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.
During her speech, Coleman quoted Law Quad benefactor William
W. Cook, an 1882 graduate, about the importance of the kind of strong
and wide-reaching legal education that Michigan provides: "The character
of the legal profession depends on the character of the law schools.
The character of the law schools forecasts the future of America."
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."
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 winter.
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
Other areas of the building call for more specialized equipment—some
of it 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, becoming only the second building on campus to earn the
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 September 7, 2012, a new piece of enduring beauty officially
became part of the storied Law Quad.
John Masson and Lori Atherton contributed to this story.