University of Michigan Law School - December 2010 Amicus

Spotlight

CNN’s top-rated "AC360," featuring Anderson Cooper, highlights present-day slavery in America by focusing on a New Jersey hair-braiding case involving Human Trafficking Clinic clients of Prof. Bridgette Carr, ’02.

And a producer’s sidebar, with more on Carr’s role.

Focus

PBS’ Gwen Ifill interviews Jeffrey Smith, ’71, the Central Intelligence Agency’s general counsel from 1995-1996, about the legal woes now engulfing WikILeaks founder Julian Assange.

Alumni Profile

A CARP CALAMITY: They can weigh up to 100 pounds and grow to a length of four feet or more. They are voracious eaters, and from a reproductive standpoint, they make rabbits look chaste. For 1998 Michigan Law grad Noah Hall, keeping bighead and silver carp from establishing permanent residency in the Great Lakes is one of the most critical challenges facing the State of Michigan.

Prima Facie

MOOT POINTS: Michigan Law students, led by Prof. Nick Rine, try a mock larceny case before Ann Arbor attorney Drew McGuinness recently during their General Clinic training. Click on the picture for more images from photographer Philip Datillo.


Barr Associations
After a grueling stint in a high-profile role as Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Institutions, Prof. Michael Barr is coming home to Michigan Law

By John Masson, Amicus editor

He’s traded all-night meetings in a Washington office he jokes was the size of a bowling alley for the leaded-glass charm of book-lined, ninth floor digs in the Legal Research Building. After two crisis-driven years as one of President Barack Obama’s point men on financial reform, Assistant Treasury Secretary Michael Barr is about to become, once again, Michigan Law’s Professor Michael Barr.

Amicus’ one-man editorial board sat down with Barr in his office recently to chat about his team’s accomplishments in the capital and what he hopes to accomplish in Ann Arbor starting this coming term, when he’ll teach a couple of classes on – what else – financial reform and regulation.

Q: You’ve served in Washington before, in the Clinton Administration. What drew you to Washington this time?
A:
I was very excited about going back into public service. When I started at Treasury two years ago the country was heading off a cliff. The financial crisis had caused huge problems and wiped out household wealth on a massive scale. Having taught financial regulation for eight years here at Michigan, I knew the basic system was broken. I wanted to fix it, and that’s what we did.

Q: What particular aspects of the system were especially troublesome, and how were those problems addressed?
A:
There were financial reform, housing, and consumer protection issues, and we got to work on all of that. We helped take the lead on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which includes strong consumer protections, derivatives reform, better regulation of large financial firms, and improved means to wind down failing firms. It also created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We were involved in the passage of credit card reforms and the small business bill, which gave small companies access to loans. … It was just an unbelievable depth and breadth of reform.

Q. And what brought you back to Ann Arbor?
A
: Two years felt like a good length of time. I was ready to come back and re-engage with teaching and research and writing. Also, I had been commuting to Washington for the work week and then home to Ann Arbor for weekends for two years. It’s great to get home to my family.

Q. What do you expect will be your research focus in the near term?
A:
I’ll be looking at regulatory reform and systemic risk. I’d like to take a look at setting up an interdisciplinary center on finance here at the Law School, a cooperative effort between the Law School, the Ross School of Business, and the Ford School of Public Policy. And of course I’m teaching a seminar on financial reform.

Q. How did your team manage to get so much accomplished in such a notoriously gridlocked place?
A:
We were at a point where we could get so much work done. The system was so broken that, even if you disagreed about what to do, there was no argument that something had to be done. And the President and Secretary Geithner were both just incredibly tenacious.

Q. Speaking of President Obama … I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask what he’s really like.
A:
He’s cool. I mean, he’s a really cool person, in the sense that he’s completely unflappable. He’s got a really funny sense of humor. He’s also incredibly gracious and kind.

Q. What was your biggest disappointment in Washington?
A
. I would have liked to do more to help families that were losing their homes.

Q. What was your proudest moment in Washington?
A:
Passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms. That’s a pretty fundamental transformation of financial regulation.

In Memoriam:
Dores McCree, beloved Law School administrator, dies at age 90

By John Masson, Amicus editor

The Law School community was saddened last week by the loss of former Law School Administrator Dores McCree, whose family roots at Michigan Law ran deep and who was familiar to generations of students who attended prior to her retirement in 2001.

"The term ‘grand dame’ must have been designed for her," said Sarah Zearfoss, ’92, one of Dores McCree’s neighbors and Michigan’s Assistant Dean for Admissions and Special Counsel for Professional Strategies. "She had an incredible combination of grace and dignity. But then she also had a simply hilarious sense of humor."

Others described a deeply caring but definitely no-nonsense figure. "Mrs. McCree," as she was known to all, was always ready with sage advice but also expected people to give their very best.

"Dores is one of the reasons that Michigan Law School always felt like family," wrote Roopal Shah, ’95, in an online memorial. "She was the quintessential grandmother to us all. She would find me at a dean’s reception or in Hutchins Hall and just say something nice. I often drew upon Dores’ confidence in me on occasions when I lost it in myself! And I saw her share the same warmth and love with so many."

Dores McCree was married to Wade H. McCree, Jr. , a former Wayne County, U.S. District Court and appeals court judge who also served as the U.S Solicitor General. Wade McCree came to Michigan in 1981 after he left office and served as the Lewis M. Simes Professor of Law until his death in 1987. The McCrees’ daughter, 1973 Michigan Law grad Kathleen McCree Lewis, was a prominent  Detroit attorney until her death in 2007.

“The Law School community is profoundly saddened by the loss of this beloved and dedicated member of the Michigan Law family,” Dean Evan Caminker said. “Her amicable demeanor, her grace and her compassion marked her work, in whatever capacity she served. She’ll be forever missed.”

A memorial service was held in Detroit Dec. 16.   Look for much more in the April edition of Law Quadrangle.

Visit the online memorial book.

Save the Last Class For Me
Faculty gather to give trust and estate guru Lawrence Waggoner a warm retirement send-off

By John Masson, Amicus editor

As the final moments of his Trusts and Estates class ticked away on Dec. 6, retiring Prof. Lawrence Waggoner found himself on the receiving end of a longstanding Michigan Law tradition he’d undoubtedly participated in many times himself.

Outside his classroom, respectful colleagues were clandestinely gathering before entering, lining the walls, and applauding—"clapping him out," as is the Michigan Law custom, of his last class.

Space was tight in the fourth floor conference room where the estates class was held, but as many faculty members as could uncomfortably fit crammed themselves into the room anyway. Applauding professors were quickly joined by students in an enthusiastic salute for Waggoner and his three-and-a-half decades of service on the Michigan faculty.

The gesture wasn’t lost on Waggoner.

"I want to thank everyone who came over at the end of my last class yesterday," he said later. "I'm deeply grateful.  It was a great send off.  I have to say also that the students' eyes were as big as saucers, seeing so many of their professors crowding into that small room and standing in the hall outside."

Waggoner graduated from Michigan Law himself in 1963, served as a captain in the U.S. Army from 1966-1968, earned a doctorate from Oxford as a Fulbright Scholar, then came back to the Law School for good in 1974 after a stint at the University of Virginia.

The Lewis M. Simes Professor of Law, Waggoner became perhaps America’s most recognizable figure in trust and estate law during his time at Michigan. He was the director of research and the chief reporter for the Joint Editorial Board for Uniform Trust and Estate Acts, as well as the principal drafter of the 1990s revisions to the Uniform Probate Code.  More recently he’s weighed in on revisions touching on how children of assisted reproduction are affected by the code. And just this month he was widely quoted by financial advisor Jane Bryant Quinn in a CBS Moneywatch report on the dangers of perpetual trusts.

"Larry has been a wonderful teacher and a committed and creative torch-bearer for law reform for his entire career,” Law School Dean Evan Caminker said. “We wish him the best in retirement, and hope he knows how much he’ll be missed in the classroom."

MLaw Prof and ’93 LL.M. grad Appointed to Germany’s Highest Court
Susanne Baer to continue relationship with Law School during her 12-year term

By John Masson, Amicus editor

Michigan Law’s Prof. Susanne Baer, one of the Law School’s five William W. Cook Global Law Professors and a Michigan alumna, has been elected to the German Federal Constitutional Court.

Prof. Baer, who began teaching at Michigan a year ago, also is a professor of public law and gender studies and dean of academic affairs at the Law Faculty at Humboldt University in Berlin. Her research areas include socio-cultural legal studies, gender studies, law against discrimination, and comparative constitutional law. She earned an LL.M. at Michigan Law in 1993.

She is the second 1993 Michigan Law LL.M. alumna to land a seat on her native country’s highest court in recent months. Maria Lourdes Aranal Sereno was named an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines in August.

In addition to Baer, two of the German court’s current members also have Michigan ties: Andreas Paulus taught here as a visiting professor, and Johannes Masing was a visiting scholar.

Baer’s new 12-year, non-renewable term on Germany’s top court ensures a lively work pace. The court, which is divided into two separate "senates" of eight judges each, handles several thousand cases each year, several times the volume of the U.S. Supreme Court. Anyone who believes his or her rights have been violated under Germany’s Basic Law, or constitution, is entitled to bring a complaint that could end up being heard by the Constitutional Court. German states and the federal government can ask the court to review laws and proposed laws for constitutionality, as well.

Despite her selection by the German legislature for a term on the court, Baer is expected to continue her relationship with Michigan Law.

"We’re pleased and proud to see Professor Baer elevated to a position of such eminence in her country’s judiciary," said Michigan Law Dean Evan Caminker. "And we’re confident that the people of Germany will benefit, as our students have benefitted,
from her wisdom and keen insight."

Skadden Fellowships go to two Michigan Law 3Ls

By John Masson, Amicus editor

Two Michigan Law 3Ls recently learned they’ve earned coveted Skadden Fellowships to fund their self-designed public interest legal projects for the next two years.

The Skadden Foundation awarded fellowships to Pat Mobley and Sarah St.Vincent as part of a program once described by the Los Angeles Times as "a legal Peace Corps."

Mobley’s project focuses on special education in the St. Louis Public School system. He'll work with the Children's Legal Alliance of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri to, according to the Skadden Foundation website, represent low-income students who are not receiving the education services they deserve, including students whose special education needs are going unmet and students who have been removed from school for disciplinary reasons.

St. Vincent’s project, only the third international project ever funded by the Skadden Foundation, will provide legal services for low-income migrant women in the U.K. who are survivors of domestic violence or human trafficking and wish to assert their fundamental rights under European law. She will work with the AIRE (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) Centre in London, which specializes in providing legal help to marginalized people.

The Skadden Fellowships, founded in 1988 by the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, are granted for two years and are designed to allow new graduates to work full-time for legal and other advocacy organizations. The awards are intended to encourage graduates to build public service careers based on helping poor, disabled, elderly, and homeless people, and other underserved groups.

Because the goal is to give new graduates the ability to pursue the public interest work of their choice, prospective fellows create their own programs as part of the application process. The Skadden Foundation reports that almost 90 percent of former fellows have remained in public interest or public sector work. St. Vincent and Mobley bring the number of Michigan Law fellows since the program’s founding to 28. This year, only Harvard and Stanford secured more fellowships, with five and three, respectively.

"We’re very proud of our students’ continued success in pursuing these highly competitive fellowships," said MaryAnn Sarosi, ’87, Michigan Law’s assistant dean for public service. "We’re grateful to the Skadden Foundation for once again rewarding exemplary Michigan Law students, who now have a chance to help advocate for people who otherwise might not have had a chance to be heard."


In the News

Environmental Law & Policy Program Director Prof. David Uhlmann tells The New York Times and a variety of other international media outlets that Justice Department’s civil suit in the BP oil spill case is merely "the opening salvo."

Hmmm. Devoutly religious quarterback Tim Tebow. Video games. The Supreme Court. Satan. Guess we better let ’84 grad and MLaw Prof. Len Niehoff’s recent New York Times letter to the editor clear all of that up.

Prof. John Pottow’s study on elder bankruptcies draws the attention of US News & World Report – and tons of other media outlets.

The Pottow study also catches the eyes of a nation of Googlers. TheStreet.com notes that news reports about John’s study caused a measurable bump in the number of internet searches on the word "bankruptcy."

For LawTunes impresario Lawrence Savell, ’82, following up his 2009 "Season’s Briefings" CD of lawyer-themed holiday tunes was only natural. Hence this year’s slightly more rocking CD: "Yule Hear From Our Lawyers!!!" Where else will you see a song called "Second Seat Santa?"

Retired Air Force Colonel Richard J. Erickson, ‘70, voted onto Military Officers Association of America board of directors.

Eugene Gil Wanger, ’58, drafter of Michigan’s current death penalty ban, donates papers from Michigan’s last constitutional convention.

The Washington Post is among more than 200 papers to publish AP's national investigative piece, citing Prof. Bridgette Carr, ’02, on human traffickers' abuse of student visas.

An accompanying AP video piece cites Carr, as well.

Prof. David Moran, ’91, discusses the 6th Amendment with NPR affiliate’s host, Lynn Rivers.

Rob Pelinka, ’96, clocks in at Number 5 in Business Insider’s list of the world’s Top 12 sports agents.

Distinguished Alumni Program

Michigan Law is starting a Distinguished Alumni Award program. Nominations are being accepted now. For details, or to nominate someone, please visit the DAA site.

Coming Up

Jan. 17: Civil rights attorney Evan Wolfson marks MLK Day with talk on marriage equality.

Feb. 4-5: Michigan Journal of International Law hosts symposium on "Successes and Failures in International Human Trafficking Law."

Feb. 11: Michigan Law, U-M’s Center for Chinese Studies, and Wayne State University Law School co-host U.S.-China Economic Law Conference in Detroit.

Contact

Have a story of interest to fellow alumni? Contact Amicus editor John Masson, Media Relations Officer for Michigan Law, at amicusnews@umich.edu or call 734.647.7352.