News - December 2005
Emeritus professor awarded Gold Medal in Czech Republic
December 21, 2005
Even though he took emeritus status in 1983, University of Michigan Law Professor Eric Stein is still working, still writing, still thinking, and still receiving awards. This fall he returned to Prague, Czech Republic, to receive his most recent honor the Golden Medal Award for Excellence in Humanities and Law, which was awarded in a special ceremony at the Charles University. The event was officiated by the Prorektor of the University and the dean of the law faculty in the presence of invited guests, including the president of the Constitutional Court and a member of the Czech Parliament among others. Previous recipients of the award have included an American Nobel prize physicist, the president of Estonia, and the Prince of Orange of The Netherlands.
This latest Prague medal was the fourth honor Professor Stein has received from the Czech Republic. The other honors have included a First Degree Medal from Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel, an honorary doctor of law degree from the West Bohemian University, and being made an honorary citizen of the Czech town of his birth. In addition, Stein earlier this year received the Lifetime Contribution Award from the European Union Studies Association at an international conference in Austin, Texas, where he also delivered the keynote address.
Stein, who is the Hessel E. Yntema Professor of Law Emeritus, has focused his career on international and comparative law and he is the author of numerous articles and books on international law, European Union law, and comparative law.
Law School ’05 grad earns prestigious national fellowship
December 19, 2005
Each year, 25 Skadden Fellowships are awarded to support law graduates while they pursue their passion for public service. This year, Marisa Bono, who graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in May 2005, is the 18th Michigan Law graduate since 1989 to earn one of these coveted awards.
Using the fellowship, which provides salary, fringe benefits, and loan repayment for up to two years, Bono will work with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) in San Antonio. Her project is designed to provide direct services and public interest litigation for Latina domestic violence survivors in Texas.
Bono says, “Not only is there a shortage of civil legal services for indigent survivors in the state, but MALDEF has documented cases where Latina survivors face additional obstacles to legal and social services.” She says that obstacles can be attributed to discrimination, cultural and language differences, and lack of community awareness. Her project will focus on eliminating these barriers through direct legal representation, public interest litigation, and community outreach and education.
Bono, who was born and raised in San Antonio, will begin her fellowship after Labor Day. Although she hasn’t worked with domestic violence survivors before, she is not a newcomer to public interest law. “I wanted to identify a need for services in Texas that my fellowship could provide. I decided on my project after conversations with my sponsor, and other public interest lawyers in the area," Bono says. While in law school, Bono served as a student attorney for the Child Advocacy Clinic at the Law School where she represented children, parents, and the state in abuse and neglect cases. She was also selected as a Haywood Burns Fellow at the Community Service Society of New York, where she worked on voting rights and public benefits litigation, in addition to providing direct services in landlord/tenant cases.
Nina Perales, Bono’s sponsor and MALDEF’s Southwest Regional Counsel, says, “We are very excited about Ms. Bono joining the MALDEF team and her project’s potential to benefit Latina domestic violence survivors. The Skadden Fellowship provides a tremendous resource to assist the Latino community in Texas.”
Two Michigan Law grads receive Fulbright awards
December 12, 2005
Two University of Michigan Law School joint degree graduates have received Fulbright awards for further study. Stephen Higgs, a 2005 graduate, and Marisa Martin, who graduated in 2003, each earned graduate degrees from U-M’s School of Natural Resources & Environment in addition to their law degrees. Higgs and Martin join 27 other members of the larger University of Michigan community to form the largest group of Fulbright award recipients for a single American university this year, according to the Institute of International Education, which administers the U.S. Student Fulbright Program.
Each fellowship applicant designs her/his own program of study. Higgs will study the practice and performance of environmental mediation in three cities in New Zealand: Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. He has arranged an institutional affiliation with the Law School at Victoria University in Wellington, but much of his research will involve interviews with members of the Ministries of Environment and Justice, members of the country’s specialized environment court, and individual environmental mediators and parties. Since Wellington is the capitol city it has a concentration of the people and organizations Higgs wants to study. Ultimately, he wants to take home lessons learned from New Zealand’s approach to environmental dispute resolution that could be shared in the United States.
Marisa Martin’s Fulbright award will allow her to study the relationship between Switzerland’s energy law and its climate change efforts. Included in her study will be an analysis of creative ideas like national climate change legislation and energy taxes, and she will investigate regional energy and trade agreements and the use of the World Trade Organization to influence climate change efforts. Martin, who has been working for a nonprofit since graduation, will begin her Fulbright program in January.
Both Higgs and Martin say that Michigan Law Professor Nina Mendelson taught them environmental law and supported their interest in the field. “I am very proud of both Stephen and Marisa and of their commitment to research environmental issues of concern to all of us,” Professor Mendelson says. “Both took advantage of the top-notch environmental science, policy, and legal training offered in our joint Law and Natural Resources program, and they exemplify the qualities of interdisciplinary thinking and leadership that our programs strive to encourage.”