University of Michigan Law School - February 2011 Amicus


Prof. John Pottow tells Morning Edition about good news for Toyota and its sudden-acceleration problem—and what that means for lawsuits


Prof. Michael Barr's first appearance as an official CNBC commentator.

Career Corner:

Click for a wealth of career advice, available 24/7 on our Career Toolkit page.

Prima Facie

HALFWAY HOME: Michigan Law 2Ls celebrate the halfway point of their law school careers recently with a little Midway Madness.

Construction Update

Spaces for studying, learning, lounging, and eating speedily take shape as work progresses on Aikens Commons, the Kirkland & Ellis Café, and South Hall.

U-M Students Choose Law Prof for Singular Award
Herzog is first law prof to earn student-organized Golden Apple

By John Masson, Amicus editor

Students at the University of Michigan have selected a law professor to receive the student body’s coveted Golden Apple for the first time in the award’s 20-year history.

Prof. Don Herzog, the Edson R. Sunderland Professor of Law, specializes in First Amendment law and in the teaching of political, moral, legal, and social theory. He came to the Law School from the Political Science Department, where he maintains a courtesy appointment.

The Golden Apple—the only U-M teaching award given by the students themselves—also provides its recipient a gift most professors only dream of: the right to give exactly the lecture they choose, as if it were their last.

Herzog said he was amazed when a student organizer called him and told him he had been selected.

“It’s overwhelming,” Herzog said. “It’s incredibly sweet. I don’t deserve it.”

Herzog’s “Ideal Last Lecture” is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. March 14 at Rackham Auditorium. Although he admits to being a little nonplussed about delivering a formal lecture when for years his classes have been more of a back-and-forth between him and his students, he’s arrived at the perfect topic, based on his new book about the surprising truth of household politics in early modern England.

“Let’s just say that it was better to be a man than a woman then, for sure, but not because women were mindlessly deferential and ‘knew their place.’ Not at all,” Herzog said. “So the thought that feminism is this late development is nuts, completely nuts.”

Around the Law School, faculty members weren’t all that surprised to hear that Herzog had captured the coveted award—and not at all surprised that he hadn’t seemed to tell anyone about it.

“He’s just the real thing, all the way down the line,” said Prof. Bill Miller, whose forays into the darker side of human emotion—book titles like Faking It and Blood Feuds come immediately to mind—make him something of an expert in the field. “People here hold him somewhat in awe.”

If there is one thing Herzog is not, Miller added, it’s an easy A.

“He’s very informal with students, but he’s also very demanding, and he’s a hard grader. He doesn’t pander to them,” Miller said. “He does, ostensibly, political theory and things like that, but … he actually dirties his hands in the real historical material. He feels it’s a requirement to actually know something about how people operate, and to read what they’ve written.”

Faculty turnout at the “Ideal Last Lecture,” then, could reasonably be expected to be high.

“Don is a fabulous teacher, and he’s also a wonderful scholar,” said Law School Dean Evan Caminker, who will provide an introduction at the lecture, along with political science Prof. Pam Brandwein. “This is indeed a well-deserved honor.”

"A glass of gin and a towel over your face"
Students mourn legendary prof A.W. Brian Simpson in ways he might have appreciated: raucously, with gin

By Katie Vloet, Quadrangle editor

An event at the Law School honoring the late Professor A.W. Brian Simpson was not a time for sadness. Colleagues and students gathered on Feb. 10 for what Mark West described this way:

"This is a celebration. This is not quite a roast, though I'm sure Brian would be happy to laugh along with us," said West, the associate dean for academic affairs and the Nippon Life Professor of Law. "It is an Irish wake, a jazz funeral for a guy we loved and who gave us all so much happiness."

Students created a video montage in which they recalled some of their favorite moments with the beloved professor. Like the time he told them about a message one prisoner had sent to another on toilet paper, written in urine, in three parts: "I want you … now … for hugs." Or the time he gently assessed a student's incorrect answer in class by calling it "nearly right!" Or the story in which someone asked, loudly, "Have you got any bestiality?" (See video for further explanation of that last quote, and for more Simpson-isms.)

At the end of the night, they toasted Simpson and recalled another of his sayings: "Whenever you're faced with a difficult problem, the way to approach it is with a glass of gin and a wet towel over your face."

The Guardian (U.K.) obituary by Simpson colleague and Cook Global Law Prof. Christopher McCrudden

Alumni Partners at Kirkland & Ellis Come Through for Current Students
New café in Aikens Commons will bear firm's name

By Becky Freligh, Law School Development

A new Michigan Law café adjacent to the Law School’s Robert B. Aikens Commons will be named the Kirkland & Ellis Café.

The designation recognizes a combined gift of $4 million made by all 26 Michigan Law alumni who are share partners at Kirkland & Ellis LLP; by the Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; and by William R. Jentes, ’56, a preeminent former K&E litigator now retired from the firm and engaged in his own arbitration practice.

In making the gift, the firm seeks to honor its longstanding relationship with Michigan Law. Kirkland partners have long been generous to the Law School, establishing the Kirkland & Ellis Professorship in 1993 and providing longtime support for the Law School Fund. Since the firm’s inception, Kirkland has hired hundreds of Michigan Law graduates, many becoming leaders at the firm. In addition, several K&E partners have served as adjunct faculty at the Law School.

“We take pride in our strong ties to Michigan Law, and we are delighted to be making a difference in this important project,” says Jeffrey C. Hammes, chair of K&E’s worldwide management executive committee. “It is wonderful to know that the Kirkland & Ellis Café will be a center of Law School life for years to come.”

The gift originated several years ago when individual K&E partners began responding to the Law School’s need for new facilities. Momentum toward the collective gift picked up speed last year when partner Sanford Perl, ’90, was considering a personal gift honoring his 20-year reunion in the fall. As the event approached, Perl saw value not only in designating his reunion gift for the project, but in organizing his partners to make a significant collective gift to name a major space in the new building.

“As an alumnus, I understood the huge significance of the building project to Michigan Law’s future,” says Perl. “Seeing the site in person, with all its beauty and grandeur, confirmed that this would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate our relationship with the Law School in perpetuity.”

Progress and Pitfalls
Trade and investment relations with China at heart of MLaw, Wayne Law conference

A conference co-organized by the U-M Law School earlier this month brought together a prominent  contingent of experts on trade relations and cross-border investment between the United States and China who emphasized the opportunities and potential conflicts as China rises to a  global trade and investment power.

During a keynote address, Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, President Clinton's U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the person who negotiated China’s accession to the World Trade Organization spoke of increased head-to-head competition between developed and developing countries generally, business conditions in China that often are disadvantageous for foreign companies, and a change in the global trade and capital markets from U.S. dominance to a marked increase in China’s power and influence.

“The re-emergence of China … will be the biggest economic story of this century, in my opinion,” she said. “It is both a cause for marvel and a cause for significant global concern.”

The event, as conceived by U-M Law Professor Nicholas C. Howson and Wayne State University Law Professor Julia Qin, featured a public dialogue between the world's top academic experts on trade relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, present and former government officials from Beijing and Washington who have been tasked with negotiating and implementing that important relationship, and the legal professionals who represent the two nations (and in some cases domestic petitioning groups) in actual disputes.

“A subsidiary aim was to focus the same high-powered analysis and discussion on other aspects of the economic relationship, including of course investment (going both ways) and broader systemic concerns like the economics of international trade and investment, climate change, the demands of the energy industry, the rise of the Chinese currency, and domestic judicial and enforcement institutions in both nations,” Howson noted.

Howson said he and Qin were pleased to have gathered some of the key figures involved in the U.S.-China relationship, including: Ambassador Barshefsky; Madame Li Yongjie, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce official in charge of all WTO disputes and resulting litigation; Tim Stratford, a former director of the China Desk at the U.S. Trade Representative; and Professor Merit Janow, who recently stepped down from the WTO's Supreme Court equivalent, the Appellate Body. 

In addition to Professor Howson, U-M Law School was also represented by Professor Edward Parson, who described the present state of U.S.-China climate change negotiations.  Other U-M participants included Professor Mary Gallagher, Director of the U-M Center for Chinese Studies, Professor Zhao Minyuan of the Ross Business School, and Professor Alan Deardorff of the U-M Economics Department, who also serves as the Associate Dean of the Ford Public Policy School.

In the News

Prof. Nicholas Bagley talks to USA Today about Americans’ sacred right to rail against government regulations

James P. Hoffa, ’66, warns against class warfare, defends unions in Detroit News op-ed

Prof. Michael Barr tells The Washington Post that the Obama Administration plans a serious push for corporate tax reform

Prof. Dana Thompson, ’99, of MLaw’s Urban Communities Clinic, writes in The Detroit News about the role of micro-loans in rebuilding big cities

2000 grad Theary Seng feels call to defend human rights in her Cambodian homeland

The work of MLaw’s groundbreaking Innocence Clinic, which recently helped win exoneration for a woman wrongly locked up in the case of a baby prosecutors said was shaken, is noted in The New York Times Magazine

Legally India notes MLaw Prof. Vikramaditya Khanna’s first-of-its-kind real-time virtual class, taught simultaneously to students in India and Ann Arbor 

President Obama appoints Martin Castro, ’88, to U.S. Civil Rights Commission

Prof. Michael Barr, just back from a stint as Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Institutions, discusses the fate of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on “The Diane Rehm Show”

The Plain Dealer of Cleveland tells us whether David Mills or Ohio Solicitor General Ben Mizer—both 2002 MLaw grads—prevailed in their head-to-head matchup in the U.S. Supreme Court

Alumni Profile
Robert E. Goodrich, ’64

By Becky Freligh, Development and Alumni Relations

Like every dedicated moviegoer, Bob Goodrich, ’64, had his Oscar picks ready for Sunday night’s big event. His choice for Best Picture: “Inception—because it’s phenomenally innovative and different.”

Goodrich’s embrace of the new in the fast-changing movie business is key to the success of Goodrich Quality Theaters Inc., the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based business of which he’s been president since 1966.

Bigger screens, stadium seating, digital cinema, 3D—Goodrich enthusiastically brought them all to his theater chain, which today consists of 277 auditoriums in 30 buildings spread across four states, and remains one of the nation’s few individually operated circuits. Cans of film had their allure, he acknowledges, but this is a new day.

“I’m really enamored of all the transitions we’ve gone through, and I think it’s a dramatically better business today,” he says.

The chain has its roots in one theater: the Savoy in downtown Grand Rapids, a former vaudeville house bought by Goodrich’s father in 1930.Goodrich considered becoming a history professor or a lawyer at a regulatory agency, but when his father retired in 1966, Goodrich bought the Savoy and has never looked back.

He expanded his business through buying and leasing theaters, even acquiring 11 radio stations until communications-law changes allowing unlimited ownership made them inviting targets for bigger media companies. He still owns a radio station in Grand Rapids.

Amid competition from the likes of cable, on-demand viewing and Netflix, Goodrich’s business stays competitive. He has priced tickets strategically, even in economic hard times. He stays focused on marketing and on asking questions that result in a better entertainment experience for his target audience: the most frequent moviegoers.

“Now, we’re super-serving the people who are already connected to us,” he says.

While he’s excited about the future of the business (he predicts a wider range of theater content, including sports events), Goodrich says his favorite film remains A Man for All Seasons (1966), combining two of his great passions: history and the movies.

Distinguished Alumni Program

Michigan Law invites your nominations for its Distinguished Alumni Program. Click here for more information.

Coming Up

March 12: Juan Luis Tienda Scholarship Banquet at the Michigan Union

March 19: Butch Carpenter Scholarship Banquet at the Ann Arbor Four Points Sheraton

March 25: Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review presents symposium on green technology and economic revitalization


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