In the early days (less than 1/2 year ago!!) of this blog, I promised posts on Chicago adventures. Indeed, a few restaurant reviews and comments on the much-maligned Northwestern Wildcats sports teams found their way into these hallowed pages. Alas, however, the pace of travel and imperative of describing and discussing many valuable bits of news about our law school has crowded out reflections on the city of big shoulders. But, as the spring turns slowly to summer, I am ready to return my gaze to this glorious city and see what is has to offer to a still-new transplant.
But let me start with an open-ended question, hopefully in the interest of generating some worthwhile comments:
What do you experienced Chicagoeans recommend to me (and to our new students — especially those who are starting this month) by way of Chicago experiences? I welcome your thoughts. And I will be back at you with some of my own observations, reflections, and, yes, reviews.
Always a great privilege and honor to see our distinguished alumnus, the Honorable John Paul Stevens. Two times with the great Justice. First, he gave a remarkably interesting talk to the ALI, focusing on the “lost” legacy of Bush v. Gore, that is, the central equal protection claim that a narrow majority of the Court (sans Stevens, of course) used to justify the result. He made the intriguing point that, under the Court’s logic in B v. G, that is, that the absence of clear standards justified overturning the Florida court on E/P grounds, then there should be especially close scrutiny of naked partisan gerrymandering. A provocative argument, one expressed by a true living legend, and captured the rapt attention of a large assemblage of America’s great lawyers, judges, and law professors. OK, so I am a law nerd . . . this was quite thrilling indeed.
This morning, a lovely meeting in Chambers with Justice Stevens. Conversation ranging from his grand time at Northwestern (playing bridge in Levy Mayer basement), playing in the Faculty v. Law Review softball game, commenting about NU alum Stephen Colbert (“a very nice man”) asking after old friends, reflecting on some recent lectures at law schools and, get this, asking me what I thought of the Kelo decision. What a privilege, what a joy to spend time with this most remarkable lawyer-judge. Northwestern’s glorious son!!
UPDATE: Justice Stevens receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom!
Our “bus” tour continued through the pacific northwest, with a quick stop in Portland to meet with a remarkable alumnus, Don Washburn, whose work as a corporate officer and lawyer at various top levels (including Northwest Airlines and Marriott Co.) has given great pride to his law school. Then on to Seattle, the beautiful, energetic hub of innovation on the upper west coast. We joined several alumni at a Thursday reception and a small group of alums for breakfast at Perkins, Coie. We also stopped by to visit with one of our distinguished judicial alums, the Honorable Richard Tallman of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the 9th Circuit.
Seattle alums are proud of their association with Northwestern Law and embrace the opportunity to welcome new grads (and even not-so-new) grads to this magnificent corner of the U.S.
Off to the Pacific Northwest on behalf of Northwestern. How is that for a twist of phrase?
Will be pleased to be visiting with alumni from Portland and Seattle. More on that later.
From the magnificent Chicago Theater:
Interesting article describing Hastings Law School’s decision to slash class size. Dean Wu describes this as an effort to “reboot the system.”
As I visit with Northwestern Law alumni, I am struck by the myriad ways in which law firms and clients are undergoing structural adjustments in order to meet the circumstances of the new legal economy. There is simply no way that law schools are impervious to these structural forces. Indeed, retail success in the law school world of the future will be measured in no small part by the scope and substance of these changes within the legal academy.
Without access to the internal information available to Hastings Law decisionmakers, it is not possible for me to assess the merits of this significant reform. But I can certainly applaud the effort to think boldly and creatively in the face of real pressures.