KU law school selects Dean’s Fellows to mentor incoming class

Friday, September 12, 2014

LAWRENCE — Nine students at the University of Kansas School of Law have been chosen as Dean’s Fellows for the 2014-15 academic year. 

The Dean’s Fellows are a group of second- and third-year law students selected to mentor first-year peers. Fellows offer academic support and guidance, serving as resources for students navigating the transition to law school. Fellows are selected through an application and interview process that considers their academic performance, campus and community involvement, and rapport with classmates.

“The program matches 1Ls with students who have gone through what they are about to go through,” said Paige Blevins, head Dean’s Fellow. “It encourages community, and community creates a more supportive system where students can succeed.”

The program is administered by the school’s Office of Admissions. The 2014-15 Dean’s Fellows are listed below by hometown.

BARTON COUNTY

Paige Blevins, a third-year law student from Great Bend, is this year’s head Dean’s Fellow. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English at KU and has participated in Women in Law and the Public Interest Law Society. Blevins served as a staff editor for the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy and events coordinator for the Public Interest Law Society. She graduated from Great Bend High School and is the daughter of Ralph and Laura Blevins. 

JOHNSON COUNTY

Second-year law student Abby Hall, Overland Park, is a member of Women in Law, OUTlaws and Law Students for Reproductive Justice. She is a staff member on the  Kansas Law Review. Hall holds a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from KU. She attended Leavenworth High School and is the daughter of Jackie Millin.

Ben Ashworth, a third-year law student from Prairie Village, earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science at KU. He is a member of Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity and writes a sports column for the University Daily Kansan. Ashworth served as the chief of defense for Traffic Court and as a staff editor on the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy. He also conducts research about international arbitration. Ashworth graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School and is the son of William and Gayle Ashworth. 

Maureen Orth is a second-year law student from Prairie Village. She is a member of the Kansas Law Review staff and the Native American Law Students Association. She participates in the Judicial Clinic. Orth holds a degree in English literature from Kansas State University and graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School. She is the daughter of Jim and Trish Orth.

SEDGWICK COUNTY

Grant Brazill, a third-year law student from Wichita, completed a bachelor’s degree in secondary education at Wichita State University. He has been involved in the Environmental Law Society and the 1L Mentor Program. He served on the staff of the Kansas Law Review and is a member of the Hispanic American Law Students Association. Brazill graduated from Wichita Northwest High School and is the son of Rick and Marlene Brazill. 

Julia Leth-Perez is a second-year law student from Wichita. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy from Wichita State University and serves as a KU Law Student Ambassador and member of the Dean’s Council, Women in Law and the Hispanic American Law Students Association. Beyond Green Hall, she serves on the Willow Domestic Violence Center Finance and Funding Committee. Leth-Perez is the daughter of John and Ellen Leth-Nissen and graduated from Circle High School.

WYANDOTTE COUNTY

Crystal Ellison, third-year law student from Kansas City, is vice president of the Black Law Students Association and a member of Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity and Women in Law. She serves as a Traffic Court judge. Ellison volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters and CASA. She holds a bachelor’s degree in legal studies with a minor in political science from Park University. Ellison graduated from Wyandotte High School and is the daughter of Patricia Ellison and Cleveland Ellison.

Out-of-state students

ARIZONA

Annette McDonough, a third-year law student from Phoenix, holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Wyoming. She has been involved in Traffic Court, Women in Law, Native American Law Students Association and the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity. McDonough served as the Westlaw student representative and participated in the In-House Moot Court Competition. She graduated from North High School and is the daughter of David Cox and Emily Jordan. 

UTAH
  
Jason Harmon, a third-year law student from Orem, completed a bachelor’s degree in business management with a minor in Spanish and Portuguese at Utah Valley University. He has been involved in the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and served as a teaching assistant for the Lawyering Skills course and a staff editor on the Kansas Law Review. He graduated from Timpanogos High School and is the son of Phillip and Janet Harmon.

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.

KU students advance to national finals in transactional law competition

Friday, March 07, 2014

LAWRENCE – A team of University of Kansas School of Law students will compete in the finals of the National Transactional LawMeet next month after winning at the Chicago regional round.

The law school fielded two teams in the competition, which offers a moot court experience for aspiring transactional lawyers. Jay Berryman, of Meade, and Kevin Wempe, of Topeka, won for the buyer’s side in Chicago, and Anna Kimbrell, of Lawrence, and Rachel Martin, of Kansas City, Mo., earned the prize for best overall draft agreement at the Midwestern regional in Kansas City.

This is the first year KU has participated in the competition.

“The LawMeet’s drafting and negotiation process is very reflective of what corporate attorneys do in practice, so this experience is invaluable to me and one that most transactional attorneys did not have the opportunity to engage in while in law school,” said Berryman, who will graduate in May, then begin his career practicing corporate transactional law at Polsinelli PC in Kansas City, Mo.

Teams were assigned to represent either buyers or sellers of a business and were required to draft an agreement covering a disputed issue, mark up the opposing side’s counterdraft and negotiate a resolution. Teams from 84 law schools met at seven regional sites last Friday to conduct the negotiations. Two teams from each region (one buyer and one seller) advanced to the final round to be held April 3-4 in New York. 

“The negotiations were very professional,” said Wempe, who is set to graduate in May and will work in public finance with Gilmore & Bell PC in Kansas City, Mo. “We decided beforehand we would avoid being adversarial, if possible, and instead take the approach that we were there to facilitate our client’s wishes and move the transaction forward rather than bicker with the opposition.”

Competition judges evaluate which team most adeptly combines its 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.

For its Chicago victory, KU bested teams from the University of Colorado, Ohio State University, Temple University, Northwestern University and elsewhere.

KU law alumni Ken Lynn, Class of 1981, and Kelley Sears, Class of 1974, coached the teams in preparation for the competition, with assistance from Webb Hecker, professor of law.

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.

Law school selects Dean’s Fellows to mentor incoming class

Monday, August 26, 2013
KU Law Dean's Fellows 2013-14

LAWRENCE — Eight law students at the University of Kansas have been selected as Dean’s Fellows for 2013-14.

The second- and third-year students will serve as mentors for first-year students, providing them with a peer’s insight into the first-year experience and helping ease their transition into law school. This is the seventh year for the program, which is administered by the law school’s Office of Student Affairs.

“To be selected as a Dean's Fellow, one must show leadership, compassion and a willingness to serve those following behind them,” said Kaitlin Brigman, student affairs counselor at the law school. “The Dean’s Fellows are a select group, and the ones chosen for this academic year possess an especially wonderful set of qualities that will serve as an invaluable resource to the incoming students.”

Becky Howlett, who is returning for her second year in the program and will serve as the Head Dean’s Fellow, said this year’s program would be revamped to foster more interaction between mentors and first-year students.

“As a returning Fellow, I know how easy it is for incoming students not to make use of this invaluable resource,” she said. “The goal is to create an environment where our entire team is accessible so that 1Ls feel comfortable reaching out to any of our student mentors for general advice, study strategies or the often-needed ‘It’ll be fine’ pep talk. Ultimately, the Dean’s Fellows are committed to promoting student success in the first year of law school and beyond.”

The 2013-14 Dean’s Fellows are listed below by hometown.

WYANDOTTE COUNTY
From Kansas City, Kan. 
Becky Howlett, a third-year law student, completed a bachelor’s in English and journalism at KU. She has served on the staff of the Kansas Law Review and will be an associate editor during the 2013-14 academic year. Her student organization involvement includes Women in Law, Environmental Law Society and Native American Law Students Association. Howlett, who is returning for her second year of the program, will serve as the Head Dean’s Fellow. She graduated from Piper High School and is the daughter of Wayne and Rosemary Howlett.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Prairie Village 
Ben Ashworth, a second-year law student, earned a bachelor’s in journalism and political science at KU. He is a member of the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity and a sports columnist for the University Daily Kansan. This year, Ashworth will serve as the chief of defense for Traffic Court and as a staff editor on the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy. He will also conduct side research about international arbitration. Ashworth graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School and is the son of William and Gayle Ashworth.

LYON COUNTY
From Emporia 
Paul Mose, a second-year law student, earned a bachelor’s in communications at Emporia State University. He has participated in several intramural sports leagues and is a member of the Hispanic American Law Students Association. This year, he will serve on the staff of the Kansas Law Review and as a member of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society. Mose works at the law firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon through the firm’s Diversity Writing Program. He graduated from Emporia High School and is the son of Susan Vargas.

SEDGWICK COUNTY
From Wichita 
Grant Brazill, a second-year law student, completed a bachelor’s in secondary education at Wichita State University. He has been involved in the Environmental Law Society and the 1L Mentor Program. This year, he will serve on the staff of the Kansas Law Review and become a member of the Hispanic American Law Students Association. Brazill graduated from Wichita Northwest High School and is the son of Rick and Marlene Brazill.

BARTON COUNTY
From Great Bend 
Paige Blevins, a second-year law student, earned a bachelor’s in English at KU. She has participated in Women in Law and the Public Interest Law Society. This year she will serve as a staff editor for the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy and events coordinator for the Public Interest Law Society. She graduated from Great Bend High School and is the daughter of Ralph and Laura Blevins.

FORD COUNTY
From Dodge City 
Kate Marples, a third-year law student, earned a bachelor’s in Germanic languages and literatures at KU. She has participated in Environmental Law Society, In-House Moot Court Competition, Kansas Law Review and the Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies. This year, Marples will represent KU at the Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition. As the Law Review symposium editor, she is also organizing the 2013 Kansas Law Review Symposium on the topic “Waters of the United States: Adapting Law for Degradation and Drought.” Marples graduated from Dodge City High School and is the daughter of Doug and Jane Marples.

UTAH
From Orem 
Jason Harmon, a second-year law student, completed a bachelor’s in business management with a minor in Spanish and Portuguese at Utah Valley University. He has been involved in the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and this year will serve as a teaching assistant for the Lawyering Skills course and a staff editor on the Kansas Law Review. He graduated from Timpanogos High School and is the son of Phillip and Janet Harmon.

ARIZONA
From Phoenix 
Annette McDonough, a second-year law student, completed a bachelor’s in physics at the University of Wyoming. She has been involved in Traffic Court, Women in Law, Native American Law Students Association and the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity. This year, McDonough will serve as the Westlaw student representative and participate in the In-House Moot Court Competition. She graduated from North High School and is the daughter of David Cox and Emily Jordan.

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