Graphic stating student briefs

Students Briefs

Student Paper Accepted for Publication in the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law

Student Robert DiehlThe prestigious Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law recently accepted for publication a paper by third-year law student Robert Diehl. The title of Diehl's paper, published this fall, is "Model Civilian Review Board: Accounting for Class, Race, and Power in Municipal Policing."

Diehl, who is from Erie, Pa., originally wrote his piece for Professor Jan Levine's Advanced Legal Writing: Drafting course. The paper was expanded as a directed research independent study project this spring, with the goal of seeking publication.

"Professor Levine encouraged us to draft a legislative fix for an issue we were personally passionate about. The problems of police violence and social conflict were ones I'd been passionate about for a number of years, but more recently I had read about some high-profile failed attempts to reform the practices or culture of a municipal police department," Diehl said.

The paper's timely and relevant subject matter explores attempts to reform municipal police departments through community oversight and holding officers and police departments accountable for violations of department policy or law.

Diehl's work led him to explore the historical sources of policing and the institutional autonomy given to many police departments. His article provides a statutory framework for a community to review police actions and hold its police department accountable to the public interest.

Diehl's subject is one of importance that provides thoughtful legislation.  "The topic of Robert's paper is quite timely and of great interest as the nation looks closely at the role of police and holding them accountable to the communities they serve. Very few law students at any law school are able to publish a paper in another school's journal. The Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law is a prestigious specialty journal at an outstanding law school and their decision to publish his article is quite an honor," Levine said.

While awaiting publication, Diehl spent his summer working remotely for Kirkland & Ellis in New York in the corporate restructuring practice and currently serves as an executive articles editor for the Duquesne Law Review.

The 20th Annual Katie Westbrook 5K & Dog Walk

This year's Katie Westbrook 5K and Dog Walk, organized by the Student Bar Association, was held in person on Academic Walk Oct. 16 and virtually, where participants sent pictures of their route/time to the dedicated Facebook page.

We had nearly 100 participants registered, as well as 23 dogs! The participants gathered for a morning of racing, walking, yard games, a bake sale, snacks, a raffle for two sets of Steelers tickets (two winning tickets were pulled), and other fundraising games and sales. Several student organizations were represented, including the Health Law Society's first aid station, the Women's Law Association's T-shirt sale and the Duquesne Italian American Law Society's biscotti at the coffee stations. Katie's mother, Beth Westbrook, attended, and we remembered Katie's life by celebrating with the Duquesne Law community.

This event was held the morning after the 69th Law Alumni Reunion, making it convenient for alumni to join us while they were in town. All proceeds from the race went to the Public Interest Law Scholarship Fund, to directly benefit our law students. If you'd like to know more about Katie Westbrook or donate, visit our web page

Health Law Society Blood Drive

The Health Law Society hosted a blood drive Oct. 25 from noon-5 p.m. in the Towers Multi-Purpose Room on campus. Vitalant (formerly Central Blood Bank) sent its professional staff to campus to perform the drawings discreetly, and followed all safety protocols. Donating blood saves lives, and the Health Law Society was proud to sponsor this blood drive, which was open to all University students, staff and faculty, not just the Law School. If you would like to schedule an appointment at a Pittsburgh location, visit or call Vitalant at 1-877-258-4825 for more information.

Animal Law Society's Howl-O-Ween Pet Contest and Phi Alpha Delta Bake Sale

The Animal Law Society teamed up with Phi Alpha Delta the week of Oct. 25 to bring the Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Contest and Bake Sale in person to the student lounge. Last year, we were limited to holding the contest online only, but still managed to raise a good amount of money for Humane Animal Rescue on Pittsburgh's North Side. The bake sale was back this year as well, with treats individually wrapped. Pictures of adorable costumed pets were on display, and the pet who received the most votes was declared the winner. This event gets everyone in the Halloween spirit, and a bake sale is always welcome. To see costumed pet contestants and winners, visit the Howl-O-Ween web page.