Amelia Yowell, three-time Weigand Scholar and graduate of Notre Dame Law School, '11 has been selected as the 2015-2016 Supreme Court Fellow assigned to the Administrative office of the U.S. Courts.
She will begin her fellowship in the fall after completing her current judicial clerkship with Judge Mary H. Murguia of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Originally from McPherson, Kan., Yowell earned a B.G.S., with highest distinction, in political science from the University of Kansas in 2008 and a J.D., summa cum laude, from Notre Dame in 2011. While at NDLS, she was executive editor of the Notre Dame Law Review and a J.L. Weigand, Jr., Notre Dame Legal Education Trust Scholar. Yowell also published an empirical study of summary judgment dismissal rates within federal district courts in the wake of Scott v. Harris, for which she was awarded the 2010 Arthur Abel Award for excellence in legal writing.
Before her clerkship with Ninth Circuit Judge Murguia, Yowell clerked for Judge Julia Smith Gibbons of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and served as a Commercial Litigation Associate at Foulston Siefkin LLP.
The Supreme Court Fellows Program she will be joining this fall was created in 1973 by the late Chief Justice Warren E. Burger to provide promising individuals with a first-hand understanding of the judicial branch. In the words of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., the program offers “a unique opportunity for exceptional individuals to contribute to the administration of justice at the national level.” Each fellow is selected by a commission composed of nine members appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States.
With assignments at the Supreme Court, the Federal Judicial Center, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and the U.S. Sentencing Commission, fellows work with top officials to examine the federal judicial process and propose and implement solutions to problems in the administration of justice.
“My first official Weigand Field Trip Day was one to remember!”
Following another semester of challenging coursework, the current Weigand scholars punctuated the school year with a field trip across northeast Kansas. The trip encompassed a variety of activities pertinent to Kansas’ justice system, history, and culture alike.
The day began with a fairly extensive tour of Lansing State Penitentiary providing an inside look at one of the state’s most vital correctional facilities. While in the State Penitentiary, the scholars had an opportunity to discuss daily life, issues and challenges with a facility administrator, as well as a small panel of long-term inmates.
“Lansing was truly eye opening. It is one thing to study criminal law and the purpose of incarceration; it is another thing to actually see it in practice.” - Liam Reilly
“It was great to see how the statutes we study in the classroom impact citizens and legislators." – Kyle Calvin
The Lansing visit also featured a discussion with inmates participating in the Safe Harbor Prison Dog Program, which allows inmates to care for, train, and love dogs that would otherwise be euthanized.
“The program truly gives a sense of purpose to some inmates who could spend the rest of their lives in prison. Being a dog lover myself, I couldn’t imagine the bittersweet feeling when a dog gets adopted.” – Bobby Chipman
The group returned to Topeka for lunch at a local eatery, and a short tour of the Kansas Supreme Court. While at the courthouse, Honorable Thomas Malone, Chief Justice of the Kansas Court of Appeals, graciously welcomed the group into his chambers for a discussion of his role within the judicial system.
“Judge Malone issued a friendly challenge to the scholars, to uphold the fine reputation for which Weigands are known!” - Claudette Glenn
Crossing the street, the Weigands went on a historic tour of the Kansas State Capital.
“I was impressed by the remarkable artwork at the State Capitol. The murals and photographs helped to tell important stories of Kansas history. Plus, who could forget the singing tour guide?" - Matthew Schippers.
Before dinner in Lawrence, they experienced Lessman’s Truckhenge and Kaw Region Art Park, an eclectic combination of farm, salvage & recycled art, and nature sanctuary, where, as Erica McCabe, 2L Kansas University put it, “we never experienced a dull moment!”
Claudette Glenn, Director of the Weigand Trust said, “The day was structured around two of our permeating themes – building and strengthening connections of the Weigand Family, and our Kansas heritage. From the comments of the participants, it was a huge success!
"The Weigand Scholar's Field Trip was such a wonderful way for me to get to know our new scholars. I am constantly impressed by the members of this scholarship family." - Erica
“It was a fun-filled day of trekking across Kansas with some pretty substantial legal take-aways.” – Liam
The Weigand Field Trip was an excellent opportunity to learn more about Kansas history and the Kansas judicial system as a whole, while at the same time learn more about our fellow Weigand Scholars. - Kyle
Katie Jo Baumgardner Luningham has been recognized as one of the nation's best legal writers. Katie Jo was selected as a 2015 winner of a Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing in Law School. The Burton Foundation, in association with the Library of Congress, presents the award annually to the nation's best student legal writers. Upon receiving the award, Luningham said, “Writing this Note was one of the most challenging and rewarding achievements of my law school education. I am so humbled and honored to receive a Burton Award!”
The Weigand Scholarship Family is proud to have Katie Jo as a member and to celebrate her achievement. Katie Jo, a native of Louisburg Kansas, is an active Weigand Scholar in her 3L year at Notre Dame Law School. She described receiving the award as “a huge honor and the best way to end a law school career.” The Burton Award adds to Katie Jo’s already prestigious law school achievements, including being selected as the Executive Notes Editor of the Notre Dame Law Review and numerous academic recognitions. Katie Jo has spent her 3L year externing for U.S. District Court Judge John DeGuillo of the Northern District of Indiana, and interning with Notre Dame’s Athletics Compliance Office. Katie Jo has accepted postgraduate employment with Husch Blackwell in Kansas City.
Notre Dame Law School’s Distinguished Legal Writing Award Judges selected Katie Jo’s Note as the best published student paper, and submitted it for consideration by the Burton Awards. The committee made the selection because “it represented an excellent and well-written analysis of a difficult and timely topic.” Katie Jo’s Note, Revisiting Rulemaking: Challenging the Montana Settlement's Title IX Sexual Harassment Blueprint, was one of 10 winning entries selected from nominations submitted by deans of law schools across the country. The Note examines recent Department of Education informal guidance regarding Title IX Sexual Harassment compliance for universities and its legality under the Administrative Procedure Act. In May 2013, a findings letter and settlement agreement between the University of Montana and DOE set forth a “blueprint” for Title IX compliance relating to sexual harassment. Focusing on this administrative guidance, Katie Jo looked at the APA as the basis for a challenge of the DOE's “blueprint,” given the DOE's lack of a notice and comment period. Katie Jo praised the support she received from Notre Dame Law School faculty advisors Professors Jeff Pojanowski and Patricia O’Hara. Her Note was published in Issue 4, Volume 89 of the Notre Dame Law Review under her maiden name, and is available online at http://ndlawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/NDL411.pdf.
As a student winner, Katie Jo will attend the Burton Awards Annual Awards Program and Gala in June at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The award ceremony will include a keynote address by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and a performance by Emmy and Tony award winner Kristin Chenoweth. The Burton Awards Program is administered by the Burton Foundation and is run in association with the Library of Congress. This nonprofit national awards program was established to reward great achievements in law, with an emphasis on writing and reform.
Congratulations, Katie Jo!Read Less
The J.L. Weigand Trust hosted its eleventh annual Open House at the Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence, Kansas, on March 7. Stephen Mazza, Professor and Dean of KU School of Law, shared master of ceremonies duties with Weigand alumnus, Ivery Goldstein (KU ’06). Speakers at the event were Weigand scholar, Katie Jo Baumgardner Luningham (Notre Dame ’15), and Matthew D. Keenan, Partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P.
The two-hour event began with a social hour, where attendees interacted with current and past Weigand scholars. Representatives from law schools at KU, Washburn, and Notre Dame were in attendance. After the social hour, Weigand Trust director, Claudette Glenn, presented videos with interviews that highlighted the history and purpose of the Weigand Trust.
Graduating scholar Luningham said, “The past two years as a Weigand Scholar have provided me with invaluable financial, academic and career support. Yet, my Weigand story is not unique. Every scholar and alumni has a story like mine—it’s a story of mentorship. It is a story of Kansans, helping other Kansans, and supporting them in their journey. From law school struggles and successes, to graduation and bar preparation, to the beginning of careers and transitioning into new careers. The Weigand Trust community provides us all with mentorship, friendship, and celebration.”
Keenan, a graduate of KU School of Law, shared his experiences as a native Kansan practicing law in his home state. His speech was targeted to encourage, inform and challenge the best upcoming attorneys of Kansas.
This year’s scholarship applicants were also invited to the event to learn about the Trust, which was established in 2003. One applicant noted that the Open House was a “great opportunity to meet with scholars and alumni.” Another noted, “I…benefitted a lot from all of the interactions. I had a good time and made some great connections. I look forward to staying involved and reapplying in the future!”