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Summer 2003UVA Lawyer - Home
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In Print

Law School alumni write and publish books on a wide variety of topics. If you have written a new book and want to tell us about it, please send all pertinent information to: UVA Lawyer, 580 Massie Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903; or


The Locklear LettersThe Locklear Letters
Michael Kun ’88

The Locklear Letters, just named as one of's Summer Breakout Books, “is a farcical look at celebrity worship in today’s society through the eyes of Sid Straw, an affable, if not boring, software salesman who tries to rekindle an acquaintanceship with his former college classmate turned Hollywood starlet Heather Locklear. His innocent letter requesting an autographed picture begins a bizarre turn of events that eventually costs him his job, foils his romantic intentions toward a coworker, drains his finances, and generally ruins his life. Sid, a Don Quixote character with large blind spots regarding the fate of his one-sided correspondence with the movie star and his own behavior, cannot escape the wrath of lawyers, public relations bulldogs, angry bosses, and ex-girlfriends that drags his life down the tubes. Until he fights back,” according to publisher MacAdam/Cage. Kun’s successful first novel, A Thousand Benjamins (Atlantic Monthly Press), was published in 1990. His short stories have appeared in Other Voices, Fiction, StoryQuarterly, and Cottonwood, among other publications. He lives and works in Los Angeles, where he is working on a new novel, a short story collection, and a children’s book.


Reinventing Environmental Enforcement & the State/Federal Relationship
David Markell ’79 with
Clifford Rechtschaffen
Environmental Law Institute

The publisher writes, “One of the most controversial issues in environmental law and policy—and one that is of considerable importance to the EPA—is the allocation of power and authority between the federal and state governments. The recent evolution in approaches of environmental enforcement highlights many of the tensions inherent in this debate. During the past several years, the federal and state governments have spent a good deal of energy attempting to reinvent their relationship. The shifts in federal/state enforcement relations are highly significant, with the potential to fundamentally reorder the division of authority that has existed over the past 25 years. This book thoroughly documents the changing nature of federal/state relations in enforcing environmental law. It breaks new ground in analyzing the federal/state enforcement relationship, particularly in light of the many recent developments that have occurred in this area. The authors’ findings provide important lessons about the interplay between federal and state efforts in other regulatory areas, and for the structure of federal/state relations generally. Professors Rechtschaffen’s and Markell’s clear, in-depth analysis will be essential reading for legal and regulatory experts, attorneys who are involved in environmental enforcement matters, the judiciary, legislators, political scientists, public policy experts, and anyone with an interest in environmental law and policy.

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Nonfiction (continued)

Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State
Daniel L. Dreisbach ’88
New York University Press

No phrase in American letters has had a greater influence on church-state law and policy than Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation between church and state” and few metaphors have provoked more passionate debate. Introduced in an 1802 letter to the Danbury, Connecticut Baptist Association, Jefferson’s “wall” is accepted by many Americans as a concise description of the U.S. Constitution’s church-state arrangement and conceived as a virtual rule of constitutional law. Despite the enormous influence of the “wall” metaphor, almost no scholarship has investigated the text of the Danbury letter, the context in which it was written, or Jefferson’s understanding of his famous phrase. “Thomas Jefferson And The Wall of Separation Between Church And State offers an in-depth examination of the origins, controversial uses, and competing interpretations of this powerful metaphor in law and public policy,” writes publisher NYU Press.

A Voting RIghts OdysseyA Voting Rights Odyssey—Black Enfranchisement in Georgia
Laughlin McDonald ’65
Cambridge University Press

From Cambridge University Press: From slavery to the white backlash of the 1990s, A Voting Rights Odyssey is a riveting account of the crusade for equal voting rights in Georgia.Written by a veteran civil rights lawyer, the book draws upon expert reports and other court records, as well as trial testimony and interviews with the men and women who served as plaintiffs and witnesses in litigation that helped forge a revolution in voting rights. The book explores, and repudiates, the myths of the Reconstruction era that blacks were incapable of voting and holding office. It also catalogues the attempts of the state leadership to maintain white supremacy after the abolition of the white primary, the demands of the Civil Rights Movement, and passage of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965. A must read for anyone interested in the way in which race has driven and distorted the political process in the South.

American ProbateAmerican Probate: Protecting the Public, Improving the Process
Paula A. Monopoli ’83
Northeastern University Press

New Hampshire judge and probate attorney John Fairbanks, a court-appointed executor and trustee, stole thousands of dollars from the estates of his trusting elderly clients. Successful New York lawyer Arnold Biegen, the sole fiduciary of his law partner’s estate, misappropriated nearly $1 million dollars from the partner’s aged, schizophrenic widow. Enterprising attorney James Gunderson drafted wills and living trusts for many residents of Leisure World in Orange County, CA, who named him the sole trustee and major beneficiary. These are just some of the cases examined by Paula A. Monopoli to illustrate the unsettling prevalence of fraud and abuse inherent in American probate law. Probate courts are intended to provide a vehicle for the orderly disposition of property after death, to balance the interests of creditors, the government, and heirs, and to protect the rights of the elderly and others with special needs. In this insightful work, Monopoli shows how an array of flaws in the system allows corrupt and unethical lawyers to take advantage of the nation's most vulnerable citizens. She delves into such subjects as the history and purpose of probate, procedural complexities, lack of regulatory oversight, inadequate judicial resources, and the growth of non-probate alternatives, concluding with a blueprint for reform that emphasizes deterrence, detection, and compensation for the victims. This eye-opening and informative account casts new light on the intricacies and failures of a legal process that affects millions of Americans every year, according to Northeastern University Press.