to unfounded, xenophobic rhetoric would be perilous.”

Read the interview here.

Learn more about Professor Keyes and the Immigrant Rights Clinic.

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