Reuven Avi-Yonah, the Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law, was quoted in Reuters about U.S. tech companies using off-shore cash to invest in government debt.
Prof. Sam Bagenstos was quoted in an MSNBC article about the Supreme Court's hearing of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.
Assistant Prof. Nicholas Bagley penned a Detroit News op-ed on why fighting Obamacare is futile.
Prof. Michael Barr testified at a congressional hearing for the Committee on Financial Services about the growth of financial regulation and its impact on international competitiveness.
Clinical Prof. Bridgette Carr, '02, who directs MLaw's Human Trafficking Clinic, was interviewed by Michigan Radio about the Michigan Senate's passage of a bill that would raise the age for prostitution charges from 16 to 18.
Daniel Crane, associate dean for faculty and research and the Frederick Paul Furth Sr. Professor of Law, appeared on Bloomberg TV to discuss the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission's approval of a proposal to block direct sales by Tesla Motors Inc. in the state.
Jim Hines, the L. Hart Wright Collegiate Professor of Law and codirector of the Law and Economics Program, was named the recipient of the 2014 Richard Musgrave Visiting Professorship by the International Institute of Public Finance (IIPF) and the CESifo Group. The award honors scholars in public finance.
Martha Jones, affiliated LS&A faculty, associate professor of history, and codirector of the Program in Race, Law & History, penned a Huffington Post blog post on diversity numbers at colleges and universities.
Bill Novak, the Charles F. and Edith J. Clyne Professor of Law, coauthored a Slate.com article that contrasts current debate over the constitutional rights of corporations with historic precedent that has held the corporation as a special and artificial creature of the government. He recently co-wrote an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.
Prof. John Pottow was interviewed by Michigan Radio about Detroit's reorganization plan trial being delayed while the city seeks creditor support. He also was quoted in a New York Times article about potential lawsuits resulting from GM's recall of 1.6 million vehicles.
Prof. J.J. Prescott was quoted in the Quebec City newspaper Le Soleil about a proposed bill that would make Canada's sex offender registry public. (The article is in French but can be translated to English.)
Prof. Adam Pritchard was interviewed by Reuters about a potential compromise by the U.S. Supreme Court that would give publicly traded companies better defenses against securities class actions without overruling a 26-year-old precedent that made it easier for plaintiffs to negotiate large settlements. He coauthored an amicus brief for the case.
Steven Ratner, the Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law, co-wrote an op-ed for The Globe and Mail on why a UN probe of Sri Lanka would spark new hope for reconciliation.
Clinical Prof. Paul Reingold was quoted in a Detroit News article about Michigan inmates' eligibility for parole following the state's parole ban case.
Clinical Prof. Vivek Sankaran, '01, was featured in a Detroit Free Press article about his testimony in a federal trial challenging the ban on same-sex adoptions.
Prof. Margo Schlanger was quoted in The New Republic on how religious freedom laws sanction discrimination.
David Uhlmann, the Jeffrey F. Liss Professor from Practice and director of the Environmental Law and Policy Program, is quoted in The New York Times about the EPA's decision to allow BP to resume oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
Lawrence Waggoner, '63, the Lewis M. Simes Professor of Law Emeritus, is the recipient of the Richard V. Wellman Award for outstanding contributions to uniform laws in the field of trusts and estates. The award was presented by the Joint Editorial Board for Uniform Trust and Estate Acts.
By Amy Spooner
A white-gloved usher opened the car door and said, "Welcome to the Oscars," as Jason Janego, '99, stepped onto the red carpet. With that began "one of the most amazing 12-hour stretches of my life."
Janego is cofounder and co-president of RADiUS-TWC, the boutique arm of the Weinstein Company that is the first studio division dedicated to both multi-platform video on demand (VOD) and theatrical distribution. In February, its film 20 Feet from Stardom won the Oscar for best documentary (feature).
For Janego, the win and his subsequent ability to crash the infamous Vanity Fair post-Oscars party—"Holding an Oscar is the ultimate all-access pass," he noted—was the culmination of a career in the industry that began at the bottom. After graduating from Bucknell University, Janego spent a year in a graduate program in Prague, thinking he might become a professor. Instead, he found that he connected with the filmmakers, writers, and artists who inhabited the city in those years following the collapse of communism. So upon his return to the States, Janego decided to move to Los Angeles. "When you're 22, you just tell yourself to go for it, whether it makes sense or not," he said. But like many who move to L.A. with big dreams, Janego found the reality of working multiple menial jobs disillusioning. He had taken the LSAT in college with no clear idea of what he would ever do with a law degree, but with his career hitting a wall, he decided the time was right to attend Michigan Law.
"So many people come to law school with a plan, and I had no plan whatsoever," he said. "But I knew my time at Michigan would serve me well."
During his 2L summer, Janego interned in the legal department at NBC, and returned after graduation to work on legal issues related to Internet coverage of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He then moved into the music and film industries, eventually landing at Magnolia Pictures and Landmark Theaters as head of business development and legal affairs. His five years with the company provided the chance to work on a wide variety of legal issues—from deals for Magnolia releases like Food Inc. to real estate deals for new and existing theaters. So many things crossed his desk because he was "the lawyer," giving Janego the perfect opportunity to broaden his skills. "It was probably the best learning environment that you could have. There were so many things that were put on my plate that I hadn't had a lot of experience with, but jumping in like that is how you grow."
Janego was working as a consultant when he was contacted by his former Magnolia colleague Tom Quinn, who had been in conversations with Harvey and Bob Weinstein about launching a niche arm of the Weinstein Company. Janego and Quinn thought the opportunity was too good to pass up, and in September 2011, New York-based RADiUS-TWC was born. Their first hit was 2012's Bachelorette, starring Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher. The film grossed an impressive $10 million on VOD and solidified the Weinsteins' confidence in the burgeoning company. Since its inception, RADiUS has released 24 films, had a red-carpet premiere at the Cannes International Film Festival (for Only God Forgives), snagged two Oscar nominations (Cutie and the Boxer also received a best documentary nomination in 2014), and scored 20 Feet from Stardom's win.
With 20 Feet from Stardom, RADiUS also had a mainstream hit. The film grossed $5 million in theaters, which is huge for a documentary. "It is a beautifully constructed film about a compelling subject—background singers—that garnered incredible word-of-mouth from everyone who saw it," Janego said. "That helped us to reach an audience that doesn't normally watch documentaries."
Janego said audiences respond well to documentaries when they see them, but the hard part is getting them to do so—especially when the films are playing at local art houses instead of 20-screen megaplexes. "In this job, I'm always learning something new, whether it's why this trailer did better than that trailer, or this poster worked and that one didn't, or the fact that this service is working better than that one. We're always thinking about the best way to get these really outstanding films in front of a larger audience."
It's a challenge he loves as much as he loves the chance to distribute movies about which he is truly passionate. "The movies that we buy are movies that we want to do," Janego said. "We're able to curate our own slate and decide how best to release them. We are as entrepreneurial as you can be in this industry."
While RADiUS has enjoyed a rapid rise, Janego remembers the past when offering advice to other Hollywood hopefuls. "You really have to want to get in the industry for the right reasons. You also have to accept that there are no guarantees, there are some sacrifices you're probably going to have to make, and it's going to be hard." Walking back down the red carpet with a gold statue in hand, however, just might make it all worthwhile.
The Law School is seeking a director for its Zell Entrepreneurship and Law (ZEAL) Program. In this strategic role, the director will hold primary responsibility for shaping ZEAL as the country's leading program for teaching and examining the legal issues pertaining to entrepreneurial business ventures. The director search is being handled by Matt Feuer of McLure & Feuer Legal Search Consultants. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After an eight-year hiatus, Michigan Law will resume its life/job satisfaction survey of alumni beginning in April. The survey, which polls alumni about their lives and careers following graduation as well as their Law School experiences, previously was conducted each year from 1967 to 2006. The anonymous survey will be sent electronically to classes five, 15, 25, 35, and 45 years out of law school. The goal is to compile the data in time for the September alumni reunions. More information about the survey will be emailed in upcoming weeks.
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.
Visit our Newsroom for stories and multimedia highlights of Michigan Law happenings.
May 3: Alumni & Friends Service Day
May 10: Senior Day
By Lori Atherton, Law School Communications
Judith E. Levy, a University of Michigan Law School faculty member and graduate, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 12 to serve as a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She was sworn in by Chief Judge Gerald Rosen during a ceremony in Detroit held March 18.
"The decisions federal judges make change individuals lives, and in some instances, they affect all of our lives," Judge Levy said. "I will do my best to make those decisions thoughtfully and fairly. I am honored to be appointed to this position."
Judge Levy and three others were nominated by President Barack Obama in July 2013 upon the recommendation of Michigan senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. "Each of [the judges] has demonstrated a mastery of the law and the impartiality required of a judge," Levin said, "and I know they will serve justice and the people of Michigan well."
A 1996 graduate of the Law School and a 1981 graduate of U-M, Judge Levy specializes in large civil rights cases related to fair housing, fair lending, police misconduct, juvenile justice, and disability law. She is the director of Michigan Law's Public Interest/Public Service Faculty Fellows program, and teaches seminars on policing and fair housing.
Prior to her appointment to the federal bench, Judge Levy had served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan since 2000 and was the chief of the Civil Rights Unit. Prior to that, she was a trial attorney with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Detroit. She has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division for her work on civil rights cases and received the DOJ's Director's Award in 2004. Before attending Law School, Judge Levy was an elected union official and chief negotiator for the service and maintenance employees at the University of Michigan for eight years.
By Amy Spooner, Law School Development
Joseph Sax, a pioneer in environmental law, died March 9, 2014, at the age of 78.
A professor of law at Michigan from 1966 to 1986, Sax wrote a bill that became the Michigan Environmental Protection Act of 1970, legislation widely described as "seminal" that inspired similar laws nationwide. The bill stemmed from environmentalists fighting an irrigation project that would be harmful to wetlands. Sax established the doctrine that natural resources are a public trust requiring protection and, therefore, the public had the right to sue to protect any of Michigan's natural resources. From 1997 to 2008, the public trust doctrine was used in nearly 300 federal and state decisions, according to The New York Times, and it has influenced environmental law worldwide.
"[Joe] combined outstanding scholarship with value-inspired activism that provided a role model for younger colleagues and shaped the careers of many of his students," said Richard Lempert, the Eric Stein Distinguished University Professor of Law and Sociology Emeritus. "His importance to the then nascent environmental law movement cannot be overstated."
Sax graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1957 and returned to his hometown to attend the University of Chicago Law School, graduating in 1959. He began his academic career as a law professor at the University of Colorado in 1962, where he taught mining, water, and oil and gas law. There he began grappling with questions of natural resources law, understanding that many of his students would go on to advise companies that were mining resources from the natural areas that were dear to him. From Colorado, Sax joined Michigan Law, serving there for 20 years before joining the University of California, Berkeley, in 1986.
In 1983, Sax became the youngest U-M faculty member ever appointed Distinguished University Professor, an honor that allowed him to choose the person for whom the chair would be named. He chose Philip Hart, '37, who as a U.S. senator from Michigan, led efforts to have Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pictured Rocks designated as national lakeshores. In recognition of Sax's exceptional scholarship and teaching, the Law School in 2009 established the Joseph L. Sax Collegiate Professorship, currently held by Nina Mendelson. In addition, a group of alumni and friends created the Joseph L. Sax Scholarship, given annually to a student pursuing a joint degree in the Law School and U-M's School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Sax’s wife of 55 years, Eleanor, died in December 2013. He is survived by his daughters, Katherine Dennett, Amber Rosen, and Valerie Sax, and four granddaughters.
To learn more about Sax's legacy, read James Tobin's 2012 Law Quadrangle article.
By Amy Spooner
Alumni returned to Ann Arbor for the inaugural Michigan Law African American Alumni Reunion on March 21-23. The reunion coincided with Preview Weekend for admitted students and the 36th Annual Alden J. "Butch" Carpenter Scholarship Banquet, giving alumni and students opportunities to make connections, swap stories, and discuss the value of the Michigan Law experience. The excitement was palpable as former classmates reunited, some of whom hadn't returned to campus since graduation. "Michigan Law is a lifelong community, and that was front and center this weekend," said Dean Mark West. "The common experience of time spent in the Quad creates strong connections across generations of students."
With the theme "coming back, moving forward," the reunion also explored ways to improve and support the recruitment and matriculation of African American students. Panel discussions focused on minority admissions at the Law School, post-civil rights era advocacy, and alternative careers. "Recruitment of top minority students by top-ranked law schools like Michigan is more competitive than ever," said the Hon. Roger Gregory, '78, in a luncheon address. "Our time at the Law School influenced our lives and career. Michigan cannot similarly influence other bright, young African Americans without our help."
Saturday night's Butch Carpenter Banquet brought past, present, and future Michigan Law students together in an atmosphere best described as "warm and zealous," said event co-chair Adrean Taylor, 2L. Detroit Emergency Manager Kevin Orr, '83, offered an engaging insider's view of Detroit's bankruptcy as the keynote. The event drew more than 300 people—a record turnout—and saw the scholarship fund surpass the $1 million mark. Said Taylor, "The significant involvement of our dedicated alumni is undoubtedly the reason the Butch Carpenter Scholarship has been maintained for 36 years and continues to exceed expectations."