Volume 4, Issue 3, September 6, 2013

ST. THOMAS LAW NEWS


ST. THOMAS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW NEWSLETTER


What’s Going On

September 9: 

Clinical Information Session, Room 201 (Atrium) @ 12 noon

September 10:

Clinical Information Session, Room CPD-113 @ 12 noon

September 11: 

Dean Ray's Job Search Strategies, Room A-111 @ 5:30pm

September 12:

Dean Ray's Job Search Strategies, Room A-111 @ 12 noon

September 20:

Professionalism Day for 1L Students, Moot Courtroom

Academic Support Program Revised
There has been a change in the curriculum that all law students need to know going forward. The course previously known as “The Art of Lawyering” is now called “Advanced Legal Studies.” This course is designed to review topics in Evidence, Property, Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Procedure. The course will consist of a series of review lectures covering the topics to be tested, followed by Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) questions. All students are encouraged to take this course in their last year as a jump start to Bar Preparation. All students who are in the bottom 50% of the class are required to take Advanced Legal Studies prior to graduation. 

Senior Writing Requirements - Independent Research Option
All J.D. students are required to complete a “Senior Writing Requirement” (SWR) as a condition of graduation. The SWR can be satisfied by taking any course listed as a seminar (which are each worth 2 credits) or by completing a 1-credit independent project (IRP) with a full-time faculty member. Please note that both the seminars and the IRP are graded (students receive a grade) and then the professor still has to separately “certify” that the paper submitted satisfies the SRW. Merely getting a passing grade does not mean the paper was certified. Any student planning on attempting to use an IRP to satisfy the SWR must submit a proposal to the Curriculum Committee during the semester before the student intends to do the independent study. For the spring semester, the proposal must be submitted no later than October 15. For the fall semester or summer semester, the proposal must be submitted by March 15. There is a form that needs to be completed and supplied with the other required information to the Law School Registrar prior to the deadline. The Law School Registrar then will provide the form to the Chair of the Faculty Curriculum Committee.

The student must identify the full-time faculty member who has agreed to supervise the project, and that faculty member has to sign off on the form before it is submitted to the Registrar. The student also must include the semester in which the independent study will take place, the student’s date of graduation, and a 1-2 page topic report identifying the subject area of the law that the student intends to research with a brief bibliography. The proposal should identify an area or aspect of the law that the student is interested in investigating and should narrow the subject area to one of manageable proportions. Some preliminary research will need to be done in finding a subject area. Additional research will be needed to narrow the subject area and develop an original thesis or a novel approach to addressing a pressing societal problem. This should be done in consultation with the faculty member who will be supervising the project. The ideal proposal will include the specific area for focused research as well as the student’s tentative “take” on the subject matter. A note or paper done in connection with a law review competition may serve as a starting point and as a basis for a proposal to the curriculum committee, but cannot be used in and of itself to fulfill the Senior Writing Requirement.

Students should keep in mind that doing an Independent Research Project requires good time management skills and an ability to stay on task. These papers require weeks of research, outlines, and multiple drafts. This is not something that can be completed in a short amount of time. For many students, it is easier to find a suitable topic and progress toward a viable paper if it is done within the parameters of a seminar class, rather than as an independent research project.

Keep in mind in approaching a possible faculty sponsor that he or she is not required to supervise independent studies. It will involve a substantial time commitment on their part. A student should approach those faculty members with particular expertise in the student’s subject area. While different faculty members will have different requirements, the student should expect to meet with his or her faculty sponsor on multiple occasions during the course of the semester. For example, depending on the faculty member, a faculty sponsor may expect the student to submit at different points during the semester a topic report and bibliography, a thesis statement or novel approach to addressing a particular societal problem, an outline, a draft paper, and a final paper. For a student’s paper to fulfill the Senior Writing Requirement, it also must conform to the Bluebook citation format.

The forms to be completed for an independent research project will be available on line or at the Registrar’s Counter beginning next Monday, September 9, 2013. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the spring 2014 term is October 15, 2013.

Pro Bono Hours
Students must complete 40 hours of pro bono work during their last two years of law school as a graduation requirement. The program recognizes the moral obligation to assist those in need. It gives second- and third-year students legal experience under the supervision of lawyers in a variety of non-profit legal services organizations, government agencies, law firms, and alumni practitioners.

If you are graduating in December 2013 and have not completed your pro bono hours, please stop by the Career Service Office, and speak with Jennifer Portwood-Gordon. She can provide you assistance with pro bono placement.

December Graduation Information
December graduation is scheduled for Saturday, December 14, 2013, at St. Thomas University in the Fernandez Family Center for Leadership and Wellness at 10:00 a.m. The Graduation Mass is schedule for Friday, December 13, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. Graduation registration is September 30 to October 4, 2013, in the Registrar’s Office.

Jostens will be on campus to provide graduating seniors an opportunity to order individualized announcements and class rings. Jostens’s individualizes announcements by imprinting graduates’ names on the announcements. For those interested in purchasing announcements or class rings, Jostens will be on campus Thursday, October 3, 2013, in the Evelyn and George Goldbloom Convocation Hall, from 1:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Announcements and class rings may be ordered at any time during the year by accessing Jostens’ Website at www.jostens.com or calling (800) 854-7464.

Pictures of the graduates will be placed in the graduation program. We would like the program to include photographs of the entire graduating class. We will have a photographer on campus taking graduation photos on Thursday, October 3, 2013, in the Evelyn and George Goldbloom Convocation Hall, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. To help this process run smoothly, there will be a sign up sheet placed on the Student Organization Board.

Faculty Announcements
Professor Anthony Musto was elected Chair of The Florida Bar Public Interest Law Section and to the ABA Criminal Justice Section Council, the governing and policy making body of the approximately 20,000 member organization.

Professor Musto authored a chapter entitled “Pro Bono and Public Service” in the book, “Essential Qualities of the Professional Lawyer,” published in July by the ABA. He was also appointed to the ABA Youth at Risk Advisory Commission.