The week of October 29 was a fantastic week, very busy, but filled with very exciting things in terms of what’s happening in the Law School community.

On Monday, I went down to Little Rock to visit with the Arkansas Bar Foundation Trust Committee and got to see several members of the bar committee who are our alums: Jack McNulty (’70), Ms. Jeffery McKinley (’81), Louis Jones (’72), Paula Casey (’77), Harry Moore (’75), Charles Roscopf (’83), Spencer Robinson (’77), David Williams (’75), Robert Depper (’81), Steven Quattlebaum (’83), and Rick Ramsay (’77). It was quite a pleasure to go down and enjoy the beautiful new digs of the Arkansas Bar Association and to spend a little bit of time with Chuck Goldner, who sadly shared with me that this is his last year as dean at UALR. He said he will happily remain on the faculty at UALR. I have been really fortunate to have such a wonderful working relationship with Chuck, and I am sad about losing the opportunity to be a co-dean in Arkansas with him. However, I am happy to know he’ll still be here, in Arkansas, and I look forward to working with the new dean.

Louis LimOn Tuesday we had a visit from Louis Lim (’96) who is practicing in Bentonville, Ark. He is an alum and was our guest speaker for the Lawyer in the Library program. It was just a real pleasure to have him back in the Law School, and there was a great turnout for his presentation.

Also that day, we celebrated the October birthdays in the Dean’s Conference Room with delicious cake from Rick’s Bakery. October birthdays included Susan Williams, Carol Goforth, Howard Brill, Al Witte, Phil Norvell, Scott Dodson and Malcolm McNair. Happy Birthday to all our colleagues who were born in the month of October!

The next day was exciting for me both personally and professionally because we had Dean Jim Chen from the University of Louisville School of Law visiting us as our inaugural speaker in the Day with a Dean program. The purpose of this new program is to expose the members of our law school community to other deans from across the country, and the deans to us. Dean Che, the only currently serving Asian dean, is a prolific scholar, a Renaissance man, and a person of amazing energy with a warm and wonderful sense of humor. We’re just really excited that we were able to have him visit.

Dean Chen joined the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law as dean in 2007. He is an influential scholar whose works span subjects such as administrative law, agricultural law, constitutional law, economic regulation, environmental law, industrial policy, legislation and natural resources law.

Dean Jim ChenDean Chen is also what I like to call a “techie” (not to be confused with “Trekkie”). He has emerged as an innovative master of online media. He is the founder of Jurisdynamics Network and presides over one of the most intellectually stimulating and visually striking families of law-related Web sites. Check out Dean Chen’s flagship weblog, Jurisdynamics, and other affiliated weblogs including MoneyLaw, BioLaw, Agricultural Law, Ratio Juris, Law and Technology Theory, First Movers, Law Blog Central and The Scientific Lawyer.

On Wednesday night, I picked up Dean Chen from the airport. He arrived late, and we went to dinner at Theo’s. And this aside is for the “foodies” out there – my entrée was the brisket that they serve with collard greens and mashed potatoes. Dean Chen had the scallops, and we both had a salad. It was delicious as usual.

Thursday afternoon I was able to go to a very moving ceremony for my good friend, (formerly Major) Clark Taylor. He was being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and I was able to attend his promotion ceremony, along with members of the ROTC community here at the University of Arkansas and other members of the University administration and General Hartsell, who presided over the ceremony. He spoke very highly of Clark and all the attributes that make him a fantastic person as well as a most capable and professional member of the Armed Forces. I was just very pleased to be able to be present. Clark’s daughter actually took off his old rank and his other daughter slapped the new rank on his chest. I was able to meet Clark’s mom and his wife, Julia, and several members of the community who are important to him. It was an honor to be present and to be with them.

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A quick side note – in rushing from class over to Lieutenant Colonel Taylor’s commissioning, I ran to Memorial Hall, asked how to get up to the promotion ceremony and was told that I had to take the stairwell. Upon entering the stairwell, I got locked inside because once you get in the stairwell in that building, you can’t get out. The building is under construction and every floor of the stairwell is locked. You can’t get out the back door because that’s under construction and has a construction lock on it, too. So I had to pound on the stairwell door and yell, “Hello, Hello, I need to get out! I’m trying to go to the promotion ceremony!” When that didn’t work, I even tried, “Help, dean in distress.” Eventually a very amused student came along and let me out, and I dashed over to the ceremony that was actually being held in the Graduate Education building.

 

As if that weren’t enough excitement in one week, we were also very pleased to have Mark Tushnet, a Hartman Hotz speaker, visit us in the Law School. Professor Tushnet is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is a prominent professor in constitutional law and a leading scholar of comparative law. He is the co-author of four casebooks, including the most widely used casebook on constitutional law, Constitutional Law (with Stone, Seidman, and Sunstein). Professor Tushnet has written numerous books, including a two-volume work on the life of Justice Thurgood Marshall and A Court Divided: The Rehnquist Court and the Future of Constitutional Law. In addition to A Court Divided, the University of Arkansas Bookstore has available two additional books by Professor Tushnet: Out of Range and Taking the Constitution Away from Court.

Professor TushnetOn Thursday, Professor Tushnet discussed “Power of the Judge Across the Globe.” He also gave a talk to the faculty on Friday at noontime about the emerging issues in legal education. He raised some very pertinent points including the increasing globalization of law practice, the need for a systematic introduction to regulations and statutes in students’ first year of law school and the reduction of academic “free agency” by which experinenced professors move from “lesser” schools to “better” schools.

Dean Chen also spoke to the entire Law School community earlier on Thursday, during the lunch hour on the topic of Law 2.0 and the increasingly important role technology plays in legal education. He also spent time with Tom Black, our webmaster and the members of the library faculty and staff. He then spoke to our faculty on Friday following Professor Tushnet. Dean Chen’s talk to the faculty was about new and different types of scholarship and their value within the academy.

On Thursday night, a number of members of the Law School community joined us for dinner at Bordino’s with both Mark Tushnet and Dean Chen. It was a fabulous night – lots of fun, great conversation (including stories from our guests about being clerks in the Supreme Court) and very interesting intellectual and political and arts and letters types of discussions about issues occurring in Arkansas and around the world. It was a fabulous meal attended by Dean Don Bobbitt and his wife Susan, Professor Steve Sheppard and his wife Christine, Profesor Don Judges and Chandana Becker, Professor Rob Leflar and his wife Sarah, Bill Schreckhise, a political science professor; Steve Smith, a communications professor and Chris Collins from Oxford University Press and myself.

Friday evening, Susan Schneider gave Dean Chen a tour of rural Arkansas and hosted him at her house, and then on Friday night, Professor Judges and Ms. Becker and Professor and Mrs. Sheppard hosted him for dinner at Emilia’s.

On Saturday members of APALSA (Asian Pacific American Law Student Association), Jonathan Kwan and Viet Tran, picked up Dean Chen at his bed and breakfast and gave him a tour so that he could observe all the changes to northwest Arkansas. The students were very pleased to be able to hang out him, and they took him to lunch at Mimi’s. His comment to me was they “tried to smother me with carbohydrates.” Afterwards, I met Dean Chen at the Law School, and we had a very lovely, low key visit and then proceeded to the football game where I found out that, yes indeed, he is quite the football fanatic. I will tell you that in the two years that I have been box hopping, our alums were most impressed with Dean Chen’s knowledge of football and his engagement in the game. He even wore Razorback gear. Thanks to all who hosted us in their boxes including, Vance and Clay Stone, Nick Patton, Rick and Clair Ramsay, Nick and Sally Patton, Merry and Jim Phillips, Baxter Sharpe, Gary Head, and Sharon and Johnny Bales. Oh yes and, “Yeah, Go Hogs!” as we won the game against South Carolina.

Sunday morning my mom and I picked up Dean Chen after church and took him to our favorite breakfast spot in Springdale, Sunset Grill, where he joined us for breakfast with the members of our breakfast bunch from church. We then whisked him off to the airport.

As I flip through the pages in my calendar, it’s amazing and terrific how many good things are happening here. Stay tuned; there’s more to come!

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