August 23, 2019

Bruce Smith Named Dean of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law

smithOn Monday, April 4, 2016, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law announced the appointment of Bruce Smith, J.D., Ph.D., as its new dean, effective July 1, 2016. Smith will replace Dean Martin Katz, who is returning to the faculty.

Smith is currently a Guy Raymond Jones Faculty Scholar at the University of Illinois College of Law, where he specializes in Anglo-American criminal procedure in the 18th and 19th centuries. Smith was Dean of the University of Illinois College of Law from 2009 to 2014 and has served on the faculty since 2001. Prior to that, he was in private practice in the Washington, DC area for five years, where he focused his practice on intellectual property litigation and sports law. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Williams College; bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Cambridge, England, which he attended as a Hersch Smith Fellow; his J.D. from Yale Law School; and his Ph.D. in history from the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where he was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

IAALS: Let’s Stop Choosing Law School Like It’s 1999


This post originally appeared on IAALS Online, the blog for IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver, on April 29, 2014.

By Alli Gerkman

I was preparing for a presentation to prospective law students last month when I realized it has been 15 years since I was standing in their shoes, trying to make the right decision about law school. I wanted to tell them about resources they should be looking for—beyond law school rankings—but as I tapped into all the resources I know of, one thing became very clear: we’re still asking prospective law students to make one of the most important decisions of their lives almost the same exact way we were doing it in 1999. And probably 1989, for that matter.

Which is pretty funny (and tragic), if you think about everything else that has happened in the last 15 years. “Google” became a verb. Our smart phones let us talk to anyone at any time—by video. Cars drive themselves. And, more relevant to the concept of choosing law school, all of our decisions have been made easier through individualized recommendations. When I go to the New York Times, it recommends articles based on my usage. My Amazon home screen recommends books based on past purchases. And Spotify introduces me to new music based on what I play. All of these used to be dominated by generic recommendations—newspapers were driven by “front page” articles, booksellers touted bestseller lists, and Billboard charted the top hits in the country. These generic recommendations persist (and provide some value), but they have been richly supplemented by individualized recommendations that drive our choices.

In the world of choosing law schools, we have the generic rankings and recommendations—including US News & World Report, and a number of others that have popped up over the years—and these provide a certain value, but they hardly give the whole picture and they certainly don’t provide prospective students with individualized information about a decision that, in the end, is very personal.

We’re trying to help with that. Last year, Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers launched Law Jobs: By the Numbers, an employment calculator that allows you to review school employment numbers based on the criteria you care about most. With the American Bar Association’s release of the 2013 employment numbers, we made the tool easier for prospective students to use by adding a Q&A tool that walks you through each factor, explains what it is, and lets you decide whether you want to include it in your final calculations. At the end of the Q&A, you get a personalized list of schools based on your personal selections (here’s one example). Lots of groups will tell you which law schools are best, but only Law Jobs: By the Numbers lets you decide for yourself.

This is just the first step, but we think it’s a step in the right direction. Perhaps US News & World Report rankings won’t go away anytime soon. And perhaps that’s okay, so long as, like other industries, we find ways to supplement the generalized rankings with individualized information that allows prospective students to make choices about where to go to law school that are, in the end, right for them.

Alli Gerkman became the first full-time Director of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, a national initiative to align legal education with the needs of an evolving profession, in May 2013. She joined IAALS in June 2011 as Online Content Manager, developing and managing all IAALS web properties, including Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, and became IAALS’ Director of Communications in August 2012. She brings significant professional development experience to the initiative, having spent five years in continuing legal education, first as a program attorney organizing multi-day conferences for a national provider and then as program attorney and manager of online content for Colorado Bar Association CLE. While at CBA-CLE, she developed an online legal resource that was the recipient of the Association of Continuing Legal Education’s 2011 Award of Professional Excellence for use of technology in education. She has written and presented nationally to continuing legal education providers, bar executives, and lawyers. Prior to her work in continuing legal education, she was in private practice.

The opinions and views expressed by Featured Bloggers on CBA-CLE Legal Connection do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of the Colorado Bar Association, the Denver Bar Association, or CBA-CLE, and should not be construed as such.

CBA Board of Governors Meeting Report

Chief Justice BenderThe Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors met on Saturday, November 9, 2013, at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.

The Board approved all items on the agenda, including a bylaw amendment making the Animal Law Committee a standing committee of the CBA and a bylaw amendment granting the Military & Veterans Affairs Section a seat on the Board of Governors. They sunsetted the Attorney Regulation Committee and Membership Services Committee, and approved several changes to the timing of the petition process for nominations. The Board approved and will recommend to the Supreme Court certain measures to provide additional funding resources for civil legal services, and the continuation of the Environmental Law Section’s Tree Planting Project through 2014 for areas harmed by wildfires and floods in Colorado. The Board also received a report detailing the use of the transferred Attorney Regulation funds for Colorado Legal Services. For a complete description of each item presented, visit

Chief Justice Bender received a standing ovation from members of the board as they recognized him for his years of service. During the executive director’s report, Chuck Turner noted that membership retention rates are down slightly. However, that may be a result of the employment difficulties facing many new lawyers.

Law school deans Marty Katz, from the University of Denver, and Phil Weiser, from University of Colorado, held a panel discussion on the future of the legal profession and law schools. This was in response to the May 2013 Board of Governor’s presentation by Mark Lassiter: “Sea Change: Inside the Changing Legal Marketplace.” Katz mentioned that DU has a new website, which is based on the American Bar Association’s statistics regarding job placement of recent law school graduates. Approximately 91% of 2012 CU and DU law graduates are getting jobs. Weiser discussed the $100,000+ as the average debt of graduates this year at CU Law School. Law schools are currently seeing a gradual decrease in applications and an increase in nontraditional J.D. jobs.

The last segment of the meeting began with an invigorating presentation by Barbara Ezyk regarding the Colorado Lawyers Assistance program. Ezyk had attendees stand up to stretch and then surprised them with Starbucks gift cards taped under five people’s chairs. Emma Garrison spoke for the Young Lawyers Division and their resolution to do as many activities as possible in all areas of the state.

The spring meeting will be held at the Colorado History Museum in Denver on Saturday, May 10.