San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the locale for the annual gathering, under the auspices of the Association of American Law Schools, of the clinical law teachers. Northwestern Law has a large contingent of participants in this conference, including our great director, Tom Geraghty.
This conference gives us an opportunity to showcase the remarkable work of our Bluhm Legal Clinic, a clinical program whose breadth and depth is as impressive as any clinical program in the nation.
With the help of our clinical faculty and key administrators, we have been hard at work in developing a compelling narrative of financial support for our clinic while also crafting a strategy for the future of the clinic. In these times of serious scrutiny of the shape of legal education, focused attention on how to best develop and nurture live-client skills training is a high priority. Our clinical programs provide valuable platforms for the improvement of lawyer training. We welcome input from our alumni and other friends about how best to accomplish our ambitious goals.
To: Northwestern Law Community
From: Thomas F. Geraghty, Associate Dean and Director, Bluhm Legal Clinic
Northwestern teams, coached by Esther Barron, Director of the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Entrepreneurship Law Center, stole the show at the 2013 Rice Business Plan Competition, which is self-described as the world’s richest and largest business plan competition. SiNode and BriteSeed won 1st and 2nd place and also each received several other awards and cash prizes. SiNode won $811,000 and BriteSeed won $238,000 in investments and awards. Two of BriteSeed’s four co-founders have ties to the Law School.
BriteSeed has developed a technology that detects blood vessels during surgeries which helps surgeons avoid making dangerous cuts. The BriteSeed team exemplifies Northwestern’s interdisciplinary approach to entrepreneurship education. Jonathan Gunn (class of ’13) studied patent and entrepreneurship law and also holds a doctorate in biomaterials and nanotechnology. Jonathan has published over 15 peer-reviewed articles and performed research in nanopartible-based imaging and wound-healing applications. Muneeb Bokhari (class of ’12) is an associate at Foley & Lardner. Before joining Northwestern Law, Muneeb worked in the technology industry for ten years, where he gained experience with several early stage startups as well as large multi-national firms. Fellow co-founder, Paul Fehrenbacher is a fourth-year medical student at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Before helping to establish BriteSeed, Paul served as Director of Pre-clinical Evaluation and Guidance at Wildcat Venture Management, a Chicago-based biotech company. Lastly, Mayank Vijayvergia is a masters student in Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern, where he has performed research in magnetic resonance elastography for non-invasive diagnoses of varying diseases. Esther Barron, Director of the Northwestern Entrepreneurship Law Center, proudly served as the team’s faculty advisor.
Professor Kristen Stilt Named Guggenheim Fellow
Northwestern University Law School faculty member Kristen Stilt was named a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for her work on the role of Islamic law in modern constitutions.
This year’s Fellowships were awarded to a diverse group of 175 scholars and artists from a pool of almost 3,000 applicants from the United States and Canada.
“Kristen is an exceptional scholar and colleague,” said Dean Dan Rodriguez. “Her work on Constitutional Islam is innovative and timely, with a number of countries around the world in the process of revising and rewriting their constitutions to incorporate Islam and Islamic Law. The research this Fellowship supports will illuminate how these constitutional choices are made.”
Stilt, who is also an affiliated faculty member in the history department in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, studies the historical development and contemporary practices of Islamic law. Using historical and comparative approaches, her Guggenheim project seeks to understand the growing phenomenon of enshrining references to Islam and Islamic law in national constitutions. A social history of constitution-making, the project will span a wide range of countries in the Muslim world. She is the author of Islamic Law in Action: Authority, Discretion, and Everyday Experiences in Mamluk Egypt (Oxford University Press, 2011) and coeditor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law.
Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.
“Since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has always bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to continue the tradition with this wonderfully talented and diverse group,” said Edward Hirsh, president of the Guggenheim Foundation. “It’s an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do.”
This is a letter that I, and a large number of distinguished legal educators, signed and sent to the ABA’s Task Force on legal education reform. The letter speaks for itself. It is a call for renewed attention and energy to be devoted to addressing systemic problems in legal education. These problems involve the economic model of legal education and also the structure of training we provide.
Although the particular audience for this letter is the Task Force, it is really intended to spur debate among folks inside and outside the legal academy. We welcome this debate as it can only help advance the ball.
Judge Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, will be our Trienens Distinguished Judicial Visitor this week. The good judge will be speaking in a moderate discussion tomorrow afternoon at 4 pm in Lincoln Hall.
His is a remarkable career, beginning at the Yale Law School in the early 1960′s. Guido was a founder of the law and economics movement and, in many famous writings, he brought economic analysis skillfully to the study of torts. His contributions to private law and to the intersection of law and regulation were masterful and remain highly influential in the legal academy and in policy debates. His teaching is legendary and it is hard to attend a professional conference of any size and distinction without hearing stories about the great classes with Guido. He continues to teach at Yale to this day.
A second important phase of Guido Calabresi’s career was his tenure as Yale Law School’s dean. Guido’s love for Yale and his service to the law school at which he has spent his entire professional life is an exemplar of what it means to be a devoted institutional citizen.
President Bill Clinton, Guido’s former student, appointed Calabresi to the federal bench. He has since served as one of the shining stars of the federal judiciary. His law clerks, including our own, Prof. Erin Delaney, have gone on to their own distinction.
Guido Calabresi’s life has been, as the saying goes, truly well lived in the law. We are delighted to welcome here to Northwestern Law School and we are looking forward to his visit with faculty, students, alumni, and all interested members of the Northwestern community.
After a two month hiatus.
Looking forward to posting on a variety of topics, including pressing issues in legal education, the state of the legal economy, the role Northwestern Law is playing in this new normal, and, as always, the myriad issues percolating here at the law school. Going forward, I will (usually) enable the comments function so that you should certainly contribute your own thoughts and perspectives to this blog. Please: non-anonymous and constructive comments only.
I was pleased to speak before a reception at Northwestern Law organized by the Hispanic Bar Association of Illinois. Kudos to Quarles & Brady for their help in sponsoring this gathering.
I commented about what I see to be some sobering implications of the structural changes in the legal employment market on the fate of minority lawyers, especially those just beginning their profession. Some of the specific threats include the turning away from mentoring of young lawyers of color as the demands of clients and the economic bottom line of large and, perhaps especially, small, law firms increase. Mentoring, along with pro bono service, becomes viewed as a luxury when firms face economic pressures. That has become a common result in recessionary periods; and there is every reason to believe that this will be a consequence of more structural adjustments.
Moreover, the declining job market impacts — in many cases, imperils — opportunities for students without dependable financial means. To be more blunt, growing student debt affects those most vulnerable in the economic shakeout. The imperative of dealing with student debt and the high costs of legal education is a matter of increasing attention and properly so. I only offer, in what I hope is a rather obvious way, the thought that this acute condition impacts in particular ways students of color. Thus, the diversity of the legal profession is one more thing at stake when we consider reform.
No magic answer to the problem, to be sure. But there is a great value to acknowledging that this is a potential problem and that solving it requires strategic choices and constructive partnerships between the academy and the bar.
Am visiting San Diego for two reasons: First is to participate in Northwestern’s annual Securities Regulation Institute. This is one of the premier gatherings of leading securities lawyers and public officials. Programing is rich and substantial, with panels on, for example, M&A trends and developments, overview of the current capital markets, and preparing for the 20130 IP–Impact of the JOBS Act. The Institute is simply first rate.
Second, we are gathering with San Diego-area law alums to chat about the school and to get reacquainted. We will be meeting at Sora Restaurant on 655 W. Broadway tonight at 6 p.m. in case anyone wants to come by.
With the wind chill temperature in Chicago at -9 currently, I take back all my gloating in my December post about warm winters and how I was a good luck charm.
Mea culpa, Mr. Frosty.
As we celebrate MLK day, I would urge readers to reflect on the contributions legal educators and their students — at Northwestern and other law schools — have made to the legacy of Dr. King. We are in the justice business, after all. Our profession demands scrupulous attention to the rule of law and to promoting equal justice under the law. Hard to see this as anything but rather banal in the face of client service, billable hours, and other severe demands of the day-to-day practice of law. Yet, law schools are the place for deep, sustained reflection, nested in a coherent training program, on what it means to strive through our work for equal justice. Out from under the particulars of our law school curriculum, we ask in myraid ways the question “what is the purpose of law?” Dr. King and so many others understood this in idealistic terms. The purpose centrally is to develop structures, instiutions, and rules to implement ordered liberty, to safeguard civil rights, and to facilitate and maintain justice for all individuals.
The “purpose” question can also be understood in quite practical terms. And so we as legal educators work on our teaching, our research, and our service to carry out specific, constructive strategies to realize the aims of law and the legal profession. We frequently fail, to be sure. And the demands of the profession crowd out the larger matters which undergird our central objectives. But, on this day of remembrance, we should remember why the legal profession plays such a central role in contemporary society and why legal education ought to be focused on justice considerations, that is, on the objectives that were so powerfully reflected in Dr. King’s life and achievements. Moreover, we should commit ourselves to making real improvements in this vein in both the profession and the academy.