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JRCLS 2009 Annual Leadership Conference Coming Soon


October 1-2, 2009
Provo, Utah

The leadership of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society will be gathering for the annual leadership meetings in Provo, Utah on October 1-2, 2009.

Join us in the beautiful setting of Aspen Grove in full fall color. Hear stories from the International Legal Counsel of the Church. Catch the sunrise on the annual Stewart Falls hike. Help chart the future of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society. Click here for registration information.

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JRCLS Practice Groups Being Established

Tom Isaacson is the newest member of the JRCLS General Board assigned to build practice groups within the law society. So far, practice groups for IP Law, Litigation, Immigration, Law Professors, In-House Counsel, Estate Planning, and Commercial Banking / M&A / Regulation have been established. More are contemplated.

The practice groups will meet at the annual JRCLS Lawyer's Conference and provide members with the opportunity to network and develop relationships with JRCLS members within their own practice groups. We are currently using LinkedIn to enable practice group chairs to easily communicate with each practice group.

If you are interested in chairing, co-chairing, joining or participating with a practice group, please contact Tom Isaacson at (410) 286 9405x1105 or

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Reception for undergraduate women and women attorneys

The JRCLS Student Chapter's Board invites you to attend a program and reception for undergraduate women and women attorneys:

WHAT: "The Importance of Education for LDS Women: How a Law Degree Prepares Women to Contribute in the Church, the Family, and the Community"

WHEN: Wednesday, September 30, 2009

TIME: 7:00pm

WHERE: BYU Wilkenson Center

SPEAKER: Elder John K. Carmack, Director of the Perpetual Education Fund

PANEL: Discussion with Female LDS Attorneys, moderated by Nancy VanSlooten, JRCLS Chair-elect

WHO: All female undergraduates at BYU, UVU, and U of U are invited to attend as well as all women attorneys (currently practicing or not) to network with students during the reception

Please contact Megan Woodhouse, Vice-Chair of the Student Chapters Board, at if you have any questions regarding the event.

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2nd Annual DC- Area Interviewing Workshop a great success

On July 23, 2009 the Mid-Atlantic Region of the J. Rueben Clark Law Society hosted the 2nd Annual DC- Area Interviewing Workshop at the law offices of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP in Washington, D.C. The event was attended by approximately 25 students with eight attorney volunteers conducting mock job interviews. The goal of the workshop was to help prepare students for upcoming on-campus interviews and job fair events taking place during the fall. Students were also addressed by John Waters, Executive Director of Covington and Burling about the current hiring climate. Mr. Waters's presentation provided helpful suggestions on preparing for interviews and what to expect in offers from potential employers.

Students were divided into two groups. While one group was cycling through the interviewing schedule the second group met with Alex Dahl, Shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to participate in a presentation and discussion on resume writing and presentation. Mr. Dahl focused his suggestions on how students can best utilize their resumes to market themselves to potential employers.

The groups rotated after the 45-minute interviewing cycle was completed. Students were given at least two opportunities to participate in a mock interview with the attorney volunteers. Refreshments were provided by the Washington DC LDS Institute of Religion.

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Shima Baradaran; making a difference

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If you attended BYU in the last 8 years, you have probably heard of Shima Baradaran. She graduated from the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 2004 at the top of her class, and her class outlines are the stuff of legends. These days Shima is, among other things, enjoying a Fulbright grant in Malawi. A year ago, as part of the Fulbright program, Shima essentially began two jobs - lecturing in criminal law at the University of Malawi School of Law while defending criminal suits and initiating civil actions in land, tort, family and estate disputes in Malawi magistrate and high court as a Senior Advocate at the Malawi Legal Aid Department. Earlier this year, she interrupted her Fulbright work briefly at the request of the UK's Department for International Development to manage its Malawi justice reform program for 5 months.

During her time on the Fulbright program, Shima says a few events have stood out. The first was a lecture to students at the University of Malawi on constitutional rights and public interest litigation which helped the students gain perspective in their attempt to sue their city for improper waste disposal. The second was a criminal trial she defended entirely on her own. The prosecution arose from a fight between two teenagers over a DVD in which one of the teens was killed. The family and community members of the teen who was killed then attacked the killer's house, throwing stones and eventually setting it on fire. While the killer's family managed to escape the fire, the community looted and destroyed the home. Shima represented the 13 people who were later found around the destroyed home or with looted property around their own houses. Shima was able to get an acquittal for 11 of her 13 defendants, while the other two received community service sentences-a great result for her clients. Her experiences have sparked her interest in studying bail and comparative justice.

Main Content Inline Small But Malawi is not all work. Since Shima moved to lush, tropical Malawi from New York City, she reports that her two sons (ages 2 and 4) think that they have moved into Central Park. Shima, her husband Jeff Robison (a pediatrician working with HIV+ children), and the boys attend a small LDS Church branch in the capital Lilongwe with 50 about members, where she serves in the Primary.

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Meet the New Church Attorneys

Craig H. Christensen

Craig H. Christensen joined the Office of General Counsel in January 2009. Prior to joining the Church legal team, he was of counsel to the law firm of Kirton & McConkie from September 2007 through January 2009 and a member of the firm's International Law Section where he focused on international legal projects for the Church.

From September 2000 through August 2007, Craig served as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Altiris, Inc., a computer software company offering web services, security, and systems management products that allowed organizations to manage their IT assets. During his tenure at Altiris, the company grew from a purely domestic business into a global leader in systems management solutions and was acquired by Symantec in August 2007.

Prior to his work at Altiris, Craig served as Associate General Counsel at Novell, Inc., a global computer software company, where he focused on mergers and acquisitions and private equity financing. Craig holds a B.A. in English and a J.D. from Brigham Young University.

Craig and his wife Shawna moved to the Churchs Area Office in Auckland, New Zealand earlier this year, locating them just across the Tasman Sea from his field of labor as a missionary in Sydney, Australia. Although Craig has done international legal work throughout his career and has frequently returned to Australia on business, this is the familys first overseas assignment. The editor also notes that Craig played on the BYU basketball team in 1975-76 and 1978-1982 (aka the "Danny Ainge era").

Dave Colton

He is returning to the land of his birth -- he was born in Stuttgart, Germany while his father was in the Army JAG corp. While he has not otherwise lived outside of the United States, his business and wanderlust has given him plenty of time abroad.

Before joining OGC, Dave spent almost 20 years of his career at Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold (formerly Phelps Dodge) in Phoenix, Arizona, ultimately rising to be its Senior Vice-President and General Counsel. He oversaw the legal and regulatory issues in the implementation of global international resource projects and dealt with significant takeover and acquisition issues, corporate governance strategy, governmental affairs and environmental regulatory work.

He was a partner at the Salt Lake firm of Van Cott, Bagley, Cornwall & McCarthy when he moved to Phelps Dodge in 1988. Dave graduated from BYU with a bachelor's degree in Economics and a J.D. He has now moved to Frankfurt with his wife Julie. Together they have nine children, seven of whom are married. They also have nine grandkids with two more on the way. Dave and Julie are empty-nesters, but expect their youngest daughter Lizzie, a sophomore at BYU-Idaho, to be a regular visitor. They also hope to see all their kids in Germany sometime during Dave's assignment.

David K. Armstrong

David K. Armstrong joined the Office of General Counsel May 1, 2009. Prior to joining the Church legal team, he served as Senior Vice President / CFO and General Counsel of Accuride Corporation from January 2007 through April 2009 and as Senior Vice President / General Counsel from October 1998 through December 2007. Accuride Corporation is North America's largest stand alone manufacturer of components for heavy and medium commercial vehicles and has over 20 manufacturing facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Prior to his work at Accuride, Dave was a Partner with the law firm of Snell & Wilmer in Salt Lake City, where he focused on corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, SEC reporting issues and cross border transactions. Dave has written numerous articles on cross-border transactions and doing business in Mexico. He is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a B.S., MAcc in Accounting, and J.D., all from Brigham Young University.

Dave and his wife Betty Ann moved to the Church's Area Office in Lima, Peru this summer with their 13-year old daughter Stacey and their standard Poodle Perky. Dave served a mission in Uruguay and Paraguay and met his wife on a BYU trip to Guatemala. Although Dave has worked on a number of international legal matters throughout his career, this is the family's first overseas assignment.

Karen M. Clemes

Karen M. Clemes recently moved with her family from San Diego to Utah to accept a position with the Church as its Director of Human Resource Legal Services and Employee Relations. In San Diego, she was a partner in the Employment practice group at Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP.

Karen joined Luce Forward in 1999 after working as a law clerk for the Honorable David R. Thompson of the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She graduated from California Western School of Law (summa cum laude) in 1998, where she was an Executive Editor of the California Western Law Review/International Law Journal and received the 1998 Trustees Award as the most outstanding graduate. She received her B.A. degree (with honors) in comparative literature in 1984 and her M.A. degree in humanities in 1986, both from Brigham Young University. Before going to law school, she was an adjunct faculty member at Palomar and Mesa Colleges, where she taught humanities and English courses.

Her pre-Church employment law practice included employment, class action, and trade secrets litigation, along with preventative employment counseling and education of employers in an effort to avoid claims in a number of areas. Karen is also the immediate past chair of the San Diego Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.

In her current position for the Church, Karen directs and provides employment law counseling to the HR community and management worldwide, manages domestic employment litigation, provides consultation to the Churchs international legal team on international employment issues and claims, provides employment law training, and oversees Human Resource policy development and compliance.

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