Happy New Year and very well wishes for a healthy, productive, and in every way successful, 2014 to all of our friends.
As I begin my third year as dean of Northwestern Law School and embark on a new hobby, the presidency of the Association of American Law Schools, I want to say just a few words of gratitude to all of those who have been so supportive of my work, and our collaborative initiatives, at not only this fine law school but on behalf of legal education more generally. We live and work in challenging times. Indeed, legal education is at a crossroads, and we would do well to continue our hard work at thinking creatively, strategically, and boldly about how best to educate our students, reduce students’ financial burdens, and equip them for a successful future in a dynamic profession. There is no better time to rethink our central premises and refocus on our central objectives; and there is no better place to engage in this tall task than at a law school known for its innovation, its ingenuity, and its commitment to excellence.
This year brought some extraordinary successes and significant milestones. As always, the Bluhm Legal Clinic figured prominently in these achievements. Our Children and Family Justice Center received a MacArthur “genius” award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Our Center on Wrongful Convictions continued its remarkable work on behalf of the wrongfully accused by helping secure key exonerations and supporting criminal justice reform in our community. The Center on International Human Rights received many accolades, including a prestigious Berlin Prize for its distinguished director, Professor David Scheffer.
Other centers and programs prospered through their important scholarly work and professional outreach. Building on the strong financial support of Qualcomm, Inc., the Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth embarked on a novel new initiative in “innovative economics,” this along with the creative policy work advanced by the Center under the imaginative leadership of its new director, Professor Matt Spitzer. Outreach to the legal community was a prominent part of this year’s agenda at Northwestern, as we continued the good work of key programs such as the Corporate Counsel Institute (now in its second half century!), the Securities Regulation Institute, and the Garrett Institute. We organized many conferences and meetings, bringing in distinguished lawyers and jurists to discuss, for example, jury reform, juvenile justice, sports law and many other contemporary issues of significance to our students and to the profession. We welcomed many prominent visitors, including eminent judges and officials from the U.S. and abroad. This fall, we brought back hundreds of alums to Streeterville for our first-ever all-alumni weekend, including our inaugural alumni awards celebration at the University Club of Chicago. Read more
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark Supreme Court decision establishing the right to counsel in criminal proceedings, Northwestern Law is proud to announce the creation of the Gideon’s Promise Fellowship Program. This initiative will provide up to three graduating law students with grants, training, and job placement services that will allow them to begin their careers by representing some of those most desperately in need of legal assistance—at public defender offices in the American South.
These fellowships are offered in partnership with the Gideon’s Promise program and the Law School Partnership Project, which trains, mentors, and supports young public defenders. Gideon’s Promise will place fellowship recipients in one of several public defender offices in the South. To date, nine offices have joined the program with more to follow. The fellowship will provide training and support for these new lawyers for three full years.
Fellows will receive a stipend of $50,000 (plus benefits) and will be guaranteed permanent positions at the affiliated public defender offices after conclusion of the fellowship term.
The three Northwestern Law fellowships are supported by the Jay A. Pritzker Fellowship Program, funded by the Jay A. Pritzker Foundation, and the Bluhm Legal Clinic, which has been representing indigent individuals in criminal proceedings since its founding in 1969. (There will be additional Jay A. Pritzker Fellowships available later this year, for students interested in working at other nonprofit and government agencies.)
Earlier this year, HBO Documentaries produced Gideon’s Army, a remarkable documentary about three young public defenders in the Gideon’s Promise program. Information about this interesting—and revealing—film can be found on the HBO Documentaries website.
Northwestern Law students interested in applying should submit this application to Ali Flaum and Steve Drizin by January 21, 2014. Applicants will be interviewed in late January and selected in early February. If you have additional questions about the program, please contact Ali Flaum.
Alumnus Neil Bluhm has made a $15 million dollar gift to our Law School—the largest gift in the Law School’s history.
Neil Bluhm and I want his gift to be allocated in ways that will help us accomplish key law school objectives. The largest portion of the gift—$6 million—will be unrestricted. We anticipate that these funds will be used to fund key initiatives growing out of our strategic planning process. It will also enable us to make progress on the essential objective of alleviating student debt by attending to need-based financial aid. The Law School’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program will be the next biggest beneficiary of the gift. $5 million dollars, invested in an endowment which we will establish and add to steadily, will be used to help graduates who accept public service and government jobs repay law school loans. The Bluhm Legal Clinic will receive $3 million to strengthen its endowment and enhance clinical legal education programs. (These funds are in addition to the $7 million that Bluhm has already given to support the legal clinic). The remaining $1 million will be used over a ten-year period to build ongoing, sustainable support from Law School alumni through annual gifts to the Law School Fund.
Many of you know Neil and his post-NU history. Following his graduation from Northwestern Law in 1962, Bluhm launched a remarkable and distinguished career. He began at the Chicago law firm of Mayer, Brown, and Platt, where he quickly became partner before co-founding the JMB Realty Corporation in 1970. JMB promptly became a major commercial real estate investment firm that owns, develops, and manages a variety of large real estate projects throughout North America, including malls, hotels, planned communities and office complexes.
As managing principal, Bluhm also oversees the strategic direction of Walton Street Capital LLC, a private equity real estate investment firm that he co-founded in 1995 with former senior executives of JMB Realty. The firm focuses on investing the principals’ own capital in real estate, in partnership with institutional and private investors. Since its founding, affiliates of Walton Street Capital have received total equity commitments in excess of $7 billion.
Additionally, Bluhm has a distinguished record of service and philanthropy to the University and to the Law School. In 1999, he and several members of his family gave a gift of $7 million that named the Bluhm Legal Clinic. He serves on the Board of Trustees’ Investment Committee, and previously he served on the Law School’s Law Board, the Law School Visiting Committee, the Law Alumni Board, the Law Development Board and the Law Campaign Steering Committee (during Campaign Northwestern). In 2009, he received Northwestern’s Alumni Medal, the highest honor an alumnus can receive from the University.
Currently, he is a life trustee at Northwestern University, board president of the Whitney Museum of American Art, life trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, a member of the board of Northwestern Memorial Foundation, a benefactor of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and an honorary director of the Greater Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. He has also served on the advisory board of the nonprofit group Chicago Cares, which his daughter Leslie founded.
He is the father of three children, Leslie N. Bluhm, Andrew G. Bluhm, and Meredith A. Bluhm-Wolf. Meredith is a 1995 graduate of Northwestern Law and serves on the Bluhm Legal Clinic Advisory Board.
from Paul Caron’s blog, with commentary.
Leave it to Jim Pfander to find something new to say about a statute that’s over 200 years old.
Here’s his take, with co-author and former NU student Nassim Nazemi, on the Anti-Injunction Act of 1793, recently published in the Texas Law Review.
From the Nat’l Law Journal.
Will be interesting to see whether this portends a shift in emphasis in corporate legal office from pure lateral hiring strategy to entry-level hiring. The principal roadblock has been the costs of training. But perhaps establishing creative relationships between imaginative corporations and innovative law school (note Cisco-Colorado partnership described in the article) will augur a new approach to in-house hiring and training.