University of Pittsburgh

Faculty News

Sunday, June 26, 2011 - 6:36pm

Professor John Burkoff commented on the final efforts of the defense in the guilt phase of the Richard Poplawski trial in Pittsburgh.  The defense had little good evidence to work with to assert that Poplawski might not be guilty, said Professor Burkoff.  The types of questions being asked by the defense meant that "defense counsel has a very difficult case, to put it mildly, and what they're doing is preparing for the next phase," in which the question will be whether or not Poplawski gets the death penalty.


Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 3:08pm

Professor Larry Frolik will give a talk on June 25 at the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) in Atlanta, Georgia at the Annual Summer Meeting.  Professor Frolik will discuss “Dealing with the Partially Incapacitated Client: How to Prevent Financial Abuse, Undue Influence and Other Ills of Aging.”

Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 3:03pm

Pitt Law Professor John Burkoff shares his opinion on the approach of the prosecution in the Poplawski trial.  He says that prosecutors want to play to the penalty phase, in which the jury would decide on life or death if it convicts Poplawski of first-degree murder.


Read the full article here

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 1:41pm

Professor David Harris discussed the settlement of a case against the Philadelphia Police Department for excessive use of stops and frisks, especially against African Americans.  The settlement mandates better and more extensive collection of data on stops and frisks, and regular review of the data by an independent monitor.  “The vast majority of police departments do not track this activity.  This should not be something that the public has to ask for or even go to court for. This is something that should be routine,” Professor Harris said.  The Associated Press article appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and many other papers, as well as in Yahoo News.


Link to Washington Post article


Link to Yahoo News article

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 1:31pm

Professor John Burkoff commented on the court's exclusion of a statement made by the defendant's mother, in which she told police that her son killed police officers.  Professor Burkoff said that the judge probably kept the statement out of the trial because it seems conclusive on exactly the issue that the jury must decide: whether or not Poplawski killed the three officers.



Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 1:26pm

Professor of Legal Writing Ben Bratman has published "Legal Research and Writing as a Proxy: Using Traditional Assignments to Achieve a More Fundamental Form of Practice Readiness," in the Spring 2011 edition of The Second Draft, the newsletter of the Legal Writing Institute.  From the article:


Regardless of what precisely beginning lawyers are writing or doing, there remains much to be said for requiring first-year students to complete the traditional troika of a formal inter-office memorandum, an appellate brief, and an appellate oral argument. . .[M]ost practicing lawyers will not perform all of these tasks during their careers, and many practicing lawyers will not perform any of them. Yet, each of these assignments retains considerable importance as an effective tool for instilling fundamental attributes of a good lawyer that go well beyond the basics of analysis and writing, and that ultimately can make a graduate more marketable and employable.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 8:54am

Professor Jessie Allen discussed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Wal-Mart case, in which more than a million female employees sued the company for sex discrimination.  The Supreme Court ruled that these women could not proceed through a class action lawsuit.  In the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Professor Allen explained that the Wal-Mart decision was the latest of a string of cases that has made it harder to sue for employment discrimination.  "[These cases] are gate-keeping decisions about the procedural rules that govern what it takes to get any case into federal court, but together, they tend to keep job discrimination plaintiffs out of the courthouse," she explained.


Link to story

Monday, June 20, 2011 - 10:22am

On June 15, 2011, Professor Ronald Brand participated in the Study Group on implementation of the Hague Choice of Court Convention of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law, in Washington, D.C.  The Study Group is used by the Assistant Legal Adviser for Private International Law to review and give advice on current proposals.  Its current focus is on the coordination of state and federal law in the implementation of the Hague Convention. The Study Group meeting was led by Assistant Legal Adviser Keith Loken, and the Legal Adviser, Harold Koh, was present to address the group and engage in discussion.

Monday, June 20, 2011 - 10:03am

Professor Nancy Burkoff gave a presentation to an international audience of lawyers and law students on Comparative Civil and Common Law Analysis at the Twenty-First Century Legal Skills Conference in Istanbul, Turkey.  The conference was co-sponsored by the Legal Writing Institute and Bahcesehir University.  Professor Burkoff also participated in a panel discussion on Rule of Law, and in a press conference.


Monday, June 20, 2011 - 9:51am

Professor Jules Lobel told the Washington Post that President Obama needs Congressional approval under the War Powers Act for the U.S. military's involvement in the hostilities in Libya.  Professor Lobel asserted that the Administration's position -- that it needs no approval because it is only engaged in supporting NATO's actions -- is not correct.  “They are involved in a war, and the fact that they are in a support role, that I don’t think is dispositive in the War Powers Resolution debate,” he said.


Link to Washington Post article

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