A special group convened at the request of Phillip Brick, the incoming president of our Student Bar Association, to look at the issue of inviting a Supreme Court Justice to judge the moot court competition and give a lecture at the law school in the spring of 2009. Professor Mark Killenbeck, Professor Mike Mullane, Jason Boyeskie, outgoing chair of the Board of Advocates, Assistant Dean Rhona Adams and Director of Development Teri Stafford participated in the meeting. The group’s decision was to extend an invitation to Justice Alito, the Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit. We are hopeful that he will accept and look forward to hosting him.

Afterwards I had a quick meeting with Monika Szakasits, the interim director of the Law Library. She is doing such a wonderful job. I’m really grateful to her for taking on the role while we searched for a library director. She has really kept things humming along and moving forward. Thanks, Monika.

At noon I attended an Academic Deans Group Luncheon, hosted by Carolyn Allen of the Library. We met upstairs at Hog Haus Brewing Company Restaurant and Bar. It was a strange meeting in the sense that there is a lot of transition among the deans. Greg Weidemann of the College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences will be leaving for a job in Connecticut; Bob Smith will be transitioning out of the Provost position; and Don Bobbitt is leaving for University of Texas, Arlington. Bob McMath, Dean of the Honors College, has been appointed Interim Provost starting July 1 and Suzanne McCray, his associate dean, will be the Interim Dean of the Honors College. In addition to the usual things we meet about, we talked about the changes that were taking place.

That evening was the Inns of Court meeting. The topic was “The Stressful Day: Managing Stress for the Benefit of Your Clients, Your Practice and Your Own Mental and Physical Wellbeing.” Group participants were Niki Cung, Amy Wilbourn, Colin Johnson, Doug Martin, Kaycee Wolf, Kelvin Stroud, Margie Alsbrook, Michael Bond, Richard Hebar, Robert Depper, Robert Frazier, Shyretta McCrackin, Stacy Alexander and Stephanie Harper Easterling. It was a very important program. Those of you who follow the blog know that I’ve been involved with the Arkansas Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee. It is important to present a program dealing with a serious topic that is the elephant in the room. Thanks very much to Niki Cung for selecting this topic, and to all those in her group who participated.

Part of the presentation was a skit about an attorney having an increasingly hectic and stressful day. Afterwards, students shared cases dealing with this issue in which attorneys have faced serious disciplinary charges based on stress and mental health status. A couple of relevant cases are In re Crossley, 310 Ark. 435, 839 S.W.2d 1 (Ark. 1992) and Neal v. Hollingsworth, 338 Ark. 251, 992 S.W.2d 771. You can also find information about this in resources such as the Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program. Niki also shared with the Inn how the Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program functions and how to contact Gail Harber, the executive director of AJLAP. The student group members reminded us of the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct that are applicable to such a situation. It is an important topic, and the program was well done between the skit and the presentation information and resources. I’m pleased to see that this important message is being taken to heart and shared with groups of lawyers around the state.