LawCats Live: State of the College

Classes Begin
Save the Date: McCormick Lecture w/David Cole

Here at the College of Law we are busily preparing for the start of classes -- mostly online at first, but with some in-person clinic activities -- and to welcome our new students. 

We also look forward to working alongside our student leaders to build an even stronger support network for our students. When the pandemic abruptly upended the semester in March, our Student Bar Association sprang into action, creating virtual events, organizing services to help their classmates, and advising us on student needs.

Today, Student Bar Association President Sarah Myers tells us about her summer work and SBA plans for the coming year and offers thoughts for incoming students.

Until the footnotes,

SBA President Sarah Myers Looks Ahead 
to the New Year

Rising 3L and Student Bar Association president Sarah Myers grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and attended the University of Central Florida for her undergraduate degree. A senior-year high-school course on the U.S. Constitution sparked her interest in the law and she's never looked back.

Sarah has enjoyed exploring a wide range of practice areas through her coursework and her 1L and 2L summer employment experiences. 

Last year, in her 1L experience as an intern with Judge Scott Gan ('80) at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona, she developed an affinity for the largely code-based nature of bankruptcy law -- and was able to sign up for an Arizona Law course taught by Judge Gan the very next semester. 

This summer Sarah worked at Gallagher & Kennedy in Phoenix. She says it was a great experience, allowing her to learn about diverse areas including personal injury law, mergers and acquisitions, tax law, and employment law. 

One of Sarah's most exciting assignments was drafting a set of documents for the conversion of an LLC into a corporation, including the bylaws, articles of incorporation, and plan of conversion. She acknowledged that it's often difficult to get experience in transactional law as a summer associate, and was very happy to have the opportunity to dig into this type of work.

Sarah with members of the SBA last fall.

We asked Sarah about the SBA's plans for the coming academic year and its response to the need for online learning and social distancing.

"This year, SBA is going to look a lot different than ever before. As an organization built mainly on in-person meetings and social events, the Executive Board has been, and will continue to be, extremely flexible and creative as we transform SBA's purpose to fit within our new reality. Undoubtedly, our new role must include meaningful forms of communication and resources to connect and build relationships."

Sarah says that the SBA looks forward to moving some of their favorite events, such as Trivia Night, online. Last spring, the SBA hosted a handful of online trivia games via Zoom, and this was a huge hit.

The SBA will also focus on providing resources for students. They are working to find ways to help incoming students build personal connections both within their cohort and with returning students. 

"For incoming students, building those relationships during the first year is so important, online or not."

Sarah adds, 

"We learned so much last semester through [creating and sharing] the Socially Distant Bulletin and other online-oriented programming we came up with, and we know that the way students want to communicate and the resources they desire are likely to change throughout the year. SBA's biggest goal for the next year is to listen and adapt to meet the changing needs of our peers."

Sarah encourages incoming students to make building relationships with classmates a priority whether by email, Zoom, or from 6 feet away and through a mask.

"All the 'firsts' in law school can be pretty intimidating -- the first reading assignment, the first cold call, the first exam -- but it's so much better when you can share those experiences with people who are experiencing the same thing. Everyone is going to be in the same boat, so don't feel awkward about sending that first email or asking a classmate to 'get coffee' on Zoom."

She also encourages incoming students to take every opportunity to connect with 2L and 3L students. 

"I've asked countless questions to the 2Ls and 3Ls over the past two years. There's no one better to ask than someone who has gone through it before. We even have some experience with online learning. Don't be afraid to reach out, because we want to help any way we can!"

Around the College
Download Your Arizona Law Digital Wallpaper 

If you'd like to project a visual reminder of your pride in Arizona Law, you can select one of our digital wallpapers to use as your Zoom background. There are over a dozen to choose from.

LawCats Live Webinar Series Continues

Thursday, August 6, 2020, 12:15 - 1 p.m. PST
Join Dean Marc Miller, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Jason Kreag, and Associate Dean and Law Library Director Teresa Miguel-Stearns in a conversation moderated by Director of Development Megan O'Leary as they discuss Arizona Law's New Safe Return, with updates regarding back-to-school plans and the State of the College.

In case you missed it...
You can replay past sessions of LawCats Live webinars here.

Held July 9, featuring professors Ellie Bublick, Tara Sklar, and Shefali Milczarek-Desai ('01).

Held July 16, featuring professors Toni Massaro, Marvin Slepian (2L), Justin Pidot, and Teresa Miguel-Stearns.

Technology & Your Privacy Rights in the COVID-19 Response
Held July 23, featuring Daisy Jenkins ('96) and professors Jane Bambauer and Andrew Keane Woods as part of the UA Wonder at Home webinar series.

For the Record -- Faculty News and Awards 

These items are drawn from the latest For the Record, a summary of Arizona Law faculty accomplishments. 

Williams Awarded with The Gerald G. Swanson Prize for Teaching Excellence  

University of Arizona Law professor Rob Williams has been awarded with The Gerald G. Swanson Prize for Teaching Excellence, which recognizes excellence in undergraduate teaching at the University of Arizona. Williams teaches undergraduate courses in American Common Law I and II.
"You have demonstrated a dynamic, stimulating and groundbreaking teaching methodology in the teaching of Law," said University of Arizona senior vice president for academic affairs and provost Liesl Folks in a letter to Williams. "Your nominators described your courses in undergraduate law as the most engaging and rewarding courses in the country. You have made an immense impact on thousands of students through your courses and group discussions that enable students to learn the essence of contracts, torts, property law and the foundations of legal analysis and writing. Your contributions are remarkable and worthy of recognition."

Swisher Appointed to ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility

The American Bar Association (ABA) has appointed Professor Keith Swisher to The Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility
The committee issues ethics opinions interpreting both the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the Model Code of Judicial Conduct. ABA Formal Opinions have been cited as persuasive when courts around the nation interpret state-adopted Rules of Professional Conduct.

Graduate College Awards Professor Tatum with Teaching and Mentoring Award 

Professor Melissa Tatum has been selected as one of two winners of the distinguished Teaching and Mentoring Award for Graduate Education by the Graduate College at the University of Arizona. 
"Your colleagues and graduate students admire your steadfast support and your dedication to raising critical awareness of current challenges indigenous peoples face," said Margaret Pitts, associate dean of academic affairs for the Graduate College, in a congratulatory letter to Professor Tatum. "Your compassion for your own students and for the communities which they wish to serve is clear in the letters of support provided. You have created a supportive environment for graduate students to explore, falter, rise up, and succeed." 

In the News

High Country News, opinion by professor (emeritus) Robert Hershey 

UA News, professor Jane Bambauer is co-deputy director of the new center

Arizona Daily Star, quoting professor Shefali Milczarek-Desai

Arizona Public Media, interview featuring professor Toni Massaro

See also on our website:

COVID-19 Health Law Resources, including video series

Our Student Bar Association and the student community speak clearly and often on a wide range of academic and institutional issues. One of the things I have most admired over the years is how our students bring their experiences and knowledge to bear in shaping our law school, not only in response to immediate issues and not only for the time they are here, but with a long view.
Last March, the Student Bar Association and our entire student community stepped forward to stitch our community back together through our phones and computer screens.

Sarah Myers was one of the community members who led that effort, not only within the formal boundaries of class, but in meetings, in social gatherings, and through the kind of individual support that reminded us all what it means to be at Arizona Law.

Marc Signature


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