Our BA in Law program is expanding -- in its capacity and reach -- and expansive in its vision for the future!

BA in Law students from Ocean University of China 
spend time on campus at Arizona Law in 2017.

This groundbreaking, first-in-the-nation degree program, in partnership with our colleagues from the School of Government and Public Policy within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS), was started as a tool to address the community need for professionals who are not practicing lawyers but who have a fundamental understanding of law and legal skills. 

And it is succeeding. I'm proud to say that, as of this semester, we have over 1,200 undergraduate law majors and a growing community of alumni. This includes the program's expansion to include the Arizona Law microcampuses at Ocean University of China and American University at Phnom Penh, with more on the near horizon.
In this week's edition, we introduce you to two of our newest Arizona Law professionals who have recently joined the BA in Law team and will support the continued growth and success of the program and its students.

Until the footnotes,

BA in Law Program Keeps Growing

Professor Keith Swisher directs the BA in Law and Master's programs at the College of Law.
Mark L.M. Blair is assistant director.
Program fellow and professor Joey Zhao.
The BA in Law program, begun in 2014 as the first program of its kind in the nation, continues to grow under the thoughtful, energetic, and kind leadership of director Keith Swisher

The degree is offered in partnership with the University of Arizona's School of Government and Public Policy. In its first semester, now five years ago, the program welcomed approximately 100 new majors.

Growth has been steady, to say the least.

The program added capacity to begin offering microcampus options in 2015 and fully online options in 2017. Total enrollment is now over 1,200

Most of these are face-to-face students in Tucson and in Qingdao, China. But already there are nearly 150 fully online law majors. 

The student body is remarkably diverse, with a significant portion of first-generation college students, over 50 percent ethnic diversity among the US students (and extraordinary diversity among the BA in Law population as a whole), and over 60 percent female. Many BA in Law students are also double majors.

Our first graduates have reported taking great advantage of their undergraduate legal training, entering excellent JD programs (e.g., Chicago, Stanford, USC, and of course Arizona) and half entering an almost infinitely broad range of law-related careers (e.g., in corporate compliance, healthcare, human resources, law enforcement, court services, and tribal government). 
The program's accomplishments have been buoyed by the enthusiasm of its undergraduate majors, the dedication of course faculty members such as Rob Williams, Shefali Milczarek-Desai, Andy Coan, Kathie Barnes, Roy Spece, and former Arizona Court of Appeals Judge Mike Miller. The program is also energized by the recent addition of new team members to further support student learning and achievement. 

In January, we welcomed Linus Kafka and Marnie Parris-Bingle. They join a team that includes Swisher, assistant director of the undergraduate and master's program Mark L.M. Blair, and program fellow and professor Joey Zhao.

Meet Linus Kafka
Career strategies officer  Linus Kafka.
Linus Kafka is the program's career strategies officer and is also a professor of practice at the UA's College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture, where he teaches urban planning law and real estate development law. He holds a JD from the University of Arizona ('96) and a PhD in history from UCLA. 

As an attorney, Kafka focused on land use law and local government law, and has also practiced juvenile law and workers' compensation law.
Swisher says, 

"Linus has worked in multiple venues -- government, private practice, higher education -- aligning with the broad range of jobs, internships, and industries in which our students are interested and well-suited." 

Kafka's experience includes a clerkship in Arizona Superior Court, positions in the Pima County, City of Tucson, and State of Arizona attorney's offices, government internships, research, teaching and advising, and private practice. He has taught history and law at the undergraduate and graduate level at UCLA, UC Irvine, Eastern Kentucky University, and the University of Arizona. Read more about Kafka's professional background here. 
In his new role, Kafka mentors BA and Master of Legal Studies students seeking career opportunities, internships, and career advice, and fosters community connections that will promote employment for graduates of the program. Swisher explains, 

"Linus is essential to our efforts to ensure that both BA in Law students and MLS students continue to receive desirable placements in law-related careers and internships and to promote our wonderful and diverse BA in Law and MLS students to employers, future employers, and internship providers."

Meet Marnie Parris-Bingle
Program coordinator 
Marnie Parris-Bingle.
Marnie Parris-Bingle joined the College of Law in January as program coordinator. In her new role, she provides administrative, academic, and logistical support for the BA in Law, Master of Legal Studies, and Master of Laws programs, as well as supporting the college's microcampus partnerships.
Parris-Bingle is excited to be at the College of Law, and says that her focus is be on getting systems in place and helping everything run smoothly and seamlessly. Swisher says, 

"Marnie is integral to our efforts to advise and assist our growing number of microcampus BA in Law students, and she will coordinate a likewise growing array of opportunities and responsibilities for our U.S.-based BA in Law students. Marnie joins us with over a decade of experience in higher education administration and advising and with a master's in adult and higher education."
Parris-Bingle relocated to Tucson from Grand Rapids, Michigan, one year ago and began working at the UA as a recruitment and retention specialized for the Department of Physiology and on a temporary assignment for the UA Foundation as a prospect research analyst.
In Michigan, she worked for ten years at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) through a Department of Education grant, TRiO, with first-generation, low-income students. Previously, she completed a graduate assistantship and a Master's degree in adult and higher education with an emphasis in college student affairs leadership, also at GVSU. She also worked in development for a private college in Michigan.
She says that, being fairly new to the area, she is having lots of fun trying new restaurants and attending local events.

Read more!

"I always had a general interest in law school, but the law major confirmed that's what I really wanted to do." Matthew Rein, ASUA Vice President and law major 

"I like that the BA in Law provides undergraduate students with the ability to explore the law without having to wait until law school. I have loved every minute of it." Natalynn Masters, ASUA President and law major

Previous coverage highlights our BA in Law program and students:

Around the College

National Appellate Advocacy Competition Teams Compete at Regionals
National Appellate Advocacy Competition team members (l-r): Ethan Posey, 
Jesus Alonso, Randy Nice, Andrea Middleton, Bobbie Lentz, and Aaron Green.

Congratulations to Jesus Alonso, Aaron Green, Bobbi Lentz, Andrea Middleton, Randy Nice, and Ethan Posey, all 3Ls and members of the two Arizona Law National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC)  teams that competed in last weekend's San Francisco Regional.
Professor Susie Salmon reports that team member Aaron Green won second-place oral advocate in the region, and both teams made it to the final round of the competition-surviving three preliminary rounds and one sudden-death round apiece -- and just narrowly missed advancing to nationals. In one round, the team of Aaron, Bobbie, and Randy argued before in-house counsel for the California Department of Corrections, who gave Aaron a perfect score!
Once again, our Arizona Law student competitors enjoyed excellent preparation and advice from faculty members and a number of loyal alumni.

Faculty contributing to the effort included Tessa Dysart, Joy Herr-Cardillo, Jason Kreag, Sylvia Lett, Diana Simon, Shannon Trebbe (also a 2010 Arizona Law NAAC team alum!), and Carolyn Williams. I had the enormous pleasure of helping with a practice round with these superb advocates (though it wasn't clear that our great team members enjoyed the experience as much as I did).

Several alumni and former Arizona Law NAAC team members also served as practice judges, including 2011 NAAC team alum Nick Knauer; 2013 NAAC team alum Johnny Anderson; 2016 team alum Jim Carlson; 2017 team alums Audrey (Roberts) Chastain and Bern Velasco; and 2018 team alums Joe Bonasera, Fernanda Munoz, Rachel (Dyckman) Sass, and Josh Weiss. Alumna Stacy Scheff, who specializes in prisoners' civil-rights litigation, also served as a practice judge and provided invaluable feedback.
The ABA's National Appellate Advocacy Competition is one of the most prestigious and competitive interscholastic legal skills competitions in the country. You can learn more about the NAAC here.
Congratulations again to our teams!

National Native Law Student Association Moot Court, March 1-2

A few volunteers are still needed! Register here.

In the News

Arizona Daily Wildcat, discussion of IPLP program, quotes professor Robert A. Williams, Jr.

Los Angeles Times, quoting professor Andrew Coan

Arizona Law expands and grows and succeeds by attracting great people -- great students, great staff, and great faculty.
It is always a pleasure to welcome new -- and in Linus's case, returning -- members of the Arizona Law community.
You, and the rest of the legal profession, will be hearing a lot more about our amazing BA in Law students and this program in the months and years ahead. If you want to learn more, or watch a class, or mentor an undergraduate, let us know.





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