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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.
The program is similar to one available through a special Amazon.com link that sends back nearly 7 percent of purchase prices to help support Student Funded Fellowships at Michigan Law. Like the MLaw Marketplace program, purchases must be made through the special URL, and like the MLaw Marketplace program, the Amazon.com link will continue sending back benefits all year long.
By Katie Vloet, Quadrangle editor
Associate Justice Elena Kagan gave an inside look at the Supreme Court during a Friday morning talk presented by the U-M Law School, in which she said justices are not motivated to rule in certain cases to favor or disfavor a particular president, that even the politically divergent members of the Court genuinely like and respect one another, and that she—the junior justice—has tasks such as serving on the Court's cafeteria committee.
"There is not a single member of this Court, at a single time, who has made a decision, who has cast a vote, based on do I like this president, do I not like this president … will this help the Democrats, will this help the Republicans?" she said. "It is just not the way any member of the Court thinks."
Still, she said, "There are certain substantive matters that we divide on because we approach Constitutional decision-making in a different sort of way, because we bring different methodologies to the table, because we have different views about governing precedents and how broad or narrow those precedents are." The Court, she added, would be better off "if we had fewer of these 5-4 cases. … I would like to have a Court where there's more unpredictability of decision-making."
Justice Kagan made the remarks during a Q&A with Law School Dean Evan Caminker, who served as a Supreme Court clerk around the same time as Kagan and who became dean the same year that Kagan was appointed dean of Harvard Law School. Kagan was invited to MIchigan Law to celebrate the dedication of the new South Hall academic building and addressed the crowd at the dedication ceremony Friday afternoon.
During the morning Q&A, she talked about how collegial the Court is—even more so now, she said, than when she clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1987.
"This is the most intimate, warmest institution I've ever participated in," she said. "We all have enormous respect for each other," she said, adding that Justice Antonin Scalia considers Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg his best friend on the Court, in spite of their differences of opinion on many cases.
In other portions of the Q&A, Kagan:
Later in the day, at the dedication of South Hall, the focus was on the building's importance to a Michigan Law legal education—and on the institution's gratitude for the extraordinarily generous donors who made the building possible.
Speakers at the event—officiated by Bruce Bickner, '68, chair of the building fundraising committee—included Justice Kagan, U-M President Mary Sue Coleman, U-M Board of Regents Chairman Laurence B. Deitch, '72, and Dean Caminker.
Caminker spoke of the Law Quad's "magnificent architecture" that has "supported our educational mission" for many decades. "Our wonderful new additions will be equally inspirational," he said. "But they will also do so much more, as pedagogy has changed significantly over the past eight decades."
He added: "We don't build very often around here, just every Great Depression or so. But when we do, we do it well."
Construction of the building, which houses state-of-the-art classroom and clinic spaces as well as faculty and staff offices, began in 2009 and was completed last fall.
Each classroom is equipped with flexible, easy-to-use technology to make it easier for professors to bring their points to life. All five full-size classrooms include intuitive, touch-panel control systems, document cameras, a larger touch screen that allows professors to annotate documents projected on video screens, and much more. Two of the rooms are fully equipped for videoconferencing and distance learning.
Other areas of the building call for more specialized equipment—and equipment carefully designed to protect the sensitive information lawyers customarily handle. The clinical suites boast five interview rooms with digital equipment that can produce video or audio recordings at the push of a button. Interviews also can be viewed over a secure Internet connection, allowing professors to monitor the discussions.
The new building received LEED Gold-level certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the U.S. Green Building Council.
It had been almost 80 years since Michigan Law last dedicated a new academic building. An associate justice of the Supreme Court also spoke at that ceremony, held in June 1934.
"For the first time it has been given to an American university to establish a unit completely organized and equipped for the training of lawyers, for research in legal science, and for the intimate association at a common meeting place of students and teachers of law with the members of the Bench and Bar," Justice Harlan F. Stone said at the 1934 event.
"By that magic," he continued, "which only the modern world has known, in a brief interval of time all the physical equipment which skill and ingenuity could devise to aid those engaged in the common enterprise of advancing the science of the law has been here assembled, clothed in architectural forms of enduring beauty, and richly endowed to insure its service in perpetuity."
On Friday, a new piece of enduring beauty, also "richly endowed to insure its service in perpetuity," officially became part of the storied Law Quad.
John Masson and Lori Atherton contributed to this story.
By Rebecca Freligh, Law School Development
The three recipients of Michigan Law's 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award have achieved eminent careers in business, the judiciary, and academia. The awardees are Bruce P. Bickner, '68; the Honorable Amalya L. Kearse, '62; and James J. White, '62, Michigan's Robert A. Sullivan Professor of Law.
"We are delighted to honor such remarkable alumni as the 2012 recipients of this prestigious award," said Dean Evan Caminker. "All have made an important difference in their fields and to the Law School. All represent the best of Michigan Law."
The dean presented the awards at a ceremony on September 7 during the weekend celebrating the dedication of South Hall.
Bickner, of Sycamore, Illinois, held various executive positions at DeKalb Corporation from 1975–1998, became chair and chief executive officer of DeKalb Genetics Corporation in 1985, oversaw the sale of the company to Monsanto Corporation in 1998, and served as executive vice president of Monsanto from 1998–2002. He currently is an independent business consultant and director of several companies. Following a federal clerkship, Bickner practiced from 1970–1975 with Sidley & Austin, where he was a partner. Bickner serves on President Mary Sue Coleman's Advisory Group and Dean Caminker's Advisory Council. He chairs the Law School's Development and Alumni Relations Committee and is the former chair of the Law School's Campaign Steering Committee during its successful Michigan Difference campaign.
Kearse, of New York City, was named to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1979, the first woman and second African-American judge to be appointed to the Second Circuit bench after Justice Thurgood Marshall. She has served the appeals court on senior status since 2002. Kearse began her career as an associate attorney with Hughes Hubbard & Reid in New York in 1962. In 1969, the firm named her a partner, the first woman and the first African-American lawyer to achieve that status. She continued in practice with Hughes Hubbard until 1979, when President Jimmy Carter named her to the federal bench. Kearse was the first woman to be elected to the American College of Trial Lawyers.
White, of Ann Arbor, is one of the most highly regarded teachers and scholars in the Law School's history. He has written on many aspects of commercial law: his book Uniform Commercial Code (written with Summers and Hillman) is the most frequently cited and widely used treatise on the subject. White also is the author of several casebooks on commercial, bankruptcy, and contracts law. He has served as the reporter for the Revision of Article 5 of the Uniform Commercial Code and is a commissioner on uniform laws from Michigan. He practiced privately in Los Angeles before coming to the Michigan faculty in 1964. White served as the Law School's associate dean from 1978–1981. He received the Law School's L. Hart Wright Award for Teaching, and the Homer Kripke Achievement Award given by the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers.
To submit a nomination for the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award, please visit www.law.umich.edu/alumniandfriends/Pages/DistinguishedAlumniAward.aspx.
By Clarissa Sansone, Law School Communications
Sometimes an off-color joke can be more culturally revealing than a philosophical tome. Where 17th-century British gender roles are concerned, sources well outside the canon have plenty to say on the subject. Prof. Don Herzog had surmised as much, and his research confirmed it.
In his book Household Politics: Conflict in Early Modern England, Prof. Herzog examines the period between 1650 and 1750—a time "routinely cited as the setting in which patriarchy was thriving," he said—in order to demonstrate that it was "not true that patriarchal authority was naturalized," that male dominance was not unquestioningly accepted, and that politics were as prevalent in the home as in parliament. As he writes in his introduction:
I cheerfully demolish two views that have enjoyed some currency. First: people back then imagined that male power was natural or necessary, part of the woodwork of the world, not a contingent social practice that could be reformed or even abolished. Second: the public/ private distinction was gendered—so public man, private woman—and that explains the political subordination of women.
He goes on to write, "Political theorists inherit a canon…centered on abstract theoretical investigations of the ideal government. It's a mistake to enlist those sources as the distilled essence of their times and places." Therefore, in order to backfill the "quaint divide between social and intellectual history," Prof. Herzog combed online historical databases for "popular songs, jokes, sermons, pamphlets, diaries, letters, and more"—including Jonathan Swift's crudely humorous poem "The Lady's Dressing Room," and contemporaries' lyric reactions to it—to see what the masses, as opposed to the philosophers, had to say about men's and women's roles. As the book's introduction explains, "Maybe noncanonical contemporaries had all kinds of interesting things to say about household politics. …[W]e could shrug and admit that our canon has served as a straitjacket. I hereby shrug."
When it came to doing the scholarly legwork, Prof. Herzog was pleasantly surprised. "At this point [research is] incredibly easy. It feels like cheating," he said. With the number of historical documents and early publications now digitized, it's possible to do research from the comfort of one's office—no bibliographic gymnastics of inter-library loan, no trips to special library collections overseas to hunt for original texts. Prof. Herzog praises this new availability, pointing out that even a scholar in a remote location, with a limited budget, has access to untold source documents.
Given the accessibility of his source material and its decidedly non-elitist nature ("It's like they're all in fifth grade," Prof. Herzog said of the early-English penchant for scatological humor), it's not surprising that the professor was equally democratic in publishing the book, making its entire text available for free online. "I have tenure; I don't have to worry about impressing anybody. I'm just going to put it online," Prof. Herzog said of his decision. It was after he had made this decision that Yale University Press approached him to publish the book in hard copy (which is planned for spring 2013).
The online edition of the book will remain, however (and Yale's
copyedited version will also be uploaded once it's published). The
market for university press books, often with high price points
and low print runs, is usually limited to college libraries, and
"There are other people in the world with brains in their heads,"
said Prof. Herzog. "I'm hell-bent on making this thing available
By John Masson, Amicus editor
With the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation rapidly approaching, the University of Michigan has plans for a commemoration that draws upon the institution's strengths in the history of race and law.
Presented by the Law School's Program in Race, Law & History and the William L. Clements Library, in cooperation with the Hatcher Graduate Library, activities will run from Oct. 15, 2012, until Feb. 18, 2013. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation as an executive order on Jan. 1, 1863.
The commemoration will include an exhibit of documents and artifacts at the Hatcher Graduate Library, many of which are unique to the Clements Library collections and have never before been exhibited. Outside groups and classes are encouraged to arrange to visit it themselves; see the schedule of events (www.law.umich.edu/ProclaimingEmancipation) for more information.
Organizers, including Michigan Law professors Martha Jones, Bill Novak, and Rebecca Scott, have also scheduled an academic conference for Oct. 26. Top scholars from all over the country, including Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Eric Foner and several from the University of Michigan Law School, will gather to discuss the various impacts the document has had on United States and world history.
"The Proclamation accelerated a massive human migration toward freedom, opened the door to the enlistment of black men in the Union Army, and marked a significant shift in executive power," the organizers write. "Today it remains a powerful, near-sacred artifact in our collective memory."
The Program in Race, Law & History is an interdisciplinary effort at the Law School. See the website for more information.
By John Masson, Amicus editor
As Michigan Law's unique new program in entrepreneurship and law ramps up, newly appointed director Prof. Erik Gordon wants his students to gain three main things: knowledge, a skill set, and—most important—a mindset.
"We can boil it down to just a few broad concepts," said Prof. Gordon, of nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit in Michigan Law graduates. He should know: an entrepreneur himself, he comes to his new full-time position leading the Law School's recently established Zell Entrepreneurship and Law (ZEAL) Program from Michigan's top-ranked Ross School of Business, where he was a clinical professor and associate director of the Zell Lurie Institute.
The ZEAL Program was established last year with a $5 million seed gift from Sam Zell, the Chicago-based entrepreneur who earned undergraduate and law degrees at Michigan. The ZEAL Program has already established a new clinic offering free legal advice to the growing number of student entrepreneurs across U-M's Ann Arbor campus. It also will create new Law School coursework to train law students to better serve both start-up and existing large-scale entrepreneurial businesses.
The dual approach—in combination with the wide variety of entrepreneurial opportunities across campus and U-M's top-ranked schools of business, engineering, and medicine—makes the program unique.
"Erik's background as an entrepreneur, a teacher, and a lawyer make him an extremely strong choice to guide the ZEAL Program," said Michigan Law Dean Evan Caminker. "His experience in all three facets of his career will provide valuable perspective as we shape course offerings and guide the program into the future."
In addition to directing the ZEAL Program, Prof. Gordon also joins the ranks of the Law School's professors from practice. So he has some definite ideas about how to make lawyers more helpful to entrepreneurial businesses.
"Many entrepreneurs find lawyers to at best be costly nuisances that you try to avoid," Prof. Gordon said. "At Michigan Law, we're going to turn out law school graduates that entrepreneurs seek out as partners to help them build their businesses, as well as graduates who start their own companies.
That's where the knowledge, skill set, and mindset thing comes into play," he said.
"We need to develop graduates who understand and appreciate risk the way entrepreneurs do, rather than fear risk the way lawyers do," he said. "If we accomplish that alone, our graduates are going to be shining stars in the world of business."
With that in mind, Prof. Gordon plans (naturally) an entrepreneurial approach to the task. "We're going to try things and adjust, as necessary," he said.
The first order of business is to expose law students, early in their law school experience, to what Prof. Gordon calls "true, hard-core entrepreneurship."
"We have to get them early, while they are still learning what law school can be about," Prof. Gordon said. "We want to nourish the entrepreneurial cells in their brains and get them to grow. We want them to see risk, and say to themselves, 'What's the opportunity here?' An entrepreneur looks at a situation and says, 'This is scaring away 9 out of 10 people. Well, good. The field is less crowded for me.' "
Although 1Ls are fully occupied with doctrinal classes that term, making extracurricular activities available for those interested in entrepreneurship will help combat the tendency some law students have to be risk averse in their approach to problem solving.
"We'll have seminars, workshops, mixers—our students, together with business and engineering students and other students on campus who are doing entrepreneurial things. Our students, instead of being isolated in the wonderful beauty of the Law Quad, will spend time with people who will later become their clients, their customers, or their business partners," Prof. Gordon said. :"We'll cover entrepreneurship in its broad sense that includes start-ups, venture finance, private equity, real estate, and entrepreneurial turnarounds. Our students will self-select. We'll advertise what we're doing, and students who are interested will show up. Those who do will learn about the business and law of entrepreneurship and about how it actually is practiced in the real world. Practice skills will be key."
Additionally, the ZEAL Program's clinic—which last year was the clinic law students sought most—will continue matching campus entrepreneurs with student lawyers who, under the direction of law faculty, will help those entrepreneurs establish the right type of business organization, and sort out who owns what as part of the new entity.
"We'll help student entrepreneurs get started right by helping them set up their business organization, think about who gets how much ownership, and about what happens when something changes," Prof. Gordon said.
But the clinic is only one part of the ZEAL story, Prof. Gordon said. Equally important is Michigan Law's potential to help shape the way law is taught both here and around the country.
"Our Law School is seizing an opportunity to lead in developing an additional pedagogic program. This is a dramatic change in what law school can mean," Prof. Gordon said. "I think a lot of our alumni wish we had had something like this when we were in school. I do. So this is also a tremendous opportunity for our alumni who have led entrepreneurial lives to get deeply involved with the school and our students again by sharing their skill sets and their life experiences.
"So, if this has been your life—send me an email."