« Truly Moot? First Round Delays, Lack of Transparency Mar Competition | Main | Lost in Law School: Keeping Your Perspective and Finding Your Way »

September 11, 2007

An Open Letter from the Law School Student Senate President

Submitted By: Hadi Husain,
LSSS President

I am delighted to welcome the 1Ls, LLMs and transfer students to Ann Arbor, and to welcome the rest of you back to Michigan Law for what will hopefully prove an exciting and productive new year.


The summer was, as usual, filled with students crisscrossing the globe– from London to Cambodia, and from Belize to Vienna – and the legal profession – by participating in everything from the mundane (read: working for a big corporate law firm) to the magnanimous (read: advocating on behalf of individuals and organizations who cannot afford adequate counsel) to the regenerative (read: sitting on the beach in Malaga). I encourage you to share your peripetic experiences with your peers as we settle [back] into the lively rhythm of the Socratic Method.

While upperclassmen were packed into the Holiday Inn for what will no doubt prove to be another fantastically successful week of on-campus recruiting, the 1Ls were partaking in an orientation program put together by Dean Baum and Christine Gregory’s offices – with the assistance of the always indispensable Marilyn, Mark and Trudy – which culminated in the ever-popular day of service (and the similarly popular ensuing night at Rick’s).

We subsequently kicked the academic year off in style with beautiful weather and the annual first-day-of-class Picnic.

Issues

The Law School Student Senate plans on addressing many issues this year that are pertinent to the ongoing success of the Law School.

While the historic Law Quad remains one of the most beautiful campus settings in the country, it is imperative that the Law School continue to adapt and grow to the evolving needs of students and faculty in the 21st century. The Building Committee, headed by Professor Eisenberg, will continue its work of ensuring that Michigan does just that by evaluating and discussing new building proposals, with the goal of developing an economical and resourceful way of growing our campus while maintaining cutting-edge environmental (“Green”) standards.

Along that vein, we recognize that until a new building is constructed, space in Legal Research, Hutchins Hall, and the basement connecting them remains at a premium. Because of this the Senate formed, in conjunction with Christine Gregory’s office, a Committee on the Allocation of Office Space. This Committee will assess the current method of allocating office space to the various basement groups and will compare the way Michigan distributes space to students with that of our peer schools. With these factors in mind, the Committee will then look to the needs of the various student organizations to come up with an equitable and objective method of future distribution.

The budgeting process is fast approaching, led by the Budgeting Committee, and is the primary mechanism through which money is allocated to the many paramount student groups that define our institution. As always, this remains one of the Senate’s most important roles. Any recognized student organization can apply for funding which allows it to thrive while at the same time benefiting the greater community through the sponsorship of activities such as lunchtime talks, bar nights, and barbeques. Student groups should also look to the generosity of alum John Nannes ‘73, whose gift continues to provide significant financing for student activities.
There are many more committees with student representatives that continue to contribute significantly to the Law School community in all manners. And, as always, the Senate welcomes your feedback.

If you have any suggestions, criticisms, or general comments for how LSSS can improve Michigan Law or your experience here, please feel free to voice them at our weekly LSSS meetings, which will be held Mondays at 6 p.m. in a location to be announced. Alternatively, you can share them with any member of the Senate individually, or bring them up with Dean Caminker during one of his regular Dean’s Corner lunches in the Dining Hall, where any topic flies.

Events

As returning students know, law school is not all about work, and LSSS is here to ensure that fun activities are planned throughout the semester.

As has become the norm, we will be hosting enough bar nights to make the alcoholic – or, to be more politically correct, the social drinker – in you blush. Our joint Law School/Med School bar night was a tremendous success last year, so to continue the tradition of uniting the various world-class programs at the University we are working in conjunction with our sister organization in the Business School to join up the future litigators and business owners of America.

The Senate will also continue to support the Mental Health Initiative, which works to provide family activities (along with SQUALSA), advice on maintaining a healthy school/life balance, and takes part in organizing alternative events that manage to entertain sans alcohol.
We will also be continuing a long-standing tradition, started by Josh Gewolb and Krista Caner: kindergarten-snack-time-style Milk and Cookies, which will take place beneath the Reading Room every Sunday night!

On a more mature front, Wine and Cheese events, slated once a semester, will continue to offer students a chance to interact with their professors outside of the classroom setting. Additionally, the Blue Jeans lecture series will enable professors to discuss their cutting edge research in a similarly casual setting.

Finally, the Alumni Association-sponsored exam study breaks will preserve the tradition of free massages (to work out the knots your professors will invariably induce in your muscles), copious amounts of food (mainly of the junk variety), and much-needed respite during crunch time.

Closing thoughts

The quality and diversity of the students at Michigan Law are what sets it apart from its peer institutions. Because of this, I implore all of you to be proactive in getting to know the students, faculty and staff that surround you and learning from them with as much diligence as you do from your casebooks.

Additionally, the breadth and depth of the University is unmatched globally. Michigan has everything from a leading social work program to cutting edge medical research to top notch athletics. Because of the unique situation of the University, please make every effort to reach outside Hutchins in sculpting your optimal syllabus and outside the law school community for extra perspective and a host of extra-curricular opportunities.

--Hadi Husain, LSSS President