Archives for the month of: April, 2008

On Saturday morning all the participants of the women’s Leadership Retreat gathered in the main lodge in the restaurant for breakfast. After a quick meal, we met in a small meeting room and listened to a presentation on the Rockefeller Foundation by Annett Pagan. Her talk was followed by a very interesting, lively and thoughtful discussion about development issues in the Arkansas Delta, the need for education and the challenges that inhibit economic development.

We also learned about a very interesting sweet potato project in the Delta. Sweet potatoes are a high cash crop for the farmers, but a special infrastructure needed to be designed and built in order to support the sweet potato project. Mary Good also updated us on technological progress in Arkansas, some of the new projects that the state is hoping to develop, and discussed the more interesting start-up companies around the state. I’m really glad I was there because I learned a lot about economic development in our state. Afterwards we had lunch and departed for home.

The weekend was a relatively quiet one. I came back from Petit Jean Mountain and by that evening I just could not drag myself out to Leflarfest or the African students’ banquet. Instead I just spent a quiet evening with my mom. The next day was church followed by breakfast with the church breakfast bunch. We went down to El Camino Real on South School. They have a very cheap, very good breakfast with a Mexican flavor. I had a breakfast burrito that had eggs, cheese, chorizo and beans and it was delicious. I asked to have it covered with cheese and sauce, enchilada style. My mom had a ham and cheese burrito. Some of the other folks with us had chorizo on scrambled eggs with cheese and tortillas. It was really a good meal. I would recommend it, especially if you’re on a budget!

That evening my mom treated me to a wonderful event. It was a concert at the Walton Arts Center with Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea and Jack DeJohnette. What great fun! At times there was a cacophony of sound, but it all pulled together. The artists used their bodies, voices, the sides of the drums and the top of the piano—everything that was tangible, really—as an instrument. They also switched places, so that Jack DeJohnette would play the piano and Chick Corea would play the drums, or Chick Corea would sing and Bobby McFerrin would be on the drums. It was just a hoot! They are three very, very talented musicians who enjoyed being in each other’s company and who had a lot of fun performing together. Bobby McFerrin drew in the audience by asking us to sing, chant and vocalize. We saw Don Judges and Chandana Becker there too. Don pointed out how easily McFerrin was able to communicate without the use of language through sounds, vocalizations and body language. It was just a wonderful concert. Thanks, Mom!

I want to start this entry with a big “thank you!” to Kathy Sampson for the beautiful spring pictures she sent.

Friday was relatively quiet although we had a bittersweet event. We held a farewell party for Josh Malone, who is leaving us to take a job at Notre Dame. He and his wife, Dacia, are expecting their first child in August. We wish them the very best in their new undertaking and their new life. Josh always greeted everyone with a smile and no matter what was asked of him, he was always willing to cheerfully take on the task. We will really miss his bright spirit and warm sense of humor.

After the farewell party, I left for a retreat up on Mount Petit Jean with a group of professional women. The purpose of the group is to encourage and nurture women leaders. It was a lovely drive and a great day for it. We had dinner that evening at the lodge at the Rockefeller Center. During dinner I asked for some cracked pepper for my salad, and after a while a man came out with something that definitely wasn’t pepper in his hand. He looked around the table and asked if anyone had requested some crepe paper. Of course, we all got a good chuckle out of that.

While both the location and setting were beautiful, I would have to say to my foodies out there that the food was not as memorable. Some of the women ordered appetizers to share and they were fried green beans, chips and salsa and guacamole, and some crab cakes that were quite frankly a little on the bready side. The menu was kind of eclectic and limited. There was shrimp teriyaki for example, two types of steak, a pasta dish, and a trout dish. I had a steak which is something I usually don’t do. The starch offerings were pretty limited. I could either have french fries or roasted little new potatoes, which I thought was unusual because baked potatoes are usually served with steak. Anyway, having said all that, the camaraderie was great. It was good to see all the ladies again. Afterwards we went to one of the larger cottages where we had dessert which was a Boston crème pie. I got to know some of the women I’d never met before, and caught up with old acquaintances before calling it an early evening.

Happy Spring!

I was met with a wonderful surprise when I arrived at the law school for another busy day. I received a beautiful bouquet of miniature roses in bright spring colors from my friend, Stacie Walters. A very warm thanks to you Stacie both for your friendship and for the beautiful flowers, Stacie.

Now I need to digress a little bit because a couple of you who follow the blog actually noticed that while I mention Pilates every Monday, I haven’t mentioned Curves in a while. And yes, it is true, I fell off the “Fabulous at 50” bandwagon, but I went and worked out today. I’m going to rededicate myself to Curves because it’s very important—not just for the exercise, but also as a stress reliever. Thanks for reminding me and for commenting about it. You’ve guilted me back into getting back on the “Fabulous at 50” path!

It’s a little ironic for me to mention getting back on the “Fabulous at 50” horse, and then going to Momma Dean’s with Susan Schell, our director of Career Services, right afterwards. I had to take her—she’d never been there before! I knew better, but it seemed like a good thing to do at the time. She had the fried pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans. I had the ribs with macaroni and cheese and fried okra. So, you know, on one hand I’m going back to working out, on the other . . . . But just think of it this way, a good lunch at Mama Dean’s will just motivate me more! Susan enjoyed the peach cobbler for dessert and I had the banana pudding. And I’m telling you, if you haven’t been to Momma Dean’s, you should go check it out on South College (and no, I’m not getting a commission).

During lunch Susan and I visited about how her time at the law school has been, what kind of resources she thinks would be helpful, and her ideas for going forward with new programming for the Career Services department. It was a good visit. We’ve tried to have this conversation in the law school but we really needed to get out of the building to do it. She has some very good ideas and I think our students can look forward to even better services from her office.

The Law Review banquet was held at Uncle Gaylord’s that evening. Thanks to all of the faculty who attended including Ned Snow, Mary Beth and David Matthews, Dean Beard and Amy Beard, Phil Norvell, Bob Moberly, Don Judges and Chandana Becker, Angie Doss, Tim Tarvin and Dr. Patti Latta, Rhonda Adams, Kent Rubens, and Carl and Bobbi Circo. Also, thanks to Niki Cung and her husband Paul Thompson for attending even though they had to leave early. I know the law review members appreciated them for joining us and showing their support. It was a lovely event. There was a buffet but, since I had already eaten Mama Dean’s, I wasn’t very hungry.

Suzanne Clark did a great job of highlighting the Law Review year. You may not know this, but our Law Review used to be located in what was basically a converted sorority house across the street from the law school. When we moved into the new building we were able to make office space available for the Law Review, which meant moving everything in the middle of the school year. The members of the Law Review are to be commended for the extraordinary effort they expended and Suzanne deserves special recognition for the fabulous job she’s done.

One last, special note for this entry: on Thursday, Teri Stafford (who you’ve also seen mentioned in the blog) (I believe there’s a picture of her) left to go and send off her son, Josh, who has been called up to serve in Iraq. We wish them both safe travels, and Godspeed to Josh.

Wednesday, April 9, our new Chancellor-Elect Dave Gearhart paid a visit to the law school for an informal meeting and tour. He visited with a number of folks in the law school community and got a sense of our new physical facilities, some of the challenges we still have, and my visions for the future. I really appreciate him taking an hour of his day to come to visit. We were delighted to see him, and he was a gracious visitor stopping to meet and visit with everyone who stopped to talk with him.

Lunch that day with Carolyn Allen was a highlight. We went to Taste of Thai and had a pretty good (but not overfilling) lunch. In this job as you can tell from the blog there are many meals, so it’s good once in a while to have a light one. Carolyn and I caught up each other on what’s new. We shared some of the challenges of administration. Our lunches are relaxing – two women supporting each other in their roles. I appreciate you, Carolyn, and I really enjoy our conversations. I’m glad you’re there.

It was a day for deans I guess, because at 2:30 p.m. I went over to visit with Dean Shannon in Vol Walker Hall. For those of you who regularly follow the blog, you know that it’s been my goal to visit each of my fellow deans on campus this semester. I’m doing pretty well. So far I’ve talked with Collis Geren and Greg Weidemann, and Carolyn Allen and I regularly have lunch. I’ve also visited with Dan Worrell, so I’m making my way through the list. I have an appointment to see Ashok Saxena, the Dean of Engineering next week.

But Wednesday was the day to visit with Dean Shannon of the Architecture School. He has a lovely office in an even more spectacular building. If you haven’t been to Vol Walker, the architecture building, you should check it out. I learned a lot about how the architecture program works. For example, many of the studio classes are team taught, not that both teachers teach together, but over the course of the semester each teacher teaches a specific segment of the course. Dean Shannon also spoke about how he misses Professor Emeritus John Watkins who taught a Law and Architecture class. He’s actually been thinking about recruiting John to come back and we hope he will. It would be good to see him on campus again.

We also chatted about the challenges of managing and how upon becoming dean, unless you’ve been an associate dean, you really don’t know all the things you needs to know. For that reason it helps to have close relationships with other deans. I appreciate Dean Shannon for taking time to visit with me, to share his goals for his unit, and to offer his assistance and vice versa. I really have to say that this has been a wonderful undertaking. I can’t help but think that the law school is better off because of the strength of our relationships with other units on campus.

Afterwards, I dashed off to a reception with Sherece West who is the president of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. One of our alums, Baxter Sharpe, had previously introduced to me to her via e-mail. It was good to meet Sherece in person. (I have a number of pictures of that event) (P:Law School CommunicationsDean NanceDean Nance photos from TOMPro bono event, reception for Sherece West, and Inn of Court jpgs 2765-91) A number of folks from around campus were able to attend her reception. Sherece was very warm and from her remarks it’s clear she’s a visionary. We are very fortunate to have her as the new President of the Foundation.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (WRF) provides seed money to support efforts to improve the quality of life for all Arkansans and to promote systemic change. In committing itself to this mission, WRF continues the progressive, cutting-edge, visionary work that Governor Rockefeller undertook in his political life and philanthropy from 1954 until his death in 1973. The Foundation’s three goals — education, economic development and economic, racial and social justice — are highly interdependent. WRF views education, for example, as the fundamental strategy in pursuing not only economic development but also economic, racial, and social justice. None exists in isolation from the others. The Foundation will therefore place a premium on programs, projects and initiatives that serve more than one goal and that employ and/or integrate multiple strategies.

Once the reception wrapped up, I took advantage of the still and quiet of the law school to catch up on e-mails, to draft some correspondence, and to follow up on phone calls. With such a busy schedule, it’s nice to have a quiet moment or two to catch my breath.

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.

First thing Monday morning, as usual, I went to Pilates with Claudia. Afterwards, we spent the morning planning for several important events happening at the law school that day.

The first was the dedication of the Bobby McDaniel Trial Practice Classroom, room 342 of the law school. This was a really important event for the law school community because Bobby has been such a wonderful friend to us. We had many legal luminaries attend the event, along with his two sons Bret McDaniel, our alum, and Dustin McDaniel, the Arkansas attorney general. Bobby’s mother, Imogene McDaniel, attended as well. Others present were Woody Bassett, Paul Byrd, Sid Davis, Allen Gordon, Robb and Christina Helt, Ann Henry, Courtney Henry, Paul Henry, Bobby Jones, Kent Rubens (who flew over with Bobby McDaniel), Bobby Odom, Miller and Jordan Williams, Judge Bill Wilson and many, many more legal dignitaries and a number of students. The room was packed.

It was such an honor and a privilege to recognize Bobby’s many contributions to the law school and to the legal profession. Having the Attorney General present to be a part of this event made the occasion all the more special. Dustin has also been a tremendous friend to the law school and were it not for legislation he sponsored to help significantly increase funding to both law schools, we would not be in this wonderful facility that we have today.

The dictionary defines generosity as the willingness to give of one’s money or time. Over the course of his career, Bobby has given of both and many, many lives have benefited because of it. He is indeed a role model and inspiration for all of us and we are very proud of him. Judging from the number of lawyers of note in the room it was clear that in addition to all that he’s accomplished, he has gathered many friends and admirers over the course of his career. Their presence at the dedication spoke volumes about the lives he’s touched and the change agent he has been, from his time here as a student and articles editor of the Arkansas Law Review, to his recognition as one of the Best Lawyers in Arkansas.

We all got a special treat when he shared with us some of the technology that he uses in trials. It was fascinating and it certainly made it clear that if you have this technology, you are at an advantage in the courtroom because it really helps the juries to literally see what it is that you’re trying to prove. With this technology one can show simulations, blow up documents, highlight specific language, and include video footage and photographs. It’s an extraordinary powerful tool. We are excited about exploring possibility of exposing our students who have an interest in trial practice to this technology with Bobby. The School of Law is certainly very grateful for his continued generosity and support.

That afternoon, the law school Pro Bono Awards Presentation was held in the courtroom to recognize each of the students who gave pro bono service over the year. I’m very proud to say that the number of students who have participated in this program has doubled in the last year. Students volunteered by mentoring children at the Boys and Girls Club, assisting CASA with its fall festival and Project Playhouse, researching for attorneys and judges and helping victims of Hurricane Katrina. They also assisted with many other events such as Race for the Cure, The American Heart Walk and the Peace at Home Shelter. In total, the students volunteered 1,987 hours of community service, both legal and non-legal.

Thanks very much to the speakers who joined us including Lee Richardson, Director of Legal Aid of Arkansas; Professor Tim Tarvin, Legal eSource; Professor Carl Circo, Habitat for Humanity Wills Project; and J. Paul Batson, E.D., HIP Mentoring for Children of Prisoners Camp War Eagle Mentoring Program. We are grateful to each of them for working with our students and we’re very, very proud of the students who gave pro bono service to the community. If you are a devoted bloggie, you’ve read about Dean Goldner’s speech highlighting the need for pro bono services. This occasion allowed us to demonstrate all the ways in which our law school is rising to that challenge.

Two of our pro bono programs have received national recognition. The first is the Legal e-Source, and it recently won the Innovations in Outreach and Engagement Award from the University Continuing Education Association. The award recognizes programs that demonstrate the mutual exchange of intellectual resources and expertise between the university and the much broader external community of government agencies, businesses, nonprofit organizations, community groups and individuals. Also, Carl Circo’s Habitat for Humanity Wills Project was recognized by the Pro Bono Committee of the American Bar Association‘s Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law Section, which has posted our Wills Project handbook to the committee’s web site as a resource for other Habitat Wills Projects around the country.

That evening the students, sponsors and speakers attended a lovely pro bono service dinner held at University House as a way of saying thank you to students who gave an extraordinary number of hours. We’re looking forward to having the room filled next year with even more students. There was no program, just a relaxing dinner. Thanks again to our visitors who attended—Paul Batson, Lee Richardson, Hollie Greenway, Susan Purtle and Bruce Schlegel—and to all the members of the faculty who attended both the event and the dinner. Thanks also to Susan Williams, the School of Law’s pro bono coordinator, for all her hard work on the pro bono project and the excellent program she put together, and to Professors Janet Flaccus, Judith Kilpatrick, Mike Mullane, Lonnie and Amy Beard, Carl and Bobbi Circo and Ned Snow for attending. It was a full, but great, day.

Saturday was a very, very busy day. It started at noon with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Crowning Achievers luncheon. The Crowning Achievers luncheon this year honored non-traditional entrepreneurs as a part of our Sorority’s Ninth Annual Women’s Day Event. It was held at the Embassy Suites in Rogers and I hosted a table. I was happy that my mother Fern Nance, Carol Gattis, Tené Green, Carla Martin, Kendra Buford, Teri Stafford and Nancy Cozart could join.

The 2008 Crowning Achievers were Rhonda Bell-Holmes, author and motivational speaker; Helena L. Gadison, founder and CEO of EMW Enterprises, Inc. East Meets West Spa & Salon; Faulene D. Rogers, the owner of Williams Funeral Home; Stephanie Spivey of the Kuk Sool Won Martial Arts School, Dana Washburn, owner of Signed Sealed & Delivered; and Geri Williams, CEO of Indulge, Inc. & Catering Vision Consulting. Leslee Wright, the news anchor for 40/29, was the mistress of ceremonies for the lunch, and Cora J. Davis was the chair of the Women’s Day Committee.

The menu was garden salad with raspberry vinaigrette & ranch dressing; herb grilled chicken breast with sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and beurre blanc; garlic mashed potatoes; harvest grilled vegetables with grilled roma tomatoes; served with dinner rolls, water, coffee and tea. Dessert was chocolate genache and New York cheesecake with strawberry topping. It was all very delicious.

The keynote speaker was Betty J. Marshall, regional general manager of Sam’s Club and vice-president of Region B. She was dynamic! She talked a lot about how the reason we don’t accomplish all we set out to is because we set our own limitations. She mentioned how some people can drag you down and gave an analogy that really stuck with me. She said, “You know, when you see an eagle soar, it soars alone. But, if there are crows around and the crows pick at the eagle, the eagle doesn’t fight the crows, it just soars above them.” That was a really good analogy for remembering to focus on the things that are most important and not to get bogged down. Dream big, think big and move forward! Ms. Marshall was a wonderful speaker.

What fun! It ran a little bit long, but the fellowship was great, one of the best things about the Crowning Achievers luncheon is that all the ladies who attend are encouraged to wear their church hats and that’s a lovely sight. You can’t imagine what a wonderful feeling it was to be in the midst of a group of women all dressed with their church hats on, fellowshipping and dining with the purpose of recognizing and acknowledging the achievements of the award recipients. It was a great event.

Saturday evening was just as busy. There were three different events to attend. The first was “A Black and White Gala,” an end-of-the-year celebration of the Black Law Students Association at the Alumni House. It was a lovely program and dinner. Unfortunately I had to leave early, but we were much honored that Dr. Johnetta Cross-Brazzell, vice-chancellor for Student Affairs of the University of Arkansas, was the keynote speaker for that event. I made my apologies to Asia Diggs, president of BLSA, to the BLSA members and to Vice-Chancellor Brazzell for my early exit. I had tickets to the Hearts on Fire Heart Gala benefit for the American Heart Association being held in Rogers that same evening.

I left the BLSA event and headed to Rogers for the Hearts on Fire Heart Gala that Coleman and Peaches Peterson had invited me to. It was very beautiful. As you came in, there were folks serving champagne, and a huge silent auction. Carol Gattis, director of Recuritment, Retention, Honors, and Diversity, dean in the College of Engineering and my cruise buddy attended with me. She is also one of the three of us who will be “Fabulous at 50” on our Mediterranean cruise, the other being Marjorie LaRue, the CFO of LSAC. She and I bid on a silent auction item which was a party with a DJ and we won. We decided that we will use that as the basis of a “Fabulous at 50” birthday party. After the silent auction closed, dinner was served.

The menu was baby spinach leaves with blue cheese crumbles and cranberries with Italian vinaigrette and black pepper ranch dressing; grilled tenderloin of beef with a rosemary reduction and shrimp brochette, rosemary mashed potatoes, and roasted spring vegetables; and for dessert bourbon pecan pie and chocolate ganache cheesecake.

After dinner music was provided by the Memphis Soul Revue but before that a number of awards were given out. Don Blakeman received the “Gregg Ogden Citizen of the Year Award,” Lisa Ray was the recipient of the “Volunteer of the Year Award,” Mitzi Traxson received the “Katherine Chambers Counce Women’s Legacy Award” and the “Corporate Excellence Award” was presented to Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. Mark Bethell, CCO at NW Health Bentonville gave the welcome followed by an awards presentation, sponsor recognition, live auction & special appeals, sweetheart presentation and dancing. The evening emcees were Jake McBride of Clear Channel Radio Group and Matt Turner from KNWA Northwest Arkansas News.

I saw a number of our grads there including Jim Crouch and his wife Catherine, Marcus and Debbie Van Pelt, Judge and Janet Hendren, and Tim Brooks. I also saw Tom Mars and his daughter Alex Yelenich. Jim Smith from Friday, Eldredge & Clark, who comes in and teaches a mergers and acquisitions course for us, sat at the next table. I spoke with him and thanked him for teaching for us. Sitting with Jim Smith was Matthew Dearnley of Flake and Kelley and his wife Jessica Dearnley. We are members of the same book club (that I never get to anymore with all the travel and evening activities). It was great to see them again and they confessed that they haven’t been getting to book club very regularly either.

It was soon time to announce the winners of the auction. The auctioneer was Michael Kaufman. There were several live auction items, the most exciting of which was a Mercedes-Benz C Class which someone bought, but I don’t know who it was. Some of the other live auction items were a Blackman’s Fine Jewelry Shopping Spree, an Autographed Hannah Montana Guitar, an Around the World Travel Get Away, a hunting trip package in Lincoln, Kansas, and an East Meets West Spa & Salon Spa Connoisseurs Retreat for Two. After the program was over, there was lots of dancing. It was really fun. The dance floor was packed which was kind of surprising. Carol and I had a great time.

From there we headed to the Barrister’s Ball which was held at UARK Bowl. The students tried to teach me a new dance that has something to do with moving or sliding to the side and then flying like Superman. Anyway, I tried to pick it up. I know I wasn’t very good, but it was fun to be there and be with them. Professor Gattis was really surprised at how fun our event was and she noted that it was very different from the student events held by engineering students. That may just be because our students are older, but as you know there’s a reputation out there that lawyers really know how to have a good time. We work hard and we play hard and, as long as those things are in balance, that’s fine. The ball ended at midnight and we left for home. What a day!

Friday morning I got up early and caught a ride to Acxiom Corporation Headquarters, which is where the Rule of Law Conference was being held. I got my wires crossed with Mayor Coody, my original ride, but as it turned out Viet Tran and Jeremy Ament pulled up and saved the day. Viet is a second year law student and Jeremy a third year and they had stopped at the Capital Hotel to look for directions to the conference, so I put my luggage in their car, hopped in, and rode over with them.

After the welcome by Jerry Jones, the Business and Development Legal Advisor and Assistant Secretary of Acxiom, Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber gave the opening remarks about the rule of law and its impact. Rick Ramsay then introduced the first panel “The Rule of Law and Its Global Impact.” This panel was a joint one with participants from the Ukraine.

The Arkansas moderator was Melissa Waters, an Assistant Professor of Law/Ethan Allen Faculty Fellow from the Washington and Lee University School of Law. The Arkansas panelists were Donald P. Judges, E.J. Ball Professor of Law/Adjunct Professor of Psychology, University of Arkansas School of Law; Sarah Howard Jenkins, Charles Baum Distinguished Professor of Law, UALR William H. Bowen School of Law; Richard Bell, Secretary, Arkansas Agriculture Department; Honorable John R. Lineberger, Judge (Ret.), Arkansas 4th Judicial District; and Bill Teeter, Senior Director – International Business Development, Tyson International Group.

The Kyiv “Kiev” Moderator was Dr. Valentyna Pidlisnyuk, Professor and Director, Sustainable Development & Ecological Education Center. The Kyiv “Kiev” Panelists were Mykhaylo Borysyuk, Head of the Secretariat, Committee on Environmental Policy; Andriy Dakhovskyi, chief executive officer of Ukrainian Records; Olesia Hulchiy, vice-rector of the National Medical Bohomolets University; Ihor Osyka, project manager for ABA-CEELI Law Enforcement Reform; Ruslan Marutovsky, chief advisor for the Committee on Environmental Policy; Tetyana Stefanovska, associate professor at National Agricultural University; Serhiy Vykhryst, deputy dean of the Law Department, KROK University of Economics and Law; and Anatoliy Yaselskyi, judge for the Svyatoshyn District Court, Kyiv.

The most exciting component of this panel was the fact that there was a direct video conferencing link to the U.S. Embassy in Kiev which was in large part made possible by relationships established by Professors Chris Kelley and Don Judges. So far, ours is the only Rule of Law Conference to actually include a dialogue with lawyers and professionals from another country. The Rule of Law Conference was not just a dialogue between lawyers, but an interdisciplinary discussion that added depth and breadth to the conversation. The School of Law is very proud of our two colleagues who enabled this interactive, international panel.

Later that day, I moderated a panel on “Why the Rule of Law Matters in Our State.” (there are pictures of all of this; in fact there are pictures of everything from Tuesday night on) The panelists were Honorable Paul E. Danielson, Associate Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court; Dr. Ellen “Nan” Plummer, Executive Director of the Arkansas Arts Center; Grif Stockley, author/lawyer from the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies; Mike Bennett, Vice-president and General Counsel-Class Action Division, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; Mayor Dan Coody of Fayetteville, Arkansas; and Kevin W. Ryan, Executive Associate Director for the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement and Assistant Professor in the UAMS College of Public Health. Their comments were quite thoughtful.

After remarks by Tom Wells, president-elect of the American Bar Association, the attendees had lunch broke up into small groups. Each group looked at Arkansas’ future in the rule of law. After lunch Governor Mike Beebe, our alum, gave a keynote speech which adjourned the conference. The conversations at the conference were engaged and serious. It was wonderful to be there and to participate, and I thank the conference organizers Gwen Rucker, Courtney Crouch, and Cliff McKinney for all their hard work. They did an excellent job and it was a wonderful conference.

Afterwards, I rode back to Fayetteville with my friend and our mayor, Dan Coody. We had a long conversation about the things that he’s accomplished as mayor, his challenges and how he envisions the future of Fayetteville. I asked whether, knowing what he knows now, he would have chosen to run for mayor, and his reply was “absolutely.” He said it has been an amazing experience. He is grateful for all the opportunities he’s had, the places he’s been, the people he’s met, and grateful that he was able to participate in positive change for Fayetteville. It was a great ride back to Fayetteville, and I thank him for that. I know he was probably as exhausted as I was, yet he did all that driving, and I appreciate it.

One quick note: if you saw the previous posting about the day I spent with Deb and him at their cabin, you know that at the end of that trip looked at the Square. After we got back to Fayetteville, from the Rule of Law Conference, he and I drove by the Square again and looked at the work that had been done. The work had really progressed since our earlier visit, which was a good thing since the next day was the opening of the Farmer’s Market. You could really see a difference. It was quite beautiful. There’s still a little bit of work to be done, but I think as folks arrive for the Farmer’s Market they are going to be pleased with the progress of the repair and replacement of the square. After he dropped me off at home, Hope Jackson—my research assistant—came to get me. Because since I’d flown out of XNA I had to get back there to pick up my car for the evening and for the next day’s activities. Thank you very much Hope for coming out on a Friday night to take me to get my car.

Although some of the offices of Dewey & LaBoeuf were right across the street from my hotel, it was about a five or so block walk to the office hosting the NALP Foundation Board meeting. When I arrived, I met other members of the Board, including John Reich of Merchant & Gould, PC; Jon Harris of King & Spaulding, LLP; Paula Patton, Outgoing CEO & President of the Foundation; Tom Sager of DuPont Corporation; Gihan Fernando of NALP; Bill Treanor, Dean of Fordham University School of Law; Jim Leopold of NALP; James Hagy of Jones Day (emeritus); Tom Leatherbury of Vinson & Elkins, LLP; Irena McGrath of Hogan & Hartson, LLP; Pam Malone, Senior Vice President of the Foundation; Paul Hensel of Winston & Strawn, LLP; Leigh Taylor, Dean Emeritus of Southwestern Law School; Raymond Pierce, Dean of North Carolina Central University School of Law and Aldo Baldini of Dewey & LeBoeuf, LLP who is the incoming Chair of the Board for the next fiscal year. After a hot breakfast, we got right to work.

One of the first orders of business was the introduction of Tammy Patterson, former Director of Recruiting and Professional Development at the Gardere Wynne Sewell firm in Dallas who had accepted an offer to become the new CEO and President of the Foundation as of April 1. One thing you bloggies might find interesting is the After the JD second wave study will be completed very soon and is scheduled for release this fall at Harvard. The After the JD (AJD) study is a longitudinal study of the career choices and subsequent career progression of a nationally-representative sample of lawyers who were first admitted to the bar in 2000. The study was designed and overseen by an interdisciplinary group of scholars and funded by multiple institutions, including NALP, the NALP Foundation and the American Bar Foundation. It is the first research effort of its kind to examine the early careers of a cohort of more than 4,500 newly-certified lawyers. Sample members were first surveyed in 2002, re-contacted in 2007, and will be surveyed again in 2011.

Speaking about studies, the NALP Foundation also published an attrition study that examines associate attrition during the 2007 calendar year and the reasons for turnover. The Update on Associate Attrition – 2006 report provides comprehensive information on association attrition for 2006. The findings offer detailed data on the rate at which law firms hired new associates, and the rate of both entry-level and lateral associate departures, their destinations and reasons for departing. This year, the report also includes data indicating whether the associate departures were “wanted” or “desired” by the law firm employer. It is the sixth report in a decade-long series of research studies.

There’s also a Navigating the Bridges to Partnership study that’s been completed and released by the NALP Foundation. This report is filled with information that provides important insights from those who made partner on the factors that influenced their advancement. It addresses how experiences like mentoring, being hired as an entry-level associate, having judicial clerkship experience, taking leaves of absence, working part-time schedules, exceeding billable hour expectations, being a team player and other factors can influence advancement. Among the questions underlying this new study are: What does it take to become a partner in today’s law firms? Is it all about billable hours and profitability? Or does advancement depend on mentoring, pro bono activities, leadership or other qualities and characteristics?

Jim Leopold and Gihan Fernando were there as representatives of NALP and gave a report of the upcoming NALP Conference. The biggest news from NALP was the change in the timing of offers to law students. If you follow the blog, probably remember me mentioning this before. There is a new interpretation of the NALP Principles and Standards Part V: Timing Guidelines. The changes can be found at They also told us the Annual Educational Conference of NALP will take place April 16-19 at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and already has the largest attendance (at least pre-registration) of any NALP Conference.

I was able to get to the airport early and catch an earlier flight which turned out to be a really wise thing to do. The flight between Chicago and Little Rock was turbulent, but it was nice to arrive at 7:00 p.m. rather than 11:00 p.m.

As luck would have it, I ran into Cliff McKinney in the Little Rock airport. He was picking up Tommy Wells, the President-Elect of the American Bar Association, who had flown in on the same bumpy flight. He was there, as was I, to attend the Arkansas Rule of Law Conference which was organized under the offices of the American Bar Association’s World Justice Project. Mr. Wells was there on behalf of the American Bar Association.

That evening I checked my e-mail and caught up on phone calls and the next thing you know, there was an alert from the weatherman saying that tornadic conditions were developing. The weather was south of Little Rock but within a few hours, the sirens had gone off. We were all herded out of our hotel rooms and into the ballroom where I ran into Rick and Claire Ramsay, Gwen Rucker, Tommy Wells, Cliff McKinney, Courtney Crouch and Karen Hutchins, the Executive Director of the Bar Association, who were there having dinner. I also bumped into Professors Judges and Melissa Waters, who were staying at the hotel.

Talking with them as we waited out the storm, I found out that our alum, Cliff McKinney, played a significant role in creating the Arkansas Real Estate Review. The Review summarizes all the Arkansas legislation and cases affecting real estate and is distributed to all the members of the section. That’s a terrific accomplishment, Cliff!

After we spent a while listening to the sound of the storm outside, the hotel security officer gave the all clear. Apparently, a tornado touched down in Little Rock that evening and there were some businesses destroyed, but no fatalities or injuries. The North Little Rock airport also got hit and planes were slammed into each other and upended, so it really was a blessing that we were all safe. Travel-wise, it was certainly an adventurous trip. My usual travel challenges are plane delays, but between the cab ride incident in New York and the tornado, this trip was slightly more eventful.

After the all clear, the group returned to dinner and I sat with them as they finished. Earlier I’d had a bowl of soup for dinner in my room, but I joined them for dessert which was homemade moon pies. I didn’t have a taste for them, but I had a glass of wine and visited with them until everyone got done. Then it was back to bed, where I got some much-needed sleep before the Rule of Law Conference the next day.

I left on a trip to the NALP Foundation Board Meeting in New York City on Wednesday and, unlike my usual trips in which I have flight delays or cancellations, this trip was uneventful until I arrived in New York. The cab I was riding in was almost in accident. The driver had to slam on the brakes. My bag was thrown to the floor and I was thrown against the front seat, which was a gentle reminder not to be careless and to always wear that seat belt. I know better, but I was distracted and didn’t buckle up. I’m really grateful that it wasn’t worse and that we avoided an accident. After that incident, the cab driver was a lot more talkative. One he found out I was from Arkansas, he ended up talking with me about the presidential election. He thought that once people from other countries heard the sermons of Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s pastor, gave they were inclined to vote for him. I found that sort of fascinating, so we had a conversation about that on our way to the hotel.

When he found out that I was interested in workers and labor, he pulled out a magazine (I guess it’s the magazine of cabbies) and showed me that a taxi cab medallion—which gives the owner the ability to drive a cab in New York– goes for $600,000. I asked him how he could possibly afford it and he said that the medallions are generational, meaning families have them and pass them down. They keep working and working to pay them off. Not only that, but according to the driver, the rate in the magazine was actually artificial, because even if you offered $1 million, no one would sell them. That was a fascinating start to the trip.

The hotel was Le Meridien on 57th Street and the room was on the 30th floor. It had a view of Central Park which was absolutely gorgeous. But in my immediate view there was a construction of another hotel, and there was a huge crane on top of the structure. The bellman asked me if I were nervous about the crane, but I thought it would be okay, plus I like watching the workmen. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on the blog, but I have a brother who is an electrician and a brother who is a carpenter, so I felt quite comfortable watching these guys work. I’ll just had to remember to pull the shades for privacy!

Not having eaten anything but a bag of cashews on the airplane, I decided to grab a little lunch so that I wouldn’t go to the first meeting with the NALP Foundation Board members with a rumbling stomach. I took a little walk down 57th Street and went to Rue 57 and had lunch. Initially I felt my waiter was the stereotypic “I’m a New Yorker and your not” waiter—you know, a little bit brisk—but after he found out I was from Arkansas we became big buds. It was quite a fun meal, but I kept it light (just a sushi roll) in anticipation of dinner.

The Meridien is in a great area. It’s only a few blocks from Central Park, FAO Schwartz ,Tiffany’s and other stores, so I took a little walk before returning to my hotel to check e-mail and get ready for dinner. As it turned out, dinner was a block away, directly parallel to the hotel, so I just cut through a building in the middle and went to Osteria Del Circo. Our dinner was in a small private room upstairs in the back of the restaurant and we had a separate menu that included Insalata Mista (mesclun salad with shaved pecorino cheese), Tartara di Tonno al Profumo di Limone e capperi (tuna tartar with lemon, capers and trapanese sea salt), Ravioli di Mamma Egi (bufala ricotta and spinach ravioli with butter and sage), Ravioli di Branzino alla versiliese (ravioli stuffed with sea bass with zucchini, shrimp and cherry tomatoes), Branzino alla Griglia (grilled bass with seasonal vegetables), Pollo al Mattone (brick pressed chicken with cipolline onions and swiss chards), Cacciucco alla Livornese (tuscan fish stew of prawns, cuttlefish, octopus, monkfish, clams and mussels), Tagliata di Manzo (a New York strip grilled and sliced served with seasonal vegetables) and a dessert symphony.

I met a number of new people. I had a very long conversation with Paul Hensel who is the Chief Administrative Partner of Winston and Strawn. He is a fun and quite interesting person. His responsibilities are incredible. He oversees all their construction when they build out new spaces. He also is responsible for all the administrative staff, I mean all the staff period, including IT and the associates. It’s an incredible work load. I asked him if he ever slept and he said “not really.” He carries three or four different devices (I don’t know the difference between a Palm or a Blackberry, but he’s got all of them there in his pocket). He has 25 years of experience managing and so, as you might imagine, we had a lot to visit about.

Leigh Taylor, my friend who I’ve known since I was a brand new assistant professor, was there as well. Leigh appointed me to the Audit Committee of the Law School Admission Council, which at that time was chaired by Dean Dennis Shields. Dean Treanor from Fordham attended the dinner as well. If you are a blog follower, you know that Dean Treanor hosted a very, very lovely event at Fordham for law deans, a dinner and a trip to the Metropolitan Theater. It was great to see Dean Raymond Pierce from North Carolina Central University again, too. During dinner I also met and chatted with John C. Rike from Minneapolis who is originally from Chicago, so we had Chicago talk and that was fun, too. As a 2L, I clerked at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and so we talked about the difference between Minneapolis and St. Paul as places to live. After dinner it was a quick walk back to the hotel. Unfortunately, the shortcut was locked up, so I had to walk around a little bit, but that was fine after such a lovely dinner.