Prof. Tessa Davis presented “Rethinking Alimony and Tax” at the Law and Society Association’s International Conference in Mexico City in June 2017.
John C. McElwaine (1995) was named managing partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in March 2017.
A team of four University of South Carolina School of Law students will travel to Washington D.C. on March 17 to compete in the Atlantic Council’s U.S. Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge.
The challenge is an annual cyber policy competition for students across the globe to compete in developing national security policy recommendations by tackling a fictional cyber catastrophe. The challenge looks beyond the crisis to see what policymakers would do after an attack.
First-year law student Brooke Hiltbold, second-year law students Elliott Barrow and Michael Brooks, along with third-year law student Bryant Richard created their own team and applied to be a part of the competition. After successfully answering a series of questions about cybersecurity, they were chosen to represent the School of Law. They recruited Assistant Professor Bryant Walker Smith as their coach. Smith is a nationally-recognized expert in the field of legal technology, specifically how it pertains to transportation.
The competition is open to students across all academic disciplines. The one-of-a-kind competition looks to challenge those who will be leading the future cyber security world. Student teams will confront a breach of national and international importance. Then they will compose policy recommendations, and justify their decision-making process. Teams will be judged on their consideration of the roles and implications for civilians, military, law enforcement, and private sector entities.
In addition to the competition, students will be able to attend several side events. Legal and international service professors, along with Barry Pavel, senior vice president, chair, and director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council, will speak to students before the competition begins. Rep. Jim Langevin, D-RI, will give a keynote address during the first day of competition. Students will also have the chance to meet recruiters from companies such as CyberSec Jobs, the Department of Homeland Security, and Facebook. Teams will attend a presentation from Capitol Hill Staffers, a hacking demonstration, and a networking reception at Baker & McKenzie, overlooking the White House and the National Mall.
For teams who advance to the semifinals, a second day of competition will take place. This is the fifth year for the Atlantic Council’s U.S. Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge.
The D.C. competition is just one of three that will take place world-wide. In April, a similar European cyber competition will be held in Geneva, and in September, Sydney, Australia will host the first-ever Asia-Pacific leg of the competition.
In February, members of the Columbia legal community took part in a disaster poverty simulation coordinated by the American Bar Association and held at the South Carolina Bar Conference Center. Among the participants were students and faculty and staff from the University of South Carolina School of Law.
Through the use of role-play, the simulation provided an opportunity for the legal community to walk in the shoes of those living in poverty and gain a better understanding about why some low-income clients make the decisions they do.
“This isn’t even really ‘a day in the life.’ We call this just dipping your toes into the experience of so many people in our country,” said American Bar Association Disaster Poverty Simulation coordinator Alicia Aiken.
It was also a chance for participants to learn how they could be more effective legal aid and pro bono attorneys, as well as identify ways to improve responses to those in need. Ultimately, the hope was to equip participants with a more compassionate and understanding perspective of this population and the problems they face, especially when catastrophe strikes.
“It is our goal to educate the legal community, as well as the entire community in various states across this country, about the importance of preparing for disasters and how to recover from them,” said Chantis Floyd, chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee for Disaster Response and Preparedness. Columbia was chosen by the committee as one of the simulation sites because of the historic flooding that occurred in 2015.
The two-and-a-half hour simulation was broken up into five “weeks,” with each week lasting approximately 15 minutes in real time. When attendees entered the simulation, they were given character profiles, including their character’s name and a brief backstory of their experiences. They were then broken into teams, each with a family name and the goal of meeting their families’ most basic needs. Volunteers took on roles as bank representatives, social service workers, day-care providers, legal aid attorneys, grocers and employers, all offering services or goods the families needed to survive.
But just like in real life, not everyone enjoyed the same privileges. For instance, a police officer patrolled the simulation, stopping families and demanding to see social security cards for each member. Those families who were never given identification cards were evicted, denied employment, or even taken to jail.
For children, each day began with a trip to school. Before entering the classroom, students had to present a slip that proved they had eaten dinner the night before. Those slips were acquired only when their parents visited the grocer, or took them to “Bonnie’s Burgers,” the local fast food chain that was in walking distance from their house. Without the slip, students had to return home, forcing parents to miss work and consequently have even less money for that night’s meal.
What’s more, some of the characters were given name tags with colored dots. Each color corresponded to how the volunteers were instructed to treat them. Red dots were for those considered to be shiftless or lazy, and always looking for a free handout. Characters with green dots were viewed as dangerous, or possibly wanted by the law. Blue dots were for those seen as a best friends, or trusted people.
“The dots are relatively new to this simulation in particular, and it’s to help understand implicit bias,” said Sharon Terrill, program specialist for the ABA.
First-year law student Brooke Hiltbold was assigned the character of a 24-year-old man, who lived with his girlfriend and her one-year-old from a previous relationship. Hiltbold’s character was employed, doing seemingly meaningless jobs such as stacking chairs, organizing water bottles and counting the carpet squares in the SC Bar conference room. But Hiltbold, who had a green dot, found that no matter how efficiently she completed a task, her character was challenged, as her employer assumed she was doing something wrong.
“My very first day at ‘work,’ they immediately started making snide remarks,” said Hiltbold.
As a 10-year-old boy, with a red dot, first-year law student Alex Zimmerman felt his character was being looked down on by the school principal, played by Susan Kuo, the associate dean for diversity and inclusion and a professor at the law school.
“If I turned in my homework, it was just like, ‘Oh you actually did something well,’” said Zimmerman. “It made me angry being treated a certain way, and then seeing someone else getting preferential treatment… That was very frustrating.”
“I could see the shock and hurt on people’s faces when I treated them poorly—and not because of anything they had done but because of who they were in the game,” said Kuo. “That children experience this on a daily basis, especially from those with authority over them, is tragic.”
In week three of the five-week simulation, a hurricane hit the town, knocking out power and closing most businesses. Schools were turned into shelters, giving those families who relied on public school for child-care a new obstacle. Some of the families’ homes were randomly deemed unsuitable for living, forcing them into shelters or neighbors’ homes. Others were told the storm injured them, making them unable to work.
Throughout the simulation, almost every character was forced to make hard decisions in order to meet their family’s immediate needs—even when it meant negative consequences in other areas of their life. And for so many, trying to get legal aid was nearly impossible because of the circumstances or biases stacked against them.
At the end, all of the participants came together for a discussion about their various experiences, and to try to find ways to better address the issues, or identify problems that proved more important than previously thought.
“Everyone started working together to recover after the disaster hit. They were sharing information as well as personal resources. I hope people learned that our vulnerability and resilience in times of disaster depends not just on economic factors, but also social factors,” said Kuo.
Hiltbold said everyone should should go through a simulation like this.
“You hear about these things, but being able to get into the shoes of someone who lives this on a daily basis allows you to—even for a short time—experience some of the emotions and frustrations that people feel. It takes it to a whole new level. And helps us to incorporate that feeling into how we can promote change.”
Mike Owens, a 1973 University of South Carolina School of Law graduate loves to do woodwork. After more than 20 years in the Navy as a Judge Advocate General’s Corps Officer, and years as a private practice attorney, Owens says his hobby is just something to keep him out of trouble.
The Charleston native is best known for his handcrafted wooden pens, traveling to craft shows around the state selling the masterpieces. But one masterpiece in particular–an oyster knife–Owens has donated to the place that he says helped him get his start and “buttered his bread.”
The idea to make an oyster knife came after Owens received his invitation to the School of Law’s Annual Alumni Oyster Roast in Charleston. He enlisted the help of another skilled craftsman and friend Jerry Hucks, a knife maker. The two used their skills to manufacture a knife any oyster-shucker would be pleased to use.
What makes the knife even more special is that the wood used to create the handle is from a tree that used to stand on the Historic Horseshoe. In 2011 lightning struck one of the Horseshoe’s oldest trees. The university tried to save the tree, but it was split down the middle, causing a safety hazard. Owens received word from a relative that the tree was going to be taken down. After the university arborist agreed to give him some of the wood, Owens says he returned home to Charleston with a “pickup truck’s worth” of UofSC history.
“I’ve made thousands of gamecock pens out of that wood. People really love it.”
After Hucks and Owens finished making two knives it was time to decide who would get to keep them. Owens says he gave one to his sister, and called the law school about the second.
At this year’s Alumni Oyster Roast—held on Thursday, Feb. 23 (RSVP here)—one lucky attendee will get to take the unique knife home. Guests are asked to bring their business cards and place them in a basket at the registration table. A random drawing will determine the winner.
For Owens, he says donating the knife is no big deal. He’s just glad that he can give a little history back to the place that made him a success.
Two teams of University of South Carolina School of Law students will travel to Charlotte to compete in the regional level of the 2017 American Bar Association Client Counseling Competition. Second-year student Lindsay Richardson and third-year student Aleia Hornsby, along with second-year student Zachary Kern and third-year student Joshua Giancola will represent the university next month.
To qualify, the two teams beat out six other teams of two in a competition held on campus. The competition tested students on fundamental skills need to be a successful attorney; specifically, the ability to interview, counsel, and support a client through a legal issue. Alumni, faculty, and staff from the School of Law participated as judges and actor “clients.”
This year’s competition topic was privacy law. Students dealt with a case involving neighbors and drones, a data breach, and an online photo.
If the two teams place at the regional level, they will continue to a national competition.
Two University of South Carolina School of Law students have been named 2016 Nexsen Pruet Diversity Scholars.Third-year student Aleia Hornsby and second-year student Lindsey Richardson were two of the three scholars selected. Each year, the firm awards scholarships to minority law students who are pursuing careers in North or South Carolina.
Hornsby serves as a member of the Honor Council, and was previously a Nexsen Pruet summer associate. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Spelman College, and went on to get a Master’s of Public Administration from Auburn University, before becoming a student at the School of Law.
Richardson was also a summer associate at Nexsen Pruet. She received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, as well as in Business Administration with a focus in management and marketing at the University of South Carolina. Richardson was also elected the student body president of the university in 2014.
Nexsen Pruet has awarded 38 scholarships exceeding $100,000 since the program’s inception in 2008. To date, 13 of those scholarships were awarded to University of South Carolina School of Law students.
John Grantland (1991) received the Super Lawyer designation on the 2017 South Carolina Super Lawyers list in December 2016.
Katherine R. Myers (2013) joined the Division of Labor Legal Department as assistant labor counsel for the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation in December 2016.
Emily Nellermoe (2015) published an essay in September 2016 for Coastal Management arguing that a market-based solution known as transferable development rights, or TDR, could be used to help homeowners vacate coastal properties without overextending government budgets.