Welcome friends of Northwestern University School of Law. I hope you will enjoy these observations about our Law School, about legal education and the rapidly changing legal profession, and about (on a somewhat lighter note) the adventures of a new transplant to the City of Big Shoulders.
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Earlier this week, The Princeton Review released its annual Best Law Schools guide, and I am pleased to report that Northwestern Law once again has placed at or near the top in a number of categories, including the #1 spot for Best Career Prospects—a position we have held for 6 of the 10 years that The Princeton Review has published these rankings.
The Princeton Review compiled the lists based on surveys of 19,500 students attending 169 law schools during the 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14 academic years. According to its site, the survey asked students about their school’s academics, student body and campus life, and their career plans.
I am delighted by our strong showing in several important categories and am particularly pleased with the consistency of our Best Career Prospects ranking over time. These results serve as a ringing endorsement of the many features that embody the Northwestern Law Difference—our outstanding students and faculty, our collaborative culture, our innovative programs, the effective manner in which we educate and prepare students for their careers, and the myriad ways our alumni positively impact society.
I also would like to thank our Career Strategy Center team for the services and counsel they provide to our students and graduates—they have done an exceptional job.
As this article in Forbes explains yet again, the employment picture for recent law grads is not rosy. There has been a fundamental shift in the hiring market for legal talent, and it is incumbent upon us in legal education to acknowledge, understand, and respond to this evolution. I’ve written about this a lot on this blog because the legal job market—and in particular, jobs for Northwestern Law graduates—continues to be a major focus of my efforts. I appreciate the acknowledgement of our efforts from the students who responded to The Princeton Review’s survey, and want to stress that we will in no way “rest on our laurels.” There is much yet to be done.
Earlier this month, Professor Ronald Allen was awarded the 2014 China Friendship Award. Ron recently returned from the award ceremony in Beijing, where he and his fellow award recipients were well and justly celebrated—they met with the Prime Minister and Vice-Prime Minister, and they were invited by the President to attend a state dinner celebrating the 65th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Ron was also the guest of honor at a publication party for his book, Professor Allen on Evidence.
While he was in Beijing he also met with members of the Supreme People’s Court to discuss the ongoing efforts to develop a modern universal evidence code for the People’s Republic of China.
Ron is the Chair of the Foreign Board of Advisors of the Evidence Law and Forensic Sciences Institute at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. He is also the sole non-Chinese advisor to the National Research Project on the Law of Evidence, an initiative conducted at the behest of the Supreme People’s Court as part of the effort to reform that country’s evidentiary rules. Ron has been working with the Chinese on this for nearly fifteen years. In January, he will return to China for a working session with the committee—on which, interestingly, a number of Ron’s former students also serve—to comment on the current draft of the reform document.
In November, Ron will host an important conference here at Northwestern Law, “The Foundations of the Law of Evidence and their Implications for Developing Countries,” at which legal scholars and prominent law reformers from around the world—notably from China and Tanzania—will discuss the process by which developing countries adapt, adopt, and evolve their legal systems. Based solely on the list of participating scholars, I am confident that the discussions will have real and meaningful effects worldwide.
Thanks to Ron for his many contributions to Northwestern Law, and to the larger world.
Today and tomorrow the Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth will host the Fourth Annual Research Roundtable on the Law and Economics of Digital Markets. Peter DiCola, Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern Law, and Shane Greenstein, Kellogg Chair in Information Technology at the Kellogg School of Management, organize this ongoing roundtable series. The papers presented will include both economic studies of the transition to digital retail of music and legal studies of how copyright law and contract law intersect in the digital environment. This is a unique forum for business economists and legal scholars to come together to discuss the radical changes to the copyright industries brought about by new technology. It’s fascinating work.
Peter and Shane have brought together an interesting and important group of scholars for this event—a complete list of participants and roundtable papers can be found on the Searle Center website.
UPDATE: Great coverage from ABC News on the visit.
Robert Downey Jr. is in Chicago today promoting his new film, The Judge, which opens this weekend. He stopped by the Law School to discuss the movie with our students.
Third-year student Leesa Haspel and I moderated the Q & A. Because the character Robert plays in the film is a Northwestern Law graduate, Leesa kicked it off by asking how he prepared to play a lawyer. His response? “Well, first of all, I tried to get on the other side of the bench.” The discussion that followed was by turns thoughtful and irreverent, ranging in subject from the production of The Judge, to the actor’s craft, to what makes a great lawyer.
The Q & A was videorecorded, and I invite you to watch it here.
It was great having Robert here – I now count him among our alumni, even if he only played one on the silver screen.
Enjoyable week in Madrid, visiting with students and faculty in our joint executive LLM program with IE. I co-taught two classes with The Hon. Margaret McKeown of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit. The program is an excellent opportunity for students around the world to get an intense education in law & business.
Here are pictures of students and Prof. Jim Lupo, in class and at a dinner held at the Real Madrid soccer stadium.