The University of Michigan Law School E-News
Vol. 10.4–5.2017

Senior Day Speakers Celebrate the MLaw Family


By Jordan Poll

As their future career plans move closer to reality, the Michigan Law Class of 2017 spent their last day as students reflecting on their time at the Law School—the challenges they overcame and how they grew and supported one another as a family.

"I trust that many of you will agree that family is important at Michigan Law," said Dean Mark West. "I like to think of my lunches with students as the family dinner table, class reunions feel like family reunions, and faculty meetings often resemble family gatherings in every way you can imagine." As he looked from graduates to their family members in the audience, Dean West welcomed them all to the extended Michigan Law family. "You missed the cold calls, the readings, and the nights spent at some mysterious place called Rick's American Café. But you, too, have shared in the experiences as your family members learned and grew and changed within our family," he said.

With that, Dean West introduced the first parent-child Senior Day speakers in the 158-year history of the Law School—Richard "Dick" Pogue, '53, and David Pogue. With humor and familial repartee, this father-son duo epitomized the congenial dynamics of the Michigan Law family.


Chad Readler, '97, Appointed Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice Civil Division

By Lori Atherton

Nearly four months in as the acting assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Division, Chad Readler, '97, is enjoying the fast pace of his prominent government role.

"It's the first new job I've had in nearly 20 years," Readler noted, "and it's been exciting and challenging. There's a little bit of pressure, which you'd expect from a senior government position put in the spotlight by the intense civil litigation that has accompanied the new administration," including challenges to presidential executive orders.


Beginning in 2018, All Incoming Students to Start in Fall


The Law School will take a new approach to the first-year start following extensive administrative review and faculty deliberation. Beginning in 2018, all incoming first-year students will begin in the fall semester.

In 1942, the Law School instituted a War Acceleration Program (WAP), allowing students to begin classes in the summer and complete degree requirements in just two calendar years. The program was meant to accelerate the career launch of students whose education had been sidelined by World War II. Over time, the WAP morphed into the summer start program known to so many alumni.

In the three quarters of a century since the Greatest Generation left the Law Quad, there have been more than a few changes in the legal profession and in legal education, and the Law School has responded as appropriate. This change to the timing of first-year start addresses various challenges of the summer program, ranging from increasing student preference for fall start, to minor quirks and inconveniences for students themselves (one less summer to work prior to law school, fewer opportunities to participate in some academic programs, and graduation off-cycle with law firm hiring), to administrative inefficiencies that resulted in duplication of services, programs, and processes. The overall 1L class size will not be affected by the merging of the summer and fall starts.

Throughout its history, summer start has yielded a legacy of successful and committed alumni. The summer starters loved the summer start; the faculty and administrators who worked with them loved the summer starters.

Professor Sherman Clark, who has taught the first semester for this cohort for more than a decade, sums the change up well. "What has made the summer start special, really, is that the students have been wonderful—smart, eager, warm, and ready to help each other learn. I will miss the summers, but I know that our students will be equally wonderful in the fall."

MLaw Adjunct Professor Joan Larsen Nominated to Sixth Circuit 

Adjunct Professor Joan Larsen has been nominated to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the Trump administration announced May 8. She currently is a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court.

Justice Larsen—who has served Michigan Law in numerous capacities since 1998, including as special counsel to the dean for student and graduate activities and clerkship adviser—was appointed to the state's high court by Gov. Rick Snyder in September 2015 for a term ending January 1, 2017. She was re-elected to a full term by voters in November 2016.

Alumni Profile

Lara Finkbeiner, '13: Fulfilling Her Dream of Helping Refugees

By Jordan Poll

Lara Finkbeiner, '13, found her life's purpose at 17 when she met Refika, a Bosnian refugee looking for sanctuary in the United States to escape her war-torn country. Refika opened Finkbeiner's eyes to the struggles of a people forced to leave their country for their own safety. "I helped her learned English, but Refika helped me figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life," Finkbeiner said. Now, 15 years later and three years into her role as deputy legal director of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), Finkbeiner finally is fulfilling her longstanding dream of helping people like Refika.  

Law Quad Project Update

The first of three phases in the $6.2 million project for walkway improvements and new lighting in the Law Quadrangle has begun. This phase focuses on the refurbishment of external light fixtures on buildings within the Quad. The fixtures will be removed, cleaned, and upgraded to include emergency lighting functionality. In phases two and three, lighting around the Quad's perimeter will be installed and the walkways will be replaced with a natural-cleft-finish bluestone that mimics the look of the existing stone. The project will be at substantial completion by the end of October and updates about will be posted on the Law School's website
Show Your MLaw Spirit

Looking to refresh your maize-and-blue apparel for summer? 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

May 28: Shanghai Alumni and Friends Dinner

June 9–11: European Alumni Reunion (registration ends May 29)

June 11: Alumni Outing at Chicago Cubs Baseball Game

June 27: Top of the Park Reception

July 11: DC Summer Reception (more details coming soon)

July 12: NYC Summer Reception (more details coming soon)

September 810: Reunion (Emeriti and the Classes of 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, and 1987)

September 1517: Reunion (Classes of 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012)

Faculty News and Accolades

Michael Barr, the Roy F. and Jean Humphrey Proffitt Professor of Law, was interviewed on Michigan Radio's Stateside about rolling back the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Professor Laura Beny authored a piece for Al Jazeera about the need for an indigenous, all-inclusive peace process to end the conflict in South Sudan.

Daniel Crane, the Frederick Paul Furth Sr. Professor of Law, was quoted in the Chicago Tribune article, "Why You Can’t Buy a Car Online—For Now."

Ellen Katz, the Ralph W. Aigler Professor of Law, was quoted in The New York Times about the Supreme Court's decision not to reconsider an appellate court's decision striking down North Carolina's restrictive voting law.

Barbara McQuade, '91, a professor from practice, authored The Washington Post op-ed, "I Worked With the FBI as a Federal Prosecutor. Trump is Threatening the Bureau’s Independence."

Professor Eve Brensike Primus, '01, was named the 2017 recipient of the L. Hart Wright Award for Teaching Excellence.

Richard Primus, the Theodore J. St. Antoine Collegiate Professor of Law, was quoted in Business Insider via the Associated Press: "Trump’s Comments on Muslims Could Haunt Him in Appeals Court."

Clinical Professor of Law Vivek Sankaran, '01, was quoted on Michigan Radio about the recent In re Hicks/Brown ruling that says the state's child welfare agency must do more to help parents with disabilities in child welfare cases. Sankaran argued the case before the Michigan Supreme Court.

David Uhlmann, the Jeffrey F. Liss Professor from Practice and director of the Environmental Law and Policy Program, was quoted in The New York Times article, "Under Fire, Climate Scientists Unite With Lawyers to Fight Back."

Have a story of interest to fellow alumni? Contact Amicus editor Lori Atherton at