Spring/Summer 2023

Briefs

News in Brief: Spring/Summer 2023

 

Sarah Bender, Gabe Chess, and Nia Vogel received the Henry M. Bates Memorial Scholarship Award; Alexis Franks received the Jane L. Mixer Memorial Award; and Dashaya Foreman, Jeff Gurley, and Will Hanna received the Irving Stenn Jr. Award. (Pictured in the top photo, in front, from left to right: Chess, Foreman, and Vogel; in back, Gurley, Bender, Franks, and Hanna.)

Law School Honors Outstanding Students

At the end of the academic year, the Law School recognized a number of students with Michigan Law’s most prestigious awards. Sarah Bender, Gabe Chess, and Nia Vogel received the Henry M. Bates Memorial Scholarship Award; Alexis Franks received the Jane L. Mixer Memorial Award; and Dashaya Foreman, Jeff Gurley, and Will Hanna received the Irving Stenn Jr. Award. (Pictured, in front, from left to right: Chess, Foreman, and Vogel; in back, Gurley, Bender, Franks, and Hanna.)

Professor Gil Seinfeld received the 2023 L. Hart Wright Teaching Award. Professors Margaret Hannon, ’05, Emily Prifogle, and Vivek Sankaran, ’01, received new awards for excellence in legal practice teaching, innovative and inclusive teaching, and experiential teaching, respectively. (Pictured in the bottom photo from left to right.)

Students Laud Teaching Excellence

Professor Gil Seinfeld received the 2023 L. Hart Wright Teaching Award. Professors Margaret Hannon, ’05, Emily Prifogle, and Vivek Sankaran, ’01, received new awards for excellence in legal practice teaching, innovative and inclusive teaching, and experiential teaching, respectively. (Pictured from left to right.) 

 


 

Mark Rucci, ‘23, left, won the 98th Henry M. Campbell Moot Court Competition in March. He and finalist Gabe Chess, ‘23, argued this year’s case, which concerned alleged violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act, in front of judges from the US Courts of Appeals for the Sixth and Seventh Circuits and the Supreme Court of California.

Henry M. Campbell Moot Court

Mark Rucci, ’23, left, won the 98th Henry M. Campbell Moot Court Competition in March. He and finalist Gabe Chess, ’23, argued this year’s case, which concerned alleged violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act, in front of judges from the US Courts of Appeals for the Sixth and Seventh Circuits and the Supreme Court of California. 

This winter, two teams from Michigan Law competed at the Global Antitrust Institute Invitation Moot Court Competition in Washington, DC. The teams argued complex merger and antitrust conduct issues before attorneys from leading law firms and government agencies. Pictured, from left, are Benjy Apelbaum, a 2L; Wesley Ward, ‘23; Neena Menon, a 2L; Lauren Gallagher, ‘23; Kate Buggs, ‘23; and Frank Schulze, a 2L.

Global Antitrust Institute Invitation Moot Court Competition

This winter, two teams from Michigan Law competed at the Global Antitrust Institute Invitation Moot Court Competition in Washington, DC. The teams argued complex merger and antitrust conduct issues before attorneys from leading law firms and government agencies. Pictured, from left, are Benjy Apelbaum, a 2L; Wesley Ward, ’23; Neena Menon, a 2L; Lauren Gallagher, ’23; Kate Buggs, ’23; and Frank Schulze, a 2L

 


 

The Hon. Cornelia G. Kennedy, ’47
The Hon. Cornelia G. Kennedy, ’47

No More Mister Judge Guy

When the Hon. Cornelia G. Kennedy, ’47, assumed the role of chief judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, she was the first woman to lead a federal district court. Judge Kennedy was a groundbreaking figure throughout her life, and the Supreme Court recently shared a lesser-known story on its website that demonstrates another area where she left her mark.

In 1979, Judge Kennedy joined Justice John Paul Stevens for a moot court at Notre Dame Law School. As was the custom at the time, participating students referred to the judges as “Mr. Justice” and “Madame Justice”—which led Judge Kennedy to respond, “Why do you address me as ‘Madame Justice?’ The word ‘Justice’ is not a sexist term.” 

Justice Stevens took the comment to heart, and when he returned to the Supreme Court he opened the floor for argument amongst his colleagues. All but one agreed that the term “Mr.” should be dropped from their titles—Justice Harry Blackman was of the view that they should wait until the first female justice joined the Court, so that a woman could participate in the decision—and the change was first reflected in the opinion of Dennis v. Sparks.

 


 

“Gender apartheid is anathema to [the] foundational norms of international law, every bit as much as racial apartheid was to the analogous principles prohibiting race discrimination. Ultimately, as racial apartheid was for Black South Africans, gender apartheid is an erasure of the humanity of women. Every aspect of female existence is controlled and scrutinized.... There is no escape from gender apartheid. The solution cannot be the departure of half the population of the country.”

— Karima Bennoune, ’94, the Lewis M. Simes Professor of Law, in a March 11, 2023, Forbes article about the extreme repression women are facing under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. A recent United Nations report concluded that the discrimination constitutes gender apartheid; the article notes that, unlike racial apartheid, gender apartheid is not currently considered an international crime.

 


 

What Is Consent?

The California Supreme Court recently cited research by Assistant Professor Roseanna Sommers on the psychology of consent in the case of People v. Tacardon. Justice Liu used Sommers’s article “The Voluntariness of Voluntary Consent: Consent Searches and the Psychology of Compliance” to argue that characterizing the defendant’s interaction with the police as consensual adopts “a rather sanguine and empirically dubious view of police-citizen interactions.” Sommers’s research and other studies suggest that people rarely feel they have choices when faced with requests by the police.

FTC Says No to Noncompetes

The Federal Trade Commission heavily cited the research of J.J. Prescott, the Henry King Ransom Professor of Law, in its new Proposed Rule to Ban Noncompete Clauses. Prescott’s research includes “Noncompete Agreements in the U.S. Labor Force, Subjective Beliefs About Contract Enforceability” and “The Behavioral Effects of (Unenforceable) Contracts.”   

 


 

Bob Fiske, ’55, visited Ann Arbor to congratulate 2023 Fiske Fellows Megan Donnelly, ’23, Shay Collins, ’23, and Julia Hooks, ’23 (pictured from left). Rebecca Conway, ’22, who is currently clerking on the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, is also a 2023 recipient. The Fiske Fellowship provides recent graduates entering into government service with a cash stipend and covers  all undergraduate and law school loan payments for a period  of three years.

2023 Fiske Fellows

Bob Fiske, ’55, visited Ann Arbor to congratulate 2023 Fiske Fellows Megan Donnelly, ’23, Shay Collins, ’23, and Julia Hooks, ’23 (pictured from left). Rebecca Conway, ’22, who is currently clerking on the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, is also a 2023 recipient. The Fiske Fellowship provides recent graduates entering into government service with a cash stipend and covers all undergraduate and law school loan payments for a period of three years.

Andrew Portinga, ’96, visited Michigan Law to discuss an  amicus brief he filed with the US Supreme Court on behalf  of the satirical publication The Onion. Portinga is a member  of the Grand Rapids, Michigan, firm Miller Johnson.

Unpeeling The Onion

Andrew Portinga, ’96, visited Michigan Law to discuss an amicus brief he filed with the US Supreme Court on behalf of the satirical publication The Onion. Portinga is a member of the Grand Rapids, Michigan, firm Miller Johnson. Read more about Portinga's visit to the Quad.

 


 

“What I find troubling is the ease with which history can be rewritten with digitally distributed works. There may be good reasons for edits in some cases, but from the perspective of cultural preservation, media criticism, and historical context, it’s a troubling trend.”

— Aaron Perzanowski, the Thomas W. Lacchia Professor of Law, in an April 26 New York Times story on whether to change books, films, and television shows to make them more palatable to contemporary sensibilities.

 


 

By the Numbers

125


1Ls participated in the 2023 1L Oral Advocacy Competition, which is the highest-ever student participation rate.

76


Number of years of wrongful imprisonment served by the four Michigan Innocence Clinic clients who have achieved final victory in their cases so far in 2023.

Three were exonerated; one was granted clemency on grounds of innocence by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Since its inception in 2009, the clinic has freed 40 clients who served approximately 660 years for crimes they did not commit.

150+


Alumni from more than 60 firms attended the Law School’s Meet the Employers event at Michigan Stadium in April.

 


 

“Criminal charges are not an either/or proposition. Falsifying business records may pale in comparison with the other crimes for which Trump is under investigation, but defendants don’t get a pass on other crimes just because they committed a more serious one in another jurisdiction.”

— Professor from Practice Barb McQuade, ’91, in a March 30, 2023, op-ed published in Time, “Alvin Bragg Did What He Had To Do in Indicting Trump.”

 


 

Mini-Seminars

Selected 2022–2023 Mini-Seminars, which are ungraded one-credit courses in which small groups of students meet in a professor’s home or other non-traditional setting for provocative conversations. 

Current Issues in Cannabis Law with Professor Mark Osbeck, ’86

Law in Rural America: Cows, Courts, and Country Lawyers with Professor Emily Prifogle

The Enduring Allure of Book Bans with Professor Susan Page

Between Shadow and Light: Domestic Violence and the Law with Professor Julia Lee, ’05

Human or AI?

The Law Library organized a haiku contest in April, with winners in two categories: poems written by a human and those generated with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) such as ChatGPT. 

Under the ripe earth— 
Verdant above, so below— 
Sprouts student research.

Written by Katie Osborn, a 2L

Leather-bound tomes rest, 
Jurisprudence in their spines, 
Wisdom at our hands.

Generated by 1L Arian Rubio,  
with an assist from AI

 


 

“A potent myth of legal academic scholarship is that it is mostly meritocratic and mostly solitary. Reality is more complicated.... Hierarchy, race, and gender all have substantial effects on who gets acknowledged and how, what networks of knowledge co-production get formed, and who is helped on their path through the legal academic world.”

Keerthana Nunna, ’21, Professor Nicholson Price, and Jonathan Tietz, ’19, in their summary of “Hierarchy, Race, and Gender in Legal Scholarly Networks,” which was recently published in the Stanford Law Review.

 


 

Rachel Moore, ‘23, and Shelly Feldman, ‘23, had a chance encounter with Pennsylvania state Sen. Art Haywood, ’85,  while on a tour of the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.  Moore and Feldman were there as part of Michigan Law’s  South Africa Externship program.

Really...We’re Everywhere

Rachel Moore, ’23, and Shelly Feldman, ’23, had a chance encounter with Pennsylvania state Sen. Art Haywood, ’85, while on a tour of the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Moore and Feldman were there as part of Michigan Law’s South Africa Externship program.

Strict Scrutiny, a podcast co-created and co-hosted by Professor Leah Litman, ’10, received the Ambie for Best Politics or Opinion Podcast  by the Podcast Academy. The category featured podcasts from  The Economist, The Washington Post, and others. Strict Scrutiny was also recognized with a Gold Anthem Award in the Human & Civil Rights Causes category for its coverage of the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade.

Strict Scrutiny

Strict Scrutiny, a podcast co-created and co-hosted by Professor Leah Litman, ’10, received the Ambie for Best Politics or Opinion Podcast by the Podcast Academy. The category featured podcasts from The Economist, The Washington Post, and others. Strict Scrutiny was also recognized with a Gold Anthem Award in the Human & Civil Rights Causes category for its coverage of the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade.

 


 

“The International Commission of Jurists calls attention to systematic impunity enjoyed by [Myanmar’s] ruling junta and members of the military for gross human rights violations amounting to crimes against humanity, and the mass expulsion of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim population…. Mr. High Commissioner, what further measures can the Council take to protect the persecuted ethnic minorities in Myanmar?”   

Collin Christner, a 2L who spent the winter semester working for the International Commission of Jurists as part of the Law School’s Geneva Externship program. His statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council concerned Myanmar’s treatment of minority populations and political dissidents. 

 


 

90 2Ls and 3Ls  served as judges. Ellory Longdon emerged as the victor over Emily Krejci in the final round of the competition.

Training for Argument

Ellory Longdon emerged as the victor over Emily Krejci in the final round of the 2023 1L Oral Advocacy competition.

Richard D. Friedman,  the Alene and Allan F. Smith Professor of Law, received the 2023 John Henry Wigmore Award for Lifetime Achievement. The Section on Evidence of the Association of American Law Schools gives the award to someone who has made  leading contributions to the understanding of the proof process, to the administration and reform of the rules of evidence and the process  of proof, or both.

2023 John Henry Wigmore Award for Lifetime Achievement

Richard D. Friedman, the Alene and Allan F. Smith Professor of Law, received the 2023 John Henry Wigmore Award for Lifetime Achievement. The Section on Evidence of the Association of American Law Schools gives the award to someone who has made leading contributions to the understanding of the proof process, to the administration and reform of the rules of evidence and the process of proof, or both. 

Hallie Alitz, a 2L, traveled to New Orleans in February for Tulane University Law School’s Women in Sports Law Symposium. The event examined key issues in women’s sports, including the legal questions related to equal pay in professional sports. She is pictured on the right with Swin Cash, a former WNBA star who is now the vice president  of basketball operations and  team development for the  New Orleans Pelicans.

Women in Sports Law Symposium

Hallie Alitz, a 2L, traveled to New Orleans in February for Tulane University Law School’s Women in Sports Law Symposium. The event examined key issues in women’s sports, including the legal questions related to equal pay in professional sports. She is pictured on the right with Swin Cash, a former WNBA star who is now the vice president of basketball operations and team development for the New Orleans Pelicans. 

 


 

“More than a century ago, the Supreme Court held in Winters v. United States that treaties establishing Indian reservations should be construed to include a right to enough water to establish a homeland. More recently, the court in United States v. Jicarilla Apache Nation held that a tribal nation suing the federal government for breach of trust must point to contract or treaty language explicitly establishing a right. These two precedents have come into conflict here.”

— Matthew L.M. Fletcher, ’97, the Harry Burns Hutchins Collegiate Professor of Law, in a March 21, 2023, SCOTUSblog analysis of the Supreme Court oral argument in Arizona v. Navajo Nation. In April, Fletcher was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as one of just seven new law fellows nationwide.