Archives for the month of: February, 2008

I went to Little Rock to attend a meeting of the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee, a group I’ve been privileged to be a part of for a number of years. In its former iteration it was known as the Arkansas Lawyer Assistance Committee. The current chair is Alice Lightle. img_2066.jpgThe committee is an Arkansas Bar Association committee that supports the work of the Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (AJLAP) which was established by the Arkansas Supreme Court. The AJLAP is dedicated to providing non-disciplinary and confidential assistance to any member of the Arkansas bar whose professional performance is being impaired by mental illness, emotional distress, substance abuse or any other disabling circumstance.

This purpose of this particular meeting was the that the AJLAP has been selected by the American Bar Associationpeabody’s Commission On Lawyer Assistance Programs (ABA COLAP), as the location for its 2009 Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held from October 21-24 at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock. In addition, the conference of the International Lawyers in Alcoholics Anonymous will be held in conjunction with the COLAP conference. Our committee has the unique opportunity to host and provide support for these two important conferences. As you might imagine, hosting the two conferences is a big honor for the state of Arkansas, but it’s also a big responsibility, so the LHL Committee met to begin planning.img_2074.jpg

COLAP Schedule

We discussed three things that the committee needs to assist with in addition to finding volunteers to be present during the meetings. The first is quite a bit of fun. The Arkansas LHLCommittee is planning a photo rally for the first two days of the COLAP Conference. Participants who sign up will have to follow clues and photograph different items around Little Rock, like the pin map in the Clinton store or the Peabody Duckmaster’s hat. They will upload their photos, which will be displayed throughout the conference, and the first team to complete their list wins.

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Committee members were also asked to help with the Dine Around by signing up to serve as hosts and hostesses for convention attendees to dine at area restaurants. Not only will they serve as meal-time companions, but also be responsible for helping participants get to their restaurants. The third need begins with the start of the ILAA conference. Volunteers are needed to register participants.

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At the end of the discussion of the conference, there were a couple of business items. As I mentioned above our committee assists the AJLAP. One of the agenda items was the need for Gail Harber, the director of the AJLAP, to be invited to speak at county bar meetings. She’s has spoken at a few local bars meetings, but unfortunately, there are many places around the state where lawyers aren’t aware of the AJLAP. We also watched a video of a lawyer who shows up to court drunk. It was a real train wreck, and it supports the need for Judicial and Lawyer Assistance Programs.

When the meeting adjourned, I visited with Denise Hoggard img_2077.jpgin her new law firm. She is in the Regions Bank Building on 1st Street and has a beautiful office on the 28th floor. Before I made it up to her office, I ran into another of our alums, John Harriman. img_2075.jpgI had a good visit with Denise, and it gave me the time to thank her for being such a good friend of the law school and for her support of the scholarship programs of the Arkansas Association of Women Lawyers.After leaving Denise’s office, I ran into none other than Phillip Hood, who I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs. He’s a member of the Arkansas Workers Comp Commission (I got a picture of him and I asked Nirmal to put that in the earlier blog post about him, and then there’s a picture of us together). As it turns out, he was in the office of Rickey Honorable, a mortgage loan originator for Regions Bank, who is married to my sorority sister Colette Honorable. Collette was recently appointed to the Arkansas Public Service Commission by Governor Beebe. I visited with Rickey and with Phillip, and then said “farewell” to Little Rock and headed back up the hill to Fayetteville!

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Thursday was supposed to be a law school strategic planning meeting, but because of the crazy weather it was pTomostponed. However, I did get to meet with Tom Black, our webmaster, on the migration of the Web site to our new Red Dot system. He has done a great deal of work to prepare for the migration and the changes look great. He has some neat features planned for the new law school site so stay tuned—you heard about it here in the blog first!

We’re still looking for outside input, too. Do you have any suggestions about how we can make the webpage better? If you’d like to, feel free to leave a comment right here on the blog; we’d love to hear it.

img_2065.jpgThat evening I had dinner with Jennifer Taylor, who is the director of the Arkansas Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission. I had been invited by Bob Moberly and his wife, Lynn Webb. Jennifer’s sister, Laurie joined us as well for a lovely dinner at Theos. If you’re a “bloggie,” you know that Theos is my absolute favorite restaurant in Fayetteville, so in addition to the warm company, it was a good excuse to dine there once again.

We were greeted warmly by Jeff, Theo’s manager (by the way, Jeff, you need to come to law school!) before we sat down to a fabulous meal. We talked about everything, from the current Presidential race to the ADR Commission’s work and the fact that mediators are now involved in an increasing number of substantive legal fields. Thanks to Bob Moberly for the invite—it was a wonderful evening—and thanks Jennifer for visiting with our students about the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission and the opportunities available to them in that area of practice.

The dean of the School of Continuing Education and Academic Outreach, Linda Ballard, invited me to Hugo’s with members of her staff and two representatives from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Laura Tyree, associate director for planning and accountability, and Christina (Chrissie) Miller, assistant director for planning and accountability. Also joining us from Dean Ballard’s school was Kim Jones, program coordinator, and Cindy Shackelford, Dean Ballard’s executive assistant. Rick and Clair Ramsay (’77), David Vandergriff (’77), and Jim Phillips (’80)—all law school alums—were there, too.

Although I know I’m working on being Fabulous at Fifty, Hugo’s has great burgers so I had a bacon barbeque cheeseburger and we all shared some spinach dip as we visited during the meal.

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After dinner we went over to Dean Ballard’s box in Bud Walton Arena to watch the Hogs take on the LSU Tigers. HogsWe were LSU Tigersjoined in the box by Terry Martin, associate dean of academics for the College of Engineering, and his wife, Theresa as well as Mike Johnson, the associate vice chancellor of facilities, and his wife, Terri (who I’ve mentioned in previous blogs). We were also joined by Matt Cashion, the former national president of the National Association of Surety Bond Producers and owner of The Cashion Company, an independent insurance agency in Little Rock.

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While walking through Bud Walton, I ran into a couple of our alums, Bill Horton (’01) and Pat Gazzola (’74) (Pat owns The Catfish Hole restaurant in Fayetteville). I also crossed paths with Don Bland of the College of Business who has been very supportive both of the law school. It’s always neat to see everyone out enjoying a great game, especially when the Hogs win like they did that evening! It was an exciting game. Thanks again to Dean Ballard for her invitation. It was an action-packed evening that had Theresa and I on our feet the entire time!BWA3

Time out for a shout out: During the course of my thank you calls Wednesday morning, I had spoken to Lee Fincher who was in the midst of making banana pudding. During the course of our conversation, I mentioned how much I enjoy banana pudding, but just can’t seem to make it quite right. Imagine my surprise when the next morning Professor Sharon Foster brought in a big bowl of banana pudding from Lee! Banana pudding is definitely the “breakfast of champions,” (though, maybe not for those trying to be Fabulous at Fifty) and it was delicious! Thanks again, Lee and Sharon!

One of the things I’ve looked forward most is being able to say thank you to our gracious benefactors, so today I spent a lot of time making personal phone calls to a number of our alums and friends who provide the law school with financial support. To all of you who have helped support the law school, thank you so much. Please know how very much we appreciate your support.

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Another special thanks goes out to Don Elliott for visiting with the student chapter of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA). We really appreciate him taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with the members of the law school community.

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That evening Wright, Lindsey & Jennings sponsored a cocktail party at Ella’s. I forgot to take my camera with me to this event, so thanks to Rachel Rouby for saving me with her cell phone pictures. A number of our alums were there, including Charles Coleman, Adrian Young, Jane Kim, Paul Mores, and Jeff Woods. Many of our students, as well as faculty members Susan Snell and associate dean Judith Kilpatrick, attended as well. I had a really lovely visit with Jane Kim, Adrian Young and Michelle Camerly about life and, more importantly, the best places to eat in Little Rock! Thanks again to Wright, Lindsey & and Jennings for a very pleasant evening

Saturday night I img_2002.JPGbraved the torrential rain at the invitation of Lt. Col. Clark Taylor (a regular in blog postings), to attend the Army ROTC Military Ball. The cadets and officers at the ball were from two different ROTC programs: the University of Arkansas and Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. There were a number of interesting traditions to witness. There was a very formal receiving line where each guest was announced to the line by the adjutant, in this case a young cadet standing to the right of Lt. Col. Taylor. The adjutant’s role is to present the guest to the presiding officer who in turn presents the guest to the guest of honor. The adjutant does not shake hands with the guests. Because I didn’t know, I extended my hand to the adjutant who remained in her perfectly straight position with her hands behind her back and announced me to Lt. Col. Taylor (oops!).

The cJack E. Buffingtonolors were posted by a color guard of four women cadets. After the invocation and introductions, there were a series of toasts (with sparkling grape juice). We toasted to the Commander in Chief, Army, sister services, all who have served and are currently serving, the Razorback Brigade, The Riverhawk Battalion, families and guests and the ladies. Each toast was offered by specially selected cadet, except for the toast to the sister services which was offered by Admiral Mike Johnson (whom we know as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities), whose terrific wife Terry was with him. Admiral Jack Buffington, a professor of civil engineering, was also a guest.

img_2013.JPGOne of the most fascinating moments in the program was the Fallen Soldier Ceremony. The table is set for one and symbolizes the members of the military who are missing. Some were prisoners of war, missing in action or fallen soldiers. Their dedication to duty and commitment to the country as well as their memories are honored in this way. I’ve paraphrased the text of the ceremony:

  • The small table set for one symbolizes the frailty of one soldier alone against his enemies.
  • The white tablecloth symbolizes the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms.
  • The single red rose, displayed in a vase, symbolizes the blood shed to protect the liberty so cherished in our country.
  • The yellow ribbon tied prominently on the vase, symbolizing remembrance, reminds us of the families and loved ones who keep the memories of those soldiers alive.
  • The bracelet is worn upon the wrists of thousands, whose unyielding determination demands a proper accounting of our missing.
  • The bronze star is a symbol of courage in the face of the enemy.
  • A slice of lemon, on the bread plate, is to remind us of their bitter fate.
  • There is salt upon the bread plate, symbolic of the families’ tears.
  • The glass on the table is inverted, because they were unable to be present to join in the toasts.
  • The chair is empty because the soldiers are not present.
  • The candle is a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice fallen soldiers and their families have made to preserve our precious freedom.

img_2008.JPGAnother surprising tradition was that the “most expendable” member of the company was called forth to taste the food before it was served. You can imagine the historical reasons for this, but it was nevertheless surprising to witness. The cadet declared the food to be “delectable and utterly pleasing to the palate.” At that point we dined on pork loin (there was also a choice of steak or chicken), twice backed potato, green beans and cheese or chocolate cake. I was delighted to be seated with Lt. Col. Taylor and his wife Julia, Col. Richard F. Bowyer, the keynote speaker, and his wife Kelly, Cadet Bishop, the Cadet Battalion Commander, and his date Rebekkah Mendoza and Susan Mayes, an instructor in health science and kinesiology at the university.

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Here let me interject a wonderful and personal aside. One of the members of our law school community was in attendance. David Phillips, a third-year, was with his fiancée, Alline Fulton. They shared the most romantic story. As it turns out, David is an alumnus of the ROTC program. He left about 20 years ago, had a distinguished career in the military and returned for law school. But when he left, he also left Alline, and they hadn’t communicated in all that time. Little did David know that, while he was studying in Waterman Hall, Alline would walk by on her way to the Poultry S

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cience Building. One day, David was looking in the campus directory and spotted her name. He emailed her and, as they say, the rest is history! David presented her with his mother’s ring, and they are engaged to be married. Thanks, David, for sharing your lovely story.

Anyway, back to the banquet. The speaker-Colonel Boyer from Ft. Sills, Okla.-directed his talk towards the cadets, but it was a great reminder for anyone striving to assume a position of leadership. Leaders, he said, are selfless, self-aware, have the capacity to make decisions, learn from mistakes and care for those who work with and for them. His talk was extremely motivational and it gave all the leaders in the room food for thought.

After the program, I danced a bit before heading home to rest after another busy week. A special thanks to Susan for driving, especially given the stormy weather.

Let me begin by mentioning that I lost a half day earlier this week because I was under the weather, but I was able to shake the crud that seems to be going around! Hopefully all you readers out there are keeping healthy through these last few weeks of winter.

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The annual Arkansas Bar Foundation Scholarship Dinner was held February 15 at The Little Rock Club in Little Rock. For the foodies, the dinner was a delicious surf and turf-shrimp and steak-with green beans and twice baked potatoes. The event was extremely nice, and we had an opportunity to visit with a number of our alums-who are Arkansas Bar Foundation Scholarship Dinner 3also members of the Bar Association-during the cocktail hour.

The event itself was a wonderful opportunity for the scholarship donors to meet some of the students whose lives have been profoundly changed through their gifts. That might sound cliché, but I really do believe that’s true. What makes this event work is the fact that the donors get to see and hear about the wonderful things that scholarship recipients are achieving with the help of the donors’ financial support.

The scholarship award winners are doing wonderful things for our community. The list of scholarship winners is long, but each student is deserving of mention:

  • Stacia Alvarez (Donald J. Adams Scholarship)
  • Phillip Brick (Guy Amsler, Jr. Scholarship)
  • Clark Donat (Arkansas Bar Foundation Merit Scholarship)Arkansas Bar Foundation Scholarship Dinner 4
  • Baxter Drennon (David Solomon Scholarship)
  • Sam Eastman (Harry P. Warner Scholarship) (Vincent W. Foster, Jr. Scholarship)
  • Kristen Freeman (Arkansas Bar Foundation Merit Scholarship)
  • Blake Glasgow (Justice J. Frank Holt Scholarship)
  • David Gonzales (Arkansas Bar Foundation Scholarship, in honor of the Sebastian County Bar, U.M. Rose, Mike Gorman and Edward L. Wright)
  • Grace Johnson (Judge John E. Miller Scholarship)
  • April Kersten (Paul B. Young Scholarship)
  • Talley Parker (Horace and James McKenzie Scholarship)
  • Pamela Roberts (R.A. Eilbott, Jr. Scholarship)
  • Trevin Ware (Rather, Beyer & Harper Scholarship)
  • Taylor White (Judge J. Smith Henley Scholarship)
  • Anisha Woodard (Edward Lester Scholarship)
  • Ryan Younger (Wilson and Associates Ethics Scholarship)

Congratulations again to all of these outstanding law students! We are all very proud of your accomplishments.

For me, the best part of the event was that Dean Chuck Goldner and I had an opportunity to highlight each of the studentsDean Chuck Goldner who received scholarships. It was a bittersweet event in the sense that it was Dean Goldner’s last time to participate as a dean. As you know from reading my blog, he is stepping down as dean of UALR‘s law program at the end of this school year. He will certainly be missed, but it was a real joy to shar

e this event with him.

Thanks again to Ann Pyle, the executive director of the Arkansas Bar Association, for organizing such a lovely evening. It was a fantastic event! This was my first time attending, and I’m already looking forward next year. Thanks to all the students for making the drive to Little Rock so that our supporters were able to see what special people you all are. We all braved unpredictable weather to be there and perhaps more of our students will be able to attend in the future. I think we all agree that it was certainly a wonderful occasion, and worth the trip.

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Today we were pleased to have Kelly Carithers and Jim Gresham, two Arkansas Bar Examiners, and Chris Thomas, the Director of the Office of Professional Programs for the Arkansas Judiciary, visit with us.

First, they met with law school faculty at lunch to share important information concerning the Bar exam. Chris Thomas began by talking about the nascent movement towards a national Bar exam. There are a number of state judiciary officials from around the country who have been meeting together to talk about the creation of a national Bar exam, and Mr. Thomas shared the issues surrounding that with us. Mr. Gresham and Ms. Carithers stressed Bar exam study methods, and said students needed to practice writing old exam questions, rather than just relying on the Bar-Bri buzz words. This has been a consistent problem during the time that Mr. Gresham and Ms. Carithers have been serving as bar examiners. After meeting with the faculty, all three visitors spent an hour with our students discussing the test.

I want to say thank you again to the Bar Examiners for coming to visit, particularly since Mr. Thomas was recovering from a cold, and because the weather was a little bit of a challenge. We’re very grateful to them for taking time out of their very busy schedules, and for their service to the legal community as Bar Examiners. Our licensing process could not function without their service and we’re very thankful for their dedication to the Bar.

On Sunday, Jan. 27, Phi Alpha Omega, and the Kappa Iota chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha, SororityAKA, Inc. (AKA), celebrated the 100-year anniversary of AKA at the Garden Room on Dickson Street at 4 p.m. It was a wonderful program and dinner, and there were about 150 people there. Chapter members presented the history of the sorority and also of both the Northwest Arkansas chapters – Phi Alpha Omega and Alpha Iota. There were musical selections, and Lionel Jordan, the Vice Mayor of Fayetteville, read a proclamation designating January 15, 2008 Alpha Kappa Alpha Day in Fayetteville. Tjuana Byrd, a former member of the Kappa Iota undergraduate chapter, and currently a North Little Rock Assistant City Attorney, gave the remarks for the occasion. It was a wonderful event, and it is an exciting time for the members of Alpha Kappa Alpha as we celebrate 100 years of service.

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Following the program, I had dinner with Philip Hood. Philip is the union-side, employee-side representative on the Arkansas Workers Compensation Commission. He was named to the position Jan. 9, 2007 and appointed to a six-year term after being a member of the Workforce Investment Board. His background is one that I find sympatico. He is the President of the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 105. He worked in the air transportation industry for approximately 10 years. While there, he was a member of the International Association of Machinist and nwa logoAerospace Workers. Hood served as president for more than a thousand members of his local. It was composed of employees from Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and TWA. He also is currently a member of the executive board of the Arkansas AFL-CIO. He and I had dinner at Copelands of Louisiana and sw airlines logovisited about workplace issues— workerscopeland’s compensation, unions, legislation and the decline of unions in the country and in Arkansas. It was a wonderful meal, very lively and just fun to sit down with someone else with a union background and to visit about those issues. For the foodies out there, Commissioner Hood had a steak and potato, and I had the blackened bayou chicken. One of the most exciting things about the visit is that he is looking to hire one or two students as interns with him during this summer. We are excited about that opportunity, and I suspect that many of our students will be interested in applying for these positions. If you are, please see Susan Snell.

Monday was busy as well. We had a faculty meeting that day, and I had a chance to sit down and brainstorm with Professors Judges and Kelley about the shape and future and potential funding sources for the Ukraine initiative. That was really a good discussion and also, it seems, a very promising program. We’re looking forward to building on that.

The next day Heidi Ernst, a writer for Lutheran magazine, interviewed me about my role here and also my work on behalf of workers and immigrants.

Wednesday was a very full day. At 7 a.m. I had breakfast with Mike Johnson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities. It was fun to catch up with him and to thank him again for all the attention he’s given to the law school and for refurbishingcommon grounds our facilities. Mike is great, and it was good to see him even though it was 7 a.m. We went to Common Grounds and both had the breakfast casserole and coffee. At lunch, I ate with Lieutenant Colonel Taylor sea food market logofrom the Army ROTC program and we went to Seafood Market Grill on West Street. We caught up about our vacations. He and his family went to Disneyworld and received a number of special recognitions. They just happened to be at the right place at the right time, and he was still tickled about that experience. It’s always good to see him again, and I am very grateful for our friendship.

That evening I had dinner with sorors Myra McKenzie and Ronetta Francis from Wal-Mart Legal. We met at Bonefish Grill in Rogers to catch up and talk politics, families and law. Ronetta has just recently relocated to northwest Arkansas, so we had plenty to chat about! We also thought out loud about how to get the Wal-Mart attorneys more directly involved with our students, like through mentor relationships. For dinner, Ronetta had the coconut crusted shrimp appetizer and the lump crab and corn chowder soup, Myra hand the Bonefish salad and Diablo shrimp fettuccini, and I had the same salad and the pistachio parmesan crusted rainbow trout with steamed veggies. For dessert, Ronetta had key lime pie, Myra had a brownie, and I had the crème brulée. All of the food was delicious. The weather wasn’t terrific, but their company certainly was.

Art DisplayThis seems like a good place to mention the art project at the south entrance of the law school. The project was part of a symposium hosted by the University, and the piece displayed outside our building was made by artist Jeff Forster. His piece was chosen by New York City art critic John Perreault from more than 200 entries, and displayed alongside 30 other artist works. The art pieces were displayed all over campus and along downtown Fayetteville, and Mr. Perreault came to town to view the works personally. Jeff was one of three artists who received awards from Mr. Perreault for their work.

Friday, Feb. 1, Malcolm, Teri, and I travelled to Little Rock to visit with Arkansas Association of Women Lawyers, where I gave a law school update. While we were there, we had the pleasure of visiting with Judge Rick Taylor, our alum and aArk Women Lawyers2 bankruptcy judge. He gave us a tour of his chambers, as well as all of the beautiful, restored courtrooms. Judge Taylor is a wonderful friend of the law school, and he was a great host. Thank you very much Judge Taylor. We enjoyed the time we spent with you. After hanging out with the Judge, we went upstairs for our presentation and Judge rick Taylorlunch with the women lawyers association. Colleagues from the UALR School of Law attended as well. There was lots of excitement about all the changes around the law school but especially the fact that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be coming on Oct. 3, 2008, to dedicate the building. Our visit with them is always one of the highlights of the year. Everyone is so very gracious and warm, and I just want to say thanks again to everyone for their wonderful hospitality.

AfterMLKwards, in an unexpected treat, we were invited to UALR School of Law to watch and participate in the ceremony acknowledging Black History Month. The ceremony honored the black legal pioneers, social and civil rights activists who were leaders in the struggle for equality and justice. It was a very moving ceremony led by Professor Adjoa Aiyetoro. As part of the commemoration we released a number of balloons in the park across from the law school. Afterwards there was a reception at the law school building with Dean Chuck Goldner, Cory Childs, the president of SBA, and other members of the law school commMLK2unity. Black Law Student Association members and the Student Bar Association recognized and appreciated the black faculty and staff at UALR’s law school and also Chuck Goldner for his efforts on behalf of diversity. It was just such a pleasure and a privilege to be able to be there to share that moment, especially given that Dean Goldner is such a good friend and has been so supportive of our law school. I’m just sad he’s going to be stepping down as dean, but I’m very, very grateful to him for his friendship and guidance over this year and a half that I’ve been in the deanship.

After an exciting end to the week, it was time to hit the road again for Fayetteville!

Monday, Jan. 21 was the university’s recognition of MLK day. There were no classes, the buildings were closed and I hope that everyone had a chance to reflect on how his legacy has created many of the opportunities and interactions that we all enjoy today.

That evening was the 12th Annual MLK Recommitment Banquet and thanks very much to Sharon Foster, Carl Circo, Chancellor WhiteBobbi Johnson, Amy and Scott Dodson and my mom for sharing the table at that dinner. Special highlights were the award given to Chancellor White for his efforts on behalf of diversity and Mayor Dan Coody’s reading of a proclamation officially changing the name of 6th Street to MLK Street. The keynote speaker was Dr. Roderick McDavis, President of Ohio University, formerly the Dean of the College of Education and Health Professions here at the University of Arkansas He talked about the significance and importance of diversity in higher education. At the end of the program the MLK Commission presented awards to corporate entities for their support of diversity efforts, and named Cox Communications the Corporation of the Year. Then there were a number of scholarships given out including the Rodney Momon Youth Award to Kendra Johnson, the Individual Achievement award to Dr. Charles Robinson, the Lifetime Achievement Award to Larry Slamons and the Rev. J. Aaron Hawkins Sr. Posthumous Award to John Lewis. Congratulations again to all the award recipients. Because the weather was terrible and it had started to sleet and ice over, many people left the dinner early. Fortunately, we were able to stay until the end to hear the closing remarks by Ernestine Gibson, Chair of the Commission (and a sorority sister ☺ ).

Dean Nance, Mayor Dan Coody, his wife Deb Coody and Fern Nance

On Wednesday, I was invited to speak at NWACC for Black History Month. Chris Irwin, producer and director of Silas Hunt: A Documentary, joined me there as well as Jerry Moore, director of NWACC Upward Bound and a Silas Hunt historian. The audience viewed the Silas Hunt film, and then the three of us participated in a panel about the legacy of Silas, what he means to each of us, and how we think things have changed over time. It was wonderful to visit NWACC, and to see the wonderful diversity there. Thanks very much to NWACC for the opportunity to participate in that program.

On Thursday, Terri Stafford, Ray Guzman, Malcom McNair and I left for the Arkansas Bar Association Mid-Winter Meeting in Memphis, Tenn. at the Peabody Hotel. We hosted a reception during which we presented an update on the law school and visited with a number of great folks. More than 50 guests attended the event. Thanks to Ray Guzman, who is leaving us at the end of this year, for coming with us to visit with alums. It was a fun event, and we were excited to host it and look forward to doing so again next year.

Thursday evening, Rick Ramsay, our alum and the President of the Arkansas Bar AssociaMemphis_Jim and Jan Sprotttion, invited us to the president’s dinner at Felicia Suzanne’s Restaurant. It was a small, intimate setting and again, we were very pleased to be invited to be a part of that wonderful gathering. I shared a table with one of our alums, Lamont Pettus, and his wife Donna (congratulations to Donna who will be president of the Arkansas Bar Association in two years), Jim and Jan Sprott (Jim is immediate past-president of the Arkansas Bar Association), Karen Hutchins, executive director of the Arkansas Bar Association, and Malcolm. And, by the way, for the foodies out there, the food was fabulous. There was yummy crab cake appetizer and delicious scallop and lobster pasta dish. Did I say the food was great? Although it was a chilly evening outside the company was warm and the conversation fun.

Friday, the Bar Association had a two-track CLE program during which our own Harrison Pittman spoMemphiske on the Arkansas recreational use statute and its application to agricultural and rural land owners. During the day, I was able to meet with a number of our alums as well as to spend some time with Terri Stafford, to think about ideas for programs for the future as well as outreach ideas. Friday evening Bartels Law Firm of Jonesboro sponsored a wonderful dinner at the Rendevous Rib Restaurant. A number of our alums attended along with the rest of the bar. After dinner there was a dessert reception on the Peabody mezzanine, which was a great opportunity to socialize with many members of the Arkansas Bar Association including Chalk Mitchell, Denise Hoggard and her husband, Glen Hoggartt.

Our trip to Memphis was filled with a few surprises. When we stopped at a gas station in Ozark, we ran into Ben Carter, Director of Development for Mullins Library. In Little Rock at the Grille (where I had a fabulous grilled salmon sandwich) we saw Rhet Tucker, whose son Clark is a 2006 School of Law grad. Also, on the way back, we stopped at Trio’s (their shrimp enchiladas were terrific) and saw Cassie Baldwin and David Beran, both 2005 grads. It just goes to show that friends and alums of the law school are everywhere!

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Saturday we returned to Fayetteville happy after a wonderful weekend at the Bar Association meeting and the opportunity to meet and great our alums.

Judge Wendell Griffen (’79), an alum of our law school and current Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge, came to speak to Griffenstudents at lunch today. His visit was sponsored by Equal Justice Works and BALSA, and the title of his talk was “A View from the Woods.” Judge Griffen expressed concern about the need to protect our liberty, and also fairness in our justice system. He encouraged the audience to uphold the promise of justice. As a reminder of how important that pledge is, he reminded students and audience members alike about how the founders of the United States promised each other as they signed the Declaration of Independence that they would stake their lives on the cause of justice.

We had a number of distinguished guests who came to hear Judge Griffen speak, including Jim Rose, Judge Griffen’s former pastor, Pastor McClarty, and Steve Clark. After the talks there were a number of questions from both our students and the media.

A view from the woods

After Judge Griffen’s talk, professor Rob Leflar and I accompanied him over to Ella’s at Carnall Hall where we had acarnall hall logo relaxing and enjoyable lunch. Even though we knew he was actively pursuing his reelection, we encouraged to take time out of his busy schedule to take care of himself. It was good to see Judge Griffen—he was one of the first people I met when I came to Arkansas, and he’s been a long-time friend. I really enjoyed getting to spend that time with him.