Reuven Avi-Yonah, the Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law, is quoted in a Bloomberg Businessweek article on President Obama's tax proposals to limit companies' ability to defer U.S. taxes on some income they earn overseas.
Prof. Nicholas Bagley was quoted in Reuters about the legality of delaying the employer healthcare mandate for a year.
Prof. Michael Barr was interviewed in Marketplace about the banking industry moving away from the commodity business amid growing government scrutiny.
Prof. Laura Beny penned an editorial for Al Jazeera on sustainable peace and the South Sudan crisis.
Samuel R. Gross, the Thomas and Mabel Long Professor of Law and editor of The National Registry of Exonerations (NRE), was quoted in an NPR story on record-breaking statistics revealed in NRE's newly released report for 2013.
Martha Jones, affiliated LS&A faculty, associate professor of history, and codirector of the Program in Race, Law & History, penned a piece for CNN on her biracial and black identity.
Jessica Litman, the John F. Nickoll Professor of Law, was quoted in The Wall Street Journal about the U.S. Justice Department's effort to build criminal cases against distributors of illegal versions of copyrighted apps for Google's Android operating system.
Christopher McCrudden, William W. Cook Global Law Professor, was quoted in a New York Times analysis on ways the government can use its purchasing power to promote social goals.Prof. John Pottow was quoted in the Los Angeles Times about Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder offering conditional pension aid to Detroit.
By Amy Spooner
Most of us turn on a faucet or lawn sprinklers without thinking about how the water got there. Glenn Oliver, '87, wants to make sure it arrives in the most cost-effective, efficient way possible.
In 2006, Oliver launched H2bid, an online exchange connecting water utilities with vendors. The first-of-its-kind company provides online bidding software, transaction data, and information services that enable both sides to better manage the bidding and contracting process—from helping vendors access the largest database of bid opportunities in all 50 states, to aiding utilities in finding the best product or service. "If a utility advertises a bid, every company that does business in this industry should have access to that opportunity immediately," he said. "Every vendor should be able to see competitive pricing when preparing a bid response. Water is the only utility that mankind cannot do without. We're bringing efficiency, cost savings, and smarter decision making to a critically important industry."
Oliver gained an insider's view of the industry in the late 1990s as a member of the Detroit Board of Water Commissioners, one of many hats he wore as group executive under Mayor Dennis Archer. As a member of Archer's executive staff, Oliver served as public safety director, supervised eight departments, oversaw legislative affairs, and managed the mayor's staff, budget, and political appointments. Adding another responsibility to his sizeable list wasn't enticing, but the water board appointment turned out to be life changing. Detroit's water department is one of the largest in the country, and Oliver was amazed that commerce in the water industry was so fragmented. He believed the burgeoning power of the Internet could transform the industry, a thought he held even when he returned to private law practice after leaving the Archer administration. And he was right. Since Oliver quit his practice to manage H2bid full time, the startup has enjoyed buzz from Fortune and Forbes, and in October 2013, it snagged top honors at a startup expo hosted by the prestigious Silicon Valley Forum.
Oliver's passion for entrepreneurship was ignited as a child, by working with his grandfather, a small-business owner. Oliver chose a career as a lawyer, in part, because he saw that he could pursue his entrepreneurial interests by developing a practice, whether in a major law firm or on his own. Turns out, he has done both. But actually launching a business based on a novel idea is entirely different, Oliver said. "To be an entrepreneur, you must be willing to embrace risk—even more so when you are disrupting an industry like the centuries-old water industry. What matters is toughing out the initial challenges to meet your customers' needs and make the business successful."
As a Detroit-based startup, Oliver is proud to be part of a new wave of entrepreneurs in the city. "I am glad to be a part of the ecosystem that is helping to reinvigorate the startup culture in Detroit," he said. "When people think of Detroit, they think of the auto industry as it exists today. But don't forget that long ago, Henry Ford was a Detroit entrepreneur with a startup."
The Office of Development and Alumni Relations is hitting the road this spring and summer to host a series of receptions in cities nationwide. Learn more about the Victors for Michigan campaign, catch up and network with fellow alumni, and enjoy the opportunity to meet Dean Mark West. Visit our website for details about upcoming events, and look for an invitation arriving in your mailbox.
Mark your calendars for the annual Student Funded Fellowships (SFF) Auction on Thursday, March 20, at 7 p.m. in Hutchins Hall. All alumni are invited to attend the auction or bid electronically on items through our proxy bidding system. Look for an email in the coming month with more information about participating in the event. SFF is a Michigan Law organization that provides grants to students who take on unpaid public-interest internships during their 1L summers. To learn more about SFF or to make a donation, visit www.mlawsff.org or email email@example.com.
The Law School and The M Den have teamed up to make specialized Michigan Law apparel available online through the MLaw Marketplace. A percentage of all sales on both MLaw Marketplace and the general M Den website (when it's accessed through MLaw Marketplace) comes back to Law School student groups to help support their activities.
March 20: Student Funded Fellowships Auction
March 21-23: African American Alumni Reunion
May 3: Alumni Service Day
By Jenny Whalen, Law School Communications
In the centuries-long campaign to advance women's rights, the service of some has inspired generations even as their scholarship has rewritten the law of nations. This year, the Association of American Law Schools' (AALS) Section on Women in Legal Education recognized Prof. Catharine A. MacKinnon as one of those extraordinary women.
The 2014 recipient of AALS' Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award, MacKinnon, the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan and long-term James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard, is only the second woman to receive the honor after Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg herself.
The significance of succeeding the award's namesake—one of history's greatest advocates for gender equality—was not lost on MacKinnon.
"That Justice Ginsburg received it gives it the meaning of groundbreaking, but many more will receive it in the future, each person adding their own distinctive focus and contributions to its significance," MacKinnon observed.
According to AALS, the award is intended to honor an individual who has had a "distinguished career of teaching, service, and scholarship for at least 20 years … someone who has impacted women, the legal community, the academy, and the issues that affect women through mentoring, writing, speaking, activism, and by providing opportunities to others."
MacKinnon's excellence in these areas is well known to Prof. Margaret Jane Radin, who describes her colleague's work as truly "game-changing."
"She will be the first to tell you that the work is nowhere near done—but her inspiration of the many students she has educated over the years creates hope that the work will continue as long as it is still needed," Radin said.
Pace Law School Prof. Ann Bartow, one of several peer nominators, has long considered MacKinnon to be one of the most influential forces in gender law today.
"Prof. MacKinnon is an engaging, riveting, generous, and magnetic presence," Bartow wrote in her nomination. "She has inspired generations of law students, mentoring them with gentleness and sustained energy toward creative and enduring careers in all legal and social pursuits."
Kathleen M. Sullivan, a former dean of Stanford Law School and partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, observed the systemic dimension of her work in a comment submitted for the award ceremony.
"Catharine MacKinnon is to law what Simone de Beauvoir was to political economy: her work illuminates how views of women are built into the very order of things, and how that structure may be dismantled. This is a most fitting award."
To be recognized in such a way by her peers added an even deeper meaning to the award for MacKinnon. "It's a bit like getting an Oscar that way," she said of the process. "The award was a tremendous surprise."
But amid the stunning comments of her colleagues, it was praise from a survivor of prostitution that had the greatest impact on MacKinnon.
"In all her work, you can hear her voice coming through the miasma of women's oppression," wrote the survivor, who chose to remain anonymous. "She has heard the screams, the desperation, the outrage, the silence of women and carried all that forward into the light to be seen and understood. Then, corrected.
"Few accept the burden or the losses this work has cost over the years. There is something about the determination to suffer wounds if need be while resisting oppression that seems to be in her that lets her be hurt over and over and just keep going. It is a fine line to walk, for all of us, between courage and shattering."
Although this award recognizes MacKinnon's "lifetime" of work, it hardly marks the end of her scholarship and activism for sex equality.
"We are, at best, at a halfway point," MacKinnon said. "Essentially everything remains to be done for women, both in the U.S. and around the world, both by me and by everyone else. The United States still doesn't even have an Equal Rights Amendment, far less have we stopped rape and prostitution. We're just getting started and gaining traction."
If the award was individual, as she sees it, the work is not. As MacKinnon observed, accepting the award in person on Jan. 3 at the special AALS Section Award Luncheon in New York, "Defying gravity is a collective project."
(Photo courtesy of Robin C. Adams © Catharine A. MacKinnon.)
By Jenny Whalen
One moment. An indiscernible measure of time when compared to the days, months, and years that encompass a lifetime, but no less capable of life-altering change. It took only a moment to read the verdict that wrongfully sent Victor Caminata to prison for arson in 2009 and an identical one to announce his exoneration on Jan. 22.
And though joy was the prevailing emotion in the courtroom as Caminata celebrated that exoneration with family, friends, and his Michigan Innocence Clinic team, feelings were tempered with the knowledge that many more such moments had been lost during the five years Caminata had been wrongful imprisoned.
"I'm glad this is over with … glad my name has been cleared for me," said Caminata. "It's been a hard road for not only me, but also my family and friends. I plan to spend the rest of my life with my family trying to make up for the time we lost."
Convicted of arson following a fire that destroyed his home in Boon Township, Mich., Caminata was sentenced to serve nine to 40 years in prison for a crime the Michigan Innocence Clinic argues never occurred.
"When you want to explain the failings in this case you don't need an advanced degree in fire science," said David Moran, '91, clinical professor at Michigan Law and director of the Clinic. "If you want to rule out a chimney fire, you should probably look in the chimney," he added, referring to the initial fire investigators' failure to examine the interior of the home's chimney despite concluding that the fire was not accidental and had been set intentionally to look like a chimney fire.
Still, with students facing stacks of research referencing thimble holes, mortar joints, puffed creosote, char marks, and violation of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 921, Moran readily admits this case, which the Clinic officially accepted in 2011, was a "huge technical challenge."
"The students almost became fire science experts themselves while still learning and applying other legal concepts," he added.
3Ls Emily Goebel and Lexi Bond are two of the students whose knowledge of chimney constructs now rival that of any peer. Both began work on Caminata's case in 2012 and took time from their Chicago summer associate positions to represent Caminata at the July 2013 evidentiary hearing that resulted in his release from prison after the judge vacated his conviction.
"It's rare in the Clinic to see a case from beginning to end, and although I didn't see the entirety of this case, I was there for most of its ups and downs," Goebel said. "We got a man his life back in July. I was in shock. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and pride in having been part of the journey. We know Victor now and his family and we're happy it turned out the way it did."
"I spent half of my law school career on this case," added Bond. "It helped me to grasp in a real way the concepts you learn in law school, and also to understand the politics of court, which will affect my practice in a positive way. On a personal level, it has been really rewarding."
Caminata had already served five years and two weeks of his sentence when he was released in July 2013, but was forced to wait another six months in legal purgatory as prosecutors looked to retry his case. His state of limbo came to an end Jan. 22, when the Michigan Attorney General's Office announced it was dismissing the charge against him.
Caminata is the eighth exoneree—and second to be exonerated for arson—in the Clinic's five-year history.
The legal team included Clinic director David A. Moran, staff attorney Imran Syed, staff attorney Caitlin Plummer, former co-director (now Michigan Supreme Court Justice) Bridget McCormack, clinical professor Kim Thomas, and former students Blase Schmid, Adam Thompson, Kate O'Connor, Rachel Burg, Zach Dembo, Nick Hambley, Laura Andrade, Jocelin Chang, and Marc Allen, and current students Lexi Bond, Emily Goebel and Claire Madill. Cooperating attorneys James Samuels of Big Rapids, Mich. and Michael A. McKenzie of Atlanta co-counseled the case with the Clinic on a pro bono basis.
By Jenny Whalen
European Law Moot Court (ELMC) tip No. 14 reads: Know your oral pleadings by heart—if your coach wakes you in the middle of the night you should go: "Mister President, honoured members of the court ..."
To an observer, such advice may seem extreme, but to the University of Michigan Law School's first ELMC team, it is just one component of an intensive, months-long training regimen.
"This is one of the toughest and most rewarding experiences you can have during law school. You really need to be prepared for it," said LLM Nika Bacic. A member of the 2011 Central and East European Moot Court's first-place team, Bacic has stepped into the role of coach at Michigan Law, advising LLM Chloë Bell, and 3Ls Ali Beidoun, Brian Dearing, and Kyle Luebke as they prepare to compete in one of four ELMC regional finals.
Considered the most prestigious worldwide moot court competition on European Union law, the ELMC is sponsored by the Court of Justice of the EU and judged by CJEU judges and Advocate Generals, with the final round of the competition held on the grounds of the Court in Luxembourg.
Since passing the written round on Jan. 15, the team has doubled its efforts to prepare for the oral rounds, which are set to take place abroad this February. And if the prospect of arguing in front of officials with the stature of Supreme Court justices isn't terrifying enough, there remains the fact that it must also be done in two languages.
"We will be required to switch between English and French," said Bell, who will serve as the team's primary French speaker. "The judges recognize that not everyone has the same level of fluency, but we are expected to be able to respond to questions in French."
Since September, the team has been preparing its arguments for a hypothetical case dealing with EU law, same-sex marriage, residence rights of EU citizens and their family members, cross-border health care, procedural rights, and many other specific issues in this vein. However, preparation is not as simple as picking a side.
"We get the hypothetical case and are asked to defend it as both the applicant and the defense," Bacic said. "We must research numerous areas of EU law to be able to defend both sides."
The team must also prepare the case as the Advocate General, whose job is to present opinions on cases and arguments brought before the Court publicly and impartially.
"The four questions in the case are very different," Dearing said. "All are related, but have required us to research different areas of EU law."
"That's the scary part," Bell added. "You don't know what the judges will ask you. You have to think of ways to poke holes in your own argument to be prepared."
During the week, this means spending 20 or more hours poring over any and all case law they can find. On weekends, it is firing questions at one another in a Reading Room study lounge. And though Bacic hasn't taken ELMC Tip No. 14 literally, at least not yet, she's pushing her team hard to avoid any surprises during competition.
"One day Nika dropped a 150-page document on the anti-discrimination law of the EU in my lap and told me to read it, just in case one of the judges question us in this area," Luebke said. "You need to know everything."
With their regional final less than a month away, the team is nervous, but also excited to represent the Law School.
"This experience is very important to us as we are the first team ever to participate from the University of Michigan," Bacic said. "U-M has preeminence in the study of EU law both within the U.S. and around the world. It is our job not only to prove ourselves as participants, but also to proudly represent our school."
The team added special thanks to those whose support will enable them to attend the competition in Europe, specifically: Prof. Daniel Halberstam, Assistant Dean for International Affairs Roopal Shah, Center for International and Comparative Law, Center for European Studies, Center for Russian and East European Studies, and U-M Office of the President.
By Amy Spooner, Law School Development
Registration is underway for Michigan Law's inaugural African American Alumni Reunion, taking place March 21-23, 2014, in Ann Arbor. The reunion is being held in conjunction with the 36th annual Alden J. "Butch" Carpenter Scholarship Banquet on March 22.
"The Butch Carpenter Banquet is the most important event of the year for bringing the black alumni and student communities together," said Elizabeth Campbell, '78, who is leading the reunion effort along with fellow chairs Curtis Mack, '73, and Saul Green, '72. "It was the natural choice to hold the African American Alumni Reunion in partnership with the banquet."
The African American Alumni Reunion will provide networking opportunities and re-engage alumni with the Law School and each other. In the wake of declining minority enrollments at Michigan Law, the committee also hopes the reunion will mobilize alumni to improve and support recruitment and matriculation of African American students through outreach and scholarships.
The keynote speaker at the Butch Carpenter Banquet will be Kevyn Orr, '83, who is the emergency manager for the City of Detroit. Other highlights of the weekend include a conversation with Michigan Law Dean Mark West and a Race Card Project session hosted by NPR correspondent Michele Norris. Norris will invite participants to submit their thoughts on race in six words, and use the responses as the basis for a dialogue about race at Michigan.
"This reunion is an important step for Michigan Law and its black alumni community," Mack said. "While we all had different experiences in law school, our time in the Quad and the education we received were important and formative components of our careers. The time has come to return home and celebrate that experience with each other."
Honorary co-chairs of the event are the Hon. Amalya Kearse, '62, the Hon. Harry Edwards, '65, David Lewis, '70, Walter Sutton, '70, Jim Jenkins, '73, Anita Jenkins, '74, Michele Mayes, '74, Larry Thompson, '74, the Hon. Roger Gregory, '78, Broderick Johnson, '83, Reginald Turner, '87, Charlotte Johnson, '88, David Cade, '96, and Harold Ford, Jr., '96. Green said the diverse locations, class years, and career paths of the reunion's organizers are reflective of its mission. "An important goal of the reunion is to celebrate the history of diversity at Michigan Law. Our honorary co-chairs and planning committee members are a testament to the diversity within our own African American alumni community and the impact of a Michigan Law degree, wherever you go."
Learn more about the African American Alumni Reunion and submit your six words about race for the Race Card Project.
By Lori Atherton, Law School Communications
What are a lawyer's duties to the public and profession? Does being a successful litigator require the attorney to be uncivil or combative? If a lawyer takes less time performing legal work for a client than originally anticipated, should he charge the client less than the amount of money on which they agreed?
These ethical questions were posed to Michigan Law 1Ls during the Professionalism in Action Program held Jan. 24. Now in its second year, the program is a partnership between the Law School and the State Bar of Michigan, and aims to help first-year students develop an understanding of the importance of ethics, professionalism, and civility in their legal careers. The program complements other ethics-focused offerings at the Law School, including courses, speaker's series, and the Commitment to Integrity ceremony.
"Students can't be introduced early enough to the idea of professional ethics and integrity," said David Baum, '89, assistant dean for student affairs and records at Michigan Law, and a program facilitator. "The more exposure students have to issues of ethics and professionalism, the better prepared they'll be to enter the practice of law."
During the program, groups of 18 to 20 students teamed up with practicing lawyers and judges from southeast Michigan for discussions on hypothetical issues related to the topics of ethics and professionalism. One of the lawyers was Allyn Kantor, '64, an adjunct professor at the Law School who teaches alternative dispute resolution. He participated for a second year because he believes it's important for law students to understand "that lessons of morality and ethics play a large role in the choices they'll make in their profession."
The feedback from students was largely positive, Prof. Kantor noted, which "reaffirmed for [him] that students acknowledge that the values of ethics and integrity are important."
The State Bar of Michigan first offered the Professionalism in Action Program in 2009. The idea was developed by Michigan Law alumnus Edward Pappas, '73, chair and partner of Dickinson Wright PLLC and former president of the State Bar of Michigan.