KU law students win top brief at North American international environmental moot court competition

Friday, February 07, 2014

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas Law students Jon Simpson and Matt Huntsman are the latest to join the school’s legacy of success in international moot court activities. The pair brought home top honors for their written brief at the North American rounds of the Stetson International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, which was Jan. 24-26 in Denver.

“Their oral advocacy was strong, they learned a lot, and they met interesting colleagues at several other law schools,” KU Law professor and team coach John Head said. “And of course I’m thrilled at the success they enjoyed with their written submission. It’s a fine achievement, and I’m over-the-top pleased for them and proud of their work.”

Teams from the University of Kansas and the Bahamas gathered in Denver for the North American competition, which focused on international, environmental and human rights law. Wake Forest, the University of Maryland, Pepperdine and American University were among the participants, with the University of Hawaii and the University of California-Hastings advancing to the international rounds and KU’s brief named the best of the competition.

Simpson, of Wichita, and Huntsman, of Sherman, Texas, spent five months preparing for the event. As newcomers to the field, they did extensive research. “I literally had to start from scratch and work my way through various treaties, articles and books,” Huntsman said. “It probably worked to my advantage. Had we dealt with a more familiar area of law, I doubt I would have taken the time to approach every issue in such a thorough way.”

Huntsman and Simpson credit their faculty mentors with their success and are confident that the skills gained through the competition will serve them well in their future careers. “More than anything, I credit the Stetson competition for providing me the opportunity to refine my advocacy skills.”  Simpson said. “But I also appreciate the experience for exposing me to new areas of law.”

Currently in its 18th year, the Stetson International Environmental Law moot court competition features schools from all over the world. This year’s theme focused on sea turtle protection and cultural practices, challenging participants to consider the legal implications of pitting indigenous people’s rights against protection of endangered species.

Simpson and Huntsman continue a strong KU tradition of excellence in national and international moot court competition. Jayhawks brought home top honors for their briefs at the Herbert Wechsler National Criminal Law Moot Court Competition and Mardi Gras Sports Law Competition in 2012. Last year KU Law became one of only two American law schools to advance teams to the finals of both the European Law Students Association and the Jessup  International Law Moot Court Competition in the same year.

KU Law students participate in an in-house moot court competition during their second year of law school, with top performers representing KU at national and international competitions during their third year.

Alumnus makes $1 million gift for KU Law

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas alumnus Frederick B. “Beau” Gould and his wife, Julie Gould, of Seattle, have made a $1 million gift to establish the Gould Family Scholarship at the KU School of Law.

Beau Gould is a practicing attorney and a commercial real estate investor. He earned a law degree from KU in 1989, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, George R. Gould, and his father, George R. Gould Jr. Both earned law degrees from KU respectively in 1922 and 1952, and were longtime attorneys in Dodge City.

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little expressed appreciation for the gift. “As a third-generation KU Law graduate, Beau is part of a proud family tradition of Jayhawk lawyers. This generous gift builds on his family’s legacy and will benefit future generations of students who follow in his footsteps by attending the School of Law,” she said.

When younger, Gould was uncertain as to what career path to take. After he earned a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University, his father suggested Gould work at a law firm to decide whether he wanted to be a lawyer. Gould took a job at Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix, and he soon applied for admission to the KU School of Law. His application included a letter of reference signed by Frank L. Snell Jr., a 1924 KU Law alumnus and a founding partner of the firm.

While attending KU Law, Gould benefited from scholarship support. To make ends meet, he also held four part-time jobs — as a disc jockey for several area radio stations, and as a kitchen helper in a sorority. Following law school, he briefly considered staying in the radio industry. On a whim, he moved to Seattle because his sister lived there. He began working for a real estate attorney and eventually started investing in commercial real estate.

Now that he’s financially able to give back to KU, Gould said it’s important to do so.  “I felt that this was the right thing to do, so that someone else would be a beneficiary of a scholarship,” said Gould.

Stephen Mazza, dean and professor of law, said, “The Gould family’s commitment to the law school is incredible. Beau understands our push to increase scholarship funding and its importance to the school’s future. We are extremely grateful.”

Gould said he would be thrilled if his family’s tradition of a Jayhawk education continues. The couple’s two teenage daughters, Grace and Hope, visited KU during Homecoming weekend.

The gift counts toward Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university’s $1.2 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign. Far Above seeks support to educate future leaders, advance medicine, accelerate discovery and drive economic growth to seize the opportunities of the future.

The campaign is 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.

KU School of Law offers in-state tuition scholarship to KCMO metro residents

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
LAWRENCE – Kansas City metro residents on the Missouri side of the border will pay the same rate as Kansans to attend law school at the University of Kansas with the new KU Vantage Scholarship.

Vantage gives students who have established residency in one of 11 Missouri counties the chance to pursue a KU law degree at an in-state tuition rate. Students entering the KU law school in the summer or fall of 2014 from the following 11 counties are eligible: Bates, Buchanan, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Henry, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Platte and Ray.

“We already know that Kansas City’s prospective law students consider the University of Kansas for its great reputation, accessible faculty, small class sizes and hands-on learning opportunities,” said Stephen Mazza, dean and professor of law. “Now they can also add affordability to the list. We hope the Vantage Scholarship makes it even easier for talented students to choose KU Law.” 

First-year law students with Kansas residency currently pay $19,623.35 per year in tuition and fees for 29 hours, while nonresidents pay $33,067.75.

The Vantage program is not a tuition waiver, noted Steven Freedman, assistant dean for admissions at the law school. Qualifying students receive a renewable scholarship from the law school that covers the difference between resident and nonresident tuition.

“We’ve always considered ourselves Kansas City’s leading law school,” Freedman said. “Now with the Vantage Scholarship, we feel we can recruit just as well on both sides of the border.”

Interested students are encouraged to apply by the Feb. 15 scholarship priority deadline.

KU Medical-Legal Partnership attorney named Sunflower Foundation Advocacy Fellow

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

LAWRENCE — Dana Pugh is the fifth KU Law affiliate in five years selected to represent the interests of low-income Kansans as a Sunflower Foundation Advocacy Fellow. The program trains nonprofit leaders to effect public policy changes that improve the health of Kansans.

Pugh is the postgraduate fellow and staff attorney for KU’s Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, a joint initiative of the KU School of Law and the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The program connects low-income patients to law students who provide free legal services ranging from housing and utility assistance to education and employment advice. The program uses a preventative model that aims to address legal barriers to health before they escalate to medical emergencies.

“The Sunflower Advocacy Fellowship will allow me the opportunity to grow and strengthen my advocacy skills,” Pugh said. “While a large portion of our efforts are geared toward individual advocacy, to truly benefit all Kansans we have to mobilize on a larger front. This fellowship will give me a chance to hone these skills and use them to improve the lives of the patients we serve.”    

The MLP Clinic is grateful for the support the Sunflower Foundation has provided for its work over the years, said Director Katie Cronin. The partnership assists low-income community members by providing direct legal assistance, transforming health and legal institutions and changing public policy. 

“Most MLPs engage in the first two activities during early stages of implementation, but a fully functioning MLP will change policy by working with health care partners to identify and address broad-scale legal barriers to health,” Cronin said. “The Advocacy Fellowship will provide Dana with dedicated time and training to focus on policy changes the MLP Clinic can pursue to improve the lives of many low-income Kansans.” 

Pugh credits her time at KU Law with giving her a desire to serve her community and improve access to legal resources for all Kansans.

“While KU certainly gave me the education that I needed to practice law, it also fostered an awareness of our responsibility to strive for improvement of our legal system,” Pugh said. “We need to make our legal system accessible to all, regardless of income.” 

The nonprofit Sunflower Foundation is dedicated to improving the health of Kansans. Launched in 2008, the nonpartisan Advocacy Fellows program trains nonprofit leaders in effective strategies to better serve their organizations and communities. The 2014 Fellows class includes 14 leaders who will participate in six sessions over the course of the year, including a trip to Washington, D.C. The series will focus on collaborating with community members, political leaders and the media.

Previous KU Law alumni who served as Sunflower Fellows now work in government, health law and academia. Pugh plans to follow in their footsteps, pursuing a career of service and advocacy.

“In addition to developing my institutional and systemic advocacy skills, I will get the opportunity to network with some very impressive leaders from the health care field in Kansas,” Pugh said. “I look forward to building these relationships, and I have no doubt that they will open doors for future collaboration and advocacy opportunities.”

KU professor: Potential reward of Iran deal worth risk

KU Law professor Raj Bhala expressed optimism that Iran will avoid expanding its nuclear weapons program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. His view counters that of U.S. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, who harbor reservations about the deal.

Tim Carpenter wrote: "A law professor at The University of Kansas stood apart from U.S. senators representing Kansas by expressing optimism about a deal granting Iran temporary relief from crippling economic sanctions in return for curbing expansion of a nuclear weapon program.

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