Monthly Archives

July 2014

Inspired Justice

The Unaccompanied Minor at Our Border, by Senior Distinguished Fellow Thomas E. Holloran

11-143 SOL Holloran legacyMy grandfather was born in a small village in the west of Ireland in 1839. He was the third of four children. In 1845 and succeeding years, the Irish potato crop failed and a great famine ensued. A million people died and a million people immigrated.

My grandfather’s family was impoverished but was able to send the two older children to America In 1849 my grandfather and his 6-year-old sister were sent by ship to America to live with their older siblings. Communication was unreliable and the older siblings never received notice of their coming. The two young children were not met in New York when their ship arrived. Two unaccompanied minors seeking to enter the United States.

Fortunately, it was a different time. A family from Connecticut who they didn’t know vouched for them, took them into their home and raised them until they were young adults.

Later, my grandfather moved to Minnesota and married my grandmother. My mother was his fourth and last child. He lived just long enough to hold me as a newborn.

I write this as thousands of unaccompanied children are streaming across our southern border, and the intense cry is “don’t admit them, send them back.”

Fortunately, that was not the national attitude in 1849. I owe my very existence to the generosity of a welcoming country and the kindness of a family from Connecticut.

Thomas E. Holloran is a senior distinguished fellow at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and former president of Medtronic and chairman and CEO of Dain-Rauscher, now RBC Wealth Management.

Inspired Justice

Representing the University of St. Thomas at the State House United Republic of Tanzania, by Alex Migambi ’15

This summer, I joined a group of master’s and doctorate students for a 3-credit graduate course (Leadership in International Contexts of Tanzania (EDLD 869)) offered through the University of St. Thomas International Graduate Program. I was so thrilled to take the course and immerse myself into the Tanzanian culture as a way to learn more about the challenges that national, regional and local leaders of Tanzania face as they negotiate development in one of the poorest countries in the world.

On the trip I was accompanied by Dr. Artika Tyner ’06, former law clinical faculty and now faculty at the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling, and Dr. Bongila Jean Pierre, a professor in the UST Graduate School of Education.

Alex MigambiDuring the trip, we visited different government institutions including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the State House of the United Republic of Tanzania. I had a chance to interview the Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Bernard K. Membe, on several issues ranging from governance, education, economy and health care. I presented a gift on behalf of the University of St. Thomas delegation.

The trip also included a visit to the State House of the United Republic of Tanzania where the UST delegation met the Chief Secretary Hon. Ambassador Y. Sefue, former ambassador of Tanzania to the United States and Canada. During the meeting with Ambassador Sefue, we discussed several topics including foreign investment, health care growth, development of education, the current constitutional review process of Tanzania and global leadership. I was able to present a gift to Ambassador Sefue on behalf of the UST delegation.

The course was life-changing for me on so many levels. I was able to get a deeper understanding and appreciation of the economic and governance challenges facing transitional democracies by looking at Tanzania as a model for East Africa and the rest of Africa in general. Most importantly, the trip gave me a deeper understanding of my African heritage through cross-cultural learning through interacting with the people of Tanzania.

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Alex Migambi is a certified student attorney, African regional coordinator of the UST Law ADR Research Network, and rising 3L.

Inspired Justice

Bringing humanity into the practice of law, by Adam Brown ’06

Adam Brown

The University of St. Thomas School of Law’s mission means something different to each person who encounters it. To me, the mission is a reminder to consider the people involved with whatever I am working on, listen to their concerns, and try to help in whatever way possible. In other words, the mission urges us to bring an element of humanity into the practice of law and to try to make the legal system more accessible and positive.

As a first-year law student, the mission seemed to be such a broad, aspirational concept, and I just wanted to pass Torts. Law school was overwhelming when I started; I had no legal experience or connections, and I was so intimidated by law professors (read in a deep voice). However, I quickly learned that the faculty and staff were always willing to speak with me. They wanted to get to know me on a personal level, and they were always willing to help. This surprised me, and it made me feel much more comfortable with the law school process. My UST Law professors showed me that they were just normal people, that they were accessible, and that they cared. I have tried to live up to that example as I have moved on in my professional career and in my other favorite jobs – including dad and mite hockey coach.

I now work as a staff attorney at the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, and I previously spent a number of years as a defense attorney representing employers and insurance companies. I have seen the influence that attorneys and the legal system can have on peoples’ lives. Day-to-day legal practice can become routine for the attorneys, judges and other professionals involved, but for an injured worker and his or her family, the experience can be anything but routine. The legal process can be intimidating, and people often have misconceptions about attorneys, judges and other legal professionals.

Based on the lessons I learned at UST Law, I have always tried to make sure I consider the person on the other side of the table, and I have always tried to connect with those folks on a more personal level when I interact with them. Although I may have been advocating zealously for a different result, I have always tried to keep the opposing party’s interests and motivations in mind, and I have always tried to be respectful of the process and the people involved. I have worked on some larger volunteer and service projects, and I know I should do more. However, the mission also reminds us that there is good to be done at many levels, even if it is just by helping an opposing party feel a bit more positive about his or her experience with the legal system.

I spend a great deal of time at UST Law in various roles with the Alumni Board, the Mentor Externship program, the J.D. Compass program, and others. Every time I walk through the doors at UST Law or speak with a professor, administrator, staff member, student or fellow alum, I am reminded of how much I enjoy being a part of this law school community. As a student and now an alumnus, I have always felt like I am a priority for the people at UST Law and that they support me and my career endeavors in both the short and long term. For example, I am always impressed when I hear the dean and other representatives from the school speak at an Alumni Board meeting about strategies and policies to support alumni in searching for jobs, marketing and finding new clients, and building their brand. I wish all of our alumni could sit in on those discussions.

I know we can count on the law school and our wonderful network of alumni. All we have to do is ask, and someone will do his or her best to help with whatever we need. I believe that for UST Law alumni, that same willingness to listen and help wherever possible carries over into our lives and our careers, and it influences our relationships with others and everything that we do. In my opinion, that is the mission in action.

Adam Brown ’06 is a staff attorney with the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, adjunct professor for the University of St. Thomas School of Law Mentor Externship program, incoming president of the UST Law Alumni Board, career strategist with the UST Law J.D. Compass program, and coach and judge for the UST Law Moot Court program.