Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, ’89, breaks ranks with some fellow Republicans in a Washington Post op-ed on the many things the Detroit Three are doing right.


Judy Woodruff interviews 1981 grad and senior Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett on PBS News Hour about how the new president and his family are adjusting to life in the White House.

Prima Facie

"Hail, Hail, the graduates!"

An uncommon Commons

This latest artist's rendering portrays students and faculty passing through the new Law School Commons, to be built on an unused grassy area between Hutchins Hall, the stacks, and the Reading Room. The glass ceiling is designed to help students appreciate the exterior walls of the existing buildings in a whole new way.

Remembering, reflecting, and restoring

With the Law School's Sesquicentennial Celebration in full swing, the last few weeks have been busy ones for Law School students, faculty, and staff. A Martin Luther King Day talk by Dr. Dalton Conley, left, was followed the very next day by the historic inauguration of a new president -- which brought a standing-room-only crowd of witnesses into Hutchins Hall’s Honigman Auditorium to witness the event via a video feed.

Finally, any student working in the Reading Room couldn’t help but notice its magnificent renovation has been completed, thanks to the generosity of Charles T. Munger, the Berkshire Hathaway vice-chair who donated $3 million for lighting improvements around the Law School. While work continues on the Hutchins Hall portion of the project, workers in the Reading Room hung the last of 22 restored chandeliers midway between the newly refurbished ceiling and the freshly refinished study tables Dec. 30.

Campaign numbers in; building push continues

Without missing a beat, the Law School is celebrating the most successful fundraising campaign in its history while continuing to seek private gifts to support the building expansion and renovation project.

Michigan Law's part of the Michigan Difference campaign raised more than $139 million in private support for all aspects of the Law School's mission, exceeding the overall goal of $135 million. In addition to nucleus funding for the building project, other campaign priorities included student support, faculty support, programmatic support and the Law School Fund.

Besides outright gifts, campaign donors also expressed intentions to benefit the Law School through their estates. Alumni and friends made nearly $32 million in new bequest intentions during the campaign, raising the Law School's total in new private funding commitments to more than $171 million.

"We are deeply grateful to all the alumni and friends who helped ensure the success of this remarkable campaign," said Dean Evan Caminker. "Now our goal is to make the building project a reality, despite these challenging economic times."

During the campaign, the Law School raised more than $40 million toward the new academic building and Law School Commons. The $102 million project is being funded by $70 million in private gifts, with the University and the Law School also contributing support.

More than $25 million will augment student support, including 52 new endowed scholarships. In addition to both merit- and need-based scholarships, donors also supported summer fellowships and the Debt Management Program, a loan repayment program.

Gifts of $21 million from alumni and friends will enhance support for faculty, including the creation of seven new endowed professorships and other forms of assistance.

The Law School Fund and other programs, including international initiatives and the legal clinics, also benefited from alumni contributions, receiving more than $53 million during the campaign. The Law School Fund is the school’s largest source of unrestricted private support.

The Law School's success was part of a University campaign report presented Thursday to the Board of Regents. The Michigan Difference began July 1, 2000 and ended December 31, 2008.

Cambodia Program Alumnae Raise Funds for Internship

Cindy Dyar, '07, is a legal-aid lawyer in southern Texas. Arielle Krause, '07, practices tax law with a firm in Washington, D.C.

Though their career paths are different, the alumnae share a life-changing experience: Both had summer internships in Cambodia through Michigan's Cambodian Law and Development Program. Now they're making it possible for other Michigan Law students to have the same opportunity.

For the second year, Krause and Dyar are seeking donations from Michigan Law alumni to support a summer intern in Cambodia, in addition to the three that the school funds annually. They want to help the student, the Law School, and the country they grew to love while working there.

"I had the most amazing time in Cambodia, and I knew every intern had a special experience there. I thought we could send one more student at least," says Krause, an associate with McKee Nelson who worked during her 1L summer for an NGO in Cambodia's Ministry of Land.

Last year Dyar's and Krause's fundraising efforts meant that Nick Ferre, now a 2L, could spend the summer in Cambodia working for the Arbitration Council, an independent tribunal that settles collective labor disputes. In a letter thanking last year's supporters, Ferre called his internship "a great stride forward" toward his goal of working in international public service.

"I had no clue what lawyers working to develop legal systems actually did," Ferre wrote, "and the chance to see that firsthand was invaluable."

Dyar can relate. As a 1L she aspired to do international human rights work, but by the time she landed in Cambodia, she was questioning her career choice. As an intern with the Cambodia Legal Education Center, she got both a great work experience and valuable career advice from colleagues.

"After that summer, I knew it was possible to find a job I wanted to do," says Dyar, now a staff attorney with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

To support a Michigan Law intern in Cambodia, please visit and designate your gift for the Cambodia Alumni Fund. For information, please email Maher Salah at or call 734.764.0373.

Around the Quad

Second consecutive M Law grad earns Bristow Fellowship at Solicitor General’s office

For the second straight year, a Michigan Law graduate has been chosen for one of only four year-long Bristow Fellowships at the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office.

Matt Owen graduated in May 2008. Like most other Bristow selectees, Owen is currently clerking for a federal appeals judge – in Owen’s case, with Judge Neil M. Gorsuch of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver.

Once he assumes his new position this fall, Owen’s duties will include helping draft briefs in opposition to certiorari filed in the Supreme Court, and also helping make recommendations to the Solicitor General about potential appeals in lower courts. Bristow Fellows also work with staff attorneys to write briefs on the merits in Supreme Court cases and help prepare for oral argument in the Supreme Court.

Owen succeeds Shiva Nagaraj, a 2007 Michigan Law graduate, who earned the Fellowship last year.

The Fellowships are named in honor of the first U.S. Solicitor General, Benjamin H. Bristow of Kentucky. He was appointed shortly after the Civil War by President Ulysses S. Grant after serving as U.S. Attorney in his home state, where he had helped quell a tide of Ku Klux Klan violence that arose after the Civil War. He also helped break up a burgeoning trade in illegal Kentucky whiskey.

After a successful career as Solicitor General, Bristow became Treasury Secretary before retiring to private practice, where he founded one of the East Coast’s prominent law firms. He also served as president of the American Bar Association.

Today the fellowship offers a priceless opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of the appeals process, said Michigan Law Professor Adam Pritchard, who worked as a Bristow Fellow himself.

"I learned so much about how to argue a case before the Supreme Court during my year as a Bristow," Prof. Pritchard said. "The Bristow Fellowship is a great opportunity for anyone who aspires to be an appellate lawyer at the top level."

Students, alumni clean up on fellowships

From protecting the rights of Native Alaskans in villages devastated by global warming to ensuring that low-income people receive appropriate legal representation in a Portland, Maine family court, high-profile post-graduate public interest fellowships are once again helping recent Michigan Law students serve the greater good -- literally from one end of the country to the other.

Five Michigan Law students and alums have been selected for prestigious fellowships thus far this season. Among them are three recipients of Skadden Fellowships, widely recognized as the most competitive public service awards in the country.

Michigan’s most recent Skadden recipients continue a ten-year run during which the Law School’s graduates have received at least one Skadden Fellowship per year – one of only three such schools in the country. Michigan has the fourth highest number of total recipients since the fellowships were founded in 1988.

Two additional awards -- a Coffin Family Law Fellowship and an Equal Justice Works Fellowship -- round out this year’s crop. Recipients include:

"These fellowships serve as launching pads to public interest careers," said MaryAnn Sarosi, the Law School's Assistant Dean for Public Service. "Landing a position in the public interest world is challenging. Students have the daunting task of competing for very few entry-level jobs, and that just leaves me more in awe of all of our public service students, who persevere in order to do the work they love in the face of low salaries and high student loan debt."

In the News

Michigan Law tied for second in number of alumni serving in Obama Administration, the Harvard Law Record reports.

The Washington Post reports on 1991 grad Lisa Konwinski, another alum joining the Obama team as deputy director of legislative affairs.

Bodman LLP endows new Michigan Law scholarship in honor of its late chairman, 1953 grad Richard D. Rohr.

Chesapeake Bay suit likely an uphill struggle, despite unusual alliances among plaintiffs, Prof. David Uhlmann tells The Washington Post.

Prof. Doug Laycock’s contributions to religious liberty honored with national award, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Prof. David Moran, on about how the U.S. Coast Guard may not need physical evidence anymore to convict some of the most egregious cocaine smugglers.

The director of President Barack Obama's domestic policy council, 1989 grad Melody Barnes, is the subject of this hometown profile in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Filming of Hilary Swank legal thriller coming to Ann Arbor.

The Detroit News cites Vivek Sankaran in story on bias in Michigan’s child welfare system.

The Daily Kos cites Prof. Nina Mendelson’s scholarship on bureaucratic "burrowing."

Prof. John Pottow in the Detroit Free Press, on the biggest string attached to federal loans to the Big Three: a strike by the UAW will put them into immediate default.

Coming Up

Jan. 28: Los Angeles alums plan career event for lawyers at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.

Feb. 6 and 7: "Territory Without Boundaries," Michigan Journal of International Law's 2009 symposium.

Feb. 13: “Rhetoric and Relevance: An Investigation into the Present and Future of Feminist Legal Theory,” Michigan Journal of Gender and Law’s 2009 symposium.

Feb. 26: Inaugural Alumni Funded Fellowship auction set for midtown Manhattan.

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