Professor: Arguments about debt, bankruptcy similar to onetime debtors prisons

Thursday, May 22, 2014

LAWRENCE — When it comes to debt and bankruptcy, some things never change. While people are no longer imprisoned for failing to pay their debts as England did a century ago, a new article by a University of Kansas law professor shows that the key arguments about enforcing debts or relieving them in bankruptcy have changed very little since then.

Stephen Ware, professor of law, has authored “A 20th Century Debate About Imprisonment for Debt,” which explores the parliamentary debate in England circa 1909 about whether to continue imprisoning debtors and notes how current debates about consumer debt in the United States rest on some very similar arguments. The article will be published by the American Journal of Legal History.

“Many people who settled in the 13 colonies that became the United States were fleeing debts in England, so it’s no surprise that the U.S. ended debtors’ prisons long before England, which continued to use them well into the 20th century,” Ware said. 

While the United States has done away with debtors’ prisons, many parallels exist today. For example, debtors who lose lawsuits can be ordered by courts to appear in person to answer questions about their income and assets. If debtors fail to appear at that time and place, they can be held in contempt of court, and an arrest warrant will be issued. The debtor can stop the arrest by agreeing to a payment plan, but if the debtor again misses payments, he or she may be arrested.

“While technically jailed for contempt of court, not the underlying debt, that distinction may be lost on a struggling debtor who cannot afford a lawyer to explain it and advocate for the debtor,” Ware said.

More fundamental parallels connect the England Ware studied with the United States of today. Then and now, when unpaid creditors win a lawsuit, they don’t actually receive money but simply have a legal document (judgment) stating they are owed money. In order to receive payment, some sort of additional pressure on the debtor is often required.

“But what types of pressure should the law permit, and when should debtors be relieved of that pressure by filing for bankruptcy? Those are the perennial questions,” said Ware, who has taught debt-collection and bankruptcy law for more than 15 years.

Today that pressure on judgment debtors often takes the form of wage garnishment. States have varying restrictions on how much, if any, of a person’s wages may be garnished, and there is a federal limit on how much can be withheld as well. Bankruptcy usually ends garnishment and other forms of debt-collection pressure, Ware said, so about 1 million debtors a year file for bankruptcy in the United States. Bankruptcy relief was much less generous in early 20th century England, according to Ware’s article.

In both 1909 England and the United States today, some argue that a typical debtor’s wages and assets should be protected from the collection efforts of creditors, especially those whose business practices seem designed to exploit unsophisticated or desperate borrowers. In contrast, the other side in this perennial debate argues that reducing the pressure on debtors to pay increases lenders’ losses from bad loans and thus makes them less likely to lend to borrowers who lack valuable collateral or strong payment histories.

“Easily available credit for low- and moderate-income borrowers was the key issue in England a century ago and is still central in today’s consumer debt and bankruptcy debates,” Ware said. “In every era, it seems, some argue that a plentiful supply of consumer credit lowers interest rates and helps people borrow in ways that improve their lives, while others argue that it tempts people to live beyond their means — with bad results not just for those debtors unable to pay but also for their families and society as a whole.”

These recurring issues appear in several of Ware’s classes, including bankruptcy and consumer law. While bankruptcy law focuses on relief for those unable to pay their debts, “consumer law generally tries to protect people from incurring too much debt — or the wrong kinds of debt — in the first place,” Ware said.

Consumer law is changing rapidly as a new federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, considers new regulations on several aspects of consumer credit agreements, including consumer arbitration, a topic on which Ware has testified before both houses of Congress and as an expert witness in court.

Consumer credit agreements are now influenced by far more complex regulation and technology than existed in the era of English debtors’ prisons, when credit was usually extended by a local merchant who knew the borrower personally. Today’s credit bureaus electronically track billions of transactions a year and assemble the data on each consumer in detailed reports available to lenders thousands of miles away who allow consumers to apply for credit online.

While more complex regulation and technology create new issues for lawyers, Ware emphasizes that the basic policy questions for lawmakers remain largely the same as they were generations ago.

“Usury law and other regulations of consumer credit agreements have been with us for centuries, and they raise very deep, timeless questions about human nature,” Ware said. “When are people suited to deciding for themselves which legally binding agreements to make, and when do they need lawmakers to restrict their choices so risky options are off the menu? And if lawmakers prohibit certain credit agreements as too risky, does that reduce bad loans or just drive them to a black market?”

Law school honors top graduates for scholarship, leadership and service

Friday, May 23, 2014

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Law honored Class of 2014 graduates at a hooding ceremony May 17. During the ceremony, seven students received awards for distinguishing themselves in scholarship, leadership and service to the law school and the community.

The recipients:

  • Xavier Andrews, Kansas City, Missouri, Justice Lloyd Kagey Leadership Award
  • David Barclay, Andover, Class of 1949 Leadership Award
  • Kate Marples, Lawrence and Dodge City, Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership and Service Award
  • Amanda Marshall, Goddard, Robert F. Bennett Award
  • Peter Montecuollo, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award
  • Whitney Novak, Shawnee, Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement
  • Jacob Wamego, Mayetta, Janean Meigs Memorial Award

Banner carrier Paul Cassat, Overland Park, was also recognized during the ceremony. The banner carrier is a student who has excelled academically and who carries the highest grade-point average by the end of the fall semester in the third year of law study.

The award winners were part of a class composed of 119 recipients of the Juris Doctor, five Doctor of Juridical Science graduates and two Master of Laws in American Legal Studies graduates.

Funds for the awards are managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Student award recipients are listed below by hometown.

David Barclay

BUTLER COUNTY
Andover 
David Barclay received the Class of 1949 Leadership Award, given to the student who has contributed most significantly to the overall experience of students in Green Hall. Barclay revived the American Constitution Society chapter at KU Law and served as its president. He was a prestigious Shook, Hardy & Bacon Scholar, assisting students in the first-year class to develop sound study habits and strong analytical skills. Barclay was one of four finalists in the 2013 In-House Moot Court Competition and served on the Moot Court Council. He also served as one of two student members of the faculty Curriculum Reform Committee, helped legal writing students as a teaching assistant and was an articles editor for the Kansas Law Review. Barclay is the son of Joanne and Andrew Barclay and a graduate of Andover High School and KU.

Kate Marples

DOUGLAS AND FORD COUNTIES
Lawrence, Dodge City 
Kate Marples received the Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership and Service Award, given to the graduate who has most distinguished him or herself in the combined areas of scholarship, leadership and service. As symposium editor for the Kansas Law Review, Marples organized a sold-out conference on “Waters of the United States: Adapting Law for Degradation and Drought.” She served as the student director of the Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies, a Dean’s Fellow and a Shook, Hardy & Bacon Scholar. A member of the Moot Court Council, Marples’ team advanced to the semi-final round of a national environmental law moot court competition. She served as a teaching assistant in the Lawyering Program and as a student member of both the faculty Curriculum Reform Committee and the Academic Committee. During law school, Marples volunteered at the Lawrence Homeless Shelter and through Family Promise. She also helped coach the KU Crew team. In April, she received a campuswide Sustainability Leadership Award. Marples has conducted all of this service to the law school and the community while maintaining an academic ranking in the top 10 percent of her class. Marples is the daughter of Doug and Jane Marples and a graduate of Dodge City High School and KU. 

Jacob Wamego

JACKSON COUNTY
From Mayetta 
Jacob Wamego received the Janean Meigs Memorial Award, given to the student who has demonstrated a caring spirit in service to the students of the law school or the community at large. Wamego was instrumental in rebuilding the Native American Law Students Association into a thriving organization. He served as president of the organization in both his second and third years, and he helped organize the 2013 Diversity in Law Banquet. He brought speakers of national prominence to KU Law to give presentations to students and played a substantial role in organizing and administering the Tribal Law and Government Center’s annual conference in 2012, 2013 and 2014 – including taking on a speaking role in 2013. Wamego competed in the 2014 National NALSA moot court competition, raised money to send NALSA members to Federal Bar Association Indian Law conferences and helped the law school in recruiting well-qualified Native American students. He was recently elected to serve in the National NALSA organization. Wamego is the son of Lisa Wamego and a graduate of Royal Valley High School and Washburn University.

Whitney Novak

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Shawnee 
Whitney Novak received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement, which goes to the graduating student selected by the faculty as having made the most significant contribution toward overall legal scholarship. She served as executive note and comment editor for the Kansas Law Review. Her note “Blood Over Bond? A Call to Define Kansas’s Requirements for Biological Fathers to Retain Parental Rights” was published in Volume 61. A member of the Moot Court Council, she was part of the team that received best brief honors in the 2013 In-House Moot Court Competition. She was a Shook, Hardy & Bacon Scholar, helping first-year students improve their study habits, analytical skills and test scores. Novak was among the students at the very top of the 2014 graduating class based on grade-point average. She is the daughter of Joe and Dena Novak and a graduate of Mill Valley High School and KU.

Amanda Marshall

SEDGWICK COUNTY
From Goddard 
Amanda Marshall received the Robert F. Bennett Award, recognizing a graduate whose undergraduate degree is from a Kansas university or college and who has demonstrated leadership qualities through public service. As symposium editor for the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy, Marshall organized a highly successful symposium titled “Preventing the Ghost Town: What Rural Communities Need to Do to Survive in the Modern Economy.” She brought nationally recognized speakers to KU Law, attracting a full house of attendees. She also served as a Westlaw representative and is a member of the Kansas Bar Association’s Diversity Committee. Marshall is the daughter of Doug and Sheryl Stanley and a graduate of Bishop Carroll High School and Newman University.

Xavier Andrews

MISSOURI
From Kansas City 
Xavier Andrews received the Justice Lloyd Kagey Leadership Award, given to the graduate who has most distinguished him or herself through leadership in the law school. Andrews served as president of the Black Law Students Association. In that position, he played a key role in organizing Thurgood Marshall Law Day, during which high school students from Kansas City traveled to the law school for a day of legal education and mentorship, and he directed the yearly BLSA Thanksgiving food drive for members of the Lawrence community who lack the means to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast.  He served as a judge on KU’s Traffic Court and was the business manager for the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy. He was a member of the Moot Court Council. He served as an intern at the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office, where under proper supervision, he prosecuted criminal cases before juries. He recently accepted an offer to join the office on a permanent basis as an assistant district attorney. Andrews is the son of Felecia Andrews and a graduate of Hickman Mills High School and Missouri Western State University.

Peter Montecuollo

SOUTH DAKOTA
From Sioux Falls 
Peter Montecuollo received the Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award, given to the graduate whose service to his or her fellow students demonstrates the greatest promise for contribution to the legal profession and society. Montecuollo served as a teaching assistant in the legal writing program, providing both substantive help to first-year law students and general advice on sound writing and study habits, and as a mentor, helping many of his student peers prepare for job interviews, exams and with their scholarship for the Kansas Law Review. He served as a note and comment editor on the Law Review. His note, “Making the Best of an Imperfect World:  An Argument in Favor of Judicial Discretion to Reduce Section 1927 Sanction Awards,” was published in Volume 62. Montecuollo is the son of Larry and Dee Werner and a graduate of Lincoln Senior High School (Sioux Falls), Minnesota State University Moorhead and KU.

Professor: Free-trade agreement hampered by lack of transparency

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

LAWRENCE — The Trans-Pacific Partnership has the potential to be the most economically and politically significant free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region, but it is being hindered by a nontransparent drafting process and perceptions of favoring American corporate interests over poverty alleviation, according to a new article by a University of Kansas international trade law expert.

Raj Bhala, associate dean for International and Comparative Law and Rice Distinguished Professor at the School of Law, has authored “Trans-Pacific Partnership or Trampling Poor Partners? A Tentative Critical Review.” The article was published in the Manchester Journal of International Economic Law the same week President Barack Obama toured Asia discussing the agreement and other issues. The piece, listed in three different top-10, most-downloaded Social Science Research Resources Network categories, outlines problems that have stalled adoption of the agreement among the United States and 11 other nations that account for 40 percent of global gross domestic product.

“I didn’t start out seeking to criticize this agreement. I needed to be familiar with it to write the new edition of my next textbook and stay current in the classroom when teaching my students,” Bhala said. “As I learned more I became more skeptical and had more concerns. It became clear we are thinking too much about the wealthy elite, that our trade policy is ever-more corporatized, and we are also hearing these concerns from some of our closest friends and allies abroad.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, commonly known as TPP, was conceived in 2006 among four nations and has since expanded to 12. It is part of a growing trend among the U.S. and many other members of the World Trade Organization to form free-trade agreements, especially given the failure of the Doha Round to yield a comprehensive, ambitious and balanced multilateral deal. The U.S. alone has free-trade agreements with 20 nations, Korea, Colombia and Panama being the most recent.

One of the primary problems with the TPP is the lack of transparency in its drafting, Bhala said. Draft texts of free-trade agreements are generally made available to journalists and the public. Just two of the 29 TPP chapters were made available to the public. Those sections, addressing environmental and intellectual property law, only became so when they were leaked to WikiLeaks. Bhala’s scholarship draws from journalistic coverage of the leaked sections and analyses of domestic and foreign legal, governmental and nongovernmental organizations directly familiar with TPP talks.

American involvement in TPP makes economic sense, but also is driven by a strategic shift in focus from the seemingly easily troubled Middle East to the dynamic, entrepreneurial Asia-Pacific region, Bhala said. That strategic shift also means, if TPP takes effect, solidifying economic and political alliances to help contain China, even though the administration prefers not to make that admission. It is reminiscent of agreements the U.S. had with Western European nations to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Even if China ultimately joins TPP, the U.S. and its allies already will have written rules on key issues of importance to China, such as duty-free, quota-free treatment for almost all traded goods, services sector liberalization, the behavior of state-owned enterprises and rules of origin for textiles and apparel merchandise. TPP then will be a “take it or leave it” proposition for China.

“Bluntly put, TPP and the pivot toward Asia is certainly justified by economic and demographic realities and projections. But the biggest reason is containing China,” Bhala said. “And setting rules of a big regional trade club before China joins, if it ever does, thus constraining it to play by those rules.”

However, in writing TPP rules, the U.S. and its trading partners have had profound disagreements. The perception is that American demands are simply too harsh, lack empathy and overtly favor American corporate interests over the most pressing matter in the Asia-Pacific region: poverty alleviation for those earning less than a dollar a day, and economic security for the fragile new middle class earning between $2 and $20 a day.

Two examples are opening Japanese agricultural markets to more imports from the U.S. and the sourcing of fabric for Vietnamese textiles, that country’s biggest industry. There are also disagreements on making Japanese markets more open to American cars and significant disputes on intellectual property. In the case of the latter, patents for pharmaceuticals, such as HIV/AIDS medications, are especially contentious. While American interests push for longer patent protection for medications, data exclusivity and so-called “evergreening,” Southeast Asian countries and NGOs argue that doing so only protects bloated corporations and stifles innovation while locals continue to die.

Those arguments are just a few of the problems holding up successful conclusion of TPP. Despite the differences among negotiating parties and political backlog in Washington, D.C., that has hampered American trade influence, Bhala believes there is still a good chance the parties will resolve their differences and finalize the free-trade agreement. That could be a boon not only to the nations involved in the agreement, but also to students in KU Law’s international trade courses. KU Law grads are practicing in 18 countries, including several Asian nations involved in TPP. The agreement could present many more opportunities for them, Bhala said.

“Essentially, this free-trade agreement is born of failure at the WTO level and the strategic shift to Asia,” Bhala said. “It’s bogged down by political gridlock in D.C., and a potpourri of disagreements on ancient issues such as farming and 21st century issues such as intellectual property, and the U.S. cannot bully its way to get a deal. I’m optimistic the U.S. will appreciate that sometimes helping our trading partners in the short term helps American in the long term.”

Trio of jurists to receive law school’s Distinguished Alumni Award

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

LAWRENCE — Three University of Kansas School of Law alumni with distinguished careers in the judiciary and public service are set to receive the school’s highest honor.

Retired Kansas Supreme Court Justice Edward Larson, Judge Mary Murguia of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and Judge Julie Robinson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas will be honored with the law school’s Distinguished Alumni Award at an invitation-only ceremony Saturday, May 10, in Lawrence.

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Justice Edward Larson earned his KU law degree in 1960, then practiced law and served as a municipal judge in Hays. In 1987 he was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals and then tapped for the Kansas Supreme Court in 1995. He retired in 2002. In addition to his service on the bench, Larson served on the Kansas Board of Law Examiners, was president of the Kansas University Law Society, and served as a member of the Governor’s Committee on Children and Families and the Kansas Children’s Cabinet.

A former state and federal prosecutor, Judge Mary Murguia earned two bachelor’s degrees from KU in 1982 and her law degree in 1985. She began her legal career with the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office in Kansas City, Kansas. From 1990 to 2000, Murguia served in various prosecutorial and administrative roles in the District of Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. In 2000, President Clinton appointed Murguia a U.S. district judge for the District of Arizona. She was the first Latina on a federal bench for that district. In 2010, she was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit by President Obama. Murguia also served on KU Law’s Board of Governors and is a founding member of the law school’s Women’s Advisory Council.​

Judge Julie Robinson earned a bachelor’s in journalism at KU in 1978 and her law degree in 1981. Following law school, she clerked for Chief Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin E. Franklin and then served as an assistant U.S. attorney for 11 years, handling both civil litigation and criminal prosecutions. She served as a U.S. bankruptcy judge from 1994 to 2001, when she was appointed by President George W. Bush to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. Robinson was the first African-American woman to serve on that court. She is past-president of the KU Law Board of Governors and has taught Trial Advocacy as an adjunct professor at KU Law. Robinson is a trustee of the Saint Paul School of Theology, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a commissioner of the U.S. Supreme Court Fellow program and was recently appointed to the board of trustees of the American Inns of Court.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to KU School of Law graduates who have distinguished themselves through exemplary service to the legal profession, their communities, the university, and the state or country. Since 1964, the school has honored 71 alumni “whose lives have benefited the community and whose noteworthy contributions throughout the year have brought honor to the School of Law.”

View previous Distinguished Alumni Award recipients on the law school’s website.

New recipients of the James Woods Green Medallion, named in honor of the law school’s first dean, will also be recognized at the ceremony. The school presents medallions to its major financial contributors. This year’s honorees include Terry Arthur, Class of 1969, and Virginia Thomas Arthur; Chevron Products Company; Mark M. Deatherage, Class of 1985; Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch; David J. Gottlieb and Rita Sloan Gottlieb; Frederick B. Gould, Class of 1989, and Julie Pigott Gould; John W. Head and Lucia Orth Head; Harry H. Herington Jr., Class of 1993, and Cindy Herington; Leon and Lee T. Karelitz Trust; Kansas Women Attorneys Association;  Lucy E. Mason, Class of 1992, and Cris Sena; Madeleine M. McDonough, Class of 1990; Omer G. Voss Jr; Wagstaff & Cartmell LLP; Martha S. Warren, Class of 1987; and Perry D. Warren, Class of 1973, and Janet Beebe Warren.

Chancellor to present national science advocacy award to U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, L'82

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

LAWRENCE — U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran will receive a national award for his support of science research at 9:30 a.m. Monday, April 14, at the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas.

Sen. Moran will receive the Champion of Science Award from the Science Coalition, a nonprofit organization of more than 50 of the nation’s top research universities, including KU. The award recognizes members of Congress for their support of science research conducted at universities and national labs across the country.

The senator will be presented the award by KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little on behalf of the Science Coalition. The chancellor and senator will be joined by a special guest, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, who will deliver keynote remarks at the event.

"Senator Moran understands the importance of federal investment in research and development, and he has been a strong advocate for the value of university research and the benefits it has for science and the economy,” Gray-Little said. “He is deserving of this award, and we’re honored for the opportunity to present it to him here at KU.

“In addition, it’s a tremendous honor for us to welcome Dr. Collins,” she said. “The NIH is the largest biomedical research organization in the world and a strong supporter of KU research, so we’re delighted for the chance to host the director.”

Moran is the second Kansas lawmaker to receive the Champion of Science Award. Thirty-five current members of Congress have received the award. Examples of Moran’s support of scientific research are listed in his award nomination.

Moran is hosting Collins throughout the day to highlight biomedical and bioscience initiatives in Kansas. Prior to the award ceremony, the chancellor and Moran will host Collins at a presentation of Kansas’ NIH Institutional Development Award program, which is designed to broaden the geographic distribution of NIH support for biomedical research by fostering research in states that have historically been underrepresented in NIH research participation. Kansas universities that have been invited to participate in this presentation include KU, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University, Wichita State University and Washburn University.

Following the award ceremony, Moran and Collins will travel to KU Medical Center to meet with various Medical Center officials.

The NIH is a major source of biomedical research funding at KU. In Fiscal Year 2013, there were 601 NIH-funded projects at KU, totaling $103 million in expenditures. The NIH is home to the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Aging, which have granted national designation to the KU Cancer Center and the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

PUBLIC ACCESS: The award ceremony is open to the public, but seating is limited, and RSVPs are required. RSVP with Emma Cornish at 785-864-7100 or ecornish@ku.edu.

MEDIA ACCESS: Media are invited to cover the award ceremony. Moran, Collins and Gray-Little will be available for interviews following the event at 10:45 a.m. For details, contact Joe Monaco at 785-864-7100 or jmonaco@ku.edu.

In addition, Moran and Collins will be available to media at 1:30 p.m. in the Hemenway Life Sciences Innovation Building at the KU Medical Center. For details, contact Donna Peck at 913-588-5956 or dpeck@kumc.edu.

Judge Julie Robinson, L'81, to receive 2014 Pioneer Woman award

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

LAWRENCE – The Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity at the University of Kansas will host the annual Women’s Recognition Banquet at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 10, in the Kansas Union Ballroom. The program, which recognizes outstanding women in the Kansas community, will induct six new members to the KU Women’s Hall of Fame and honor one KU graduate with the Pioneer Woman award.

In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees and the Pioneer Award recipient, 15 women will receive annual awards designed for students, staff, faculty, and alumnae who have enriched and improved the campus and community through their service, teaching for involvement.

The women’s recognition program is made possible not only by the Emily Taylor center, but also by the Commission of the Status of Women and the KU Office of Diversity & Equity.

Faculty and staff being honored include Outstanding Woman Educator Florence Reed, assistant professor of applied behavioral science and director of the Performance Management Laboratory; Outstanding Woman Staff Member Amy Long, associate director of the Student Involvement & Leadership Center; and Florence Boldridge, director of diversity and women’s engineering programs in the School of Engineering, who will receive the Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett Women Mentoring Women Award.

The 2014 Hall of Fame inductees include Dr. Kimberly Templeton, professor of orthopedic surgery; Barbara Timmermann, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry; the late Adele Hall, 2003 University of Kansas Honorary Alumna; Deborah Teeter, university director of the Office of Institutional Research and Planning; Neeli Bendapudi, dean of the KU School of Business; and Marily Harper Rhudy, principal, MHR consulting.

The 2014 Pioneer Woman award is received by the Honorable Julie Robinson, judge of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. A KU School of Law graduate, Robinson was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for 10 years before being appointed to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas. After serving eight years, President George W. Bush appointed Robinson as the first African-American woman to serve on the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. While serving as Assistant U.S. Attorney she taught trial practice courses to KU law students and later served on the KU School of Law Board of Governors. In addition to her service to the University, Robinson is a Kansas Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and has served on several committees of the Kansas Bar Association. Robinson’s colleagues agree that she “is a woman leader who has carried the banner of the crimson and blue with the humility and the highest standard of leadership.”

KU has inducted outstanding leaders into its Women’s Hall of Fame since 1970. The Women’s Hall of Fame is located at the fifth floor of the Kansas Memorial Union. Additional details about the KU Hall of Fame Inductees are as follows:

Dr. Kimberly Templeton, professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Kansas Medical Center: Following a fellowship in musculoskeletal oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Templeton began her professional career as an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at KU Medical Center. Templeton is the immediate past-president and was integral in the creation of the U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative Public Education Committee, which develops national education programs in areas of bone health and adolescent conditions. Templeton also worked with the Kansas Medical Society to create the Women Physicians Caucus, which provides a platform for women in medicine to learn from one another, network and grow in their profession. Templeton also is an at-large member for the National Board of Medical Practitioner and immediate past-president for the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts.

Barbara Timmermann, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, KU School of Pharmacy: In 1970, Timmermann received her bachelor's degree in biological sciences at the National University of Cordoba, Argentina. After moving to the United States, Timmerman completed her doctoral studies at the University of Texas-Austin in 1980. Timmermann joined the KU School of Pharmacy faculty as a distinguished professor and served as chair of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry from 2005 to 2012. She is currently the director of the NIH-funded Center for Cancer Experimental Therapeutics. She is internationally known and highly regarded for her research in bioprospecting and her commitment to social justice. Since coming to KU, Timmermann has brought in more than $20 million in research funding.

Adele Coryell Hall, philanthropist, 2003 Honorary Alumna. In 1977, after 24 years of committed service, Hall became the first woman president of the Heart of America United Way. Ten years later she created the Women’s Public Service Network with the help of community and business leaders to foster a forum for social issues affecting women. In 1999 she was one of 12 forward-thinking women who created The Central Exchange, a nonprofit organization for the personal and professional growth of women that fosters community service and business leadership by women. In 2003 she received the KU Distinguished Service Citation for her service to Kansas, her community and the university. Hall’s Family Foundation has donated millions of dollars to aid KU in the development of the Hall Center for the Humanities, KU Cancer Center and various campus buildings and programs.

Deborah Teeter, university director, KU Office of Institutional Research and Planning. Teeter graduated from KU in 1975 with a master's in business administration and soon after was named the director of the Office of Institutional Research and Planning. For the last 40 years Teeter has worked with university administrators to provide statistical tools for planning and educate about the usefulness of data in shaping departments. Her collaborative nature led to the growth of the Association of American Universities Data Exchange, a group that works to improve higher education through data and analysis. Mabel Rice, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing, said Teeter's contributions to the university “are out of sight of most people, but for those who have watched her in action, she is truly inspiring.”

Neeli Bendapudi, KU Dean and H.D. Price Professor of Business, School of Business: In 1987, Bendapudi received her master's of business administration and a bachelor's degree from Andhra University in India, then came to the United States to start her doctorate in marketing at KU. After teaching at Texas A&M and Ohio State University, Bendapudi returned to KU. In 2011, she was named the first female dean of the School of Business. Since 2011, Bendapudi raised more than $55 million for a new state-of-the-art business school, worked to instill social responsibility in business students by starting a program that pairs MBA students with Kansas nonprofit organizations and collaborated with university departments to increase the number of women in business. “The university is lucky to have such an articulate and enthusiastic representative,” said Ann Cudd, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Studies.

Marily Harper Rhudy, principal, MHR Consulting: After graduating in 1972 from the KU School of Pharmacy, Rhudy co-owned and operated three Topeka pharmacies for more than 20 years. She was the first female president of the Kansas Pharmacist Association and the first female chair of the American Pharmaceutical Association. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Rhudy as a Special White House Employee to serve as the pharmacist representative on the White House Health Professions Review Group, a part of the Clinton Health Care Reform. That same year she joined Wyeth Pharmaceuticals as director of Pharmacy Relations. Rhudy was soon named the first woman senior vice president for Global Corporate Affairs at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. In 2008, Rhudy left Wyeth and launched her own consulting practice. According to Gene Hotchkiss, senior associate dean of the School of Pharmacy, Rhudy has long been considered “the most influential woman in the pharmaceutical industry in the United States.”

Student honorees are as follows:

  • Megan Flanagan, Los Angeles, freshman, undecided major; Jameelah Jones, Conyers, Ga., graduate student in African and African-American studies; Sarah Maner, Lenexa, freshman in business marketing; and Hayley Tuggle, Topeka, freshman in biology; Alma Poehler Brook Memorial Award
  • Brianne Riley, Naperville, Ill., senior in community health, Outstanding Woman Student in Athletics
  • Hannah Sitz, Andover, senior in strategic communication and psychology, Outstanding Woman Student in Community Service
  • Leigh Loving, McPherson, junior in genetics, Outstanding Woman Student in Leadership
  • Kayla Sale, Olathe, junior in mathematics, Outstanding Woman Student in Partnership
  • Alyssa Ong, Penang, Malaysia, senior in finance and accounting, Outstanding International Woman Student
  • Ashlie Koehn, Burns, junior, environmental studies and Russian, East European and Eurasian studies, Outstanding Non-Traditional Woman Student
  • Jill Langlas, Wheaton, Ill., senior in mechanical engineering, Sally Mason Student in Science
  • Tina Woods, Galena, sophomore in secondary Spanish education and pre-law, Marlesa & Hannalesa Roney Student Success Mentor.

 

KU Law partners with India’s top law schools

Thursday, April 10, 2014

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Law recently added four prominent Indian law schools to its growing list of international partners. The National Academy of Legal Studies and Research in Hyderabad, the Government Law College in Mumbai, the Jindal Global Law School near New Delhi and the Indian Law Institute in New Delhi signed memoranda of understanding with KU Law, pledging to collaborate on research projects, scholarship opportunities and faculty and student exchanges.

Raj Bhala, associate dean for international and comparative law and Rice Distinguished Professor, signed the agreements on behalf of KU Law Dean Stephen Mazza during Bhala’s February-March lecture tour of India. Professors Balakista Reddy, Kishu Daswani, Sridhar Patnaik and Manoj Kumar Sinha at the four Indian law schools, respectively, were instrumental in establishing the partnerships.

“Simply put, KU Law is the first American law school with such an ambitious opening to India,” Bhala said, noting the institutions’ locations in India’s technology hub (Hyderabad), financial and Bollywood center (Bombay), and political capital (Delhi). “It would be like a non-American law school having arrangements with Stanford, NYU or Columbia, and Georgetown.”

The non-binding MOUs do not include financial obligations or administrative requirements, but they encourage interaction, program development and cross-marketing of degree programs, Bhala said. They also open up international career opportunities for graduates.

The Indian schools join KU Law’s existing partner universities in Australia, China, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, New Zealand and Turkey.

“KU is proud to have affiliations with law schools around the world,” Dean Stephen Mazza said. “I’m pleased that we now have affiliations with some of the finest law schools in India.”

The agreements bring new academic and clinical opportunities for KU Law faculty and students. For students, KU is developing an internship program with the Director General of Foreign Trade in Mumbai and the Mumbai Export Promotion Councils. The partnerships also build KU’s web of international legal contacts, a valuable networking tool for students and alumni.

“We look forward to welcoming law students from these institutions,” Mazza said. “They will bring a welcome perspective to the classroom. We hope these agreements will open up opportunities for KU students to practice in India.”

Already, faculty and students are engaging with India. Professor Jean Phillips is the first non-Indian appointed to the all-India Advisory Council of the Institute of Clinical Legal Education and Research. She will work with top-ranking Indian judges, lawyers and academics to shape clinical legal education in India. Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner is collaborating with prospective Muslim female lawyers and activists to provide contributions for an upcoming journal symposium. Mazza serves on the advisory board of the first tax law LL.M. program in Asia, established by partner Jindal Global Law School. Two second-year law students, Madeline Heeren and Aqmar Rahman, will intern this summer in New Delhi at one of India’s largest law firms.

In addition to brokering the agreements, Bhala gave 18 lectures during his tour. Topics ranged from international trade law to women’s issues in Islamic Law. Bhala also met with WTO negotiators from Bhutan, toured the High Courts of Mumbai and Delhi, visited a factory manufacturing pulleys and engaged in international trade and saw the museums and memorials of Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

Bhala’s visit comes just before Indian elections, during which all 543 seats in the Indian Parliament and the office of Prime Minister are up for grabs. An unprecedented 814 million people are expected to vote.

“India is the world’s largest free-market democracy and soon to be the world’s most populous nation,” Bhala said, noting its strategic importance to KU’s International and Comparative Law Program. “The Indian market is opening up. The barriers to entry for Jayhawk lawyers are coming down. Our partnerships ensure that KU Law is a player in global legal markets.”

 

Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic part of team developing model to prevent human trafficking

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

LAWRENCE — The success of Oscar-winning film “12 Years a Slave” has brought wide attention to the pre-Civil War memoir of Solomon Northup, a freeborn man who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., and sold into slavery for 12 years in Louisiana.

The 13th Amendment abolished slavery in 1865, but sadly pieces of Northup’s story still ring true today as human trafficking remains operating in a shadow of everyday life. A team of University of Kansas researchers is studying a myriad of issues surrounding trafficking and developing a prevention model with the goal it could one day apply both nationally and internationally.

“We’re working on an empirical model for assessing vulnerabilities within populations that can eventually lead to exploitation,” said Hannah Britton, director of ASHTI, the Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Initiative. “We’re looking at risk and protective factors and communities that can help people avoid exploitation.”

ASHTI in March launched its website, which will include preliminary research findings, said Britton, who is an associate professor of political science and women, gender and sexuality studies as well as director of the Center for International Political Analysis at KU’s Institute for Policy & Social Research, which houses ASHTI.

The launch of the website comes one year after Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and KU hosted the Kansas Conference on Slavery and Human Trafficking on campus.

Britton said development of the preventive model is based on research the team is still gathering in the Kansas City metropolitan area through working with a wide variety of groups, including service providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, churches, organizations that work on immigration rights or migrant labor, and English-language learning classes.

Modern-day slavery and human trafficking manifests itself in various ways, including providing forced labor or sexual exploitation. Research estimates tens of thousands of people are living in the United States in some type of modern-day slavery.

So far, the ASHTI team’s research has identified several factors that can leave people vulnerable to human trafficking. People who have a limited knowledge of the English language are typically at risk because they often aren’t educated on the legal rights they have or because they have a more difficult time navigating the legal system. Poverty is also a significant factor, although other risk factors affect people from middle- or upper-class families as well.

Instability in one’s family structure or home life can create a major risk for someone to become a victim of exploitation.

Britton said the group is also looking at protective factors that can help victims of human trafficking safely free themselves.

“Either they had a fairly good education, or they knew that’s a pathway out of exploitation,” she said. “Education is very helpful.”

Often labor rights groups and educational programs provide assistance or enough awareness for certain victims to realize they are being exploited for work or otherwise, Britton said.

The research team considers a preventive model a key to combating human trafficking alongside prosecution. While there have been high-profile cases about trafficking rings, it’s still a lucrative business within the informal economy and an international issue.

For example, among the populations in the Kansas City research project, while most victims are from the United States, researchers have identified people from other countries, such as Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Moldova, Ukraine, the Philippines and many former Soviet republics.

“I think we all know that demand pushes trafficking. It’s interesting to me how much our participants in the study talked about that. If they could get rid of the demand, there would not be this recruitment and this cultivation of potential trafficked persons,” Britton said. “So dealing with the demand for sex trafficking, dealing with the demand for a poorly paid workforce, those types of things are driving this. And that’s really hard to address.”

In addition to research, ASHTI addresses teaching and advocacy. This includes supporting a Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic at the KU School of Law, which is seeking to create the first anti-human trafficking legal clinic based on such a partnership. In December, the MLP Clinic was selected as a finalist in the first round of the Partnership for Freedom, a national competition seeking innovative ideas to better care for survivors of modern-day slavery.

Britton hopes the broad approach of KU’s involvement and momentum such as from the 2013 conference can help the ASHTI project spread its preventive model on an international level and put modern-day slavery and trafficking even more in the public eye.

“People can be trafficked in plain sight — literally in plain sight,” she said. “If you’re aware of it, you start to look for it.”

Middle East expert to discuss implications of regional unrest at KU lecture

Monday, March 24, 2014

LAWRENCE – An Israeli former senior official on Arab affairs will discuss current and future implications of turbulence in the Middle East during the 2014 Diplomat’s Forum lecture this week at the University of Kansas School of Law.

Avi Melamed, the Rosenzwog Fellow of Intelligence and Middle East Affairs for the Eisenhower Institute in Washington, D.C., will deliver a talk on “The Middle East: Winds of Change and Quicksand – The Arab Awakening, Israel and the Region” at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 27, at the Stinson Leonard Street LLP Lecture Hall, 104 Green Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow the event.    

“Decades of unrest and growing tensions have finally erupted in The Arab Awakening,” said Melamed, a former intelligence official. “The turbulence is rocking the Arab and Muslim world and generating changes across the region.”

Fluent in Arabic, Melamed is the founder and creator of Feenjan – Israel Speaks Arabic, a nonprofit initiative that presents contemporary Israeli society and culture to the Arab world in Arabic and serves as an online platform for Israelis and Arabs to discover and discuss issues of common interest.

Melamed has authored two books, “Separate and Unequal: Israel’s Rule in East Jerusalem” (Harvard University Press) and “Ubrusi,” a novel. He is a frequent guest on English and Arabic networks, including Al Jazeera, BBC Arabic and i24news.

The Diplomat’s Forum is the law school’s most prestigious annual international and comparative law event. Its aim is to provide a platform for an open sharing of thoughts on international law and relations and the United States through the perspective of a professional with notable diplomatic experience in the service of a foreign government.

Past speakers have included:

  • Sean Hagan, general counsel and director, Legal Department, International Monetary Fund, fall 2012.
  • Anthony Amunategui Abad, managing director, TA Trade Advisory Group, The Philippines, spring 2011.
  • Ambassador Liu Zhenmin, deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, People’s Republic of China, fall 2008.
  • Fawaz Al Alamy, deputy minister of commerce and industry and Chief World Trade Organization technical negotiator, Saudi Arabia, fall 2007.
  • Takao Shibata, consul general, Japan, spring 2007.
  • Robert Zischg, consul general, Austria, spring 2006.
  • Margriet Vonno, economic counselor, Royal Dutch Embassy, The Netherlands, fall 2003.

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