ALSA Members Recognized for Volunteer Efforts

AJMLS would like to recognize members of the Asian Law Student Association, who volunteered at the 2011 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Conference in Atlanta recently. They are: Caroline Yi, Jason Kim, Thomas Hwang, Yoohwa Seong, Suzette Guerra, Crystal Tran, and Wellington Tzou. Thanks to them and to all of our students who represent us so well in professional settings.

Law Admissions Lowdown – How Important are Extracurricular Activities?

U.S. News & World Report gives the “law admissions lowdown” on extracurricular activities in a recent article. Author, Shawn O’Connor, disputes the notion that law school admissions are solely based on LSAT scores and GPAs. “While these are the two single most significant factors in the admissions process, other factors, including extracurricular involvement, application essays, and recommendations, can also be very important,” he says.

O’Connor reveals four areas to consider before choosing an extracurricular activity: quality not quantity, not all activities are created equal, start early and be selective, and law-related activities are not essential. For a detailed look at each point, clickhere.

AJMLS Alumnus Dustin Hightower Elected to Georgia Legislature

The Alumni Office would like to congratulate Dustin “Dusty” Hightower (’08) on his most recent accomplishment! On January 3, 2012, Dusty was elected to represent District 68 in the Georgia Legislature. He joins fellow AJMLS alumni in the Legislature, Senator Ronald Ramsey (’92), and Representatives Stephen Allison (’96), Alex Atwood (’93), Douglas Collins (’08) and Billy Maddox (’06). Congratulations and good luck in all future endeavors!

AJMLS Staff Member Elected as Secretary of the Board of Directors for the NJDC

AJMLS’ Assistant Director of Pro Bono Outreach and Externships, Bridgett Ortega, was recently elected as Secretary of the Board of Directors for the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) in Washington D.C. The mission of the NJDC is to ensure excellence in juvenile defense and promote justice for all children.The organization was created in 1999 to respond to the critical need to build the capacity of the juvenile defense bar and to improve access to counsel and quality of representation for children in the justice system. They also give juvenile defense attorneys a more permanent capacity to address practice issues, improve advocacy skills, build partnerships, exchange information, and participate in the national debate over juvenile crime.AJMLS congratulates you on your accomplishments and all that you do for the school!

Law School Students Help Adopt a Family for the Holidays

On behalf of the AJMLS Department of Recruitment and Marketing and its Student Ambassadors, we would like to thank everyone for your generous donations and candy gram purchases. We collected more than $700 for the family. Your commitment to helping our Adopt-A-Family program is sincerely appreciated. Because of your generosity, we were able to further our mission in bettering the lives of children across the city of Atlanta.

The pro bono partnership of Atlanta Legal Aid and Kilpatrick Townsend handles adoptions for the Grandparent/Relative Caregiver Project. Our school and volunteers from many firms expand the capacity of Atlanta Legal Aid’s staff and enable many more grandparents and other care-giving relatives to provide stable, loving homes for children whose parents cannot care for them.

Thanks, again, for generously supporting our efforts!

Three Factors to Consider When Choosing a Law School

The recently posted an article geared toward helping prospective law students choose the right school to attend. Author Tyler White recalls his journey to becoming a 1L and provides important advice for those looking to pursue a legal education. According to White, there are three key factors to consider when shopping for the right law school: ranking, cost and location.

Click here for the full article.

AJMLS Student Koji Noguchi Awarded Microsoft Scholarship

AJMLS is continually impressed with the caliber of students attending the school. To add another achievement to the long list of AJMLS scholars is Koji Noguchi’s recent scholarship awarded by Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) and the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO).

The CLEO-Microsoft Intellectual Property Scholarship selects only four recipients each year for this honor. The competitive nature of the application process makes Koji’s accomplishment even more impressive. To acknowledge his achievement, the CLEO will be highlighting Koji along with his fellow scholarship winners in the January edition of their “Your CLEO” e-bulletin.

On behalf of the school, congratulations on your selection and continued success in law school!

AJMLS Professor Appointed to the Joint Commission’s PTAC

Noted AJMLS faculty member, Lisa Tripp was recently appointed as a representative for the Joint Commission’s Professional & Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC).

The PTACs are an integral part of the Joint Commission’s advisory structure. By representing the views of a diverse group of professional associations and other interests and by providing expert advice, Professor Tripp and other representatives will assist The Joint Commission in the development and refinement of standards and elements of performance. In addition, each PTAC provides observations regarding environmental trends, educational needs, and other important issues facing each of the fields in which The Joint Commission offers accreditation services.

The value of the PTACs stems from the diversity of perspectives and the discussion and debate that occurs at the PTAC meetings. In the final analysis, PTAC representatives are expected to be proponents of their respective bodies of knowledge to The Joint Commission, and proponents of The Joint Commission to their constituents.

Congratulations Professor Tripp on your outstanding accomplishment!

Dean Cieply Appointed to the NIMJ Board of Advisors

AJMLS Associate Dean of Academics and associate professor, Kevin Cieply has an extensive military and legal background. His dedication and skills have recently positioned him for a prestigious honor. The National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ) have appointed Dean Cieply to their Board of Advisors.

The NIMJ is a District of Columbia non-profit corporation organized in 1991. NIMJ’s mission is to advance the fair administration of military justice and foster improved public understanding of the military justice system by educating the public, press, and Congress about the military justice system. NIMJ’s directors and advisors are law professors, former military lawyers, or both.

On behalf of AJMLS, congratulations Dean Cieply on your newest accomplishment!

AJMLS Professor Elizabeth Jaffe Adds Insight to Revamped Bullying Laws (Audio)

The bullying epidemic has been present in schools across the nation for decades. However, incidents of bullying have become more frequent and fatal in recent years. To raise awareness and combat this issue, forty-seven states have passed anti-bullying legislation. AJMLS professor and former family law practitioner, Elizabeth Jaffe was recently called on by Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) to add insight to this growing problem in Georgia schools.An excerpt from Professor Jaffe’s interview is below.

But increased attention raises more unanswered questions. Elizabeth Jaffe of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School says one involves what happens when students’ free speech rights collide with other students’ right not to be bullied.

Jaffe notes that existing case law allows schools to limit students’ speech to protect the safe environment of the school.

“However, with the litigiousness of our society, I think we’re going to see more and more lawsuits about incidents that occur,” Jaffe says. “For me the question goes back to prevention.”

So the question becomes not just how to respond to and punish bullying when it happens, but how to prevent it from happening at all.

To read or listen to audio of the full article, click here.

Attorney General Eric Holder Acknowledges AJMLS Professor Jon Rapping During Speech

Attorney General Eric Holder praised AJMLS professor Jon Rapping for his dedication to improving indigent defense and for his efforts to effect meaningful reform of the criminal justice system in a speech given earlier this month.

He also talked extensively about a ground-breaking training program that was recently launched by Rapping’s non-profit, the Southern Public Defender Training Center. To read Attorney General Holder’s speech, click here. His comments regarding our esteemed faculty member begin on page 3.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Appoints Three New Administrators

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) – Georgia’s only fully accredited, stand-alone law school – has appointed a new Chief Financial Officer, an Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and an Associate Dean of Recruitment and Marketing.

New administrators include:

Kevin Cieply, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

Prior to joining AJMLS in 2008, Cieply served more than 22 years in the Army and Wyoming Army National Guard as a helicopter pilot and a Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) Officer. His wide range of military legal experience includes prosecuting courts martial cases, prosecuting criminal procurement fraud cases in federal courts as a full-time Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, and serving as the Senior Legal Advisor on all military matters for the Wyoming Army National Guard. Cieply’s last military assignment was as the Chief, Land Operations Law, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), concentrating on counterterrorism and Defense Support of Civilian Authorities. He retired from the military with the rank of Colonel.

Cieply graduated from Notre Dame Law School and holds an LL.M in Military Law, Specialization in Criminal Law.

Allan Brezel, Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer, Brezel directs and manages the school’s financial investments. Before joining AJMLS, Brezel served as Chief Financial Officer of various companies.

In 1978, Brezel started his career as a Senior Accountant at Deloitte and then moved on to work in private industry. He is a graduate of the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta.

Alan Boyer, Associate Dean of Recruitment and Marketing

As Associate Dean of Recruitment and Marketing, Boyer oversees the admissions, recruitment and marketing functions of the law school. Before joining AJMLS, he most recently was Managing Partner of the Marketing Lab and a tenure-track professor of communications at Georgia Highlands College. Boyer has held various executive marketing and communications positions, including Chief Marketing Officer at Atlanta Life Financial Group, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications at Equifax. Other experiences include positions at The Coca-Cola Co., SBC Communications, First Data and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

Boyer holds a certificate in brand communication strategy from Northwestern University and a certificate in marketing strategy from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He earned a Master of Science in Mass Communications from Kansas State University and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Mass Communications from Lincoln University of Missouri.

Founded in 1933 and fully accredited by the American Bar Association, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is Georgia’s only stand-alone law school focused on preparing talented students for legal careers in the public and private sectors. AJMLS students matriculate in a learning environment that includes exceptional faculty, accelerated externships and intelligent learning collaboration. AJMLS academic programs include a Juris Doctorate, J.D. Honors Program in Criminal Justice and a LL.M in Employment Law. AJMLS serves as a strategic resource for legal talent for small, mid-size and large law firms, corporations and public service organizations throughout the country. For more information about AJMLS, please visit us at

AJMLS Professor Michael Mears Gives Thoughts on Troy Davis Execution

Gaining national and international attention, the scheduled execution of Troy Davis for the killing of Savannah police officer, Mark MacPhail has created a media frenzy and raised many ethical, moral, and legal questions.

In the two decades since Davis was condemned for fatally shooting MacPhail, seven of the nine witnesses who testified against Davis at his trial have recanted their testimony.

Based on his vast experience with death penalty cases and trials, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Michael Mears was sought out by Georgia Public BroadcastingThe Atlanta Journal Constitution, and The Washington Post to give his expert opinion on the Troy Davis execution.

An excerpt from the GPB article quoting Mears states:

If the death sentence is carried out, Michael Mears of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School says, it will be because the courts aren’t well-equipped to deal justly with recanted testimony.


“The courts want finality in these trials,” Mears says. “They don’t want these trials going on forever and ever. And that’s understandable. The problem in a death penalty case is if you don’t get it right, then someone’s going to die. And they’re going to die for a crime they might not have committed.”

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Adds Impressive Roster of Tenured and Visiting Professors

Standing firmly behind our mission to prepare highly competent and professional lawyers who are committed to the improvement of the legal system and society, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is excited about the recent addition to our growing institution.

AJMLS has hired seven tenured/tenure-track professors and seven visiting professors to bolster its commitment to marry real-world experience with classroom academics. “Coupled with the faculty already on staff, we believe our new personnel offer our students a brilliant mix of expertise and enable us to maintain our 13-to-1 student-faculty ratio.” said Richardson Lynn, dean and professor of law at the Law School.

The tenured/tenure-track professors include: 

Anthony Baker
Professor Baker brings a broad range of legal teaching experience to AJMLS, having previously taught criminal and constitutional law, history of law, ethics, mediation and research at Campbell University School of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law, University of Maine School of Law, and University of Wisconsin Law School. He is a graduate of the University Of North Carolina School of Law. 

Robert Brown
Professor Brown’s extensive real-world legal experience began as Chief Legal Counsel to the City Council of Philadelphia, where he led a team of lawyers in the drafting of zoning and tax ordinances. He then practiced real estate and finance law at Klehr, Harrison, Harvey, Branzburg & Ellers in Philadelphia. From 2004 – 2009, he worked in Atlanta focusing his practice on affordable housing, capital markets and real estate law. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 

Christine Cerniglia
A 2003 graduate of the Loyola University School of Law, Cerniglia’s legal teaching background dates back to 2004. Having served as a staff lawyer for the State of Florida, Sixth Judicial Court, she brings a wealth of real-world experience to the classroom.

Rebecca Godbey Cummings
A graduate of William and Mary Law School, this is Cummings’ second experience teaching at AJMLS. She also served as an adjunct professor teaching Wills, Trusts and Estates and a writing-intensive Advanced Estate Planning Seminar from 2005 – 2008. She was highly ranked by students each semester, and her classes were routinely filled to capacity.

James Gelin
A graduate of Duke University Law School, Professor Gelin is an experienced trial attorney who represented defendants as an Assistant Public Defender with the Office of the DeKalb County Public Defender from 1991 – 2010. Before joining the Public Defender’s office, he practiced corporate law, first at Goodwin Procter LLP in Boston, and then at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP in Atlanta. Professor Gelin previously taught criminal law at AJMLS as an adjunct professor from 1994 – 1995.

Michael Oeser
Oeser holds a Master of Laws from the University of Wisconsin and is a member of several state and tribal bar associations, including Texas State Bar, Wisconsin State Bar, Cherokee Nation Bar and Ho-Chunk Nation Bar. His experience also includes academic appointments dating back to 2006 and an extensive time in private practice. 

Tim Saviello
Saviello comes to AJMLS with a rich background in criminal defense, having been the principal of his own criminal law practice representing individuals facing criminal investigation and prosecution by the United States in the Northern District of Georgia. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, Saviello has practiced law throughout the southeastern United States.

Visiting professors also have a wide range of legal expertise. The visiting professors joining Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School include: Lovita Tandy; Allison Kort; Victoria Carlton-Sadler; Rose Anne Nespica; LaTisha Faulks; Scott Boone; and David Hricik.

For a full list of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Faculty, click here.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s 2011 Commencement

The Honorable Robert Benham of the Georgia Supreme Court was the keynote speaker at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Commencement, held Saturday, May 14, 2011, at the Atlanta Civic Center. During the ceremonies, the law school conferred more than 130 Juris Doctor degrees.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School conferred a Degree of Masters of Law in Employment Law, Honoris Causa, on Justice Benham for his inspiring career in public service and dedication to the rule of law. Also honored during the ceremonies were our Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, Mr. Thomas C. Chambers, III (’77) and Senator Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr. (’92).

We congratulate all of our 2011 graduates and would like to thank Justice Robert Benham for his uplifting and inspirational address.

Three AJMLS Students Selected as GAWL Foundation Scholarship Finalists

On April 16, 2011, the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers (GAWL) held its 18th Annual Charity Auction benefitting the GAWL Foundation Scholarship at Art Space International in Atlanta, Georgia. The event funds 100 percent of the scholarships that the Foundation awards each year to deserving, public interest- minded, female law students in Georgia. Among the eight GAWL Foundation Scholarship finalists in the state, three attend Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School: Ashley Gholamhosseini, Audrey Holliday, and Danielle Long.

The Charity Auction included a live and a silent auction featuring art (paintings, photographs, sculpture), pottery, jewelry, vacations, and many other luxury items and baskets.

Several JMLS professors supported the GAWL Charity Auction — including Lee Adams, Kathe Burch, Browning Jefferies, Liza Karsai, Lance McMillian, and Dan Piar — who donated or purchased items to help GAWL raise scholarship funds. Also, GAWL was fortunate to have about 20 students, graduates, and friends of AJMLS volunteer to help with the auction.

These volunteers included: Andria Allen, George Boone, Matthew Dials, Kara Foskey, Ginger Fowler, Greg Gelpi, Jenn Gore, Ginny & Ansley Grigsby, Barbara Henderson, Megan Hodgkiss, Kareemah Lewis, Amber O’Connor, Susanne & Kurt Tarter, Sharee Tumbling, Mecca Waddell, Elizabeth Young, and Amy Zapatka.

Dean Mears Participates in Transnational Law Program

Professor Michael Mears, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, was recently a guest a Bahcesehir Universitesi, Turkey where he taught six courses on scientific evidence in their Transnational Law Program. He enjoyed a warm welcome from faculty, students and staff at this modern, highly technological law school on the Bosporus River in Istanbul. Dean Mears’ visit continues the partnership between the two law schools which brought Professor Feridun Yenisey to JMLS in the Fall 2010 when he taught a 3-week seminar on Comparative Criminal Procedure Law.

9th Annual Bobby Lee Cook Practical Legal Symposium a Success

The annual Bobby Lee Cook Practical Legal Symposium brings together experienced lawyers and judges who reflect on their legal career, trends in the profession, and advise John Marshall students about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Mr. Cook has been a friend of the law school for many years and has generously funded the Bobby Lee Cook Endowed Scholarship. The 9th annual symposium, moderated by JMLS alumnus Mike Moran, was held on April 8, 2010 with guest presenters Peggy Brockington, Emmet Bondurant, Buck Rogers and Paul Weathington. Both John Marshall students and our guests benefited from the experience and wisdom of these prominent individuals.

John Marshall Law School Hosts State Bar of Georgia Diversity Program’s Pipeline Program

John Marshall is proud to have once again hosted the two-week State Bar of Georgia Diversity Program’s Pipeline Program, which brings young high school students together for classes and real life experiences. This year’s class of 18 included 8 students who participated in the first and second years of the program, some of whom have been accepted to college for the fall. After morning classes of training in grammar, writing, speech, and library usage, the students visit law firms and corporate legal departments for lunch and mentoring. Congratulations to all the participants!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Offering LL.M. in Employment Law

Now enrolling for Fall 2010, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School announces an innovative, graduate-level program for attorneys seeking to develop or strengthen an employment law practice. In recent years, employment law claims of all types have increased in number and scope, requiring attorneys to develop new strategies to serve their clients on both the employer and employee side. Experts predict that the number of claims will continue to climb due to many factors, including new legislation, increased knowledge of rights by employees and changes in the economy. The LL.M. in Employment Law is specifically designed for busy practitioners who want to develop or expand their expertise in the field. Small class sizes, in-depth curriculum and innovative distance learning technology combine to set the program apart. The unique structure of the LL.M. program allows students to earn their degree without taking time away from work. Classes will be offered consecutively, one class at a time, and exclusively online. To learn more about the program, please visit theLL.M. Program section of our site.