Winter 2020

All Articles in This Issue

Michael Bobelian Michael Bobelian

Class Note

Michael Bobelian, ’98: The Forging of the Modern Supreme Court

Michael Bobelian, ’98, a journalist who has reported on the Supreme Court and other legal topics since 2003, explores the controversial Supreme Court nomination of Abe Fortas in his new book, The Battle for the Marble Palace: Abe Fortas, Earl Warren, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and the Forging of the Modern Supreme Court.

 Colleen Barney competing at Ninja Warrior  Colleen Barney competing at Ninja Warrior

Class Note

Colleen Barney, ’93: Ninja Warrior

If you’ve ever watched American Ninja Warrior (ANW), perhaps you’ve imagined yourself scaling the Warped Wall. Colleen Barney, ’93, pictured herself doing that too—and made the cut to compete in Season 11 of the popular sports entertainment reality television show.

Nadine Gartner, ’06 Nadine Gartner, ’06

Class Note Winter 2020

Nadine Gartner, ’06: Combatting Anti-vax Misinformation

Nadine Gartner, ’06, knew as early as middle school that she wanted to do something to make her community better. She founded Boost Oregon, a nonprofit organization that provides direct education to parents who are unsure about vaccines.

Sophia Hudson, ’06, and her parents, Joe and Lydie Arthos Hudson, ’86, celebrating her graduation in the Law Quad. Sophia Hudson, ’06, and her parents, Joe and Lydie Arthos Hudson, ’86, celebrating her graduation in the Law Quad.

Impact Winter 2020

Law School Fund Donor Joins Alumna Mother in Cavaedium Society

Twenty years before Sophia Hudson, ’06, received her juris doctorate from Michigan Law, her mother, Lydie Arthos Hudson, ’86, walked across the commencement stage to receive her own. “My mother led a fulfilling career while raising four children and pursuing her many outside interests. She set the example for me, starting with a Michigan Law degree, and is my inspiration.”

Asim Rehman in front of bridge Asim Rehman in front of bridge

In Practice

Asim Rehman, ’01: Overseeing the Nation’s Largest Police Department

How does one go from working as corporate counsel at MetLife—providing global litigation support to more than 40 foreign MetLife companies—to overseeing the NYPD? “I was working on police accountability issues because they were important to me,” Asim Rehman, ’01, says. “Not because I was looking for a job.” 

Beauty image of the azaleas in bloom in the Law School Courtyard Beauty image of the azaleas in bloom in the Law School Courtyard

Impact Winter 2020

Cause and Effect: A Donor and His Scholarship Recipient Reflect on Their Connection to Michigan Law

In 2005, Bob Currie created the Robert J. Currie Scholarship Fund. Today, it prioritizes students who are veterans. Matthew Sierawski, ’18, was the first recipient under this new designation. We speak to Bob and Matthew about the opportunities they found through Michigan Law, the campus today, and the impact of scholarships on students who need them.

Meegan Brooks headshot Meegan Brooks headshot

In Practice

Meegan Brooks, ’13: An Advocate for the Retail Industry

Throughout law school, Meegan Brooks, ’13, was most interested in cases involving retail brands and other companies that she admired. Brooks joined Sedgwick LLP as a 2L summer associate and became enamored with its retail practice group, which specialized in defending consumer class actions. “I identified their work as being fun and cool and interesting,” she says.

Beauty image of the Law School Dinning Hall Beauty image of the Law School Dinning Hall

Impact

Recent Gifts: Winter 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.

Craig Kramer Craig Kramer

In Practice

Craig Kramer, ’87: Mental Health Ambassador

“My overarching goal is to help transform mental health care worldwide. It’s broken everywhere, and it is a global problem,” says Craig Kramer, ’87, Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) first mental health ambassador. But raising awareness about and erasing the stigma of mental illness were not part of his plan as a Michigan Law graduate—nor was it where he started.

Beauty images of the Arches Beauty images of the Arches

Briefs

News in Brief: Winter 2020

Professor Catharine A. MacKinnon receives NOW award  |  U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, ’05, presents Constitution Day address  |  Six Michigan Law alums join the Supreme Court Bar  |  Fiske Fellows announced  |  and much more...

Graphic for "A Seat at the table" There is a fork, gavel, and plate Graphic for "A Seat at the table" There is a fork, gavel, and plate

Cover Story Winter 2020

A Seat at the Table: Legal Careers in the Food Industry

From Texas Roadhouse to Massachusetts dairy, we profile alumni working across the food industry's varied legal landscape. This includes a food lawyer who, “has participated in the development of virtually every law and regulation affecting the food industry in the last four decades,” an environmental lawyer advocating for sustainable meat production, a food writer, and a fast-food franchise owner.

 Michigan Law through the Years: A Faculty Perspective  Michigan Law through the Years: A Faculty Perspective

@UMICHLAW Winter 2020

Michigan Law through the Years: A Faculty Perspective

John Nannes, ’73, a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and the national chair of the Victors for Michigan campaign, moderated a conversation on how Michigan Law has changed. Faculty members Evan Caminker; Doug Kahn; Ted St. Antoine, ’54; and Christina Whitman, ’74 participated in the discussion. 

Paul Nightingale headshot Paul Nightingale headshot

Cover Story

Paul Nightingale, ’86: Dairy Innovator

In his 16 years as senior vice president and general counsel of the Massachusetts-based dairy company HP Hood LLC, Paul Nightingale, ’86, has witnessed many changes in the industry. “With a company like this, we have to look elsewhere to make up for conventional dairy’s declining market share.” 

A group of people from the Michigan Law School Tax Clinic smiling and standing together feeling proud of the work they are accomplishing.  A group of people from the Michigan Law School Tax Clinic smiling and standing together feeling proud of the work they are accomplishing.

@UMICHLAW

Tax Day, Every Day

On the last Thursday in July, members of Michigan Law’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) arrived early at Legal Services of South Central Michigan in Ypsilanti to set up for their walk-in tax event. By 9:30 a.m., a half hour before the doors opened, four people were already waiting in line.

Image of Bread Rolls photo by Alexander Schimmeck Image of Bread Rolls photo by Alexander Schimmeck

Cover Story

Nora FitzGerald Meldrum, ’99: ‘Legendary’ Legal Service at Texas Roadhouse

“Legendary food, legendary service” is the mission statement of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain. And for in-house lawyer Nora FitzGerald Meldrum, ’99, legendary legal service is what she aspires to provide to the company and its nearly 60,000 employees.

 Two people standing in-front of a sign in Ethiopia. Left to right 2Ls Millan Bederu and Robert Shoemaker.  Two people standing in-front of a sign in Ethiopia. Left to right 2Ls Millan Bederu and Robert Shoemaker.

@UMICHLAW

Real-life Lawyering in Ethiopia

Millan Bederu and Robert Shoemaker, student-attorneys in the ITC, visited Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, on behalf of a U.S.-based client of Ethiopian origin who is interested in organizing a fund to invest in Ethiopian small- to medium-sized enterprises. “We could research statutes and regulations on our end, but figuring out how the fund was going to work on the ground was something we didn’t have a direct line of sight on.”

Gary Jay Kushner looking off into the distance Gary Jay Kushner looking off into the distance

Cover Story

Gary Jay Kushner, AB ’72: Shaping Food Law and Public Policy

When Gary Jay Kushner, AB ’72, began his legal career in the mid-1970s, he had dreams of becoming the next Perry Mason. So it was by accident that instead of becoming a famous litigator, Kushner became one of the leading experts in food law.

Installation and Performance Series in a courtroom at the UM Law School Installation and Performance Series in a courtroom at the UM Law School

@UMICHLAW

UMMA to Present Witness Lab Courtroom Installation and Performance Series

A courtroom installation and performance series that frames witnessing as a social and artistic act will open at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) in February.

 Nicolette Hahn Niman in front of field  Nicolette Hahn Niman in front of field

Cover Story

Nicolette Hahn Niman, ’93: Food Activist

On Nicolette Hahn Niman’s Northern California ranch, just outside San Francisco, beef cattle and heritage turkeys roam freely on wide-open spaces. Fresh air, clean water, and grassy pastures are in abundant supply. And buildings that continually confine large herds of animals are nowhere to be found. 

First Class of MACL Graduates. Throwing up their hats with excitement. First Class of MACL Graduates. Throwing up their hats with excitement.

@UMICHLAW Winter 2020

Michigan Law Celebrates First Class of MACL Graduates

Nine students who completed Michigan Law’s inaugural Master of Advanced Corporation Law (MACL) program celebrated their graduation last August. “This first graduating class is a testament to the dedicated work of so many faculty and staff within the institution. It is also a testament to our extraordinary students.”

Emily Paster Emily Paster

Cover Story

Emily Paster, ’99: From Legal Appeals to Appealing Recipes

Take a peek at Emily Paster’s West of the Loop blog, and you’ll find recipes for braised beef brisket, potato latkes, and kreplach. Hungry yet? Paster has more recipes to share, including beginner peach jam, apple and honey cupcakes for Rosh Hashanah, and parmesan green bean fries made in an air fryer.

 John Ramer, ’17  John Ramer, ’17

@UMICHLAW

Ramer, ’17, Receives Prestigious Bristow Fellowship

Only four or five Bristow Fellowships are awarded annually by the U.S. Department of Justice. A prestigious honor, its holders are allowed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. John Ramer, ’17, is now among their ranks. 

Kevin Scott and family Kevin Scott and family

Cover Story Winter 2020

Kevin Scott, ’83: Franchise Owner

It was a busy Friday night, and Kevin Scott, ’83, was learning how to work the fryers. It was his first day in the kitchen of a Culver’s fast-food restaurant, and Scott—unaccustomed to the cacophony of buzzers going off—was doing his best to keep up with the orders.

Lara Finkbeiner Lara Finkbeiner

@UMICHLAW Winter 2020

Finkbeiner, ’13, Named Public Interest Director

“As a student, I met regularly with a previous public interest director, and her guidance shaped my career inside and outside of law school. That experience played no small role in my decision to apply for this position. I aspire to have that same kind of impact on the students and community here today.”

Freeing the Wrongfully Convicted: Michigan Innocence Clinic Celebrates 10th Anniversary Freeing the Wrongfully Convicted: Michigan Innocence Clinic Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Features Winter 2020

Freeing the Wrongfully Convicted: Michigan Innocence Clinic Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Twenty-two individuals who were wrongly convicted of crimes and served nearly 290 combined years behind bars have been freed thanks to the work of the Michigan Innocence Clinic (MIC). And for Dave Moran, ’91, and Imran Syed, ’11, each new exoneration is as sweet as the first.

Valerie Jarrett Valerie Jarrett

@UMICHLAW Winter 2020

Valerie Jarrett, ’81: Looking Back and Moving Forward

“The fact that generation after generation of my family had overcome enormous obstacles to succeed, and my parents had made sacrifices so I could have the opportunity to be on that campus, was never far from my mind,”  writes former White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, ’81, in her memoir, Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward.

Beauty image of the Dining Hall Beauty image of the Dining Hall

Impact

Campaign Wrap-up

None of what we do at the Law School would be possible without the support of our alumni and friends. Private funding plays a crucial role in helping to attract the best and brightest students, recruit and retain a world-class faculty, and deliver the outstanding legal education for which Michigan Law is known.

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

@UMICHLAW

Law School Welcomes New Faculty

Six faculty members with expertise ranging from corporate law and criminal justice to constitutional law and civil liberties have joined Michigan Law. Five fellows have also joined the Law School

Beauty image of the Reading Room, looking up from the Courtyard Beauty image of the Reading Room, looking up from the Courtyard

Impact

New Student Fellowship to Bolster Internationalism at Michigan Law

“It’s been on my mind to do something that would allow me to leave a small footprint at one of my alma maters,” says Thomas Schürrle, LLM ’87. Schürrle and Alfred Wiederkehr, MCL ’68, co-founded the European Alumni Fellowship Fund to demonstrate to prospective students the strength of the Law School’s European alumni community.

Beauty Image of the inside of the Law School Reading Room Beauty Image of the inside of the Law School Reading Room

@UMICHLAW Winter 2020

@UMICHLAW: Winter 2020

Chinese scholars visit Michigan Law  |  Michigan Law hosts Transnational Conference  |  Clinical Professor of Law Paul Reingold retires  |  and more...

A Legacy of Lasting Friendships A Legacy of Lasting Friendships

Impact Winter 2020

A Legacy of Lasting Friendships

By splitting a $100,000 gift between them, two close friends and former Michigan Law classmates established a scholarship to celebrate the most defining aspect of their time at the Law School: friendship.

James Blakemore, ’13 (left), and Josh Garcia, ’13 (right), with their business partner, Zachary Fallon. James Blakemore, ’13 (left), and Josh Garcia, ’13 (right), with their business partner, Zachary Fallon.

In Practice Winter 2020

James Blakemore, ’13, and Josh Garcia, ’13: Blockchain Made Them a Team

Blockchain has come into focus in the last several years. James Blakemore, ’13, and Josh Garcia, ’13, have expertise in the technology, which, as Blakemore explains, “allows people to verify transactions and come to consensus regarding the current distribution of an asset, like bitcoin, without relying on third parties like banks.”

Bruce Vinokour Bruce Vinokour

Impact

New Scholarship Supports Student Exploration

Bruce Vinokour, ’72, holds his law school experience in such high esteem that his wife, Stephanie, recalls it being one of the first topics he brought up when they met 27 years ago. “It was clear to me then, as it is today, that Michigan embraces students like Bruce, who love to learn, and allows them to explore and find their own path,” she says. “Because of that, it was only natural for us to give back.”

Kent Whittaker Kent Whittaker

Impact Winter 2020

A Lifetime of Giving Back to Michigan Law

Kent Whittaker has given to Michigan Law every year since graduating in 1960—that’s 59 years of making a difference in the Quad. His most recent gift—a $200,000 bequest to establish the Kent E. and Judith C. Whittaker Fund for Student Support—topped off decades of supporting the Law School Fund.