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Faculty trio joins international legal association


March 23, 2007

Three faculty members of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU have joined a prestigious international legal association dedicated to improving the administration of justice.

Professors Charles Calleros, Rebecca Tsosie and James Weinstein recently were elected to the American Law Institute (ALI), joining eight other colleagues at the College of Law who are members of the Philadelphia-based organization.

Other ASU members of the group include the college's dean, Patricia White, and professors Paul Bender, Ira Ellman, Noel Fidel, Myles Lynk, Jonathan Rose, Milton Schroeder and Ralph Spritzer.

Ellman served as the principal reporter for the ALI's “Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution: Analysis and Recommendations.”

“It really is quite an honor,” says Lynk, an ALI member since 1992 who also sits on its governing council. “This is the premier legal organization that judges, lawyers and academics all find prestigious – academics because of the intellectual challenge the ALI presents to restate the law and set the course of American legal standards, judges because it allows them to have a voice in applying their experience to establishing the legal rules and principles they will have to interpret from the bench, and lawyers because they can be involved in intellectual efforts to advance the state of American law, not just their clients' interests.”

The ALI has 4,085 members internationally, including elected, ex-officio, honorary and life members. About one-third of the elected members are law school faculty, while the rest are judges and practicing attorneys, says Jane Giacinto, the ALI's membership assistant.

The institute was founded in 1923 following a study by a group of prominent American judges, lawyers and teachers seeking to address the uncertain and complex nature of early 20th century American law. Today, the ALI drafts and publishes various restatements of the law and other proposals for legal reform to promote the law's clarification, simplification and better adaptation to social needs. It also encourages scholarly and scientific legal work.

Calleros, Tsosie and Weinstein were nominated by Lynk and by Schroeder, an ALI member since 1972. Members are selected based on their professional achievement, demonstrated interest in improving the law, high character, ability and professional standing.

“They are the cream of the crop in the legal field nationwide – and at this point, worldwide,” Giacinto says.

Schroeder says that Calleros, Tsosie and Weinstein possess “a depth of understanding of how the law works in their various fields that, in combination with their already demonstrated desire to work for improvements in the law, will enable them to be significant voices in the ongoing work of the ALI.”

Calleros, who joined the faculty in 1981, has conducted research about the intersection of race and gender discrimination and free speech, issues regarding legal education and international comparative contract law. He is the author of a leading textbook, “Legal Method and Writing.”

“It is an honor that the other two inductees deserve much more than I,” Calleros says, “but I will endeavor to be a productive member of the institute in the consultative group on software contracts, and perhaps also with a law school accreditation team.”

Lynk praised Calleros for his cutting-edge research on civil rights and diversity issues.

“He is one of the leaders in the practical application of that research to improve the pipeline for minority students in higher education in general, and legal education in particular,” Lynk says.

Tsosie is executive director of the Indian Legal Program at the College of Law, where she also is a Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar and a faculty fellow at the Center for the Study of Law, Science and Technology. On faculty since 1993, she is co-author of a federal Indian law casebook, “American Indian Law: Native Nations and the Federal System.”

Tsosie received the American Bar Association's 2002 Spirit of Excellence Award and is a national leader in the application of legal ethics to indigenous law, Lynk says.

“She's an expert in looking at the legal issues facing the Native American community in response to various attacks on their independence,” he says.

Weinstein, a faculty member since 1986 and the Amelia Lewis Professor of Constitutional Law, is a frequent writer and lecturer on the subject of free speech. He is the author of “Hate Speech, Pornography and the Radical Attack on Free Speech Doctrine.” He is a visiting fellow this year at Trinity College at the University of Cambridge in England.