News & Events S
ummer is the season to relax, regenerate and sit back with a good read. We checked in with
a few members of the UNM School of Law com- munity to see what books they were cracking this summer, or what they would recommend for good warm-weather reading.
Randi McGinn (`80), who regularly teaches Advanced Evidence and Trial Practice as a mem- ber of the adjunct faculty, turned to THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY by French journalist Jean- Dominique Bauby when she was researching a case. The memoir about Bauby’s experience after suffering a stroke that left him “locked-in”, in which his mind was intact but he couldn’t move or speak, provided insight into one of McGinn’s clients in a similar state.
Summertime and the Reading is Easy
he is confined and in the simple joy of visits by his family,” said McGinn. “It was a remarkable testa- ment to the resilience of the human spirit and our need for human connection and communication, even when we are completely immobile.”
Professor Alfred Mathewson was drawn by au- thor Michelle Alexander’s motivation for writing THE NEW JIM CROWMASS INCARCERATIONS IN THE AGE OF COLORBLINDNESS, which he saw reviewed in the New York Times. Her thesis was that the War on Drugs and its concomitant mass incarceration of African American males has led to the return of Jim Crow. Convicted felons are returned to minority commu- nities without voting rights or economic opportu- nities, thus devastating those communities through the segregation that results.
“A criminal defense lawyer in Oakland, Calif., Alexander was looking for a test case on racial pro- filing,” said Mathewson. “She thought she had found the perfect plaintiff in a young man who had meticulously documented his encounters with the police.” Upon discovering that he had a felony con- viction arising out of the drug trade, she declined his case. His response was that she had victimized him as much as the criminal justice system. He also told her that she would not find her perfect plaintiff in his community as all of the young men had been targeted and marked with felonies.
Professor Sherri Burr has curled up with an advanced copy of PRIME TIME: MAKING THEMOST OF YOUR LIFE, Jane Fonda’s latest book. She obtained the copy after seeing Fonda speak about it at Book Expo America, the largest book convention in the world. The book will go on sale in early August.
“I wanted to understand what my client’s life is like so I could translate his experience into words and a story that would resonate with the jury,” she said.
Bauby wrote the book by working out a system of communication in which he selected letters by blinking his left eyelid. Each word took about two minutes to communicate and the small book took 10 months, working four hours a day, to com- plete. The sad ending was that he died of pneumo- nia three days after the book was published.
“The surprising thing about the book was how the author finds beauty and strength in the mundane, everyday events that happen in the hospital where
14•UNM LAW Prof. Leo Romero is impressed by Andre Agassi’s writing talent.
Fonda, 73, advises seeing life as a staircase rather than an arc, providing a metaphor in which life potentially gets better with time as we continue to ascend.
“One aspect of the book that I like is Fonda is not afraid to reveal her fears and inner demons or share the truth about her life,” said Burr. “I think it takes a lot of courage for a public person to share so openly.”
Burr also liked Fonda’s 11 ingredients to success- ful aging, which include: not abusing alcohol, not smoking, getting enough sleep, being physi- cally active, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy active brain through learning, encour- aging a positive attitude, reviewing and reflecting on your life, loving and staying connected, giving of oneself and caring about the bigger picture.
Professor Leo Romero found Andre Agassi’s autobiography, OPEN, enjoyable for its vivid por- trayal of the tennis star’s life, from how his violent father drove him relentlessly to hit a minimum of 2,500 balls a day at the age of seven to his re- lationships with both of his wives and friends. While the gossip was engaging, Romero was struck by how well-written it was, assisted by award-winning author, J.R. Moehringer.
“I cannot say that Agassi’s book will improve my game, but the book certainly makes me appreciate the hard work and commitment that goes into the development of world- class professional tennis players,” said Romero. “After reading about the life of a tennis professional and the sacrifices re- quired to reach the top ranks, I am still glad I chose law as a career and tennis as an avocation.”
Prof. Sherri Burr is inspired by Jane Fonda.
Randi McGinn (`80) finds big inspiration in little book.
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