J. Reuben Clark Law Society Student Chapter Publishes First Newsletter

Recently, the J. Reuben Clark Law Society Student Chapter published their first Newsletter. The chapter is comprised of law schools from all over the country, not just Brigham Young University’s, J. Reuben Clark Law School. The Newsletter is designed to bring individual JRCLS chapters closer together and promote a greater sense of community throughout all the chapters.

The JRCLS Student Chapter Newsletter is to be published monthly. Click HERE to read.

JRCLS Newsletter

Last April the J. Reuben Clark Law Society began to publish a newsletter. There still doesn’t seem to be a regular publication schedule, and the August issue seems to have been published in September. But there is a lot more content in this issue than the inaugural issue, which was little more than an list of upcoming events.

I was glad to see the announcement of practice groups within the JRCLS. Groups for law professors, in-house consels have been established, as well as practice groups for IP law, litigation, immigration law, estate planning, and commercial banking/M&A/regulation. More groups are contemplated, so if you would like to see another group or join an existing group, contact Tom Isaacson through the information provided in the newsletter.

The newsletter includes several other interesting topics, including an upcoming reception for female undergraduates and attorneys and biographies of new attorneys hired by the LDS Church. The August JRCLS Newsletter is available here.

UCLA/BYU Law Schools to Hold Conference on Interviewing and Counseling

UCLA School of Law and Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School will be hosting a conference on the pedagogy of Interviewing and Counseling. The conference will take place on Friday, October 16 and Saturday, October 17 at the UCLA School of Law.

This conference will explore ways to increase the effectiveness of teaching interviewing and counseling. Interactive panels and small groups will consider specific methods by which law students can better retain what they learn in clinics, first and second year introductory skills courses and simulation courses when they enter practice.

Conference panels will explore what is meant by teaching for retention; how teaching for retention enhances reflective lawyering; how teaching methods such as simulation and repeat experiences anchor student training; and what can be learned from other professional schools such as medicine about the use of simulation and live clinic to train students. Other panels will examine how recent cognitive science and neuroscience findings inform our understanding of the processes of interviewing and counseling skill development, reflective learning and retention.

On the second day of the conference, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) will lead a panel on how the web might be used to create a digital social media space for interviewing and counseling instructors who would like to share materials and insights. Other second day panels will discuss common interviewing and counseling contexts typically not discussed in texts on interviewing and counseling.

J. Reuben Clark Law Society Publishes It’s First Newsletter

Adding to Peter’s article from last week about the new J. Reuben Clark Law Society Web Site. The JRCLS also published it’s innaugural Newsletter which can be viewed HERE. As you can imagine I think this is a great idea and I’m very excited to see future editions of the JRCLS Newsletter.

I also know that the JRCLS Law School’s are working on their own version of the Newsletter.

New JRCLS website

If you are a member of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society or ever use their online resources, you may be interested to learn that the JRCLS website was redesigned this week. While it still isn’t anything cutting-edge, I think the new site is much more usable than the old one. The new site makes better use of multimedia materials and has a well-designed bar across the top with drop-down menus for various pages and materials.

Old Site
New Site

Hopefully this new attention to the website will be accompanied by more resources and more frequent updates. The old site often went weeks or months without updates.

Ryan Marshall a “Super Star” Lawyer

SALT LAKE CITY, July 1 /PRNewswire/ — Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the United States, is pleased to announce that Ryan L. Marshall, an intellectual property attorney based in the Salt Lake City, Utah office of the firm, has been named a Super Lawyers “Mountain States Rising Star” in intellectual property law for 2009 in a survey conducted by Law & Politics magazine. The Mountain States region consists ofIdaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

Mr. Marshall prosecutes patent applications in the chemical, pharmaceutical and biochemical arts in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Marshall also litigates intellectual property and unfair competition claims. He received his J.D. from the J. Reuben Clark Law School, an M.S. in organic chemistry and a B.S. in chemistry, all from Brigham Young University.

Law and Politics surveyed lawyers in the “Mountain States” region, representing 70 practice areas, and asked them to identify the best lawyers they had personally worked with or had observed in action. Attorneys from firms of all sizes were considered as well as those in private practice, prosecutors, in-house counsel and public service lawyers.

The “Rising Stars” category recognizes lawyers that are under the age of 40 or have been in practice for 10 years or less. While up to 5 percent of lawyers in the state are named as Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars list.

The complete list appears in the 2009 Mountain States Super Lawyersmagazine and in select consumer magazines.

BYU, J. Reuben Clark Law School Announce New Dean

Brigham Young University announced James R. Rasband as the new dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School. Rasband previously worked in BYU’s general administration as an associate academic vice president for faculty. Rasband graduated from BYU with a Bachelor’s degree in 1986. Three years later, he earned a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. After a clerkship with the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Brother Rasband worked in private practice in Seattle, Wash., for several years. In 1995 he joined the faculty of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, and from 2004-07 he was an associate dean for research and academic affairs at the law school. His tenure as associate academic vice president for faculty was announced in December 2007 and commenced Jan. 14, 2008.

“Jim Rasband will be a superb dean,” BYU Academic Vice President John S. Tanner said. “I have worked closely with Jim for two years. He has tremendous gifts of mind and heart, along with high standards, people skills, administrative experience, and a love for the law school. I expect the school to flourish under his leadership.”

The J. Reuben Clark deanship opened up in June 2008 when Kevin J Worthen vacated the post to become advancement vice president of BYU. James D. Gordon III has been serving as the law school’s interim dean during the 2008-09 school year.

Recommended Reading: The Importance of the Right Question

The speaker materials from the last J. Reuben Clark Law Society Conference are now available online. When I spoke with people who attended, I heard the most buzz about an address by Harvard Business Professor Clayton Christensen entitled, “The Importance of the Right Question.” Professor Christensen argues:

Unfortunately, too many of us are so eager to debate and get on with the right answer and the solution, that we often forget even to think about whether the right question has been asked. Lawyers pride themselves on their ability to ask penetrating questions, but I honestly think that the only people who are worse than lawyers at asking the right questions are business managers; and that the only people who are worse than managers at asking the right questions are Mormons.

The rest of the address gives examples of business and church leaders who ask the right questions.  One of the legal examples he cited was the question of separation of church and state. A Chinese colleague of Professor Christensen pointed out to him how vital religion was in American democracy:

[A]s religion loses its power over the lives of Americans, we are living on momentum.  It is a momentum that was established by vibrant religions, and then became a part of our culture.  Today there are many people in America who are not religious, who still voluntarily obey the law, follow through on their contracts and respect other people’s rights and property.  This is because certain religious teachings have become embedded in our culture.  But culture is not a stalwart protector of democracy’s enabling values.  When people stop going to their churches, or if our churches lose their power over our culture, our system will not sustain itself.  What other institutions will teach these values to Americans with the power required to guide their daily behavior?

The debate on the extent to which religious expression can be allowed in public life has been vigorous, and religion is monotonically losing ground. Whether it is the Ten Commandments etched into the stone of state and court houses, nativity scenes in public squares, the ability of school choirs to sing religious songs or having prayers at public school graduation exercises, religion increasingly is being pushed out of public view and public discourse. We have let the enemies of religion frame this debate incorrectly. Somehow the advocates of separation of church and state can’t understand what my Chinese friend saw so clearly – that the religious institutions whose role on the public stage they hope to minimize are in fact among the fundamental enablers of the civil liberties that we all now enjoy.

It’s worth reading the whole thing. You can view the talk here or download it here.

Thoughts from the JRCLS Broadcast

Hopefully many of you got to watch the J. Reuben Clark Law Society Annual Broadcast that was last Friday. Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was this year’s speaker. Elder Cook is a relatively recent Apostle, sustained about a year and a half ago, so I wasn’t really familiar with him or his personality before listening to the broadcast. I thought his remarks, which ranged over several topics, were thoughtful and quite relevant. I guess I wouldn’t expect anything less from successful former Bay Area attorney.

My first impressions of the broadcast were completely sidetracks. First of all, they really need to work on the sound in the Small Theater of the Conference Center. The mike was way too hot, picking up every footstep on stage. Secondly, does every event associated with the Mormon Church require a musical number? The music itself was fine, but would have rather done without it. My final irrelevant (and irreverent) thought was about Cynthia Lange, the former JRCLS Chair of the Community Service and Outreach Committee. When she started her introduction I thought, “Oh no, even female attorneys can succumb to the dreaded ‘Relief Society voice.'” I don’t hear that tone anywhere else outside of church functions, and I find it not a little creepy.

On a more relevant note, I found some of the topics Elder Quentin Cook discussed quite interesting. For example, he referenced two recent articles in Forbes Magazine and the New York Times that criticized the legal profession’s use of the billable hour. Apparently great minds think alike: We referenced the same Times article last month when we talked about the stresses LDS attorneys face while working under the billable hour.

Elder Cook discussed the U.S. Constitution, mentioning how both J. Reuben Clark and Dallin Oaks have expressed the opinion that the document was inspired. Elder Cook was careful to point out that not every word of the Constitution is inspired (the 3/5 Compromise of Art. I § 2 comes to mind), but he mentioned two key provisions that he felt were inspired by God. The first was the concept of “the Pursuit of Happiness,” and how this extended well beyond the right to property. Elder Cook was careful to mention that more money doesn’t necessarily mean more happiness, a mindset to which attorneys often subscribe. The same is true for prestige and position: Elder Cook said something to the effect of, “The respect for credentials can virtually become idols.”

Elder Cook also opined that the protections afforded to religious practice in the Constitution were also inspired by God. He mentioned incidents in the early history of the Mormon Church when those protections weren’t always recognized, and how they are still absolutely necessary today. I wholeheartedly agree — we have touched on this topic a few times in the past.

The final thing I remember Elder Cook talking about was the duty LDS attorneys have to represent the Church. I think this can be done both directly and indirectly. Elder Cook specifically mentioned the use of interactive media, like blogging, which is near and dear to our hearts. Obviously, no one on this blog speaks for the Mormon Church or its positions, but the idea is to explore the convergence of legal issues and the Mormon faith.

However, my personal opinion is that the indirect representation of the Church is the most important. For example, there was a prominent attorney in the city where I live that everyone knew was a member of the Church. The local legal community recognized his faith as well as the fact that he was a good lawyer. Even today, many years after he moved to another city, his good example still reflects positively on the Church and other LDS attorneys here.

The JRCLS usually publishes the transcripts of broadcast addresses, so expect to see Elder Quentin Cook’s remarks on the JRCLS website at some point. This summary is by no means exhaustive, so if any of you remember other topics or have other thoughts, feel free to chime in.

J. Reuben Clark Law Society Broadcast tonight

Here’s a reminder that the 2009 J. Reuben Clark Law Society Annual Broadcast is tonight at 8:00 PM EDT (rebroadcast at 9:30 PM EDT for the western time zones) . The speaker will be Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who had a successful career as a corporate attorney prior to his call to full-time church service.

Many local attorney and student JRCLS chapters have organized events around the broadcast this evening; check the full listing of scheduled events to find one in your area.