The University of Michigan Law School E-News
Vol 9.4 - 4.2016

Join Alumni Service Day on April 30

By Amy Spooner

Each year, Service Day instills a sense of responsibility and camaraderie in incoming classes of Michigan Law 1Ls. And for the past seven years, Alumni Service Day has reminded alumni that neither the camaraderie nor the commitment to serve the community end at graduation.

The eighth Michigan Law Alumni Service Day will take place Saturday, April 30, at 11 locations across the United States. Since Alumni Service Day leaders in each city are responsible for determining what their project will be, the results reflect the diverse needs of the participating cities. For example, Honolulu alumni have worked in a tropical rainforest preserve, while this year's group in Tucson will be doing landscaping at a desert ashram. Other cities' service sites include community shelters, food banks, and parks. This local-level leadership is an important part of the event's success, said Laura Gray, director of development and alumni relations events. "Alumni Service Day is possible because of our great group of alumni leaders, who work hard to identify the needs in their community and then find a partnering organization and project that will be fun and meaningful for participants."

Students Select Prof. Kate Andrias as 2016 L. Hart Wright Award Recipient

By Lori Atherton

Assistant Professor Kate Andrias, who has been described by one law student as a "quintessential example of the Michigan Difference," has been named the 2016 recipient of the L. Hart Wright Award for Teaching Excellence.

"This is the most exciting news I've received since joining the law faculty," Andrias said of the award, which is managed by the Law School Student Senate (LSSS) and voted on by students. "I'm delighted to have won the award."


Conference Highlights Legal, Regulatory Issues Involved with Driverless Cars

By Katie Vloet

General Motors CEO Mary Barra recently said of the auto industry, "I think there's going to be more change in the next five to 10 years than there's been in the last 50." One of the primary reasons for the rapid change is the development of automated and autonomous vehicles.

As the technology for such vehicles cruises forward, so, too, must the legal and regulatory issues—which were highlighted during a conference at the University of Michigan Law School on April 15. Attorneys, academics, insurers, and regulators from Google, Tesla Motors, Ford Motor Company, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and more spoke about state and federal regulation of autonomous vehicles, industry coordination and technology integration, tort liability, and incentivizing innovation.

ICYMI: Michigan Law Faculty Reflect on Justice Scalia

Following the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February, Michigan Law faculty members Joan Larsen and Gil Seinfeld reflected on the man they knew. Larsen clerked for Justice Scalia in the 1994-95 term, and Seinfeld in the 2002-03 term.

What I Learned from Justice Scalia
By Joan Larsen

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Reflections of a Counterclerk
by Gil Seinfeld

Alumni Profile

Christopher Burke, '00: Enjoying the View from the Bench

By Amy Spooner

When Christopher Burke, '00, was in law school, he could see himself working in the public sector someday. But he couldn't picture exactly what that work would look like. Today the view is crystal clear from his federal bench.

Burke serves as a U.S. magistrate judge in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. It is a post he has held since 2011 when, at the age of 36, he left his role as an assistant U.S. attorney to become one of the country's youngest federal judges. Regardless of age, he says the key to success on the bench is the same—preparation and having the confidence to ask difficult questions. "Every new judge has a learning curve, but putting in time before court bridges the gap," he said. "When parties see that the judge is on top of the record and the case law, they know they're dealing with someone who will work hard to try to get the ruling right—even if the judge hasn't had years of experience with the subject matter."

Clinical Prof. Don Duquette to Retire

Clinical Professor Don Duquette, the founder and director of the Child Advocacy Law Clinic, will retire on June 30 after teaching at the Law School for 40 years. Faculty paid tribute to Duquette on April 19 when they visited his last class to applaud him during the traditional "clapping out" ceremony. A 1975 Michigan Law graduate, Duquette will complete two book projects and participate in several conferences—including the Reinventing Foster Care symposium at Michigan Law on May 12-13—before retiring. "I look forward to playing piano, sailing, going to concerts and theatre with my wife, spending time with our grandson, Andrew, and generally letting life surprise me," Duquette said of his retirement plans.
Ramji Kaul, '05, Named Assistant Dean for Career Planning

Ramji Kaul, '05, who joined the Office of Career Planning (OCP) as an attorney-counselor in 2015, has been named the Law School's assistant dean for career planning. Kaul, who also holds a bachelor's degree from U-M, previously was in private practice for 10 years in the Chicago office of Dentons, where he was a partner in the litigation and disputes resolution group. He litigated cases in state and federal courts, focusing on complex commercial litigation, catastrophe and major claims litigation, and class action defense. In addition, he was the co-chair of his office's summer associate program and participated as an interviewer in Michigan Law's on-campus interviewing program.
Update Your Wardrobe with Maize and Blue

The Law School and the M Den make it easy to purchase specialized Michigan Law apparel 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 the Law School to help support the activities of our student groups.

Coming Up

April 28: Ohio Alumni and Friends Reception

April 30: Alumni and Friends Service Day

May 1: Baltimore Alumni and Friends Dinner

May 6: Senior Day

May 21: Tokyo Law Alumni and Friends Dinner and U-M Pan-Asia Alumni Reunion 

Faculty News and Accolades

Samuel Bagenstos, the Frank G. Millard Professor of Law, was quoted in the Talking Points Memo article, "Did SCOTUS Protect 'One Person One Vote' From Future Conservative Attack?"

Michael Barr, the Roy F. and Jean Humphrey Proffitt Professor of Law, participated in the Knowledge@Wharton podcast, "Why the 'Living Wills' of Top U.S. Banks Failed the Test."

Clinical Professor David Moran, '91, was quoted in The Detroit News about a Michigan Court of Appeals Panel that will decide who resentences juvenile lifers.


Clinical Professor Vivek Sankaran, '01, was quoted in the Michigan Radio State of Opportunity article, "She lost her parental rights. Now, she's won her appeal, and the case could change Michigan's laws."

David Uhlmann, the Jeffrey F. Liss Professor from Practice and director of the Environmental Law and Policy Program, was quoted in numerous outlets about the criminal charges brought against officials in the Flint water crisis, including the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He also authored a New York Times op-ed about the Flint water charges.

Have a story of interest to fellow alumni? Contact Amicus editor Lori Atherton at or call 734.615.5663.