This week we describe the success of our superb Arizona Law Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program and meet one of its newest students, Tevin Wallace.

The MLS program is aimed at providing training in law and regulation to people who work in regulated environments, or are interested in the mechanisms and principles of law, but do not want or need to obtain a JD.

I also encourage you to take a look at the law-student-produced non-partisan "Get Out the Vote" videos below.

Until the footnotes,

MLS Program Grows With Strong Incoming Class
Arizona Law welcomed 135 new students as part of the Fall 2020 Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program's entering class. (Adding the affiliated MLS students in our Health Law program pushes the number close to 160!)
This vibrant cohort represents impressive growth in the MLS program. For the first time in the history of our college the largest graduate-student program will not be the JD (or previously LL.B.). 

Director of the top ranked MLS program Professor Keith Swisher sees these gains as a reflection of Arizona Law's growing accessibility and steady affordability and as validation of the online team's foresight and hard work. He says the increased number of students is also a strong indicator that Assistant Director of the program Mark Blair (JD '07, LL.M. '08, Ph.D. '15 -- and he has an MBA too, just not from Arizona!) "has not slept for at least two months."
Some highlights about the 135 new students follow: 
  • 51% are classified as being of diverse ethnicity. 
  • 7% are Native American. 
  • 70% of the incoming class is female. 
  • The average age is 33. 
  • Although MLS students are from all over the country, the largest contributors to the class are Arizona (42%), California (10%), Texas (6%), Colorado (5%), and Washington (5%). 
  • 82% of the new MLS students are online and 18% are main-campus students.
Another interesting highlight: The number of current Arizona State legislators newly enrolled in the program is five, from both sides of the aisle! They were drawn to the program's new Law and Economics concentration. Linus Kafka (JD '96 -- who also holds a Ph.D. ('07, in history, from UCLA) and an M.A. from N.Y.U.), who is Assistant Director for Careers and Outreach for the MLS and BA in Law programs, notes that our MLS program now reaches 8% of the Arizona State House of Representatives.

Recent MLS graduates have taken the skills and knowledge they've acquired to a variety of impressive careers in government, industry, finance, higher education, and other sectors. Many go on to law school to earn a JD. 

At a recent presentation to the law school, Kafka highlighted several remarkable graduates, including the head of financial crime prevention at a major investment institution, a senior risk advisor at a large insurance company, an environmental risk manager at a global mining group, a water law litigation paralegal for a state attorney general's office, and a number of JD candidates at law schools around the nation.

Arizona Law's MLS students bring with them a wide range of experience, expertise, and perspective. As with all great programs, the learning and value will come in equal measure from engagement with the faculty and course content and with other students in the program.

Welcome MLS Student Tevin Wallace
New MLS student Tevin Wallace has called Tucson home for nearly seven years -- the longest he's ever lived in one location. 

Growing up, his family moved frequently. His stepfather's military career meant that Tevin had lived in six states and two countries by the time he started high school. 

This nomadic way of life taught him early on how to adapt to new environments and be empathetic to those from different backgrounds. 

Having attended the UA as an undergraduate, he says he is now happy to begin his study of the law surrounded by Tucson's vibrant local culture and beautiful mountain ranges.
Personality-wise, Tevin says:
"I'm a bit of a thrill seeker. In stark contrast to the other members of my family, I have enjoyed the following activities: skydiving, cliff diving, race-car driving, racing motorcycles (on approved tracks, of course), camping, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and ziplining. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has put a halt to much of that. However, fortunately, there is plenty of anime for me to catch up on to fill that void. To put it briefly, I'm an active nerd and proud of it."
Tevin says he had a great experience as a UA undergraduate, and wanted to continue with his MLS education at the same institution. He says,

"It was the University of Arizona that taught me about social capital and the importance it has in determining the society in which we live. I wanted to continue being a part of an institution that attempts to have a positive effect on its community via education and engagement."

Tevin's undergraduate internships with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the College of Law's Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic (VALC) also made a huge impact on him and, along with the encouragement of his mentor, Captain [now Major] Nathan Dial, led to his decision to apply for the MLS program.
"Both of those [internship] experiences stressed to me the importance of having competent compassionate individuals with legal experience doing advocacy work. At the VALC I had the opportunity to work alongside Director Kristine Huskey and Professor Lori Lewis. Every day they came to work with no other goal than to help others. Similarly, every individual at the IRC, regardless of department, maintained a workload greater than any one individual should have to be responsible for. My experience with these two organizations taught me that if you have the capacity to help others, do it! Learn all you can to better serve those less fortunate."
In the MLS program, Tevin's current concentration is in compliance and risk management. He would like to assist organizations with managing their reputational risk and considering the social ramifications of their business decisions. He says diversity in the boardroom is also key. 

"It is becoming increasingly apparent that risk management no longer refers only to the financial aspects of an industry. I hope to help guide organizations forward in a way that not only follows the law but is also representative of minority populations."
Tevin adds that he is motivated to inspire and push his siblings and others around him to achieve more by setting and following through on his own goals. 

"Moreover, I think I'm the type of person who frequently stops to smell the roses. When I take a moment to be grateful for all that life has given me, I'm motivated to continue progressing."
Welcome, Tevin!
Around the College
LawCats Help UA "Get Out the Vote"

Arizona Law students Carly Marshall (3L) and Christina Billhartz (3L) are leading a nonpartisan, "next generation" University of Arizona "Get Out the Vote" (GOTV) effort.  

As part of that effort, they are producing a weekly series of videos featuring members of the Arizona Law student and faculty community discussing why voting is important to them. In gathering these vignettes, Carly and Christina emphasize their nonpartisan focus and the goals of democratic engagement and increasing next generation student voting. 

Professor Toni Massaro, Miguel Moreno (3L), 
Christina Billhartz (3L) 

Carly Marshall (3L), Professor Christopher Griffin
Reyna Araibi (3L) 

Professor Andy Coan, Amber Morningstar Byars (2L)

Also see:

Please join the Next Generation UA GOTV initiative (virtually) on September 19 to get registered to vote and to get answers to any registration questions you may have. Register here.
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.

In the News

AZ Central, focuses on Innovation for Justice program

Houston Chronicle, article by professor Robert Glennon, refers to Innovation for Justice Program report

Arizona Attorney Magazine, featuring University of Arizona Law Dean Marc Miller and the dean of the other law school, too.

COVID-related updates

From UA administration:

From the College of Law:

College of Law Coronavirus Response Information, including current College of Law Status

COVID-19 and Law Coalition, mobilizing University of Arizona Law expertise in response to the pandemic
COVID-19 Health Law Resources, with new video resources added frequently

When I join the orientation for each new cohort of MLS students, I am struck by the immense knowledge and spirit of inquiry they bring into the program. The MLS students have enriched our legal community, in the classroom and beyond. Having the MLS online, like our revolutionary BA in Law, means that we can meet students where they are, in space and in life.
Our alumni have long been important mentors and educators for current students. We know you will engage in those roles for all our students -- across programs and modalities -- who are looking to understand and develop skills in law, policy, and regulation. We all look to your insights, as well, for the issues, cases, and subjects that illustrate and define our times, and that should be a part of our educational endeavors.


Marc Signature

P.S. -- These are strange, hard times. Fire and flood. I worry about all the hurt and loss, in places and for people I know, and those I don't. And I rely more heavily than ever on family, friends, and colleagues.

I hope this is not too personal, but a few days ago we lost our dog Ruby, who was only six. You'll see from the photo from Rainbow Falls this summer in the Sierra Nevada, she was full of life, and a source of cheer in our house and for all she met. Ruby often visited the halls and patios of our College of Law during weekend visits to the office and for the annual SBA Welcome Back Picnic and at Halloween. We miss her terribly.


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