University of Pittsburgh

Faculty News

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 2:01pm

A recent U.S. News & World Report article highlights the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s health law certificate program and the unique strengths that place Pitt Law ahead of the curve in preparing J.D. candidates for the healthcare legal market. The Affordable Care Act’s recent implementation has created new regulatory and compliance paradigms, and companies and law firms are scrambling for well-prepared J.D. graduates to navigate the new legal territory.

“One of the nicknames for the Affordable Care Act is the ‘Lawyers Full Employment Act’,” says Pitt Law Professor of Bioethics Alan Meisel in the U.S. News & World Report article. “There's just so many possibilities for legal issues to arise.”

Few law schools offer concentrations in health law, but Pitt Law is one that offers a health law certificate, which is directed by Professor Meisel and was ranked 13th in the nation by the 2014 U.S. News & World Report. “Some schools offer one or two health law courses, while others offer more than half a dozen,” the U.S. News & World Report article states. “Students should go for the latter option, experts say.”

Pitt Law offers 18 courses, seminars and practicums covering varied aspects of health law that can be applied toward the health law certificate.

On top of the array of courses available to Pitt Law students, U.S. News & World Report also highlighted Pitt Law’s strengths in offering interdisciplinary and experiential learning. “One of the components of a successful certificate program is that there be some kind of experiential learning, which might involve either a clinic or a practicum or an externship,” says Meisel in the article. One of Pitt Law’s health law courses includes a newly debuted two-semester practicum that immerses students in public health insurance scenarios via APPRISE, the school’s free health insurance counseling service offered to older Pennsylvanians.

Pitt Law also offers J.D. candidates the opportunity to simultaneously pursue a Master of Public Health degree (a Pitt program ranked 11th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report). In addition, the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Bioethics and Health Law, prestigious School of Medicine, and the Graduate School of Public Health offer paramount resources for law students regarding bioethics and healthcare scholarship. The high-caliber interdisciplinary and practicum options available to Pitt Law students means the school can produce J.D. graduates who have a unique breadth and prescient acumen in the rapidly growing health law field straight out of law school.

Read the U.S. News & World Report article here. Learn more about Pitt Law’s Health Law Certificate Program here.

Monday, November 4, 2013 - 4:31pm

Professor John Burkoff was quoted in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review about the significance of Mike McQueary's testimony in the upcoming trial of Penn State administrators for failure to report suspected child abuse. Burkoff was quoted as saying that "[i]f the jury believes McQueary's story, then the focus of the trial becomes, ‘What did these three people do next?' If jurors don't believe his story, there's more to the trial.”

Read the full story here.

Friday, November 1, 2013 - 9:31am

Professor John Burkoff commented both Pittsburgh daily newspapers about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's 4-3 decision that a U.S. Supreme Court decision finding mandatory life sentences for juveniles unconstitutional was not retroactive. In the Post-Gazette, Burkoff said, ""This is an important decision affecting lots of people in critical ways. I truly doubt that this will be the last word on the matter. I think that the U.S. Supreme Court will want to weigh in on this issue, and that there's every chance that this decision will be reversed." In the Tribune Review, Burkoff added, "The fact that there is mixed law in the states and mixed law in the lower courts only heightens the probability that the U.S. Supreme Court will resolve this conflict. This isn't the end of the issue. I'm sure it will go up.”

Read the Post-Gazette article here or the Tribune-Review article here.  

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 1:58pm

A recent article covering the rapid growth of immigration law practice in the National Jurist magazine highlighted Pitt Law's own Immigration Law Clinic and extensively quoted Pitt Law Professor Sheila Vélez Martínez.
The article by National Jurist writer David Ogul states that those interested in the immigration law field should "go beyond the routine before they graduate" by exploring valuable comprehensive immigration law clinics such as the one provided by Pitt Law. 
"Legal clinics provide valuable hands-on experience to students," Professor Vélez Martínez says in the article. "They also allow students to network with practitioners in the area, with the agencies and with the court."
Ogul highlights in the article that at the University of Pittsburgh clinic, students perofrm all aspects of case prepration, including interviewing clients, writing pleadings, appearing in immigration court, appearing before administrative agencies and managing post-relief issues.
Read the rest of the National Jurist article here. Students interested in the Immigration Law Clinic can visit the Immigration Law Clinic page on the Pitt Law website.

Monday, October 28, 2013 - 9:21am

In an interview with the Associated Press, Professor David Harris discussed the long running grand jury investigation of the Steubenville (Ohio) rape case. Professor Harris said that although the investigation has been going on for five months, the amount of time that has elapsed is not unusual. The article appeared in the New York Daily News and many other publications.

Read the full article here.

Monday, October 28, 2013 - 9:11am

Professor David Harris was interviewed by Germany's ARD Television on the use of video and body worn video cameras by police in the U.S. A federal judge in New York has ordered the city's police department to conduct pilot studies of the use of body worn video cameras; Harris has written the only law review article on the use of these devices by police. Harris spoke to ARD journalists at the network's bureau in New York; his interview will become part of a documentary on American police and their use of technology. ARD is a large public broadcasting network in Germany.

For more on ARD, click here.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 9:42am

Professor John Burkoff was quoted in a Pittsburgh Tribune Review article raising the issue of why Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Castille is running for reelection to a 10-year term when he can only serve one year of that term due to mandatory retirement age rules. “The chief justice loves his job. And he's good at it,” Burkoff commented, “And there is no sign that he's slowing down.”

Read the full story here.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 3:59pm

Professor John Burkoff commented in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review on a legislative initiative to amend the state Constitution to raise the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75. “We do ourselves a disservice by forcing retirement (of judges) so early,” Burkoff commented, “I think it would make a lot more sense to let judges stay on the bench longer, at least until the point where they actually show signs that they can no longer do the job effectively.”

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 3:15pm

Some federal courts have responded to the federal government “shutdown” by declaring all of their employees “essential.” Would judges in those courts have to disqualify themselves if presented with a legal challenge to similar decisions by executive branch agencies? The Wall Street Journal posed that question to Pitt Law Professor Arthur D. Hellman, an expert on federal courts. Hellman said that there could be an ethical question, particularly “if the judge presiding over such a dispute had a hand in crafting the court’s own shutdown policy.”
Hellman added: “Very likely any such suit would be thrown out on standing grounds, but you would still need judges to throw it out.”

Read the full article here.  

Friday, October 11, 2013 - 9:45am

David Garrow spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, October 10, as part of a 2-hour panel discussion of how the Freedom of Information Act and energetic litigation by news organizations can help expose long-buried secrets about the Federal Bureau of Investigation's use of paid informants targeted against the African-American civil rights movement from the 1950s into the 1970s. Joining Garrow on the panel were Marc Perrusquia of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, whose dogged investigative journalism exposed famous civil rights photographer Ernest Withers as a long-time, paid FBI information, Holland & Knight partner Charles D. Tobin, who undertook the Commercial Appeal's successful federal court litigation against the FBI, and E.W. Scripps Co. vice presidents Mizell Stewart III and David M. Giles, whose corporate-level support of Perrusquia and Tobin made the litigation possible.

The panel, sponsored by the National Press Club’s Press Freedom Committee, was videotaped by C-Span for national television broadcast sometime in late October.  Read more here.  

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