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A meaty contribution from our venerable Northwestern past

Courtesy of the great Dean John Henry Wigmore, who addressed the Law Alumni Banquet in June of 1921 and had this to say:

“I believe in Chicago’s commercial and industrial supremacy . . . As a center of American legal thought, it can thus vastly increase the hold which it now has on world commerce . . . It can become as famous for its law as it has been for its meat, its wheat and its repears.  Just a thousand years ago in a city in the north of Italy there grew up the first and largest law school of the modern world, and there was also devised the most popular and world-wide type of portable meat-food — the city of Bologna.  The fame of that city still rings down the ageas for two things — its sausage and its law school.  Why not also Chicago?”


Law firm of the future?

From the ABA Journal, a quick article on legal outsourcing.


Reflections on law school deaning by UC Hastings dean

who insists that being a dean at a University-embedded law school is little more than “middle management,” revealing struggle and conflict, rather than cooperation.

Not the way I see it from the perspective of my work at Northwestern.  Whatever temptation there is to think the grass is greener at free-standing law schools (of which there is a handful, with Hastings perhaps the most prestigious), it is a distinct advantage to lead a law school that is connected in a network of a world-class research university.  The opportunities for collaboration are great and the constructive conversations among dean colleagues and imaginative university leadership facilitates our objectives and gives us an opportunity to thrive — just as we improve the lot of “big NU.”

And, to boot, we have an undefeated football team to root for on Saturdays.  Go Wildcats!


Justice John Paul Stevens on the Constitution and its deficits

Interesting review of recent book by my former U. Texas colleague, Prof. Sanford Levinson.  Highly recommend the JPS review, and also the book.


New York pro bono requirement

Details and background here.


Law student stress

Helpful perspectives from working group at Northwestern Law:

In addition to providing a vibrant learning community, law schools need to address student stress and its sources.  The culture of any law school naturally engenders stress and anxiety, which can lead to poor self-care and less than ideal coping mechanisms.  At Northwestern University School of Law, we take a decidedly proactive approach to combating stress, anxiety, and depression, with a distinct focus on the tie-in to academics, the legal profession, and community building.  Together these efforts ensure that students are presented with coherent and practical strategies to combat stress and perform at their highest level.   We’d like to highlight three unique aspects of our work to create a culture of wellness and student fulfillment.  Our weeklong Orientation, including the unique Professional, ORganization, Team Advancement, and Leadership (PORTAL) series and a Day of Service capstone, is designed to highlight the balance that can be found in the study of law.  These programs seek to allow students to forge interpersonal relationships, to collaborate, and to build a community before the stress of classes and competition can set in.  In addition, our Orientation programming helps students appreciate that the start their legal education is not only the beginning of their intellectual experience but also the start of their life in the legal profession.  Upper division student involvement ensures the continuation of our strong and supportive culture of learning and achievement.  You can see the full orientation schedule at Read more »


Scalia v. Posner

Summary in Chicago Tribune of hot debate between two judicial titans on the subject of legislative history.  Commentary from my NU colleague, Prof. John McGinnis.


A Day in the Life

I read the news today, oh boy . . .

Anyway, here is the general announcement page for today, Thursday.  It is fairly typical.  It certainly gives the reader a sense of the dynamic, exciting, student-focused character of our law school.  Our students and administrators are, day after day, vitally engaged and constructively directed toward student well-being; and our faculty, as the news snippets at the end suggest, are involved in major policy debates.  It makes me proud to be at Northwestern Law.

Here are Northwestern Law events for today, Thursday, September 20, 2012, Northwestern Law announcements posted yesterday, Wednesday, September 19, 2012 and recent news items:

Events – Thursday,   September 20 Announcements
Staff   Cofee Hour Sponsored by LSSAC
Time: 9:30 AM
Location: Rubloff – Thorne Auditorium & Lobby
For more info: e-mail   | 503-0184 | more   APEX Fall 2012 Academic Programming
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Rubloff – RB175
For more info: e-mail   | 312-503-2039 | more  

CAPS Noon-time Mindfulness Roundtable with Dr.   Durr
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Levy Mayer LM108 Wigmore Hall
For more info: e-mail   | 503-0625 | more  

Entrepreneurship Law Center Student Group
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Levy Mayer LM204 Booth Hall
For more info: e-mail   | 3125032518 | more  

Former Students Know Best
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: McCormick – MC195 Strawn Hall
For more info: e-mail   | 312-503-2039 | more  

International Externship Briefing
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Rubloff – RB180
For more info: e-mail   | 38579 | more  

International Law Society Introductory Meeting
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Rubloff – RB140
For more info: e-mail   | 312.503.0625 | more  

Supreme Court Clinic Moot Court: Ryan v.   Gonzales
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Rubloff – RB155 Parrillo Courtroom
For more info: e-mail   | 312-503-2689 | more  

Chicago Campus Shin Dig Ice Cream Social Event
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Rubloff – Atrium
For more info: e-mail   | 312-503-1606 | more  

Former Students Know Best
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Rubloff – RB150
For more info: e-mail   | 312-503-2039 | more  

Just The Beginning Foundation
Time: 4:30 PM
Audience: Community
Location: Throne-Auditorium
For more info: e-mail   | 3-2039 | more  

Northwestern Law in   the News
Scalia   wages war of words with federal appeals judge in Chicago
John O. McGinnis in The Chicago Tribune, September 19, 2012Northwestern Law   Community: If you have media coverage to report, please contact

Communications and Legal Reasoning Program: News!

I am delighted to report that we have a new Director of our Communication and Legal Reasoning coming aboard at the beginning of the next academic year.  Michelle Falkoff joins us from the University of Iowa College of Law where she has been teaching legal analysis, writing, and research for six years.  A graduate of Columbia Law School, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Michelle has been widely lauded for her great skills as a writing teacher and her extraordinary work as a colleague in Iowa’s fine writing and research program.

The CLR program at Northwestern Law School is a centerpiece of our first-year skills program.  Through the hard work of our CLR instructional staff, we hone oral and written communications skills and help prepare students for the demanding world of legal practice.  In this world, excellent communication skills are essential.  With Michelle’s leadership and guidance, I look forward to taking CLR to an even greater level of excellence and reputation.


Midwest legal market

“Back to the Land” is how the National Law Journal puts it.  Well, not exactly “Grapes of Wrath” here, but a more intriguing theme, which is the interesting perspective in these articles on the patterns and practices in the Midwest legal market.  We at Northwestern Law are proudly part of the Midwest — America’s heartland, squarely embedded in Chicago, the quintessential American city.  Elsewhere in the Midwest are extraordinary opportunities for professional success and personal fulfillment.

Notice the chart at the end of the post which describes the large cohort of Midwest, non-Chicago law firms.  These firms are, if I may say so, highly interested in our terrific students.  Given the conditions of the American legal employment market, it is important to think constructively about promising opportunities in our nation’s great midwest.  I say this with care.  Our students — highly talented, competitive, and ambitious — should pursue emplohyment opportunities where they desire.  Our students compete well with students of other law schools in every major job market in the U.S.  But we are responsible only if we help counsel our students to maximize their options; and I am committed, as dean, to advance the interest of our law school wherever that interest lies.  To that end, I am anxious, as is our able Career Strategy office, to enhance opportunities in the key cities of the midwest — all of the cities.