Summer @ SLU LAW
While the halls are noticeably quieter and campus less crowded, there will still be plenty of activity going on at SLU LAW during the sweltering St. Louis summer. This summer will understandably look different than most, with the added hustle and bustle of packing and moving the School of Law two miles east to its new home at 100 N. Tucker Blvd. Despite that added dimension, faculty and staff continue with their traditional summer schedules where, though class may not be formally in session, the work goes on.
Summer means bar prep season and one of the busiest times of the year for Professor Antonia Miceli. As Director of Bar Exam Preparation, Miceli’s summer months are spent almost exclusively on essay workshops and individual counseling to help prepare those who are studying for the July bar exams. At weekly essay workshops throughout June and July, she administers Multistate Essay Exams (MEE) and Multistate Performance Tests (MPT) in a structured exam-like setting and provides SLU LAW alumni – predominantly recent May graduates – with individual and group feedback on their practice MEEs and MPTs. In the final week of the workshop series, Miceli administers three MEEs back-to-back to give her students a sense of what it feels like to keep their own time and pace through the MEE.
To wrap up the session, Miceli creates Bar Exam Send-Off packages for each alum/alumna, which contain the key items they are allowed to bring into either the Missouri or Illinois bar exam (pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, ear plugs, etc.), all packaged up in the approved clear Ziplock bag, along with a personal note of good luck she puts in an envelope for them to open the day before the bar exam when they need an added boost of confidence. This year she will also travel to Jefferson City, Mo., for the two-day Missouri bar exam to hand out lunches to SLU LAW bar takers as part of a new program with the Office of Development and Alumni Relations as a simple way to remove one more added stress from the frenzied days. Once the exam sessions are complete in Jefferson City and Chicago, Ill., on July 31, Miceli will spend the next several weeks awaiting the results along with her students.
On May 20, some SLU LAW professors began teaching summer classes. For example, Assistant Professor Yvette Liebesman has 16 students enrolled in her Intellectual Property survey course, which runs until July 3. Other faculty are teaching tax law, administrative law, family law and trial advocacy, as well as other course offerings. But even for her colleagues who are not teaching, there is plenty on their plates. Gearing up for the move downtown means packing up everything in their offices by the first week in July. All the books, diplomas, personal effects (including Liebesman’s leg lamp) and files need to either be boxed for the movers or brought home. Some faculty have been in the same office for more than 20 years, which means lots of sorting, packing, trashing, shredding, recycling, etc. For those on the building committee, such as Liebesman, who leads the security and parking task forces, there are logistical issues, walk-throughs on each floor to ensure that everything has been completed to satisfaction and final details to be handled.
Besides those responsibilities are the usual summer activities: most professors spend the time between spring and fall semesters writing law review articles. And they can’t forget about grading the spring semester’s exams, which are due by mid-June, although students of course appreciate getting them as soon as possible. Additionally, there are research fellows to manage and fall classes to prepare. For anyone teaching new classes, that requires drafting course syllabi and lecture notes; for any fall classes they previously taught, recent court decisions need to be incorporated.
So, while professorial summers typically mean no set schedules, no one to tell them what to do or when it is due, it does not mean there isn’t plenty that needs to be done.
Even when the calendar marks another school year complete, the work in the SLU LAW Legal Clinic continues throughout the summer. Assistant Clinical Professor Patricia Harrison will manage three trials and three briefs in June and has a few outstanding petitions that are waiting a hearing date. For some of these cases, the students originally assigned to them will come back over the summer to help with certain cases because they are in town and want to see them through.
For the most part, Harrison will not accept any new cases until Aug. 1 when the helping hands and minds of a new semester’s worth of students arrive to assist with writing briefs and research. New appeals cases, however, may be picked up because it takes 90 days to order the record, which allows enough time to receive it before delegating to clinic students.
In addition to the ongoing case work, Harrison, supervisor of the Youth Advocacy Clinic, will also spend the summer working to advance the cause of juveniles in the area. This past spring, the National Juvenile Defender Center released a report assessing the access of attorneys and quality representation in delinquency proceedings for youth in Missouri. Harrison will attend a roundtable meeting and discussion with key stakeholders in Missouri and the NJDC to devise a way to get more lawyers for kids who get in trouble. Also, in July she’ll take part in the third annual Youth Summit, a partnership with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, SLU and Washington University. It is an opportunity to give legal education to local youths, teaching them their rights on a variety of issues that may affect them, everything from LGBT rights to general family law (guardianship, child support).