Fall 2020

All Articles in This Issue

Azadeh Shahshahani Azadeh Shahshahani

Class Note

Azadeh Shahshahani: Protecting Immigrant Rights Across the U.S. South

Azadeh Shahshahani, ’04, a prolific writer and speaker on the subject of immigrant rights, was first drawn to Project South because of the organization’s work to combat Islamophobia.

Zack James Zack James

Class Note

Zack James, ’17: Rethinking the Farm with Autonomous Tractors

Zack James, ’17, can recall the exact moment when building tractors started to pay off. It was August 2019, and James was sitting in his truck, watching an autonomous tractor move up and down a field, planting seeds. “It was the first time I was being paid to do farming services.”

Colleen Hilton Colleen Hilton

Class Note

Colleen Hilton, ’07: Marketing “Marvelous” Streaming Media at Amazon Studios

When the marketing team at Amazon Studios wanted to recreate the Carnegie Deli to mark the new season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, they turned to Colleen Hilton, ’07, for legal advice.

Covid 2020, at UM Law School Covid 2020, at UM Law School

Cover Story Fall 2020

COVID in the Quad

On a Thursday morning, stacks of The Michigan Daily carried a front-page proclamation from the president of the University of Michigan: Effective immediately and in response to the spreading global pandemic, all students, faculty, and staff must wear face masks while on campus, walking on nearby streets, and at all University events until further notice. The announcement came on the heels of an order the previous weekend from the Michigan governor that banned all public gatherings until the escalating public health crisis was resolved.

Beauty image of the Law School Reading Room Beauty image of the Law School Reading Room


News in Briefs: Fall 2020

Michigan Innocence Clinic celebrates 23rd exoneration  |  Historic fundraising year for Student Funded Fellowships  |  Alumni head to Supreme Court  |  and more...

Christopher Burtley Christopher Burtley

In Practice Fall 2020

Chris Burtley, ’15: Reimagining Supply Chains After Historic Disruption

Months before COVID-19 became a global pandemic, Chris Burtley, ’15, was called into the first of what would become a series of meetings about a novel coronavirus that was emerging in Wuhan, China, and beginning to threaten global supply chains. “When a client asked me in January to join calls related to the coronavirus, we thought of it as a small project to keep an eye on, not something that would become the biggest issue we have seen in decades.”

Lawrence Garcia Lawrence Garcia

In Practice

Lawrence García, ’95: Moving Detroit’s Legal Team in New Directions

When the mayor of Detroit asked Lawrence García, ’95, to lead the city’s legal department, he jumped at the opportunity, knowing it would challenge him professionally and give him a meaningful platform to influence the trajectory of Detroit. “The law department has always had a lot of bench strength and excellent lawyers, but historically you haven’t heard people worried about going up against the office—whether it’s in litigation or in business dealings.”

Beauty image of the Law Quad Architecture Beauty image of the Law Quad Architecture

In Practice Fall 2020

Carla Newell, ’85: Riding a Tech Boom in Silicon Valley—Again

As public interest in consumer genomics has exploded in recent years, Carla Newell, ’85, found herself at the center of the industry’s boom as the chief legal officer and chief risk officer at Ancestry, a leading family history and consumer genomics company.

Michigan Daily front page Michigan Daily front page


Two Pandemics, a Century Apart

In the fall of 1918, the University of Michigan was forced to address a spreading pandemic while the final months of World War I continued to disrupt American life and University operations. News coverage in The Michigan Daily shows clear parallels between the 1918 pandemic and the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020. 

2020 Graduates congratulation sign 2020 Graduates congratulation sign


Class of 2020: Graduating Together, From Afar

Before the pandemic forced Michigan Law to postpone Senior Day in 2020, David Louison was chosen by his peers to deliver the student keynote. 

A month or so into COVID-19 lockdown, as the Law School prepared an online celebration for the graduating 3Ls, LLMs, and SJDs—an in-person ceremony is planned for 2021—Louison went for a walk to consider what a virtual commencement speech could look like. “I was just thinking, ‘Am I going to do a speech at all?’”

Beauty image of the Law School Mess Hall in the Law Quad Beauty image of the Law School Mess Hall in the Law Quad


Reflecting on Ann Arbor, Estate Lawyer Plans Support for the Next Generation

For George Smrtka, ’67, attending Michigan Law was a dream come true. “I applied to two other law schools, but Michigan was the top of the mountain for me. I never thought I could afford it, but the admissions counselor offered a scholarship for half of the tuition and the rest was covered through a loan. I also lived off-campus, washed dishes, and walked up a hill in the snow—both ways,” he laughs.

Beauty Image of the Law School Courtyard Beauty Image of the Law School Courtyard

Impact Fall 2020

Scholarship Fund Leverages the Power of the Collective

The Victors for Michigan Law Scholarship Fund exemplifies a timeless adage: A whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. Driven by one visionary leader who inspired additional gifts from alumni and friends of Michigan Law, the fund was created to provide ongoing support for students at the Law School. 

Lacey Sikora and family standing outside the stadium Lacey Sikora and family standing outside the stadium

Impact Fall 2020

With Gift to Law School Fund, Alumna Pays It Forward

“I believe in the power of education and am incredibly grateful for my experiences. Law school is a place that gathers people from so many different backgrounds and affords them a chance to make a great life.”

Beauty image of the architecture in the Underground Library Beauty image of the architecture in the Underground Library


Recent Gifts: Fall 2020

Giving to Michigan Law is an investment in the future of legal education, and private support ensures that the excellence that has distinguished Michigan-trained lawyers continues for generations to come.

Beauty image of the Law School Reading Room Beauty image of the Law School Reading Room


@UMICHLAW: Fall 2020

John Petoskey, ’20, appointed to Michigan Advisory Council on Environmental Justice  |  Professor Ellen Katz receives 2020 L. Hart Wright Award for Excellence in Teaching  |  Professor of Law Evan Caminker co-counsels successful appellate case  |  and more...