As we approach mid-semester with spring break only a few weeks away, I am delighted to report that we are experiencing a new springtime at the law school.
I’ve kept track of the many successes at the College of Law from afar this semester. I am currently on sabbatical, traveling in New Zealand for a while and working on several academic papers and other long deferred academic projects. My colleague Robert Keiter, director of the Wallace Stegner Center and a Distinguished Professor of Law, has masterfully guided the helm while I have been away. I will return in July ready to start the 2018-19 academic year.
This semester we officially launched a new Master of Legal Studies degree program. The new, three-semester executive master’s degree program is designed for professionals who may benefit from legal training but do not wish to practice as an attorney. The MLS program’s curriculum is structured for working professionals and is designed to improve students’ fundamental understanding of the legal system. The MLS degree program is expected to appeal to a broad audience. For example, the degree may be ideal for business executives who want to increase their knowledge of employment law; or people who work in government agencies who may find it helpful in providing a better understanding of business and land use regulation, specialized issues such as environmental law, or practical skills such as negotiation practices. This degree will help professionals from a wide array of fields to advance their careers and improve future job opportunities. We are excited about the interest shown in the program as the inaugural cohort prepares to start in the fall of this year. There is still time to apply, so if you know someone who would benefit from this unique degree, encourage them to visit http://mls.utah.edu to learn more.
The law school has enjoyed several successful community events, including the recent 52nd Annual Leary Lecture. This year, professor Orin Kerr from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law explored how the government tracks cell phone records in light of the case of Carpenter v. United States pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. In that case, the justices must weigh whether the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches limits government access to cell phone tracking records. The decision promises to be a blockbuster for the Fourth Amendment in a high-tech age, and Professor Kerr outlined the issues under review for a packed audience at the lecture.
We’re preparing to welcome a robust audience and diverse set of scholars at the 23rd Annual Wallace Stegner Center Symposium on March 15-16. As friction over federal public lands continues to play out in the public policy sphere, the future of public lands will be the theme at this year’s annual symposium, appropriately titled “Public Lands in a Changing West.”
The two-day event will review how the west is changing, explore scientific advances, and examine how public land laws and policies are evolving through the lens of three signature issues—the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument designation, multi-jurisdictional efforts to manage for sage grouse conservation, and the Crown of the Continent initiative in northern Montana—to extract key lessons learned and viable strategies for addressing contentious issues. The symposium will conclude with a panel discussion to identify ongoing problems, policy changes, and related reforms that could improve resource management across the public domain and also garner broader support. There is still time to register for the event by visiting the registration link here. Sessions will later be posted for viewing on the college’s YouTube channel.
The Wallace Stegner Lecture, a separate event open to the public, is scheduled for the noon hour on March 14 in conjunction with the symposium. It will be given by professor John Leshy, University of California Hastings College of Law and former Department of the Interior Solicitor, who will address the topic “Debunking Creation Myths about America’s Public Lands.”
Besides a full slate of events at the College of Law, our students continue to enjoy a multitude of successes —from placing well at prestigious moot court competitions, to earning invitations to present at academic conferences both stateside and internationally and progressing in their legal educations both in the classroom and in on-the-job skills training at our many clinic and internship opportunities.
It will be exciting to see how the spring months continue to unfold, as we prepare to release our newest class of graduates into the legal community in May.