About Res Gestae

New Graduate Emily Nuvan Leaves Impressive Legacy at College of Law

NUVAN WORKED TO BRING THE 2019 LEE E. TEITELBAUM UTAH LAW REVIEW SYMPOSIUM TO NEW HEIGHTS.


As a first-generation college student, Emily Nuvan had to figure out the ins and outs of higher education largely on her own – and she didn’t even have law school on her radar at first. “Growing up, I was always told I should be a lawyer,” Nuvan said. “I wasn’t sure that was a compliment, so I kind of resisted it at first. But when I was doing my bachelor’s degree, studying political science and economics and learning about inequality and the problems of poverty, I finally realized that lawyers can have a big hand in making things more fair. And that really intrigued me.”

She began law school at the College of Law in 2017, where she quickly set herself apart with her thoughtfulness, motivation, and strong research skills.

“Emily wants to make the world a better place, and she isn’t just dreaming about it in a wide-eyed, idealistic way,” said RonNell Andersen Jones, a professor and associate dean who worked closely with Nuvan on several research projects. “She’s organizing her time and energies to make a real difference in concrete ways, and I admire her immensely for it.

During her 2L year, Nuvan became president of the Public Interest Law Organization, matching up with her desire to eventually work in criminal justice reform. She also got involved with the Utah Law Review, the college’s student-led group in charge of scholarly journal publications.

Nuvan was elected by her peers to the position of Executive Symposium Editor on the Utah Law Review board. Every year, the Utah Law Review releases four issues: one general issue, one environmentally-focused issue, one issue focused on social justice, and a symposium issue. The team in charge of the symposium issue picks a timely legal subject and then not only produces the journal full of legal scholarship about the subject, but also plans and manages an academic event focused on that subject.

The 2019 Lee E. Teitelbaum Utah Law Review Symposium, titled “News, Disinformation, and Social Media Responsibility”, brought in legal scholars, tech experts, and members of the media from across the country to discuss the changing issues of media law, the shifting norms of press freedom in an age of easy disinformation, and the threats of virality in disinformation campaigns.

“This is such an important issue, with what's going on in the world today,” Nuvan said. “I mean, pretty much everybody interacts with social media in some way, and more and more people are getting their ‘news’ from social media. Basically, the way that news has been delivered in the past is changing, and it’s fascinating to see how social media companies will tackle the problem of disinformation spreading through their channels. How do we stop it? And whose responsibility is it?”

Those are the kinds of questions that were raised at the 2019 Utah Law Review Symposium, which featured keynote speaker Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University; Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and legal correspondent at the magazine “Slate”; and even Andrew Pergam, a representative from Facebook who announced changes to Facebook’s policies at the event.

Nuvan’s job behind the scenes of the symposium was to work with Andersen Jones and Professor Erika George to select timely topics, coordinate all the notable speakers and presenters, and create an event that was intellectually stimulating and brought forth meaningful legal discussion.

With a crowd of over 200 people and media coverage from several local newspapers and television stations, the 2019 Utah Law Review Symposium was a huge success, thanks in large part to Nuvan’s efforts.

Along with the legal research and leadership experience gained, there’s another benefit to participating in law review: how it looks on your resume.

“It does reflect very well on you if you participate in law review,” Nuvan said. “It’s not for everyone, and you don’t necessarily need it, but it is a big plus. Big law firms especially look for law review participation, and it’s almost a requirement if you want to clerk for a federal judge.”

Nuvan’s role in law review (along with her many other accomplishments) earned her a year-long clerkship with a federal judge after graduation. After her clerkship ends, she hopes to gain experience in the courtroom before moving on to her ultimate goal, criminal justice reform in either the public defense office or the prosecutor’s office. “Either way, those would be dream jobs for me,” she said.

To learn more about the Utah Law Re-view, visit http://bit.ly/SJQULR. To watch the 2019 Utah Law Review Symposium, visit http://bit.ly/SJQULRS2019 (CLE credit available).

Connecting Law Students with Career Opportunities

ARTURO THOMPSON LEADS THE CAREER DEVELOPMENT OFFICE INTO A NEW ERA


Arturo Thompson joined the College of Law in October 2019 as the newly appointed assistant dean of the Career Development Office (CDO). He arrived with a diverse skillset and unique experiences collected over an expansive professional life.

Thompson hails from the small town of Hereford, Arizona. He launched a career in marketing and communications in Tucson, where he ran a small ad agency with
a couple partners before later joining a multi-national software company based in Houston, Texas. The move allowed him to live in a market where his wife, Karen Ford Manza Thompson, could also pursue a career in nonprofit organizational development, After two years in Texas, Thompson was recruited by Jack Morton Worldwide which required a move to Chicago. That move was short-lived, after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 led to job reductions in the marketing industry. He found himself at a crossroads and decided to go back to school. Thompson first finished his undergraduate degree at Dominican University, a small school outside Chicago and then went to law school at the University of Kansas School of Law, where he graduated in 2006.

Thompson began his law career with a move back to Tucson where he practiced for five years before he was recruited by his alma matter to work as the assistant dean of the CDO at the University of Kansas. He developed programs there for nine years until he was hired by Dean Elizabeth Kronk Warner after a nationwide search.

Thompson has been working diligently to fulfill his vision for the CDO since starting his new position. CDO veterans Jaclyn Howell, Jim Holbrook and Heidi Smith round out Thompson’s team at ULaw. The group provide an array of services to law students preparing to enter the work world following graduation. “The College has extraordinary employment numbers,” Thompson noted, adding it is his foremost goal to see CDO becoming an integral part of student life.

Thompson aims to make CDO more connected with law students by engaging with them before they enter the building for their first year. Developing those relationships over the course of a student’s time in law school is essential, he said. Thompson has implemented that philosophy so far through developing deep and intense engagements with students by providing hour long one-on-one coaching sessions. In those meetings, Thompson works to identify a student’s core interest.

“Being a lawyer is really hard. Being in law school is really hard and to be able to identify the space and the kind of opportunity that students want, even if they have never thought of it or realized it, can make a huge difference in their success and happiness,” said Thompson.

So far the approach is paving the road for students’ success. Cambre Roberts, a third-year law student graduating with the Class of 2020, worked with Thompson to find career opportunities to match her interests earlier this year. Thompson worked hard to help Roberts find a fit to foster her interest in juvenile justice.

“When I started law school, I always had in my mind that I wanted to move out of Utah following graduation. However, in my third year, I ended up questioning whether I could actually make the move from my home state. Fortunately, I was able to seek out the help of the Career Development Office to work through what I really wanted career-wise,” said Roberts. “Not only did CDO send me to the Northwest Consortium Public Interest career fair, but that fair resulted in an offer for a dream job with the Metropolitan Public Defenders office in their juvenile division. Although it took a lot of time to make the decision, with the support of the career development office, and Arturo Thompson in particular, I was able to make one of the most exciting and life-changing decisions thus far, and can’t wait to make the move to Portland, Oregon in the fall.”

Thompson said he’s hopeful all students like Roberts have positive experiences with CDO. His mantra is to never book a meeting with a student for under an hour to provide adequate time to discuss goals and options.

“We will use the hour. I will ask big questions and never give straight answers. We do not want to insert our bias. I will give homework and then we will do more meetings to try to figure out what the student really wants, outside of the opinions of others. There are lots of reasons to do this, but the primary reason is to figure out what the student wants, what motivates them, what career will be the best fit and not just in their career, but also more broadly. This will make the hard days at work doable if they love what they are doing,” he said.

The second core focus for the CDO is to be customer-service oriented, Thompson said. Building relationships with alumni and employers in the community is at the top of his to-do list during his first year on the job.

A third goal will be to help students increase their professionalism. Thompson noted that the faculty do a phenomenal job of teaching students the technical skills of how to write and analyze, but that students need to leave the law school with a good understanding of how to act like a professional.

“We need to make sure we are producing students that know how to act like a professional in an office, in a courtroom, in the community, how to network and how to deal with the nervousness of that, how to dress and then help them understand the grace of correspondence. Sometimes a letter is more important that an email, sometimes a face to face over a voicemail,” said Thompson.

Thompson wants to engage with alumni and the broader legal community to advance the CDO’s mission. He hopes those with job openings will give the CDO a heads up and reach out to learn about potential recruits soon to be on the marketing following graduation.

SERVING MASTER OF LEGAL STUDIES STUDENTS

The second class of students of the College of Law’s Master of Legal Studies program is set to graduate this year, bring a new set of job placements for the CDO team.

Jaclyn Howell, associate director of CDO, is taking the lead for MLS alumni services.

The office will provide personalized outreach and individualized counseling, career-related programming, a specialized student/alumni job board, and a conscientious inclusion into the greater law school community.

“We formally invited each student to our office for a career “check-in.” Since most of these students have full-time jobs, we work with them at their convenience to explore career goals and identify the various ways the MLS degree can help them leverage advancement opportunities within their organizations and elsewhere,” said Howell, an MLS alumna who graduated in 2019. “While not every student will require assistance from the CDO, each of them should — at the very least — know who we are, what we do and how we can serve them as a member of the law school community.”

SCOPE OF THE CDO

Finding Shared Solutions to the COVID-19 Pandemic


As the COVID-19 pandemic began to change life around the world this spring, College of Law Professor Jorge Contreras stepped into a global debate about how his field of expertise — intellectual property — might support efforts to stop the transmission of the disease.

He joined forces with a group of lawyers and scientists to launch the Open COVID Pledge, a movement designed to encourage companies and universities to make their IP available in the fight against the coronavirus.

Contreras spoke with Res Gestae shortly after launching the pledge in March about the initiative and the momentum it is gaining as the world continues to look for answers on how to best contain the spread of COVID-19.

Q: What is the Open COVID Pledge? Why was this needed? How did you get involved?
A: The Open COVID Pledge is a public commitment by companies, universities and others to make their intellectual property available without charge in the fight against COVID-19.

The Pledge emerged as a response to reports that intellectual property was emerging as a barrier to research and development of vaccines, diagnostics and therapies for COVID-19, as well as the manufacture and deployment of lifesaving equipment and parts needed to respond to the pandemic.

I was asked to join this effort given my long history of work in the area of open science and data sharing policy, as well as a recent book that I co-edited on the topic of patent pledges (http://www.e-elgar. com/shop/patent-pledges).

 

Q: What kind of response are you seeing so far? Is this fostering collaboration between entities as organizers had hoped?
A: The Pledge is just a few weeks old, but we are already seeing amazing enthusiasm. Global IP leaders like Intel, Microsoft, Face-book, HP, Amazon, IBM and Sandia National Labs have all made
the Pledge, committing hundreds of thousands of patents to the fight against COVID-19. The Pledge has also received public statements of support from leading policy and advocacy groups around the world, including Creative Commons, Mozilla, Unified Patents and the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Right now, it’s too early to know what real world impact this massive outpouring of technology will have, but we are in the process of identifying specific use cases for this IP that we can promote around the world.

 

Q: How could this project open the door for other similar collaborations down the line that may lead to advancements in health? Is this initiative a game-changer for how business may be done in the future?
A: The Pledge is designed as a temporary, emergency measure to spur the development and deployment of needed medical technologies in this public health emergency. This temporary duration is one of the Pledge’s most important features, as it does not require companies or institutions to give up their IP permanently, or in fields outside of the COVID-19 response. We need to continue to reward innovators with the promise of intellectual property. But it is our strong hope that the cooperation and public spirit engendered by the current emergency will form lasting collaborations and relationships that will help to fuel innovation and discovery long after this pandemic ends.

Craig Named a Distinguished Professor by University of Utah


College of Law Professor Robin Craig has been named a Distinguished Professor.

The rank is given out annually to a select number of outstanding professors at the U. In order to be considered for the title a professor must have at least five years of service. A professor also must have
“achievements that exemplify the highest goals of scholarship as demonstrated by recognition accorded to them from peers with national and international stature, and whose record includes evidence of a high dedication to teaching as demonstrated by recognition accorded to them by students and/or colleagues.”

Craig researches the law and policy of “all things water,” including water rights, water pollution, and ocean and coastal issues, as well as climate change adaptation, the intersection of constitutional and environmental law, and the food-energy-water nexus. She has authored, co-authored, or edited 11 books, 21 books chapters, and over 100 articles in both law and scientific journals.

At the College of Law, Craig teaches Property to first-year students and Environmental Law, Water Law, Ocean & Coastal Law, and Toxic Torts to upper-division students. She is also affiliated faculty
to the College of Law’s Stegner Center for Land, Resources, and Environment, a faculty affiliate of the University’s Global Change & Sustainability Center, and a member of the Executive Board of the University’s new Water Center.

Rosky Files Lawsuit Challenging South Carolina’s Anti-LGBTQ Curriculum Law


The U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina on March 11 entered a consent decree that declares South Carolina’s 1988 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ curriculum law unconstitutional and bars its enforcement.

College of Law Professor Clifford Rosky was among those who fought to bring the case forward.

The court’s decree came two weeks after a federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of the high school student organization Gender and Sexuality Alliance, as well as the Campaign for Southern Equality and South Carolina Equality Coalition, including their members who are public school students in South Carolina. The statute prohibited any discussion of same-sex relationships in health education in public schools except in the context of sexually transmitted diseases. The lawsuit was filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Lambda Legal, along with private counsel Womble Bond Dickinson, Brazil & Burke, and Rosky.

Court Rejects Petition for Crime Victims in Epstein Case


In April, in a divided 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit rejected a petition for crime victims in the Jeffrey Epstein case, filed by Florida attorney Bradley J. Edwards and College of Law Professor Paul Cassell. The Circuit held that the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA) does not apply until federal criminal charges are formally filed, and therefore Epstein’s victims were not entitled to challenge a plea arrangement reached between federal prosecutors and Epstein.

The case involves more than 11 years of litigation by Epstein’s victims, seeking to overturn a non-prosecution agreement entered into by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida with Epstein, blocking his prosecution (and that of his co-conspirators) for child sex abuse crimes in Florida. In the decision, the majority said that the facts tell “a tale of national disgrace,” including “active misrepresentation” by federal prosecutors to Epstein’s victims to conceal what they were doing to keep Epstein from being federally prosecuted.

But the ruling also states that, because no federal criminal charges were ever filed in Florida, Epstein’s victims (girls whom he sexually abused) did not have any right to confer about the plea arrangements because the CVRA was never in effect. In reaching this conclusion, the Circuit noted that Cassell had written a law review article, in which he had explained why the CVRA can apply even before federal criminal charges are filed. But while the Circuit thought that Cassell was “one of the nation’s foremost authorities on victims’-rights issues,” it could not agree with his position.

In a sixty-page dissent, Judge Frank M. Hull noted the importance of the ruling: “The Majority confesses that ‘[i]t isn’t lost on us that our decision leaves petitioner and others like her largely emptyhanded’ and ‘we sincerely regret that.’ In addition to ruminating in sincere regret and sympathy, we, as federal judges, should also enforce the plain text of the CVRA—which we are bound to do—and ensure that these crime victims have the CVRA rights that Congress has granted them.”

Cassell and Edwards planned to file a petition for rehearing en banc with the full Eleventh Circuit.

Hwang Receives Early Career Teaching Award


Professor Cathy Hwang has been awarded an Early Career Teaching Award, which recognizes significant contributions to teaching at the U through new and innovative teaching methods.

The award, the highest teaching award for pre-tenured faculty at the U, is given to only four University of Utah professors each year. The University Teaching Committee evaluates nominees based on a teaching portfolio, a curriculum vitae, letters of support, and student evaluations.

Jeff Schwartz, the William H. Leary Professor of Law at the College of Law, nominated Hwang for excellent teaching and efforts to engage students at every opportunity. Dean Elizabeth Kronk Warner, Associate Dean RonNell Andersen Jones, and three former students — Connor Bills ’19, Jason Perry ’18, and Andrew Steiner ’18 — supported the nomination.

“By every metric, Professor Hwang is an exceptional teacher. Her exceptional teaching, however, does not stop at the classroom door. She defines teaching broadly and engages students at every opportunity,” said Kronk Warner.

From volunteering to guest lecture in undergraduate classes to advising first-year students on curricular matters to recruiting new students with the admissions office, Hwang is an enthusiastic ambassador for
the College of Law, she noted.

Perry described Hwang’s teaching as an engaging mix of pedagogies.

“Her lectures include a balance of Socratic explanations of cases and the law with a plethora of memorable fact-patterns and hypothetical situations that encouraged us as students to apply legal principles and gain mastery of said principles. Not only were the hypotheticals effective teaching tools but helped create a collegial environment,” said Perry.

Steiner recounted being a student in Hwang’s first class taught at the law school and was impressed by how seasoned she appeared, despite her new arrival in Utah.

“If she hadn’t been candid about it being her first semester teaching, none of her students would have guessed that she wasn’t an experienced hand,” he said.

Bills, another former student, said Hwang often provided opportunities to role play deal structuring and negotiating in her courses, giving law students a leg up on gaining practical experience prior to arriving at a law firm.

“For most freshly minted attorneys, the greatest hurdle is connecting their theoretical understanding of the law and effectively applying the law in practice. Cathy’s approach provides law students with the necessary tools to feel confident even on the very first day of the job,” said Bills.

Hwang has made a difference in the lives of countless students. Perry, who is currently completing a prestigious judicial clerkship at the Utah Supreme Court, noted that Hwang often went above and beyond, fielding phone calls from students after hours, reviewing resumes, calling employers and judges, and even reviewing thank you emails he sent after interviews.

Hwang brought several new courses to the College of Law, including a summer bootcamp Deals course and a new Mergers and Acquisitions class. She also established a new course earlier this spring with Schwartz designed to give students an opportunity to engage with prominent scholars and leaders closely connected to contemporary business law issues.

The Law, Economics and Business Workshop at the College of Law brought together scholars, students, and faculty for seminar-style discussion of innovative and complex topics in the field. Distinguished scholars from law schools and business schools throughout the country presented new papers at the U.

Hwang has served on the Dean’s Diversity Council, she is a faculty advisor to the student’s Business Law Society, she co-advises the Minority Law Caucus, and co-coached the College of Law’s award-winning Transactional LawMeet team.

As evidence of her exceptional teaching, enrollment in business law, the area in which she teaches, has increased by 26% since she started teaching at the College of Law. A recent graduate also made a gift to the law school to name Hwang’s office, in recognition of the support he received from her as a student.

Outside of service to students, Hwang has quickly established herself as an excellent scholar since arriving at ULaw in 2016. Two of her articles, Deal Momentum, published in the UCLA Law Review, and Unbundled Bargains: Multi-agreement Dealmaking in Complex Mergers and Acquisitions, published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, were voted by law professors onto the Top 10 Corporate and Securities Law Articles of the Year list. Previously, she was selected to participate in the Stanford/Yale/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum, an invitation that was extended through a highly competitive blind review process.

Hwang received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and her undergraduate degree in economics and international relations from Pomona College. Prior to joining the faculty at Utah, she was the academic fellow at Stanford Rock Center for Corporate Governance, a joint initiative of Stanford Law School and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

She recently accepted a position at the University of Virginia School of Law “She cares deeply about her students, as evidenced by the exceptional support and outreach she provides. She also works exceptionally hard to ensure that she teaches in a way that is accessible to all students. Our community is a much better place with Professor Hwang in it, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of recognition,” said Kronk Warner.

Baughman Co-Authors Study on Prosecutors’ Race and Class Biases


America’s prison populations are disproportionately filled with people of color, but prosecutors’ biases toward defendants’ race and class may not be the primary cause for those disparities, according to new research from the University of Arizona and co-authored by College of Law Professor Shima Baradaran Baughman.

The finding, which comes from a unique study involving hundreds of prosecutors across the U.S., counters decades’ worth of previous research. Those studies relied on pre-existing data, such as charges and punishments that played out in courtrooms. In a 1993 study, for example, researchers found that prosecutors in Los Angeles were 1.59 times more likely to fully prosecute an African American defendant for crack-related charges than a white defendant. That likelihood was 2.54 times greater for Hispanic defendants compared to white defendants.

The new study, led by Christopher Robertson, a professor of law and associate dean for research and innovation at the James E. Rogers College of Law, involved a controlled experiment with prosecutors, asking them to examine the same hypothetical case but changing the race and class of the defendant.

The study, administered online, provided prosecutors with police reports describing a hypothetical crime, which the researchers designed with assistance from experienced prosecutors. All details of the case were the same except for the suspect’s race – either black or white – and occupation – fast-food worker or accountant – to indicate the suspect’s socioeconomic status. Roughly half of the prosecutors received one version of the case; the other half received the other.

The study allowed researchers to “really isolate the prosecutor’s decision-making in a way that mere observational research wouldn’t allow,” said Robertson. Besides Baradaran Baughman, the other co-author on the study is Megan Wright of Penn State. The paper was published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.

The outcomes the study looked for included whether prosecutors charged a felony, whether they chose to fine the defendant or seek a prison sentence, and the proposed cost of the fine or length of the sentence.

“When we put all those together, we see the same severity of charges, fines and sentences across all the conditions, whether the defendant was black, whether the defendant was white, whether the defendant had a high-class career or a low-class career,” Robertson said. “Differences in the actual outcomes – in the actual behavior of the prosecutors – is what we would have expected if they were biased. But since we see no difference in the outcomes, we concluded that they were not substantially biased.”

Given previous research that indicated rampant bias drives criminal justice disparities, Robertson’s results may surprise many – just like they did the researchers.

“We were surprised at the bottom line,” he said. Robertson offered one possible explanation for the unexpected result. “We conducted this study in 2017 and 2018 and prosecutors have been under a spotlight for some time,” he said. “They’ve been training and are aware of and are working hard to not be biased in their own decision-making.”

The results do not rule out race and class bias as factors in prosecutorial decision-making but suggest that policymakers committed to addressing systemic racism and classism in the legal system may be more successful seeking reforms in other areas.

“The disparities in outcomes are indisputable,” Robertson said. “As we go through the criminal justice system and think about what the right reforms are, the sheer bias of the prosecutor doesn’t seem to be the biggest one.”

Robertson said policymakers may be better off focusing on disparities that occur before someone is even arrested, in areas such as economic development and education.

“Crime is associated with poverty, and race in America is associated with poverty, so I think some very front-end questions of social policy are really important,” he said. “At the same time, I think, on the back end, to shift the focus, there’s a growing consensus among people on the left and the right that our 40-year-long war on crime has been ineffectual in some ways and that we could make the criminal justice system much less severe and much less expensive and thereby reduce some of these same disparities.”

Robertson also stresses that his study’s results aren’t the final word on prosecutor bias – a problem that still needs addressing, he said. Even after these findings, he remains a proponent of blinding prosecutors to defendants’ race, a detail that is often not relevant to prosecutors after an arrest is made. Prosecutor blinding is the focus of Robertson’s next research project.

Stegner Center Research Questions Whether National Monument Management Plans Follow Federal Law


Research unveiled in February from the College of Law’s Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment questions whether the federal government followed the law in finalizing management plans for the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

Two years ago, President Donald Trump cut the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments by roughly 50%, igniting a court battle over the future of these lands. The plans released on Feb. 6 reduce protection for important cultural, scientific, and natural resources on what remains of these two monuments.

John Ruple, a research professor, and Heather Tanana, a research professor`, authored “Beyond the Antiquities Act: Can the BLM Reconcile Energy Dominance and National Monument Protection?” in the newly released winter 2020 issue of the American Bar Association’s Natural Resources & Environment publication.

“The Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service are legally obligated to manage national monuments to protect the values that lead to monument designations. The plans released today decrease monument protections and put resources at risk. That’s hard to square with federal law. Lawsuits will surely follow, and that will hurt everyone: Tribes, local residents, visitors, and most of all the incredible resources that this landscape contains,” said Ruple.

Carolynn Clark Named Director of Master of Legal Studies Degree Program


Carolynn Clark has been named the new director of the Master of Legal Studies degree program at the College of Law. She began her role on May 1.

Clark received her law degree from the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 2003. After law school, Clark completed a Carolynn Clark judicial clerkship with the Utah Supreme Court with now Chief Justice Matthew
Durrant. Afterwards, she worked for several years as a litigator at the law firm of Ray Quinney & Nebeker in Salt Lake City, working in several areas, including, intellectual property, securities, employment, and family law. Clark completed a Master of Laws in mediation at Pepperdine University’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution in 2009 just prior to which time she began teaching and mediating. She is a Master Mediator and Domestic Mentor on the Utah Court Roster of Mediators and has conducted thousands of hours of mediation focusing on divorce, custody and parenting disputes, property division, and other related issues.

Prior to becoming director of the Master of Legal Studies pro-gram, Clark taught and directed the Conflict Resolution Graduate Certificate Program offered through the University of Utah’s Department of Communication. Before taking over as director of the Conflict Resolution Program, Clark instructed and administrated the basic mediation curriculum at the BYU Law School and also taught for two years as a legal writing instructor. Clark is a member of the Utah Judicial Committee for Alternative Dispute Resolution, and is also listed on the professional roster at Utah Dispute Resolution in Salt Lake City where she regularly volunteers her time for low-income clients.

The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree program launched at the College of Law in the fall of 2018. The 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 appeals to a broad audience. For example, the degree may be ideal for business executives who want to increase their knowledge of employment law; people who work in government agencies may find it helpful in providing a better understanding of environmental law, land use regulation or negotiation practices. The new offerings are a way for professionals from a wide array of fields to advance their careers and improve future job opportunities. Interaction with the legal system is a critical part of many professions, from human resources to land use planning, business management and financial advising.

The U’s program offers intensive courses every other Friday and Saturday to accommodate busy working professional. Students have access to the same top-notch legal expertise as students following a traditional law school path, but with a somewhat more focused approach designed to meet the needs of working professionals. While the degree does not allow graduates to obtain a law license or practice law, it equips them with skills critical in almost every industry and important to advancing their careers, including how to interface with legal and regulatory systems and how and when to optimize use of professional legal counsel.

Clark takes the helm from Jacqueline Morrison, who launched the MLS program and now serves as director of externships with the experiential learning program at the College of Law.