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“What Cooperstown is to baseball, Chicago is to false confessions”

See this Atlantic article on a remarkable story from the annals of the Northwestern Law School Center on Wrongful Convictions (making special note of the remarkable work of its co-director, Karen Daniel).


Beat Cal

Some hype from Lake the Posts about tomorrow’s season opener between the Wildcats and California-Berkeley.

Only the second time they have met, the first being our victory in the 1949 Rose Bowl.


Go Cats.


Chicago in fog

No, not a metaphor.  Actually, pictures of Chicago on an unusually foggy morning.



All-Alumni weekend at NU Law

Alums join us at our special alumni weekend, September 27-28.  Myriad of events and programs at the Law School, including special interest panels, conversation about the Law School and, of course, social gatherings to join with your classmates to talk about the good old days.

We look forward to seeing you.


“I Have a Dream” at Fifty

Martin Luther King Jr’s powerful speech was delivered during the March on Washington fifty years ago.  Do take a few minutes to read and listen.

The speech is a compelling call to action, a description of the covenants of a great nation, one committed to the ideal of ordered liberty and equal justice under the law.

Five decades afterward, it is a reminder of how far we have come and how far we still have to travel to realize Dr. King’s vision.

Lawyers are part of this process, essential to realizing these commitments.  It is a high calling and a substantial responsibility.  On this fiftieth anniversary of a remarkable moment in our nation’s history, it is worth reflecting on exactly this.


Lake the Posts blog for your Northwestern Wilcats fix

The blog of record for all things Purple athletic.

This is the remarkable creation of NU alum and TeamWorks Media founder, Jay Sharman.  I met him at the Meineke Car Care Bowl in December ’11 (where we came up short against the pre-Johnny Football Texas A&M Aggies).  His support for the Cats is deep and infectious.  Last evening, we gathered with LTP fans at a local watering hole to hear from some great Wildcat QBs and to help build some esprit de corps as to go into this season of, with apologies with Charles Dickens, “great expectations.”

Opening kickoff is Saturday evening as we take on my old employer, the University of California Berkeley Golden Bears.

Let’s show some NU Law love for the Cats.


Qualcomm gift of $2 million to support work at NU Law on Innovation Economics

Exciting stuff.

Here is a short notice from ABA Journal.


2-year law school debate continued: In the spin zone

Above the Law post on this afternoon’s discussion among me, David Lat, and Elie Mystal on the value of the third year of law school.

Their big blog; they get to do the spin.  On my tiny blog, I get to do my own spin, and here it is:

1.  “Dean Rodriguez basically agrees that the third year as currently constituted doesn’t give a whole lot of value to students who are asked to pay full price.”

Well, not exactly.  My first words out were, “depends upon the law school.”  Law schools — all law schools — must justify the value added in the third year.  Not sure that all (most?) law schools can do so.  Because we are requiring this large amount of third-year tuition, we must constantly answer the question:  What is the added value?  In Northwestern’s case, it is a congeries of skills training courses, including work in a world-class clinic; it is appearing on behalf of clients in court; advising small-business owners in our entrepreneurship law center; working in our trial advocacy program; writing and editing for one of the many law journals; taking part in our distinctive third-year research program; externing for a state judge . . .  you get the point.  Whether and to what extent other law schools can make out the case for the third year is a fair question and it is right for the ATL folks to push us to answer the question.

What is not so right is to insist that the 3rd year is inherently valueless and, as the President suggested yesterday, could easily be replaced by a clerkship with a judge or a stint with a private law firm.

I stand by my comments in the press that the third year of law school, and the tuition we collect, should be earned.

(2) “Yay 3L year.”  Nonstop party for Elie Mystal.  “Don’t act like I’m the only one.”  No, you are not the only one.  But, in this difficult marketplace, law firms are truly looking to law schools to do more substantial practical training, to equip students with the skills — the practical skills — to hit the ground running.  True, there remain a handful of schools (Northwestern is one; so, too, apparently are the two elite schools from which Mr. Lat and Mr. Mystal had the good fortune of graduating) where a large proportion of students have their Biglaw jobs lined up by the end of the second summer.  But the times they are a’changing.  Moreover, for most law schools, the reality is considerably different.  For law students of these law schools, the time in the third year is spent augmenting their skills and burnishing their credentials.  Their job search is active and intense throughout their third year and often beyond.  For these students, the third year is not for Madden football, Mexico spring break and, as Mr. Lat said in the interview, improving one’s golf game.  It is for skill-building and job-searching; it is for making this transformative transition to becoming a lawyer. Read more »


CNBC on 2-year law school: NU Law dean meets Above the Law



Northwestern Law Orientation 2013

Herewith a copy of my remarks at this morning’s NU Law Orientation:

Welcome to the Northwestern Law School class of 2016.  We have here students in our several degree programs, including entering JD students from our regular and accelerated JD programs, and of our JD/MBA program. We also welcome the students who have transferred to Northwestern after spending their first year elsewhere.  Last, but not least, we welcome the students to our two LLM programs, the program in Tax and the LLM program for foreign lawyers.

All of you share in common that you are valued new members of our Northwestern Law School community and we are looking forward to working with you during your time here and, when your studies are completed, welcoming you into the Northwestern family as treasured alumni.

While we look forward to our accomplishments at Northwestern Law, you are already a very accomplished group.  You come here with outstanding academic credentials of course and, because of our unique admissions process, most of you come here with some substantial work experience and life experience accumulated after your undergraduate studies.

One of my favorite parts of the Orientation experience is learning from our admissions folks something about the exceptional experiences that this class has made before coming to Northwestern.  None of you will be surprised by the range of academic achievements.  So, seated among you are Rhodes, Fulbright, Truman, and National Merit Scholars.  But also seated among you are a slew of accomplished college debaters, former college and university student body presidents, and All-American athletes.  There is a former world-champion speed skater and a member of the 2006 BCS champion, Texas Longhorns.

There are several Peace Corps alumni and also alumni from the Teach for America program.  There are former employees of the White House, the US Embassy in Moscow, the United Kingdom House of Parliament, the American Embassy in Manila, and the US Consulate General in Dusseldorf.  And we are proud to welcome alumni members of our nation’s Armed Forces, individuals from all branches who have served our country with distinction.  Three of you have top secret clearance, so I know if I asked you a question around the law school and you told me, you’d have to kill me.  But it gets even worse for me, because I understand there are several black belts in the class as well.

You have climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, backpacked the 165 mile Tahoe Rim trail and the 211 mile John Muir trail and you have completed marathons in the Twin Cities, Chicago, Boston, and New York. Read more »