We’ve moved with strength and purpose into our fall semester, focusing on what we do best: forming Creighton’s next generation of amazing, capable and compassionate attorneys. Several new initiatives are now under way, including our new health law program under professor Kelly Dineen and the new Creighton Immigrant and Refugee Clinic under professors Charles “Shane” Ellison and David Weber.
Our new poverty law program is also moving ahead with the generous support of a gift from the estate of Dr. Robert Heaney, BS ’47, MD ’51, guided by his daughter, Muirne Heaney, JD ’83. The program currently consists of a scholarship-sponsored poverty law course, externship with Nebraska Legal Aid or other organization, with a vision in the future towards a dedicated clinic. Anchoring the theme for the program is an annual poverty law lecture. Our inaugural lecture took place on October 23 with best-selling author and former Wall Street Journal reporter Alex Kostlowitz, whose speech was titled, “The Things They Carry: Growing Up Poor in the World’s Richest Nation.”
The law school also hosted alumni events in Washington, D.C. and Kansas City, Missouri, in September, as well as the annual Red Mass at St. John’s Church, celebrated by Archbishop George Lucas in October. Faculty speakers who have presented at the law school so far this semester include Professor Anthony Clark Arend of Georgetown University on the legality of a pre-emptive strike against North Korea, and Professor Megan Ballard of Gonzaga University School of Law on the integration of immigration law and policy.
Many of you received my communication on the passing of Professor J. Patrick Green at the age of 76. Pat was a pillar in the law school and taught four decades’ worth of law students. His is mourned and missed, but not forgotten. The Rev. Greg O’Meara, SJ, JD, delivered a compelling homily at Pat’s funeral service at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Omaha on Oct. 25.
Finally, while our bar examination numbers for most of the country are quite good, our bar exam results for first-time takers in Nebraska have remained flat – landing once again in the mid-70s percentage-wise. We have met with the Nebraska State Bar Commission, instituted a mandatory diagnostic exam for all third-year law students, and are revamping the comprehensive bar review course for this spring. We are dedicated to making sure our current third-year law class is in the best shape possible in May 2018 when they graduate and enter into their commercial bar preparation courses for the summer. Our alumni are working with us on this in a task force that will also seek long term recommendations for the next several classes.
Please stay engaged with us as we bring 2017 to a close and look forward to a happy, prosperous, and wonderful new year – full of potential. Enjoy the holiday season!
Interim Dean Michael J. Kelly, JD, LLM