Howard University

Faculty Highlights-February 2007

February 2007

Covering period from January 2007-February 2007

Ballard-Thrower, Rhea
On January 2 – 6th, Professor Ballard-Thrower, attended the AALS meeting. She also completed her three-year term on the AALS Committee on Libraries and Technology. Professor Ballard-Thrower was also appointed to the Planning Committee for the 2008 AALS Workshop on Law Libraries.

Black, Derek
On January 11th, Professor Black and co-counsels from Sprenger Lang and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights returned to 11th Cir. Court of Appeals in Atlanta for their second oral argument in Holton v. Thomasville City School District. In 2005, they obtained a remand to the district court from the 11th Cir. regarding the issue of intentional discrimination and other unconstitutional practices in regard to the school district’s ability grouping practices. However, the district court ruled against the plaintiffs for a second time and plaintiffs appealed to the 11th Cir. again, arguing that the district court had again failed to apply the correct law and that its factual findings were clearly erroneous. The 11th Cir. panel was enlivened and extended the argument well beyond the standard allotted time, but of course gave no suggestion as to its ruling.

Professor Black’s article, Matching Equal Protection Doctrine with Meaning: How Deliberate Indifference Cures the Intent Standard’s Failures in the WILLIAM & MARY BILL OF RIGHTS JOURNAL, will be in print by the end of January or beginning of February.

DeMaio, Patricia
On January 8th, Professor DeMaio facilitated Victory Ministries International’s 2007 Ask the Lawyer Seminar presented in Baltimore, MD. She moderated a panel of three lawyers and one judge who answered law related questions and educated the community on how to conduct themselves in court.

On January 27th, Professor DeMaio was the facilitator and presenter for a panel discussion titled “Divas in Politics, Administration & Law” sponsored jointly by the Washington City and Federal City Alumnae Chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. The program was part of a national project designed to offer career counseling to undergraduate members of the sorority. The event was held at Howard University and attended by collegiate members of the sorority from several schools in MD, DC and VA.

Gavil, Andrew
Professor Gavil’s latest article, Harry First & Andrew I. Gavil, Re-framing Windows: The Durable Meaning of the Microsoft Antitrust Litigation, 2006 UTAH L. REV. 679, was published in January. The article grew out of his participation in a University of Utah Law Review Symposium in February, 2006 in honor of retiring Utah antitrust law professor John Flynn.

On March 1st he will be a presenter at the annual Conference Board Antitrust Conference in New York City and on March 9th he will be speaking in Brussels on indirect purchaser rights of action at an antitrust conference being co-sponsored by the International Bar Association and the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission.

Last week, Professor Gavil also accepted an invitation to testify before the joint Department of Justice-Federal Trade Commission Hearings on Single Firm Conduct on March 7th. He will be discussing the role of market definition and market power analysis in monopolization cases.

Gilmore, Brian (Supervising Attorney, Fair Housing Clinic)
On January 24th, Attorney Gilmore presented a discussion on the importance of housing for individuals re-entering the community after incarceration at “Behind the Cycle: An Integrated Approach to Justice Reform” program. The program was hosted by The Open Society Institute’s Washington office.

According to the Open Society Institute Washington Office, “Behind the Cycle” refers to the panoply of societal issues which, if left unaddressed, contribute to one’s initial entry into the criminal justice system. Disparities in educational treatment, health care, housing, and economic security disproportionately help to thrust people of color and the poor into the criminal justice system. We must look behind this cycle of imprisonment, address the linkages between such unaddressed social conditions and entry into the criminal justice system, and work towards a more integrative approach to justice reform.

Jamar, Steven
Prof. Mtima and Prof. Jamar, as Director and Associate Director of the Institute of Intellectual Property and Social Justice respectively, are busy finalizing preparations for the IIPSJ CLE sponsored by IIPSJ and the Finnegan law firm. The CLE will be held at the law school on Thursday and Friday March 1 and 2. The CLE brings in top scholars and practitioners and judges to speak on various leading-edge topics in intellectual property with a theme of the impact of those concerns on social justice, especially for minorities. For example, one topic of concern last year was the patenting of a drug on a race-specific basis.

LaRue, Homer
During the week of January 8, 2007, Professor La Rue conducted advanced mediation training for collateral duty mediators in the Department of Treasury, Office of the Comptroller (OCC), the Office of Workplace Fairness and Equal Opportunity. The training was conducted in Washington, D.C. for OCC mediators from all over the country. Such mediators specialize in resolving workplace disputes involving issues of discrimination.

He accepted the invitation to join a National Task Force on Diversity in ADR convened by the CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (“CPR Institute”). The mission of the Task Force is to adopt business-driven initiatives to increase the ethnic, gender, and social diversity of mediators, arbitrators, and those involved in alternative dispute resolution, both within the CPR Institute and on a national scale. The Task Force includes general counsel and other senior legal representatives from the top corporations in the United States, as well as, several leading practitioners in private practice, including former federal judges, former presidents of the American Bar Association, and several nationally-known arbitrators and mediators.

Professor La Rue facilitated a focus group for the Task Force on Improving Mediator Quality (“TFIMQ”) in New York City on January 19, 2007. The TFIMQ is a project of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution. The TFIMQ is conducting focus groups discussions among the users of ADR services to determine what the consumers of alternative dispute resolution processes like and those things that they believe need improvement. The work of the TFIMQ is a multi-year endeavor in which focus group discussions are being conducted all over the country and in Canada.

Professor La Rue also conducted one of the focus groups in Toronto, Canada in October 2006 while there as a member of the faculty conducting Advanced Mediation Skills training for American and Canadian mediators. The training was sponsored by the ABA as well as the Toronto Bar Association.

Mabry, Cynthia
Professor Cynthia Mabry organized an Adoption Awareness Day at Howard University School of Law. This interdisciplinary program was well presented by Professor Mabry, Mrs. Barbara Harrison (NBC4’s Wednesday’s Child host) and Judge Ronna Lee Beck (Superior Court of the District of Columbia). There were judges, adoption attorneys, social workers, caseworkers from MD, VA, and DC, professors, deans from area law schools as well as many of our students in attendance.

Professor Mabry wishes to thank all Howard faculty, staff and students who supported the program. She especially thanks her adoption law students for their assistance. In addition, she thanks Professors Nolan and Gresham and Chef Renee (through Dean Dark) for generous contributions that supported the dessert reception.

McDougall, Harold
Professor McDougall’s “Invisible College” program, teaching civil rights and social studies to middle-school and high-school boys, initiated in September 2006 in collaboration with the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity of Montgomery County, MD, began its second semester Saturday Jan 13, 2007.

Taslitz, Andrew
During the month of January 2007, Professor Taslitz was appointed as a member of the newly-created American Bar Association Task Force on Transactional Surveillance (e.g., government surveillance of bank records, email addresses, etc.). In his role as a member of the ABA Standards Committee, he also attended that Committee’s meeting on finalizing the new Standards for the Prosecutor as Investigator.

Highlights from the Deans’ Corner

Dean Kurt L. Schmoke

  • Dean Schmoke traveled to Salvador Bahia, Brazil from January 15 - January 18 to formalize a partnership between the School of Law and the Association of Afro-Brazilian Lawyers. While there he met with officials of OAB (Brazil’s equivalent of the American Bar Association), toured their offices and toured the central and historic cultural districts of the city. The Dean also attended a full day conference concerning affirmative action with 200 participants from public and private sectors and was also invited by the President of the Association to give brief remarks on affirmative association in the United States. The School of Law will host the first visiting fellow resulting from this partnership in the Fall Semester, 2007.
  • He was also invited by Professor Charles Ogletree to participate in the Maryland Death Penalty Summit on January 20 at Morgan State University. The Dean moderated a panel on Law Enforcement Perspectives.
  • Dean Schmoke attended a reception and special presentation of a portrait of Vernon Jordan on January 24, 2007 at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. He was among other guests from the university.

Associate Dean Okianer Christian Dark

  • Associate Dean Dark serves on the Advisory Committee for US-Brazil Program for Howard University. This is a program on Race, Development and Social Inequality that is a joint effort by Howard University, Univerisidade Federal da Bahia, Univerisade de Sao Paulo and Vanderbilt University.
  • She attended the 2007 AALS annual meeting in Washington, D.C. In addition, Associate Dean Dark attended the meeting of the Diversity Committee of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. She is a new member of that committee. She also attended the AALS Committee on Minority Recruitment and Retention. She was recognized by the Women in Legal Education Section for her leadership in regularly organizing the Women in Legal Education Section’s Breakfast/Program at the annual New Law Teacher’s Conference over the years.
  • Associate Dean Dark was elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Associate Dean Dione Duckett

  • On January 3rd, Interim Associate Dean Duckett attended a meeting of the Law School Task Force of the DC Bar Lawyers Counseling Committee (LCC). The Task Force is conducting a research project to determine (1) how area law schools identify and address student issues in the areas of mental health and addiction and (2) how the DC Bar Lawyers Counseling Committee can work with the law schools in addressing these issues. The meeting was attended by student affairs deans from the DC area law schools and other law schools, members of the LCC, and student Task Force Members. Student and attorney members of the Task Force were people who actually suffered from addictions and worked with the LCC to address their individual problems. The meeting was an introductory meeting and served to present the types of services that are available to students from the LCC and the types of effective programs that have been developed at law schools outside of the DC area. The student affairs deans agreed to form a network that would meet on a regular basis to discuss issues and programs relating to student affairs and exchange ideas.

More Information- February 2007

“The Details and Acknowledgements”

Adoption Law Program
On Friday, January 19th, an outstanding program on Adoption was organized by Professor Cynthia Mabry. Professor Mabry is the lead author on a recently published book titled Adoption Law: Theory, Policy and Practice by William S. Hein and Company. There were several speakers at the program including, Ms. Barbara Harrison, News Anchor/Wednesday’s Child Reporter and the Honorable Ronna Lee Beck, Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The program was very well attended including attendance by several members of the faculty. The program was outstanding and Professor Mabry presented her book, Adoption Law: Theory, Policy and Practice to people who were particularly supportive of her when she was writing the book. There were several video clips that helped to underscore the positive impact that adoption can have on a child and the family. Everyone enjoyed the dessert reception with special cakes by Professor Mabry’s mother.

Prisoners of Katrina Program
On Monday, January 22nd, the Prisoners of Katrina program was a huge success. Over 80 students were present to hear Professor Colbert and Shakeya Currie talk about their work with prisoners in New Orleans.

American Education on Trial Program
As part of his Education Law class, Professor Derek Black will be hosting an event titled, “American Education on Trial: The Struggle to End De Facto Segregation in America’s Public Schools.” The event will have two presenters, Susan Eaton and John C. Brittain.

Susan Eaton is research director at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice Harvard Law School. In her other life, as an independent, narrative, non-fiction writer, she chronicles human lives to explore complex social issues. She holds a doctorate in education policy from Harvard University. She is currently working on a book about Latino immigration.

John C. Brittain, earned his B.A. and J.D degrees from Howard University. After eight years of civil rights and private law practice experience, he joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut Law School, where he developed a special expertise in international and domestic human rights as a public interest advocate and author of published articles. He specializes in civil rights litigation theories in education, voting rights, affirmative action, affordable housing and police misconduct. Professor Brittain is currently a tenured faculty member of Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, TX.

Soul of Justice Film about Judge Thelton Henderson
On February 7th, HUSL will host a viewing of Soul of Justice: Thelton Henderson’s American Journey. This documentary was directed by award-winning filmmaker, Abby Ginzberg. The film documents Judge Henderson’s journey during the Civil Rights Movement and documents his experiences as one of the country’s first black federal judges.

Soul of Justice captures the multifaceted nature of this extraordinary human being by deftly weaving together the parallel threads of historical imagery and insightful commentary to create a rousing profile in courage. At a time of increasing polarization over the actions of judges in America, this compelling cinematic journey reveals the true power of Thelton Henderson’s fearless efforts to see that justice retains its soul. All are invited to view this spectacular film at 4:30 p.m. in the Moot Court Room. Free pizza after the film.

Journal Publication
Congratulations to the Howard Law Journal who recently published its recent publication of the third issue of Volume 49 (49:3) and the first issue of Volume 50 (50:1). On Tuesday, January 30th, the Journal hosted an ice cream social in celebration of this outstanding accomplishment. Congratulations Journal!!

National Conference of Environmental Justice
A National Conference titled “The State of Environmental Justice in America 2007” will be held at the Law School from March 29 to 31, 2007. This conference is co-sponsored by the National Small Town Alliance, U.S. Department of Energy and Agriculture, the National Bar Association, the American Bar Association and Howard Law School. We expect participants to include students and faculty, civic, government, community, and business leaders from the region and throughout the country. The conference is organized around four tracks that include the following topics, EJ and Health/Health Disparities; Katrina and Rita: Public Participation in Emergency Response and Preparedness; Brownfields/Land Development; EJ and Transportation; Environmental Education; EJ in Indian Country. Each track will have a collection of panels or presentations around the common theme. Presently over 100 abstracts have been received for consideration as panel presenters, poster session participants or publication in a conference document.

This interactive forum will give conference participants the opportunity to network with a variety of interests from diverse quarters. All conference participants will realize informative and productive resources that can support their individual program goals and objectives. Conference participants will also see examples of approaches that produce positive results through innovation and collaboration. All are encouraged to attend. The program will be free to students. For more information about this program feel free to visit the website at

The Law School Facilities Maintenance Management Web Page
A special thank you to Jerome Roberson, Blair Diggs and Frank King for their
work on completing the Law School Facilities Maintenance Management web
page. The page is now ready to receive work requests and is located at the law school’s website.