We Hold These Truths to be Self Evident

While in elementary school I had to memorize the first few lines of this document.  As a seven year old, I felt it was the most difficult thing I would ever have to do in my life.  If only that were the case.  As we all get ready to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence  with barbecues and fireworks, here are a few interesting sites that might help you get in the spirit of the holiday (particularly after Tuesday’s heartbreak)

  • Totally pumped about having some sweet fireworks?  Check out this site on firework laws by state
  • Did you know that some federal parks have Fourth of July celebrations?  The U.S. National Park Service’s event calendar can give you any info on local activities.
  • The Library of Congress offers a “Today in History” page, and the July 4th page offers lots of interesting tidbits about Independence Day.
  • Haven’t ever read the Declaration of Independence?  Well, Yale’s Avalon Project offers you the full text along with its signatories here.  The Avalon Project provides the text of a variety of documents in law, history and diplomacy and is incredibly useful for historical research.
  • The Fourth of July wouldn’t be the same without some delicious food!  USA.gov offers a selection of American Recipes here.  Why not try making some homemade rock candy?
  • Here are some Fourth of July facts worth checking out before the big day.
  • Finally, if you still aren’t satisfied enough to come to terms with yesterday, here is a list of things Tim Howard could save.

Enjoy the rest of the World Cup and have a safe and relaxing Fourth!

The More You Know …

Trivia Time!

Did you know that the College of Law is approaching its centennial celebration? That’s right, just like my Great Aunt Louise, we’re turning 100! Several of the Fellows have been diligently working away on special projects about the College. Here are a few interesting facts that we’ve discovered:

Did you know that the first woman law graduate at the University of Arizona was Lucy Stanton Huff?
She graduated in 1921, when law was just another department and did not have a “college” designation.

So, then who was the first woman to graduate from the College of Law as we know it today?
That would be Lorna Lockwood! She graduated in 1925, just after the School of Law became the College of Law. And if you know your Arizona history, you know that she went on to become the first woman in the nation to serve as a state supreme court justice when she was elected Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court in 1965.

Did you know that in 1930 the law faculty consisted of only 4 professors and the Dean?
Yes, only 5 guys running the whole show. Now, the College of Law has 45 faculty members, and that’s not counting emeriti faculty, visiting faculty, and adjuncts.

Did you know that one of our illustrious alums once represented the famous bank robber, John Dillinger?
Rose Silver, Class of 1931, was the only woman attorney in Tucson in the early 1930s. She represented Dillinger after he and his gang were captured at the Hotel Congress in 1934. Even though she lost the fight against his extradition, he was so grateful for her help that he reportedly left her $1,500 cash and a brand-new six-cylinder Packard (kind of like one these).

Have you ever heard of Hayzel B. Daniels?
In 1948 he became the first African American to graduate from the College of Law, and the first to be admitted to the State Bar of Arizona. Two years later, he was one of the first African Americans to be elected to the Arizona legislature, along with Carl Sims. As a legislator and an attorney, he fought against racism in Arizona and was heavily involved in the NAACP. He sponsored legislation and litigated cases to end segregation in Arizona’s public schools. In 1965, he was the first African American to be appointed judge in Arizona. The College of Law posthumously honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.


That’s all for now! Stay tuned for more trivia, things to do, research tips, and more folderol!


Summer is Here!

While many of you are probably headed off to faraway places (like Phoenix) to get some first-hand experience in the world of practicing law, Tucson is probably the current destination for many of you.  Now that classes have finished, what, might you ask, on earth are you going to do with all that free time?  How about, explore Tucson!  The great thing about Tucson is how empty it gets once class have ended at the University.  Why not take advantage of the diminished crowds and your abundant free-time by exploring the city in which you live?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Seeing as Tucson’s summer temperature is second only to the surface of the sun, why not check out a community pool?!  The City of Tucson’s parks department has provided several pools available to the public for use during the summer.  If you are taking classes, you may also have access to the campus recreation department’s pool over the summer as well.
  2. While this is not Tucson specific, the FIFA World Cup starts on June 12th.  If you are wondering where to watch, Playground has a reputation of showing international soccer matches.
  3. If you have time on Saturday evenings, check out the Arizona Sonora Desert Museums “Cool Summer Nights.”  The museum provides special programming and extended Saturday hours throughout the summer.  This offers anyone who has already visited the museum to experience it from a completely different perspective.
  4. If downtown Tucson is more your style, check out 2nd Saturdays.  These monthly events offer food, music and entertainment downtown.
  5. Hotel Congress also hosts summer beer tastings.  This event, happening all summer, allows you to come try a different beer from around the world every weekend.
  6. The Tucson Botanical Garden also hosts “Sunset Saturdays,” featuring live music and food in the gardens.

Now that you finally get a break from law school, take a moment to enjoy Tucson!

FCC Proposes New Rules for Net Neutrality

Now that finals are over, you can finally relax. Maybe you just want to spend a few days on the couch, marathoning your favorite show on Netflix, Hulu, or a free site of questionable legality (but of course an aspiring lawyer would never do that). Well, the way you enjoy your favorite shows online may be changing. The FCC has proposed new regulations for the open Internet, and people on both sides of the “net neutrality” debate have a lot to say.

But first, what is net neutrality? This is the principle behind an open Internet, with equal treatment for all content. This means that all websites should load or stream at the same speed, without giving any website preferential faster speeds or detrimentally slower speeds. This article from the New York Times features a video that explains a little about net neutrality.

Proponents of net neutrality argue that it is important for economic freedom, innovation, and democracy. Otherwise, internet service providers (ISPs), could slow down content on sites they don’t like, making it difficult for users to access that content.

Opponents of net neutrality argue that it blocks economic freedom and innovation, by preventing ISPs from developing their own business models and charging “bandwidth hogs” appropriate rates, and by discouraging providers from investing in the Internet infrastructure.

The FCC published a factsheet outlining the “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The new proposal is designed to fill in the gaps created when the DC Circuit struck down the existing FCC Open Internet rules in January. The FCC is encouraging public comment on this issue with an extended 4-month public comment period. You can find the full NPRM here.

The FCC’s proposal would reinstitute the no-blocking rule adopted in 2010, create a new rule that would bar commercially unreasonable actions from threatening Internet openness, and enhance the
transparency rule that is currently in effect. The threats outlined by the FCC include ISPs charging content providers for prioritized access to users, or blocking and disadvantaging content providers. However, the proposed rules could leave open the door for ISPs to charge providers like Netflix for using a “fast lane,” as long as the ISP doesn’t slow down the regular service offered.

On the other hand, for an interesting take on the “myth of net neutrality,” check out this post  from the Seattle Times.

“D” is for (Juris) Doctor

With finals winding up, some of you will soon start worrying about grades. A word of advice: it’s good if you can pretend that you’re not worrying about grades when you are with your friends who are also trying desperately to pretend that they are not worrying about grades.

I was told before I got to law school that C = J.D., and I let that be my mantra whenever the grade terror crept over me. I think telling myself that all I had to do was get a C helped me stay grounded, but still, when I was a 3L and someone informed me with much relief that “Sometimes, D = J.D.” I was a little taken aback. It wasn’t that I thought that D should not equal J.D.; it was just that the whole time my friends and I had been wincing at the B to A ratio on our transcripts, and here was this other world that was even more forgiving than I had been telling myself it was. (Note: Last I heard “D=J.D.” girl was pretty much ruling the world, or at least the part she had set her sights on).

I also learned early in my 1L year about the conventional wisdom that says: “A” students become academics, “B” students become judges, and “C” students become millionaires. I haven’t collected much evidence to back this up, but I know of at least one Supreme Court Justice who (somewhat) famously received several B’s in law school (see, So don’t worry if you get bad grades in law school, which lists several academics who received C’s and even the dreaded D in law school; or see, The Letter Of The Law — And How To Get A SCOTUS Clerkship With Weak Grades.). Of course, “B” student, Justice Kagan also qualified as an academic, since she was the Dean of Harvard Law School for a while. This doesn’t really confirm the conventional wisdom one way or the other, but it should make people who get grades that aren’t A’s feel more comfortable about their potential job prospects (that is, if pulling C’s and becoming millionaires was not enough).

If your ambitions lead to neither the ivory tower, nor the Supreme Court, consider the political arena. According to Lawffice Space (circa 2009), “Joe Biden was practically last in his law school class (and failed a course for plagiarism)” and “Hillary Clinton failed the DC bar.” Granted, if you go into politics, people will still be talking about less than stellar accomplishments from your law school days well into your career, but I imagine the pill gets easier to swallow when the words “Vice-President” or “Secretary of State” precede your name.

I’m not trying to convince you that grades don’t matter. If they didn’t, then why did you just spend the last two weeks mainlining caffeine and creating an outline so perfect in its completeness that it ought to receive some sort of award, irrespective of how you actually did on the exam? I’m just suggesting that grades do not matter as much as they might seem to in the lull between when you take the exam and when you get the actual grade, or in the moments of stark reality when you actually get a grade you didn’t expect. I also want to point out that even though it might seem like all signs point to grades being the key (for everything from financial success to good hair), there’s plenty of people out there saying differently, and even suggesting that those students who put too much emphasis on a perfect GPA and not enough on professional development are going to be in for a rude awakening when they get to the job market (see, From here to eternity with your law school grades? Not so much.). So, for now, enjoy your summer clerkship or do some volunteering, or just take a well-deserved rest. If you find yourself panicking about your grades, check in with the Folderol, where we will be providing you with useful info (i.e. professional development) all summer long.

The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria

In case you have been hiding under a rock today (It’s not like you have finals or anything), the famed ship The Santa Maria, in which Christopher Columbus “discovered” the new world allegedly has been found.  Underwater archaeologist Barry Clifford has made these claims and plans to excavate fully the site in order to validate his claims.  With this news, one of the first things you might ask, being the inquisitive law students that you are, what part might the law play in this process?  What rights and interests might play a part in salvaging a shipwreck?  Well, these sites listed below will answer all (most) of your burning questions about salvage and maritime law.

The first thing you might want to check out is the International Convention on Salvage.  This multinational treaty deals largely with commercial salvage of non-historic vessels; however, it is worth a read for anyone interested in Maritime Law.  It might be worth a look into the International Maritime Organization’s website as well.  The next important treaty is The Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.  Notably, the United States is not a signatory to the treaty.  UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization also has a website devoted to the preservation of underwater cultural heritage.

The United States has national legislation dealing with shipwrecks.  Title 43 of the United States Code contains a chapter specifically addressing abandoned shipwrecks.  Scott Collins also provides an interesting overview of The Law of Long Lost Shipwrecks.

There are also several research guides on Maritime Law warranting review:

Anchors Away!