White House Domestic Policy Advisor and 1989 Michigan Law grad Melody Barnes tells NPR about the new White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.
Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett in a wide-ranging Washington Post video interview on the campaign, the first lady, the president, and his recent Supreme Court nominee.
Earlier, Jarrett’s classmate, Interior Secretary and 1981 grad Ken Salazar, told the same interviewer that his new department definitely has its work cut out for it.
It was only fitting for Assistant Dean for Admissions Sarah Zearfoss, newly ordained as a wedding officiant, to preside over a recent Hutchins Hall wedding ceremony—bride and groom (and 2009 grads) Clara Jung and Sam Zun might never have met if she hadn’t admitted them both to law school. (Photos by Linda Wan Photography)
Sure, the Law Quad might look like a cross between Notre Dame Cathedral and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. So we understand when people expect communications from us to be delivered in leather-bound folio form, or on creamy sheets of rolled, sealed, hand-illuminated parchment. In Latin.
But beneath Michigan Law’s Collegiate Gothic skin lurks a glowing, apple-shaped heart. (OK, maybe we’re more Bill Gates than Steve Jobs.) But whatever your personal operating system, we hope you’ll use it to propel yourself through that series of tubes we know as The Interwebs to sign up and track Michigan Law happenings. On Facebook, simply look for Michigan Law Alumni and Friends. On Twitter, just sign up to follow UMichLaw.
When law schools in Kenya and Afghanistan wanted the best possible information about establishing legal transactional clinics tailored to their unique situations, they sought out two Michigan Law clinical professors whose experiences are also unique: Alicia Alvarez, an experienced clinical professor, and Deborah Burand, a brand-new entrant to the field of clinical teaching.
Working with the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in Rome, the two Michigan professors took part in a series of May videoconferences with counterparts from the law schools at Kenyatta University in Nairobi and the University of Kabul in Afghanistan. At issue: helping the two schools create and maintain transactional clinics that would help ensure legal protections reach even the poorest people in their countries.
"The vast majority of the poor in the developing world do not have access to legal services, and quite often their rights are trampled upon – even in sectors which aim to do good, like microfinance," said Jami Hubbard, manager of microfinance and legal counsel for IDLO. "So grazie mille to professors Burand and Alvarez, and to the University of Michigan Law School, for opening up a whole new world for educators, their students, and the poor who may be able to benefit from such a program."
Because the overseas law schools were considering modeling their programs on Michigan Law’s International Transactions Clinic (ITC) and Urban Communities Clinic, professors Alvarez and Burand were ideal choices for the videoconferences. Prof. Burand worked with Prof. Michael Barr and Adjunct Prof. Tim Dickinson to establish the ITC at Michigan last year, and before that she worked for seven years in the microfinance sector, helping arrange the tiny loans that increasingly are making huge differences in the lives of people in underdeveloped parts of the world. And Prof. Alvarez has over 20 years of experience in developing and running legal clinics here at Michigan, at De Paul’s College of Law in Chicago, and in El Salvador.
Members of the law faculties in Kabul and Nairobi hoped to see whether Michigan’s transactional clinics "could be a model for clinic programs in Kenya and Afghanistan which would provide the poor with access to justice," Hubbard said. "The dialogue was very exciting."
Interest was particularly keen in Kenya, Hubbard added, with questions already surfacing about a proposed clinic’s structure, approach, and client types.
"Before the workshop my ideas about a transactional legal clinic were abstract and vague," said Prof. Leonard Aloo of the Kenyatta University School of Law. "I was really not sure how to go about starting one. Through the discussions with the team for University of Michigan, I was able to appreciate what it will take to begin a transactional legal clinic focusing on microfinance in Kenya."
Burand said she’s thrilled to offer her help.
"This is a living example of Michigan’s 'Global Leadership in Law,' " she said. "While I was sure that other US-based law schools would notice Michigan’s leadership in launching an international transactions-focused clinic, it never dawned on me that we also would be seeding the ground for transactional clinics to take root in places like Kenya or Afghanistan."
Lesson learned, Burand added.
"Now I'm dreaming bigger," she said. "Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day students participating in Michigan Law's ITC could turn to their clinician counterparts in Kenya for local law support on a Nairobi-based transaction? "
As far as Kenyatta's Aloo is concerned, Burand may not have to wait all that long.
"Prior to the workshop I spoke of the idea of a microfinance transactional legal clinic in whispers," Aloo said. "I am now able to speak with confidence about it and have a clear vision about how to work towards starting the clinic in Kenya."
With the pace of change in the legal profession accelerating daily, Michigan Law’s 10 newest faculty members are positioned to help the school continue training lawyers widely acclaimed as among the country’s most employable.
The new professors—who come from widely divergent backgrounds in private practice, the academy, and public service—will begin arriving in Ann Arbor next month and most will start teaching in the fall. They include:
That broad mix of experience is designed to keep Michigan Law alumni ranked near the top for their readiness to tackle the real world after law school. Proof of the school’s strength was published last year by Vault.com, which ranked Michigan Law grads, from the perspective of employers, second in the country for immediate employability.
"There’s no doubt this has been an extraordinarily challenging year for the economy in general and the legal profession in particular. But here at Michigan Law, we were also fortunate to have an extraordinarily strong hiring season," Caminker said. "For years to come, these ten new colleagues will help keep our students and graduates among the most competitive in the new employment landscape."
Law prof, baseball fan Rich Friedman reflects
on meeting famed pitcher, his boyhood hero
By Professor Richard Friedman
Meeting one’s childhood hero is dangerous; there is too large a chance one will be utterly disillusioned. But I knew that this would not happen to me when I learned the first words of Sandy Koufax to my 11-year-old son, who was standing, agape and delighted, several yards away.
Koufax, whose eyes are apparently still good enough to read a name tag from that distance, said, "Quit grinning, Daniel, and come over and say hello."
Several years ago, I was invited to give a talk at a conference in Milwaukee. Checking the calendar, I saw that the conference was scheduled for the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This gave me pause. I am a reform Jew, and really observe only the first day of the holiday. In the past, I have taught on the second day—a practice I am reconsidering—but the prospect of giving a specially scheduled, relatively public talk on that day made me uncomfortable.
I consulted with my rabbi, who advised me not to do it. So I declined the invitation. The conference organizer, whose name (not a Yiddish one, my mother might have noted) was Burke, wrote back very graciously. "I have always had great respect for Sandy Koufax," he said, "and not just for his curve ball."
Koufax, of course, was the great left-handed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers who, in an act of enormous cultural resonance, declined to pitch the first game of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur, generally considered the most significant of all Jewish holidays. "You don’t know the half of it," I wrote back to Burke. "Not only am I Jewish, but I’m left-handed, I was a Little League pitcher as a kid, and I grew up a Dodger fan. And I grew up in Rockville Centre, New York, where Koufax also spent some time as a kid (though he wasn’t happy there). So who do you think was my greatest hero growing up?"
End of story, I thought, but a few weeks later I heard back from Burke. They had rescheduled the conference, in part because of Rosh Hashanah. "And," Burke wrote, "there will be a baseball autographed by Sandy Koufax awaiting your arrival." I could hardly decline. Burke went to the trouble and expense of buying a ball from a dealer, and it has sat on my dresser ever since.
End of story again, I thought. I contemplated trying to send the ball to Koufax, perhaps through his old team, to tell him the story and ask for a more personalized signature. But this was among the many excellent ideas I have that I don’t ever quite manage to follow up on. In the end, though, I didn't have to take much initiative.
Fred Wilpon, the principal owner of the New York Mets, and other generous donors established the Branch Rickey Collegiate Professorship of Law. Rickey, a 1911 graduate of the Law School, went on to become the most important baseball executive ever, most notably because he integrated major league baseball by bringing Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers. I have long thought that the Law School had not done enough to celebrate (that sounds better than "exploit" or "capitalize on," doesn’t it?) its association with this great American hero. And, because I enjoy baseball and history and their intersection, I had become the Law School’s resident Rickey expert.
So of course I was delighted to be invited in that capacity to emcee and speak on April 30 at an event at CitiField, the new home of the Mets, commemorating the establishment of the chair. Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, would be there. So would Branch B. Rickey, Branch’s grandson, who is now president of the Pacific Coast League, and Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s widow and truly his partner in his pioneering ordeal. And perhaps most tantalizing of all, I understood that so too might Sandy Koufax, who in high school had been Fred Wilpon’s teammate and as a young major leaguer had been Jackie Robinson’s.
I wangled an invitation for my son and also my nephew, a rabid fan who is also a stadium architect. Taking note of Koufax’s reputation as a recluse, I told my son repeatedly, "Koufax may not come after all. Don’t count on him being there." But, soon after the reception began, there he was, tall, trim, elegant, and instantly recognizable. Daniel was thrilled just to be close to him; clearly, it showed, and (while I chatted with alumni) Koufax was alert enough to notice and kind and sensitive enough to put him at his ease.
After the main program we got a chance to chat with Koufax. The first thing one might notice, shaking hands with him, is that his fingers are remarkably long. (It gave him better control over a curveball, he said, better ability to give it some extra movement.) It soon became clear how unfailingly gracious he is. Without hesitation he posed for every picture requested and signed—and, yes, personalized—every ball put in front of him; he thoughtfully asked for a blue pen because, he said, it left less doubt as to authenticity. And after a few minutes, it also became clear that he is insightful, informed, witty, and fun to talk to. (This is a recluse?)
Like any great athlete, he had great confidence in his abilities; he talked about how he could control his pitches well enough to induce a batter to hit to a cavernous centerfield, where a speedy outfielder could run just about anything down. (And what about his wildness early in his career? "Much overrated," he said, and actually the numbers bear him out.) And yet there was not a trace of pomposity or arrogance or conceit. I think he knows that he is still likely to be the center of attention whenever he walks into a room, and yet he had a self-effacing quality. He smiled and bowed his head modestly when I told him my Rosh Hashanah story—I am sure he has heard variations on the theme many times—but he seemed eager to trade very old memories of our mutual hometown.
Near the end of the evening, my son, my nephew, and I were watching the closing minutes of a thrilling NBA playoff game in a private suite overlooking home plate. Oh, and for a while we were joined by a long-ago member of the University of Cincinnati freshman basketball team. "I don't run, I don't jump, I don't shoot," he said. "I shake hands."
We were lucky to get a chance to shake hands, and much more, with Sandy Koufax that night, and each of us will always relish the memory.
The University of Michigan Law School has long been a sort of King’s Highway leading to the legal academy, but now we aim to make that highway even smoother by offering more help to Michigan Law grads who plan on entering the teaching market.
This summer, for example, we’ll have a faculty member ready to review your curriculum vitae and get it circulating at law schools around the country. And at our Michigan Aspiring Academics Camp Oct. 9, we’ll have a panel of Michigan Law professors and alumni waiting to hear you practice your job talk.
You’ll also be able to get all that out of the way in time for the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference, which will be held on November 5-7, 2009 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.—and which no aspiring academic would want to miss.
To register for the conference, visit www.aals.org and fill out a Faculty Appointments Register ("FAR") form listing your scholarship, areas of expertise and teaching interest, your work experience and educational background. You'll also need to prepare an academic CV, which Michigan Law will send to law school hiring committees. If you’d like, a Michigan Law faculty member can also review and comment on your CV and FAR form to help you put your best foot forward. Just send a copy of your CV as soon as possible, but no later than July 13, 2009, to email@example.com. Please put "CV Review" in the subject line of your email.
If you’d like to be included in the Michigan Law CV book, please submit your finalized CV to the same address no later than Monday, July 27, 2009. Please put "Final CV" in the subject line of that email.
And those who’d like to prepare for interviews by practicing their job talks before a panel of Michigan Law professors and alumni should plan to attend the Michigan Aspiring Academics Camp ("MAAC") to be held Friday, October 9, 2009 at Michigan Law School. To register, visit our website no later than Wednesday, September 16, 2009.
Reconnect with M Law alums and faculty in summer
gatherings around the country
Michigan Law is taking its 150th birthday party on the road with a series of "Sesquicentennial Summer Gatherings," for alumni and current students, featuring faculty speakers. The season kicked off on June 15 in Minneapolis at a reception hosted by Michigan alumni at Fredrikson & Byron, with remarks by Margaret Leary, director of the Law Library. To RSVP for any of these free events, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (734) 615-4535.
Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County, June 23, 6:30-9 p.m.:
Dean Evan Caminker welcomes alumni to the Top of the Park on Ingalls Mall in Ann Arbor, in the private party tent area. Hosted by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.
San Francisco, July 14, 5:30-7 p.m.:
Rebecca Eisenberg, the Robert and Barbara Luciano Professor of Law, is the faculty speaker at a gathering hosted by Richard Helzberg, ’65, at One Market Restaurant, 1 Market Street.
New York, July 14, 6-7:30 p.m.:
Remarks by Professor Vikramaditya S. Khanna highlight a reception hosted by Michigan alumni at Scarola Ellis LLP: Rick Scarola,’82, Rachel Deming, ’82, Gregory Todd, ’82, and Janet Lazar, ’79. At the firm’s offices, 888 Seventh Ave., 45th Floor.
Washington, D.C., July 15, 5:30-7:30 p.m.:
Join Professor Deborah Burand for an update on the new International Transactions Clinic at the World Bank, 1818 H Street NW. Hosted by Adam Shayne, ’90.
Denver, July 15, 5:30-7 p.m.:
Steve Kaufmann, ’84, hosts a gathering at Morrison & Foerster LLP, 5200 Republic Plaza, 370 17th St.
Los Angeles, July 16, 6-8 p.m.:
Professor Rebecca Eisenberg will give remarks at a reception hosted by Tony Natsis, ’83, at his home (address available when you RSVP).
Chicago, July 30, 5:30-7 p.m.:
J.J. White, the Robert A. Sullivan Professor of Law, is the faculty speaker at a gathering hosted by Michigan alumni at Kirkland & Ellis at the firm’s offices, 300 N. LaSalle St., 6th floor. (This event takes place at the beginning of the American Bar Association’s annual meeting; all Michigan Law alumni attending the meeting are welcome to join Chicago-area alumni for this reception.)
1989 graduate (and current Michigan Attorney General) Mike Cox jumps into the GOP pool in Michigan’s gubernatorial race, the Grand Rapids Press reports.
Prof. Jessica Litman helps the Detroit Free Press editorial page figure out how to keep the music playing over broadcast media.
A survey by Brian Leiter finds Prof. Catharine MacKinnon among the Top 25 Most Influential Legal Thinkers of the Last Century – and he thinks she should have ranked higher.
The Wall Street Journal pays close attention to a speech by 1977 grad Daniel Tarullo, a new governor of the Federal Reserve, on avoiding "reform by nostalgia."
2008 grad Josh Tetrick tells The Washington Post about the importance of reaching out to young students.
Prof. Ellen Katz, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice David Souter, writes for the American Constitution Society blog, refuting critics who say Souter’s successor should be a livelier writer.
Visiting Professor Karima Bennoune reflects on the "Europe Solidaire sans Frontieres" blog on the "religionization" of politics evident in President Barack Obama’s recent outreach to the world’s Muslims.
In Slate, Christopher Hitchens cites Prof. Bennoune on a similar topic.
Francophones will find Prof. Rebecca Scott’s Senegalese radio interview—about her research into generations of people descended from a woman captured as a slave— très intéressant.
A trade publication raves about Charles Munger’s Reading Room and Hutchins Hall lighting project, which incidentally received an Ann Arbor Preservation Award at a recent City Council meeting.
The New York Times reports that Michigan Law student and three-time Olympic fencing medalist Sada Jacobson has a new partner to cross swords with—husband and fellow fencer Brunelle Bâby.
In a front-page story, Prof. Monica Hakimi helps The New York Times put President Barack Obama’s proposed "prolonged detention" policy into perspective.
The New York Times cites Prof. Doug Laycock in a column on same-sex marriage.
US News & World Report also sought Prof. Laycock’s counsel.
The Senate confirms 1982 grad David Sandalow as the Department of Energy’s Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs.
Prof. Carl Schneider helps Newsweek understand the nuances of child neglect.
The Senate confirms Prof. Michael Barr as Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions.
In a radio interview, 2007 grad Jennifer Hill tells American Public Media that the recession means the poor need to look out for a new peril: wage theft.
September 10-September 13: All Michigan Law alumni are invited back to Ann Arbor for the school’s Sesquicentennial Celebration, featuring a visit by John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States and much, much more.