Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Professor Jeffrey Stempel Wins Liberty Mutual Prize

In February 2010, Professor Jeffrey Stempel was named the winner of the Liberty Mutual Prize. The prize is awarded annually for an exceptional article on the law of property and casualty insurance, its regulation and corporate governance.

Entries are judged by a panel consisting of judges, attorneys, and professors having particular expertise in the insurance law field, who evaluate submissions on the basis of quality of analysis, originality, thoroughness of research, creativity, and clarity of thought and expression. Professor Stempel’s article, "The Insurance Contract as a Social Instrument and Social Institution," was "the clear and unanimous choice of the panel," according to the notification of the award.

The article will be published in 2010 by the William & Mary Law Review. In addition, Professor Stempel has been invited to formally present the article this fall at Boston College Law School.

According to Dean John Valery White of the Boyd School of Law, "This is a significant honor for Jeff and, by association, for the law school. While we all know Jeff's work is great, it is nice to see a confirmation of our assessment by others.”

Professor Stempel’s article suggests that insurance policies are not merely contracts but also are designed to perform particular risk management, deterrence, and compensation functions important to economic and social ordering. This fact, he writes, "has significant implications regarding the manner in which insurance policies are construed in coverage disputes." Specifically, traditional contract analysis should be supplemented by appreciation of the particular function of the policy in dispute as part of the insurance product's larger role as a social and economic instrument or institution.

The article examines in detail the frequently litigated issue of how many "occurrences" have taken place within the meaning of liability instance. It also considers issues of "business risk," "accidental" events, liquor liability exclusions, claims for inherent diminished value of vehicles involved in automobile collisions, trigger of coverage, and the workers' compensation implications of post-injury suicide.

Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic Weaves Scholarship with Service

The Boyd School of Law’s clinical studies program consistently rates among the top programs in the nation, due largely to its innovative clinician-scholar model. The founding vision of the Boyd School of Law included a strong clinical studies program, a “law firm within the law school” where providing law students with hands-on experience representing real clients in actual cases and national-level research and understanding of best practices are deployed to enhance and improve legal policy and practice for underserved communities. Unlike many law schools, which staff their clinical programs with staff attorneys, the professors who teach students and supervise cases in Boyd’s Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic are full law school professors with ambitious scholarly agendas that are interwoven with their clinical casework. As a result, students in the Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic learn not only good lawyering, but also are immersed in cutting-edge issues of law and policy as a regular part of their clinic work.

Founding faculty member Professor Mary Berkheiser’s work on juvenile waiver of counsel is an example of the marriage between scholarship, public policy, and community service. When Berkheiser established the Juvenile Justice Clinic in 2000, she was disturbed by the alarming rate at which children in the Clark County Juvenile Court waived their constitutional right to counsel, and the paucity of representation for children in delinquency matters. In 2001, the concern about juvenile waiver of counsel motivated Berkheiser to inititate a bipartisan effort with state legislators to strengthen the statutory requirements for juvenile waiver of counsel in Nevada. Berkheiser’s research on the issue, published in a 2002 Florida Law Review article titled The Fiction of Juvenile Right to Counsel: Waiver in the Juvenile Courts, continues to be cited in top law journals. And today, Berkheiser’s Juvenile Justice Clinic students enjoy the opportunity to partner with a vibrant juvenile public defender office that was built up in the wake of the waiver of counsel legislation.

Immigration Clinic professors David Thronson and Leticia Saucedo have brought their unique scholarly interests to the community service and outreach work that clinic students undertake. Thronson’s scholarly work analyzing issues in the intersection of family law and immigration law has influenced both academic discourse and judicial decisions. Saucedo’s groundbreaking scholarship on the brown-collar workforce has drawn on empirical studies of workers in the Las Vegas construction industry. This scholarship informs Immigration Clinic students in the provision of much needed direct client representation, but guides systemic reform efforts such as a human trafficking statute drafted by students and adopted in Nevada to expand protections for workers as trafficking victims.

The newly-established UNLV Innocence Clinic grew directly out of the growing interest of Professor Kate Kruse in the promise of DNA exoneration cases as vehicles for systemic reform, which she explored in a 2006 Wisconsin Law Review article, Instituting Innocence Reform: Wisconsin’s New Governance Experiment. In 2007, when the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center contacted Boyd Law School seeking collaboration on Nevada cases, Kruse was well-positioned to establish a clinic to address the need. In the Innocence Clinic, students learn about the systemic causes of wrongful convictions as they investigate claims of wrongful conviction by Nevada state prisoners. In 2009, Innocence Clinic students worked with state legislators to introduce legislation that expanded a prisoner’s right to petition for postconviction DNA testing and testified in favor of a statute requiring law enforcement agencies to preserve biological evidence collected in crime scene investigations for the length of a prisoner’s sentence.

Dr. Rebecca Nathanson holds a joint appointment in the Schools of Education and Law, and brings her research expertise in child development and child competency to her teaching of law and education students in the interdisciplinary Education Advocacy Clinic. Nathanson’s research focuses on strategies for enhancing the accuracy and credibility of child witnesses’ courtroom testimony. Students in the Education Advocacy Clinic have the opportunity to participate in her innovative Kids’ Court School, a community service project that educates child witnesses in Clark County court cases about the judicial process to help reduce their system-induced stress, while also providing a data set for Dr. Nathanson’s ongoing research in the Department of Educational Psychology.

The Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic expanded its reach this year with the addition of an Appellate Clinic and a Family Justice Clinic, each led by professors whose research interests intersect with their clinical teaching. Professor Anne Traum’s analysis of equitable tolling in habeas cases in a 2009 Maryland Law Review article is already gaining traction in court opinions and filings. She brings her interest and experience in the techniques of persuasive advocacy and the systemic working of federal courts to the law students litigating Ninth Circuit cases in the Appellate Clinic. Professor Ann Cammett’s scholarly work on the collateral consequences of child support enforcement against prison inmates informs the Family Justice Clinic, which explores the role of families in society, the strengths and weaknesses of state intervention into families, and the meaning of access to justice for children and parents.

Boyd School of Law to Launch Gaming Law Journal

The William S. Boyd School of Law, with support from the International Masters of Gaming Law, is in the process of launching a new scholarly journal: the UNLV Gaming Law Journal. The first issue will be published in spring 2010. For a list of articles that will appear in the first issue, click here. For a list of the student editors of the journal, click here. The new Journal will be the Boyd School of Law’s second law review, the other being the Nevada Law Journal.

Gaming Law Journal Staff
Gaming Law Journal staff members (from left): Heather Moore (Junior Staff), Kendal Davis (Managing Editor), Kimberly Loges (Junior Staff), and Brandon Johansson (Editor-in-Chief). Not pictured here: Steve Johnson (Faculty Advisor), Julian Gregory (Business Editor), Articles/Notes Editors Cristina Olson and Shannon Rowe, and Junior Staff members Tyson Cross, Amaia Guenaga, Kirk Homeyer, Heather Moore, Tristan Rivera and Corina Rocha
The UNLV Gaming Law Journal fits well the missions of the Boyd School of Law. A law school exists to train new lawyers, to produce and disseminate new knowledge about the law, and to serve the various communities of which it is a part. The new Journal will advance all of these purposes.

Pedagogically, service on a review is among the best experiences a student can have while in law school. The student editors of the new Journal will acquire leadership skills, judgment, technical facility, substantive knowledge, and enhanced writing skills. They will grow both from editing high-caliber articles by outside authors and from conceiving and writing their own notes.

We believe that the UNLV Gaming Journal will soon be recognized as the leading review of gaming law in the world. In this, it will fulfill the goal of producing and disseminating knowledge about this dynamic and important area of the law. We are delighted and grateful in this regard to have the financial and intellectual support of the International Masters of Gaming Law for the Journal. This organization has as a core goal enriching analysis of and scholarly discourse about gaming law. The commitment of the International Masters to intellectual integrity and rigor match our own commitment.

In service, the benefits of the UNLV Gaming Law Journal will have global impact. Nevada’s position in gaming and its role as a model for other U.S. states and other countries depends on a regulatory structure that carefully balances numerous economic, social, and legal considerations. New ideas are always needed to keep and improve such balance. As a vehicle for launching and distributing such ideas, we believe that the new Journal will be a positive influence across a wide front.

The inauguration of the UNLV Gaming Law Journal is an exciting event. Yet it represents a progression rather than a culmination. The Boyd School of Law has long had the leading gaming law program of any law school in the United States or abroad. That program includes the largest number of courses anywhere. And the line of the professors in these courses is a catalog of preeminence, starting with Shannon Bybee and Raymond Avansino, continuing with Tony Cabot and Bob Faiss, and featuring as well more recent teachers such as Mark Clayton, Jennifer Roberts, Greg Gemignani, and Claudia Cormier. Our program has benefitted greatly from the counsel and support of our Gaming Law Advisory Council, including leaders in law, government, and the gaming sector from Nevada and abroad.

The UNLV Gaming Law Journal builds on this foundation, and it will be an anchor for our Gaming Law program as it grows and develops.

Boyd Alumnus Jeremy Aguero Makes His Mark in Nevada

For more than a decade Jeremy Aguero ’04 has steadily built a strong reputation in Nevada as an expert in economic, fiscal and policy analysis. He formed Applied Analysis, a Nevada-based advisory firm, in 1997 and has become a trusted expert on the Nevada economy. What started out as a one-man shop in a basement apartment has grown to become one of Nevada’s largest and well-respected consulting firms.

Aguero’s work history demonstrates a wide range of abilities. He has performed countless economic and fiscal impact assessments for projects of local, regional and national significance. Some of his major projects include The Hospitality Industry’s Impact on the State of Nevada, delivered to the Federal Gaming Impact Study Commission in 1998. In 2003, he chaired the Governor’s Task Force on Tax Policy’s technical working group, co-authoring its 1,400-page report and ultimately receiving the coveted Cashman Good Government Award from the Nevada Taxpayers Association.

In 2005, he served as the lead analyst for the Clark County Growth Task Force; and, in 2008, he was the principal researcher for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Fiscal Impact Series, which helped pave the way for significant reforms to Nevada’s public employee pay and benefit statutes during the 2009 Session of the Nevada State Legislature.

Currently, Aguero is focusing on a number of issues. With the state and local government budget challenges, education reform topics and business restructuring and reposition analyses atop the list. Considered a leading authority on Nevada’s economy, Aguero has also been asked to speak on economic and development trends for numerous professional groups. He has been a recurring presenter for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce’s annual Preview Las Vegas event and contributes to the respected Las Vegas Perspective, southern Nevada's definitive annual market profile.

In addition to his professional activities, Aguero is involved actively in the community. Aguero enjoys working with children as well as children’s causes. He lends his time and talents to a number of local organizations as a board member of Nevada Child Seekers, Opportunity Village and Paseo Verde Little League, where he also serves as a coach. Jeremy also coaches U6 boys and U8 girls through the Henderson United Soccer Organization. Passionate about education, he is an adjunct professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Willliam F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration where he teaches hotel law to undergraduate students.

A fifth-generation Nevadan, Aguero graduated with honors from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he undertook a special course of study under the direction of the late Shannon Bybee and  earned the Wm. M. Weinberger Outstanding Graduate Award. He earned a juris doctorate degree from the William S. Boyd School of Law in 2004, graduating cum laude and earning the Dean’s Graduation Award. Aguero currently lives in Henderson with his wife, Melissa, and their children Jacob, Emma and Abrahm.