Hamline News

BLSA to host Brown v. Board of Ed CLE


The Hamline Law Black Law Students Association and the Hamline Law Alumni Board are pleased to present, "Update on Brown v. Board of Education: How far have we come, and is integration the complete solution to achieving academic equality?" featuring Hamline Law Professor Len Biernat and St. Thomas Law Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds, on February 12.

This CLE will revisit the historic case of Brown v. Board of Education and analyze the current issues surrounding segregation within the public school system. Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds will discuss the success of the historic case and also highlight the current social and economic factors unrelated to race that continue to foster segregation within the public education system.

Professor Len Biernat will discuss the integration statute that is currently in place in Minnesota. In addition, he also will discuss the persisting issues surrounding the widening achievement gap between inner-city schools and suburban schools, presenting a solution that he thinks will bring about academic equality.

The hour-long presentation will take place at 11:30 a.m. in Room 105 in the School of Law. The presentation is free and open to the public and will be available via live webcast. It has been approved for one standard CLE credit.

Contact Daryle Houston for general information at dhouston01@hamlineuniversity.edu. To register for CLE credit, contact Jane Prince at jprince01@hamline.edu.

Faculty Speakers
Nekima Levy-Pounds:

Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds is the director of the Community Justice Project (CJP), an award-winning civil rights legal clinic. The CJP is a part of the Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services. Levy-Pounds teaches and supervises law students as they use the law as a tool to advance the cause of social justice in poor communities of color through problem-solving, legal research and writing, community engagement and legislative advocacy. Levy-Pounds’ goal in founding the CJP was to take a more holistic approach to addressing complex issues affecting the poor and working poor.

In addition to her work in the CJP, Levy-Pounds is an active contributor to the field of civil rights and criminal justice by serving as a consultant to local civil rights organizations and community groups, a commentator in local media, and a lecturer and speaker in national and international forums. Her scholarly interests include African-Americans and the law, the impact of the war on drugs on African-American children and families, the treatment of women in prisons, and intersecting issues of race, class, and the criminal justice system. Levy-Pounds also focuses on juvenile justice issues, police and community relations, and the school to prison pipeline facing children of color.

Because of her work in the Community Justice Project, Levy-Pounds was selected by Minnesota Senator Al Franken to advise the senator in his decision to nominate Elena Kagan for the United States Supreme Court.

Len Biernat:
As a former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Professor Len Biernat links the legal curriculum he teaches with actual law making. He is committed to giving students exposure to the impact the law and law making has on individual lives. He has served as a member of the Supreme Court Task Force on Visitation and Support and is a past member of a Task Force on Parental Cooperation. Biernat also served as a member of the Minneapolis Board of Education from 1990-97.

Biernat has authored several major bills that have become Minnesota laws. He has served on the ad hoc committee of ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and has chaired continuing legal education programs in family law, school law, legal education, and lawyer competency. Biernat is coauthor of Legal Ethics for Management and Their Counsel, published by Lexis Law Publishing, and he wrote a chapter on the federal role in education in Federal Administrative Practice published by West Law Publishing. He also wrote the chapter, Increasing the School Year for Some, But Not All, Children: Barriers to Extending the School Year, in Our Promise: Achieving Educational Equality for America's Children (Maurice R. Dyson and Daniel B. Weddle eds., 2009).

Biernat teaches in the areas of family law, professional responsibility, property, and education law. He also has developed and teaches a course in professional responsibility that is entirely online.