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The University of Tulsa College of Law graduates are obtaining employment at a rate well above the national average. TU's job placement rate of 92.4 percent for all 2010 graduates is more than eight percent higher than the national average of 84.1 percent.
This is particularly impressive given the current state of the economy, what the Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP) calls "the worst job market since 1996."
The 84.1 percent national figure is based on the NALP Employment Report and Salary Survey for all law graduates from the Class of 2010, which NALP recently released. The report measures the employment rate as of February 15, 2011, which is nine months after a typical May graduation. The report defines Class of 2010 law graduates as graduates from the classes of December 2009, May 2010, and August 2010.
Of the 132 TU law graduates from these three classes, 122 are employed. Of the 10 graduates not employed, three are enrolled in another full-time degree program, and one's status is unknown. Of the 122 graduates who are employed, 87.7 percent are in a position where a law degree is preferred or law license is required (69.7 percent law license required, 18 percent JD preferred).
"TU law graduates are demonstrating that though there are real challenges in the job market, there are also good opportunities for those who are prepared and who work to find them," said Janet Levit, Dean and Dean John Rogers Endowed Chair for the TU College of Law.
TU College of Law students Sara Sharp and Arthur Loyd are in the middle of a prominent world story. Bosnian Serb genocide suspect Ratko Mladic was captured on May 26 during the students' first week interning at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), a United Nations court at The Hague (in the Netherlands) dealing with 1990s war crimes that occurred in the Balkans.
On May 31, Mladic was placed in a U.N. detention unit. Mladic, who was the commander of Bosnian Serb forces during the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, will be tried at the ICTY.
Sharp says there was great enthusiasm at the Tribunal as it was announced that Mladic was captured. "It was extremely exciting as the whole Tribunal crowded into the cafeteria to watch the press conference confirming Mladic's identity," Sharp said.
The section in which Loyd works was involved in Mladic's transport, and Loyd will spend time in court when Mladic is there.
Sharp's section met Mladic at the detention unit to inform him of his right to counsel, and her office assigned his counsel. "Although Arthur and I have not yet interacted with Mladic, it's likely, as things die down in a month or more, that Arthur will find himself in court with Mladic and I will find myself at the detention unit with him," Sharp said.
On May 20, the University of Arkansas School of Law announced that 1997 TU College of Law graduate Stacy Leeds will be its new dean, starting July 1. She is the first Native American woman (she is Cherokee) to serve as a law school dean.
Leeds was previously Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law and Director of the Tribal Law and Government Center at the University of Kansas School of Law. Leeds has focused her teaching and extensive research on property, natural resources, and American Indian law.
She is a former justice on the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court, the only woman and youngest person ever to serve in that capacity. She was Chief Justice for the Supreme Court for the Kaw Nation and Chief Justice for the Supreme Court for the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma.
"My interest in Indian law led me to TU," Leeds said. "Having the opportunity to study Indian law at a law school located within Indian country was the deciding factor, and I have strong affinity for TU's Indian law program and the amazing professors who continue to lead it."
Leeds said she first considered a career in legal academia in her third year at the TU College of Law "primarily because of my time on the Energy Law Journal. It was at that point when I became energized about legal scholarship and research. It never occurred to me at the time that I would have a future in law school administration."
Almost immediately after the last spring semester final exam was administered, work began on the major renovation of John Rogers Hall. This will occur throughout the summer and will transform JRH into a learning space that will rival the top law schools in the nation.
The project will consist of an interior redesign of the public lobby, classrooms and corridors, as well as create new restroom facilities, lockers and administrative areas. New ceilings and energy-efficient lighting will be installed. Classrooms will be remodeled with new carpeting, wall covering, lighting, ceilings, updated technology, and furniture. In the administrative area, staff will be provided a work space designed for functionality and serviceability.
The mezzanine and student social areas will include new lighting, digital signage, artwork, and many other modern and aesthetically pleasing features. The redesign will increase the law school's competitive edge, enhance student learning, help faculty recruitment, and contribute to the future high standing of the College.
TU College of Law graduates taking the Oklahoma bar exam in February performed exceedingly well. All 11 TU law grads taking the exam for the first time passed, making TU number one among the state's law schools in that category.
For all of TU's 22 grads taking the exam, 86% passed, putting TU in a tie for number one with the University of Oklahoma in that category. For all 115 people taking the exam, regardless of their school (TU, OU, Oklahoma City University, or out-of-state school), 84% passed.
The TU College of Law honored its 2011 graduates at the May 7 spring hooding ceremony at TU's Donald W. Reynolds Center. Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt gave the hooding ceremony address. Among other things, he encouraged the graduates that when they encounter difficulty, "keep pressing and let the dream of what you want to impact motivate you to keep going."
Other speakers were TU President Steadman Upham, TU College of Law Dean and Dean John Rogers Endowed Chair Janet Levit, TU College of Law Alumni Board of Directors President Guy Fortney, Student Bar Association President Rami Jabara, and Mariann Atkins, this year's valedictorian.
The College awarded Meghan King the Martin Fellows Smith Award, given to the graduating student designated by the faculty as the most outstanding student in the College, with both scholastic achievement and leadership qualities considered. The College awarded Mariann Atkins the Judge W. Lee Johnson Award, given to the graduating student with the highest cumulative grade point average.
The University of Tulsa recently announced that TU College of Law Professor Robert Spoo is one of three winners of the TU Outstanding Teacher Award.
This award is among the highest forms of recognition that TU can bestow upon a member of the faculty. It is limited to no more than three faculty members per year. The winners are nominated by students, and the selection is made by the elected Faculty Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate.
Spoo has a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University and earned tenure as an English professor at TU before he earned a law degree from Yale Law School. After practicing law, he returned to TU on the law faculty in 2008. Spoo has been promoted to full professor effective this upcoming fall semester. Professor Spoo's teaching and scholarly interests include copyrights and intellectual property, media and entertainment law, law and literature, and contracts.
The TU College of Law Alumni Association honored two alumni at the annual TU Law Alumni Gala on May 21 at Gilcrease Museum.
This year's Lifetime Achievement in Law Award was presented to John R. Woodard III (JD '67), a partner with Feldman, Franden, Woodard & Farris and a past president of the TU College of Law Alumni Association. Woodard was president of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel and is a national director for the American Board of Trial Advocates.
The W. Thomas Coffman Community Service Award was awarded to Drew Edmondson (JD '79), shareholder with GableGotwals. Edmondson was Oklahoma Attorney General from 1994 to 2010, and he served one term in the Oklahoma legislature and three terms as Muskogee County District Attorney. Coffman was an outstanding alumnus who passed away in 2007. Award recipients share Coffman's dedication to integrity and service.
The TU College of Law and Concord Law School of Kaplan University announced in April that they will offer an online Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law (MJIL) degree beginning August 2011.
The 30-credit-hour program is for college graduates, particularly those working in tribal governments and businesses, and government agencies, and anyone working with Native American clients generally. The program is also for lawyers who wish to gain additional expertise or expand their practices. Concord, which opened its virtual doors in 1998, is the nation's leading provider of online law degrees.
Kaplan University is part of Kaplan Higher Education, which serves more than 95,000 students through more than 70 campus-based schools across the United States and abroad. For more information about the MJIL program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In April, the TU College of Law held its Spring Mentoring Reception at John Rogers Hall. The event brings together law students and their mentors and serves as an opportunity for students and professionals to learn more about the mentorship program at TU. Approximately 40 mentors and mentees were at the reception.
There are 71 mentor matches currently in the program, which provides law students with the opportunity to ask professionals questions, observe the workplace, and learn about resources and professional organizations for lawyers in the legal community. One mentor, TU law alumnus Kevin Patrick (JD '78), came to the reception from Colorado to meet 1L Rachel Jones for the first time. Patrick is one of the nation's leading water law attorneys and is a partner with Patrick, Miller and Kropf.
Jones is interested in water law, environmental law, and energy law, and specifically requested Patrick. "Mr. Patrick has a lot of perspective, not just on law but on life," Jones said. "It's helpful to have someone with so much wisdom as a mentor. We speak a couple of times a month, but it's wonderful to meet him, and I appreciate him making the time for me."
For more information about the mentorship program, click here or contact the Professional Development Office at 918-631-2430.
During the spring semester, Fumin Yu, Professor of Law at the School of Law and Politics of Ocean University of China, served as a Visiting Research Scholar at the TU College of Law as part of the Faculty Foreign Exchange Visitor Program. He researched the promulgation of criminal law statutes for intellectual property infringement. He did not teach a course at TU but was able to consult with TU law professors and utilize library and office space.
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