We have a number of significant events coming up this week at Northwestern Law.
On Thursday evening, we will be launching the public phase of our comprehensive funding campaign. We will join with over 200 alumni, faculty, students, staff, and friends to celebrate NU Law and to look ahead to our great fundraising objectives. Please check out the Law School’s campaign website for up-to-date information about our campaign. (And, of course, news about our campaign will be featured on this blog).
On Friday, we will honor a number of distinguished law alumni at our second annual awards ceremony. We are especially pleased to welcome home Justice John Paul Stevens.
That same day, we will meet with our Law Board, the alumni advisor group to the Law School. I look forward to updating this group about the progress of our strategic plan.
On Friday afternoon and through Saturday, we will host our all-alumni weekend, with several programs and panels and also a Q & A session with me about the Law School. Finally, on Saturday night, we will celebrate with many alumni their reunions. We welcome back all our alumni from Chicago and around the world.
International law and law and economics expert, and one of my colleagues here at Northwestern Law, Eugene Kontorovich has been tracking the phenomenon of “gaolbalization” for a few years now. Earlier this week he published an update on The Volokh Conspiracy that is well worth a read.
Along with our entering JD and LLM students, we welcome a new group of students to Northwestern Law School: the inaugural class of our new Master of Science in Law (MSL) program. These students are scientists, engineers, and medical professionals who will study the foundations of law and regulation in a one-year program that focuses on intellectual property & patent law, regulatory analysis & strategy, and business law & entrepreneurship. The 30 members of our MSL entering class come from a diverse mix of backgrounds and interests – all share in common that they want to combine their technical expertise with legal and business skills so that they can work effectively at the interface of law, business, and technology/science.
In the days/weeks ahead, I will share more about the MSL program and the innovative curriculum we are providing to MSL students. For now, though, I wanted to give you a sense of who are the students in the MSL program – the trailblazing souls who will set the tone for the MSL program for years to come.
By the numbers:
18 full-time and 12 part-time students
15 women and 15 men
Average age: 30
50% have advanced degrees, with 4 PhDs, 1 PharmD
One-third from life sciences, one-third from engineering, last third split between medicine, chemistry, and technology.
Two-thirds have work experience after their undergraduate or advanced degrees.
Two-thirds are from US; one-third are international students, representing China, India, and Mexico.
To give you a better sense of who is in the MSL program, let me detail the backgrounds of some of our MSL students here:
- A patent agent who did her undergraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania in Bioengineering and has been working as a patent agent for the past 8 years.
- A research scientist at Northwestern who an MS in Immunology & Microbiology from Rush University.
- A recent undergraduate from USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering who studied Chemical Engineering and Nanotechnology and is interested in management consulting and private equity.
- A student who just finished his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Iowa and is interested in becoming a scientific advisor or technical specialist.
- A recent undergraduate from Tongji University in Shanghai, China, who studied Software Engineering and did an internship at eBay.
- A student who graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in integrative biology who is interested in public health and the future of health care and medicine.
- A research assistant professor at the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute who has his PhD in Neurobiology.
- A student who recently earned his Master’s in Civil Engineering and a Master’s in Architecture from the University of Illinois who wants to design, engineer, and construct super insulated buildings.
- A student who earned his BS in Biomedical Engineering in Mexico and wants to start his own medical device company
- A student from India with a BS and MS is Biotechnology who wants to help researchers avoid legal obstacles surrounding their discoveries and inventions.
- A pharmacist who would like to work in the pharmaceutical industry and be involved with the process of making medications available to the public.
- A person with a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, and an MS in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A & M who has been working as a Safety & Regulatory Engineer.
- A student with a master’s degree in Urban Planning & Policy, who is a legal operations manager at a technology company.
- A data assistant at Northwestern University who is interested in becoming more involved with scientific research and grant administration.
- A student who started his own software company and has earned degrees in Product Design and Development and Values-Driven Leadership.
- A lab manager at the Lurie Cancer Center who has an MS in Biotechnology from Rush University.
- A Histology Technologist in the Pathology Core Facility at Northwestern.
- A Post-Approval Monitoring Coordinator in an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
- A consultant with an MBA and a Master’s in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois.
- A PhD in Neuroscience who is a compliance analyst in a University Conflict of Interest office.
- A Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist at a construction products company with an undergraduate degree in Biology.
One thing that these students have told us is that the program really “hit the spot” for them – these are people interested in the intersection of law, business, and technology who are happy to have found a program that is specifically tailored to their exact interests. We are happy that these students found their way to our program and look forward to a productive and exciting year with them.
Our esteemed colleague, Professor Ronald Allen, is a 2014 recipient of the China Friendship Award, the highest award the People’s Republic of China gives to honor non-Chinese nationals for “outstanding contribution[s] to China’s economic and social progress.” The award will be granted September 29 and 30, 2014, at a ceremony in Beijing.
Established in 1991 to recognize the importance of international exchange and cooperation, it is a fitting honor for Ron, who has been actively participating in China’s efforts to reform their evidentiary laws for the last fifteen years or so.
The Fall 2014 issue of the Northwestern Law Reporter—at the printer today, copies available late next week—includes a lengthy article about Ron’s work reforming evidence laws around the world. Here is an excerpt:
During the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, many of the country’s lawyers and intellectuals were killed, and the legal system was gutted. After Communist Party leader Mao Zedong died in 1976, successor Deng Xiopeng struggled in his push for economic growth, in part, Allen said, because “The economy can’t function without a legal system. At that point, you’re just bartering.”
So in the 1980s, Chinese scholars began traveling overseas to learn law and economics, an effort that ultimately led to Chicago when members of the reformist vanguard determined that evidentiary reform was a smart starting point and that Allen could help them learn the field.
The underlying legal principles [of China’s evidence code] are Germanic in origin and they were adopted by the leaders of Republic of China after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1912. The legal system was declawed but not replaced after the mid-century Communist revolution, so the same foundation remains in place. That system doesn’t feature American-style adversarial proceedings and thus doesn’t decentralize the evidentiary process. “My students are grafting an Anglo-American conception of the law of evidence onto a Germanic system, and the Germans would say you can’t do it,” Allen said. “The Chinese are saying, ‘Yes, we can.’ And so it’s kind of a fun and interesting exercise.”
Some of Allen’s students drafted a code of evidence that has been adopted by several Chinese judicial districts. Meanwhile, several other districts have adopted alternative evidentiary codes, and last year the nation’s highest court started a research program to investigate more formal legal reform. Allen is an advisor to the 30-person committee, which includes many of his former students.
This year’s Friendship Award complements an earlier honor: in 2007, Ron was designated a Yangtze River Scholar by China’s Ministry of Education. This was in recognition of his work with the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, to “reform the legal system of the People’s Republic of China.”
Please join me in congratulating Ron on this richly deserved honor!
At the Northwestern-California game on Saturday, three brave law students, one each from the JD, LLM, and MSL program kicked a field goal for a chance to win some scholarship money. Two of three made it (and the one who didn’t can blame it on me as the holder!).
Congrats to these three great sports! Go Cats.
A key part of our Northwestern Law entering class are our foreign students — that is, the dozens of students from across the world who join us either as part of our LLM graduate program for foreign lawyers, our first-year JD class, transfer students, and members of our new Master of Science in Law program for STEM professionals.
Whatever the program, these foreign lawyers enrich our community in tangible ways. They bring the perspectives gleaned from educational and legal experience in other countries — some quite different than the U.S. So, for example, many of our foreign lawyer law students have been educated in civil law systems and bring to bear unique perspectives to our essentially common law system in the U.S. Others have worked on significant international transactions and can and do enrich class discussions with critical experiences emerging out of this unique work.
Likewise, the exposure these foreign students have to American law students and (mostly) American law faculty enriches their work and their lives here in the U.S. It is truly an international dialogue at work, with foreign perspectives drawn into the mix of our pedagogical work and domestic perspectives radiating out among a large foreign contingent. None of this is accidental, of course. We are a purposive international community of students and faculty and we are proud to build upon our global strategies while improving the quality of our educational program provided to our foreign visitors.
In the coming months, I expect to report more specifically on some of our central global programs and projects.