KU law students make honor roll for pro bono service

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

LAWRENCE – Ten University of Kansas School of Law students contributed nearly 600 hours of free legal services during the past year, earning a spot on KU Law’s inaugural Pro Bono Honor Roll.

Students prepared tax returns for low-income residents, interviewed and advised asylum seekers at a family detention center, and served as court advocates for victims of domestic violence seeking protection orders. 

“Participants in the Pro Bono Program had the opportunity not only to give back to individuals and communities in need of legal services, but also to gain hands-on legal experience that will help them become more effective and empathetic advocates,” said Meredith Schnug, associate director of KU’s Legal Aid Clinic.    

The following students completed 15 hours or more of pro bono service during the 2016-2017 academic year. Students are listed by name, graduation year and hometown:

  • Travis Freeman, 2017, Olathe
  • Brett Pollard, 2017, Leawood
  • Rachel Shannon, 2017, Hutchinson
  • Ramona Sole Suchomel, 2017, Asuncion, Paraguay
  • Patrick Sullivan, 2017, Wichita
  • Karly Weigel, 2017, Southlake, Texas
  • Samantha Yianitsas, 2018, Industry, Texas
  • Karlee Canaday, 2019, Manhattan
  • Davide Iacobelli, 2019, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
  • Lauren Johannes, 2019, Overland Park

In addition, six students were honored at graduation with Pro Bono Distinction for having completed 50 hours or more of pro bono service throughout their law school career:

  • Travis Freeman
  • Brett Pollard
  • Ramona Sole Suchomel
  • Patrick Sullivan
  • Karly Weigel 
  • Shelley Woodard, 2017, Garden City

Graduate Travis Freeman volunteered at the South Texas Family Detention Center, helping women who were detained at the border – many with small children – with their asylum claims.

“Many of them had harrowing journeys, subjected to robbery, fraud, kidnapping, and physical and sexual violence. But they persevered,” Freeman said. “It was a humbling experience being brought to tears on a daily basis as they told me their stories.”

Other organizations that benefited from the students’ work include the Willow Domestic Violence Center, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, KU Athletics, Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Kansas Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, KU Traffic Court and the Kansas Long-Term Care Ombudsman Office.

KU law school’s moot court program continues top-20 national streak

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

KU Law's National NALSA Moot Court Competition team

LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas School of Law’s moot court program is 17th in the nation, according to rankings published this month by the University of Houston Law Center.

Led by several top-three national performances, KU Law students accumulated enough points to break into the top 20 for the second year in a row. Pamela Keller, clinical professor of law and lawyering skills director, helped advance KU Law's moot court program two spots above last year’s No. 19 ranking.

“This year every team in our program made it to what we call the ‘knockout’ rounds – the advanced rounds – of a national or international competition,” Keller said. "This means that every team performed at a very high level, which also means our students are ready to perform at a high level in actual legal practice. To have so many teams win awards, and to have our program be nationally ranked, is icing on the cake.”

Accumulating the most points toward KU’s ranking was its performance at the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition in early March. Megan Carroll, Wichita, and Bill Madden, Topeka, placed second in the NNALSA competition. Carroll won the award for second-best oral advocate out of 128 competitors.

Other highlights from the 2016-2017 moot court season:

  • Ciara Malone, Overland Park, and Nikki Marcotte, Manhattan, placed second in the Wechsler First Amendment National Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C.
  • Ashley Billam, Olathe, and Sam LaRoque, Shawnee, won the regional round of the National Moot Court Competition in Topeka, then advanced to the Sweet 16 at the national rounds in New York City.
  • Will Easley, Overland Park, and Bill Madden, Topeka, took third place at the Federal Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall National Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C.
  • Chris Wolcott of Oakwood, Ohio, and Kyle Crane, Overland Park, advanced to the quarterfinals of the PACE National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in White Plains, New York.
  • CJ Boyd, Dallas, and Dalton Mott of Independence, Missouri, advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Tournament in San Diego, and Mott received the third-best oral advocate award.
  • Erica McCabe, Emporia, and Max McGraw and Kriston Guillot, both of Shawnee, advanced to the regional quarterfinals of the National Moot Court Competition in Topeka.
  • John Truong, Wichita; Joe Uhlman, Sedgwick; Bridget Brazil, Chanute: Kyle Klucas, Silver Lake; and Cecelia Crookston, Kansas City, Kansas; advanced to the regional quarterfinals of the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Denver.
  • Skyler Davenport, of Blue Springs, Missouri, and Nathan Kakazu, of Madison, Wisconsin, advanced to the regional semifinals of the ABA’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Hannah Schoeb and Cody Wood, both of Leawood, were quarterfinalists in the Williams Institute Moot Court Competition in Los Angeles.

Most KU Law students who compete in national tournaments were the top finishers in the school’s in-house moot court competition during their second year of law school. Competitions generally consist of writing an appellate brief and presenting a mock oral argument before an appellate court.

Photo: Megan Carroll, Wichita, and Bill Madden, Topeka, placed second in the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition. Carroll won the award for second-best oral advocate out of 128 competitors.

Law school honors 2017 graduates for scholarship, leadership and service

Thursday, May 25, 2017

LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas School of Law honored Class of 2017 graduates at a hooding ceremony May 13. During the ceremony, nine students received awards for distinguishing themselves in scholarship, leadership and service to the law school and to the community.

The recipients are:

  • Craig Boyd, Dallas, Texas, Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement
  • Hannah Brass, Wilmore, Justice Lloyd Kagey Leadership Award
  • Ethan Brown, Flower Mound, Texas, Janean Meigs Memorial Award
  • Tyler Childress, Coffeyville, Robert F. Bennett Award
  • Kriston Guillot, Shawnee, Janean Meigs Memorial Award
  • Beth Hanus, Elm Grove, Wisconsin, Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership and Service Award
  • Erica McCabe, Emporia, Class of 1949 Leadership Award
  • Matt Scarber, Tucson, Arizona, Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award
  • Cody Wood, Leawood, Class of 1949 Leadership Award

Hanus also served as the 2017 banner carrier, an honor bestowed upon an honor student who exemplifies excellence in his or her program.

The award winners were part of a class composed of 121 recipients of the Juris Doctor, as well as one Master of Laws in American Legal Studies and two Doctor of Juridical Science 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 1981, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Student award recipients are listed below by hometown.

Hannah Brass

From Wilmore
Hannah Brass received the Justice Lloyd Kagey Leadership Award, given to the graduate who has most distinguished him or herself through leadership in the law school. Brass served as editor-in-chief of the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy and a member of the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council. She is the daughter of Dave and Mindy Brass and a graduate of South Central High School and the University of Oklahoma.

Cody Wood

From Leawood
Cody Wood 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. Wood served as vice president of the International Law Society, a Dean’s Fellow and a KU Law Student Ambassador. He represented the law school in the KU Student Senate and served on the Student Bar Association Executive Board. Wood was also a member of the KU student chapter of the Federal Bar Association and Traffic Court. He is the son of Brian and Lorrie Wood and a graduate of Blue Valley North High School and the University of Kansas.

Kriston Guillot

From Shawnee
Kriston Guillot received the Janean Meigs Memorial Award, given to students who have demonstrated a caring spirit in service to the students of the law school or the community at large. An intern at the Douglas County Legal Aid Society and Legal Services for Students, Guillot served as president of the 3L class, a justice on Traffic Court, a KU Law Student Ambassador, and a member of both the Moot Court Council and the Black Law Students Association. He served as a teaching assistant for the course Lawyering Skills and was a member of the winning team in KU’s 2016 In-House Moot Court Competition. Guillot is the son of Kirby and Joyce Guillot and a graduate of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School and the University of Kansas. 

Erica McCabe

From Emporia
Erica McCabe 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. McCabe served as editor-in-chief of the Kansas Law Review and distinguished herself on several committees, including the Academic Affairs Committee and the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council. She also served as a Dean’s Fellow and a KU Law Student Ambassador, and she was a member of the winning team in KU’s 2016 In-House Moot Court Competition, receiving the award for Best Oral Advocate. McCabe is the daughter of Jennifer and Brenton Bennett and a graduate of Emporia High School, the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Tyler Childress

From Coffeyville
Tyler Childress 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. Childress served in leadership capacities for the KU Law Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council, the KU Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Group, the KU Student Senate, and the KU Law student division of the Federal Bar Association. He was a note and comment editor on the Kansas Law Review and vice president of OutLaws & Allies. Childress worked as a legal intern at the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office and prosecuted two jury trials during his third year of law school. He is the son of Tracey and Lisa Childress and a graduate of Field Kindley Memorial High School and the University of Kansas.

Matt Scarber

From Tucson
Matt Scarber 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. Scarber is known for standing up for causes he believes in and engaging in difficult, but important, conversations. He served as the president of KU Black Law Students Association and was a leader on the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council, along with supporting and assisting many other organizations at the University of Kansas and in the Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City communities. Scarber was a student finalist for KU’s inaugural Diversity Leadership Award. He is the son of Freddy and Lillie Scarber and a graduate of Cienega High School and the University of Arizona.

Craig Boyd

From Dallas
Craig Boyd 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. Boyd’s article, “Appraisal Arbitrage: Closing the Floodgates on Hedge Funds and Activist Shareholders,” was published in the Kansas Law Review and cited in a Vanderbilt Law Review article written by experts in the field. Boyd served as note and comment editor for the Kansas Law Review. Additionally, he was a member of a KU Transactional LawMeet team that reached the semifinals of the Southwest Regional Round and received the award for best buyer’s side draft agreement. Boyd served as a Dean’s Fellow and was a member of the KU team that reached the quarterfinals of the 2016 National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Tournament. Boyd resides in Lawrence with his wife, Sara. He is the son of Craig and Gina Boyd, and a graduate of Flower Mound High School and MidAmerica Nazarene University. 


Ethan Brown

From Flower Mound
Ethan Brown received the Janean Meigs Memorial Award, given to students who have demonstrated a caring spirit in service to the students of the law school or the community at large. Brown served as managing editor of the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy and as a KU Law Student Ambassador. He was a Dean’s Fellow, president of the Student Intellectual Property Law Association and vice president of the KU student chapter of the Federal Bar Association. He participated in KU’s Medical-Legal Partnership Field Placement Program at KUMC and worked through Kansas Legal Services to serve the elderly population as part of KU’s Elder Law Field Placement Program. Brown helped community members file taxes through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Brown is the son of Norman and Lori Brown and a graduate of Northern State University.

Beth Hanus

From Elm Grove
Beth Hanus received the Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership and Service Award, given to the graduate who has most distinguished himself or herself in the combined areas of scholarship, leadership and service. Hanus served as executive note and comment editor of the Kansas Law Review, overseeing each of the scholarly pieces written by fellow law students. Her comment, “Rape by Nonphysical Coercion: State v. Brooks” was published in volume 64. Hanus also served as a KU Law Student Ambassador and a student member of the Academic Affairs Committee. She was a teaching assistant for the Lawyering Skills course and served on the executive board of Women in Law and as a member of the Business and Tax Law Society. Hanus graduated at the top of her class. She is the daughter of Susan and Michael Hanus and a graduate of Brookfield East High School and Macalester College. 

Law school alumnae selected for KU Women's Hall of Fame

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

LAWRENCE — Since 1970, the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity has honored a select group of women to be inducted into the University of Kansas Women’s Hall of Fame. It honors and celebrates KU’s rich legacy of phenomenal women.

“These women are exemplary members of society in both overall impact and outstanding character,” said Kathy Rose-Mockry, the center’s director. “This year’s inductees are leaders and trailblazers in their respective fields, reminding us of the importance of women’s voices, contributions and courage in bringing about change in our world.  The influence of their numerous contributions and achievements is immeasurable, and these women serve as awe-inspiring role models for all of us.”

This year’s inductees include Sarah Deer, Terry Hoyt Evans, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, Saralyn Reece Hardy, Colleen McCain Nelson and Jan Bowen Sheldon

In addition, the center recognizes as the Pioneer Woman an exemplary Kansas woman who has made historic contributions of local or statewide significance. This year’s Pioneer Woman is the late journalist and civil rights activist Lucile Bluford, a KU graduate.

A celebration to honor the Women’s Hall of Fame inductees and Pioneer Woman recipient will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, in the Adams Alumni Center, followed by the Women’s Recognition Banquet at 6:30 p.m. in the Kansas Union Ballroom. Sign up for the banquet online.   

Sarah Deer is a scholar, activist and educator who, throughout her career, has centered the self-determination and dignity of survivors of violence with a focus on Native women. She will return to KU in fall 2017, joining the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies and the School of Public Affairs & Administration in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences as a professor. She is currently a professor of law at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a 2014 MacArthur Fellow and a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Her efforts were instrumental in the passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 and the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.  Deer received her bachelor’s and law degrees from KU.

Terry Hoyt Evans is a nationally renowned photographer, focusing on the Midwest and Great Plains, capturing the land and inhabitants while commenting on ecological and environmental issues of broad social and political importance. Her photography has been featured in museums across the country, including the National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Chicago Art Institute; the San Francisco Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Library of Congress; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the KU Spencer Museum of Art. She received an honorary degree from KU in 2016. Evans received her bachelor's degree from KU.

Bernadette Gray-Little is the chancellor at KU, serving in this role since 2009. She is the first woman and the first African-American to hold this post. She will be stepping down at the end of this academic year. She is a pre-eminent leader in higher education and a notable scholar and educator. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology at St. Louis University and served as executive associate provost, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, prior to coming to KU.  

Colleen McCain Nelson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former political reporter who has chronicled three presidential campaigns, is a strong voice and leader in the field of journalism and mass communications. She has served as a reporter for the Wichita Eagle, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Dallas Morning News and The Wall Street Journal, where she served as White House correspondent. She currently serves as vice president and editorial page editor for the Kansas City Star, where she shapes the newspaper’s voice and editorial agenda while fostering community conversations. Nelson received her bachelor’s degree from KU.

Saralyn Reece Hardy is the first Marilyn Stokstad Director of the Spencer Museum of Art. Recognized as a national leader in her field, she served as director of the Salina Art Center and director of Museums and Visual Arts for the National Endowment for the Arts and has been involved at the national, regional and local levels in shaping the way in which art is presented, supported and disseminated, seeking new voices and perspectives. Among her many accomplishments, she has led a large-scale renovation of the Spencer. Hardy received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from KU. 

Jan Bowen Sheldon is a leader in advancing the quality of life for women and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and at-risk youths through her research, teaching, service provision and advocacy. She helped found Community Living Opportunities and developed the Truancy Prevention and Diversion Program in the Lawrence community. She also has served as the director of the Edna A. Hill Child Development Center. She is a professor in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science and is a courtesy professor of law. She has written numerous articles and publications that have influenced policy and practices in her field. Sheldon received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from KU.

Law professor develops big-data approach to patent value

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

LAWRENCE — Patents have long been used by inventors to protect their creations, but for just as long it has been exceedingly difficult to accurately determine the value of patents. Even today, to value a patent in a rigorous manner is expensive, requires the hiring of patent law and economics experts, and takes a long time.

A University of Kansas law professor and his University of Washington co-author have just published a study that offers a new and powerful method to evaluate patents, either individually or grouped together into gigantic portfolios. Their new approach, based on network and big-data analysis, can instantly determine which patents are the most important, whether overall, or by owner, inventor, attorney, patent examiner or technology. Doing so allows the authors to probe for answers to previously unanswerable questions about patent law, and their novel approach to “patent analytics” has the potential to open up a new area of legal study of patents, innovation, economics and policy.

Andrew Torrance, the Earl B. Schurtz Research Professor at the KU School of Law, and Jevin West, a professor at the University of Washington Information School, have co-authored “All Patents Great and Small: A Big Data Network Approach to Valuation”, which was published March 27 in the University of Virginia Journal of Law and Technology. The article outlines the powerful methods of network analysis they used to explore and organize one of the biggest patent data sets ever compiled. Among their findings, they reveal that litigated patents tend to be much more valuable than those not litigated and that the value of litigated patents tends to rise strongly with the level of court in which litigation occurs. For example, patents litigated in federal district court (the lowest level) are, on average, more than five times more valuable than unlitigated patents, and patents that reach the U.S. Supreme Court are, on average, more than eight times more valuable.

When Torrance and West plotted the average value of litigated patents on a map depicting all the federal judicial districts in the U.S., they discovered something surprising. Not only do the average values of litigated patents vary widely from district to district (Nevada and Connecticut host litigation of extremely valuable patents), they also noticed that the largest concentration of districts with litigated patents of especially high value, occurs in a “patent hotspot” in the southern central portion of the U.S., comprising Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. By contrast, the northern central U.S. districts tended to host litigations of low-value patents, forming a sort of “patent tundra.” Received wisdom would suggest that districts on the East and West coasts would see litigation of the most valuable patents, while the middle of the country would be “patent flyover country.” However, careful and powerful analysis of big patent data decisively refutes this assumption.

Torrance and West take advantage of huge sets of patent data made available by the United States Patent & Trademark Office. These data sets include detailed information about every U.S. patent issued from 1976 to the present. Determining patent value has been extremely difficult, given the complex nature of patent documents, the overwhelming amount of data and the traditional reliance on the opinions of patent “experts.” Instead, Torrance and West used algorithms developed to analyze vast amounts of data, including patent citation data.

“The mountain of data available on patents has become so large it’s just not possible for any individual, however brilliant, to understand, let alone master, it,” Torrance said. “What we’re doing could be called ‘big patent data analysis.’”

The approach not only can answer questions that were previously simply not answerable, it can help formulate new research questions. For example, few people would have thought to ask why valuable patents tend to be litigated in courts in Kansas and Colorado before the study, because it was widely assumed patents in the heartland were of low value. Now that the study has revealed the opposite to be true, Torrance and West intend to investigate what factors might explain the rich vein of patent gold that seems to run through federal courts in the south central region of the country.

Being able to judge the value of patents can have significant influence on the field of patent law. What has always been an expensive, slow, even artisanal process can now be done quickly, cheaply and efficiently, Torrance said, and can help patent holders, or anyone else interested in patent value, determine which ones are worth defending, which are not worth litigating, which ones to buy, sell or license and much more. Their analysis even sheds light on which inventors, law firms and patent examiners give rise to the most or least valuable patents.

“It could educate people on where the best places to litigate are. It may show we should change the laws on where it’s possible to litigate patents,” Torrance said of big-data patent analysis. “We’ve only looked at a limited set of questions so far, but the results of our first study encourage us to test a number of other basic assumptions in patent law, some of which may end up being unsupported. We think big patent data network analysis is a valuable way to probe those assumptions. It’s imperative to find out as much as we can about inventing and patenting so that we can better understand and foster innovation, which, we believe, is one of the best hopes for progress in the big issues facing humanity, like alleviating poverty, curing disease and protecting the environment.”

Interest in patent analytics and big patent data have recently reached a fever pitch. In March 2017 alone, Torrance was invited to share his expertise in the area at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, the government of Canada, in Ottawa, Canada, and to the government of Ontario in Toronto, Canada. Other attendees included leading legal analytics companies, patent-holding corporations, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and patent offices in Britain, Canada and the United States. He and West have also been invited by Cambridge University Press to contribute a chapter on patent analytics to a forthcoming book on legal analytics, and their study was recently listed on Social Science Research Network's top-10 download list for Intellectual Property: Empirical Studies eJournal.

A burgeoning field, data analytics in regard to law could open a new avenue of careers for aspiring lawyers and even change some of the skills deemed valuable in the law. The field has long been viewed as an art in which rhetorical and writing skills, for the purposes of producing strong, persuasive arguments, were considered the most valuable traits, Torrance said. But in the era of big data, complex algorithms and computer programming – the fundamentals for legal analytics – mathematical, scientific and computer science abilities are likely to rise in importance.

“There is a commonly held view that students who enter law school do so, in part, to avoid math,” Torrance said with a laugh. “But you cannot outrun math. It’s even finding its way into the law now. It was inevitable that mathematical analysis would eventually reach the law. Now it’s about to hit like a tidal wave. Math and science have always been required for patent law, so it’s no surprise that patent law is at the forefront of this trend. Patent law has always generated mountains of data, so it’s ripe for patent analytics. I think we’re going to find some very fascinating patterns in patent data, leading to the realization that we really don’t understand this area nearly as well as we thought we did. Big data and powerful analytic methods are throwing open the frontiers of patent law to a new generation of exploration. I can’t wait to be surprised by the findings that lie in wait for us. The level of interest in patent analytics and big patent data is exploding. We used to work on this research in the academic shadows, but suddenly a spotlight is shining on this area."

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 school launches homeland security graduate program

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has announced the addition of three new degree programs to its Leavenworth offerings. The new programs include a Master of Science in Homeland Security: Law and Policy, Master of Science in Business and Organizational Leadership, and a Professional Science Master or Certificate in Environmental Assessment. In the fall of 2017, a total of six master’s degree programs will be taught either in the city of Leavenworth or at Fort Leavenworth.

“Each program provides a unique educational opportunity that aligns with existing military training, additional skill qualifications, and also meets the workforce demands of the public and private sectors,” said David Cook, vice chancellor, KU Edwards Campus.

With accelerated coursework and evening classes, students in Leavenworth can complete a KU master’s degree in as few as 10 months. The programs and class schedules are designed to meet the needs of professional and military careers.

“You get the prestige of a KU degree with a tailored learning experience, which is helpful for those who are juggling the military and civilian worlds. The flexibility and accessibility of these programs make it easy to become successful,” said Maj. John Fulton of the U.S. Marine Corps, who is pursuing a Master of Engineering in Project Management.

KU is an ideal partner for military personnel as they pursue their educational and career goals. For the sixth year in a row, Military Times ranked KU among the best colleges in the country for veterans.

The courses integrate both active military and civilian students, fostering rich learning opportunities and a dynamic educational environment. These programs also fill needs in quickly evolving and high-growth fields.

KU began offering courses in Leavenworth in the fall of 2016. The new programs will complement three existing offerings:

  • Master of Engineering in Project Management
  • Master of Science in Business - Supply Chain Management and Logistics
  • Master of Arts in Global and International Studies - Interagency Track

KU’s numerous online undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are also available to individuals in Leavenworth. This includes the Military Transition Undergraduate Certificate, which helps military personnel prepare for and start a civilian career.

The Master of Science in Homeland Security: Law and Policy is pending approval by the Kansas Board of Regents and acquiescence by the American Bar Association.

To learn more about the programs in Leavenworth, visit Leavenworth.KU.edu.

KU team wins national award in business law competition

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

LAWRENCE – A team of University of Kansas law students captured the Best Draft Award at the national championship rounds of the 2017 Transactional LawMeet.

Aspiring transactional lawyers Jake Ediger of Topeka, Justine Koehle of Woodland, California, and Alison Kryzer of Wichita competed at nationals March 31 in New York City after winning a regional finalist title in Kansas City, Missouri. Their purchase agreement for the buyer’s side of the competition’s mock business transaction was deemed best in the nation. 

“I am proud of our team for our hard work and dedication, and taking home the prize for best draft was a nice reward for the countless hours spent,” Ediger said. “Transactional LawMeet is perhaps one of the most practical and useful experiences I’ve had at KU Law. The skills gained from the contract drafting and negotiations will be directly applicable in my legal career.”

Transactional LawMeet teams represented either the buyers or sellers of a business. Over the course of two months, they drafted a purchase agreement, interviewed their clients and marked up opposing teams’ drafts. In February, 84 teams met at seven regional sites to negotiate a resolution. Two teams from each region were selected to compete in the national rounds. In New York, KU competed with teams from 11 other law schools, including UCLA, Georgia, Notre Dame and San Diego.

Competition judges included partners from leading law firms, corporate general counsels and other senior practitioners. They chose finalists after evaluating which teams most adeptly combined their lawyering skills, drafting, marking-up and negotiating techniques with their knowledge of corporate and other facets of business law and business sense to develop innovative solutions to negotiate a draft agreement.

“The national rounds were a great opportunity to gain feedback from experienced practitioners,” Kryzer said. “Each judge saw something new or different, so it helped to understand the nuances of the problem.”

Adjunct law professor Ken Lynn, Class of 1981, coached the team in preparation for the competition.

“I feel very lucky that KU Law is dedicated to supporting students interested in business and transactional law,” Koehle said. “I know we wouldn’t have achieved the same success without our faculty advisers and coaches.”

Photo: Alison Kryzer, Jake Ediger and Justine Koehle, pictured with professors Ken Lynn and Webb Hecker, won the Best Draft Award at the national championship rounds of the 2017 Transactional LawMeet in New York City.


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