Chase faculty members take pride in their extensive work outside of the classroom. Not only do faculty members spend many hours preparing for class and guiding the next generation of lawyers, they also write articles and books, travel the world on speaking tours, represent clients, speak on panels and television programs, and excel in a variety of endeavors. This page will periodically feature a few such faculty successes.
Professor David Singleton Gives Students Experience in the Classroom and the Courtroom
Professor David Singleton teaches students at Salmon P. Chase College of Law how they can get it right in the future and how to correct something someone else did wrong in the past.
For the future, he teaches what they will need to know to examine prospective jurors for jury selection when they practice law. For the past, he guides students in the Chase Constitutional Litigation Clinic in handling civil rights cases for prisoners and former offenders who allege they had been abused, denied medical care, or religious liberty while incarcerated.
For students in the clinic, the experience begins with interviewing clients and continues through briefs, trials, and appeals. “I ask everyone to suspend their judgment and give the people they represent a chance,” Professor Singleton says. “Don’t judge them on the worst things they’ve done. We’re all people, and some of us make mistakes that land us in prison. That doesn’t mean the people we represent have lost their humanity. We fight for people because they’re human beings.”
With students in his classroom, he is noted for the way in which he uses contemporary cases and experiential learning to complement the core cases professors use to teach legal concepts. He also brings to the classroom a combination of the scholarship he found as a student at Harvard Law School and the under-pressure legal skills he developed as a legal aid lawyer and a public defender.
Combined – classroom and clinic – or separate, Professor Singleton is preparing Chase students to be ready for their futures.
Professor Amy Halbrook Helps Chase Students Put Casebook Law into Practice
For students at Salmon P. Chase College of Law who want to make child and family law part of their future practices – or those who want firsthand experience identifying legal issues and working with clients – the Children’s Law Center Clinic offers real opportunities to work with real people in real situations.
Professor Amy Halbrook, who directs the clinic, guides students from the black-letter world of casebook law to the real-world skills in representing and advising children and teenagers involved in matters such as parental custody, school discipline and education access, delinquency, homelessness, and community assistance. For children and teenagers involved in the legal system, the clinic is often the only assistance they have. For Chase students who provide that assistance, it is an opportunity to work with other students and lawyers in what amounts to an off-campus law firm.
“To see and understand a case from the moment it walks in the door until it is resolved, you can’t learn that from sitting in a classroom,” one student told Professor Halbrook following her clinic experience. “It’s a great feeling knowing that you have advocated successfully to provide these children with a stable environment and you have protected them from dangers.”
Professor Halbrook began her involvement in children’s legal issues as director of youth services for a court diversion program in California. As a teaching fellow at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, she began thinking about unfairness in some juvenile sentencing laws. A law review article she wrote at Chase, questioning the constitutionality of sentences of lifetime supervision for certain juvenile offenders, has been cited by two state supreme courts in declaring those types of sentences to be unconstitutional.
Professor Matthew Tokson is Shaping New Approaches to Legal Thinking at Chase and Nationally
As a student himself, at the University of Chicago Law School, Professor Matthew Tokson was a fellow in a program that is so competitive it is regarded as a pathway to becoming a law school professor. But before joining the Salmon P. Chase College of Law faculty, Professor Tokson continued to prepare for teaching with separate clerkships for two justices of the Supreme Court of the United States and as a litigation associate with a Washington, D.C., law firm.
At Chase, he teaches a course in intellectual property law that introduces students to concepts of patents and copyrights, and is director of the W. Bruce Lunsford Academy for Law, Business + Technology, an honors program that prepares students for multi-disciplined approaches to problem solving. He also continues to pursue the rigorous legal analysis and writing he began at Chicago to connect Chase students to a forefront in legal thinking.
His most recent law review article, on how much people can be presumed to know about their right to privacy (including digital tracking of cellphone locations and website visits), is shaping legal thinking beyond Chase. The Southeastern Association of Law Schools asked him to discuss it at its annual meeting this summer and the Privacy Law Scholars Conference recognized it with a scholars award.