ua law logo high res | Link                                                                                  May 14, 2014



This week we feature 2L student Sean Kelly, Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor Vanessa Buch, and our new Wrongful Conviction Clinic.


Until the footnotes,




Sean Kelly '15


When it comes to excellence in the courtroom and classroom, Sean Kelly knows it takes dedication and hard work. He has become a superb oral advocate while studying at Arizona Law.  


Sean is a member of the trial team that competes annually in the Texas Young Lawyers Assocation National Trial Competition. Along with Robson Hauser ('14), Sean won the Joseph Jenckes competition with ASU this past fall--the fourth Jenckes Cup in a row for the UofA (not that we're counting!),the longest winning streak in Cup history (history matters), and a victory in Tempe (a nice place to visit)--and he finished third in the Richard Grand Damages competition this spring.  


Next year, Sean will be competing on Arizona Law's Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition team.  He also volunteers as a coach for the University of Arizona's undergraduate mock trial program.  Sean will do all of this while also serving as the incoming Senior Managing Editor of the Arizona Law Review.


This path fits Sean's professional goals.  


"I have a very strong interest in litigation. I came to law school wanting to become a US Attorney. But as is often the case, law school has greatly expanded my horizons and options. My interest in oral advocacy has not changed, but I am open to a future in either civil or criminal litigation."


As a native of Denver, Colorado, Sean had a varied and exciting path to the College of Law. After high school, he played golf professionally and studied vocal music. He even sang with Celine Dion.


After earning a BA in Philosophy from the University of Arizona in 2012, he says "Arizona Law was an easy choice. It was not a choice that was made merely out of convenience. I was drawn to the small class sizes and the collegial attitude that Arizona Law is known for. The last two years have confirmed that I made the right choice."


When he has some free time, Sean still enjoys hitting the green for a round of 18 holes and spending time with his wife, Deanna.


Connect with Sean through LinkedIn.   


Professor Vanessa Buch


Vanessa Buch joined the law college as a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law to lead our new Wrongful Conviction Clinic and help to set its vision. She is directly responsible for student advocacy and law school coordination with the Justice Project and the Arizona Capital Representation Project.  


Prior to joining Arizona Law, Vanessa spent two years at Neufeld Scheck & Brustin in New York City representing plaintiffs in civil rights actions for wrongful conviction and serious police misconduct. In that role, she litigated issues involving invalid forensic science, false confessions, eyewitness misidentification, and incentivized witnesses.


Vanessa also has more than 5 years of criminal post-conviction experience. As a staff attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights, she represented capitally sentenced clients in post-conviction and habeas proceedings in both state and federal court.  


In addition, Vanessa came to the College of Law with significant experience supervising students on post-conviction cases, including coordinating the law student intern program at the Southern Center and supervising a team of Brooklyn Law students in drafting a petition to the US Supreme Court for writ of certiorari in a Kentucky capital case.  


Vanessa clerked for Judge Jon O. Newman on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Judge Andrew L. Carter in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.


Wrongful Conviction Clinic

The newly established Wrongful Conviction Clinic began operation in January 2014 in an effort to give students the opportunity to represent clients claiming actual innocence or other serious miscarriage of justice.

Under the leadership of clinic director Vanessa Buch students are assigned to work on cases involving claims of wrongful conviction, and, in limited instances, may also have the opportunity to advocate for clients in alternative forums, including clemency proceedings. Depending on case demands, students learn skills including conducting fact investigations, reviewing post-conviction records, building relationships with clients, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with experts.  


Arizona Law has a long history of advocacy within the area of wrongful convictions in collaboration with the Arizona Justice Project. Professor Andy Silverman has served as a faculty advisor for the Justice Project and has supervised University of Arizona law students' work on Justice Project cases for the past 13 years. The clinic evolved as a dedicated effort to formalize the work begun by Andy, and to offer students an in-house clinic to explore the issue of wrongful convictions and continue our longstanding collaboration with the Justice Project.


Over the course of the Wrongful Conviction Clinic's inaugural semester, six law students invested over 900 hours of work on six cases. Of the cases currently under review by the Clinic, one potentially involves DNA analysis that might demonstrate innocence. In addition, in the coming months, the Clinic will have the exciting opportunity to partner with the Arizona Capital Representation Project and a large national firm acting pro bono to review a post-conviction capital case, which will require significant investigation into the biological crime scene evidence and possibly the need for further DNA testing.



Coming soon!


College of Law Commencement Ceremony and Reception

Saturday, May 17  

5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Centennial Hall


The graduation speaker will be Judge Andrew Hurwitz of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Join us! 


* * *


Arizona Law Day in LA


Lunch with the Dean 

12:00 - 2:00 pm

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

333 South Grand Ave

54th Floor

RSVP for the lunch here. 


Cocktail Reception in LA

6:00 - 8:00 pm 


7910 West Third Street

Los Angeles, CA 90048

RSVP for the cocktail reception here. 




For more information contact Marissa White at 520-626-8132 or


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SAVE THE DATE - PLAN AHEAD - Centennial Homecoming Weekend

November 7-9, 2014 

For more information, CLICK HERE to visit our Homecoming 2014 website.


* * * 


Arizona Law Week in DC

AZ Law will be in DC June 23rd - June 27th    


* * *


With the happy drama of graduation this coming Saturday, we will turn the corner from the academic term to the summer. Members of the law school community stay just as busy, but disperse--with the graduates joining the profession, and the rest of us gathering again in August.  


We look forward to seeing many of your over the summer at the State Bar Convention, and at our alumni events. And we look forward to introducing you to the excellent new alumni who will be joining the profession. 





Marc Signature      

Marc L. Miller 
Dean & Ralph W. Bilby Professor of Law 
James E. Rogers College of Law    

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Make a donation to our student scholarship fund.   Every dollar invested produces a solid return and helps to alleviate the burden of educational debt for a student. 




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