Westchester County Business Journal: “Pace teacher’s article cited by Liberian court”

An article written by Pace Law Professor Alexander “Sasha” Greenawalt was cited by the Special Court for Sierra Leone when it upheld the conviction and 50-year sentence of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

An article written by Pace Law Professor Alexander “Sasha” Greenawalt was cited by the Special Court for Sierra Leone when it upheld the conviction and 50-year sentence of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

Read about it in Westchester County Business Journal.

Westchester County Business Journal: “Pace embraces community law”

. . . “It’s a wonderful program,” said Pace University President Stephen J. Friedman, an attorney who previously served as Pace Law School dean. “Pace Law School has a long commitment to public service and to pro bono service. We have a number of longstanding legal clinics. This is a very important addition to those efforts.”

. . . “It’s a wonderful program,” said Pace University President Stephen J. Friedman, an attorney who previously served as Pace Law School dean. “Pace Law School has a long commitment to public service and to pro bono service. We have a number of longstanding legal clinics. This is a very important addition to those efforts.”

Read the article in Westchester County Business Journal.

Westchester.com: When Carnivores Become Neighbors Discussion

Westchester.com posted a story on Pace’s upcoming roundtable discussion, “When Carnivores Become Neighbors.”

Westchester.com listed information on the upcoming roundtable discussion, “When Carnivores Become Neighbors.”

From Westchester.com:

With bobcat, coyote and mountain lion sightings around Westchester County making headlines, the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies will hold a public roundtable discussion at Pace University in Pleasantville Thursday, Oct. 11 at 6:30p.m. on carnivore movement, impacts, and policy.

Environmental experts will discuss ways to balance carnivore and suburban human populations, exploring the ecological and social implications of “re-wilding” Westchester that has come about with changing landscapes and the adaptation of carnivores. The panel will consist of Conrad Reining, the Eastern Program Director of the Wildlands Network, and Pace professors Melissa Grigione, professor of biology and director of the environmental science graduate program; David Cassuto, environmental and animal law professor; and Michelle Land, professor of environmental policy and director of the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies.

Carnivores play an essential role in a balanced ecosystem and they provide us with an opportunity to preserve many of the remaining intact forests and open lands in North America. Carnivores also regulate “pest” species, such as rodents and help keep deer populations in check thereby reducing car collisions and Lyme Disease. Grigione and her students research and track carnivores to determine numbers and their migration patterns. She has been called upon by news media in recent years after sightings to share expertise gleaned from years of field research, often reassuring that humans are not in danger. Grigione adds, “In addition to their importance in the ecosystem, carnivores allow us to appreciate true wildness because many of the carnivore species will never fully cohabitate with humans.”

DETAILS:

WHAT: “When Carnivores Become Neighbors,” a roundtable discussion on living near carnivores

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 6:30p.m. – 8:30p.m.

WHERE: Pace University, 861 Bedford Road, Pleasantville, NY, entrance 3, Kessel Student Center, Gottesman Room.

WHO: Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies www.pace.edu/paaes/wildlife-westchester.

This event is free and open to the public. RSVP paceacademy@pace.edu.

View the press release on the event here.

Huffington Post: Law Schools in the Dock

From Law professor Bennett Gershman’s regular column on the Huffington Post:

Have the nation’s law schools been cheating their students? Have the nation’s law schools been engaged in an ongoing fraud by misrepresenting the value of a legal education? Have law students accepted law school offers based on a law school’s false or misleading representation of job opportunities upon graduation?

That is the essence of nearly a dozen complaints filed against law schools recently by graduated students who claim they were taken in by false solicitations from their law school’s marketing materials containing inflated and sometimes false data about employment opportunities upon graduation. These students paid high tuitions, often with borrowed money, and now are without work and competing for increasingly scarce law jobs, and who face the bleak prospect of crushing debt with little hope of relief. At least, that’s what these complaints allege. The plaintiff’s complaint quotes Richard Matasar, New York Law School’s dean, who asserts that law schools deans “should be ashamed of ourselves.” “We own our students outcomes. We took their money, and if they don’t have a good outcome in life, we’re exploiting them.”

The students’ complaint alleges that for several years, New York Law School (and other law schools in other parts of the country) represented in its marketing materials to prospective students that between 90 and 92 percent of its graduates secured employment within nine months after graduation. A student contemplating enrolling in the law school might actually believe that these numbers represented full-time permanent law positions for which a law degree is necessary. However, these numbers included jobs that had nothing to do with the legal profession, but included, for example, a saleswoman in a department store, a legal secretary, and unemployed graduates hired by the law school as “research assistants.”

Along with this solicitation, New York Law School charged a very high tuition, more than double from $22,900 in 2000 to the current $47,800. According to the U.S. News rankings of law schools nationwide, New York Law School ranks 135th, but it ranks in the top 10 law schools with the highest average indebtedness of graduating students, at over $146,000.

But New York Law School is not alone in the way it represented job prospects to prospective students. Many law schools apparently used inflated job numbers and salaries to attract students. And in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the contraction in the demand for legal services has been unprecedented. Hiring at many firms has been suspended; law firms are splitting up and downsizing; new billing arrangements are limiting the need for more lawyers. So, the legal question is whether law schools operating in this economic maelstrom are guilty of fraudulent conduct by deceiving students as to the “true value” of a law degree?

Law schools for now can breathe easier. Last week in New York State Supreme Court, the complaint against New York Law School was dismissed by Justice Melvin Schweitzer. The judge focused heavily on how a reasonable student would understand the law school’s data about post-graduate employment and salaries when making a decision to attend that law school. The legal test, according to the court, is not whether the law school made misleading representations that may have deceived prospective students. Rather, the test is whether the representations, even if misleading, were material or important enough that a reasonable student acting reasonably would be duped by the come-on.

The court found that reasonable consumers — college graduates — who were seriously contemplating going to law school are a “sophisticated subset of education consumers, capable of sifting through data and weighing alternatives before making a decision regarding their post-college options.” The court noted that these reasonable consumers have available to them a wide variety of sources of information to consult before deciding whether to apply to a professional school. Given the impact of the recession on the legal job market, prospective law students acting reasonably would have to know that dramatic changes in the economy would likely impact the legal profession and their chance of getting a job upon graduation.

Did students rely on the law school’s misleading employment and salary data that appeared from 2005-2009 on the law school’s website, in its marketing materials, and in publications by third-party clearinghouses? The court suggested that the students may have relied on this information to their detriment, but once again, as the court noted, their reliance must have been reasonable. They had ample opportunity to learn from numerous sources about their post-graduation employment prospects; it was not reasonable for them to confine their research and reliance to a few sentences in the law school’s marketing materials.

Whether any of these complaints have any merit legally is questionable. But the other big question is whether the law school industry for several years has been manipulating its job numbers to compete in an increasingly over-saturated market for lawyers, and whether the market forces will correct themselves any time soon. Transparency is critical. U.S. News in making its rankings will demand much more transparent employment data. The American Bar Association has recently enacted guidelines to require law schools to report true post-graduate employment statistics. And law schools will much more carefully review and report data that represents the truth. To be sure, the reality is that consumers of a legal education may not all be the “sophisticated consumer” that the court in the New York Law School law suit described. But even if unsophisticated, they bear the risk. As the old, and discredited, saying goes: “Let the Buyer Beware.”

via Bennett L. Gershman: Law Schools in the Dock.

The Journal News: ‘Slam Dunk’ Verdict Called ‘Turning Point’ for Yonkers

“I think the jury worked very, very hard and very carefully,” said Bennett Gershman, a legal analyst and professor at Pace University School of Law. “They obviously checked on the issue of credibility because they asked for Mangone’s testimony and Jereis’ testimony. They obviously found that they believed Mangone.”

Pace Law professor Ben Gershman told The Journal News “I think the jury worked very, very hard and very carefully.”

From The Journal News:

Few who followed the corruption trial of Sandy Annabi and Zehy Jereis were surprised Thursday by the jury’s guilty verdict, even as many said they hoped the city could move on from the scandal.

The five-week trial was the final act in a federal probe that had hung over the city since at least March 2007, when word  leaked that an investigation was under way.

Mayor Mike Spano said Thursday the verdict was “a turning point” for Yonkers, adding that he hopes the conviction will serve as a deterrent against future malfeasance.

“This says, very clearly and very loudly, ‘If you are elected, you are entrusted with public dollars — and if you are in any way complicit in taking illegal gifts, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Spano said.

The mayor — whose brother, former state Sen. Nicholas Spano, pleaded guilty in February to tax-evasion charges — also called the verdict a “slam dunk for prosecutors,” adding that “it sends a strong message that violating the public trust won’t be tolerated.”

Read the rest at lohud.com.

Westchester County Business Journal: Law students pursue ideals and jobs in seeking specialties

Environmental law is a specialty at Pace, which has had its program for 30 years. It has been rated the third-best environmental program in the U.S. for nearly 20 years.

From the Westchester County Business Journal:

For those who are still choosing law as a career, what are they choosing to study?

At Pace, officials point to three areas: environmental law, international law and intellectual property law.

“Environmental law is popular now,” said David Cassuto, a professor who teaches in that area. “The reasons are tied to the state of the world climate, where climate change is an increasing concern. Many firms have climate change practices. It will have a significant impact on the legal landscape. For instance, if carbon emissions cause the climate temperature to rise and that causes damage to someone’s beachfront property, is the emitter liable?”

Cassuto said there is a great deal of current litigation over the issue of emissions control and noted the number of cases pending before the Supreme Court that deal with climate change.

One issue currently in litigation is the extent of the authority of the federal Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon emissions. “A 2008 case, Massachusetts vs. EPA, gave it the authority. The question now is, how much?” said Cassuto.

Cassuto also teaches water allocation law. “There’s a shortage of water in the West and increasing shortages in the East. The amount of water hasn’t changed, but the number of people using it has,” he said. He singled out the Colorado River as the source of much litigation in recent years.

There is also the issue of rights to various bodies of water. “The Great Lakes cross a boundary between the US and Canada. There is the issue of regulating access to them. Who has the right to this water?” Cassuto said.
In another area of environmental law, Cassuto teaches animal rights law. “There are environmental and sociological implications,” he said. “Why can we treat other species the way we do? And what about the way they’re used in industry?”

Environmental law is a specialty at Pace, which has had its program for 30 years. It has been rated the third-best environmental program in the U.S. for nearly 20 years.

“Climate change is certainly an area for jobs,” said Cassuto. “We offer an L.L.M, (master’s in law) with a specialization in climate change. It’s hard to get a job regardless of your specialization, but I believe environmental law will emerge stronger from this downturn.”

Read the full article here.

The Journal News: Bike Lanes Part of Tappan Zee Bridge Bidding Plan

Karl Coplan, co-director of the Pace University Environmental Litigation Clinic, is one commuter who would use the path.

The Journal News ran a story on a potential bike path for the new Tappan Zee Bridge and a Pace employee who might use it.

From The Journal News:

Whatever happens with the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement, it seems there will be a new way to get to work for some of its crossers.

Bicycle.

The Request for Proposal issued Friday requires the teams bidding to build the bridge to include a 12-foot-wide path for walking and bicycling.

That opportunity isn’t likely to quiet the debate over the bridge, which is raging at its hottest as  Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration presses on toward a construction start this year.

Many of those who would most welcome a bike path — advocates for alternatives to driving — are also those who are unhappy that the bridge won’t come with a new mass transit system.

But it would be an amenity many would enjoy. Certainly, for recreational use — say, a bike trip to Piermont from Westchester — it’s a natural.

And it would present an opportunity to advance commuting by pedal power. At least for some.

The bridge itself would be about 3 miles long, so the best opportunities to use it for a ride to work would be those areas not too far from the bridge.

The typical bike commute is 5 miles or less, said Darren Flusche, policy director with the League of American Bicyclists in Washington, D.C.

But there are hardier cyclers. Some will pedal as far as 20 or 25 miles each way, said David Wilson, executive director of the Bike Walk Alliance of Westchester and Putnam.

Karl Coplan, co-director of the Pace University Environmental Litigation Clinic, is one commuter who would use the path. The Rockland resident’s commute now is often a complicated trek, riding a bike to a boat club in Nyack, paddling a kayak across the Hudson River to another boat club in Tarrytown, where he picks up a second bike for the 8-mile ride to the college’s White Plains campus.

Read the rest of the article at lohud.com.

The Journal News/Lohud.com: Region Can be Ready for Smart Planning

Pace Law Professor John Nolon argues that a new Tappan Zee Bridge offers opportunities for smart, transit-oriented development, via state support and assistance from the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council.

An Op-ed by law professor John Nolon was published by The Journal News.

From the article:

The Journal News has done the region a great service through its recent reports and editorials on the need for detailed, comprehensive planning at the local level. This is the antidote for ill-considered and isolated land-use decisions, particularly those that harm wetlands and watersheds,  increase flooding and promote wasteful sprawl. But detailed, informed comprehensive plans are expensive, particularly if they  guide development decisions for individual parcels.

Local governments could  do such planning 40 years ago under a federal program that provided  significant funding. They were motivated to plan because they became more competitive for other federal programs. Comprehensive planning came of age and developed an excellent reputation  because of the federal funds provided. Most states do not provide comprehensive planning grants to  towns, cities and villages. Localities are “encouraged, but not required” to have comprehensive plans under state law, which adds that land-use planning and regulation “is one of the most important functions of local government.” New York has provided some help to good effect, notably in local waterfront areas, but there has  been no consistent, well-funded commitment to furthering comprehensive planning. The 2 percent tax-levy cap makes local governments unlikely to appropriate the funds to cover the  costs of needed land-use plans.

Tappan Zee key

It would be  easy for the state to provide localities the help they need, especially in the Lower Hudson Valley. There is nearly unanimous sentiment that the Tappan Zee Bridge should include transit now or in the near future. For transit — bus or commuter rail — to function efficiently, regional transportation planning and local land-use planning must connect. Bus and train station neighborhoods need to be planned carefully, then land-use regulations must be adopted to implement those plans. These are local prerogatives. The size and density of development around transit stations depend on the intensity of the ridership projected, and many of these transit station areas can be hubs for retail, office and residential development: the kind that adds  to the tax revenue of the local governments and that makes transit systems feasible. For  neighborhoods to absorb this additional density, transit station areas must be  well designed, fitted into the regional network, traffic must be  managed, parking provided and lively and livable places created. These  issues  occupy regional transportation agencies and their planners. Such fine-grained planning carries a cost, but it has been done in many neighborhoods nationwide that support transit-oriented development . A modest percentage of the capital costs of a huge project like the Tappan Zee Bridge would cover the costs of cogent, comprehensive and coordinated land-use and transportation planning.

Read the rest of the article at lohud.com.

The writer is counsel, Pace University School of Law Land Use Law Center; and director, Kheel Center on the Resolution of Environmental Interest Disputes.

The Record: Demarest resident named national HIV Hero – NorthJersey.com

Lienhard School of Nursing alumnus Maryann Collins was recently honored as a national HIV Hero for her work with the HIV community. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges that included Grammy Award-winning singer Dionne Warwick, actor Wilson Cruz, movie director Dustin Lance Black, humanitarian and author Malaak Compton-Rock and HIV advocacy leader David Munar.

Excerpted from The Record:

Lienhard alumnus Maryann Collins began working as a nurse at Hackensack University Medical Center caring for HIV/AIDS patients and their families more than 25 years ago because she felt “no one needed more advocacy than this particular group of people.”

Collins, a Demarest resident, was recently honored as a national HIV Hero, for her work with the HIV community.

She first became interested in helping the HIV community when she was a hospice nurse.

“Most of the patients that we saw were cancer patients,” said Collins. “But then we started to see the patients coming from the city with this new disease that they really at that point didn’t have a name for.”

Once HIV/AIDS patients began coming to the hospital HUMC started a hospice to see these patients. However, many nurses had husbands who were dead set against them working with these patients.

“There was a lot of ignorance,” said Collins. “I felt that someone had to do it and my husband was very supportive of me and trusted that I was going to be safe and he supported whatever I wanted to do in that area.”

Collins took it upon herself to get educated – she went to New York City and then to San Francisco to learn as much as possible about HIV. She received her master’s degree in psychiatric nursing and her specialty in catastrophic illnesses from Pace University, and become known as the hospice AIDS nurse.

As a result of caring for HIV/AIDS patients, Collins began to connect with “New Jersey Buddies” and was approached to start a support group on Wednesday evenings.

“I agreed to do it for a little while and now I am still doing it,” she said.

But the support group Collins started was only the beginning.

When she learned about the grant offered under the Ryan White heading, she wrote the initial grant to procure money for impatient needs as well as hospice. Thanks to the Ryan White grant, the hospital now has two clinics that approximately 14 people attend – one on Wednesdays and one on Thursdays. The hospital outsourced the clinics to the North Hudson Community Action Program.

“There are no provisions for HIV patients, because that’s a specialty,” said Collins. “They needed an infectious disease clinic and we expanded the grant to pay for space for both doctors and for things that were necessary to provide ongoing clinic services for people who are uninsured and HIV positive.”

Collins said the care these patients receive is good and may even be better than seeing a private physician because the care they get is “all-inclusive and all-encompassing.” She added that there is money available to send these patients to a specialist, if needed.

Collins also started a day-long program that helps teenagers understand the issues patients face when dealing with HIV. This event takes place annually on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, and caters to more than 15 schools and 500 students.

The two biggest changes Collins has seen since she began working with HIV/AIDS patients deal with medication and knowledge.

When she initially started working with these patients, people were dying monthly.

“Now we have people living 20 years,” said Collins. “The medications have side effects and problems but people are living normal lives and they remain in care and do what they need to do to stay healthy.”

Collins said she has noticed a change in the way people perceive those with HIV/AIDS and the knowledge they have about HIV/AIDS.

However, she said there is still some ignorance and the hospital sees new HIV/AIDS patients all the time.

While Collins has helped many people and their families cope with HIV/AIDS, she said her work has been a gift to her.

“My philosophy is that we all have to die and it is important that we enrich the lives of people dying as best as we can so they do not live in vain and can live life to the fullest,” said Collins. “I deal with it because I feel like not a lot of people want to deal with it.”

She said this has become a major part of her life.

“These people that come to the groups are just wonderful people,” said Collins. “I think I get more from them then I can give.”

She was especially touched when a number of her patients came to visit her when her husband died.

Collins protected the confidentially of these people and was surprised when they came to see her because it jeopardized their confidentiality – her family did not know these people and could have assumed they were her patients.

“They are great, great people who have touched my life in a very special way,” said Collins.

Demarest resident named national HIV Hero : page all – NorthJersey.com.