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Black History Showcase

Black History Showcase

As we mark 40th year of National African American History Month, let us reflect on the sacrifices and contributions made by generations of African Americans, and let us resolve to continue our march toward a day when every person knows the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Barack Obama, Proclamation (January 29, 2016).

In celebration of Black History Month, the showcase in the Law Library lobby displays resources relevant to African American history.  The showcase includes important cases with a brief synopsis (from Lexis), select student and faculty  publications, books, and DVDs.

There are many other related resources that can be accessed electronically or in print, please feel free to ask the reference librarians about additional materials of interest.

Select Resources:

The Right to Marry  - a research guide provides primary and secondary sources pertaining to the right to marry. The guide focuses on interracial marriage and its current implications on same-sex marriage.

Archives: United States v. Yonkers Board of Education: United States v. Yonkers Board of Education  – Whether the City of Yonkers and the Yonkers Board of Education have intentionally created or maintained racial segregation in the City’s housing and schools.

Black History Month 2016: 15 Interesting Facts About Famous African-Americans and the February Celebration. – 15 bits of information you should know about Black History Month.

African American Studies Research Guide: Milestones in Black History: includes Outrageous Justice : Riots, Lynchings, False Accusations, and Court Trials; Famous Trials.

Cornell University’s Selected Journals Focusing on Race and Law, use the relevant title to access via HeinOnline here at Pace Law.

Library of Congress’s Exhibition, The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom.

Statutes of the United States Concerning Slavery.

Archives Library Information Center (ALIC) Black History Month’s Resources.

Black History Month Celebrates: The Legal Profession Black Lawyers.

Famous Lawyers and Judges.

The National Bar Association “National Bar Association is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of predominantly African-American lawyers, judges, educators, and law students. It has 84 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and affiliations in Canada, the United Kingdom, Africa, Morocco, and the Caribbean.”

Top Black Lawyers and Attorneys, Listings of web sites from African American lawyers and organizations.

 Pace Law School has scheduled the following events for Black History Month:

  1. Slavery by Another Name, Part I (video) – Thursday, February 4, 2016 – 12:45 – 1:30 (O-101)
  2. Slavery by Another Name, Part II (video) – Monday, February 8, 2016 – 12:45 – 1:30   (O-101)
  3. The Blank Lecture – Wednesday, February 10, 2016 — 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.  – Professor Susan Carle will deliver this year’s Blank Lecture — Lawyers’ Ethics & Early Racial Justice Reform: A Story of Conclusions (O-201)
  4. Diversity, Inclusion, and the 2016 Presidential Election — Monday, February 22nd, 12:45 p.m.  (O-101)
  5. Policing Communities of Color   — Thursday, February 25, 2016 – 3:00 p.m. — Professor McLaughlin will discuss current issues associated with policing in communities of color.  (O-101)



The Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) becomes a reality for New York bar takers in July 2016. The UBE is a two day exam, administered twice a year on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July. The UBE is developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBEX) and is currently administered in 21 states. Each state sets its own passing score, ranging from 260 to 280. New York has set its passing score at 266.

In the morning of day one, two Multistate Performance Tests (MPTs) are administered. For each MPT, you are presented with a library of material and are required to write a specific document like a complaint, a contract, a will, or an office memo. It is critical that you follow the instructions not only as to the type of document but the format required.

In the afternoon of day one, you are required to write six essays. This is the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE). These essays are generally single issue (although they may have more than one issue), and each should take 30 minutes to write. Areas tested vary on each bar exam, and may include business associations, federal civil procedure, conflicts, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence (Federal Rules of Evidence), family law, real property, torts, trusts and estates, and articles 2 and 9 of the UCC.

Day two is all about the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). There are 100 MBE questions in the morning, then 100 more in the afternoon. These multiple choice questions will very often have a best answer rather than a right answer. Subjects tested are federal civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, real property, and torts. It’s important to answer all the questions on the MBE, even if you are running out of time and just have to guess, because wrong answers are not counted against you. The scaled score required to pass the MBE is 133.

New York also requires that candidates for admission to the bar take the New York Law Exam (NYLE). First you are required to complete a 15 hour online New York law course, which should be available in April 2016. This course will cost $27 (for New York residents) and will be available on demand. Once you complete the NYLE, you are required to complete a 50 question multiple choice test on New York law. This two hour open book test is administered online, and you must get 30 out of the 50 questions right to pass. The test will be administered four times a year, and the first chance to take the test will be in May 2016. The New York Bar Examiners website has information on the UBE, the NYLE, and other requirements for admission to the bar.

The Law Library has a research guide on the bar exam. It currently reflects the bar exam as it will be administered in February, but will be updated to reflect the switch to the UBE. The NCBEX has some sample MBE questions, MPTs and MEE essay questions available at no cost. They offer sample MBEs for $50, and a number of MPT and MEE sample questions and answers that the Library is purchasing and will make available on reserve later this semester. The Library has several books with sample MBE questions—ask for them at the circulation desk.

Bryan Williams from the NY BOLE gave a presentation about the UBE at Pace Law School on Feb. 1, 2016. A recording is available here.

jack (1)The Law Library staff mourns the loss of its long-time Associate Director, Jack McNeill.  Jack died on Monday, January 18 after a courageous fight against cancer.  Jack came to Pace Law School in July 2000, and initially served as the Head of Reference Services.  Two years later, he was promoted to Associate Director, the position from which he retired in December 2015.

Jack’s fingerprints are all over the Pace Law Library.  He played a major role during the renovation project of 2006-2007, helping to develop a plan to reconfigure the physical plant and reorganize the collection.  Jack’s mother was a gifted painter, and I think Jack must have inherited some of her talent; he was able to visualize space in a way that eluded others.  Jack is responsible for the archival collections that are now housed in the Pace Law Library.  He secured a grant to develop the Sive Environmental Litigation Archives, and also created the Pace Law School Archives because he believed that the public record of the School should be preserved for the future.  Jack was responsible for the signage that accompanies the art work around the Library; it is both entertaining and educational, thanks to Jack’s tenacity in tracking down information about each piece.

Everyone who knew Jack will attest to his sweet, gentle nature, his patience, and his kindness.  In every sense of the word, he was a gentleman.  When Jack received his diagnosis, he was devastated, but his deep religious faith sustained him throughout his ordeal.  I never heard him complain about his bad luck; instead, he learned all he could about his condition and set about seeking treatment.  No matter how bad things got, he would smile and say, “Not to worry.  It’s all good.”  His courage was an inspiration.

Jack was a native of Long Island, and received a B.A. from New York University, a J.D. from New York Law School, and an M.L.S. from the University of South Tampa.  Before coming to Pace, he worked at several academic law libraries, including St. Thomas University, Florida Atlantic University, and New York University.  He also engaged in the private practice of law for ten years.  Jack was professionally active.  He served as Chair of the Academic Libraries Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries in 2010-2011, and as president of the South Florida Association of Law Libraries in 1995-1996.  Jack made friends wherever he worked, and whenever I attended a conference, someone was sure to ask me about Jack and want to be remembered to him.

Jack enjoyed working with our students and faculty, and taught legal research in the first-year Legal Skills Program.  He served as a liaison to the Environmental Law Program, and wrote a blog that covered environmental law and related subject areas.  His primary concern was always to serve the students and the Law School.   Jack made a lasting and unique impact on the Pace Law Library, and he will be missed.

A lot of us have a love-hate relationship with email.  We are dependent on it for all kinds of correspondence—business, professional, personal—but we get angry, annoyed, and even anxious when our mailboxes fill up with messages.  Constantly checking new messages as they come in, which many people do, is distracting and can even cause high levels of stress.  Teenagers seem to be opting out of email altogether, preferring instead to text message and to chat on platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram.  Is email dead?

Not at all says Adrienne LaFrance in her terrific article in The Atlantic, “The Triumph of Email,” which takes the reader through the history and development of email (did you know the first email was sent in 1971?) and brings the reader up to the present day.  LaFrance acknowledges that “Email volume appears to be growing, still, but its share of overall electronic communication has shrunk.”  LaFrance concludes that even though people have difficulty managing their email accounts and are turning to other forms of communication, “Email works.  It’s open.  It’s lovely on mobile.”  And it’s not going away anytime soon.

Google maps has revolutionized the way we look at the world, right down to our own neighborhoods. In this slideshow, Evan Dashevsky of PC Magazine reveals some fascinating possibilities that we can explore with Google Maps. Want to become an amateur cartographer? Fly over cities like Superman? Time travel? Evan explains how to use such cool tricks as offline navigation, checking traffic, measuring distances, changing your map search history and, my favorite, going off road in some spectacular places (like Venice by canal!)

Pace Law School hosted its annual Grand Moot Semi-Final Competition this past Sunday December 6, 2015. 43 second year law students and over 45 Judges participated in this competitive event. The students argued the merits of a fictitious case Brendan Smith v. Luis Peralta, concerning two constitutional issues:

1. Whether subjective malice is one of the elements of a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 malicious prosecution claim based on the Fourth Amendment; and

2. Whether Peralta was the subject of an unreasonable seizure that lacked probable cause for purposes of a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 malicious prosecution claim based on the Fourth Amendment.

The class, Advanced Appellate Advocacy, is under the direction of Professor Louis Fasulo, coordinated by Professor Alissa Bauer and supported by the team of Professors Jennifer Arlin, Elyse Moskowitz and Danielle Shalov.  The Professors guided the students throughout the fall semester in writing their appellate briefs and preparing for oral arguments. The students were presented with challenging questions from enthusiastic and lively panels of experienced Judges and attorneys.

The comradery of the competition provided for a stimulating day. During Sunday’s preliminary rounds one and two, the top 43 students argued twice. After lunch, 20 students advanced to third round arguments. The intensity of the competition increased during the fourth and fifth rounds, as only 8 students advanced to argue.

Grand Moot Semi Final Top 8 Fall 2015

Congratulations to the top 8 competitors: Angelica Cancel, Samantha Hazen, Alex Lowell, Sarah Main, Jordan Montoya, Andrea Osgood, Daniela Parra and Kirsten Yerger.

The remaining students argued well in the final rounds, making it difficult for the Judges to choose only 4 students. Nevertheless, this year’s top 4 finalists are: Sarah Main in first place, Andrea Osgood in second place, Samantha Hazen in third place and Alex Lowell in fourth place. 

GrandMootSemiFinalTop4Fall 2015These top 4 finalists will now advance to the Grand Moot Court Competition on March 31, 2016, hosted at Pace Law School, and argue before a panel of Federal Court Judges. The top 3 finalists from the Grand Moot will then have the honor of competing in the New York City Bar’s National Moot Court Competition, and the fourth finalist will compete at the prestigious Dean Jerome Prince Evidence Moot Court Competition.

Special Thanks to: Advocacy Administrator Loretta Musial, Advocacy Program Director and Professor Louis V. Fasulo, the guest Judges, the Advanced Appellate Advocacy Professors for their work with the class and for supporting the students at this event, Dean David Yassky, Chartwell Food Services for providing refreshments throughout the day, Pace Law Advocacy Honor Board Directors: Cassandra Castellano, Brianne Cunningham, Vittoria Fiorenza, Hanna Shoshany, Michael Giordano, W. Paul Alvarez and Michael Pesin-Virovets, along with Board Members: Katie Ehrlich, Rana Marie Abihabib and Matthew Mannis, who all once again managed an excellent competition.

Congratulations to Sarah Main, Andrea Osgood, Samantha Hazen and Alex Lowell on this impressive achievement! We look forward to watching your arguments this Spring!

Post written by Brian G. Shaffer, J.D. Candidate 2016, Pace Law School

The mission of the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) is “to reform the regulation of financial services in New York to keep pace with the rapid and dynamic evolution of these industries, to guard against financial crises and to protect consumers and markets from fraud.”   To that end, DFS hosts a comprehensive web site, translatable to ninety languages through a translate feature at the top of the home page, that is searchable and simple to navigate.  The site offers information and resources for consumers as well as the banking and insurance industries.

The DFS site contains a row of tabs from which users can link to the Department home page, an About Us tab, a Consumers tab, a tab dedicated to the Banking Industry, and another dedicated to the Insurance Industry, as well as a section for Legal information, each with subtabs.  The home page prominently displays recent Department press releases, including a link to the DFS News Room, where users can find additional press releases, Superintendent’s letters, public hearings, and speeches and testimony.  The home page also directs the user to recent developments, in addition to helpful one-click answers to frequently-asked questions, such as how to learn about mortgage escrow accounts.  Department initiatives, including, for example, a Student Protection Unit and a Foreclosure Relief Unit, are also linked from the home page.  In addition, the page offers useful quick links for consumers to file a complaint or for industry participants to learn about licensing and application processes.

The Consumers page immediately draws the user’s attention to important consumer alerts, which provide resources to help consumers with a wide variety of important skills, including how to understand credit scores, prepare for storms, and protect themselves in the event of data security breaches.  The page also includes assistance for homeowners with mortgages and foreclosure, information about banking and saving, how to understand and compare insurance products, and how to recognize and report scams and fraud, among other resources helpful to consumers in managing their everyday financial affairs.

The Banking Industry page offers noticeably less content that the Consumers page, but the quality of the content is still quite good.  The page offers links to forms and applications for banks and trusts and mortgage companies, and resources for financial services providers.  Also provided is a link to The Weekly Banking Bulletin, with current issues and an archive from 2010 to date, which records applications and notices received by DFS, as well as actions taken by the Superintendent.  The Banking Industry page also conspicuously links to the Consumers section.

The Insurance Industry page, like the Banking Industry page, is less voluminous than the Consumers section to which it conspicuously links.  It also provides links to information, applications, forms and other resources for insurance companies as well as agents and brokers.  The page additionally links to frequently-asked questions and the Company Complaint Response System, among other helpful resources for industry participants.

A Legal tab on the DFS site displays legal notices and provides links to proposed and final regulations and the regulatory agenda, the Department’s interpretations of  laws and regulations, dating back as far as the 1960s, advisory letters, dating back to 1996,  issued to clarify Department policies, agreements between the Department and other agencies, and legislative summaries that provide overviews of banking law and insurance-related bills.  In addition, there is a link for users to make Freedom of Information (FOIL) requests in the event that they require records not found on the DFS site.

While the DFS site offers a search function, the user must perform a basic plain language search before gaining access to the site’s advanced search function.  Once inside the advanced search, the user can narrow searches by word or phrase and exclude results with particular words in them, as well as narrow search results by language, format, number of occurrences of search terms, and domain.  In addition, search results can be sorted by relevance or by date.  Users can also choose to search for pages that link to a specific page.

The advanced search function on the DFS site is quite impressive, but its usefulness could be substantially improved if users could access it without first performing a basic search.  Furthermore, in light of the site’s overall layout and copious provision of useful links arranged in an easy-to-follow tab/subtab/link format, the search function may actually be a less efficient means of navigating the site than following the funnel of links from the general area in which the user is interested down to the specific issue on which information is sought.

Although the DFS site offers information for consumers and industry participants, its overall tilt appears consumer oriented.  While the site does allow industry professionals access to necessary materials, its provision of helpful explanatory resources seems in line with the general sentiment that the typical consumer is less sophisticated than the typical industry professional.

For those of us bedeviled by the Bluebook’s complicated, seemingly arbitrary citation rules, it is interesting to note that The Yale Law Journal disputes Harvard Law Review’s claim of responsibility for it. According to the New York Times, two librarians at Yale Law School, Fred R. Shapiro and Julie Graves Krishnawami, “have done impressive archival research and make a persuasive case that their own institution is the guilty party.” Their research disclosed that “the idea of a uniform citation manual came from Yale, and a lot of the specifics of the early rules came from Yale.”

A dispute arose in 1973 over which institution was entitled to the increasingly substantial revenues earned from purchases of the Bluebook required of new law students across the United States. The Fourth Edition, published in 1934, listed the Yale, Columbia, and University of Pennsylvania law reviews, as well as Harvard, as owners of the copyright. Over the years, Harvard took the lead in editorial decisions, production, and distribution of the Bluebook, and retained all the sales revenues until challenged by Yale. Since around 1976, the income has been divided among the four schools, although Harvard keeps the largest share. The Yale librarians acknowledge that “[s]ome readers may question whether originating the hyper-complicated Bluebook should be a source of pride for Yale. . . Our response is that, although the Bluebook version that subsequently developed under the leadership of Harvard Law Review currently consists of 582 fairly large pages, the two earliest Yale precursors of the Bluebook were, respectively, one page and fifteen pages long. . . And these were very small pages.”

This post provides a glossary of acronyms and key terms to assist with understanding the Conference news and reports coming from Paris, where COP21 is on-going until December 11.

1. UNFCCC: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The UNFCCC is an international treaty bringing together 195 countries with the objective of managing the global challenge of climate change. The UNFCCC lays the foundations for global climate negotiations and any subsequent action. COP21 is currently taking place 21 years after the creation of UNFCCC.

2. COP: Conference of the Parties

COP is the decision-making body of the UNFCCC. Every country that is a Party to the UNFCCC is represented at the COP.

3. ADP: Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action

The mandate of the ADP is to develop a protocol, legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force under the UNFCCC applicable to all Parties, to be completed no later than 2015 and implemented by 2020.

4. AOSIS: Alliance Of Small Island States

Although each Party to COP21 has its own voice under the UNFCCC, countries have historically come together in negotiating groups that speak as one bloc on certain issues. One such group is the AOSIS, an alliance of 44 island and low-lying coastal countries.

5. BASIC: Brazil, South Africa, India, China

The BASIC group is a negotiating bloc consisting of these four countries with comparable situations in terms of economics and industrial development.

6. CBDR: Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (and Respective Capabilities)

Although developed countries are responsible for the bulk of historical greenhouse gas emissions, the impacts of climate change will be distributed globally, with developing countries likely to be the most vulnerable. In accordance with CBDR, while countries must act together in responding to climate change, they must do so in ways that are appropriate to their levels of responsibilities and capabilities, with developed countries taking the lead.

7. CDR: Carbon dioxide removal

A technology being developed that would scrub C02 from the air and store it safely at the bottom of the ocean or deep underground, thereby reducing the amount of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere.

8. G-77: Group of 77

G-77 is an alliance of developing countries. Although this group once had 77 countries, it now has 134 members, and is the largest negotiating bloc of climate talks. Member countries include Chile, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea. Although China is officially a member of the G-77, in climate negotiations China’s views do not always align with the other G-77 countries. When they do align the bloc is known as “G-77 and China.”

9. GCF: Green Climate Fund

GCF was established to provide financial support for climate adaptation and mitigation activities in developing countries. While the GCF is to be funded from developed countries, the possibility of private investment exists. Ethiopia was recently granted $50 million from the GCF for climate-resilience projects.

10. GHG: Greenhouse Gasses

Greenhouse gasses trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Examples include: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gasses.

11. ICLEI: Local Governments for Sustainability (formerly the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives)

ICLEI is a decades-old network of more than a thousand cities and towns impacting over 20% of the global urban population. ICLEI members look to “make their cities sustainable, low-carbon, resilient, biodiverse, resource-efficient, healthy and happy, with a green economy and smart infrastructure.” New York State members of ICLEI include: New York City, Peekskill, Tarrytown, and Yonkers.

12. IEA: International Energy Agency

The IEA provides statistics, analysis and recommendations in relation to energy security and environmental concerns related to energy sectors.

13. INDC: Intended Nationally Determined Contribution

In the lead-up to COP21, Parties have agreed to submit proposals of their contribution to climate action, called INDCs. The form and content of these proposals are open to interpretation, allowing counties to craft their own policies. Developed countries may include measurable, reportable and verifiable emissions reduction goals in their INDCs.

14. LDC: Least Developed Country

A country is classified as an LDC if it meets criteria related to gross national income, levels of health and education and vulnerability of its economy. The LDC bloc at COP21 includes approximately 50 members such as Ethiopia, Nepal, Mali and Zambia.

15. Loss and Damage

Loss and Damage refers to impacts of climate change (economic and non-economic, as well as environmental and human) that are unavoidable despite actions to reduce or adapt to climatic changes. Loss and Damage encompasses impacts from sudden climatic events, such as severe storms, as well as impacts from slower changes, such as ocean acidification. The scale and extent of Loss and Damage in the future will depend on the level of emissions reduction achieved.

16. MRV: Measurable, Reportable and Verifiable

MRV refers to the requirements that Parties provide annual accounts of their greenhouse gas emissions. Taking a broader perspective, however, the MRV concept can also be applied to financial commitments, technology support, and emissions reduction actions (i.e. not just emissions outcomes).

17. NAMA: Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action

In contrast with developed countries (expected to set quantifiable emissions reduction targets), developing countries may undertake NAMAs. These voluntary measures include any developing country actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of a national governmental initiative. Financial assistance for published NAMAs is to be provided by developed countries.

18. NAPA: National Adaptation Plan of Action

NAPAs provide a process for LDCs to identify priority activities that respond to their urgent and immediate needs to adapt to climate change– further delay of these actions would increase the LDCs vulnerability and/or costs at a later stage.

19. REDD+: Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation; forest conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks

REDD is an effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development. REDD became REDD+ when additional activities of forest conservation, management and enhancement (reforestation) were added.

20. SIDS: Small Island Developing States

There are more than 40 SIDS at COP21, most of which are also members of other negotiating groups such as the AOSIS, LDCs and the G77.

21. UMBRELLA Group

This group brings together non-European developed countries including: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, Norway, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the United States.


Sources & Further Reading:

Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute:




United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:




Our Congratulations go out to the Pace 2015 American Bar Association Negotiations Competition team that competed November 1-2, in New York.

The competition was established by the American Bar Association, and allows students to practice and improve their negotiating skills. The competition simulates legal negotiations in which law students, acting as lawyers, negotiate a series of problems.

This year’s competition problems involved an intellectual property dispute involving a pharmaceutical company, as well as an estate challenge.

Conor Strong (2L) and Albert Vetere (3L) represented Pace Law School at the competition. The team was under the direction of Pace Alumnus, Coach Caesar Lopez.

Conor and Albert competed in both rounds, and were honored to represent Pace Law School.

Congratulations to Conor and Albert on their performance!

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