News - November 2006
Dean's Statement on the Passage of Proposal 2
November 17, 2006
To Members of the Michigan Law Family:
As many of you know by now, Michigan’s ballot Proposal 2, also known as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, has been approved by the electorate and is set to become legally effective in late December. This proposal amends the state constitution to prohibit programs that “grant preferential treatment” to individuals or groups “on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”
The University of Michigan Law School has long emphasized strong indicators of academic ability in assembling an intellectually outstanding student body, including but not limited to Law School Admissions Test scores and undergraduate grade point averages. For many decades Michigan Law has also embraced a deep institutional commitment to diversity in its student body with respect to characteristics such as prior academic training, professional experience, political or ideological perspectives, demonstrated leadership qualities, geographic origin, and socioeconomic status. Our informed judgment is that having a student class composed of intellectually outstanding individuals who collectively represent a broad diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives provides the optimal learning environment in which to train the lawyers we fully expect to be future leaders of the bench, bar, and boardrooms.
As one of many aspects of the diversity we value, our admissions policy has to some degree taken race into account - a policy upheld as legal and fair by the United States Supreme Court in Grutter v. Bollinger. In endorsing our position, the Court agreed that racial diversification of our student body (along with diversification along other lines) improves the quality of the educational experience at the Law School, inside and out of the classroom; enables integration of the leadership of the bar, the bench, government, and the corporate sector; and allows us to graduate a diverse group of superbly prepared professionals who will serve an increasingly diverse nation and world.
While Proposal 2 does not address the legitimacy or desirability of having a racially diverse student body, it does, however, speak to the means by which such diversity may be obtained.
To that point, I would like to make two assurances perfectly clear. First, we will be steadfast in our goal of matriculating an absolutely outstanding student body that is brilliant, energetic, multi-talented, and diverse racially as well as along other dimensions mentioned above. Encouragingly, while the faculty's political perspectives and opinions on Proposal 2 and affirmative action range across the spectrum, they continue to hold the view that diversity, including racial diversity, serves the central missions of the School.
Second, we will faithfully obey the law. Stewards of a public law school owe a clear obligation to observe the laws applicable to it, even as we teach students about their professional obligations as future officers of the court. Therefore, in order to ensure compliance with Proposal 2, we will initially work through a faculty admissions committee to consider our options thoughtfully over the next few weeks and beyond, and we will subsequently make whatever changes are deemed to be necessary.
As you surely know, Michigan Law has a well-deserved reputation among top-ranked law schools for the uniquely collegial environment in which students and faculty come together from all intellectual and ideological perspectives and all walks of life to engage in vibrant and stimulating conversation, without rancor and with mutual respect. We are indeed a welcoming and friendly community, and will always remain so. Given this distinctive culture, I'm confident that, both within the Quad and throughout our family of nearly 20,000 alumni across the globe, conversations about Proposal 2 will follow our proud tradition of addressing important and controversial issues in a civil and collegial manner.
3L Challenge Sets New Record
November 17, 2006
The Nannes Third-Year Challenge, a fundraising initiative that teaches graduating students the importance of alumni giving to the Law School, recently surpassed its goal for the second year in a row.
The Challenge offers 3L students the opportunity to designate $250 to the Law School activity of their choice during their last year of school in exchange for their promise to make a contribution to the Law School Fund during each of their first three years after graduation.
More than half the class of 2007205 studentseach elected to participate. In doing so, the students collectively fulfilled the terms of a challenge set by John Nannes ’73, of Bethesda, Md., whose gift will support Law School student activities designated by the pledging 3Ls.
“This is the highest participation by the 3L class in any of the challenges yet,” said Nannes, who has been involved with the initiative for a decade. “I think students who sign up now have a better sense that there’s something expected in return.”
This is the second year in which a student committee has run the challenge, which is based on the premise that developing a pattern of annual giving is essential to long-term alumni support. The peer strategy has proved immensely successful, resulting in record high pledge numbers both years and, as importantly, fulfillment of pledges by recent graduates.
Students on this year’s committee pitched the initiative to classmates, friends and members of organizations in which they are involved. The camaraderie of various student organizations has been especially pleasing to Nannes.
“Last year, when I met with the student committee, I was absolutely stunned by the marvelous diversity of the student groups working on a common endeavor,” said Nannes. “It was a win-win for everyone. This was a by-product that I never imagined.”
Committee members are optimistic that their efforts will have a long-term payoff for the Law School.
“The hope of the whole thing is that after the third year, (the pattern of giving) sticks,” said Brad Wilson, committee co-chair.
Committee co-chair Kyle Faget believes the challenge’s format is effective in laying the groundwork for that pattern.
“The challenge gets people thinking in their 3L year: what are the things about my law school experience that really mattered to me?” said Faget. “Something has to hook people into the school. The Nannes Challenge is a really good platform for starting that relationship.”
All gifts made before Dec. 31, 2008 count toward the University’s current campaign, The Michigan Difference.
Other committee members were Adam Dubinsky, Mitoshi Fujio-White, Tim Harrington, Kristen Klanow, Bria LaSalle, Grace Lee, Matthew Maddox, Paul Mata, Shelley Merkin, and Samantha Shipp.
Catharine MacKinnon receives Outstanding Scholar Award from American Bar Foundation
November 14, 2006
Catharine A. MacKinnon, the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, will receive the American Bar Foundation’s Outstanding Scholar Award at the American Bar Association’s February 10, 2007 meeting in Miami, Florida.
The award is made annually to an individual engaged in “outstanding scholarship in the law or government.”
Professor MacKinnon is one of the most widely cited legal scholars in English whose pioneering work in sex equality issues has shaped U.S., foreign, and international law (including in the Supreme Court of Canada), earned recognition of rape as an act of genocide (Kadic v. Karadzic, in which she and co-counsel won an award of $745 million for their Bosnian Muslim and Croat clients victimized in the Serb-led genocide in Bosnia), and informed public debate and dialogue. She pioneered the legal claim for sexual harassment and, with Andrea Dworkin, conceived legislation recognizing pornography as a violation of civil rights. In addition to numerous articles and studies, MacKinnon’s most recent book is Are Women Human? (2006). She is also the author of Women’s Lives, Men’s Laws (2005), Sex Equality (2001), Only Words (1993), and Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989).
She holds a B.A. from Smith College, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in political science, also from Yale. In addition to teaching at Michigan Law, Catharine MacKinnon practices and consults internationally and has also taught at Yale, Chicago, Harvard, Osgoode Hall, Stanford, Basel, and Columbia.
Michigan's Law and Business Schools Co-Sponsor Sarbanes-Oxley Impact Conference
November 3, 2006
In conjunction with the Michigan Law Review, and the assistance of faculty Vic Khanna (Law) and Cindy Schipani (Business), the University of Michigan Law School and Ross School of Business are sponsoring The Louis & Myrtle Moskowitz Conference on the Impact of Sarbanes-Oxley on Doing Business. The conference will be held at the Law School on November 9-10, 2006.
Featured will be academics, legal practitioners, and business professionals who will discuss and debate impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act signed into law on July 30, 2002 in response to accounting and ethics scandals at Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, and other corporations. Specific issues include: What was SOX intended to do, what has it accomplished in practice, and how can it be improved to address new regulatory challenges?
Presenters and moderators include:
Marina Whitman, U-M professor of business administration and public policy; Jon Macey; Terry Dworkin, dean of the Office for Women’s Affairs, Indiana University-Bloomington; U-M law professor Vikramaditya S. Khanna; Timothy L. Dickinson, a U-M business law faculty fellow; E. Han Kim, U-M business professor; Dana Muir, U-M professor of business law; Cindy Schipani, the Merwin H. Waterman Collegiate Professor of Business Administration and professor of business law at U-M; Katherine Litvak, assistant professor at the University of Texas School of Law; Donald Langevoort, the Thomas Aquinas Reynolds Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center; John Pottow, U-M professor of law; Joseph Grundfest, co-director of the Rock Center on Corporate Governance at Stanford University; M.P. Narayanan, professor and chair of the finance department at U-M; Nejat Seyhun, the Jerome B. & Eilene M. York Professor of Business Administration and professor of finance at U-M; Reinier H. Kraakman, the Ezra Ripley Thayer Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Assaf Hamdani, assistant professor at the Faculty of Law, Bar Ilan, University, Israel; David Hasen, U-M assistant law professor; Lumen Mulligan, U-M assistant professor of business law; David Hess, Bank One Corp. assistant professor of business administration at U-M; and Judy Marshall, managing director in the Assurance Practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Detroit.
Keynote speaker is Simon Lorne, vice chairman and chief legal officer of Millennium Partners, L.P., a multi-strategy New York-based hedge fund.
Attendance at the conference is free but registration is required by contacting Krista Caner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-764-0511. The full agenda is available on the Michigan Law Review’s website at http://students.law.umich.edu/mlr/symposium.
The conference has been conceived as part of what Michigan Law Professor Vic Khanna and Ross School Professor Cindy Schipani believe is the nation’s first standard curricular offering on the impact of Sarbanes-Oxley. Team-taught to incorporate both law and business perspectives, and open to students of both Schools, the course is intended to prepare future leaders and practitioners to better understand and deal with not just the professional impact of SOX legislation, but its ethical and moral repercussions as well.