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Guest post: Prof. Tom Geraghty from South Africa

from my remarkable colleague, Tom Geraghty, the Class of 1967 James Haddad Professor of Law and Director of the Bluhm Legal Clinic:

Geraghty_UNODC Conference_web (2)I write from Johannesburg, South Africa, where I am attending a UNODC-sponsored International Conference on Access to Legal Aid in the Criminal Justice System. (View conference program.) In attendance are 250 advocates for the improvement of legal aid systems, including high government officials from around the world (Africa, Asia, the Middle East, U.K., Eastern Europe), leaders of NGOs, leaders of legal aid offices, and faculty from law school clinical programs. I am moderating a panel on meeting the demand for legal services in criminal justice systems and making a presentation on children’s access to legal services while in police custody.

I was invited to participate in this conference as the result of work that my colleagues, students, and I have done over the years on access to justice in developing countries. At the opening of this conference, Justice Dustan Mlambo, Judge President of the Gautang Division of the High Court of South Africa and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Legal Aid South Africa, referenced the Lilongwe Declaration on Legal Aid (2004) as a foundational document for the recently adopted (2012) U.N. Guidelines for Access to Justice in Criminal Justice Systems. The Lilongwe Declaration, a document that students and I had a hand in drafting in 2004 in Malawi (along with Justice Mlambo, then head of Legal Aid South Africa, and Adam Stapleton, who will be visiting the Bluhm Legal Clinic this year to expand international human rights opportunities for our students), has turned out to be a foundational document for those advocating for the improvement of legal aid and an inspiration for the new U.N. Guidelines, which are truly transformative.

Our country has much to learn from international practices and particularly from the Lilongwe Declaration and the recently adopted U.N. Guidelines on Legal Aid in the Criminal Justice System. These documents set forth a comprehensive human rights-based approach to the provision of what we call public defender services, including early provision of legal assistance to children and adult suspects in police stations and special consideration for the needs of children in conflict with the law, women, vulnerable groups, as well as victims of crime and witnesses. The documents also emphasize the need to expand legal aid to those in need through the use of paralegals who can deliver many necessary services less expensively than lawyers and who are available to deliver legal aid in rural areas. Those seeking to improve the quality of indigent defense services here and abroad should use these documents as sources of a comprehensive view of the range of services that should be provided to those affected by the criminal justice systems.

Participation in international conferences, such as this week’s International Conference on Access to Justice in Criminal Justice Systems, provides our programs at the Bluhm Legal Clinic with fresh perspectives on legal practice, human rights, and the effective delivery of legal services. We use this information in our representation of our clients, especially when international standards and documents respond more concretely to real world problems in our juvenile and criminal justice systems. Collaboration with our international counterparts also gives our students opportunities to perform meaningful legal services/human rights work on the ground. And curiously, attendance at such conferences enable us to meet with our colleague in the U.S. who are doing remarkable work. An example of this was the presentation made yesterday by Seymour James of the Legal Aid Society of New York. His description of the fine work done by his office was inspiring and underscored what I view to be a priority for law reform in Cook County—improvement of the quality of services that we provide right at home. Let me add that we could learn a lot from Legal Aid, South Africa.


Veterans’-focused high-tech incubator in Chicago

Great initiative, reflecting the work of distinguished alum, Howard Tullman ’71, and his colleagues at Chicago’s high tech incubator, 1871:

Dubbed “The Bunker,” Incubator to House Veteran-Owned Technology Companies Beginning in Fall of 2014.

1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman confirmed today that 1871 will be launching a veterans-focused technology incubator called The Bunker in 2014 as part of 1871’s recently announced expansion plans at its digital startup hub in The Merchandise Mart. The announcement is officially being made in concert with the offices of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Pat Quinn, as well as the Pat Tillman Foundation – all of whom are also expected to provide support and resources for the new program.

Tullman describes the inspiration for the new initiative: “Many years ago in law school, I learned that my most mature classmates and the hardest and most serious competitors in the school were the vets. They had the positive ‘can do’ attitude, the ‘take no prisoners’ drive, and the commitment to success that are precisely what it takes to build a successful startup. In addition, we owe these men and women a great debt for their sacrifices and service to our country. At 1871, we want everything we do to make a difference, not just a living, and we hope in our own way that we can help our vets move forward and make yet another important contribution to our economy.”

The Bunker will be the Nation’s first Veteran Business Accelerator and will harness the leadership experiences of veterans as a strategic differentiator for startup and early stage veteran owned technology enabled businesses. The Bunker will be a veteran-operated, veteran-focused effort that will seek to offer an entry point into the technology economy for hundreds of local and national veteran owned and operated technology businesses, with the dual goal of exploring and tapping into the significant resources available to veterans from government organizations and maximizing the skill and trainings which our veterans developed while serving in the military.

While there are a substantial number of city, state and federal veteran assistance programs, it is sometimes a challenging and complex process – especially for novice business builders – and one of the focus areas of the 1871 veteran’s incubator will be to work closely with the city and the state as well as the vets to help smooth, streamline and accelerate these interactions. 1871’s huge population of volunteer mentors (especially in the legal and accounting fields) will be of invaluable assistance in these areas. The Bunker will be run by Todd Connor, an Operation Iraqi Freedom Navy veteran and successful entrepreneur who most recently led the city of Chicago’s military high schools program.

The Bunker will be a part of the new 25,000 square foot expansion coming from 1871 this October, which was announced on Tuesday, June 17, in conjunction with Governor Quinn. Fueled by a $2.5 million investment from the State, the 25,000-square foot space will house alumni companies, venture capital firms, and incubators and accelerators, including this effort.

“Illinois’ veterans are some of the most talented and skilled individuals in our state’s workforce,” Governor Quinn said. “By supporting veteran-owned and operated businesses, we can ensure that our men and women service members have what they need to continue contributing to our communities while driving our economy forward. We owe a debt of gratitude to the many brave Illinois men and women who have answered the call to serve and I commend The Bunker and 1871 for launching this innovative platform on their behalf.”

“Great startup businesses need great leaders who know how to ‘get it done’ amidst uncertain and challenging circumstances. This is what veterans bring.” stated Todd Connor, CEO of The Bunker. “This represents a truly different model for the veteran community that is not about defining the veteran population as a group that needs help, but rather capitalizing on the talent pool of some of the highest performing veterans.”

The Bunker is expected to maximize use of 1871’s existing shared facilities for housing its companies and hopes to bring companies to Chicago and 1871 for long-term, permanent stays that will allow integration into the 1871 community as well as the broader Chicago business community.

# # #

About 1871

1871 is an entrepreneurial hub for digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, the soon-to-be 75,000-square-foot facility provides Chicago startups with programming, access to mentors, educational resources, potential investors and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs that help them on their path to building successful businesses. 1871 is the flagship project of the CEC.


Pre-law student reading list

The best preparation for the demanding work of a first-year law school is surely rest and recuperation. Enjoy time with friends and families and take the time you need to wind down from work responsibilities as you make the transition to the exciting, focused journey of the beginning law student.

Still and all, pre-law students — OLs, as the new term describes them — ask about valuable readings to help better prepare them for their law school work. Everyone has their favorites, so let me suggest some of mine.

Some classics:
“A Man for All Seasons”
Robert Bolt’s magnificent play about Thomas More and the ethical dimensions of lawyering, faith, and client service in the shadow of the struggles of merry old England under the regime of Henry VIII.

“The Bramble Bush”
A short, remarkable book by one of the great legal scholars of the 20th century, Karl Llewellyn. Rewarding and insightful, even several decades after its publication.

“Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success”
A helpful book, written by two of our beloved Northwestern professors, Helene and Marshall Shapo.

“A Civil Action”
Page-turner on modern impact litigation by Jonathan Harr.

On law, lawyers, and the system:
“Six Amendments: How and Why we Should Change the Constitution”
From our esteemed alumnus, Justice John Paul Stevens, a thought-provoking short book on of the key legal controversies of our times

“Tomorrow’s Lawyers”
Intriguing book (also refreshingly short) by futurist Richard Susskind. Frames well the challenges to young (and not-so-young) lawyers in the coming decades. Not for the timid, but a very interesting perspective.

Our brave new world (books which explore the key dimensions of our complex technological age, and how future professionals ought to cope and even thrive in this distinctly different era we are in):

“Accelerating Democracy”
Wonderfully insightful book from NU Law prof. John McGinnis. Big data meets democracy.

“The Second Machine Age”
Food for careful thought by two innovative MIT professors, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

“Steve Jobs”
Comprehensive biography of this remarkable figure by Walter Isaacson. Baffling genius; extraordinary story of Apple and its intersection with modern economic trends

On a lighter note:
Anything by David Sedaris. Hilarious.

“You Were Never in Chicago” by Neil Steinberg. Especially for the newcomers to our City of Big Shoulders!

And don’t forget to catch up on your binge-TV watching. We like House of Cards; Homeland; Veep; Downton Abbey, Newsroom, and Boardwalk Empire.


NU Law grad to clerk on the Court

Sopan Joshi ’13 just selected as one of Justice Scalia’s law clerks on the Supreme Court. Many congrats to Sopan and to the good Justice for his wise and discerning judgment!


New NU Law chairholders

I am pleased to announce the appointments of our newest named rotating chair holders. These appointments will take effect September 1, 2014.

Please join me in recognizing the appointments of the following Northwestern Law faculty members to named professorships. We thank and acknowledge these faculty members for their hard work and commitment to our core teaching and research mission. We also thank our donors who have made these recognitions possible with their generous financial support.

Esther Barron
Harry B. Reese Teaching Professorship

Esther Barron is a Clinical Professor of Law and the Director of the Entrepreneurship Law Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic. Known for teaching innovation, Esther’s entrepreneurship law course, co-taught with Steve Reed, is extremely highly rated. In 2013, she and Steve Reed debuted a version of their entrepreneurship law course as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), the first to be offered by Northwestern Law. Prior to joining Northwestern’s faculty, Barron practiced at Goldberg Kohn in Chicago in its commercial finance department. Barron graduated Cum Laude from Brandeis University and received her JD from Northwestern University School of Law.

Tonja Jacobi
William G. and Virginia K. Karnes Research Professorship

Tonja Jacobi’s research interests include judicial politics, game theory, American governmental institutions and constitutional law. Her recent publications include Criminal Innovation and the Warrant Requirement: Reconsidering the Rights-Police Efficiency Trade-off (William and Mary Law Review, forthcoming 2015); Strategic Judicial Preference Revelation (Journal of Law and Economics, forthcoming 2014), and The Attrition of Rights under Parole (Southern California Law Review, forthcoming 2014). Jacobi earned her PhD in political science from Stanford University, and also holds a Masters from the University of California, Berkeley and a law degree from the Australian National University.

James Lindgren
Benjamin Mazur Summer Research Professorship

James Lindgren’s research areas include law and social science, criminal law, and estates. Many of his current projects examine the roles that viewpoint diversity plays in American society. Lindgren is a co-founder of the Section on Scholarship of the Association of American Law Schools and a former chair of its Section on Social Science and the Law. Lindgren received his JD and PhD in quantitative sociology from University of Chicago.

Jide Nzelibe
Harry R. Horrow Professorship in International Law

Jide Nzelibe’s research and teaching interests include international trade, foreign relations law, public and private international law and contracts. His recent publications include Contesting Adjudication: The Partisan Divide over Alien Tort Litigation (Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business, 2013) and Our Partisan Foreign Affairs Constitution (Minnesota Law Review, 2013). Nzelibe joined Northwestern’s faculty in 2004. In addition to his JD from Yale Law School, he holds an MPA in international relations from Princeton University.

Please join me in congratulating these excellent law professors for these well-deserved honors.


More on interdisciplinarity and where law schools can meet the real world

Jeff Lipshaw has some spot-on reflections on interdisciplinarity in a post on The Legal Whiteboard — spurred, he kindly notes, by a recent post of mine on PrawfsBlawg.

The disconnect between what the business world knows, tells us, and shows us with respect to the collapse of disciplinary silos and what we ruminate about in the comparatively-less-innovative space of universities is a profound fact on the ground. At least twenty years behind says Lipshaw? I won’t quarrel with that description, although I might tepidly suggest that some universities are pushing ahead more innovatively. Stanford’s D-School may be just the most conspicuous example because, well, it is Stanford. But there are bits and pieces of innovation in universities which aspire to take a bolder path. Still and all, the incentive structure that impedes multidisciplinarity (perhaps a better mouthful term to capture the point than “interdisciplinarity”) in the university setting is important and vexing.

Let me offer a key amendment to Jeff’s general depiction of the problem: What we do in the curricular settings of professional schools is, much more often than not, drawing from bodies of research to undergird our teaching. So, it might be essential for a scholar aimed at moving the field forward to ground her contribution in a disciplinary tradition which is hard to marry to multidisciplinary reality and performance. Yet, what is to stop the innovative teacher, looking to arm his students with the professional equipment and skills to prosper in the new economy, from looking at the world in a fundamentally multidisciplinary (and, indeed, disruptive) way? Maybe the short term answer to the difficulties Jeff wisely illustrates is to focus, first, on the teaching and training function of legal instruction. Perhaps innovation will emerge in pedagogy and programs before it reshapes more fundamentally the literature of the practice.


Northwestern University graduation 2014!!

Some photos from our university graduation yesterday under relatively clear skies in Evanston.



Thoughts on “The Modern Engineer”

“[Engineers] who are knowledgeable about intellectual property, regulatory strategy, and legal issues can facilitate better decision-making throughout the innovation and design processes.”—Mark Werwath and Howard Wolfson

Our new Master of Science in Law program is getting some interesting attention—my cross-campus colleague, Professor Mark Werwath, director of the Engineering Management Program at the McCormick School of Engineering, recently co-authored a short article with engineer and adjunct professor Howard Wolfman from the University of Illinois at Chicago. “The Modern Engineer: New Skills, Opportunities, and Obligations” discusses the increasing need for engineers to understand business law, IP, and regulatory structures so that they can better assess when rules and regulations are a constraint and when they are an opportunity. The article was published in The Institute, an online publication of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Traditional disciplines are evolving out of their silos; the modern economy demands it.


JD Advantage Jobs

Earlier this month I got into a lively exchange of viewpoints with David Lat and Brian Dalton from Above the Law regarding their decision not to include JD Advantage jobs in the “ATL Law School Rankings.” My point, put simply, is this: many students choose “non-traditional” career paths (read: non-Biglaw) out of law school, deciding instead to pursue opportunities in business, consulting, banking, and—in a not-small number of cases here at Northwestern Law—to start their own companies. These jobs are highly consequential and, insofar as they drive innovation, are very important to the economy. And there is no doubt that a legal education helps them excel in these positions.

I won’t paraphrase their counter argument for why these jobs should be excluded from the ranking. Instead, I invite you to read the article ATL published yesterday about the exchange, “ATL vs. Law Dean vs. Common Sense.” The legal profession is evolving. How we evaluate value needs to evolve, too.


Changing law professor? Changing law schools?

“Expectations of hiring faculty have grown, especially with regard to more published writing.  In turn, law schools are demanding more advanced academic training — what Harvard’s James Greiner says is ‘essentially requiring them to do a Ph.D.'” Cross posted from Prawfsblawg.