Kansas Law Free Press aims to inform, inspire, entertain

The Kansas Law Free Press is a news publication written by students at KU Law. KLFP is about news things, big ideas, awkwardness, intellectual diversity, refinement, and getting to the point. It’s dedicated to informing, inspiring, and entertaining the students, faculty, and administration at KU Law as well as the community at large.

KLFP was founded one year ago by 3L Slade Bond. Since its founding, KLFP has had over 75,000 visitors. Recently, KLFP has appeared in the ABA Journal and Dime Magazine, and blogs like Deadspin, Above the Law, the Pitch, and USLaw.com.

Issue 14 of KLFP was published last week. In it, you can follow the live Moot Court blogging, read about how law school actually stacks up to high school, learn about Professor Webb Hecker’s pastime and Kansas’s least obvious sport, and find out what Samia Khan, L’08, is really doing with her KU Law degree. (HINT: it isn’t law.) Be sure to check back often; we publish every two weeks.

Lani Leighton, 2L, editor-in-chief of KLFP

Laser tag, anyone? Study break destinations for weary law students

Ah, finals! The time of the semester that at once fills me with anxiety and excitement returns again. With the 1Ls preparing for oral arguments, 2Ls in the midst of the heated battle for moot court supremacy — pitting such gladiators with the gift of gab as Jill “Hot Topic” Moenius against Benjamin “Golden Voice” Winters in the semifinal round — and perhaps some studying in everyone’s future, I am glad that you made the prudent decision to read the KU Law Blog.

In homage to Nathan Behncke’s best study spots entry from last semester and with the genuine desire that some of you will benefit from stress relief (and a word of caution from my favorite fount of sagacity, Spider-Man’s uncle: “With great power comes great responsibility”), I give you places of refuge for those who are weary from studying in this finals season.

Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center indoor trackRec Center
1740 Watkins Center Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045

The Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center is the meat-and-potatoes option for law student release. Although you are likely to see law students on the basketball courts and in the weight room — and everyone’s favorite sports law teacher, Professor DeLaTorre, on the elliptical machine any time of year — when papers are due and finals near, law students flock to this mecca of exercise on KU’s campus.

Pros: This option gets high marks for convenience because of its proximity to the law school and for price because it is free to law students. Also, the gym offers some mental clarity that is much needed this time of year.

Cons: Bring your own lock for the locker room, and it can get busy around finals.

Convenience: Scales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of Justice

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How much your brain will thank you: Scales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of Justice

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Royal Crest Lanes bowling alleyRoyal Crest Lanes
933 Iowa Street
Lawrence, KS 66044

The bowling alley offers a convenient location to blow off some steam. Located just a few blocks away from the law school, Royal Crest Lanes has a large number of lanes, a bar with drinks and greasy food, and an arcade — a veritable one-stop shop to sate all of your hunger for vices.

Pros: relatively inexpensive, proximity, and switch-blade-style combs for the winning.

Cons: risk of frustration from all the gutter balls your atrophied muscles produce.

Convenience: Scales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of Justice

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How much your brain will thank you: Scales of JusticeScales of Justice

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Starlight TheatreStarlight Theatre
4600 Starlight Road
Kansas City, MO 64132

The Lawrence area is home to many of the premiere music venues in the region. Aside from the Bottleneck and the Grenada in town, Kansas City regularly hosts local and national indie, country and pop music favorites. For example, Starlight Theater, just one of these venues, just brought Arcade Fire to town.

Pros: As one of my favorite KU Law professors told me, you should study hard then go do something enjoyable like taking in a movie to help relax your mind; I think this fits the bill.

Cons: longer time commitment and price.

Convenience: Scales of JusticeScales of Justice

Price: Scales of Justice

How much your brain will thank you: Scales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of Justice

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Clinton LakeClinton Lake
798 N. 1415 Road
Lawrence, KS 66049

This recreation and wildlife area sits just west of town. There are several paths that you can hike around the lake.

Pros: not far from campus and fresh air serves as a nice contrast to your study carrel.

Cons: risk of twisted ankle, poison ivy, and sunburn (especially for my ghostly complexion).

Convenience: Scales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of Justice

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How much your brain will thank you: Scales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of Justice

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Sadlers Indoor RacingSadlers Indoor Racing
325 N. Mur-Len Road
Olathe, KS 66062

This indoor race track offers the possibility of hopping in your car and satisfying your thrill-seeking side in an afternoon venture over to Olathe.

Pros: Like the bowling alley, there is an abundance of mediocre pizza and arcade games to occupy you between stints on the track.

Cons: For some reason, the track employees will black flag you and ban you from the course if you aren’t careful.

Convenience: Scales of JusticeScales of Justice

Price: Scales of JusticeScales of Justice

How much your brain will thank you: Scales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of Justice

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Group of law students posed at laser tag establishment

Advanced Laser Tag
2026 E. Santa Fe Street
Olathe, KS 66062

I know, I know. I, too, was skeptical about laser tag. I was cut from the traditionalist leisure suit fabric of throwing around the baseball, playing golf, and partaking in the Bosnian favorite, cornhole.

CornholeIn fact, I had been to the laser tag place before and chickened out because I thought it would be too jejune for a refined law student. And I was right, but I finally gave in. You can learn a lot about a person in the confines of simulated battle. I’m not necessarily advocating shooting teenagers in the eyes or knocking away their weapons in close quarters, but it can’t hurt (or so I’ve heard). If you only have time for one study break, I recommend spending it running around like a fool and shooting people in an artificial urban combat zone.

Convenience: Scales of JusticeScales of Justice

Price: Scales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of Justice

How much your brain will thank you: Scales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of Justice

Overall: Scales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of JusticeScales of Justice

James Carter, 2L and Student Ambassador

Are you ready for copyright school?

In an attempt to educate its users about copyright law, YouTube has debuted “Copyright School,” a video that explains why videos are removed from YouTube:

While “Copyright School” does a great job of telling you what you can’t do with copyrighted content, it does a very poor job of telling you what you can do with copyrighted content — namely, remix, reuse and repurpose it without permission from the rightsholder as allowed under the doctrine of fair use.

Well, the folks at Public Knowledge were pretty upset when they saw YouTube’s “Copyright School” educational video, which discourages remixing, dismisses fair use as overly complex and effectively tells users that only “original” content is suitable for upload. So they have come up with a challenge for YouTube users to produce a better “Copyright School” video – one that explains both what you can and can’t do with copyrighted content without permission from the rightsholder. The creator of the best video will win $1,000!

Is anyone up for the challenge? This might be a fantastic project for those of you who are interested in copyright and have a bit of a creative streak!

W. Blake Wilson, Head of Instructional and Research Services

Salary transparency

In the April 2011 National Association for Law Placement Bulletin, NALP Executive Director Jim Leipold discusses the push for more transparency in the reporting of legal employment data for recent law school graduates. I found the following statements about salary data to be the most interesting:

Of all the placement statistics, salary data is of course the most problematic in many ways. Because most schools have job status information for many more graduates than they have actual salary data for, individual school median and average salaries can be wildly misleading (not to mention the fact that the bimodal distribution of starting salaries for new lawyers makes means and medians somewhat meaningless under the best of circumstances). As part of trying to take a hard look at how we handle starting salary data at NALP, with the Class of 2009 we began calculating adjusted mean salaries for both overall starting salaries and for private practice salaries. The adjusted salary figures reflect a statistical process that tries to account for the missing salary figures, which tend to be disproportionately at the lower end of the salary scale. What we found is that without this adjustment or weighting, the national mean starting salary figure is overstated by about 10 percent, and the national mean starting salary for private practice is overstated by about 11 percent.

What does this all mean for prospective law students trying to make an informed decision about which — if any — law schools to attend, or for current students trying to get a handle on how their predecessors fared?

Two things:

  1. You can see the salary distribution curve for the national Class of 2009 here. The first peak largely reflects public sector salaries, as well as salaries at smaller, private law firms. The second peak reflects salaries at the largest law firms. Due to this “bimodal distribution” of starting salaries for new lawyers, the blending of public and private sector salaries into one mean or median results in misleading salary information if these figures are presented in isolation. To make sense of legal employment salary data, at the very least it is necessary to separate public sector salaries from those in the private sector, or better yet the private practice of law.
  2. National salary statistics skew high because most schools are able to collect job status information for many more graduates than salary information.

For the national Class of 2009, only 54 percent of students reporting employment also reported a salary to their law school. The highest national salary reporting percentage over the last eight years is 65 percent. With this in mind, it is no surprise when Jim reports that without a statistical adjustment designed to account for these low reporting percentages, national salary means are inflated.

In light of these observations by NALP, how does the employment and salary information of KU Law stack up? As reported previously on this blog, 108 students reported salaries in the KU Law Class of 2009, or 82 percent of employed students:

  • The mean salary for jobs requiring bar passage was $70,754. Ninety-four (94) percent of KU Law grads in the Class of 2009 with bar passage required jobs reported a salary. When comparing this KU Law mean to the national mean for jobs required bar passage of $96,330, keep in mind that nationally only 61 percent of students reporting such jobs also reported a salary. Why? Students making higher salaries are much more likely to report these salaries to their law schools. For this reason, the $96,300 national mean for jobs required bar passage is not a reliable figure.
  • The mean salary for jobs in the private practice of law was $79,259. Ninety (90) percent of KU Law grads in the Class of 2009 employed in private practice reported a salary.

The national mean for jobs in private practice was $115,254, but on the strength of only 61 percent reporting. Again, unreliable.

  • And finally, the mean salary for public sector jobs was $50,666. Eighty-eight (88) percent of KU Law grads in the Class of 2009 employed in the public sector reported a salary.

The national mean for public sector jobs was $50,916, but was based on only 55 percent reporting.

One hundred and five (105) KU Law graduates reported salaries in the 2010 class. This represented 80 percent of employed graduates. We will publish a breakdown of Class of 2010 salaries similar to the 2009 analysis above when it is available in June.

Todd Rogers, Assistant Dean for Career Services

Fellow Hispanic students enhanced law school experience for 3L

Alex Aguilera

As I’m wrapping up my final semester of law school, I’ve been reflecting on my three-year journey. I will miss the quirky professors and their bland jokes. I will miss the everyday academic challenge. Most of all, I will miss many of the people I’ve come to know. As a law student, you will spend three years in the trenches with your fellow classmates and build (mostly) fond memories. It’s the students that make the law school experience. I have been fortunate to spend my three years with an incredible group of people, many of whom I met through student organizations. One organization that has been important to me during law school has been the Hispanic American Law Students Association (HALSA).

Early in the fall semester of my first year of law school, several second- and third-year HALSA members welcomed me and became my mentors. They were my support group, and I felt like I could come to them with any questions, concerns or issues. It was refreshing to have many people I could rely on. I identified with them because we came from similar backgrounds, and I knew that if they could survive to be 2Ls and 3Ls, then I could, too.

The past three years in HALSA have been filled with activities. I have met countless attorneys through the variety of diversity events HALSA has attended, such as the Seigfreid Bingham Diversity Happy Hour, the Lathrop & Gage Diversity Happy Hour, the Legal Aid of Western Missouri’s Diversity Open House and the Kansas City Hispanic Bar Judicial Reception. I have also gotten an opportunity to give back to my community. Earlier in the school year, HALSA collected school supplies and donations for the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, a nonprofit organization that caters to approximately 1,200 children in the Lawrence area. In early March, HALSA hosted KU Law’s annual Diversity in Law Banquet, which raises money for diversity scholarships and is a celebration of our differences. I was honored (but nervous) to get up and say a few words in front of the crowd. Thankfully, I got through my speech about how the legal profession can achieve its goal of increasing the number of diverse attorneys by working with law schools, colleges, secondary and primary schools, legal employers, bar associations and clients.

Alex AguileraThe highlight of my law school career was when I met Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She has an amazing life story and is such a courageous and inspirational figure. I even mustered enough courage to ask her a question (although I rehearsed the question several times in my head before actually asking her).

I would have missed out on so many opportunities in law school if I did not get involved in some of the many student run organizations at KU Law. In law school, time is of the essence; the assignments can quickly become overwhelming. For me, student groups have been an enjoyable outlet and have contributed to making my years at Green Hall worthwhile.

Alex Aguilera, 3L and Student Ambassador

Wheat Law Library celebrates National Library Week

National Library Week is observed this year from April 10 through April 16 with the theme “Create your own story @ your library.” The first sponsored National Library Week was in 1958, and the American Library Association has continued this yearly celebration in April ever since. It’s a great time to recognize the contributions our libraries have made to our communities. And, of course, the Wheat Law Library will be celebrating in style! Today is National Library Workers Day. “Libraries Work Because We Do!”

Wednesday, April 13
Annual Hazel Anderson Book Sale, 8 a.m. – noon, Informal Commons

Thursday, April 14
10th Annual Friends of the Wheat Law Library Lecture & Luncheon
Judge Steve Leben, L’82, Kansas Court of Appeals, will deliver the luncheon lecture, “Some Thoughts on the Increasingly Interdisciplinary Nature of the Law.”

Friday, April 15
Amnesty Day: Bring back overdue law library materials today, and the fines will be waived.

Weeklong Activities

  • Library Trivia Quizzes: a new one available each day, Monday through Friday, with winners drawn from correct entries.
  • VIP Circulation Staff: law school administrators, staff and faculty will be working at the library circulation desk at various times during the week.

Blake Wilson, Head of Instruction and Research Services

Jewish Law Students Association planning service project for Honduras

The Jewish Law Students Association (JLSA) at the University of Kansas School of Law serves all members of the law school community. JLSA aims to encourage pluralism, ethical practice and communal service through social and educational events open to all law school students.

JLSA is one of the smaller student groups at KU Law, and we strive to embody the idea that even a small group can make a big difference. JLSA’s activities impact both the KU Law student community and the community at large. One of JLSA’s biggest projects during the 2010-2011 school year is a service project, or chesed project. Chesed, a central precept in Judaism, is rooted in the importance of compassion. One of the ways that members of JLSA express compassion for those around us and engage in chesed is to serve the world around us. For our service project, serving the community will be taking the form of helping to provide clothing and other aid to needy people living in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. JLSA will be partnering with KU Law’s Christian Legal Society and the Islamic Law Students Association for the project. By working together with other KU Law groups to reach out to the world community, JLSA hopes to demonstrate the appreciation for religious tolerance, diversity and chesed that KU Law encourages.

Andrea Kalish, 1L

Working for a student publication is worth the effort

Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy and Kansas Law Review

The Kansas Law Review and Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy offer KU Law students a unique opportunity to serve as editors on a publication. Law reviews and journals are unique from many other academic or scientific journals in that students, as opposed to faculty or an independent editing board, are responsible for the compilation, editing and publication of the publication. Also, for once and maybe the last time in a student’s life, we get to edit the work of our “superiors” (practitioners, professors, judges, etc.). Most importantly, employers love to hire students who are involved in one of the publications!

Of course, there are a few hurdles one must cross before gaining acceptance to one of KU Law’s publications. First-year students (and 2Ls, if they wish) must participate in a three-week write-on competition. All students are given the same prompt and must support their stance on a pressing legal issue by writing a 10-page paper using only the sources given to them. Although the publications weigh different aspects of the work product differently, both the Review and Journal choose their staff members based on applicant preference, writing and technical skill, and first-year grades.

So why join a publication, aside from wanting to boost your resume and spend most of your time on the warmest floor of the law library? Because it’s a great learning experience. I know that in only one year on the Law Review, I have improved my writing skills tremendously. I have also expanded my closest group of friends in law school. Although editing is hard work and not always fun, seeing the finished product and knowing that I contributed to it is very rewarding. Every year, the Review and Journal also publish the work of their own staff members, which is a huge honor. And because one year as a staff member was not enough for me, I will be back next year as a board member!

Lauren Douville, 2L and Student Ambassador

Wheat Law Library New Book List for March 2011

We had quite a few new books come out in March at the Wheat Law Library! I would love to list all of them but that would take up too much space. So I went through and picked out the titles I think look interesting.

If you would like to see the entire list or check out any of these books (provided they are circulating), contact Circulation Department Manager Su Johnson.

Marshall, John
The Writings of Chief Justice Marshall on the Federal Constitution
Rockville, MD: Legal Classics Library, c 2010
No call number 2 Volumes, Rice Room

Stone, Geoffrey R.
Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism
New York: W.W. Norton & Co., c 2005
JC 591 .S76 2005x

Tuori, Kaarlo
Ratio and Voluntas: the Tension between Reason and Will in Law
Farnham, Surrey, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, c 2011
K 230 .T86 A37 2011

Marmor, Andrei
Philosophy of Law
Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, c 2011
K 231 .M375 2011

Law without Nations
Ed. Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, Martha Merrill Umphrey
Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Law Books, c 2011
K 302 .L39 2011

Davis, Richard
Justices and Journalists: the U.S. Supreme Court and the Media
New York: Cambridge University Press, c 2011
K 487 .M43 D38 2011

Information Technology and Traditional Legal Concepts
Ed. Richard Jones, Roksana Moore
London: Routledge, c 2010
K 487 .T4 I54 2011

Copyright and Cultural Heritage: Preservation and Access to Works in a Digital World
Ed. Estelle Derclaye
Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar, c 2010
K 1420.5 .C66 2010

Leib, Linda Hajjar
Human Rights and the Environment: Philosophical, Theoretical, and Legal Perspectives
Leiden; Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, c 2011
K 3585 .L445 2011

Frasch, Pamela D.
Animal Law in a Nutshell
St. Paul, MN: West, c 2011
KF 390.5 .A5 F73 2010 Reserve

Data Breach and Encryption Handbook
Ed. Lucy L. Thomson
Chicago: American Bar Association, c 2011
KF 1263 .C65 D37 2011

Pottage, Alain
Figures of Invention: a History of Modern Patent Law
Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, c 2010
KF 3114 .P685 2010

Nolon, John R.
Climate Change and Sustainable Development Law in a Nutshell
St. Paul, MN: West, c 2011
KF 3783 .N65 2011 Reserve

Goldstone, Lawrence
Inherently Unequal: the Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865–1903
New York: Walker & Company, c 2011
KF 4757 .G655 2011

Collins, Ronald K. L.
We Must Not Be Afraid to Be Free: Stories of Free Expression in America
New York: Oxford University Press, c 2011
KF 4772 .C65 2011

Mathewson, Joe
The Supreme Court and the Press: the Indispensable Conflict
Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, c 2010
KF 4772 .M38 2010

Horwitz, Paul
The Agnostic Age: Law, Religion, and the Constitution
New York: Oxford University Press, c 2011
KF 4783 .H67 2011

Sagafi-nejad, Nancy Black
Friends at the Bar: Quaker View of Law, Conflict Resolution, and Legal Reform
Albany: State University of New York Press, c 2011
KF 4869 .Q83 S24 2011

Smith, Kaighn
Labor and Employment Law in Indian Country
Portland, Me.: Drummond Woodsum Macmahon, c 2011
KF 8220 .S65 2011

W. Blake Wilson, Head of Instruction and Research Services

Career Services issues kudos to successful job hunters

Long before the advent of the KU Law Blog and the Career Services weekly e-blast, our office produced a monthly newsletter in paper form (yes, really!) that included a “Career Services Kudos” section each March and April to recognize job-hunting successes. The positivity of the Kudos section jibed well with lengthening daylight hours, rising temperatures, blooming flowers and the hope instilled by the return of America’s pastime.

With all the talk lately about the recession, employment statistics and law school rankings, I’d like to take a minute to focus on the legions of students in Green Hall who have navigated their job hunts with skill, tact and patience and have secured high-quality summer employment. It’s time to recognize their determination and remind those still looking for jobs that it can be done!

The following list highlights a sampling of the students that we’ve observed pursuing summer work with great attitudes. It may be easy to get discouraged in this economy, but these first- and second-year students, and many others, are proof that hard work (combined with thick skin and a healthy sense of humor) does indeed pay off.

We’re extremely proud of their efforts, and we wish them lots of success at their summer jobs.

Law Firms

  • Colin Baumchen, Holbrook & Osborn, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Trent Byquist, Kennedy Berkley Yarnevich & Williamson, Salina, Kan.
  • Doug Coe, Morris Laing Evans Brock & Kennedy, Wichita, Kan.
  • Samantha Heady, Martin Pringle, Wichita, Kan.
  • Matt Keane, Shook Hardy & Bacon, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Nate Lindsey, Rasmussen Willis & Dickey, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Kellie Mitchell, Payne & Jones, Overland Park, Kan.; and Koons Fuller, Dallas, Texas
  • Kyle Ritchie, Lawrence, Kan.
  • Erik Rome, Chapin Law Firm, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Susan Ryan, Polsinelli Shughart, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Jessica Shannon, Hinkle Elkouri, Wichita, Kan.
  • Andrew Stein, Doll Law Firm, Dodge City, Kan.
  • Ingrid Wong, Husch Blackwell, Kansas City, Mo.

Government

  • Robert Bombard, US Navy JAG, Honolulu
  • Lisa Chauvin, Franklin County Attorney’s Office, Ottawa, Kan.
  • Ashley Dillon, Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, Kansas Supreme Court, Topeka, Kan.
  • Andrew Geren, Douglas County District Attorney, Lawrence, Kan.
  • Kate Gleeson, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
  • Elizabeth Landau, United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Missouri
  • Jessica Lewicki, US Army JAG, Germany
  • Chris Omlid, Leavenworth County Attorney’s Office, Leavenworth, Kan.
  • Moruf Oseni, District Attorney’s Office, Dougherty Judicial Circuit, Albany, Ga.
  • Nick Peterson, United States Attorney’s Office, District of Kansas
  • Kelsey Shaw, Kansas State Board of Healing Arts, Topeka, Kan.
  • Maddie Simpson, Johnson County District Attorney’s Office, Olathe, Kan.

Public Interest Organizations

  • Ryan Boyer, Legal Hospice of Texas, Dallas, Texas
  • Courtney Brax, Legal Aid of Western Missouri, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Gizachew Emiru, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, Washington, D.C.
  • Andrew Gross, Missouri State Public Defender System, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Ben Gwozdz, Disability Rights Center, Topeka, Kan.
  • Tom Treinen, Colorado Public Defender, Colorado Spring, Colo.

Businesses

  • Elle Marino, Alcatel-Lucent, Murray Hill, N.J.
  • Sam Mika, Cerner, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Jill Mitchell, Microsoft, Seattle

Todd Rogers, Assistant Dean for Career Services