Michigan Law' s Josh Deahl wins 2006 Burton Award for Legal Achievement
July 28, 2006
Joshua A. Deahl, Michigan Law Class of 2006, has been named a winner of the 2006 Burton Award for Legal Achievement a prestigious national recognition of excellence for the quality, style, and technique of legal writing. The awards, sponsored by the Burton Foundation with the Library of Congress and the Law Library of Congress, are given for articles and other writings by lawyers in the nation’s 750 largest firms and by law students. 14 Burton awards were granted in the law school category, including the one to Deahl for “Expanding Forfeiture Without Sacrificing Confrontation After Crawford,” published in Vol. 104 of the Michigan Law Review.
“Winning the award was really enthralling,” Deahl volunteered, “because the Burton Awards were established to encourage plain language in legal writing, cutting against the excess legalese and pretension that permeates legal writing.” Those skills and perspective should prove helpful as he shortly begins a clerkship for the Honorable Fortunato P. Benavides of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Austin, TX.
A Darrow Scholar at Michigan Law, Joshua Deahl has garnered a number of awards during his law student career. In 2006 he also received the Irving Stenn, Jr., award for leadership and contributions to the well-being and strength of the Law School; the DeRoy Award, again for his article published in Michigan Law Review; and a Certificate of Merit Award for outstanding performance in a Federal Courts course. He was also a member of the School’s Jessup International Moot Court Competition team, which finished 3rd among U.S. law schools and 12th overall.
Michigan Law was a pioneer in legitimizing legal writing as a critical part of the first year’s legal practice curriculum. Unlike many other law schools, Michigan’s legal writing faculty is composed of J.D.s with practitioner backgrounds. Currently, nine such faculty provide their expertise and perspective to 1L students.
The impetus for the Burton Awards came from William C. Burton, a partner in the firm of D’Amato & Lynch, and a proponent of clear and comprehensible legal writing. He established the Burton Foundation and institutionalized the awards in 1999 to recognize effective legal writing and honor the chosen authors.
Michigan Law hosts groundbreaking international conference on patents and innovation
July 19, 2006
What happens when burgeoning technology and innovation think customized pharmaceuticals, nanotubes, file-sharing protocols, or business practices threaten to overwhelm a patent system designed for a simpler era and the notion that “one size fits all?” The answer may be confusion, litigation, inefficient allocation of investment, and gaming of the system. Today, with billions of dollars and national competitiveness at stake, deep differences in industry perspective are stalling patent reform in Congress which is why Michigan Law’s Patents and Diversity in Innovation conference on September 29th and 30th promises to become a major corporate and academic forum for framing and advancing the key issues.
Organized by the School of Information’s Brian Kahin, in collaboration with Law School faculty member Rebecca Eisenberg, the conference will bring together leading US as well as international experts from the US and UK Patent Offices, the FTC, private corporations, think tanks, and academic institutions including Stanford, Berkeley, BU, Maryland, Illinois, Villanova, George Washington, NYU, Chicago-Kent, Columbia, and Michigan.
Session topics include
- The New Political Economics of Patent Policy
- Industry Perspectives on Patents, Innovation, and Competition
- Dimensions of Economic Analysis
- Cross-Industry Cost-Benefit Analysis
- Boundary Costs, Information Costs, and Transaction Costs
- Costs of Uniformity and Differentiation
- Industry-Driven Policy and the TRIPs Framework
- Institutional Competence, Capacity, and Design: Prospects for a Post-Unitary System
The Conference, funded by a grant from the Park Foundation, will be held at the Law School and registration is open to the public. Further information may be obtained at the Conference’s web site: www.patentsanddiversity.com.
Patents & Diversity in Innovation organizer Brian Kahin is a Senior Fellow at the Computer & Communications Industry Association in Washington, DC, Research Investigator and Adjunct Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, and a special advisor to the Provost’s Office. Previous appointments include, among others, U-M’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and Department of Communication Studies, Director of the Information Infrastructure Project at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Senior Policy Analyst at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The author and editor of numerous books, articles, and other publications, Kahin holds a B.A. from Harvard College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Michigan Law co-organizer Rebecca Eisenberg is the Robert and Barbara Luciano Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School and a leading international expert on patents and biotechnology. In addition to teaching patent law, trademark law, FDA law, and intellectual property, Eisenberg is a member of the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health, the Panel on Science, Technology, and Law of the National Academies, and the Board of Directors of the Stem Cell Genomics and Therapeutics Network in Canada. She is a graduate of Stanford University and the Boalt Hall School of Law at Berkeley, has clerked for Chief Judge Robert F. Peckham on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and practiced law in California.
Ben-Shahar article argues that the liability system itself can make drugs more dangerous
July 10, 2006
In an article appearing in the June 2006 issue of Economists’ Voice “The (Legal) Pains of Vioxx: Why Product Liability Can Make products More Dangerous” University of Michigan Law Professor Omri Ben-Shahar describes how the Vioxx fiasco taught pharmaceutical manufacturers and other companies that recalling a product increases their liability exposure. In light of the onslaught of liability that usually follows a public recall announcement, manufacturers of risky products are more likely to leave these products on the market and to invest less in determining their risks.
In his analysis of the Vioxx case, Ben-Shahar describes how Merck recalled the drug from the market soon after evidence emerged it might be associated with increased cardiovascular risk. As a result, over ten thousand lawsuits have been filed against Merck to date, with one of the early verdicts awarding the plaintiff $253 million. A very different disclosure strategy was adopted by Pfizer, maker of a same-family drug, Celebrex, that is likely associated with similar risks. According to Ben-Shahar, “Pfizer appears to have learned Merck’s lesson and adopted a do-little-or-nothing strategy.” Instead, it silently adjusted its warnings and instructions to physicians a strategy which has so far resulted in far fewer liability claims than Merck’s. The author’s point is not to defend Pfizer, but instead argue that the company’s response is indeed a rational strategy given the liability environment in the United States. It is a challenge to the traditional economic view that the more severe the product liability, the greater the manufacturer’s incentive to make it safe. In Ben-Shahar’s analysis, more severe post-recall liability would lead to more risky products remaining on the market.
Omri Ben-Shahar is Professor of Law and Economics and the Director of the John M. Olin Center for Law and Economics at the University of Michigan Law School. He holds a B.A. and LL.B. from Hebrew University and an LL.M., S.J.D., and Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard. His research focuses on contract law and product liability.