The Official Newsletter of the Federal Bar Association
Chapter for the Districts of Kansas and Western Missouri
Chapter Spotlight: Chapter president looking forward to better times ahead
Tony Mattivi, Chapter President
As we all suffer through our Zoom Fatigue (it’s a thing – you can look it up!), I know I don’t need to tell you that the past 18 months has been challenging for many. Fortunately, our chapter has weathered the storm quite well, I believe primarily due to the rock-solid foundation laid before the pandemic by our recent past presidents and our board. And despite the limitations imposed on society and our organization, many exciting things are happening in our chapter.
Perhaps at the top of the list is that we are beginning preparations to host the FBA National Conference in 2024. Judge Bough is leading a steering committee that will install a comprehensive infrastructure for this project, and Kate and Ethan are coordinating with National. A solid piece of advice we received from a veteran of two successful national conventions is that it’s never too early to begin planning and raising money. In the coming weeks and months, you’ll hear much more from me and others in chapter leadership as we move toward pulling off a national-caliber event. We will be asking for your ideas – and for your help – because our goal is a conference that will showcase both our organization and the city and area that we all love.
Other exciting events in the chapter include Susan Sposato and our Newer Lawyers Committee (working along with Judge James and our Civics Committee and Judge Birzer) received a $5000 grant for civics outreach primarily by newer lawyers – including some enjoyable coloring books for grade school students (or bored lawyers!). Judge James and Ethan Lange conducted interesting and enjoyable interviews with the two newest magistrate judges in the Western District of Missouri, and we posted those on our website. We launched a Federal Litigation Committee, co-chaired by Susan Casey and Liz Martin, and that committee put together an outstanding and well-attended CLE. The FedLit Committee will be an important effort, not just because FedLit is the largest national Section and routinely offers national-caliber CLE and other events, but also because FedLit will be especially helpful with the National Convention. Our Wellbeing Committee continues to provide a Facebook yoga class as a benefit for members. We recently welcomed a new webmaster who we believe will help improve (and hopefully monetize) our web page and increase our social media presence. And we are about to release the debut edition of our Federal Civil Verdict Reporter.
My greatest emphasis in the months remaining in my term, however, will be membership. Our chapter has been hovering just under 200 members for some time now. With the pandemic, unfortunately (but understandably), we’ve dropped about 30 members. Compared with what’s happened nationally and with other chapters in our circuits, this is quite encouraging – other chapters have experienced far more significant drops. But my immediate goal is to surpass 200 members in our chapter. This is important not just from a numbers perspective but because more members lead to more engagement, more involvement, more activities, and more opportunities.
So my “ask” today is that each person reading this message please recruit one new member to our organization. Even if only a quarter of our members are successful in this effort, this will result in 45 new members. The benefit of adding these new colleagues to our rolls isn’t just that it gets us above 200 members – it’s that it will add energy and enthusiasm to an already vibrant and engaged chapter. It will add people who can help us prepare for the national conference. It will add more networking opportunities and more mentors for law students. Our chapter is recognized within our circuits as an example of how to do things right. I believe making it bigger will also make it better. Please make that call or send that email to help us add another new member. And please join me in looking forward to brighter days as we turn the corner on this pandemic.
Former teacher turned mentorship chair knows federal courts in both districts
Benjamin Stueve, Stueve Siegel Hanson
I had the pleasure of speaking with our mentorship committee chair Ben Stueve to chat about mentorship, his experience working in both of our chapter’s federal districts and working from home during COVID-19. The highlight of our chat was overhearing his youngest child greet Ben when he came home from pre-school.
For our local chapter you chair the mentorship committee – tell us how you got involved and a little bit about the mentorship initiative.
I was fortunate to inherit the mentorship chair position while serving as an intern in D. Kan. The two clerks I worked with were Kate Simpson and Whitney Novack who were very involved in FBA. They were amazing clerks, and I wanted to be like them. I asked how I could get involved in FBA, and the spot was open to help with the mentorship committee. I liked the idea of mentorship because it was a way to connect current law students to a lawyer or judge that were members of the FBA. As a former teacher I missed the ability to guide and mentor so this was a unique opportunity to fill that role.
Our mentorship initiative pairs a law student with a member of our local FBA chapter. Our mentorship covers every law school of our chapter region: Washburn, KU, UMKC, and MU.
For someone reading this that is interested in becoming a mentor – why should they volunteer and how can they sign up?
Everyone remembers how uncertain law school is especially the first year. The legal profession can be a mystery so any bit of guidance you can have from a lawyer is so helpful. It’s all about connections, especially in Kansas City where there is a tightknit legal community and where many law students in our district come to practice. The mentorship program allows a law student to be connected with a practicing lawyer to answer questions, provide guidance, and help make connections.
Our mentorship initiative has had an even bigger impact in a pandemic because it’s harder than ever for law students to get facetime with lawyers because all in-person networking events have been cancelled.
To sign-up to be a mentor watch for the email blast about signing up. You can also email me: email@example.com.
You have had the unique experience of working in both of our districts. You clerked for Judge Stephen R. Bough in WDMO in 2018–2019 and you were a Judicial Intern for Judge Carlos Murguia, in D. Kan from 2017–2018. What was the biggest difference and the biggest similarity between the two districts? Biggest difference: The role of the magistrate judge
The biggest difference is the magistrate judges’ role in each district. In D. Kan., magistrate judges handle all civil pre-trial discovery. In WDMO, magistrate judges handle all pre-trial criminal proceedings. Biggest Similarity: Comradery
The comradery among the judges and the clerks in both districts was really strong. Sometimes judicial chambers are portrayed as isolated – everyone is on their own little team working in chambers on their own. That’s true everyone does work in their chambers, but there is a lot of interaction between judges, clerks, and interns throughout the day.
You’re in private practice now – how has your internship and clerkship impacted your practice?
I’ve been in private practice for a year and a half so I’m not yet a seasoned veteran to see all the ways my experiences in D. Kan. and WDMO will impact my practice, but so far, I have learned what to do and not to do as a lawyer when I address the court. I also have a better idea of what courts do and do not care about. Things that may seem really important to a lawyer may or may not be important to the court. I also learned the value of local rules. When filing something in a court the first thing I do is to look up the local rules. If I had not done the internship or clerkship, I may not have had the understanding of the importance of local rules.
You’ve been working remotely for a little under a year. What are the pros and cons you’ve found during this time? Any tips for those still working remotely? Pro:
As a parent being around my three kids more. Pre-pandemic I tried to make family a priority but working from home has allowed me to be more present every day on a more regular basis. Con:
It has been harder to be productive and focus working from home outside of the structured office and without events to look forward to. See my tips below on what has helped me stay focused and productive. Tips:
Take breaks to re-set and re-focus. It sounds counter-intuitive but taking a break can make you more focused and more productive. Some breaks I recommend – take a short walk, put on a record, do the dishes, listen to a podcast.
Regularly talk to people – chat on the phone rather than sending an email.
If your environment isn’t working – try to change it. For me, I go into the office when I need a change of scenery.
KU student chapter president brings leadership experience from native Utah
Karsyn Dahl, University of Kansas School of Law
I teed up my interview with Karsyn Dahl, currently the President of the KU student division with a little Q&A. Here is what Karsyn had to say about herself.
Tell us about your undergraduate experience?
I earned my undergraduate degree in Law and Constitutional Studies (minor in History) from Utah State University in 2018. During my time at USU, I was a member of the Government Relations Council, the Institute of Government and Politics Student Advisory Board, Pi Sigma Alpha, Pre-Law Society, Student Body President’s Cabinet, Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, and the Jon M. Huntsman Entrepreneurship Club.
My undergraduate experience was really defined by the internships I completed during my junior and senior years. I interned for Hillyard, Anderson, and Olsen law firm in Logan, Utah, Governor Gary Herbert in Salt Lake City, and Congressman Rob Bishop in Washington, D.C. Through these internships I developed a close relationship with Utah State’s Government Relations Office. Before graduation, the Government Relations Office hired me as a full-time employee to recruit and place all of Utah State’s government and non-profit intern and coordinate nearly 50 campus events yearly with public figures such as Senator Jeff Flake and Jim Messina. I worked for this office for just over a year and a half before going to law school.
Why did you decide to go to law school?
During my time in the Government Relations Office at Utah State, I developed a great working relationship with the University’s General Counsel Office. I helped the team of attorneys develop a university policy for inviting elected officials and campaign figures to speak on campus. This was my first taste of legal reading and drafting, and I knew I wanted to do projects like that for the rest of my life. The attorneys I worked with have been a great resource for me throughout law school.
How did you become involved in FBA?
I became involved in FBA as a 1L at KU Law. A mentor of mine who works as an attorney for the Federal Reserve recommended the group to me as a great networking source. As 2L year approached, I was interested in taking on a leadership role in FBA but never anticipated being the president. I entered the election meeting with a handful of notes about why I wanted to be the secretary but quickly gained the confidence that I was capable of being president. I tossed my notes and spoke about what I could bring to the table with the experiences I had in college and in my full-time position with Utah State. I am thankful to my classmates for trusting me in this role!
What have you gotten out of FBA?
My favorite part about my FBA experience is the community I have been able to build with the members of our chapter and my executive board. With most of our courses being online this year, it has been difficult to maintain friendships and connections in the law school. I am thankful for this outlet to meet with my FBA friends and connections.
What are your professional plans?
I will be returning to Utah after graduation in May 2022 to work for a company that has had a big impact on my communities back home. It is an in-house position where I will be able to do everything from acquisitions and mergers, intellectual property, employment, nonprofit, international trade, government relations, and more! I somehow landed my dream job right out of law school and I am so excited to get started!
Here is what I have to say about Karsyn. She is clearly personally, professionally and publicly motivated. KU was lucky to land her. It is understandable, but regrettable, that she will be leaving our legal community to return to her Utah roots. But I know we will be hearing more about and more from this rising star who will undoubtedly climb the leadership ladder of FBA when she graduates and commences the practice of law. Right now, her leadership interests and aspirations transcend FBA, since she clued me in to her candidacy for the Student Body President. Her contemporary campaign features TikTok presentations. Hopefully, she included her yellow Lab, Millie. I have seen a picture of Millie studying Karsyn’s Evidence book. Simply adorable. Be careful, Karsyn, don’t let your dog eat your homework.
Federal Litigation Spotlight
Pereida v. Wilkinson: Prospective deportees bear burden of proof
The Supreme Court issued a major immigration decision on March 4, 2021, holding that prospective deportees bear the burden of proof under § 240A(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which affords both relief from lawful removal and a green card to illegal aliens who meet a four-prong test and obtain clearance from the Attorney General.
Under the INA, removal proceedings begin when the government files charges against an individual and a hearing occurs before an immigration judge, who may order removal on several possible bases. Before the order of lawful removal is acted upon, however, the individual may ask the Attorney General to cancel the order by proving four things: (1) he has been present in the U.S. for at least 10 years; (2) he has been a person of good moral character; (3) he has not been convicted of certain criminal offenses; and (4) his removal would impose an “exceptional and extremely unusual” hardship on a close relative who is either a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. If the nonpermanent resident alien can prove these prongs, he becomes eligible to have the removal order cancelled. Final discretion rests with the Attorney General, who may cancel no more than 4,000 removal orders each year per statute.
Mr. Pereida faced deportation proceedings and did not contest that he was subject to lawful removal. He instead sought discretionary relief cancelling the order. Ultimately all parties agreed that Mr. Pereida’s eligibility revolved around prong (3), and whether he could prove he had not been convicted of certain crimes, including ones “involving moral turpitude.” Mr. Pereida had been prosecuted in Nebraska state court on a charge of attempted criminal impersonation based upon his having used a fraudulent social security card to obtain employment. All parties had agreed that a crime involving fraud qualified as a crime involving “moral turpitude.” The Nebraska statute, subsections (a), (b) and (d) each stated a crime involving fraud, which would be disqualifying. Subsection (c) – prohibiting carrying on a business without a required license – likely did not involve fraudulent conduct, but the immigration judge also did not believe Mr. Pereida had committed this particular offense under the statute.
The government presented a copy of the criminal complaint at the hearing, showing Mr. Pereida had been charged with using a fraudulent social security card to obtain employment. Mr. Pereida offered no competing evidence. The immigration judge found that Mr. Pereida’s conduct had nothing to do with subsection (c) and thus constituted fraudulent conduct under one of the other three subsections. Mr. Pereida’s request for discretionary relief was denied.
Both the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and the Eighth Circuit agreed with the immigration judge. The BIA and the Eighth Circuit found some ambiguity in the record as to which subsection Mr. Pereida had been convicted of violating, but determined it made no difference, because the burden rested with Mr. Pereida to prove his conviction did not involve a crime of moral turpitude – a burden he did not meet.
Justice Gorsuch delivered a 5-3 opinion of the Court, affirming the Eighth Circuit. Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Alito and Kavanaugh joined. The Supreme Court held that under the INA, nonpermanent aliens seeking to cancel a lawful removal order must prove that they have not been convicted of a disqualifying crime, and that Mr. Pereida had failed to carry his burden.
Justice Breyer dissented, joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan. The dissent would have applied a “categorical approach” to determine the nature of the crime committed, which would have involved looking at certain, specified documents and determining whether the crime of conviction necessary fell within a certain category (here, moral turpitude). If not, the judge must find that the conviction was not for such a crime. According to the dissent, applying the categorical approach to Mr. Pereida’s case would have shown that the previous conviction was not for a crime involving moral turpitude.
Justice Barrett had not yet been confirmed at the time the case was argued and took no part in the decision.
Hutton & Hutton Law Firm
Judicial reception, 5 to 7 p.m. at UMKC School of Law September 17
Constitution Day readings at all three District of Kansas courthouses in Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita. More information, including links to sign up to read: https://fedbarkanmo.org/upcoming-events/ September 23-25
FBA 2021 Hybrid Annual Meeting, Miami, Fla. or virtually. More information: http://www.fedbar.org/event/fbacon21/ November 12
Brownbag lunch with Western District of Missouri Magistrate Judge Lajuana Counts, noon at Charles Evans Whittaker U.S. Courthouse, Kansas City, Mo. More information: Robert Calbi, firstname.lastname@example.org. December 10
Brownbag lunch with District of Kansas Magistrate Judge James O’Hara, noon at Robert J. Dole Courthouse, Kansas City, Kan. More information: Robert Calbi, email@example.com.
Know someone or something we should spotlight?
Contact Eric Turner, newsletter subcommittee chair,
at ETurner@Foulston.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.