Prof. Vivek Sankaran’s Detroit Free Press op-ed augments the paper’s special reporting on the state’s "legal orphans."


Michigan Law 1L and Olympic silver medalist Sada Jacobson an inspirational leader, CNN says.

Prima Facie

Call them tangled up and blue. Also red, yellow, and green. Michigan Law students take a break from arduous exam preparations in Hutchins Hall's student lounge this month.

The Life of Brian: Beloved Prof. Brian Simpson bids farewell in Blue Jean Lecture

No wonder it was a standing-room-only crowd.

The following are just a few of the lessons the active listener might have taken away from A.W. Brian Simpson’s recent "Blue Jeans Lecture," delivered in Hutchins Hall just a few days before the well-loved professor, who is retiring in the spring, taught his last class at Michigan Law this fall.

Other lessons -- such as the importance of checking, before accepting a job and emigrating, whether a certain Canadian university's campus is officially alcohol-free -- could also be included in this report. But not without risk of court action. Therefore we will refrain from mentioning them.

Instead, we'll just list the 13 most prominent points made by Simpson, a self-confessed "butterfly mind," in reflecting on a scholarly life stretching back 54 years:

Jentes $1.5 million gift boosts building fund

An outhouse in the middle of Hutchins Hall? Bill Jentes, '56, recounted the story during a fund-raising dinner last month in support of the campaign for a new Law School building and Commons.

In his senior year Jentes and some Barrister classmates schlepped the shanty into Hutchins to encourage ticket sales for the Crease Ball, the annual dance sponsored by the Barristers Society. Their slogan: "Don’t sit this one out – get your tickets now."

Jentes joked that maybe the Law School could recycle the earlier marketing campaign to promote participation in the campaign for the new building and Commons. His remark was part of a serious speech about the Law School's need for the building at a dinner last month in Chicago, where he lives.

Jentes, who has served as an honorary co-chair of the Law School’s campaign, hosted the dinner to introduce other Chicago alumni to the expansion and renovation project. Dean Caminker attended to preview the building plans. Jentes has since made a pledge of $1.5 million to the building fund, motivated by his desire to help the Law School with its highest philanthropic priority.

The new commitment continues Jentes' dedication as one of the Law School's most engaged supporters. In 1989 he created the Jentes Scholars Program, which awards full scholarships to nine students annually on the basis of undergraduate achievement and potential to excel at Michigan Law.

In addition, every fall he has taught a seminar at Michigan on complex litigation, his specialty at Kirkland & Ellis, where he practiced for nearly 50 years. Jentes now serves as an independent arbitrator and mediator of major domestic and international commercial disputes.

Michigan Law's ECJ stagiaires converge on Luxembourg

With three Michigan Law graduates serving as stagiaires at the European Court of Justice this academic year – and several more having served in the recent past – the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is beginning to take on a distinct Ann Arbor flavor.

The three alumni – Dana Kaersvang '06, Antonia Eliason '07, and Tina Orsolic '08 (LL.M) – are among a limited number of graduates from top American law schools with the opportunity to work in the chambers of an ECJ judge or advocate general.

Eliason is participating in the Dean Acheson Legal Stage Program, which is designed to foster mutual understanding between the legal communities in the U.S. and the E.U. Organized with the help of the U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg, the program puts recent American law school graduates to work in the Chambers of a Judge or Advocate General at the European Court of Justice or the European Court of First Instance. Candidates are nominated by their schools, but the individual members of the two courts themselves make the final selections.

Stagiaires learn about the inner workings of the Court in a collegial setting and work closely with their fellow stagiaires and referendaires, or law clerks. Eliason, currently finishing up a stint at the World Trade Organization, is looking forward to January, when she reports for her stage in the chambers of Judge Koen Lenaerts of Belgium.

"Once I found out about the program, it immediately became something I really wanted to pursue," Eliason said. "I spent considerable time focusing on EU law while at the Law School."

Eliason considers herself an international trade law specialist, but also welcomes the opportunity to broaden her understanding of EU law, another field of great interest to her. She looks forward to participating in the ECJ's shaping of "a new legal order in Europe that mirrors some aspects of U.S. federalism, attempting to forge a balance between national laws and the supra-national EU-wide legal structure."

Orsolic, from Croatia, follows in the footsteps of fellow stagiaire Jan Semanek, a Czech who earned his LL.M at Michigan Law in 2004. Orsolic actually served in the offices of two separate Advocate Generals – Miguel Poiares Maduro and Eleanor Sharpston – and she said the experience was invaluable, especially in light of the LL.M work she completed last year at Michigan Law.

"Prof. Daniel Halberstam's European Legal Order course gave me insight into how common law lawyers perceive EU law," Orsolic said. "And learning about U.S. Constitutional Law in Prof. Donald Regan's course was very important as well, because it gave me a needed backup for understanding similarities between the EU legal order and the U.S. federal constitutional order."

Kaersvang will begin work at the ECJ in May, also in the Chambers of Premiere Advocate General Miguel Poiares Maduro. She said working at the ECJ had been a long-term goal.

"I'm very excited about it," Kaersvang said. "Obviously, EU law is going to have an increasing impact on anyone doing international law work. Also, I'm interested in the development of effective international institutions."

Many view the ECJ as just that sort of institution, Kaersvang said, noting parallels to the consolidation of authority of the U.S. Supreme Court during the early 19th Century.

"It's my understanding that Michigan has a high success rate in terms of placing people with the court," Kaersvang said. "And it's thanks to Professor Halberstam's class that I learned about EU case law. … Michigan has, of course, made all this possible."

Transition News

Melody Barnes, '85, named Domestic Policy Advisor in incoming Obama administration; joins growing ranks of fellow alums serving the new president.

The Washington Times declares new Obama Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, '81, a role model.

Ken Salazar, '81, is Obama's pick for Secretary of the Interior, PBS NewsHour reports.

President-elect taps Daniel Tarullo, '77, for Federal Reserve, Newsweek reports.

In the News

Prof. Doug Laycock, on whether the Amish need building permits.

Lynn LoPucki, '67, in National Public Radio story on the proposed Car Czar.

International Criminal Court appoints Prof. Catharine MacKinnon special adviser on gender crimes.

Is deregulation to blame? Adam Pritchard weighs in on the debate in

Assistant Dean Todd Baily in story on the work of fundraising during calamitous times.

Prof. David Moran is honored by the ACLU.

1997 grad Steve Tobocman and his successor in Michigan's House of Representatives prove that divergent backgrounds are no bar to cooperation.

Catch 2002 grad Zach Lewis this Sunday night as he plays the role of an obsessed ex-boyfriend in an episode of the hit CBS series "Cold Case."

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