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Beth Williams Assumes Role as Director of Robert Crown Law Library

Beth Williams is the new director of the Robert Crown Law Library. Photo courtesy of Louisiana State University Law Center.

Beth Williams is the new director of the Robert Crown Law Library. Photo courtesy of Louisiana State University Law Center.

Beth Williams has been appointed director of Stanford Law School’s Robert Crown Law Library. She takes up her position on August 19, becoming the fourth individual to hold it. She comes to Stanford from Louisiana State University Law Center, where she was director of the law library and information services from 2011 to 2015.

“I am thrilled about the prospect of fostering and contributing to the mission of excellence and innovation at Stanford Law School,” she said. “I look forward to continuing the tradition of outstanding service to faculty and students the library is known for in new and creative ways, and to engaging and nurturing the aspirations of a superlative team of librarians and staff.”

“We are very fortunate to have Beth join us. She is a rising star nationally in the world of library directors. She has the right combination of experience and talent to continue the best traditions of our library and take advantage of the opportunities ahead,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, dean and Richard E. Lang Professor of Law at Stanford Law School.

Williams writes about law librarianship and legal research and is an active member of the American Association of Law Libraries. Prior to her position at Louisiana State University Law Center, she worked at Columbia Law School for six years, where she served as head of public services and taught legal research. She also held an appointment as lecturer at Columbia University, teaching graduate courses in information and digital archive management. Before she became a law librarian, she practiced public interest law in Maine. She still maintains an active membership in the Maine State Bar Association.

Williams received her JD from Syracuse University College of Law in 2002 and a Master of Library and Information Science degree with Certificate in Law Librarianship from the University of Washington Information School in 2005. She received a Master of Arts degree in philosophy from Marquette University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in humanities from the University of West Florida.

White House appoints Stanford Law School lecturer to lead U.S. wildlife trafficking alliance

This story was written by Clifton Parker and published in the Stanford Report on Aug. 10.

This young elephant was one of 22 killed by poachers in March 2012 in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo courtesy of Nuria Ortega/African Parks Network

This young elephant was one of 22 killed by poachers in March 2012 in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo courtesy of Nuria Ortega/African Parks Network

When the White House announced last Wednesday it had formed a new alliance to stop wildlife trafficking in the wake of the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, there was a Stanford connection at the center of it all.

David J. Hayes, a distinguished visiting lecturer at Stanford Law School, will head the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, which is asking companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations to join with the U.S. government in efforts to reduce demand for illegal elephant ivory, rhino horn and other wildlife products. He led a practicum at the law school on the international wildlife trafficking crisis in 2014.

Hayes said, “What’s new and different is that the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance will follow a public process to evaluate how best to combat the wildlife trafficking crisis in the U.S.”

He said the alliance builds on President Obama’s National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking, which Hayes and his students helped develop and which was rolled out this past February.

Firms such as eBay, Facebook and Google have already adopted policies and procedures that align with the goals of the alliance, according to the White House release.

Hayes said efforts will be made to raise public awareness about the devastating impact of poaching and illegal trade on elephants, rhinos, tigers and other irreplaceable species; highlight the links between poachers and organized crime; and reduce consumer and commercial demand for wildlife products from those types of animals.

Hayes emphasized the need to mobilize companies to ensure their merchandise does not contain parts or products from illegal wildlife and that traffickers are not using their goods and services. He said the organization will pull together the “major elements of civil society to collaborate” closely with the government on solving the wildlife trafficking crisis.

Finally, White House officials described in a blog post a number of administration initiatives aimed at grappling with the wildlife trafficking crisis, including a plan this fall to host a meeting with leaders of the alliance. Hayes recently talked with the Stanford Report about his what measures the U.S. government can talk.

Stanford Law School Students Assist White House Review of Interagency Climate Change Initiatives

Climate change is blamed for many adverse effects, including coastal erosion, as shown here in Shishmaref, Alaska. Photo courtesy of Alaska Village Electric Cooperative.

Stanford Law School students submitted a report this summer to top White House officials that critiques the way they are implementing climate change policies across the federal government.

Their report analyzes management tools that the White House has used to coordinate efforts to reduce the carbon footprint throughout the federal government, respond to climate impacts on federally managed land and water resources, site more renewable energy facilities on public lands, and share climate impact data with federal agencies and state, tribal and local partners.

“Future presidents must find effective ways for federal and state agencies to work together to tackle climate change issues,” explained David J. Hayes, the Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School (SLS) who led the practicum that produced the report.

White House access

Top officials in the White House, including Brian Deese, counselor to the President; Beth Cobert, deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB); and Christy Goldfuss, managing director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, welcomed the Stanford analysis and cooperated with the effort.

Beth Cobert, an organizational expert who spent most of her career at McKenzie & Company before her appointment as OMB deputy director, offered her perspectives and participated in an extended meeting with the students in late May. President Obama recently appointed her to take over the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The report, called “A 21st Century Governance Challenge: Finding Effective Mechanisms to Address Climate Change Across the Federal Government,” resulted from work the students did in the Energy and Environmental Governance practicum offered this spring as part of the law school’s Law and Policy Lab.  In SLS practicums, students work in small teams, under faculty supervision, with real clients to develop policy solutions to pressing social and environmental issues.

The students in this practicum interviewed officials in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento to identify the organizational approaches that tended to produce better results when implementing climate change-related initiatives in multiple federal agencies.

Hayes explained, “This report analyzes prior and ongoing interagency climate change initiatives and provides a roadmap for improving how multiple federal agencies can more effectively work together, and with the White House, as they grapple with climate change imperatives that require a high level of coordination, cutting across agency lines.”

Mixed results

The students found that success in implementing climate change policies across multiple agencies in enhanced with White House involvement and accountability, clearly defined goals and metrics, budget support and performance incentives.

“It’s incredibly important that the Executive Branch lead the way on climate change issues,” said one of the students, Caitlin Troyer, JD ’17. “This means not only being outspoken about the potential impacts of climate change, but also leading by example and putting the full weight of the Executive Branch behind climate change abatement efforts.”

Claudia Antonacci, JD ’17, noted that managers of interagency initiatives on climate change should “clearly delineate when they start and end new initiatives, so they don’t have legacy issues hanging around.” In researching infrastructure impacts on climate change, she found 15 different documents relating to one initiative and struggled to understand the current status of each of them.

“Federal databases of climate information are outdated and are not designed for users to easily access the information they need,” agreed Neil Raina, JD ’16.

The other SLS students who worked on the report were Adam Bowling, JD ’16; Eeshan Chaturvedi, LLM ‘15; Siddharth Fresa, LLM ‘15; Heather Kryczka, JD ’16; and Michelle Wu, JD ’17.

The report examined different approaches by the federal government and, in one case, the State of California, for coordinating climate change initiatives. The students concluded that approaches have been largely successful in reducing the government’s carbon footprint and in coordinating the siting of major renewable energy projects on public lands. They also found that the State of California has effectively coordinated greenhouse gas reductions across a number of affected agencies.

Efforts to coordinate federal interagency support for addressing climate impacts, responding to climate impacts on natural resources managed by the federal government, and using geographic mapping tools to make climate change impact data widely available have commanded less high-level attention and have been less successful to date.

John Henry Merryman: Art Law Pioneer and Much-Loved Colleague

John Merryman

John Merryman sits in front of a Michael S. Moore painting called “Rivers of Jewels.” Photo by Steve Gladfelter.

This blog was written by Sharon Driscoll, editor of Stanford Lawyer magazine.

It’s often said that the faculty makes a school. In the case of John Henry Merryman, one individual’s influence on Stanford went well beyond the classroom and the launch of a new field of law to the very art on the walls and sculptures on the grounds.

An internationally renowned expert on art and cultural property law as well as comparative law, Merryman dedicated his life to the study and teaching of law at Stanford, influencing generations of lawyers and art historians here and around the world from the time he joined the law faculty in 1953 until his death this week at the age of 95.

“John Merryman was a giant in several fields — comparative law and the field he helped create, art and the law,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and dean of Stanford Law School. “He was a devoted teacher and mentor to his students. He taught his last class, “Stolen Art,” only a couple months ago, and helped launch the careers of many of our graduates who work at the intersection of the arts and the law.”

Merryman, the Nelson Bowman Sweitzer and Marie B. Sweitzer Professor of Law, Emeritus, and Affiliated Professor in the Department of Art, Emeritus, died on Aug. 3, 2015, at the age of 95 of natural causes at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. His family will hold a memorial service for him on Monday, Sept. 21, at 3 p.m. at the Cantor Arts Center on the Stanford campus.  Donations in his memory may be made to the Cantor Arts Center.

Pioneering the Study of Art Law

“In 1970 no one spoke of art law as a field for serious study or even as a subject for teaching. That art law is today recognized internationally as being essential to every country interested in protecting its cultural patrimony, by every American art museum as vital to the proper conduct of its trustees and by all artists as protecting their rights, is due in large measure to the publications and teachings of John Henry Merryman,” wrote the late art historian and Stanford Professor Albert Elsen in a 1987 Stanford Law Review tribute to Merryman, “Founding the Field of Art Law.”

Merryman introduced the idea for the new course “Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts,” in 1970 to a somewhat skeptical law faculty. Merryman taught the course in 1971, the first of its kind. Elsen collaborated and co-taught with Merryman — the two delving into questions of tax, copyright, contracts, regulation, cultural property, ethics and more — creating a syllabus for the nascent field of study and publishing the groundbreaking book Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts, now in its fourth edition.

Before that, Merryman was a comparative law scholar of international standing.

“His great book on The Civil Law Tradition caused a fundamental rethinking of comparative law and subsequent scholarship — and courses based on that scholarship — were powerfully strengthened as a result,” said Thomas Ehrlich, dean of Stanford Law School from 1971 until 1976.  “John’s many works relating to art and cultural property, as well as his multiple courses in that arena, were no less groundbreaking. He deployed his strengths in comparative law to produce penetrating analyses on the ownership of antiquities, as well as on art and the law more generally. Students from across the Stanford campus and beyond flocked to John’s classes. John was one-of-a-kind, as colleague and as dear friend.”

John Merryman in front of art

John Merryman stands before  a painting by Dennis Ashbaugh titled “To Russia With Hate.”

Merryman was truly an international scholar who was both a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fulbright Research Professor at the Max Planck Institute. His expertise in comparative law and art law led to visiting positions at universities in Mexico, Greece, Italy, Germany and Austria. He was president of the International Cultural Property Society and on the editorial board for various publications, including the International Journal of Cultural Property and the American Journal of Comparative Law.

Widespread Recognition

He received numerous international prizes and honors over the course of his career, including the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic and honorary doctorates from Aix-en-Provence, Rome (Tor Vergata), and Trieste, and was celebrated in two Festschriften: “Comparative and Private International Law: Essays in Honor of John Henry Merryman on His Seventieth Birthday” and “Legal Culture in the Age of Globalization: Latin America and Latin Europe.”

In 2004 he received the American Society of Comparative Law’s Lifetime Achievement Award “for his extraordinary scholarly contribution over a lifetime to comparative law in the United States.”

“John was for all of us a model of civility and old-world charm.  He bore with unfailing grace the mounting burdens of age, continuing to write and teach deep into his retirement,” said George Fisher, the Judge John Crown Professor of Law and faculty co-director of the Stanford Criminal Prosecution Clinic. “And he never lost his generous interest in the work of his friends and colleagues.  He was a scholar for the ages.”

“He was a truly innovative scholar, ahead of his time throughout his long career,” said Lawrence M. Friedman, the Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law.

“John Merryman virtually invented the field of Art Law and, together with his art history colleague Albert Elsen, he quickly brought the field to a level of excellence that few pioneer projects ever enjoy,” recalled Paul Goldstein, the Stella W. and Ira S. Lillick Professor of Law.

Merryman’s expertise in and enthusiasm for art benefited Stanford beyond the reach of his scholarship. In the 1970s, when the law school was building its “new” campus, he chaired the design committee.

“When the law school moved from the Quad to its new home in 1975, John undertook to use his art expertise to persuade some of the best graphic printmakers to lend major works of art to the Law School where they became the best art collection at Stanford apart from the Museum,” recalled Ehrlich. “He identified a stunning Barbara Hepworth sculpture [titled “Four Square (Walk Through)”] to borrow as the centerpiece of the school’s courtyard, and when the loan was up he arranged a gift of the elegant Calder sculpture that replaced it (titled “Le Faucon”).  In honor of his many contributions to art, a good friend and admirer gave Stanford one of the largest and most handsome sculptures on the campus, created by Mark  di Suvero.”

The di Suvero  sculpture, “The Sieve of Eratosthenes,” was, according to a Stanford press release from March 2000, donated to Stanford by Daniel Shapiro and Agnes Gund, who wished to honor Merryman “by thanking him for all he has done for us and everyone interested in art by giving a gift in his honor to Stanford of a work of an artist that John thought was sorely missing on campus. And so now, because of John, there is Mark di Suvero’s ‘The Sieve of Eratosthenes,’ the work of a great artist to celebrate a great teacher and friend of art.”

Early Enthusiasm for Music and the Arts

Born in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 24, 1920, Merryman studied chemistry at the University of Portland and received a B.S. in chemistry in 1943. He continued his study of chemistry, receiving an M.S. from the University of Notre Dame in 1944, but then switched to law. He received a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 1947. NYU School of Law provided him with a teaching fellowship and the opportunity to continue his legal studies and he received his LLM in 1950 and JSD in 1955. He taught law at Santa Clara University (then called the University of Santa Clara) and joined the Stanford Law faculty in 1953.

Merryman also was a professional, card-carrying musician, financing his early education by playing piano in a dance band he formed called John Merryman and His Merry Men. He continued to play piano throughout his life, sharing his enthusiasm for music and the arts at Stanford.

“John and his wonderful late wife, Nancy, were friends of my wife Ellen and me for over 50 years, since we first came to Stanford in 1965, as they were friends of countless others — literally from around the world,” recalled Ehrlich. “John had a joyful spirit that illuminated not just every conversation of which he was a part, but every room where he was present. He was a wonderful piano player of Broadway show hits, jazz and much more. John was a learner, and he was able to share his learning with his friends with such a twinkle in his eye that you quite forgot that he was really teaching you and helping along while telling riotously funny tales.”

That early enthusiasm barely dimmed in retirement, as he continued to publish — and to teach. “Stolen Art,” which he taught in fall 2014, was a new course he had recently developed, likely the first of its kind.

“Some years ago I had the pleasure of ‘taking’ John’s oral history. I was struck by the satisfying life revealed in his reminiscences, full of intellectual challenge and warm communal interchange,” said Barbara Allen Babcock, the Judge John Crown Professor of Law, Emerita. “He was an inspiration.”

Treasured Colleague

While his scholarship was international, it was perhaps most keenly felt at Stanford.

“In my 30 years as a faculty member at this remarkable place, John Merryman was clearly one of the most remarkable of my colleagues,” recalled Henry “Hank” T. Greely, the Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law. “Hired here as the law librarian, he managed not one but two spectacular scholarly careers, the first as one of the leading comparative law scholars in the world and then later as one of the world’s very top  ‘art and the law’ scholars. His civil law work led to him being named an Italian knight — un Cavaliero della Republica Italiana. Which brings to mind an even more important point about John. He was always a gentleman:  gracious, helpful, self-deprecating.  I would say that they aren’t making them like John Merryman anymore, but they (almost) never did.  He was a great scholar, a wonderful colleague and a very good person.  I miss him.”

“John was a treasured colleague.  We all sought his advice on a range of subjects because of his incisive mind, his wit and his insight.  The world is a less interesting and elegant place without John,” said Magill. “We all mourn the passing of this wonderful man, who was a class act in every respect.”

Merryman is survived by three step-children, Leonard P. Edwards, Samuel D. Edwards and Bruce H. Edwards; four step-grandchildren; and five great step-grandchildren. His wife, Nancy Edwards Merryman (BA ’70), passed away in January 2013.

Read the San Francisco Chronicle’s tribune to John Merryman.

Stanford Criminal Justice Center Report Finds California Prosecutors Do Not Reflect the State’s Diversity

Prosecutors and Star Wars

Graphic by Margaret Hagan, Stanford University

While detailed information about the race and gender of law enforcement officers in the United States has been available for decades and has prompted many police departments to diversify their workforces, there has been virtually no publicly available information to answer the question of how representative prosecutors are of the communities they serve. Until now.

Stanford Law School students worked with the Stanford Criminal Justice Center to make the demographics of California prosecutors available for the first time. Data that the team gathered from prosecutors’ offices in 52 of California’s 58 counties, representing nearly 98 percent of the state’s population, found that whites, who comprise slightly more than 38 percent of the state’s population, hold nearly 70 percent of prosecutors’ jobs.

The last time 70 percent of Californians were white was four decades ago. California prosecutors, the report concludes, are “Stuck in the ‘70s.”

The team found that Latinos are the most poorly represented among prosecutors. Latinos represent almost 39 percent of the population in California but make up only 9 percent of California prosecutors.

In addition, the data collected showed that women are underrepresented in the supervisory ranks of prosecutors in California. Forty-eight percent of California prosecutors are female, but 41 percent of prosecutors with supervisory titles are women.

Importance of diversity

Those numbers are significant, the report says, because research has shown that criminal justice agencies are fairer, inspire more public confidence and are more likely to be seen as legitimate when they reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. In addition, the report notes that “the presence of minority attorneys in a prosecutor’s office may also make the office more likely to adopt policies and champion initiatives that are responsive to the concerns of minority residents.”

The students working on the study were enrolled in a practicum offered by the school’s Law and Policy Lab, where small teams work under close faculty supervision to help solve complex policy problems on a wide range of issues. The practicum was led by Debbie Mukamal, executive director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center (SCJC) and Professor and SCJC Faculty Co-Director David Alan Sklansky.

Latinos among California prosecutors

In California, Latinos comprise 39 percent of the population and 9 percent of the prosecutors. Graphic by Margaret Hagan, Stanford University

“The most surprising thing was that Latinos are extremely underrepresented among prosecutors. I expected them to be underrepresented, but not by such a large percentage,” said one of the students, Isaiah Deporto, JD ’17.

Another student, Katherine Bies, JD ’17, described the difficulty in getting the data. “We tried collecting the data in bulk by sending out Freedom of Information Act requests to the federal Department of Justice and California DOJ and local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission offices, but not one of these organizations had records of the data. Instead, we had to call each office individually and, even then, there was no routine manner of collecting the data,” she noted.

The other students in the practicum were Darryl Long and Megan McKoy, both JD ’17.

Insufficient ‘pipeline’

In addition to highlighting disparities between the demographic breakdown of prosecutors in California and the residents they serve, the study notes a problem in the pool from which prosecutors are hired: lawyers. In California 79 percent of lawyers are white, whereas 6 percent are Latino. It cites the “pipeline” for lawyers – law schools – as another concern. That problem is not confined to California. While blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans comprise a third of the national population, they comprise only a fifth of law school graduates across the country and just over a tenth of attorneys practicing law.

The report suggests that future studies might address the effects and causation of the underrepresentation of Latinos among California prosecutors, as well as the underrepresentation of women in supervisory roles. They might also explore issues raised by prosecutor demographics on a national basis. “We need to better understand why the legal profession as a whole and, in particular, prosecutors’ offices, struggle to hire and retain minority and female lawyers,” said Bies.

Some of that work will begin soon at Stanford Law School. Mukamal and Sklansky are currently recruiting students for a follow-up policy practicum to be offered this fall.

Read an op-ed about the new study by Debbie Mukamal and David Sklansky in the Los Angeles Times.

Related story: SLS Professor Deborah Rhode comments on the problem of law school diversity in The Washington Post.