UMKC team wins at national IP LawMeet

UMKC Law IP LawMeet Team

Weston Mills, Coach Philip Krause, Blair Barbieri and Weston Mills pose after their win at the Western Regional IP LawMeet at Santa Clara Law School.

The UMKC School of Law IP LawMeet team, comprised of David Adams, Blair Barbieri, and Weston Mills, were named champions at the IP LawMeet National Championship November 7 at the offices of BakerHostetler in Philadelphia. The team advanced after their win at  the Western Regional IP LawMeet at Santa Clara Law School.

The competition consists of receiving a problem and having two client communications, drafting an agreement or term sheet, marking up two other teams’ documents after an additional client call, and then undertaking four rounds of negotiations in one day.  This year, the problem involved an agreement between the owner of a massive online game, Snowstorm, and a movie company, Joshua Tree, to possibly turn the game into a movie. The problem involved a great deal of copyright and trademark issues.

UMKC Law came out on top as the Joshua Tree winner. Congratulations to the team both on their deep knowledge and skill in negotiations and their success in the competition.  Thanks go out to Philip Krause, who graciously coached the students as a licensing/negotiating expert and also to to Rebecca Stroder for lending her expertise and Malika Simmons for judging a practice scrimmage round.  The team also received help in strategizing and scrimmaging from Stephen Krogmeier (2L) and additional assistance from Mark Moore (2L).

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This Is Our Story: Access to Networking

At UMKC School of Law, alumni, faculty and students are a vital part of our story. From the irreplaceable student experiences in law school to faculty performing important legal research to alumni serving as mentors and adjunct professors and participating in student forums, alumni programs and CLE presentations, the law school is greatly enriched. The “This Is Our Story” series features stories from members of the law school community who have benefited from the generosity of the Law Foundation. To read more stories like these or to become a part of our story through a gift to the Law Foundation Annual Fund, visit law.umkc.edu/ourstory.

Jayne Bart-Plange

Jayne Bart-Plange, 3L

The Law Foundation helps to support many student organization and CSO networking events.  Jayne Bart-Plange has taken advantage of the opportunity to become involved in a number of student organizations and has participated in the networking opportunities provided by CSO.

Since her first year, Bart-Plange has participated in the CSO and BLSA networking event, which is an event she looks forward to each year.  This event, which is set up like a speed-dating event, allows students and attorneys the opportunity to sit down and talk in a small group.  By sitting in small groups the interaction between students and attorneys comes more naturally and everyone has the opportunity to interact.

“[T]here was a wide range of students who came. It wasn’t just BLSA students, we had BLSA, HILSA, PILSA and just students who were not affiliated with any of those groups,” said Bart-Plange.

This is really important because it is an opportunity for students who might not know each other to have the chance to interact and network between themselves in addition to networking with attorneys.

The Law Foundation’s support of networking events like this is important because it gives students the chance to meet attorneys and make those connections. Students are able to ask practicing attorneys questions about what practice is like, what steps they should take upon graduation, and to talk about shared interests in the law. It also fosters the connections between students within the Law School and builds the community within the school.

Events like the CSO and BLSA networking event have helped Bart-Plange gain confidence because it gives students the opportunity to practice speaking in a professional manner.  It also gives the students a chance to meet people in different areas of law that they might not otherwise be exposed to.  Because of this, students have the chance to interact with attorneys practicing in a particular field and gain some practical knowledge that is not taught in the classroom.

Bart-Plange has been able to meet a lot of people in the Kansas City Legal Community.  These connections have allowed her to get feedback from practicing attorneys.  Another benefit is that when she goes to different events, like KCMBA events, she knows someone and she can talk to them.

The attorneys she has connected with are available for advice such as, when she should start applying for jobs, other attorneys she should talk to, and even how to approach someone to let them know that she would like to work for them. Having this type of support is and will continue to be invaluable to Bart-Plange as she makes the transition from law student to lawyer.

“What I like about the Law Foundation is that their funding all goes to practical skills, networking and experience,” said Bart-Plange. “They are all things that you won’t get in the classroom. They are all things that are hard to do without funding and it is nice that they provide those opportunities because it can be really hard for a law student to seek out those opportunities [for practical experience]  . . . the Law Foundation [helps students gain that] practical experience and out of the classroom education.”

The continued support of the Law Foundation is important to students.  With this support students know that they can expand their legal education beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

-Written by Kaitlin Woody, UMKC School of Law

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This Is Our Story: Innovative Faculty Research

At UMKC School of Law, alumni, faculty and students are a vital part of our story. From the irreplaceable student experiences in law school to faculty performing important legal research to alumni serving as mentors and adjunct professors and participating in student forums, alumni programs and CLE presentations, the law school is greatly enriched. The “This Is Our Story” series features stories from members of the law school community who have benefited from the generosity of the Law Foundation. To read more stories like these or to become a part of our story through a gift to the Law Foundation Annual Fund, visit law.umkc.edu/ourstory.

Professor Achtenberg

David Achtenberg, Professor

Law Foundation Scholar and Professor of Law, David Achtenberg, began the Petition to Decision Website in October 2010. This unique website focuses on cases dealing with civil rights litigation and provides a behind-the-scenes look at the Supreme Court. The website averages between ten to fifteen thousand hits a month and had a record number of hits in September, 2014, with 15,500.

Achtenberg started this site because there was no centralized location where an individual could view all of the Supreme Court Justice’s personal papers on civil litigation trials. He felt that it would be useful to make it possible for anyone to view these documents in one place on the web and see the decision making process from inside the court. His site focuses on the personal papers relating to civil litigation trials.

Thanks to the Law Foundation, Achtenberg travels to the original documents for every Justice that has made their private papers available for a particular case, so they can be studied and photographed for the website. He needs to photograph the documents because they are fragile and cannot be photocopied.

He obtains a complete set of the papers available for each case he documents for the website. This covers the case from the petition for certiorari through the decision. Once the documents have been photographed and digitized, he posts them on the Petition to Decision website in archive order and then he turns it into a chronology.  Professor Achtenberg also writes a brief overview of the legal nature of the case and some background on the case.

The Law Foundation provides Achtenberg the ability to devote the time needed maintain the Petition to Justice Website, which leads to scholarly articles and presentations that take in-depth looks at important issues.  The support of the Law Foundation also allows Professor Achtenberg to utilize research assistants.

“One of the most important values that students have is the ability to work closely on research with faculty,” said Achtenberg.

Students are given the opportunity to work on the site and other research with Professor Achtenberg.  This is a great experience for students because they are able to actually work with the private papers of Supreme Court Justices.

“Summer research stipends and other financial support makes it possible for us to devote significant solid blocks of time to do in-depth research that would not otherwise not be possible,” said Achtenberg.  “Research that sometimes directly affects the law, sometimes indirectly and over a longer period directs the law, sometimes material that may help people understand what actually goes on, for example in the Supreme Court.”

With the continued support of the Law Foundation, the opportunities for unique and innovative research are limitless.

To view Professor Achtenberg’s site visit: http://www1.law.umkc.edu/justicepapers/

-Written by Kaitlin Woody, UMKC School of Law

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This Is Our Story: Unique Practical Experience

At UMKC School of Law, alumni, faculty and students are a vital part of our story. From the irreplaceable student experiences in law school to faculty performing important legal research to alumni serving as mentors and adjunct professors and participating in student forums, alumni programs and CLE presentations, the law school is greatly enriched. The “This Is Our Story” series features stories from members of the law school community who have benefited from the generosity of the Law Foundation. To read more stories like these or to become a part of our story through a gift to the Law Foundation Annual Fund, visit law.umkc.edu/ourstory.

Sarah Holdmeyer

Sarah Holdmeyer, 2L

Sarah Holdmeyer, who made the Client Counseling Competition Team last year as an alternate – an uncommon feat for a first year law student – has the opportunity to participate again this year.  Last year’s Client Counseling Competition Team advanced to regionals and nationals.  Because of the support of the Law Foundation, Holdmeyer was able to travel with the team to experience the unique competition.  Her first-hand experience last year will be invaluable to her as she prepares to compete this year.

Holdmeyer was drawn to this competition because of the uniqueness of the competition. It was a great opportunity to gain practical experience, and was the only competition team open to first year students. For this competition, students are given a general problem, which looks like something a secretary might give an associate.  As a part of the competition students must elicit their client’s story, are judged on a variety of factors such as how much of the story they obtain, their ability to show empathy, and having a clear and definite plan at the end of the consultation.  The skills that are necessary to do well in this particular competition are skills that Holdmeyer will need when she begins her legal career.

The Foundation’s support of opportunities like this are crucial to the student’s law school experience.  Through this competition, Holdmeyer learned how to feel comfortable with a client and how to get the full story by asking open ended questions. It has also helped her gain confidence. These skills cannot be taught in a classroom and this competition reinforces good habits that will be crucial to Holdmeyer’s success in her future career.

In addition to practical skills, competitions provide students with a chance to network with a variety of students, faculty, and members of the legal community. By getting to know some upper classmen, she had people  that she could go to talk ask questions about law school like what classes to take, when to take the MPRE, what are good interview questions for OCI. These interactions have added to Holdmeyer’s confidence and is reflected in her classroom participation.

What stood out to Holdmeyer was the genuine interest of Alumni and the Foundation.  The team had the opportunity to attend The Big Event, where Holdmeyer was able to interact with Alumni directly.

“It was good to know who [was supporting us] and that they cared about what we were doing and wanted to know what we were doing,” said Holdmeyer.

It is this ability to connect that shows students how much the Foundation and Alumni like you truly support what students are doing and allows students to see beyond law school how they fit in the larger picture that is UMKC Law.

Without the support of the Law Foundation and you, these opportunities would not be possible.

-Written by Kaitlin Woody, UMKC School of Law

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This Is Our Story: Opportunities for Collaboration

At UMKC School of Law, alumni, faculty and students are a vital part of our story. From the irreplaceable student experiences in law school to faculty performing important legal research to alumni serving as mentors and adjunct professors and participating in student forums, alumni programs and CLE presentations, the law school is greatly enriched. The “This Is Our Story” series features stories from members of the law school community who have benefited from the generosity of the Law Foundation. To read more stories like these or to become a part of our story through a gift to the Law Foundation Annual Fund, visit law.umkc.edu/ourstory.

Bryan Meyer

Bryan Meyer, 3L

This past August, the Law Foundation provided Bryan Meyer, along with three other students, the opportunity to travel to Boston to attend the student section of the 2014 ABA Annual Meeting.  This experience was a valuable one that will help him in his future career. Currently seeking a joint JD/MPA, Meyer is interested in government and nonprofit work. The opportunity to see how the ABA makes its policies first hand will be invaluable to him when he begins his career, and the ability to attend a conference as large as the ABA Annual Meeting has given Meyer the exposure to the inner workings of policy making and equitable ways to make policy.

“They have a whole section just for SBA presidents programming. We spend an entire day, and we get all of the SBA presidents in a room and we start talking about how we run things at our schools; impediments that we run into; how we work around certain [issues] to make things happen, ” said Meyer.

The Law Foundation’s support makes it possible for students, like Meyer, to become more involved in the ABA.  Because of the support of the Law Foundation, students are able to take on leadership roles and create programming that will not only benefit students, but UMKC School of Law as well. Last year, UMKC won the “2013 Bronze Keys for Most Improved Membership”.  This award was given to UMKC for our increased and active membership.

Our continued relationship has allowed students to bring back additional funds from the ABA.  Without the support of the Foundation, students would not have the ability to become involved and make these opportunities a possibility. Because students are provided the resources necessary to become involved with the ABA, they are able to become involved in important issues.  During the conference, one of the issues discussed was the ability for law students to earn both pay and credit for internships.  UMKC Law students have been very involved in this ABA legislation and have been able to have their voices heard.

“We’re able to do more because we’re not worried if we decide to take the lead on something, like this legislation,” said Meyer. “Our guys are very involved and one of the things I know is, they’re not afraid to take the lead because they know they will be provided the opportunity to follow it up, to go back, to do it again, and I think that matters a lot.”

This confidence is directly reflective of the support the Law Foundation provides.

“The ability to consistently attend ABA events has allowed for UMKC Law to not only develop leadership to bring back to our school, but provide[s] the opportunity for students to take regional leadership positions,” said Meyer

With your support, we can continue the tradition of leadership at UMKC School of Law.

-Written by Kaitlin Woody, UMKC School of Law

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Health fair helps answer Medicare questions

Medicare Part D is a distant thought to most college students.

But on Saturday, Nov. 8 dozens of University of Missouri-Kansas City students came together and used their expertise to help senior citizens and caregivers navigate the complexities of Medicare Part D at the first Medicare Part D Health Fair.

The health fair was organized by the UMKC School of Pharmacy and School of Law Health Law Society as a way to give back to the community and help students hone their skills. Each school has conducted separate education events in the past but this is the first time they are coordinating their efforts to better serve the public.

The event, from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Pierson Hall, was open to those who have been using Medicare Part D for years or those ready to enroll for the first time.

The event was launched after several professionals and students realized that many seniors – no matter their education level – were overwhelmed by the complicated details of each plan.

“When people are overwhelmed, they can make a very incomplete decision and say, oh, this looks easy. And then you could end up with very high deductibles,” said Ann Marie Marciarille, UMKC Associate Professor of Law.

It’s also something that patients need to evaluate ever year based on their lifestyle and health changes.

“However careful they were out of the gate, they need to take this open enrollment period to re-evaluate,” Marciarille said.

The fair allowed visitors to listen and ask questions. On one side of the room, students from the health law club offered presentations about the fundamentals of Medicare Part D. On the other side of the room, pharmacy students offered one-on-one counseling to help seniors determine what plan best fits their individual needs.

In the past, pharmacy students went out to local pharmacies to answer questions. The fair allowed them to serve more consumers.

And that, volunteers believe, will almost certainly change more lives.

“We found out that a lot of patients have been on wrong plans that don’t fit their criteria,” said HyeWon Ham, a second-year pharmacy student who is helping to organize the event as part of the UMKC National Community Pharmacist Association. “We try to help them find a better plan to save money. A lot of people have been on wrong plans just because of lack of knowledge.”

Students have been astounded by the changes they’ve been able to make for families.

Student Joe Bonebrake helped one woman and her daughter save enough to remain in their home last year.

“We saved her about $15,000 a year. It was great. It was life-changing for them,” said Bonebrake, originally from Springfield, Missouri.

The patient had signed up for a plan before realizing that she would need to take a drug that wasn’t covered. She spent $23,000 every year on the life-saving medication.

Money had become so tight for the family that the patient’s daughter was considering selling her home and moving into an apartment to finance her mom’s prescription.

“They were kind of stuck,” he said.

The patient’s daughter had completed a lot of research on her own, but didn’t have access to as many resources as the students, Bonebrake said.

Helping the family was an eye-opening experience for him that will stay with him for decades to come.

“This was a really good experience to be able to see how you can impact a patient and the cost that they have to deal with,” he said. “Volunteering at events like this health fair are really good ways to be exposed to that sort of thing.”

Professors agree, noting that students need to have an understanding of what their customers are dealing with when they walk into their pharmacy.

“I think it raises awareness for the students,” said Peggy Kuehl, director of the Community Pharmacy Residency Program at UMKC.

It also gives students valuable experience interviewing patients about their medications and how they take those prescriptions, said Morgan Sperry, associate director of the Drug Information Center and Associate Clinical Professor.

Marciarille agrees, noting that it offers her health law students valuable insight into Part D.

“This kind of event offers health law students an opportunity to develop real expertise in Medicare Part D – as 3L Danon Williamson did by preparing the Medicare Part D educational materials to be used at the Part D Fair,” Marciarille said.

It also deepens their knowledge while developing critical public speaking skills.

“You will have to explain specialized things to intelligent people,” she said. “This happens in practice. People come from all walks of life in all degrees of sophistication.”

On average, the School of Pharmacy estimates that they have saved each patient about $800 a year simply by conducting the interview and double-checking their plan.

The counseling has also made a difference in adherence, Kuehl said.

“Along the way we discovered that we were able to help patients take all of their medicines. Sometimes they didn’t feel like they could afford all of their medicines,” Kuehl said.

Sperry and Marciarille said the joint-effort with the pharmacy and law schools also helps students think more about forming interprofessional relationships – a critical component of modern health care.

Bonebrake, who is in his final year of school, said he recommends other pharmacy students take advantage of the opportunity to volunteer.

“It’s something great for students to do to actually get out there in the community and have an impact in people’s lives. I would definitely recommend it to someone,” he said.

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Addressing Gun Violence: Professor invited to consult on Michael Bloomberg’s $50 million effort

Professor Allen RostronProf. Allen Rostron has joined a quiet front in former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $50 million effort to reduce gun violence.
Rostron is the William R. Jacques Constitutional Law Scholar at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, and a national expert on the Second Amendment. He was one of a handful of academics and other top thinkers invited to New York recently to form a tactical planning team for the former mayor’s gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety.

Rostron said the nonprofit organization, which Bloomberg formed after the 2012 Newtown, Conn., school shooting, wants to begin developing strategies for dealing with a coming tide of legal challenges to the country’s gun control laws.

“They reached out to me and invited me and some other people to come out there to start to strategize about what their organization could do that would be helpful,” said Rostron, who, before joining UMKC in 2003, served as senior staff attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

“You wouldn’t want the law to develop in a haphazard manner,” he said. “So you don’t want to wait until the last minute when there’s a case on the Supreme Court’s doorstep. Maybe you can steer a case to the Court that is the best for your side. Or at least, you’d be prepared.”

Rostron said high-profile shootings like the one in Newtown, which left 20 children and six adults dead, have raised interest in passing gun control laws. Bloomberg pledged $50 million to Everytown for Gun Safety, which he has said will take on the National Rifle Association and its powerful lobbying arm.

But it was a decades-old grassroots effort by the NRA and other groups that oppose gun control laws, that should get credit for the courts’ interest in the issue, Rostron said.

“There weren’t really any clear Supreme Court cases about the Second Amendment for two centuries,” he said.

Until relatively recently, according to Rostron, the Court interpreted the amendment giving citizens the right to keep and bear arms, as a somewhat antiquated guarantee that was largely related to states forming militias. But a quiet, steady campaign of scholarly articles supported by the NRA and other gun rights groups were published in law journals over many years. And that is what has quietly changed the amendment’s legal interpretation, Rostron said.

“It took decades of articles and articles,” he said. “But eventually they influenced the courts and led to this very dramatic rethinking of the Second Amendment.”

While the Supreme Court has ruled on some aspects of the Second Amendment in recent years, many questions still must be settled. For example, when the Court struck down a law in Washington, D.C., that banned hand guns, the court only said that banning handguns in someone’s home was unconstitutional. It didn’t say anything about whether the law could ban handguns in public places or in private businesses.

Just as civil rights and gay marriage and many other legal battles have been influenced by behind-the-scenes strategizing, Bloomberg wants those waging the battle over gun rights to think carefully about which state law to challenge first and when.

“This is a good lesson overall for any legal issue,” Rostron said. “It’s better to be a little strategic about it and not just have whatever random case happens to fall in the court’s lap.”

- Originally published on UMKC Today http://info.umkc.edu/news/addressing-gun-violence/

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UMKC to offer LSAT prep course for February test

UMKC gearing up to once again offering a unique opportunity for students preparing for law school to study and prepare for the upcoming LSAT. The School of Law has partnered with Get Smarter Prep to provide students with the opportunity to enroll in a six-week LSAT prep course to prepare for the February 7 test date. The course is designed to not only cover the LSAT sections and writing sample, but also the law school admissions process. The material covered in the course was developed by Get Smarter Prep and UMKC is providing the course’s location as well as law school professors who will work one-on-one with students to help facilitate their transition into law school. Participants will learn about the law school application and admissions process from both admissions professionals and UMKC faculty. In addition, students who participated in the prep course for the June LSAT increased their score by an average of 3.8 points.

The course begins Saturday, January 3 and runs through Wednesday, February 4. It includes two full-length practice tests that will prepare students for the official LSAT test date, February 7. For students who register prior to December 17, the cost is $400, and for students registering between December 18 and January 2, the cost is $450.

For more information and to register for the course, please visit Get Smarter Prep’s UMKC LSAT page

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IP LawMeet team advances to Nationals

UMKC Law IP LawMeet Team

Weston Mills, Coach Philip Krause, Blair Barbieri and David Adams pose after their win at the Western Regional IP LawMeet at Santa Clara Law School.

The UMKC School of Law IP LawMeet team, comprised of David Adams, Blair Barbieri, and Weston Mills, performed in competition this weekend.  The regional level of competition consists of receiving a problem and having two client communications, drafting an agreement or term sheet, marking up two other teams’ documents after an additional client call, and then undertaking four rounds of negotiations in one day.  This year, the problem involved an agreement between the owner of a massive online game, Snowstorm, and a movie company, Joshua Tree, to possibly turn the game into a movie.  The problem involved a great deal of copyright and trademark issues.

The team competed in the Western Regional IP LawMeet at Santa Clara Law School, representing Joshua Tree.  The negotiations rounds were against Baylor, William & Mary, New Hampshire, and UC Davis.  From the regional competition, two teams advance to the National Rounds, one that is the top team representing Joshua Tree and one for Snowstorm.

UMKC Law came out on top as the Joshua Tree winner, and will advance to the National competition in two weeks, where it is anticipated that they will face the Snowstorm winners from the Western Regional and the Eastern Regional.

Congratulations to the team both on their deep knowledge and skill in negotiations and their success in the competition.  Thanks go out to Philip Krause, who graciously coached the students as a licensing/negotiating expert and also to to Rebecca Stroder for lending her expertise and Malika Simmons for judging a practice scrimmage round.  The team also received help in strategizing and scrimmaging from Stephen Krogmeier (2L) and additional assistance from Mark Moore (2L).

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Law and Entrepreneurship professor and students to present at global entrepreneurship conference

Law & Entrepreneurship Professor Tony Luppino and law students Evan Absher and Kathleen Garman, along with John Tyler (General Counsel at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation) co-authored this important article examining the recent trends in legislation permitting “hybrid” business forms that blend aspects of traditional for-profit ventures with characteristics normally associated with traditional non-profit entities.  Their article analyzes theoretical, academic, practical, legal, and regulatory questions regarding the extent to which the existing hybrids are suited to achieving social purposes objectives, including in comparison to modified traditional forms of business organization. Finding the current fleet of hybrids an innovative, useful start, but with need to evolve, the article proposes statutory language (set forth in a detailed appendix, and summarized in the article text), and regulatory policies, including in the areas of general oversight, tax, and securities regulation, for a next iteration of hybrid—a “Social Primacy Company” designed to provide more clarity in the marketplace for socially-conscious investors.

The paper will be presented by the authors at the George Washington Global Entrepreneurship Research and Policy conference in Washington D.C. on Saturday, October 18, 2014.

Congratulations to this powerful and entrepreneurial writing team!

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