University of Michigan Law School - March 2010 Amicus


HOOP-DE-DO: In what's become a Law School tradition, students and faculty met on the basketball court instead of in the classroom this month to, well, even the score. But in a decidedly untraditional outcome, at least for the Law School, this game saw age and guile overcoming youth and vigor. (Both sides speculate that the presence of former NBA and Fab Five player Jimmy King on the professors' side may have granted an advantage to the academy.) Regardless of the cause the faculty (in pale blue) have finally notched their first victory over the students. Next year: ice hockey.


GUNNER: No matter when you went to law school, you’re sure to recognize the archetype presented in this video, which was produced by a group of Michigan Law students as part of this year’s Mr. Wolverine competition.

Prima Facie

MIDWAY MADNESS: This is no place for some puny mile-marker or golden spike. Marking the halfway point in a journey as momentous as law school is a job for Midway Madness, a quirky celebration held recently at the Michigan Union for students who have three semesters down, and three to go.


Senior Obama Advisor Valerie Jarrett, ’81, to Deliver Michigan Law Commencement Address

By John Masson, Amicus editor

Michigan Law alumna and senior White House advisor Valerie B. Jarrett will deliver this spring’s commencement address at the University of Michigan Law School.

"I am very excited to return to the Michigan Law campus and congratulate this year’s graduating class," said Jarrett. "Some of the best times of my life were spent in Ann Arbor, and this is an incredible honor, not just as an alumna, but as somebody who’s very familiar with how much we need these smart, talented and committed scholars to help us confront the many challenges facing our country."

The ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 8 at Hill Auditorium.

Jarrett is the Senior Advisor to the President and head of four departments in the White House: Intergovernmental Affairs; Public Engagement; Olympic, Paralympic, and Youth Sports; and Urban Affairs. She chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls and leads the White House’s business outreach efforts.

Prior to joining the administration, Jarrett was the President and CEO of the Habitat Company. She was a leader in the civic and business communities of Chicago and served on several corporate and not for profit boards, including serving as Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, and Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Jarrett served as Finance Chair for President Obama's 2004 run for the U.S. Senate. She also served as a Senior Advisor to President Obama’s presidential campaign and Co-Chair of President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Transition Committee.

Additionally, Jarrett served for eight years in several positions in Chicago City government including Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley and Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development. Prior to that, she practiced law at two different Chicago firms.

Jarrett, who earned a B.A. at Stanford before graduating with a Michigan J.D. in 1981, is slated to visit Ann Arbor just one week after President Obama – the fourth sitting president to visit U-M – delivers the commencement address for the University as a whole.

"Selection of Jarrett as the Law School commencement speaker continues the school’s tradition of inviting accomplished, high-profile Law School graduates to Ann Arbor to help usher new graduates into the professional world," Dean Evan Caminker said.

"We’re absolutely delighted to invite Valerie Jarrett back to Michigan Law to address our graduating students," Caminker said. "In so many ways she personifies the many avenues open to our graduates as they enter the legal world, the business world, the political world – or, in Ms. Jarrett’s case, a progression including all three. We know our graduates will benefit from her remarkable breadth of experience, and we look forward to hearing what she has to say."

More information about Senior Day is available at

Spring Cleaning
Law School’s slightly fusty homepage gets facelift

By John Masson, Amicus editor

It’s been a couple of years since last we tidied up our Michigan Law homepage in any major way, and with the days getting longer and temperatures on the climb here in Michigan, well, it just seemed like time.

The first thing we did was open a few windows – to a wide variety of multimedia content. Visitors will find a brighter, more visual page, with click-throughs to much more accessible multimedia content. Video and audio tracks make it easier for alumni and potential students to connect with the people and principles that guide the school’s philosophy.

Through the magic of digital video, students and faculty share, in the upper left-hand corner, thoughts on what drew them to Michigan Law in the first place and what makes the school unique in the world of legal education. Next to that rotating cast of students and professors is a rotating core of four brief, illustrated stories describing campus happenings. And toward the bottom of the page, three more images link to multimedia treatments of other events around the Law School.

In between, visitors will continue to find the news items and upcoming events they’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the past several years.

We hope the changes will help keep members of the Michigan Law family connected to their alma mater. Stop by and check it out at

Going once! Going twice!
Student Funded Fellowship auction helps public interest work

By John Masson, Amicus editor

Whether they’re looking for a professorial karaoke performance or a graduate-level lesson in pugilism from Steven Croley (Michigan Law’s Punching Professor), this year’s Student Funded Fellowship auction offers a little something for everyone.

As usual.

Skydiving with Professor Mathias Reimann, LL.M. ’83. Pheasant hunting with neophyte bird-blaster Professor Vivek Sankaran, ’01, the aforementioned Professor Croley, and hunting guide Tim Connors (who also happens to be a Washtenaw circuit judge and a Michigan Law adjunct professor). Even a chance to watch from the control room as Diane Sawyer does her thing on "World News with Diane Sawyer," courtesy of ABC News President David Westin, ’77.

Shamelessly hawking those items – and many more – will be a wide range of august and entertaining auctioneers: Admissions Dean Sarah Zearfoss, ’92, and Professors David Moran, ’91, Sherman Clark, Susan Crawford, Scott Hershovitz, and Gil Seinfeld.

But mostly the Student Funded Fellowships, now into their third decade, allow students, faculty, and staff to support students’ ability to pursue the public interest jobs that are so much a part of the fabric of Michigan Law.

"Instilling this ethos of public service from the very beginning of a new lawyer’s training is absolutely crucial," said Law School Dean Evan Caminker. "That our students work so hard to keep public service options open for their classmates is testimony to how deep that commitment runs."

The silent auction begins at 6 p.m. March 25, with the live auction starting at 7 and both expected to end about 9:30. More information and an auction catalog are available at

Pogue Panel
Changing times call for adaptability and hard work, leaders say

By Becky Freligh, Law School staff

Some demands on young attorneys are more important than ever, like hard work, good client service, and solid writing skills, a group of law firm leaders told students here this month.

Yet as the business of law continues to evolve, new lawyers also must be prepared to work in a different model, said the five members of the Richard W. Pogue Law Firm Leaders Panel, all Michigan Law alumni.

"You’re coming into an exciting time to be a lawyer," David Foltyn, ’80, chairman and CEO of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn in Detroit, told the audience of more than 200 students in Jason L.Honigman Auditorium, named for his firm’s cofounder. "You’re entering a changing environment."

Moderated by Robert Hirshon, ’73, the Frank G. Millard Professor from Practice, the March 9 panel was one in an occasional series of events sponsored by a fund created by Richard W. Pogue, ’53, to support studies of the business of law.

Pogue, former managing partner of Jones Day, offered brief remarks about Goldfarb v. Virginia State Bar, the 1975 Supreme Court decision that ended the antitrust exemption for law firms and ushered in the era of law as a business.

Client relationships formed a prominent theme of the discussion, with panelists defining “client” to include everyone in the firm or office.

"You may have competing demands on your time, but treat each assignment with equal seriousness and do your best work on each one. Ask for help in prioritizing—don’t try to triage yourself," advised Lawrence T. Gresser, ’86, managing partner of Cohen & Gresser in New York City, a firm he cofounded with his best friend from law school, Mark S. Cohen, ’87.

The ability to cultivate business clients isn’t limited to playing golf, panelists said, but can arise from a wide range of potential skills and interests.

"Find the thing that you do well," said Mark E. Ferguson, ’83, founding partner of Bartlit, Beck, Herman, Palenchar & Scott in Chicago. "You have to be good at your job, of course, but there are many ways to get the client’s attention. Go with your strengths."

The alumni leaders offered a variety of suggestions on how best to prepare for practice while in law school.

"Learn and become proficient in a foreign language," said Michael L. Hardy, ’72, outgoing partner in charge at Thompson Hine in Cleveland. Other suggestions included taking more international law classes, taking time to reflect on the law, and simply having fun.

The leaders strongly counseled students to learn to write well, a skill several said they found lacking in many otherwise well-prepared law graduates. Strategies for strengthening writing skills could include improving vocabulary and taking classes that require writing on deadline, they said.

Permeating the discussion was the notion that young lawyers must be flexible about their career paths. Anton N. Natsis, ’83, graduated from Michigan with aspirations of becoming "the world’s best bankruptcy lawyer," he said, and resisted real estate practice as a beginning associate. He now chairs the real estate group at Allen, Matkins, Leck, Gamble, Mallory & Natsis in Los Angeles.

"Be open and entrepreneurial and highly interested in what you’re doing, but in a firm-oriented, team-oriented way," Natsis advised. "Don’t think too narrowly about what you think you want to do."

In the News

Prof. David Uhlmann in a front-page New York Times story on the erosion of the Clean Water Act.

Marty Castro, ’88, appointed chair of Illinois Human Rights Commission.

M Law Prof. Vivek Sankaran, ’01, in The Washington Examiner on alternatives to foster care.

Rhode Island Rad: Superior Court Judge Gilbert V. Indeglia, ’66, nominated for seat on the Ocean State’s Supreme Court.

The New York Times’ Adam Liptak quotes Prof. Susan Crawford on how differing U.S. and European philosophies of privacy affect the Internet.

Josh Tetrick, ’08, writes in the Huffington Post that a prolonged recession risks creating a sort of lost generation.

And while former House Majority Leader and Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt, ’65, snagged new gig …

Prof. John Pottow takes pollster and sometime-wordsmith Frank Luntz to task in The Hill.

And about these filibusters – Prof. Steven Croley has some ideas about that, and weighs in on the Huffington Post.

Ongoing Dwayne Provience Innocence Clinic case takes yet another amazing twist when Detroit police admit they can’t find key case files.

And speaking of the Innocence Clinic, clinic cofounder Prof. David Moran, ’91, was one of several Michigan Law alumni honored by Michigan Lawyers Weekly this month as a "Leader in the Law." (Moran and clinic cofounder Bridget McCormack also were jointly honored by the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan.)

The New York Times reported that former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford, ’96, decided against seeking one.

Cynthia Leitich Smith, ’91, debuts her young adult novel, Eternal, at No. 5 on The New York Times bestseller list.

California Lawyer names 2001 grad Adam Wolf Lawyer of the Year.

Construction Update

With construction well under way on the Robert B. Aikens Commons and the school’s new academic building, Michigan Law is busy this winter building its future. Keep an eye on our progress on the Web.

Coming Up

March 25: Student Funded Fellowship auction at Michigan Law.

March 27: The 32nd Annual Alden J. “Butch” Carpenter Memorial Scholarship Banquet at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest.

April 9: Environmental Law & Policy Program Conference on "Environmental Law and Economics."

May 8: Senior Day celebrations, featuring senior Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett, ’81, as commencement speaker, scheduled for Hill Auditorium.


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.