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Michigan Law joins forces with graham environmental sustainability institute

Dean, environmental law program director gain leadership roles

October 24, 2007
Contact: John Masson, (734) 647-7352,

The recent addition of the University of Michigan Law School to the university-wide Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute is one more example of the law school’s continuing commitment to environmental stewardship and the development of a top-flight environmental program.

Coming as it does in the wake of the launch of the school’s new Environmental Law and Policy Program, Michigan Law’s membership in the Graham Institute will help the Institute in its drive to become a global leader in addressing environmental sustainability issues, said Michigan Law Dean Evan Caminker. 

“There is no issue that is more significant today than environmental sustainability,” Caminker said.  “I am pleased that Michigan Law and our new Environmental Law and Policy Program will be working with the Graham Institute and our colleagues throughout the University to provide the leadership necessary for lasting environmental progress.”

The Graham Institute is designed to encourage multidisciplinary research and education in the field of environmental sustainability. It works with companies, non-governmental organizations, and communities to bring the University of Michigan’s intellectual heft to bear on solving real-world environmental problems, with a special focus on six areas:

  • Energy
  • Freshwater and Marine Resources
  • Human Health and Environment
  • Biodiversity and Global Change
  • Sustainable Infrastructure, Built Environment, and Manufacturing
  • Environmental Policymaking and Human Behavior

“The Graham institute promotes, across the University, many of the environmental goals that we’re trying to advance at the Law School,” said Professor David Uhlmann, Director of Michigan Law’s new Environmental Law and Policy Program. “The Law School’s participation in the Graham Institute flows naturally from what we’re doing, because all of environmental law is to a significant degree about environmental sustainability – whether it’s pollution prevention, preservation of biodiversity, or addressing climate change.”

The addition of Michigan Law to the Graham Institute means Caminker will become a member of the Institute’s Deans Council, and Uhlmann will represent the Law School on the Graham Institute Executive Committee.

“There are few aspects of environmental sustainability that aren’t affected by the law and public policy,” said Brian Talbot, the Institute’s interim director and a professor at the Ross School of Business. “Bringing the law school formally into our fold will help those of us on the Executive Committee and the Deans Council better understand those effects, and will help connect environmental research and teaching across campus. I am also convinced that we can help the new Environmental and Policy Program become one of the best in the country.”

Supreme Court environmental cases on tap for Wednesday talk

October 9, 2007
Contact: John Masson, (734) 647-7352,

Michigan Law this week welcomes alumnus Jeffrey P. Minear, Administrative Assistant to Chief Justice John Roberts of the United States Supreme Court, as the second speaker in a lecture series sponsored by the Law School’s new Environmental Law and Policy Program (ELPP).

Professor David M. Uhlmann, the ELPP director, established the speaker series this fall and invited Minear, who will speak at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10 in Room 116 of Hutchins Hall. Admission to the talk is free.

Minear currently holds the position of Administrative Assistant to the Chief Justice – essentially serving as Roberts’ chief of staff – and previously served as senior litigation counsel in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States Department of Justice, where he argued 56 cases before the Supreme Court. Included in that number were numerous cases involving environmental and natural resources issues.

Minear earned his J.D. at Michigan Law in 1982. He also earned an M.S. degree in resource policy and management from Michigan’s School of Natural Resources, and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Utah.

During his hour-long lecture session Wednesday, Minear is expected to address some of the issues surrounding Supreme Court environmental litigation. The Law School’s Career Services Office is also hosting a brown-bag luncheon with Minear for Michigan Law students interested in clerkships, environmental and appellate practice, in room 236 of Hutchins Hall at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11.

Michigan Law names this year's Dean's Public Service Fellows

October 4, 2007
Contact: John Masson, (734) 647-7352,

Twenty Michigan Law students have been named 2007-2008 Dean’s Public Service Fellows under a program developed by Dean Evan Caminker to support students who choose careers that serve the greater good.

The program recognizes as many as 20 second-year students each year who have a demonstrated commitment to public service. Those selected must intend to pursue public service legal employment during the summer after their second year of law school, in preparation for a public service law career. Fellows receive a $5,000 cash award.

“Michigan Law has a long history of shaping future leaders in business, private practice, and the public sector,” Dean Caminker said. “These fellowships are meant to encourage and support our students as they pursue the public service careers that can make a huge difference in the lives of everyday people.”

This year’s Fellows include:

Matthew Becker
Stacy Braverman
Matthew Brown
Melissa Cohen
Rebecca Cohen
Isabel Daniels
Mary Hanna Weir
Darren Kinkhead
James Knowles
Zoe Levine
Melanie Macey
Emily McCoy
Coty Meibeyer
Lauren Nakamura
Erin O'Leary
Elizabeth Pettie
Colin Reingold
Rachel Richards
Anna Skiba-Crafts
Mustafa Ünlü

Three alternates also were selected.

Last year’s Fellows had summer jobs with such diverse public service agencies as Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, Colo.; Environmental Defense in Sacramento, Calif.; the Federal Public Defender program in Boston; and the EarthJustice center in Juneau, Alaska.

“With the cost of higher education these days, Michigan Law recognizes the risk that graduates will turn to the highest paying jobs, rather than pursuing the careers that are best suited to them,” said MaryAnn Sarosi, Michigan Law’s Assistant Dean for Public Service. “Our tradition has been to have all career options open to our graduates, which is why we have programs such as the Dean’s Public Service Fellowships. The program has been a springboard for public defenders, worker’s rights advocates, government attorneys working for the environment and civil rights, and more.” 

The Dean’s Public Service Fellowship program is funded by a donation from a Michigan Law alumnus who wishes to remain anonymous. 

“Enabling the Law School’s students to pursue their dreams of public service benefits everyone,” the donor has said. “Our students are of the highest quality – just what public service needs. I believe in the value of giving back, and that, coupled with my personal desire to help students pursue their dreams of public service, are the reasons I contributed to this Fellowship program.”