Wednesday I left early for Little Rock to have lunch with Bill Allen. He is a graduate of Washington University and a native of St. Louis who has since relocated to Little Rock after years in Illinois. Bill has been appointed to the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. Owner of the Allen Law Firm PC based in Little Rock, he has held numerous leadership positions in both the Arkansas Bar Association and the American Bar Association, including finance chair of the ABA Board of Governors and special assistant to the ABA president. HJudges and Kelleye previously served as an assistant United States attorney in Chicago and was a member of the Clinton-Gore transition team for the Commercial Litigation Division of the United States Department of Justice. He was also named to the 2007 Mid-South Super Lawyers for business litigation. This is the second consecutive year that Bill has received this honor.

Professors Kelley and Judges and I met at his office and the three of us walked over to the Capital Hotel for a lovely lunch. For the foodies out there, Bill and I had a cobb salad, Professor Judges had a garden salad and Professor Kelley had a chicken Caesar salad. We visited with Bill about the Rule of Law initiative, ABA President Neukom’s interest in having law schools teach Rule of Law courses, and the world justice project. We also talked with Attorney Allen about some of the interesting initiatives we have going on at the law school and asked how we might play a role in the broader ABA programs. In other words, we are looking for symbiosis between what we were developing and the ABA programs as well as seeking general guidance on what direction we might take our program.

Our lunch was a long one during which Professors Kelley and Judges talked about their work in the Ukraine and the connections we’ve made. Professor Kelley invited Bill to the Ukraine to meet some of the people with whom we’ve worked and developed initiatives so that Bill could experience it for himself. We described the University’s focus on service learning and the Belize project. Professor Kelley mentioned the course he is developing for next Spring on the Rule of Law. The New Hampshire Bar is in the process of collecting rule of law resources online. The idea is to create a blog or a “web event” and to have a conversation around these issues online. They propose, for example, making available a celebrity or commentator at a specified time to answer questions live (not a webinar or video, but an interactive blog) available on Law Day with live interaction. Professor Kelley had looked at the site and made some suggestions for supplementing it. Former ABA Chair Gray is chairing the Rule of Law initiative and Bill will give him Professor Kelley’s coAtkinsonntact information. We were able to cover a number of issues pretty thoroughly over our meal. Afterwards Bill wanted to specifically discuss issues of diversity, the diversity of our law school, and the diversity initiatives of the ABA. He was very gracious with his time and the three of us appreciate him meeting with us and hosting us at lunch. We look forward to working with him more in the future.

After meeting with Attorney Allen, Professors Judges and Kelley headed back to Fayetteville, but I checked into the Holidecorday Inn Presidential because that night was the Pulaski County Bar Association annual dinner. Dean Richard Atkinson and Dean Chuck Goldner were both to be awarded the Pulaski County Bar Association Lawyer Citizen Award for all they’ve done to improve the two law schools and legal education in the State of Arkansas. Michael Hollomon, Richard’s life partner, was going to be there and I thought it was important to support both Chuck and Michael.

The dinner was held at the Governor’s Mansion and I had not been there since Jim Guy Tucker was Governor. Much renovation had been done since then, including a beautiful addition where the dinner was held.On the way from the car to the Governor’s Mansion, I ran into one of our alums Martin Kasten and his wife, Kathryn. As you might imagine a number of our alums were there as well.

The program began with a welcome by Hugh Finkelstein, President of the Pulaski County Bar Association and was followed by the invocation by Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber. It really started to storm during dinner, but inside, the fellowship and comradery was very warm. I’m glad that I was able to be there to see Richard and Chuck be recognized and to spend time with Michael. After the dinner, I returned to the Holiday Inn Presidential to get a good night’s sleep before returning to Fayetteville on Thursday, which was a full day.