University of Pittsburgh

Faculty News

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 2:32pm

The University of Pittsburgh Law Alumni Association (UPLAA) was established in 1986. It aims to enhance the interest of the School of Law and its alumni through the establishment of student scholarships and a variety of activities that recognize and support the Law School, its alumni and current students. The UPLAA operates by its Board of Governors, which consists of a broad range of alumni.

Each year the University of Pittsburgh Law Alumni Association awards scholarships to three outstanding law students entering their final year at Pitt Law School. The UPLAA scholarship is awarded for the final year of law school in the amount of $5000 per student and will be paid directly to the Law School. 

The UPLAA Scholarship committee will review all complete applications. Consideration is given to academic performance, dedication to the Law School community, participation in community service and public interest support, intent to work in the public sector or with public interest law, commitment to providing Pitt Law School alumni involvement, and financial need. Financial need is often a determining factor in the event there are many outstanding and qualified candidates. Select finalists must interview with the UPLAA Scholarship committee in order to be considered in the final selection process for the UPLAA Scholarship. 

Class of 2015 students interested in applying for the UPLAA Scholarship should submit a completed UPLAA Scholarship application, cover letter and resume, unofficial law school transcripts, and a summary of all educational debt.  The application is attached to this email and are also available online by clicking hereApplications and supporting materials must be submitted to the School of Law Financial Aid Office in Room 203 no later than 5:00 PM on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 3:52pm

Will the United States Supreme Court soon decide whether states are required by the Constitution to recognize same-sex marriages? That may depend on how two pending cases are decided by the little-known Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Pitt Law Professor Arthur D. Hellman told the Wall Street Journal. “The 10th Circuit’s ruling would … likely affect whether the high court takes up the matter later this year, according to experts. ‘The Supreme Court generally doesn't like to get involved in political or social issues until it absolutely has to,’ said Arthur Hellman, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and an expert on the federal judiciary.” The Journal story, about a “sleepy court” that “is about to get its turn in the limelight,” was published on Jan. 17, 2013.

Read the full article here.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 3:16pm

Writing in The Nation Magazine, Professor David Harris discussed the most important steps that New York's new mayor and police commissioner can take to restore public trust and confidence in the New York York Police Department after the decision in the NYPD stop and frisk case. In "Ten Steps Bill de Blasio and Bill Bratton Should Take to Fix Stop-and-Frisk," Professor Harris outlines concrete actions for the new administration that will help the city and the Police Department comply with the court's ruling, do better police work and repair the Department's damaged relations with New York's communities of color.

Harris's piece in The Nation is here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 3:53pm

Pitt Law Professor Alan Meisel participated in a HuffPostLive webcast, If a Brain Is Dead, Should the Person Die? discussing two cases involving treatment controversies surrounding "brain dead" patients. One, in California, involves a woman declared dead in accordance with brain death standards whose parents do not accept that she is dead and want the hospital where she is died to keep her on life support systems. The other, in Texas, involves another woman also declared dead in accordance with brain death standards, who was pregnant at the time of her death. Authorities in the hospital in which she died belief that Texas law requires them to maintain her on life support because she is pregnant until the fetus is either delivered or dies, and her husband and parents are challenging this position.

Watch the video here.

Monday, January 13, 2014 - 11:44am

The chief judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has created an unusual quandary for the federal judiciary, Pitt Law Professor Arthur Hellman told the Daily Journal, the West Coast legal newspaper. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski filed an objection to a class action settlement that was pending in the Central District of California, part of the Ninth Circuit. Two judges of the district have already disqualified themselves from considering the settlement, and the question now is who will hear the case. “The combination of circumstances that the objection comes from the chief judge of the circuit while the matter is pending before the district judge in that circuit – I’d be astonished if that has ever happened before,” Hellman said. Chief Justice John G. Roberts could be asked to designate a judge from another circuit, but that request would ordinarily come from the chief judge. Hellman predicted that the most senior active judge of the Ninth Circuit, Harr y Pregerson, would make the request. However, one of the district judges who recused is Judge Pregerson’s son, so perhaps the responsibility will fall to the next judge, Stephen Reinhardt. 

The full story is available to subscribers only here.

Friday, January 10, 2014 - 9:20am

Professor John Burkoff was quoted in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review about the case of a University of Pittsburgh researcher, Robert Ferrante, accused of killing his wife with cyanide who is seeking permission from a judge to unfreeze his assets so that he can spend more money on his defense. Ferrante has about $2.2 million spread over six bank accounts, and previously received permission to spend $280,000 to defend himself.

“It's not necessarily an excessive amount of money when one wants good representation,” said Professor John Burkoff. “The truth of the matter is that there are some very expensive lawyers, and some of those lawyers are expensive for a good reason — namely, they're good.”

Monday, January 6, 2014 - 3:43pm

Professor John Burkoff commented on a  21-year old homicide cold case where the defendant received a 3 to 6 year sentence after suddenly -- during jury selection -- pleading no contest to the killing of his wife who drowned in a swimming pool.  As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported: "By accepting the plea, which does not acknowledge guilt, Lang avoided trial and a possible life sentence. Given that risk, he may have perceived the offer to be a good deal, said John Burkoff, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who hadn't reviewed the case but spoke generally. 'The prosecution and the defense reached an agreement where both sides got something and both sides gave something up,' he said."


Read more here:

Monday, January 6, 2014 - 3:15pm

Professor Tony Infanti was recently quoted in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story on the ACLU lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's defense of marriage act.  Of the commonwealth's requests, Infanti said they seem "intrusive" and "borderline harassing."

Read more of Professor Infanti's comments as well as the full article here




Friday, January 3, 2014 - 10:17am

Dean William M. Carter, Jr. has been selected for the Lawyers Of Color’s Third Annual Power List, a comprehensive catalog of the nation’s most influential minority attorneys. Honorees will be honored at a reception on February 26, 2014, at The Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. and will also be profiled in Lawyers Of Color's Power List Special Edition (2014).

Friday, January 3, 2014 - 10:10am

A proposed amendment to the Judicial Code co-authored by Pitt Law Professor Arthur D. Hellman was cited in testimony at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on patent law reform. The proposed amendment would override the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Gunn v. Minton, holding that legal malpractice actions based on underlying patent matters generally cannot be heard in federal courts. Hellman worked with Edward Reines, a prominent member of the Federal Circuit bar who has worked in the area of patent rules for many years, to craft the proposal. Philip S. Johnson, testifying on behalf of the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform, quoted the proposal in his testimony at the hearing entitled “Protecting Small Businesses and Promoting Innovation by Limiting Patent Troll Abuse.” He emphasized the importance of enacting legislation to avoid the results likely to occur if lower courts read Gunn broadly.

Read more here.  


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