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20160307_160855_resizedThe vacancy on the Court created by the death of Antonin Scalia means that President Obama is constitutionally obligated to appoint a successor. Some names have been bandied about in the media (Judge Sri Srinivasan, Governor Brian Sandoval, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Judge Merrick Garland) but recent news stories say that D.C. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and 8th Circuit Judge Jane Kelly are among those undergoing vetting by the Obama administration.

If either Judge Jackson or Judge Kelly is nominated and confirmed, a difficult task in today’s political climate, she would be the fifth woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Judge Jackson is currently a federal trial judge in Washington, D.C., and is a former member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. She would be the first judge to come directly from a federal trial court, and was supported by Republicans when she was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit in 2013. Judge Kelly currently serves on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. She was a long-time public defender in Iowa, and was appointed to the federal bench in 2013.

Tom Goldstein from SCOTUSblog writes about Judge Jackson

Her credentials are impeccable.  She was a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. She clerked on the Supreme Court (for Justice Stephen Breyer) and had two other clerkships as well. As a lawyer before joining the Sentencing Commission, she had various jobs, including as a public defender.

Senator Charles Grassley, from Judge Kelly’s home state of Iowa, praised her during her confirmation hearing in 2013 and urged his colleagues to confirm her.

U.S. District of Oregon Magistrate Paul Papak, who worked as a public defender with Judge Kelly, says of her

We’ve had law professors, prosecutors and politicians on the court but there hasn’t been a public defender, and that would be fantastic to have all perspectives — not just liberal or conservatives. She is the perfect candidate. She has the education, she is smart and she’s a great writer. She just brings a wealth of information and experience at her young age.

Judge Jackson or Judge Kelly would join Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan on the bench. Justices Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor asked important questions during the recent oral arguments in the Texas abortion clinic case, and pressed Texas Solicitor General about the true motivation for law. The women justices all maintained that the restrictions proposed in Texas masquerade as protection of women’s health, but in reality constitute an undue burden on women seeking an abortion. The case is Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, No. 14-50928.

The first woman on the Supreme Court was Sandra Day O’Connor, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1981 and who retired from the bench in 2006. Justice O’Connor fashioned the undue burden standard in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992),which held that states could put some restrictions on a woman’s right to obtain an abortion as long as the restrictions did not constitute an undue burden.

In honor of women’s history month, the Law Library has put together a display honoring current and past women Supreme Court justices. It is located right outside the entrance to the Library.

Related reading

Research Guide on Supreme Court Nominations


OurNAAC Team Photo 1 Congratulations go to the Pace 2016 National Appellate Advocacy Competition Team that competed at the National Appellate Advocacy Competition. The competition was held February 18-20, 2016 at the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York. It was hosted by the American Bar Association, Law Student Division.

This year’s competition problem involved a police officer who was charged with a federal hate crime. Sharleen Bailon, Jaimie Boyd, Thomas DeGrace, Eve Lincoln, Vito Marzano, and Eli Wagschal represented Pace Law School at the competition in two separate teams. The teams represented the Petitioner United States and the Respondent Police Officer Billy Roy Campbell.  The teams were coached by Adjunct Professor Tamar Gribetz.  The Moot Court Board Supervisor was Michael Pesin-Virovets.

The team and coach were honored to represent Pace Law School in this competition.

Congratulations to Sharleen, Jaimie, Thomas, Eve, Vito, and Eli!

On or about March 2, 2016 LexisNexis introduced a new tool called Legislative Outlook. According to Robert Ambrogi‘s Law Sites Blog “…two themes drove the development of Legislative Outlook:

  1. The use of data visualization to present information about a bill visually, so that a researcher can quickly glean where a bill is in the legislative process.
  2. The use predictive analytics to forecast how likely it is that a bill will move to the next stage of the legislative process….”

Further, according to LexisNexis the aforementioned is achieved via “…the Legislative Outlook forecasting and visuals display:

  1. The Legislative Outlook Gauge, which provides a high-level indicator of the probability that a bill will pass at the next stage;
  2. A Progress Bar timeline that gives you a visual representation of the status of a bill…”



Figure 1 – Indicating where the bill is in the process


Figure 2 – Forecasting the future of the bill

Our CongratIEMC 2016 Team Photo3ulations go out to the Pace 2016 International Environmental Moot Court Competition team that placed as a top 2 finalist in the North American Regional Round, February 19-21 in Washington D.C. The team will advance to compete in the International Rounds in Gulfport, Florida this April 13-16!

The competition is hosted annually by Stetson University College of Law. This year’s competition problem involved a dispute submitted before the International Court of Justice, concerning the illegal trafficking of cultural property.

Conor Strong (2L), James Patrick Logan (2L) and Leigh Wellington (2L) proudly represented Pace Law School at the competition. The team was under the direction of Cassandra Castellano (3L).

During Saturday’s three preliminary rounds, Pace won 2 out of 3 arguments and advanced to Sunday’s semi-final round, where they won against the number one ranked team of the competition. The team then advanced to Sunday’s final round, where they placed as top 2 finalist of the North American Regional Round, and will advance to the International Rounds this April!

The team was honored to represent Pace Law School and bring home three awards. Patrick Logan (2L) received an award for 2nd place oralist of the preliminary rounds, and another award for best oralist of the final round.   

IEMC 2016 Team Photo 2

Congratulations Conor, Patrick and Leigh on their outstanding performance. We are excited to see them compete against the top teams of the world during the international rounds!

Costello Competition 2016Our Congratulations go to the Pace 2016 John L. Costello National Criminal Law Trial Team that competed at the John L. Costello National Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition. The competition was held February 4-7, 2016 at the Fairfax County Judicial Center in Fairfax, Virginia. It was hosted by George Mason University School of Law and was designed by Judge Jonathan Thacher. This year’s competition problem involved a male student who was criminally charged with rape and abduction of a female student. W. Paul Alvarez (3L), Michelle Greaux (3L), and Matt Mannis (3L) represented Pace Law School at the competition. The team represented the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Prosecution Team. They were coached by Pace Law Alumni Alexander Gastman.

The team and coach were honored to represent Pace Law School in this competition

Congratulations to Paul, Michelle and Matt on a great performance!

Our Congratulations go to the Pace 2016 Tulane National Arbitration team that placed ninth overall out of forty teams at the ninth annual Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition. The competition was held         January 20-22, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was hosted by Tulane Law School and was established by the Tulane Sports Law Society. This year’s competition problem involved the salary arbitration of Kole Calhoun, D.J. LeMahieu and Nathan Eovaldi. W. Paul Alvarez (3L), Bryan Kelly (2L) and Steven Stieglitz (3L) represented Pace Law School at the competition.  The team was coached by Pace Alumni Dan Masi.

In the first arbitration proceeding, Pace faced off against Louisiana State University Law School. Steven and Bryan successfully represented the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and won this round. In the second arbitration proceeding, Pace faced off against Notre Dame Law School.  Bryan and Paul represented the Colorado Rockies but did not win this round. In the third arbitration proceeding, Pace faced off against Northern Kentucky Law School. Paul and Steven successfully represented Nathan Eovaldi and won this round.

2016 Tulane Arbitration Team

The team and coach were honored to represent Pace Law School by going 2-1 and finishing in the top ten of this competition.

Congratulations to Paul, Bryan and Steven on a great performance!

Our congratulations go to the 2016 Pace Jessup Team that competed in the 57th annual Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition Northeast Regional Round. The team competed on February 5-6, 2016 in New York City at Shearman & Sterling, LLP.

This year’s competition involved the case concerning the Frost files (Amestonia v. Riesland). The team grappled with issues concerning the admissibility of illicitly obtained documents leaked to a newspaper, the legality of foreign surveillance in the context of international rights to privacy, detention under suspicion of endorsing actions of a terrorist group, and the attribution of cyberattacks.

Michael Pesin-Virovets (3L), Katherine Ehrlich (2L), Wilfredo Lopez (2L), and Jake Sher (3L), represented Pace Law School at the competition. The team was coached by Kathryn Sullivan.

The team competed along with twenty-one other schools in the Northeast Regional Round and faced Jessup powerhouses such as Harvard and Columbia.

The team would like to thank Professor Tom McDonnell and Professor Peter Widulksi for helping the team in their preparation for the competition. Special congratulations to Kathryn Sullivan for her first year coaching the Jessup team!

2016 Pace Jessup1

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.

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