Summer 2024


Stories from the Lawyers Club

A student walks in front of the Lawyers Club in the warm autumn light.

The Lawyers Club has provided the setting for cherished memories for a century and counting. Here, alumni share a few of their experiences. 

Have a good story about your time in the Lawyers Club? Share it with us, and we may include it in a future issue of Law Quadrangle.

(This article is part two in a two-part series celebrating the Lawyers Club's centennial; you can read the first article here.)


Ronald Dalman, ’58, and Kristina (Tina) Dalman, ’91

Ronald Dalman is retired from a 50-year career in corporate, real estate, and estate planning, and Tina Dalman is vice president and area general counsel, Pulte Group Inc. Ronald lived in Section O (1955–1956), and Tina lived in Section C (1989–1990).

A woman in sunglasses wraps her arms around the shoulders of an older bald man in the sun of the Law Quad.
Ronald Dalman, ’58, and Kristina (Tina) Dalman, ’91

Ronald: When you were admitted to the Law School, I felt so positive about you living in the Lawyers Club. When I was in school, no female students lived there. But I knew you would have the same opportunity I had for enriching experiences. 

Tina: In all fairness, I was a little reluctant to move back into what I thought of as a dorm. I was also concerned about the pressure cooker of law school. How was that going to be when you’re living and eating and studying 24/7 with the people you’re in classes with? 

Ronald: It can have the opposite effect; it can motivate you and create a collegial atmosphere. Plus, that whole experience of living there just facilitated focusing on the law.

Tina: It was really your encouragement, because of your positive experience, that led me to overcome my fears. 

Ronald: I can remember, very distinctly, walking into the Law Quad the first time your mother and I came back to visit when you were in law school. What a great feeling, and I was so proud and pleased for you that it was all working out.

Tina: It all did work out. And I have since explained that the Lawyers Club is the “secret sauce” of Michigan Law when I tell people to apply.

Harold “Hal” Barron, ’61

Hal Barron retired after serving as general counsel at two Fortune 500 companies and at national law firms. He lived in Section B (1959–1960 and 1960–1961).

Harold “Hal” Barron, ‘61
Harold “Hal” Barron, ’61

I spent the early hours of October 14, 1960, like many other nights during my final year of law school: studying in my room at the Lawyers Club. 

Little did I know that this night would be a historic one for the University of Michigan. 

At some point during my studies, I grew aware of a commotion coming from outside. The noise was so loud that I decided to check it out and saw a crowd had gathered at the Michigan Union. 

Standing there, on the top step of the Union, was Sen. John F. Kennedy, giving a short speech that included a proposal for what would become the Peace Corps. I clearly remember him drawing to the conclusion of his speech by saying, in his Boston accent, “I come here tonight to go to bed.” 

While it was short and sweet, the speech generated electricity among the crowd. It was an incredibly exciting moment and became even more memorable when he was elected president the next month.

E. Robert Blaske, ’69 

Robert Blaske is retired from Blaske and Blaske, where he was a plaintiff’s legal and medical malpractice lawyer. He lived in Section P (1966–1967) and Section O (1967–1968).

A young man in a suit poses for a University of Michigan student photo.
E. Robert Blaske, ’69

My higher education journey began during a wave of great change. In the Lawyers Club, that change included women as residents beginning in 1968. For the legal profession, that change was the opening up to greater numbers of women, which has improved the profession more than anything in its long history. 

For me personally, the Lawyers Club was not only a place to enjoy the tradition of learning the law but also the place where I found romance with my wife of 55 years, Vicki, who earned her bachelor of engineering in 1969. 

We met when she came to my Case Club oral argument with my friend’s girlfriend. We first kissed and I first told her I loved her as we walked in the Quad—a magical setting. After we were married in the summer of ’68, we spent our wedding night in one of the rooms upstairs from the lounge. 

Since retirement, I have returned to the club for many years as a member of the Lawyers Club Board of Governors. 

On one of the first visits, I received permission to take an elm seedling that had sprouted in one of the flower beds by the lounge entrance. I planted it at our home, where it flourishes. 

Meredith (Nelson) Endsley, ’71

Meredith Endsley retired after a career in general contract and corporate law, acquisitions, and state legislation. She lived in Section C (1968–1969).

A woman with shoulder length hair an da headband smiles for her law school photo.
Meredith (Nelson) Endsley, ’71

My 1L year was 1968, an important time in the history of the Lawyers Club because it was the first year women were allowed to live there. 

I was lucky because not all of the women who wanted to live in the Lawyers Club were given space. Those of us who did live there were located together in section C, away from our male counterparts but close to classrooms, the library, and the dining hall, which greatly simplified our day-to-day activities.

The only downside to the location was that there wasn’t a comfortable gathering spot for women other than the women’s lounge in the library basement, not the greatest option. Otherwise, I don’t remember any issues arising from women living in the Lawyers Club. 

That was also a tumultuous political year, and my third-floor window provided a prime view of the marches and demonstrations taking place on the streets below. 

And I remember the saddest event that academic year: One of our house members, Jane Mixer, was found murdered several miles away. It was a real tragedy that made us feel insecure, even within the walls of the Lawyers Club. 

Editor’s note: In 1969, the Law School established the Jane L. Mixer Memorial Award for students who have made the greatest contribution to activities designed to advance the cause of social justice.

Paul Zavala, ’78

Paul Zavala retired after a long career at General Motors. He lived in Section J (1976–1977) and Section H (1977–1978).

A group of La Raza students gather in sweaters and collared shirts.
Paul Zavala (back row, far left) and other members of the La Raza Law Students Association organized a banquet in memory of Juan Luis Tienda that continues nearly 50 years later.

When I returned to the Law School for my 2L year, I learned that Juan Luis Tienda, a fellow member of our La Raza Law Students Association, had died in a car accident. Juan was about to begin his 3L year and was on the cusp of a career in public service. All members of La Raza were stunned at the news of Juan’s death and wanted to find some way to honor his memory. So we decided to create a scholarship in his name. 

Trouble was, none of us had any money. 

But someone suggested that we hold a banquet to raise funds. The Lawyers Club didn’t offer dinner on Sundays, so we thought we should be able to entice some hungry law students willing to pay a few dollars for a Mexican dinner. 

The profits from the dinner could be used to raise seed money for the scholarship. The dining hall, a space that accommodates 300 people, would be the perfect location. We didn’t know how the school would react to law students, hardly professional cooks, using the kitchen and dining facilities. But Dean Ted St. Antoine agreed that it was a great idea. 

We managed to sell all 300 tickets for dinner on a spring evening in 1977. Looking back, I can’t really remember if the food was good, but it was made with the best of intentions. 

After two years, the banquet moved out of the Lawyers Club dining hall, but the Juan Luis Tienda Scholarship banquet continues to raise funds for a scholarship for members of the Latinx community. The students who came after us have managed to carry on a mission that Juan Luis would have appreciated. 

Lawrence Serlin, ’81

Lawrence Serlin retired from Cohn Baughman & Serlin. He lived in Section P (1978–1979).

Two young men in suits smile with their arms around each other.
Lawrence Serlin, ’81, and Jeff Stein, ’81

In fall 1978, I found myself assigned to a triple room on the second floor of P section. I chose the larger entry room, which contained, as a bonus, a sink. Our suite was obviously designed for two, not three, but we made it work.

An unexpected feature outside my bay window was a huge crane sitting in a three-story-deep excavation site. Every weekday, the crane would crank up at 8 a.m. and serve as my backup alarm. We learned that the hole would someday become an underground addition to the Law Library and its stunning Reading Room.

My friend Jeff Stein lived across the hall and recently reminded me that on one occasion the crane became unbalanced and toppled over onto its side and into the gap between our section and the Reading Room. 

Fortunately, no one was injured; otherwise, I might have had a different story to tell. 

An open pit surrounded by construction equipment is visible in front of the Michigan Law Quad.

Kate Ross, ’96

Kate Ross is GM and associate general counsel, Microsoft Corporation. She lived in Section A (1994).

My first encounter with the Lawyers Club was memorable. 

Before I even unpacked, I took a stroll through the Quad with my camera and observed two guys hanging out a window on the second floor of the M section of the Lawyers Club. One was brushing his teeth, and the other was tossing a baseball to himself. I took a picture to commemorate the moment. 

A bespectacled man and woman with shoulder-length hair smile in graduation gowns and caps.
Tim Schmuckal, ’97, and Kate Ross, ’96

“So this is what law school students look like,” I thought. “Goofy.”

Turns out the Lawyers Club didn’t have air conditioning, and the guys were hanging out the window to avoid overheating. I know that because I ended up marrying the tooth-brushing guy—Tim Schmuckal. His baseball-tossing roommate, Jeremy Singer, was the best man at our wedding. 

Yes, I still have the picture. But, no, I have not secured their permission to share it.

Rossa Fanning, LLM ’00

Rossa Fanning is the attorney general of Ireland. He lived in Section H (1999–2000).

A portrait of Rossa Fanning, LLM ’00.
Rossa Fanning, LLM ’00

Having grown up in Dublin, studied in university in Dublin, and trained and qualified as a barrister in Dublin, I was very comfortable in that environment. Maybe too comfortable. 

So when I came to Michigan to study for my LLM, it was a voyage into the unknown. 

I arrived on campus not knowing a single person, which I found to be exhilarating. I thought the year would be a good maturing process for me before I embarked on a professional career. 

My overriding recollection of living for a year in the Lawyers Club is how friendly everybody was. The first “neighbor” I met was Matt Riccardi, an incoming 1L and now a litigation partner with Perkins Coie in New York. He remains a friend to this day. I also made great friends in the LLM program, and we still have a WhatsApp group to keep in touch.

With the personal challenge of having to get to know new people and start from zero, I learned a lot about myself.

Rossa Fanning, LLM ’00 teaching in front of a classroom full of students.
Rossa Fanning returned to campus in 2023 to discuss international law.

Michelle Zaltsberg, ’08

Michelle Zaltsberg is a shareholder at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC. She lived in Section M (2006–2007).

A woman in sunglasses puts her arm around an older man with a Michigan football game in progress behind them.
Alfred M. Swiren, ’41, and Michelle Zaltsberg, ’08

Of all the things my grandfather, Alfred M. Swiren, did in his long life, he spoke most fondly of his time at the Law School, from which he graduated in 1941. 

He lived in the Lawyers Club with classmates who went on to serve with him in the Army Air Force during World War II and remained his lifelong friends. 

While the building appeared largely unchanged when I lived there, our experiences were a bit different. 

For example, he would tell stories of curfews and covert co-ed shenanigans—a far cry from my modern co-ed experience. 

He also had a working fireplace in his room, which was simply decorative by 2006. My grandpa worked in the dining hall, where a formal shirt and jacket were required for wait staff. 

While I didn’t have the same white tablecloth service, I did have access to a fro-yo machine—a fair trade in my view. 

Although our time at Michigan Law was separated by 67 years, our shared experience brought us closer and is something I will always treasure.

Shelby Boxenbaum, ’09

Shelby Boxenbaum is chief counsel, Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM). She lived in Section E (2006–2007).

It was early in the winter semester of 1L year, and I was walking to class with two friends who both lived in the same Lawyers Club section as me. 

On the way across the Quad, we saw this poor squirrel dragging itself along the path. Something had happened and it couldn't walk. One of my friends called animal control, and then we went into class. 

When we came back out an hour later, there was a crowd gathered around a giant hawk that was disemboweling the now-dead squirrel. 

A hawk sits on a weathervane.

Someone even took some pictures that ended up on Facebook and in the law student newspaper. It was the talk of the Law School for the rest of the day.

But I think it really was a metaphor for law school and life.

Some days you are the squirrel, and some days you are the hawk.

Judd Grutman, ’10, and Robert Swenson, ’11

Judd Grutman is counsel at The Torrey Firm. He lived in Section D (2007–2008). Robert Swenson is associate general counsel at UnitedHealthcare. He lived in Section C (2009–2010). 

Two men in suits sit knee-to-knee in front of a Lawyers Club window.
Judd Grutman, ’10, and Robert Swenson, ’11

Swenson and Grutman met when Swenson attended Preview Weekend for admitted students in 2009. Grutman was serving on a panel about living in the Lawyers Club. 

Swenson: I remember we chatted after the panel during a reception in the lounge, and we really hit it off. 

Grutman: I was enamored. All my roommates at the time (by then, I was living in an apartment across from the Law School) teased me that we spent the whole admitted students weekend together. 

Swenson: I pretty much knew I was coming to Michigan and would say that weekend sealed the deal. I remember being really comfortable in my decision. Meeting people at the Lawyers Club really put my mind at ease. It felt like home.

Grutman: After that weekend, you sent the cheese box. We had chatted with some other students about what a good idea it is to give food as a gift. And then, at the front door of my apartment, there was a box of cheese you sent from New York.

Swenson: But we didn’t really become a couple for a while. That summer, you were in LA, then you did an externship at UNESCO during the fall semester. 

Grutman: But we kept in touch and were like pen pals, basically, during that semester abroad. 

Swenson: And come January, which was your last semester of law school, we were in the same place and officially a couple. 

Michael Fayhee, JD ’73, LLM ’20

Michael Fayhee is counsel at McDermott Will & Emery. He lived in Munger (2019–2020). (During the 2013 renovation, section letters were eliminated from the Lawyers Club, and the two wings were named Munger and Cook.)

A bearded, bespectacled man sits at a desk with his hands on an open laptop.
Michael Fayhee, JD ’73, LLM ’20

When I first arrived at the Law School in 1970, I was in awe of the facilities, but I chose not to live in the Lawyers Club. That changed when I returned after nearly 50 years to earn an LLM in the philosophy of law. 

So, while I did not live in the Lawyers Club in the ’70s, I did live there in my 70s. 

Of the LLM students that year, I was the only one from the United States. A group of us, including students from Germany, Pakistan, India, and China, ate together most days. It was quite an eclectic group, and we had a lot of fun talking about what was going on in the world.

I also interacted with JD students not only in the classroom, but while living in the Lawyers Club. Despite the age gap, I made many friends. 

And because I had a more mature life experience, including practicing mergers and acquisitions law for so long, I was able to answer their questions about a range of things. 

Looking back, all of these interactions made for an experience that was just as rich as it would have been the first time around.

Charles Mahone II, ’21

Charles Mahone is an associate at Sidley Austin LLP. He lived in Munger (2018–2021).

A person with close-cropped hair smiles for a professional photo, dressed in a suit and tie.
Charles Mahone II, ’21

In early March 2020, COVID existed at the boundaries of my thoughts. But it became real for me the day everyone found out that Michigan would move to remote learning. 

At that moment, I was spending time with Law School friends in class and we knew everything was going to change. We immediately went to play basketball because we weren’t sure if we would be able to play together again.

Moreover, as president of the Law School Student Senate and Lawyers Club manager, I knew we would need to make changes to keep those still living in the club safe. 

It was always in the nature of the club residents to take care of one another, but I believe COVID took this to another level due to the isolation, rapidly changing landscape, and ever-present threat of illness. For a long time, all we could do was study and socially distance with friends. 

So, largely, all we had was each other. 

I believe this atmosphere, which created bonds that were forged in the fires of a global pandemic, led to many strong relationships that continue to stand the test of time.

Have a good story about your time in the Lawyers Club? Share it with us, and we may include it in a future issue of Law Quadrangle.