News - October 2004
U-M Law Library ranked 4th in country
Thursday, October 21, 2004
The National Jurist magazine has ranked the University of Michigan Law Library fourth out of a total of 183 law school libraries in the nation. Only the law libraries at the University of Iowa, Indiana University-Bloomington, and Yale Law School ranked ahead of the University of Michigan.
According to the National Jurist Web site, criteria used for the comparison included: the number of volumes, number of titles and serial subscriptions, ratio of library study capacity and professional librarians to student enrollment, and the number of hours per week that the library is open. Data for the comparison was taken from the most recent American Bar Association report which is updated each year.
"This survey is remarkable for its focus (50 percent of the score) on the strength of the collection, and the other half on accessibility: seating, librarians, and hours open. Therefore, our wonderful collectionworldwide in scope, and historical in depthis weighted as it should be," said Margaret Leary, director of the U-M Law Library. "If the assessment went into more depth (examining the amount of foreign, comparative and international law, for example), Michigan would easily remain among the top four or five collections. Other ways in which Michigan’s collection stands out include that none of our collection is in remote storage (Harvard, Yale, and Columbia all make extensive use of remote storage); and that we have an active preservation program. We are generous in providing online resources, but cautious about substituting digital for paper."
"Similarly," Leary noted, "our generous number of seats works to our advantage, as it should. The survey doesn’t address the nature of the seating, but our students benefit from variety and choice: the classic, open table seating in the glorious Reading Room; or the international style of the Allan and Alene Smith Addition, with its mix of carrels, tables, upholstered lounge seating, and stools along the light well."
"The survey does not capture what is probably the most important question about any library: how well does it meet the needs of those who depend on it?" she explained. "This is not only difficult to measure, but nearly impossible to use as the basis for comparative rankings."
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights presents Bishop Lecture
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, first woman president of Ireland, and now professor at Columbia University, will present the William W. Bishop Jr. Lecture in International Law at the University of Michigan Law School on October 21, 2004, at 4 p.m. in Honigman Auditorium.
Professor Robinson’s lecture, titled "Advancing Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Timely Debate," will examine the fact that nearly forty years after the adoption of two international covenants on human rights -- one protecting civil and political rights, the other, economic, social and cultural rights -- debates continue to rage about the nature of these rights and how they can be most effectively implemented.
In the United States, the idea of education, health, and an adequate standard of living as rights to which all citizens are entitled continues to be questioned. Critics contend that social-economic rights are merely aspirations and largely a matter of available resources, while respect for civil-political rights is chiefly a matter of self-restraint on the part of governments. Today, however, a growing movement for economic, social, and cultural rights in the United States and around the world is challenging these claims. It seeks to highlight the interdependence between the two sets of rights and use this broad agenda to foster democratic governance and address global challenges from extreme poverty to imbalances in trade and development.
Robinson will reflect on her five years as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in which she led international efforts to give greater attention to the full international human rights agenda and discuss her current project -- Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative -- which seeks to form new alliances to address global challenges and governance shortcomings through greater emphasis on human rights, gender sensitivity, and enhanced accountability.
Since 1968, Robinson has been involved in the worlds of academia, politics, and human rights. She has used the law as a tool for social change and has argued landmark cased before the European Court of Human Rights, in the Irish courts, and in the European Court in Luxemburg. As a result of her activities, Robinson is the recipient of many honors and awards: She is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and the American Philosophical Society, honorary president of Oxfam International, and a founding member and chair of the Council of Women World Leaders. More recently, she was appointed Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs at Columbia University, and she leads the Ethical Globalization Initiative.
The William W. Bishop Lecture in International Law was established by the family and friends of Professor Bishop, ’31, following his death in 1987. Clark T. Randt Jr., ’75, U.S. Ambassador to China presented the 2003 Bishop Lecture.
Stein honored for career of excellence
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Honors keep rolling in for Eric Stein, Hessel E. Yntema Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Michigan Law School. Most recent in his lengthy list of accolades is his upcoming Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Comparative Law that will be presented at the society’s annual meeting at the Law School the weekend of October 21. Professor Stein will also be recognized by the European Union Studies Association at their biannual conference in 2005 for his extraordinary contribution to European Union studies; and the International Biographical Centre of Cambridge, England, has announced Stein’s inclusion in the International Biographical Centre Living Legends book as well as his nomination as an International Educator of the Year for 2004. In another high-profile award in 2001, Stein was honored by Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel with the Medal of Merit First Degree in ceremonies at Prague Castle for "outstanding scientific achievement." A few days earlier he was made an honorary citizen of the Czech town of his birth.
During a career that spans more than 50 years, Professor Stein has been among the trailblazers of international and European law. Born in Czechoslovakia, he earned his first law degree at the prestigious Charles University in Prague. As the Nazis neared, he fled his homeland and eventually arrived in America and at the University of Michigan Law School, where he received his J.D. in 1942. He holds Doctor of Law degrees from the University of Michigan and Charles University, Prague, and Honorary Doctor of Law degrees from both Free Universities of Brussels and from the West-Bohemian University in Pilsen, Czech Republic. In addition to his academic career, Stein served for 9 years in the U.S. Department of State and was adviser to the U.S. Delegation to the UN General Assembly and to the U.S. representatives at the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice.
Stein joined the Law School faculty in 1956 and formally retired in 1983. Now a youthful 91-year-old, he still travels and lectures around the world, consults, writes, and advises S.J.D. and LL.M. candidates at the Law School. He serves on the Advisory Committee of the Center for European Studies and the Center for European Union Studies at the University of Michigan.He presented the opening lecture of the Dean Rusk Lectures marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Dean Rusk Center at the University of Georgia School of Law in 2003; he consulted on the Czech Republic’s constitution following the breakup of the Czecho-Slovak federation; and his book Thoughts from a Bridge: A Retrospective of Writings on New Europe and American Federalism won the 2001 University of Michigan Press Book Award. The book award is his second from the University of Michigan Press: Diplomats, Scientists and Politicians: The United States and the Nuclear Test Ban Negotiations, coauthored with Harold K. Jacobson, won the same award in 1966. This year he was designated "the oldest active law professor in the United States" by the magazine, "Jungle Law." In all, he has written or co-written 11 scholarly books, and he continues to serve on the Board of Editors of the American Society of International Law Journal and on the editorial or advisory boards of several American and European periodicals.
Law School announces Office of Public Service director
Thursday, October 7, 2004
MaryAnn Sarosi, '87, has joined the University of Michigan Law School as the new director of the Office of Public Service. A graduate of both the University of Michigan and the Law School, Sarosi founded and served as executive director of the Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services in Chicago. In her five years with the legal services program, she saw the organization become a model for providing urban multi-program low-income legal services.
Returning to Michigan in 1997, Sarosi served as the director of the State Bar of Michigan's Access to Justice Program. A year later, the American Bar Association awarded Michigan.s Access to Justice Program its Harrison Tweed Award for outstanding leadership and commitment to providing low-income people with access to justice.
For the past three years Sarosi has run an independent consulting practice supporting legal services programs, nonprofit agencies, courts, and other law-related entities. This summer she assisted the Law School's Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs Bridget McCormack and Clinical Assistant Professor Anne Schroth with the planning for a new Pediatric Advocacy Clinic.
"The search committee has been impressed with all of MaryAnn Sarosi's gifts, including her energy and enthusiasm, her organizational skills, and her proven commitment to public interest work," says Paul Reingold, clinical professor of Law and search committee chair. "We are especially pleased with MaryAnn's ability to connect one-on-one with students who want or need counseling on how to pursue their dreams related to public service."
"A vibrant Office of Public Service is important to the Law School as an expression of the value we place on public service," notes Law School Dean Evan Caminker. "It is also important to our students, many of whom desire to use their legal education and training here to make a difference in our society and the world. MaryAnn's commitment to the ideals of public service, her prior experience in various public service venues, and her understanding of and contacts with the legal services community will enhance our students' capacity to serve the public interest in a variety of ways."
U-M Law School ILW season starts with Sudan genocide
Wednesday, October 6, 2004
The University of Michigan Law School’s International Law Workshop offers a stimulating array of program topics delivered by experts from throughout the country and the world. Faculty member and international law expert Professor Steven R. Ratner introduced the new fall season of programs and the day’s speaker, U-M Law School Assistant Professor Laura Beny, who spoke on "The Sudan: A Case of Genocide?" to a standing-room-only crowd last week.
According to Beny, although many of the activities associated with genocide can be established in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, the intent behind the activities is the key issue. Growing evidence suggests that deliberate government policies underlie the atrocities. According to Beny, possible motives for the Sudanese government’s genocidal policies include a "land grab," oil development and the state’s desire for cultural and religious hegemony. To understand the dynamics, some history of the region is helpful.
The Darfur crisis has deep roots in the history of the Sudan -- "the current phenomena are a continuation of the atrocities committed by the Sudanese government and its allied militias in the course of its decades-long war in South Sudan," explained Beny. The initial 1978 discovery of oil by Chevron (which evacuated the country in the early 1980s due to renewed civil war in the South) and the revenues oil produces today -- 45 percent of total government spending in 2002 -- coincide with the current destruction in Darfur and in areas of the South over the 1980s and 1990s. Many of the destroyed villages in Darfur are located on the fringe of the southern oil concessions.
Beny and U-M Law School Overseas Affiliated Faculty member Christine Chinkin, who served as the faculty commentator for the talk, discussed the international reaction. Beny pointed out that China, a large consumer of Sudanese oil and a member of the UN Security Council, and Russia, an important arms supplier to the Sudan and also a member of the UN Security Council, have succeeded in forestalling any real consequences to the Sudanese government by the UN. At the same time, the President of the United States and the U.S. Congress both declared the situation a genocide. While the African Union has a few observers in the region documenting what is happening, the observers are not armed and have no power to intervene. (As of October 2, however, the Sudan has allowed the 3,500 African Union troops into Darfur. These troops will be allowed to police the Sudanese police, but will have no mandate to protect civilians.)
Chinkin used her expertise in international law and human rights to support Beny’s analysis and added several additional points. First Chinkin stated, genocide is not a single event but it is a process. Lawyers who want to help need to pay attention to world events and begin working sooner to have a positive impact. Second, putting genocide into legal terms brings about the possibility of consequences for the perpetrators. And lastly, she addressed genocide as an act committed against women: It is women living in areas of armed conflict who come under the greatest pressure -- whether through the death of their husbands and children, through displacement and loss of home and livelihood, or through violent acts committed against them.
International Law Workshops are fast-paced with a short presentation by the guest speaker followed by comments from an international law scholar on the U-M Law faculty, and then a stimulating question and answer session. Some of the upcoming topics include: "Torture, Looting and Other Crimes of Occupation" presented by William B. Saxbe Designated Professor of Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University; "U.S. Detentions During the ‘War on Terrorism’: International Law and American Justice" presented by Steven R. Ratner, University of Michigan Law School Professor of Law; and "Do We Need the IMF and World Bank?" featuring Ngaire Woods, Fellow in Politics and International Relations at University College, and Director of the Global Economic Governance Programme, University of Oxford. The workshops are free and open to the public.