Law professor to be inducted into Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame

Friday, April 07, 2017

LAWRENCE – A University of Kansas law professor and former KU journalism dean will be inducted into the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame.

Mike Kautsch, a media law expert and one-time journalist who has long championed government transparency, will receive the award during the Kansas Press Association’s annual convention today, April 7, in Topeka.

“His service to the journalism profession is both wide and deep,” the association reported. “For KPA, he has served for years as a media law consultant. Whenever KPA has had a need for assistance, Mike has always been there, giving prompt and reasoned advice as KPA and others try to strengthen the state’s open government laws.”

Kautsch was instrumental in the drive to establish a reporter’s privilege in Kansas, working with state revisors of statutes, legislators, KPA staff and the state’s other media associations to pass that law in 2010. The shield law allows reporters to protect the identities of confidential sources without fear of prosecution.

After 18 years at the KU William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications, the final 10 spent as dean, Kautsch joined the KU law faculty in 1997 and launched the school’s Media, Law and Policy program. He continues to lead the program, now called Media, Law and Technology, writes about freedom of expression and freedom of information, and teaches courses such as Media and the First Amendment, Copyright Law and Digital Works, and Digital Privacy Rights in an Open Society. He has received a number of awards for teaching and advising KU students.

“I have felt privileged over the years to work with students and interact with KPA members and others who share my deep interest in the First Amendment and related areas of law,” Kautsch said.

Kautsch testifies before Kansas legislative committees on media-related bills, participates annually in planning and presenting a national Media and the Law Seminar in Kansas City and chairs the Media Bar Committee of the Kansas Bar Association. He is a charter member of the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government and served for six years as a gubernatorial appointee to the Kansas Humanities Council board of directors. He is routinely quoted by major news outlets covering media law issues.

An Omaha native, Kautsch holds degrees in journalism and law from the University of Iowa. He worked as a reporter at the Iowa City Press-Citizen and the Atlanta Journal prior to his career in higher education.

Kautsch and his wife, Elaine, live in Lawrence and have two grown children.

Former Wichita Eagle editor W. Davis “Buzz” Merritt Jr. will also be inducted.

KU law professor receives thrid law degree from KU

"Four more years of school after college. Passing the bar. Many would consider getting a law degree impressive. But how about getting three law degrees?

It seems University of Kansas law professor Bruce Hopkins can't get enough of learning the art of law.

...

'I had a number of times when students that I was either teaching, or had taught in the past,' Hopkins said, 'was now in class with them.'

Hopkins, who turns 76 next month, got his second law degree just a couple years after receiving his first, in the early 70s."

Law professor part of effort to improve international arbitration cases

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

LAWRENCE — In international arbitration cases, billions of dollars and the validity of government regulations can be at stake, so it is imperative parties are able to choose the best arbitrator to settle their disputes. A University of Kansas law professor is part of a project working to improve the information available to parties in such cases, making the process fairer and more efficient and increasing the diversity of people deciding international arbitration cases.

Christopher Drahozal, the John M. Rounds Professor of Law, is a member of the board of directors of Arbitrator Intelligence, Inc., also known as AI, an entity affiliated with Penn State University that aims to promote fairness, transparency and accountability in the arbitrator selection process. When disputes arise under international treaties, contracts and investment deals, the parties often choose to submit the dispute to arbitration, where an independent third-party rules on the case, instead of the traditional court system.

“Arbitration is different from litigation in court because in arbitration the parties pick the person who resolves their dispute (the arbitrator). But arbitration can become less fair if one party has better information about prospective arbitrators than the other,” Drahozal said. “AI seeks to equalize the information available to parties selecting arbitrators by collecting and disseminating feedback on how international arbitrators manage and decide cases.”

The centerpiece of AI’s innovation is the Arbitrator Intelligence Questionnaire, or AIQ. The AIQ is a questionnaire is designed to be administered to parties at the end of a case to collect information on how the arbitrator managed and decided the case. In February, AI posted the AIQ for public comment on its webpage, and the public comment period closed March 17. AI then will incorporate the feedback into a version of the AIQ it plans to make publicly available in June.

The AIQ is designed to gather unbiased information about the arbitrator by asking parties a series of specific, typically objective questions. AI will then make the information available to parties who are seeking to select arbitrators through AI Reports, which will be a substantial improvement over the current method of gathering information about prospective arbitrators, which is through ad hoc person-to-person phone calls.

“More, and more accurate, information will empower parties, counsel, institutions and even arbitrators, to make better-informed choices in selecting arbitrators and constituting tribunals,” said Catherine Rogers, professor at Penn State Law School and founder of Arbitrator Intelligence. “It will also reduce information asymmetries that undermine the fairness of arbitrator appointments and will facilitate greater diversity by allowing newer arbitrators meaningful opportunities to establish reputations based on their actual performance.”

AI will roll out the AIQ beginning in June with events in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Peru, Panama and Mexico. By beginning in locations other than the traditional centers of arbitration in Europe and the United States, the rollout plan reflects AI’s goal of increasing the diversity of international arbitrators, Drahozal said. A recent survey by Berwin Leighton Paisner on diversity in international arbitration found that 92 percent of respondents wanted more information about new and less well-known arbitrators, and 81 percent wanted to give feedback about arbitrators at the end of cases. The 2015 Queen Mary Survey found one of the worst characteristics about of the process was “lack of insight into arbitrators’ efficiency,” and a majority of responses about improving the process listed providing more information about arbitrators, how they are appointed and their decision making.

Multinational treaties, contracts, investment and other cases can have significant stakes, both financially for the parties involved and for everyday citizens. Improving the information available about the arbitrators who decide the cases can improve the process for all involved.

“There are literally billions of dollars at stake in these cases,” Drahozal said. “In international arbitration, it’s not just about the money, but government regulations can be at stake as well. Having better information about the arbitrators deciding these cases will be very beneficial.”

University alumna's run-in with the law brought her to run her own animal law practice

"The then-Shawnee resident Katie Barnett was at home when the police knocked on her door. They asked to see her dog. She was scared, but she was also pretty sure she hadn't broken the law.

...

Retired law professor William Westerbeke, who taught Barnett during her time at the University, said animal law is something of a novelty interest among law students. Although it’s possible to start a specialty practice, few people are able to carve a niche for themselves as Barnett has.

Judge Gorsuch grilled on possible conflicts of interest

"Judge Neil Gorsuch is facing questions about conflict of interest from senators on both sides of the aisle about nearly 1,000 cases the Supreme Court nominee recused himself from hearing during his time on the circuit court.

...

Lumen Mulligan, an associate dean at the University of Kansas School of Law, told The Washington Times that nearly 1,000 recusals is 'definitely more than average' in the 10th Circuit.

KU law professor receives third law degree from KU

Hopkins, who turns 76 next month, got his second law degree just a couple years after receiving his first, in the early 70s.

He’s been a nonprofit lawyer his entire career, so he went back for a couple credits in tax law—and ended up getting a second degree. Hopkins says he never needed the extra second or third degrees. For him it was just the love of the law and accomplishing something.

Is Trump Raj Trade Policy Narcissistic Populism?

Populism may be defined – and is, by none other than Pope Francis – as the use of the people for political purposes. It is utilitarian: the masses are an instrument to advance policy goals. When the goals are about a politician himself (it usually is a guy), or when he declares himself indispensable, then populism becomes narcissistic. So, “Narcissistic Populism” is mass manipulation to promote both the policies and power of one man.

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