Elizabeth Seitz, ’06, just wanted to help. She found a way, inspired by the outreach efforts of the Student Hurricane Network (SHN), newly formed in 2005 in response to the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. A national organization of law students from law schools across the U.S., the SHN provides “relief efforts and rebuilding assistance” to those in hurricane-affected communities of the Gulf Coast. In little over a year, the Network has quickly grown to include over 60 U.S. law school chapters, populated by hundreds of law school volunteers—one of whom was third-year Pitt Law student, Elizabeth Seitz.
Deeply committed to the Student Hurricane Network project, Seitz’s enterprising and empathetic efforts led to the creation of a Pitt Law chapter. Seitz, together with 16 other Pitt Law students from this newly formed chapter, traveled to the Gulf Coast in March. There, they joined with over 700 law students from SHN chapters around the country, dedicating their spring breaks to help those living amid the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. They volunteered with various legal and community organizations throughout the Gulf Coast.
The Pitt Law students collaborated on six diverse projects to help rebuild the communities as well as the lives of those in hurricane-ravaged communities. “Fifteen of us spent a week working in New Orleans,” said Seitz, “while one of us worked in Gulfport, Mississippi, that week.” Seitz worked in the New Orleans Legal Assistance Center (NOLAC), a non-profit legal aid center, tracking down family members—many of whom had been evacuated to other areas or other states—in child custody cases or in child support cases. Other students worked with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) to gut and prepare houses for rebuilding. And still others worked with Juvenile Court or on projects concerning FEMA claims.
“To see the level of destruction, to see the effects of this disaster on people’s lives, and to see the unsinkable spirit of the people of New Orleans—it was all very moving. The people of New Orleans were happy to see us and grateful for our help. And we, in turn, were just so grateful that we could be of help.”
Vivian Curran, Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, continues to be internationally recognized for her scholarship and expertise.
Professor Curran was most recently invited to join the prestigious Internationalization of Law network—an initiative of the Collège de France, the premier academic institution in France. Curran joins this 12-member body, comprised of distinguished legal scholars and judges such as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer as well as three French supreme court justices. In April, Professor Curran spoke before this group on the “French Perspective of the Internationalization of Law,” discussing the global interaction of common law and civil law.
Curran has also recently been asked to be the U.S. representative of the new International Alliance for Advanced Judicial Studies, a global network comprised of distinguished judges, scholars, and practitioners of law to enhance the exchange of ideas across the world. In addition, Professor Curran joined the American Law Institute’s Consultative Group for Property:Wills and Other Donative Instruments.
Professor Curran continued her work as the U.S. representative to the Austrian government’s General Settlement Fund. She was appointed by the U.S. Department of State to be the U.S. member of the Fund’s international three-member committee that includes members from Austria and Great Britain.
Widely regarded as one of the leading comparative law scholars in the United States, Professor Curran applies comparative law to study and explain how national law is becoming internationalized.
Pitt Law Professor Michael Madison, nationally known intellectual property scholar, will host the 2006 Works In Progress Intellectual Property Colloquium October 6 and 7 at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Leading intellectual property scholars from law schools around the country will gather at Pitt Law to present early-stage scholarship to other intellectual property faculty in order to get pre-publication feedback. Over 35 scholars are scheduled to present their scholarship.
The Colloquium, now in its fourth year, fosters open discussion of academic work in the field. Schools of Law at Tulane University, Boston University, and Washington University (with co-sponsorship by St. Louis University) have hosted the program in previous years.
This program is one of three national programs specifically designed for conversations about scholarship and ideas among intellectual property scholars. The other two programs are the Intellectual Property (IP) Scholars Roundtable held annually at Michigan State and the Intellectual Property Scholars Conference that rotates among Cardozo, De Paul, and Boalt Hall (with co-sponsorship by Stanford University) each August.
It was a Styrofoam ball—about the size of a golf ball—painted red. Anything it touched bore the telltale signs of red paint residue. But the ball was never meant for sport or to be held in one’s hands. It was a mid-1960s promotion of the Atlantic Richfield Company —a symbol of their “Red Ball Service.” Pulling into an Atlantic Richfield—or ARCO gas station—an attendant filled the tank, cleaned the car’s windows, checked the oil, checked the tires (yes, gas station attendants actually did all of these things), and, to signify you had indeed received Red Ball Service, slid the red Styrofoam ball onto your antenna (when antennas were not retractable).
But the Red Ball would carry a far different meaning and a much greater significance for a small band of students from the Class of ’69. The legend of the Red Ball would grow, becoming an iconic chapter in Pitt Law lore. Indeed, this little Red Ball would take its own place in Law School history—with one page dedicated to the infamous Red Ball in the only written history of the Law School, The Law Down, written by former Pitt Law Dean Ed Sell.
Call them Red Ball matches, if you will. The Law School, then residing on the 13–15 floors of the Cathedral of Learning, had large, lecture halls filled with long wooden benches and long wooden desks. Several students decided to convert one of these classrooms into a makeshift handball court, playing a form of handball as they used their hands to hit the Red Ball against the white, classroom walls. The game soon evolved into doubles, with an agreed-upon set of rules and even a lines-keeper.
One fateful evening several members of the Class of ’69, among them Harry Gruener and Frank Yourick were playing a game of Red Ball. The designated “lines-keeper,” in an attempt to get the best possible view, sat in a Wimbledon-like pose some 10 feet in the air on a chair precariously perched atop one of the long medieval-looking wooden classroom benches—wildly waving his hands as he called the “ins” and “outs” of the game. It was at that moment that Dean Ed Sell walked in, mouth agape, attempting to process the scene before him.
“There we were, playing a rousing game of Red Ball, hitting the Red Ball against the freshly painted white walls of this Cathedral of Learning classroom,” said former Red Ball participant Harry Gruener. “And each time the Red Ball hit the wall, it left a little red dot behind. So there, on this huge expanse of white wall, were thousands of little red dots—looking a bit like it had a case of chickenpox. The look on Dean Sell’s face said it all.”
Needless to say, the Red Ball matches were no longer played against the white wall of the 15th floor classroom. The Red Ball enthusiasts simply moved to the 13th floor. And there the matches evolved into a form of pingpong.
Yes, the Red Ball enthusiasts were undeterred by their setbacks and began to play across a large wooden desk, enjoying “a much superior game,” as former Red Ball devotee Frank Yourick recalled.
“One night I, known as ‘The Hammer’ in this game, was in a match with fellow classmate Ted Brooks, known as ‘The Retriever,’ when Brooks careened into the glass classroom door in a failed attempt to ‘retrieve’ a perfect shot, shattering the full length glass portion of the door. We spent the next several hours scouring the Cathedral of Learning for a replacement door. We unhinged a door from an eighth floor classroom, installing it on the 13th floor. It was now the middle of the night as we finished our ‘installation,’ only to realize that this new 13th floor classroom door bore the classroom number 830. We knew the Red Ball matches were over and Associate Dean Tom White confirmed that with us the next day.”
A number of Red Ball aficionados got together recently for a reunion of sorts, many of whom had not seen each other since law school. They included Class of ’69 members Harry Gruener, Clinical Professor of Law at Pitt Law and partner at Goldberg, Gruener, Gentile, Horoho, & Avalli, P.C.; Frank Yourick of Frank E. Yourick & Associates; Ted Brooks of Tucker Arensberg, P.C.; Wayne DeLuca of Eddy Osterman & DeLuca; Bill Johnson, practicing in Washington County; Gerry Marcovsky; Rob Murray and Rick Davis. They share a common legacy, this appreciation of the Red Ball. A legacy that will now be forever memorialized as the Red Ball is enshrined within the School’s first floor Alumni Case.
And, so, there you have it—the short but infamous history of the Red Ball at Pitt Law.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Law faculty are among the nation’s most distinguished and prolific legal scholars. Their robust record of scholarly work has once again been nationally recognized, placing the Pitt Law faculty among the country’s leading law faculties. Pitt Law faculty ranked 28th nationally in a study by University of Texas Law Professor Brian Leiter, measuring the quality of law faculties as based on the scholarly impact of their work.
Arthur D. Hellman, Pitt Professor of Law, testified before a legislative hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security concerning the “Judicial Transparency and Ethics Enhancement Act of 2006” (H.R. 5219). This bill would create an independent Inspector General for the federal judiciary, appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States, to “conduct investigations of complaints of judicial misconduct, conduct and supervise audits, detect and prevent waste, fraud and abuse, and recommend changes in laws or regulations governing the judicial branch.”