Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

June 1, 2021

Salomone Moderates at Princeton Symposium, and More

Professor Rosemary Salomone recently moderated a panel discussion on “Education” as part of the Language and Migration: Experience and Memory symposium hosted by Princeton University with the Study Group on Language and the United Nations, of which she is a member. She also was a guest speaker in an international seminar series on Language Policy and Practices in the Global North and South organized by Leiden University in the Netherlands. Her presentation, “In Search of Transformative Justice: The South African Constitutional Court and the Right to Education in the Language of One’s Choice,” examined two decisions upholding university language policies favoring instruction in English over Afrikaans and the implications for moving the country toward the Constitution’s promise of transformation and redress. In addition, she was invited by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools to lead a discussion with NCGS Directors on legal updates including the Office for Civil Rights’ recently announced comprehensive review of Title IX regulations, as part of implementing President Biden’s March 8th Executive Order on Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free From Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

Rosemary Salomone
Kenneth Wang Professor of Law
May 19, 2021

Alvarez Publishes in Arizona State Law Journal Online

Professor Adrián E. Alvarez has published an article, Enabling the Best Interests Factors, in the Arizona State Law Journal Online as part of its COVID-19 Symposium Issue. He was invited to submit this contribution through the Association of American Law Schools’ (AALS) Section on Law and Mental Disability. The article is available here, and an abstract follows:

In February 2019, the media reported that the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)—an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) charged with the care and custody of unaccompanied immigrant children—was using minors’ admissions of prior gang affiliation during confidential therapy sessions as the sole criteria for “stepping up” children from low-security shelters to more restrictive and punitive detention facilities. ORR was also then sharing the therapy notes with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to use them against children in deportation proceedings. The newspaper article that broke the story noted that while the information sharing between HHS and DHS was “technically legal,” it was “a profound violation of patient confidentiality.” This article argues that these practices are not “technically legal” at all. They are illegal because they violate basic best interests principles now enshrined in the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Recovery Act of 2008 (TVPRA), and, in some instances, they may violate Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title II), federal anti-discrimination laws designed to protect people with disabilities.

The best interests approach “is a dynamic concept that requires an assessment appropriate to the specific context,” and stepping up a child to a more restrictive setting based solely on prior gang affiliation is inconsistent with the procedural aspects of the best interests standard. Moreover, using gang affiliation revealed in therapy sessions as the sole criteria for sending a child to a more restrictive setting may also violate federal anti-discrimination statutes designed to protect children with disabilities. For instance, Section 504 and Title II’s regulations prohibit recipients of federal funds and public entities, respectively, from using “criteria or methods of administration . . . that have the purpose or effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the recipient’s program or activity with respect to handicapped persons.” Because confidentiality is required for therapy to succeed, this policy may unintentionally have the effect of substantially impairing unaccompanied minors from receiving the intended therapeutic benefits of the therapy session. Although gang affiliation is disability neutral on its face, it has a disparate impact on unaccompanied minors with psychosocial disabilities because there is a correlation between gang affiliation and emotional and behavioral disorders.

Adrián E. Alvarez
Assistant Professor of Law
May 17, 2021

SJ Presents at Empire State Legal Writing Conference

St. John’s Law faculty members—present and past—presented at the Biennial Empire State Legal Writing Conference, held virtually over May 13th – 14th. The two-day conference, with over 30 panel presentations, was hosted by New York Law School (NYLS) and its legal writing faculty; more than 200 participants registered. Legal writing professors from around New York State serve on the program committee, including Professor Robin Boyle, conference co-founder.

Professor Kayonia L. Whetstone, formerly of SJ and now an Assistant Professor of Lawyering Skills at Howard University School of Law, co-presented on the plenary panel: “Empire State and Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) Scholarship Plenary: Making Progress on Scholarship with an Online Writing Group.” Two years ago at this very conference, Professor Whetstone and co-participants created a remote writing group to provide accountability for their scholarship. They presented on the different functions that their writing group has served, lessons learned from the process, and tools that helped them work together. They meet virtually twice each week.

Professor Boyle assisted in organizing the Scholars program, supported by a grant from the ALWD. Budding scholars in one breakout room discussed their “Germ of an Idea.” In another breakout room, “Drafts Review,” Professor Boyle co-led a three-hour session in which authors presented their full-length drafts of scholarly articles and participants commented. The topics for the developing scholarship were wide ranging. 

Professor Boyle also co-presented on a panel titled, “Swimming with Broad Strokes: Publishing and Presenting on Non-Legal Writing Topics.” This session encouraged participants to explore scholarly topics beyond the traditional legal writing discipline. Professor Boyle shared her experiences in researching, writing, and presenting on such topics as human trafficking, cults, and the civil rights movement.

Professor Rebecca Lowry also co-presented on a panel titled, “The Classroom Knows No Bounds.” This session addressed best practices to assist international J.D. and LL.M. students, non-native English speakers, and visiting and recently immigrated students. The panelists shared tips and practical exercises to help engage a diverse student body.

Professor Boyle gave the conference’s closing remarks and thanked NYLS and the conference participants.

Robin Boyle
Professor of Legal Writing

Rebecca Lowry
Adjunct Professor of Law
May 14, 2021

Barrett Delivers Romig Lecture at U.S. Army JAG School

On May 12, 2021, Professor John Q. Barrett delivered, on Zoom for Government, to The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, United States Army, in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Second Thomas J. Romig Lecture in Principled Legal Practice.

This lecture is named for and reflects the leadership of Major General Thomas J. Romig, United States Army (Retired), who served as 36th The Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army.  General Romig today is a Professor of Law at Washburn University, where he previously served as Dean.

This year’s JAG School Romig Lecture program began with welcoming remarks by Brigadier General Joseph E. Berger, III, Commanding General of the JAG School.

Lieutenant General Charles N. Pede, 40th The Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army, then introduced the Romig Chair.

Colonel Sean T. McGarry, JAG School Dean and Romig Chair holder, then introduced Professor Barrett.

Professor Barrett’s lecture, “Principled Legal Practice by Justice Robert H. Jackson at Nuremberg,” will be published later this year in the Military Law Review.

Alberto J. Mora, former General Counsel of the United States Navy, delivered the inaugural Romig Lecture in May 2019.

John Q. Barrett
Professor of Law
May 3, 2021

Sharfman Quoted on Purdue Disclosure Settlement

Last week, Professor Keith Sharfman was quoted in a Law360 feature story on the U.S. Trustee’s Office’s $1 million settlement with BigLaw firms for failure to disclose connections with the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma in its Chapter 11 case.

The story, in relevant part, stated that:

Keith Sharfman, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law, said professionals have broad duties of disclosure that led to the McKinsey disgorgement in 2019. That firm has about 30,000 employees and has worked on dozens of bankruptcy cases in recent years, so in a case like Purdue with a wide range of constituencies, complying with disclosure obligations could be a significant undertaking.

“[I]t is unsurprising that this type of disclosure violation could happen again in another case, as appears to have happened in Purdue,” Sharfman said.

A link to the full story is available here.

Keith Sharfman
Professor of Law

April 30, 2021

Sheff to Publish in Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (JELS)

Professor Jeremy Sheff’s manuscript, The Canada Trademarks Dataset, has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (JELS), a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal. The manuscript accompanies the release of an original research dataset compiled by Professor Sheff from Canadian government records and published on open-access terms. An abstract the article follows:

This article discloses and describes a new research dataset representing the Canadian Intellectual Property Office’s historical archive of trademark applications. This individual-application-level dataset includes all applications since approximately 1980, and many preserved applications and registrations dating back to the beginning of Canada’s trademark registry in 1865, totaling over 1.6 million applications. It includes comprehensive bibliographic and lifecycle data; trademark characteristics; goods and services claims; identification of applicants, attorneys, and other interested parties (including address data); detailed prosecution history event data; and links to application, registration, and use claims in countries other than Canada. Both the dataset and the code used to build and analyze it are presented for public use on open-access terms. This article uses the dataset to generate novel descriptive analyses of the performance of Canada’s trademark registration system and the behavior of applicants for registration, both independently and in comparison to the United States and Australia. These analyses suggest that Canada’s trademark registration system is substantially underperforming other nations with respect to efficiency of examination, and that recent statutory and regulatory changes in Canadian trademark law may have the effect of masking or even exacerbating this underperformance while decreasing the reliability of the Canadian trademark registry as an authoritative guide to trademarks used in Canadian commerce.

A pre-publication draft of The Canada Trademarks Dataset is available here

Jeremy N. Sheff
Professor of Law
Faculty Director, Intellectual Property Law Center

April 21, 2021

Wade Speaks TODAY on Role of Corporations in Social Movements at 1:45 p.m. EDT

Professor Cheryl L. Wade will comment on the role of corporations in social movements today at 1:45pm EDT. The lecture is sponsored by The Journal of Corporation Law and the University of Iowa Black Law Students Association.

Please join us using this Zoom link.

April 15, 2021

Klonick Lectures, Teaches, Publishes, Testifies & Co-Hosts

In February, March, and April of this year, Professor Kate Klonick gave a number of lectures and panel presentations on her research on the Facebook Oversight Board, the growth of private governance structures, and the suspension of Donald Trump from the two biggest speech platforms in the world. These include but are not limited to:

  • Lex Informatica Symposium, Berkeley Law, Apr. 2021, Moderator
  • Regulating Social Media — How? When? Who Will Write the Rules?, Georgetown Law, Apr. 2021, Panelist
  • Frenemies of the Press, Yale Abrams Institute for Free Expression, Mar. 2021, Moderator
  • Social Media Governance & Content Moderation, Cardozo Law, Mar. 2021, Panelist
  • Antitrust Panel: Trump v. Twitter, NYU Law School, Mar. 2021, Panelist
  • Tech, Media and Democracy, Cornell Law and Cornell Tech, Mar. 1, Panelist
  • TechLaw: Hindsight is 2020, Arizona Law, Feb. 2021, Panelist
  • The Fate of Donald Trump on Facebook, R Street, Feb. 2021, Panelist

Professor Klonick was also a guest lecturer for classes at Yale Law School, Columbia Journalism School, and Northwestern University Law School. Additionally, she was a visiting professor for the semester at Cornell Tech, teaching Professor James Grimmelmann’s Internet Law Class to a joint group of students from Cornell Law School and Cornell Tech’s LLM program.

In February she published an article in the New Yorker on her observation of the Oversight Board formation. This article was the focus of a New Yorker Radio Hour with David Remnick, a Radiolab podcast, and The Weeds Podcast with Matt Yglesias. She also appeared on CBS Saturday Morning and in a CNN/Vox documentary on social media’s rise.

In March, she, along with former Editor-in-Chief of the Guardian Alan Rusbridger gave official witness testimony to the UK’s House of Lords.

In April, she was named a non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institute.

Since the start of the pandemic, she has co-hosted a daily hour-long live video show with Ben Wittes, Editor in Chief of Lawfare. Guests have included Jim Comey, Chuck Rosenberg, John McWhorter, Kara Swisher, Dahlia Lithwick, Whit Stillman, Rep. Tom Malinowski, Preet Bharara, and SJU Law’s own John Barrett and Jeremy Sheff. The show will soon mark its 400th episode. 

Kate Klonick
Assistant Professor of Law
April 7, 2021

Roberts to Co-Organize AALS Panel and Other Recent Highlights

Professor Anna Roberts has devised and will co-organize a panel scheduled for the 2022 AALS Annual Meeting. The topic is “Rethinking Criminal Law Language,’ and co-panelists are Lauryn Gouldin, Guy Hamilton-Smith, Janet Moore, Michael Pinard, Alice Ristroph, Maybell Romero, and India Thusi.

Professor Roberts’s scholarship on jury exclusion on the basis of criminal convictions was highlighted in a recent Prison Policy Initiative report on the same topic. Finally, she presented on conviction-based impeachment and jury exclusion for an event on “Addressing the Perpetual Punishment of Criminal Records,” hosted by the FedCap Group (see photo).

March 26, 2021

Sovern Elected Fellow, Workshops Article at Berkeley Conference, and is Quoted in LA Times, Roll Call

The American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers has elected Professor Jeff Sovern a Fellow of the College. ACCFSL Fellows include many lions of the consumer finance bar and leading consumer law professors. 

On March 5, Sovern’s paper, Six Scandals: Why We Need Consumer Protection Laws Instead of Just Markets, was the subject of a 75-minute discussion at the Berkeley Consumer Law Scholars Conference. 

Professor Sovern was also quoted twice in the Los Angeles Times. On January 13, an article headlined “Conservatives are all for businesses calling the shots — except for Trump” explained: 

Jeff Sovern, a law professor at St. John’s University in New York, said Twitter and other social media sites are on relatively solid ground in shutting their digital doors to some users. 

“Twitter says that it banned Trump because of the risk of further incitement of violence,” he observed. “As far as I know, no state law bars discrimination against people who incite violence. In terms of the law, it’s as simple as that.” 

On March 19, an article headlined “AT&T’s new arbitration clause isn’t doing you any favors” stated:  

“Suppose AT&T cheats a bunch of its customers out of $30 each,” said Jeff Sovern, a law professor at St. John’s University. “Plenty of studies show that customers won’t bother suing over such a small amount.” 

On the other hand, if hundreds or even thousands of aggrieved customers banded together in a class-action lawsuit, that would not only make litigation worthwhile but could potentially result in a huge financial penalty for the company. 

Businesses that don’t have to worry about class actions, Sovern said, “can be much freer about taking advantage of consumers.” 

In a January 19 article titled “Biden’s pick of Chopra as CFPB chair is ‘pandering’ to left, McHenry says,” CQ Roll Call wrote:  

Jeff Sovern, a professor at the St. John’s University School of Law who helps Public Citizen’s Consumer Law & Policy Blog, said in an interview with CQ Roll Call that Chopra is an excellent choice. 

“He has been at the Bureau so he already knows how it works and the challenges it faces. He has experience leading a consumer protection agency from his time at the FTC,” Sovern said Tuesday. “He’s creative and he does his homework. I anticipate that he will build on former director Richard Cordray’s legacy in giving consumers the protections they need.” 

Jeff Sovern
Professor of Law
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