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Pregnant in Law School

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KU Law student Joni Bodnar and fellow law firm interns

From left, Grant Treaster, Paul Budd, Joni Bodnar and Christopher Staley (Washburn).

By Joni Bodnar

Like many 2Ls beginning their summer internship, I was extremely nervous and worried about making a good impression, hoping for that coveted offer of full-time employment at the end of the summer. I was also one of five interns, and we all knew we most likely were competing for a limited number of offers. So, no pressure whatsoever!

KU Law student Joni Bodnar at her summer internship

I was only two weeks into that “no-pressure” internship when I found out I was pregnant. This was one of the most nerve-wracking things of all to sort through. In a normal job situation, I would simply wait the requisite 12 weeks and then make the joyous announcement to my boss and fellow co-workers that I was expecting. No big deal, right?

Well, a summer legal internship was completely different. I had only three months to show what I was made of, to show that I was a dedicated, driven employee to whom they would definitely want to make an offer of permanent employment.

My baby news created two complications for me. The first one was how to deal with breaking the news. Should I tell them I was pregnant right away so they would not think I was rude when I turned down offers of camaraderie over beers? Or should I try to hide it, and basically fib my way through those first 12 weeks, with false excuses as to why I was not fully participating? This was a real dilemma because the social aspect of the summer internship is a pretty big deal, and I did not want to seem like I was not a team player and lose an offer because I did not fit in socially with the firm.

The second issue: If I planned to hide the pregnancy until I was further along, how would I account for my perpetual exhaustion and the multiple bathroom trips as I dealt with my nausea?

I decided to put my research skills to good use and found out I was allowed to drink 200 mg of caffeine per day. I also looked up every coffee on the Starbucks menu and found out I could still have most grande lattes and be under the 200 mg mark (though it was a far cry from the quad-shot lattes to which I was accustomed).

My internal struggle with when and how to break the news was eventually solved for me when a partner jokingly gave me a hard time for not having a beer at a social function. I was 10 weeks along and had just had a sonogram of my baby a few days earlier confirming her health, so I figured now was as good a time as any to share my news.

The partners’ reactions to my news was better than I could have ever hoped, and I was immediately met with congratulatory hugs and cheers. All my fears about sharing my news were much more trivial than I had built them up in my head. No one even noticed my exhaustion or multiple bathroom trips. I felt so relieved, and I realized that even though this was a summer internship, I was still surrounded by normal people who were extremely excited to share in the joy of my baby news.

— Joni Bodnar is a third-year law student from St. Joseph, Missouri. This is her second post in a five-part series about being pregnant during law school. In future installments, Bodnar will address tackling her fall semester, planning for and delivering her daughter, and returning to school after her baby’s arrival. Her first post recounted her reaction to finding out she was expecting a baby during law school.

Law & Cultural Heriatge Course to be Offered at the School of Law

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Last Spring, the University of Arkansas School of Law offered a collaborative course in Law & Cultural Heritage. We are pleased to report that this popular course will return this summer, and will once again include an option for field work in Rome. The course is facilitated by Don Judges, Associate Dean of Graduate & Experiential Learning, and is taught by visiting professors Stephen J. Cribari and Barbara Wold.


Professor Cribari is a Visiting Professional Specialist at the University of Notre Dame Law School and former co-Director of Notre Dame Law School’s London Summer Programme. Professor Cribari is a true Renaissance Man. Published poet and playwright, expert in Art and Cultural Heritage, Evidence, and Criminal Law and procedure, he has taught in law schools across the United States, in London, for the Weisman Art Museum and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, at the FBI training academy in Quantico, for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, for the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, and for Marine JAG.


Professor Wold is an archaeologist, anthropologist, and lawyer. She has advised museums on Native American and international repatriation, taught courses in Law & Cultural Property and Museum Legal Issues at the University of Minnesota Law School and the University of Arkansas School of Law, and worked in University and Museum General Counsel offices in private practice concentrating on cultural and intellectual property law. Professor Wold has spoken at international assemblies on issues of cultural property, museum law, and intellectual property rights and regulations. When not in Fayetteville,  Professors Wold and Cribari are able to join the class by video conference.

A description of the course is included below:

Art and antiquities inspire, intrigue, and delight.  And they cause legal problems. Collectors, museum curators, archaeologists, academics, politicians, legislators, military commanders, indigenous peoples, religious groups– all have interests in the rare and the beautiful.  Those interests may be artistic or scientific, economic or political, cultural or religious.  Art and antiquities are also commodities: they can be owned, loaned, sold, stolen, legally or illegally exported and imported.
We will consider these interests through questions such as whether the Elgin Marbles should be in the British Museum or Greece; the use of cultural property laws to take down or erect national cultural and political barriers; whether antiquities have artistic, religious, or only scientific, value; whether museums play a significant role in today’s world; whether museum directors and art conservers are bound by ethical constraints; whether the cultural heritage of First Peoples should be specially preserved.
In Rome, we will concentrate on the resolution of Holocaust-era claims regarding Nazi looting of art, illegal traffic in stolen antiquities, and the problems presented by cultural property during armed conflict. Law & Cultural Heritage Class includes required five days of classes (2 credits) and optional field work in Rome, Italy for one additional credit, May 16-22, 2015.

 

 

 

To Everything there is a Season

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Obviously it has been a while since I have posted on this blog. Why is that? I suppose it is because I have accomplished much of what I wanted to with Law Career Blog as a solo blog. I felt I had important things to say on teaching and classroom etiquette; on law career decisions; on law firm practice; on mentoring, and more. And I have said many of them, so there you have it.

I am very pleased, though, that my posts continue to draw strong traffic month after month, year after year. What I have said here remains relevant, I think–but that does not mean I need to always rehash the same ground, all in the name of having new posts just for the sake of it.

So for now, my existing posts stand for what they are, and I am proud of them. Call me the Antiblogger, I suppose: I am blogging by not blogging.

In any event, the following is a list of posts that have generated the most interest from readers, some posts on subjects I think are particularly important, and some that are just fun. Enjoy!

Posts on Law School in General:

In a series of posts, I argued that if we want law schools to truly provide the academic and practical education that students (and employers) expect and demand, we should consider adding a fourth year to the law school curriculum. Not surprisingly, my proposal was universally condemned. Check out the comments.

See Is the Third Year of Law School a Waste of Time and Money? andIs Law School Itself a Waste of Time?

I think that too often, law students don’t step back and think about law school and their future careers in a broader perspective. That’s understandable given the workload in law school, but it’s still unfortunate. My friend and colleague Gene Theroux visited Mississippi College School of Law once to speak to students about his storied career–he opened the first western law firm offices in China and the Soviet Union–and he had wonderful advice for them. Ostensibly the talk was about globalization, but the heart of his message was to follow your heart and practice law the right way and for the right reasons. Sometimes we need to put our cynicism aside and hear things like what he said that day.

See Theroux Part Deux

Posts on LL.M. Degrees:

This trilogy of posts is perhaps the most popular series of posts on this blog–which proves that good things really do come in threes. Lots of discussion in the comments. See The Pros and Cons of LL.M.s, LL.M. Redux and LL.M.s Part 3.

Posts on Law School Exams, Teaching, and Class Strategies

Bainbridge v. Bowman. I wrote a law review article entitled The Comparative and Absolute Advantages of Junior Law Faculty: Implications for Teaching and the Future of American Law Schools–a piece I am quite proud of. In it, I use traditional neoclassical trade theory to analyze the advantages of junior and senior law faculty and make some recommendations regarding law school teaching. Professor Stephen Bainbridge of UCLA saw it, and he absolutely hated it. This posts includes our dialogue.

How to Improve your Law School Exams Grades. This wasn’t a terribly controversial post–or so I thought until I received scathing comments two years after I posted it. Some fun back and forth on that one. Maybe I should’ve retitled the post Bowman v. Someone Very Angry.

Law School Orientation Advice. Pretty self-explanatory. My own favorite piece of advice: Don’t spill a plate of food on your law school dean at the welcome reception. I actually did that–but lucky for me, I still graduated.

Computer-Free Week and Computer-Free Week, Part 2. There is a good deal of concern in the legal academy about computer use in the classroom. Is it beneficial? Is it harmful or disruptive? So one time I asked students not to use computers for one week to see what would happen. The results were pretty interesting, and as a teacher I found the feedback via the comments very useful. Perhaps the most interesting result was that student comments revealed just how prevalent the consumer mentality is among students–namely, I paid my tuition, so I can do what I want in class.

The Dilbertic Method. I definitely like this post about parallels between Dilbert’s boss and the Socratic method. If you want to see the Dilbert cartoon I am talking about, you have to click the link in the article and then enter in the cartoon’s run date on the Dilbert site.

Posts on Law Firms:

Much of the attraction to, and frustration with, big law firms has to do with the money they pay their associates. So I wrote some pieces on that subject–something I have firsthand knowledge about.

See Of Law Firm Culture and Compensation Schemes, The Problem of Law Firm Salary Distributions, and Big Firm Economics 101.

In another post, I wrote about associate pay and stress levels. In light of the recent savage downturn in the employment market, this post is perhaps more relevant than ever. See Why Associates Have More Stress than Partners.

On Interview and Job Strategies and Techniques

Job Interview Do’s and Don’t’s. The name of the post says it all.

What NOT to do as a Summer Associate. You’d be surprised what some people do. Don’t be one of them.

Posts on Movies:

Finally, I have had some fun with movies on this blog, and for some reason they were always movies starring George Clooney. First, I blogged about Syriana–see Syriana Misrepresents International Lawyers.

Then I wrote a whole slew of posts on Michael Clayton–a movie that had a lot to say about what it is (and is not) like to be a lawyer. I was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune about the Michael Clayton series of posts. See the following (not too originally entitled) posts:

GLC’s Mike Dailly appointed to the Board of the UK’s Money Advice Service

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The Financial Conduct Authority has appointed Govan Law Centre’s Mike Dailly as a non-executive director of the Money Advice Service’s Board, along with two other new non-executive directors, Caroline Fawcett and Nicola Bruce. All three appointments commence on 1 April.

Andy Briscoe, Chair of the Money Advice Service said: “I am delighted to welcome our new non-executive directors onto the Board. Between them they bring extensive experience of financial services and also considerable knowledge of the debt advice sector. They will bring valuable insight to the Money Advice Service and their joining us strengthens the Board as recommended by the Farnish review.”

“Raising the financial capability of the UK population is at the heart of everything we do at the Money Advice Service. Our 2015/16 business plan reflects our focus on helping consumers to plan ahead for key life events such as buying a home, having a baby or for retirement”.

“Debt advice is also a key priority, encouraging more people to seek advice and continuing to raise standards across the sector. Our new board members are well placed to guide and support our talented executive team in taking forward this challenging but vital agenda.”

The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation. Set up by government to help people make the most of their money, it gives free, unbiased money advice across the UK – online, over the phone and face to face. Paid for by a statutory levy on the financial services industry, raised through the Financial Conduct Authority, its statutory objectives are to enhance the understanding & knowledge of members of the public about financial matters (including the UK financial system), and to enhance the ability of the public to manage their own financial affairs.

The EU response to migrant deaths: protection and prevention – or policy laundering?

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On Monday, EU foreign and interior ministers adopted a ten-point plan in response to the recent huge death toll of migrants crossing the Mediterranean. There will be a summit on Thursday to examine the issue further, and then an EU Commission strategy proposed on May 13th. But for now, I want to examine the initial plan.

Overall, this is a very disappointing document. It’s not only vague on crucial details but more importantly focusses less on the situation of the migrants (addressing the root causes which cause them to move, and protection from drowning and persecution) and more on border control and repression. One point in the plan constitutes a rather crass example of ‘policy laundering’ – attempting to use a crisis to shove through an essentially unrelated policy objective.

Let’s look at the ten points of the EU plan in turn, then examine the ‘Australian solution’ and the ‘Christians only’ approach which some have suggested. For alternative solutions to the problem, see the proposals of the UN Special Rapporteur on Migrants, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, Patrick Kingsley (in the Guardian), Nando Sigona, and myself.

Reinforce the Joint Operations in the Mediterranean, namely Triton and Poseidon, by increasing the financial resources and the number of assets. We will also extend their operational area, allowing us to intervene further, within the mandate of Frontex;

This is the only one of the ten measures related directly to search and rescue, although it’s not clear if this is actually intended to be a search and rescue mission. The mandate of ‘Frontex’ (the EU’s border control agency) concerns border control, not search and rescue as such. Indeed there is no mention of search and rescue here, or in the rest of the plan. Nor is there any express mention in the plan of the recent loss of life. There are no details of the extent of the increase in financial resources and assets, or the extent to which the operational area will increase.

A systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by the smugglers. The positive results obtained with the Atalanta operation should inspire us to similar operations against smugglers in the Mediterranean;

The ‘Atalanta’ operation concerns an EU military operation against pirates in the Indian Ocean. It’s clear from press briefings that the intention is to have another military operation regarding the smugglers. This will obviously entail significant costs and raises legal questions about the jurisdiction which the EU Member States have to destroy boats in the waters of third States or the high seas.

EUROPOL, FRONTEX, EASO and EUROJUST will meet regularly and work closely to gather information on smugglers modus operandi, to trace their funds and to assist in their investigation;

These bodies are respectively the EU police cooperation agency, the EU border control agency, the EU asylum support agency and the EU prosecutors’ agency. The asylum support agency has traditionally had little or nothing to do with this issue, and there is a risk that some of its funding is diverted. There is no express commitment to give it extra funds.

EASO to deploy teams in Italy and Greece for joint processing of asylum applications;

This will defray the cost of processing for those Member States and speed up processing times for overburdened administrations. It’s not clear whether this will simply be an application of existing rules which allow EASO to simply support national administrations, or whether there will be a shift to genuine ‘joint processing’ by a group of Member States or the agency as such. That would require fresh legislation.

Member States to ensure fingerprinting of all migrants;

EU legislation already requires fingerprinting of all short-term visa applicants (once the EU’s Visa Information System is fully applied, in the next year or so), residence permit holders, asylum applicants and persons crossing borders without authorisation. All holders of EU passports (ie EU citizens) must also be fingerprinted. The only gaps here are non-visa nationals coming for short-term visits (ie citizens of countries like the USA and Canada) and irregular migrants who have ‘overstayed’ after a legal entry. However, after the EU’s Visa Information System is fully applied, the second group (overstayers) will simply be a sub-category of the first group (non-visa nationals), since everyone needing a visa will already have been fingerprinted. And proposed legislation establishing an entry-exit system will require the non-visa nationals to be fingerprinted too, although it will take a number of years for that legislation to be agreed and made operational. These various categories of people are subject to different rules as regards how the fingerprint information is stored and used; it’s not clear if the intention is to change those rules.

The very odd thing here is what fingerprinting of ‘all migrants’ has to do with the issue of migrants drowning at sea in an attempt to reach the EU. It would perhaps make sense to reiterate the requirement to fingerprint all those who apply for asylum or attempt to cross the border without authorisation (as all those migrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean are doing), but the plan clearly refers to ‘all migrants’. So we can only conclude that this is a blatant attempt at policy laundering.

Consider options for an emergency relocation mechanism;

The concept of ‘relocation’ entails moving asylum-seekers and/or recognised refugees from the Member States which have an obligation to consider their claim, or which have recognised their refugee status, to other Member States. It would obviously reduce the pressure on the Member States which receive a significant number of refugee claims from migrants crossing the Mediterranean – most notably Malta, Italy (the island of Lampedusa) and Greece. However, it would entail either suspending the EU’s Dublin rules on asylum responsibility in part (requiring a legislative amendment) or encouraging voluntary offers from Member States which are not responsible under the rules. Both options have been discussed many times over the years with no success (Dublin amendments) or very little success (voluntary offers). The wording used here (‘consider options’) is so underwhelming that little can be expected.

A EU wide voluntary pilot project on resettlement, offering a number of places to persons in need of protection;

‘Resettlement’ is the process of taking some of the people in other (non-EU) countries who need international protection and moving them to the EU. This is the only one of the ten points which offers ‘safe passage’, ie a way for would-be asylum-seekers to enter the EU without running the risk of drowning when crossing the Mediterranean. The ‘number of places’ is not specified, and it should be noted that under EU financial law, a ‘pilot project’ is a short-term programme using only a small amount of money. Furthermore, the project is expressly ‘voluntary’. Overall, it seems that this one form of ‘safe passage’ being offered by the EU is very narrow indeed.

Establish a new return programme for rapid return of irregular migrants coordinated by Frontex from frontline Member States;

EU law specifies that asylum-seekers cannot normally be removed until a final negative decision has been taken upon their application. So this refers to people whose asylum application has definitively failed, or who never made such an application and have no other ground to stay. There are procedural rights in the EU’s Returns Directive for irregular migrants, but there is no mention of them (or the asylum laws) here. Frontex already has a role coordinating joint return flights; the intention is to devote more effort (and presumably resources) to removing people from the EU’s Mediterranean Member States.

Engagement with countries surrounding Libya through a joined effort between the Commission and the EEAS; initiatives in Niger have to be stepped up.

This is the only part of the 10-point plan that hints that the EU’s relations with third countries have a role to play. It isn’t clear what this ‘engagement’ will concern. Will it focus on the conditions in the countries of origin and transit, thereby ensuring that fewer people want to head to the EU in the first place? Or is the EU only concerned with the repressive aspects, such as tracking down smugglers and traffickers?

Deploy Immigration Liaison Officers (ILO) in key third countries, to gather intelligence on migratory flows and strengthen the role of the EU Delegations.

The intention here is to obtain more intelligence on migration flows, although it’s not clear what will be done with that intelligence once it’s obtained. There will be a cost for the EU and/or Member State budgets here.

The Australian solution?

Some have suggested that the EU adopt the supposed ‘Australian solution’, of sending boats to stop the migrants reaching the territory of the EU. In fact this is a highly simplistic understanding of Australian asylum policy. The Australians do not intercept most migrants just outside their country of origin or otherwise return them there directly. Rather the policy is to send asylum-seekers to various Pacific islands for processing and to live permanently if a claim is successful. Australia gives the countries concerned significant cash in return. Moreover, Australia has a very active resettlement policy, recently increasing the numbers of permits granted from about 13,000 to about 20,000.  So the asylum policy is justified by Australia as a means to stop people ‘jumping the queue’. Also, the policy is underpinned by indefinite detention of anyone who does make it to Australian shores without authorisation.

Could this policy be applied to the EU? There are some big legal problems. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that migrants cannot simply be intercepted and returned to third States unless those States are safe (see the Hirsi judgment); it should be noted that conditions in some of the States participating in the Australian policy have been strongly criticized by human rights groups. Also, the EU’s Returns Directive bans indefinite detention of irregular migrants. That Directive does not apply to asylum-seekers, but EU asylum legislation applicable from July this year sets many new conditions regulating such detention. It’s highly arguable that detention of asylum-seekers cannot be justified (at the latest) once the final decision on the application has been made, or after the new EU deadlines to decide on asylum claims have passed. After that point the time limits for detention in the Returns Directive will apply.

Even if these legal problems could be overcome, could the Australian solution be replicated by the EU? The EU would have to find third countries willing to house large numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers, and pay them to do it. The numbers of migrants involved in Mediterranean crossings (about 200,000 in 2014) is far higher than those covered by the Australian solution (25,000 in 2012-13). So, although accommodating asylum-seekers in transit States is likely to play an important part in any long-term solution, this is easier said than done; and it’s important to note that the EU’s 10-point plan makes no mention of this issue.

Furthermore, the advocates for the Australian solution simply ignore Australia’s resettlement policy, which is one of the most generous in the world. Its 20,000 permits a year, for a population of 23 million, scale up to about 50,000 resettlement permits for the UK, and 450,000 across the EU. When the advocates of the Australian solution start to talk about that scale of resettlement, we should take them seriously – but not before.

Christians

Some have suggested that the UK and/or EU should focus exclusively on admission of Christian asylum-seekers, on the basis that they have ‘no other place to go’. Does that policy make sense? It’s undoubtedly true that some Christians face persecution, but so do many non-Christians – and Article 3 of the UN (Geneva) Convention on Refugees bans discrimination on grounds of ‘race, religion or country of origin’. It isn’t correct to suggest that Christians can’t live safely anywhere in any Arab or Muslim state: many of those States maintain the centuries-old tradition of letting Christians live without persecution, and indeed there are a large number of Christians living in Lebanon in particular. And it’s hard to see how this policy will work. Will Christians alone be rescued from boats in the Mediterranean, leaving the Muslims on board to sink? And how would asylum-seekers’ claims to be Christians be examined: by making applicants sit a Religious Education A-level on the boat? Or simply checking (for men and boys) to see if they are circumcised (and therefore likely to be Muslim) or not?

Comments

The first striking thing about the EU policy is that it pays little attention to the human emergency that triggered it: the deaths of hundreds of people, which resulted from a collective EU decision to stop search and rescue in the Mediterranean. There’s no express mention of the deaths themselves in the plan, and the Commission President’s statement on Sunday merely expressed his ‘deep chagrin’ at the deaths – as if someone had guzzled his last bottle of cognac.

Furthermore, the intention to expand the existing missions fails to mention any search and rescue aspects, and there is a very limited reference to expanding one form of safe passage.  No part of the plan mentions dealing with the situation in countries of origin, or helping countries of transit manage the number of migrants on their territory. Instead, there is a strong emphasis on expulsion of migrants from the EU. Overall, this leaves the impression that the ministers aren’t shocked that migrants have died – but rather irritated that some of them didn’t.

Arguments about the costs of rescue, or of asylum-seekers reaching the EU, are undercut by the implicit plans to spend considerable sums of money on a military mission, fingerprinting of migrants, expulsion, and intelligence gathering. So the argument isn’t really about economic cost – but the social and political impact of migration.

As for the intention to crack down on trafficking and smuggling, few will have sympathy for the vultures that profit from others’ suffering and frequently jeopardise the lives of hundreds of people. But it seems odd to focus on them in this plan without also trying to address the broader situation of the migrants themselves – as if the means by which people make dangerous journeys to the EU are more important than the reasons why they do this. On this point, the plan resembles the decades-long US policy of military missions in Latin America, trying to destroy drug crops. Admittedly, it’s harder to build new boats than to grow more drugs – but then, the migrants aren’t exactly coming on cruise ships. The policy may well have the effect of lowering the (already low) quality of vessels used to cross the Mediterranean, and increasing the cost of migrants’ journey. Unless it forms part of a broader policy which aims to deal with the root causes of migration and the position of migrants in transit countries, it could make them less (not more) safe.