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September 25, 2007

Rear Admiral Houck ‘85 Speaks at Law School

By Eric Reed

Students and faculty had a rare opportunity to question the military Tuesday afternoon, when the International Law Society (ILS) hosted Rear Admiral James Houck on campus. Rear Admiral Houck graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1985 and has served in the Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) since. He currently holds the position of Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy, and Commander, Naval Legal Services Command. The admiral’s visit began as a talk on the JAG Corps yet quickly shifted to an hour-long question-and-answer session as students peppered the officer about issues ranging from Guantanamo Bay to Iraq to how the Navy runs one of the world’s largest law firms.

“The Navy JAG is quite literally a global law firm,” Houck said during his introduction. With 1,300 lawyers in service and another 900 members of the support staff, the Navy JAG Corps is “quite literally everywhere in the world,” and handles legal issues ranging from soldiers’ credit questions to target selection in combat to cabinet level policy issues, noted the admiral.

Today, Houck explained, the role of the JAG program is undergoing significant changes. “Our practice definitely got bigger and more interesting, unfortunately, after September 11,” he said. “The Navy and Air Force are having to do things that we never imagined in a million years that we’d be doing. As we sit here talking we have about ninety Navy JAG officers in theater, in Iraq.”

“Lawyer’s are so integrated now in the battlefield, in the battle space,” Houck explained, that officers of the JAG corps frequently accompany Naval commanders and give advice regarding the legality of target selections and firing orders.
After his initial comments, Houck began to answer questions from the audience, which immediately focused on the two topics that would come to dominate the afternoon’s discussion: Iraq and American activities at Guantanamo Bay.

“It’s quite an impromptu, seat of the pants party that’s been put together down there,” Houck said, responding to a question on United States policy at the naval base in Cuba. While he indicated that conditions at the base began as little more than “some old, exposed outdoor cages,” the prison has been updated with “three large, state of the art facilities” to handle new demands and to treat prisoners as well as possible. “The way the detainees are being treated, the way the staff are conducting themselves, is I think something that most people would be accepting of,” Houck said.

This answer did not, of course, address the legality of American detention policies at Guantanamo, nor White House efforts to block habeas corpus rights to prisoners, an issue which both Houck and his audience addressed several times during the afternoon.

“I think we’ve come to the point where several senior people in the administration … have said that if we could close Gitmo we would do it,” Houck said. However with prisoners that nobody wants, and which the government cannot simply release, Houck indicated that “there’s a good chance that [the prison at Guantanamo] is going to be there for some time.”

Students repeatedly asked the Admiral about his personal opinions regarding American detention policies, but Houck refused to comment, indicating that as an active officer it would inappropriate for him to give either his personal or legal opinion to anyone outside of the military. “If the elected officials … feel that any conversation they have with us [military officers] will soon end up in the newspaper, then that’s easy, they’ll just shut us out,” Houck said in response to repeated student questions regarding his opinion on American activities at Guantanamo Bay. Houck’s recalcitrance on this issue clearly disappointed and frustrated many students, who seemed eager finally to put their questions to a uniformed commander of the United States military.

During the two hours which Rear Admiral Houck spent talking with students, topics ranged from Iraq and Guantanamo to how JAG officers work within the Navy on a daily basis. Yet, despite an expected outcry against a Navy officer visiting the Law School’s campus, one issue remained curiously absent from the Tuesday afternoon event. Contrary to expectations, the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy, required by federal law, raised few questions and even less debate during the two hours Houck spoke with students.

ILS Co-President Marta Castaing opened the talk by addressing what many believed would be the elephant in the room, announcing that the ILS intended the event as a forum for discussing issues of international law, and not as an endorsement of the Navy’s hiring policies. The students who did ask Houck about the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy were generally left empty-handed when he indicated that, as with Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and any other sensitive issues, he could only give objective information rather than his personal opinion on topics such as the constitutionality or ethics of the program.

“Our own courts have ruled on the law and have upheld it. … It’s an example of the kind of thing that is not appropriate for an active duty military officer to comment about,” he said, referring to his own opinions, personal or legal, about United States policy. “Were I not wearing this uniform then I would be in a different position. I would be much freer to talk.” Still, he did indicate that while he has no way to know if “don’t ask don’t tell” actually interferes with the military’s ability to accomplish its mission, there is a very good, and much more relevant, question of whether the policy deprives the Navy of qualified, skilled service people. The answer to this question, he said, is one that must be debated by politicians and policy makers, not by the military, which should and must simply follow the orders it is given by the White House and Congress.

Don’t Be a Slave to the Curve

It starts again. Every semester, when we run grade curves, we also run an editorial imploring everyone to view those curves more as a tool to asses your relative understanding of material and what classes to take going forward than as a ruler with which to measure your own personal worth (which should instead be measured by just how well you do in your more … extracurricular activities; please see Solicitations on page ____). And every semester this editorial goes unread as people run straight to the grade curves and commence the ego-crushing exercise of comparing their own performance to that of the 900 other brilliant minds enrolled at our Law School.


Seeing as you’ve already skipped over this editorial and gone straight to the grade curves on pages [_____], there is nothing we can do to prevent the same thing from happening this year. Sure, we could remind you that it wasn’t just your academics that got you in here. Sure, we could point out that Michigan is a great school so it doesn’t matter as much how well you do. Sure we could put smiley faces around the grade curves. But, ultimately, none of it would help.
That is why we are taking stronger measures this year. Before you are allowed to read the grade curves (go ahead, try to turn to them now, you’ll find you can’t!) you have to sign the following, recognizing that you are more than your GPA.

I (please print name) ___________________, the undersigned, being of at least marginally sound mind and only slightly inebriated body, do hereby acknowledge that grades are not everything. I understand that however my recent academic performance stacks up compared to my peers, I will be getting a job offer when I graduate. I further acknowledge that, in the event I do not listen to this advice and I die as a result of taking the grade curves too seriously, I, on behalf of myself, my agents, heirs, and assigns, do hereby hold the RG harmless for having provided them to me. I further leave my entire life savings to the RG for their discretionary use.

Name: ____________________________
Date: _____________ GPA: __________

An Open Letter from BLSA: Ambands

Submitted by Jamie Flaherty, BLSA President

On Thursday, September 20, 2007 some members of the Black Law Students Alliance wore black as part of the national Unity Day to stand in unison for the Jena 6.

In the fall of 2006, black students at Jena High School in Jena, Louisiana asked the principal if they could sit under “the white tree,” which had been traditionally used by white students. The principal granted them permission. The next day, three nooses were found in the tree. The three white students determined by the school to be responsible for the act were originally ordered to be expelled. However, the local Board of Education overruled the Superintendent of Schools. The students received a three-day suspension instead.

As a result, black students staged a sit-in under the tree. However, it was later dispersed by the police. On Dec. 1, at a party, a black student was beaten by a white student with a beer bottle. Days after, a white student bragged about the beating. Six black males beat up the student without any weapons and were charged with attempted murder. They now face twenty-two years in prison. (According to the New York Times, the charges of attempted murder have since been scaled back to aggravated battery and conspiracy, the former of which one defendant, Mychal Bell, was convicted on June 28. Late last week, the Times reported, an appeals court found Bell was improperly tried in adult court on the battery charge and overturned the conviction.)

On September 20, 2007 civil rights leaders from around the country descended upon Louisiana for a “Unity Day” to protest what many see as the disparate treatment given the black and white students. Participants chose to wear black in a show of unity with the teens.

While the Black Law Students Alliance of the University of Michigan Law School is composed of members of varying political persuasions, cultural, and life backgrounds, BLSA universally agrees with the idea of protecting constitutional rights equally for all persons. To that extent, BLSA members wore black to signify that they too support the constitutional rights of the Jena Six.

For More Information on the Jena Six, see the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/19/us/19jena.html?_r=1&ref=us&oref=slogin or Newsweek: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20218937/site/newsweek/.

Signed,

The Executive Board of the Black Law Students Alliance at Michigan

Elections to be Held for LSSS 1L Reps and Junior Board of Governors Rep

On Wednesday September 26, 2007, elections will be held outside 100 Hutchins Hall for four 1L representatives and one Junior Board of Governors representative. Here, in their own words, are their intentions.

Junior Board of Governors Rep

My name is Alex Brown. I’m from Kansas City and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (’06). I’m running for the Junior Board of Governors. If elected, here are a few things I will work on:

1. Extended hours in the library and subsections
2. Free coffee in the mornings
3. Wireless internet for all Lawyer’s Club dorm rooms
4. The option to reserve the Lawyer’s Club recreational room for parties

I’m excited to hear your thoughts and to work hard to improve our law school community. Thanks for your support!

1L LSSS Reps

Josh Van der Ploeg

I came to U of M with a huge respect for everyone here. Although I’ve only been here a few weeks, I already love this place and all the incredibly impressive people I’ve met here. I want to represent you in the LSSS to advocate for each unique member of this diverse group of people. In college, I served on the Student Senate for two years, which helped me develop an eagerness to act as a voice for a larger group. My desire to get involved and my outgoing personality will serve as assets to work on your behalf.

Joe Jones

My name is Joseph Jones, and I am running for position of 1L rep for Section EFGH. I would love to be 1L rep for our section and I think I would be a great choice. Not only have I served on student governments prior to law school, but I am also pretty visible and friendly (tall kid, who talks a lot ). I am easy to talk to and easier to reach (I’m probably your Facebook friend) and I will help you with whatever problems you may have. Thanks and please vote on Election Day!
Jenna Selsky

There are many ways to have fun: apple-picking, reading a book, Rick’s, burritos. What do all these things have in common? You can do all of them while you study “The Law.” While grades are important, no one should spend three years of their life holed up and miserable with their Civ Pro book. Vote for Jenna Selsky and you will for sure not be that holed up, miserable person. Plus she cares.

It's Not Easy Being Green: Environmental Law at UM

By Sumeera Younis

I’ll admit that I’ve never considered myself an environmentalist. My obsession with turning off the lights has more to do with being brought up by immigrant parents who were trying to keep the bills low than any real understanding of its effect on the earth. So, when I was asked to cover former EPA director Carol Browner’s talk at the inauguration of the Environmental Law and Public Policy program, I thought I would stop by, write a quick story and move on. Instead the event became the first leg in a journey of discovering a little bit more about environmentalism and how the Law School plays a unique and important role in the global environment.

Carol Browner, the longest serving Administrator in the history of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is chair of the Audobon Society and a principal at the Albright Group, a “global strategy group” headed by United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In her address, she discussed some things that the average person can do to help the environment, emphasizing the importance of being politically proactive regarding environmental issues. One way to do that is by contacting congressmembers and vocalizing that the environment is a serious concern for constituents. If politicians feel that they are being held accountable for environmental issues, then they are more likely to promote and implement environmentally friendly policy.

Lobbying and letter writing is not the only way to effect political change. Perhaps the easiest way to show how you feel about the environment is with your pocketbook. No, I’m not suggesting that you start sending tons of money to political campaigns. (As if we had any money to send in the first place.) Instead we can buy products that are environmentally friendly. Notebooks made on recycled paper, energy-efficient light bulbs and things in environmentally friendly packaging are some simple examples of products that are better for the environment. By buying environmentally friendly products, consumers send a signal to the marketplace. This can influence many of the decisions that corporations are making.

Browner discussed the impact of each individual’s effect on the environment, but if one person can make a difference in the environment, then what would be the global effects of corporations or educational institutions ‘going green’? Many universities across the country have explored this issue and have decided that the answers they found were significant enough for them to make serious changes in the way their institutions operated. In the last decade campus green initiatives have been rapidly spreading across the country.

Going green is not only good for the environment, it is good for the university’s purse. The President of Harvard, Larry Summers, said: “The best investment in the University is not the endowment but the Green Loan Fund.” The facts seem to support Summer’s claim. When corporations from Wal-mart to Goldman Sachs suddenly started going green, researchers hypothesized that businesses were actually being motivated by a different green, and they were right. One company was able to save over 3 billion dollars over two decades in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. The energy, resource and fiscal savings from going green are huge. So, whats holding the law school back from joining the craze?

In fact the law school has been thinking about the environment. According to Dean Caminker, Michigan Law’s establishment of the Environmental Law and Policy Program recognizes the “indisputable importance of environmental issues as viewed from the legal perspective, the need to ensure practitioner familiarity with the field, and the opportunities for collaboration with other University of Michigan units, programs, and schools dedicated to addressing environmental issues and sustainability on a global basis.” Toward those ends the Law School recently hired Professor David Uhlmann, who will direct the new Environmental Law and Policy Program and will also be teaching environmental law. Before joining the faculty at the Law School, Uhlmann graduated from Yale Law School and worked for the DOJ, Environmental Crimes Section.
As a newly minted environmentalist, I still think the school can do more. As the Law School approaches new expansions and looks at building renovations, I hope they do so with their “green goggles” on. The Environmental Law Society on campus is highly charged to effect change this year., “The ELS has developed a broad network of experts generously willing to volunteer their time, and we are working hard to research and articulate viable alternatives,” said Jamie Knowles, ELS member. Knowles is also active in the Law School’s burgeoning Green Building Campaign, an informal organization of students within ELS who seek to work with the Law School Building Committee to achieve LEED certification for the new building currently in the early planning stages. “Because the Law School pays its own operating costs, energy saving measures will pay dividends for many decades,” Knowles added.

In the conclusion of her talk, Carol Browner encouraged students to consider spending time working in public service. She said that it gives people an opportunity every single day to stop and think, “How can I make my community and the world a better place?” It looks like we are being presented with that question and opportunity here at the Law School. I will leave you with the same words that Browner left us with and the same words that have been echoing in my head since. “Making a little difference in the world can make a huge difference in your life.”

Questions about this article may be sent to rg@umich.edu.

Quit Your Whining and Drink Your Wine: The Wolverine Wine Club's Kickoff Tasting

"Save Yourself: A Semester-Long Exercise in Perspective"
By Liz Polizzi

Got called on in Evidence this week. Thinking that as a 3L I should be immune at least to the routine embarrassment caused by floundering the facts of the case, I was saddened to learn that couching the catastrophe in context did naught to relieve revenge fantasies featuring the first-row gunner who saw fit to raise her hand during the game of charades I found myself playing with the professor. Disheartened at how easily my better side was quashed by the dark forces of law school, I was in desperate need of respite – preferably involving a surreal, dreamlike landscape and lots of alcohol. Lucky for me, Friday night was the Wolverine Wine Club’s season premier tasting, a semi-formal event held at the beautiful Matthei Botanical Gardens on Dixboro Road in Ann Arbor.

Run primarily by oenophiles at the Ross School of Business, the Wolverine Wine Club is “a non-profit organization devoted to promoting the many joys of wine.” According to their website, the wine club’s membership includes mostly MBA, law, and public policy students, but any UM graduate student is invited to join.

Any trepidation I felt upon finding that the event would be a “semi-formal” was assuaged instantly upon entering the elegant venue and beholding the tastefully attired guests – whatever else might be said about business students, they certainly clean up well. The event was held in the auditorium of the botanical gardens, where floor-to-ceiling windows framed the terrace and gardens beyond. Some of the more daring revelers strolled the ambiently lit pathways through the garden, but most remained close to the hors d’oeuvres table and three wine-tasting stations.

The wine for Friday night’s event was provided by Dick Scheer of The Village Corner, a first-rate wine shop masquerading as a bodega. Situated at the corner of South University and South Forest (four short blocks east of the Law Quad), The Village Corner is home to 5,000 wines, 600 kinds of spirits, 150 labels of beer, and 350 types of cigar. It boasts the largest wine selection between New York and Chicago (take that, Cleveland!). Mr. Scheer also hosted a guided tasting at the event, in which he described the history and distinguishing qualities of each of the evening’s wines.

The wines Scheer selected for the season’s first tasting spanned the geographical globe and the world of wines, from a standard chardonnay to the less common but oft-discussed pinot noir, and introduced a few varieties that the average novice would likely overlook. The tasting began with two whites: a Sauvignon Blanc from Babich, one of New Zealand’s largest family-owned wine companies, which offers a light, dry, grapefruity flavor with hints of jalapeno pepper on the finish; and a South Australian chardonnay from Thomas Hyland, which, all told, tasted like chardonnay. Next came a French beaujolais, called Duboeuf Morgon “Flower Label,” which, according to Scheer, should not be dismissed just because beaujolais is so light and fruity that some compare it to Kool-Aid. While beaujolais might never be “serious” per se, it can still be delicious ... and this one was.

The most adventurous wine of the night, in my humble opinion, was the Gard Cuvee Viognier, an incredibly floral and fruity dry white wine made from an ancient, rare white grape that is often found blended with red Syrrah grapes, which, according to Scheer, makes for a deeper red wine. A bit of a let-down after the Viognier, the next wine, a New Zealand pinot noir called Spinyback Nelson, invoked the age-old question, “What did the guy in Sideways like so much about this stuff?” The Spinyback was a perfectly tasty pinot noir – I just can’t exactly understand why everyone who owns a set of wineglasses raves so much about this stuff. Go figure.

Finally, the evening was redeemed by yet another unique wine experience: a Sangiovese blend by Ferrari-Carano called “Siena.” Created by blending Sangiovese grapes with a little bit of Malbec and Zinfandel, and then aged in oak barrels, the result is a deep red wine with relatively light tannins (tannins create the bitter taste common in red wines).

Any of the wines featured at the tasting can be had from The Village Corner for under $15, so even if you don’t have time in your schedule to dress to the nines or frolic in gardens at night, you can recreate the wine part of the experience in the comfort of your own home. The semi-formal aspect is not expected to be repeated any time soon, but the next tasting held by the Wolverine Wine Club is scheduled for October 10 (see http://ross-wwclub.collegemailer.com for more information). In addition, The Village Corner has its own wine tastings and its own wine club – see http://www.villagecorner.com for more details.

Cost: $30 for a non-member ticket; $15 for members (and membership itself costs $45 for the whole year)
Time Commitment: 4 hours
Efficacy*: 90%
Conclusion: The Wolverine Wine Club has events almost every month, offering a great opportunity to branch out beyond the Law School community, meet new people, and learn about wine (all of which have clear professional and career-enhancing value, which we will not discuss in this column for obvious reasons). Enjoy!


* Success at transporting the law-sodden mind to a kinder, gentler place.

Solicitation 101, 18 U.S.C. 1952

"Between the Briefs"
By Rooks

According to a survey conducted at UVA’s law school earlier this year, 52% of students reported taking a long enough break from softball to have sex at least once a week. Here at the Res Gestae, call us optimistic, but we’d submit that Michigan can outsex UVA any day of the week - Facebook pictures don’t lie. (Seriously, if law school really is like high school for most people, then I must’ve gone to the most boring high school in . . . anywhere.)

Unfortunately, while I’m still holding out hope for a survey of our own, it’s likely too early in our columnist/reader relationship to ask classmates to spill the beans about their every sexual move - that’s at least third-date territory. (Besides, you’re all probably far too busy actually having sex to fill out a questionnaire.) So rather than get all up in your dicta, though ever responsive to the needs of the readership, we figured that if folks insist on getting down (or up, or around . . . whatever butters your muffin), the very least we could do is write about it. That would be, I suppose, where I come in.
I may not be Carrie Bradshaw - for one, I smoke a lot less, ‘cause, kids, it’ll kill you - but I am a sex writer. It’s essentially my job to know what people do behind closed doors (not in that stalkerish way) and give some pointers on how they could do it better. Hey, even if you don’t need sex tips, I’m also an endless source of random facts. I know how many calories are in the average teaspoon of a gentleman’s most . . . strenuous objection. (Between 5 and 7.) I can tell you what the tell-tale signs of the pox are and in which states there’s a duty to disclose. (It shouldn’t hurt to go home or burn when you pee, and if you’re in New York and have AIDS, it’s a possible felony to willfully endanger a partner.) I’ve even testified as an expert witness in countless cases concerning sexual health and behavior. (Well actually, that last one’s a big ol’ lie, but I’ve given a lot of workshops, so if you ever need an expert witness, you know who to call.)

Despite the fact that solicitation is only legal in one state of the union, I’m nonetheless ready, willing and able to . . . answer your questions, entertain your suggestions, and generally give voice to ideas, news items, diatribes and whatever else you can throw at me – if there’s an issue you want to know more about (for instance, whether the Character & Fitness board will really call your ex-girlfriend, or in what states it’s illegal to buy sex toys), I want to hear about it . . . and then publish it for the prying eyes of the entire school. But don’t worry – if you spend your nights tormented, wondering why no one else seems to appreciate the brooding and darkly passionate sexual appeal of Supreme Court Justice and President of the United States William Howard Taft, I won’t judge you, and neither will anyone else – anonymity is entirely assured. (Unless you don’t want it to be, you kinkster, you.)

You all have the power to influence what you see in this column. If it’s about sex or relationships, it’s time to stop being afraid to ask, and to start reading the Res Gestae “for the articles.”

To submit a question or idea for Res Gestae’s new sex columnist, please feel free to e-mail rg@umich.edu, or, if you’d prefer greater anonymity, deposit your question under cover of night in the RG student group pendaflex outside Legal Research 116.

Primus Enters the Pantheon

Should you see Professor Primus in the next few days, be sure to congratulate him! Not for surviving the summer, though how any professor makes it without all of us around to pose absurd hypotheticals and pester them about finals is a mystery. And, not for getting married recently, though he certainly deserves a pat-on-the-back for that one as well. No, the reason you should congratulate Professor Primus is because the sandwich he designed, the Primus Inter Pares, has been added to this year’s menu at Zingerman’s Delicatessen! That makes it the first sandwich purchased at the SFF auction to be added to the full menu. (Kinda puts getting married into perspective, doesn’t it?)

The Primus Inter Pares took its place along side such legendary sandwich fare as the MJ’s Fond Farewell and Tarb’s Tenacious Tenure yesterday in a small ceremony with Professors Primus and Brensike Primus in attendance. Having his sandwich added to the Zingerman’s menu is the realization of a five-year dream for Professor Primus. “I’m not sure that there is anything for sale in Ann Arbor that is more exciting than that,” noted Professor Primus (see “The Constitutional Politics of Turkey Sandwiches” in the September 11, 2007 issue of the RG).

In an e-mailed comment explaining why the Primus Inter Pares was added to the menu after not having sold enough during its month-long trial period, Rick Strutz, the Managing Partner of Zingerman’s Delicatessen, explained that “In the big scheme of things we’re just a little delicatessen on a corner in Ann Arbor. We have a Radical Vision of changing our world, though, helping to make it better tomorrow than it is today; but we are realistic too. ... We probably won’t find the next miracle cure, and we probably won’t end homelessness in the world (but we’re trying in Washtenaw County). At the end of the day, we sell sandwiches, and food that makes you happy. So, when we had the chance to make one person’s dream come true with a sandwich ... well to us, that’s kinda a no brainer.”

Whether the Primus Inter Pares will be on the menu again next year will still depend on how well it sells between now and then. This means that all of us have a lot of sandwiches to eat before then. And Professor Primus has some eating to do, too, if he is to maintain his boast that he has eaten every sandwich Zingerman’s makes, since several other new sandwiches joined the menu yesterday as well.

“Primus enters the Pantheon ... long may he remain First Among Equals.”

PDF of September 25, 2007

Winter 2007 Grade Curves

Curves and Deviations

September 11, 2007

No Vacancy: Student Groups Struggle To Find Space In The Law Quad

By Mitch Holzrichter

Student groups play an increasingly important role at the Law School, but as their numbers grow, they struggle to find office and activity space. Student groups have last priority in the competition with faculty and administrators for limited space in Hutchins Hall and Legal Research.

Talk of a new law school building to be erected in the coming years offers a chance for the law school community to examine its policies on student group office space. LSSS and the Law School Building Committee recently established a committee to assess the needs of student groups and the criteria for determining which student groups receive the premium space in Hutchins Hall and the basement of the Reading Room.

The committee is comprised of 2L Tatiana Melnik, a student representative on the Building Committee, 3L Cisco Minthorn, a representative in LSSS, and one representative each from the Federalist Society and the Black Law Students Alliance. The committee, which met for the first time on Monday, September 10th, will work with Christine Gregory, Director of Student Affairs. Gregory had no comment on the issue at this time.

Growing Needs of Student Groups

“No one at the Law School today knows how current [student group] offices were assigned,” said LSSS President 3L Hadi Husain. “So many groups have formed in recent years that the current situation doesn’t work.”

Two student groups in particular, the Federalist Society and Student Funded Fellowships (SFF), have voiced concern over their space situation. Both groups have grown in size recently and have taken on more work for the Law School, but have done so without sufficient space.

The Federalist Society is hosting the national Federalist Society Symposium, which will bring as many as 1,000 law students and scholars from around the country to the Law School in March 2008. “Office space is a must to run a symposium expected to draw 800 to 1000 attendees,” said Symposium chair 3L Mike Ruttinger. The Law School has provided temporary space to the Federalist Society until the Symposium, but the Federalist Society will lose its office space again after that.

“We would like to see student group space allocated more widely, and well-articulated criteria set in place to determine which groups receive available offices,” said Ruttinger.

SFF has also criticized the current space allocations. SFF had an office, shared with the Native American Law Students Association, and storage space on the seventh floor of Legal Research. SFF uses its space for application materials and to collect and store auction items, among other things. But over the summer, SFF lost its current office and storage space. SFF received a new office on the tenth floor of Legal Research but was not given storage space.

In an email to SFF in May, Christine Gregory wrote, “[W]e cannot provide you with a permanent place to store your [auction items]. … I recommend that you go through the ‘stuff’ in the office at the beginning of the academic year (or sooner if possible) and identify items that can be thrown away, recycled or stored for future use.” The “stuff” referenced by Gregory is merchandise donated by alumni and faculty and collected by SFF throughout the year for the SFF Auction, which raises over $60,000 for public interest grants each year.

“Quite frankly, SFF needs space to store confidential applicant information, to have meetings, to work, and to collect items for our auction and other programs,” said SFF co-chair 3L Kate Redman.

Examining priorities

The new LSSS committee hopes to advocate for additional space in the new building and to determine criteria for the allocation of existing space.

“[The Building Committee is] considering ways to maximize the amount of space groups get going forward,” said Melnik. “The Building Committee recognizes that student groups bring life to the law school and want to help foster this life as best it can. But, because the planning of the new building and the re-organization of the current building is very early in the planning process, I can’t really give any specifics about the amount of space that will be allotted to groups. I know it will be more space, but how much more, I don’t know.”

However, faculty offices and classrooms will continue to take priority. “Clearly, classrooms are first priority because there is always a struggle to find room for all the courses,” said Melnik. “Faculty space is also important because professors don’t want to come teach here if they can’t have an office. But, space for students is definitely on par with those concerns.”

Husain noted that the committee will not rearrange current space allocations in the next few years, but will develop allocation criteria for future use. He personally believes that three criteria should be used: the size of the group, how active the group is, and how the group would use the space.

Husain also explained that although the committee will look at peer schools’ policies, many such law schools have entirely new campuses with new facilities and new space. Those other schools are not confined within an architecturally beautiful, but cramped, quad.

“Student Group space is indeed a priority for not only LSSS but the law school in general,” said Minthorn. “Our student groups are among the most active anywhere and are key to making the Michigan Law community the vibrant place it is. We are excited to delve into this multifaceted issue and to work out a solution to the space problem that is fair and equitable for all.”

Mitch Holzrichter is a 3L and a member of SFF. He can be reached at mholz@umich.edu. Res Gestae currently shares space in 116 Legal Research.

PDF of September 11, 2007

Too LawOpen? Commercial E-mails Clog Inboxes

It began on July 6, 2007, at 6:03 p.m. The responsible party, a 3L who shall remain nameless, might have been blissfully unaware of the tide he was ushering in. The message was short. It went like this: “Buying Notre Dame tickets. If you are selling, let me know.” Since that day, the e-mail accounts of every law student at the University of Michigan have been flooded with hundreds of e-mail solicitations for semi-legal (see Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.465) football ticket transactions.

Out of a random sampling of 1,000 e-mails sent to LawOpen over the last three months, 652 of them were for the purchase or sale of football tickets, while an additional 246 of them were aimed at buying and selling various other items, from course packs and textbooks to furniture. It appears that fully 90% of the messages on LawOpen are commercial.

It’s easy to get worked up over this situation. What is less clear is what to do about it. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: Those who complain about ticket-sellers on one hand are only too anxious to beg the captive audience of 1,000+ law students to borrow a laptop cable (or, around finals time, a whole laptop!). Those who love to hawk their wares in the football ticket marketplace are the first to write angry emails chastising use of the list as a bully pulpit for political debaters. “Something for everyone” quickly turns into “something for everyone to hate.”
Many people bring up the digest option, by which you can choose to receive a whole day’s LawOpen offerings in one long email, as a solution. We would suggest that the digest feature is part of the problem. Though we may clash on precisely which topics represent the biggest peril to inbox feng shui, we can surely all agree that receiving e-mail asking the same question or making the same point as was asked or made in a post several hours prior can ruin anybody’s good mood. It’s all well and good for someone to save himself the hassle by receiving the digest, but is it really fair to the rest of us when he then lobs gruesome chunks of spam over that little barricade he hides behind?

One possible solution is to prohibit postings that offer to buy or sell anything. LSSS polices LawStudents effectively, and a similar effort could clean up LawOpen. Another possible solution is the creation of an additional listserv for sales. The creation of LawSales would meet the obvious demand for a quick-response forum for sales, one that is apparently unfulfilled by the Law School Classifieds, and would free up space on LawOpen for the spread of other types of information. In any case, one topic sure to stir up a lively debate, and yet equally relevant to all members of the Law School community, is what to do about the spam-mobile that LawOpen has become.

Will '10 Be a Good Year?

By Sumeera Younis

Don’t they look much younger than us? Did we giggle that much in the library? Already I hear the questions resonating through the halls of Hutchins. We have seen new names selling tickets on LawOpen; we have seen the eager faces crowded outside of classrooms, anxious to grab the most coveted seats. But who is this class of 2010?

Though they may look like undergrads, the new crop of budding young litigators averages 24 years of age, just like the class of 2009. At least one newbie has yet to reach drinking age, while the oldest, at 36, makes even 2nd year SQUALSA members feel young and limber. Just over two-thirds of the incoming class took a year or more off after undergrad, and 15 percent of the class earned advanced degrees before joining us.

Many members of the new class are treading ground that their parents did not: more than a third come from families where at least one parent did not attend college; 10 percent come from families where neither parent went to college.

Many members of the class of 2010 took service positions before law school: six have Fulbright Scholarship, seven did Peace Corps, five did Americorps, and 12 participated in the Teach for America program.

While these new kids may not share our advanced understanding of expectation damages or future interests, they did do some impressive LSATing. The median score of 169 (97th percentile) is the highest ever for an entering class at Michigan. The median undergrad GPA of 3.64 is second only to the 3.67 posted by the class of 2009.

For those of you who, like me, were at OCI and could have sworn that you had never seen some of the faces there before, you may have been right. We are joined this fall by 42 second-year transfers, which is up significantly from last year.

If you haven’t already noticed exotic accents in many of your classes, we have 46 LLMs with us now, and international students make up nearly seven percent of the incoming class. 17 countries are represented, as well as 43 of the states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.

Fully a quarter of the members of the class of 2010 are ethnically diverse: 12.3% are Asian American, 6.1% are African American, 5.0% are Latino, and 1.6% are Native American.

Though the gap is narrowing, historically Michigan has seen less female students than males, and this year it is no exception. The incoming class is 55% male and 45% female. Ladies, you know that means we are going to have to do a little extra talking in class to keep things balanced.

At first I was a little put off by all the new faces, feeling somehow that a group of outsiders had come into our sacred space in Hutchins Hall. But the more I learn about this incoming class, the more confident I am that each coming year is going to keep up the awesome legacy of Michigan Law.

The Constitutional Politics of Turkey Sandwiches

By Nate Kurtis

Dreams are won and lost every year at the Student Funded Fellowship auction. … Or so the popular wisdom would have us believe. But how can we know? So many of those fabulous prizes are collected in locales both exotic and remote (what is this San Francisco of which you speak?), and even more in private (after all, what happens in Prof. Soper’s hot tub stays in Prof. Soper’s hot tub!). The result: We mere mortals who can’t purchase such fantasies-made-real are denied even the vicarious joys that spring forth from this annual auction of amazement.

Until today. To help share the ecstasy, the RG sat down with Prof. Richard A. Primus, Michigan Law’s resident Sandwich Connoisseur and Constitutional Law Sage, to learn about his recent SFF-ignited adventure. For those who don’t know, Prof. Primus traded $800 for a chance at immortality -- he won the right to create and name a Zingerman’s sandwich!

Res Gestae: When was the first time you ate at Zingerman’s?

Professor Richard A. Primus: I guess the first time I ever ate at Zingerman’s would have been in 2001, the same year I came to teach at Michigan, and I remember liking it a lot. And, I remember that, by the spring of 2002, I realized that I needed a systematic approach to eating at Zingerman’s because there are so many options and so many of them are good. But, I thought that if I just went in each time without a plan I would wind up spending a lot of time trying to decide on each visit what sandwich to eat. I would inevitably converge on three or four things on the menu that I liked and find myself going back to them and that would mean that there would probably be lots of good sandwiches that I would never try. So I thought that I should have a system, and the system should be that I would eat every sandwich on the menu in numerical order. That way, I would never waste time figuring out what to eat next. Over the course of time, I would eat every sandwich on the menu. I would discover things that I didn’t know I liked that might be good. And, I would then accumulate a store of experience that I could use for better sandwich ordering in the future.

RG: Going numerically you’d hit a number of their retired sandwiches. Have you tried to order any of those?

RAP: Yes, I have, and they have been very cooperative about it. When I would ask them about a retired sandwich, they would look it up and they would tell me what was on it and they would make it for me. I discovered, for the most part, that there’s a reason that the retired sandwiches are retired. They’re not bad, but systematically the ones on the menu, I’ve thought, were better than the retired ones.

RG: [handing over a copy of the Zingerman’s Deli menu] Where is your sandwich on the menu?

RAP: On the present menu, I don’t think you’ll find mine. The way that the auction works is that they put up your sandwich for thirty days. In the unlikely event that your sandwich sells particularly well – and how well that is is never defined in advance – they will incorporate your sandwich into the permanent menu. My understanding is that no sandwich has ever been incorporated on the basis of the Law School auction in this way. Mine wasn’t either. I didn’t really expect that it would be because they’ve covered the ground of good sandwiches really pretty well. My sandwich was available for those thirty days – and it still would be now as a retired sandwich. I think you can still go in and ask for it. I had one maybe in July and they still remembered what it was and how to make it.

RG: What sandwich did you make?

RAP: It was called the Primus Inter Pares, meaning first among equals. I asked a lot of people, including students and colleagues, for input and suggestions about names, and this was the winner in the end. The idea being: the menu is filled with great sandwiches; I didn’t want to pretend that my sandwich was better than all of the other sandwiches. I just wanted to say that, even as among all of these great sandwiches, this is the one that I go for. So, ‘first among equals’ seemed like a good way to go.

RG: What is a Primus Inter Pares?

RAP: It’s a turkey – I think that Zingerman’s best sandwich meat is their turkey – with coleslaw, Russian dressing, and yellow mustard.

RG: You’re a toppings person I see.

RAP: Yes. It’s a lot about texture. I learned a lot about this actually from the Zingerman’s sandwich people in the course of designing the sandwich because they have an elaborate process. They don’t just ask you what ingredients you want and then put that up there – they take their office very seriously. They want to do good work, and so they counsel you. So, I sat with two different people who are from their sandwich making team and they asked me a bunch of questions about what I liked and what I didn’t like. They made me familiar with all kinds of considerations in sandwich making that I had not previously known about, like: the importance of texture; the importance of ingredients that don’t oxidize waiting on the sandwich line; the tradeoffs between the expensive ingredients and the salability of the sandwich. We tried lots of different combinations of things before we arrived at this one. Oh, I forgot to mention, it’s on grilled rye bread.

RG: Just how many sandwiches did you end up eating trying to figure that out?

RAP: I think that I probably tried seven or eight variations. I knew going in that I wanted turkey. I knew that I wanted Russian dressing. There was one moment at the 11th hour when I veered off into corn beef, but other than that I held to those initial two ideas but then played with a bunch of different variations, different kinds of mustard. At one point there was the possibility of apples. The apple idea was a good one but apples oxidize on the sandwich line; they’re tough.

RG: What about applesauce instead?

RAP: I’m not a huge applesauce fan. And, once I had the coleslaw and the Russian dressing, applesauce on top of that would give me, I think, a pretty soggy sandwich.

RG: The Primus Soup?

RAP: I think it would be.

RG: That could be the next thing you win at the SFF auction.
RAP: It could be. I suppose it could be.

RG: Were you charged for all those sandwiches you ate while making it?

RAP: No. I suppose that, from a particular law and economics standpoint, you could say that the donation that I made to SFF included the eight sandwiches that I tried. They did not charge me for the sandwiches that I sampled to figure it out. Once the sandwich was set, if I wanted one I had to pay for it.

RG: You designed the sandwich at the end of last spring, right? What with grading finals and getting married, when did you find time to make a sandwich?!

RAP: It was tough. It really was tough. I look back on March and April and I find it difficult to understand how everything that needed to get done got done. But, priorities are priorities, and designing a sandwich is serious business.

RG: Where did it rank in there with the other two?
RAP: Let’s say in second place.

RG: Alright, we don’t need to be any more specific. Now, the cost of a Zingerman’s sandwich does raise an interesting question. As a constitutional law expert, at $10.99 a sandwich – steep for a sandwich – is there the possibility that it is a due process violation?

RAP: I think I’ve waived any such objections. Is there a due process problem to the public at large? I guess what I would say about this is: Are you a communist? WHO TAUGHT YOU CONSTITUTIONAL LAW? [laughs]

RG: Well, since your sandwich didn’t make it onto the permanent menu, do you still feel that it was money well spent?

RAP: Oh, absolutely. It was money well spent, I think, on two fronts. The first is: Student Funded Fellowship is a worthy cause to support and I’m glad to give them my money. I’m glad to give them my money, sandwich or no sandwich. And then secondly, you know, you take your shots at glory and they don’t always pan out. But it is far better to dare mighty things, even though checkered by failure, than to dwell in the perpetual twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

RG: But, can we still call it a student funded fellowship if it is the professors, like yourself, who are picking up some of the larger ticket items?

RAP: That’s an interesting question. I think what it means is that students need to step up and open their pocketbooks a little bit more. I can be beaten in this auction. Most students at this law school are going to make more money over, let’s say the next ten years, than I am. There is very little reason why students, with an appropriate understanding of their consumption possibilities, shouldn’t be able to beat out the faculty in these auctions.

RG: What about at the next auction? What are you going to bid on; what is a dream win for you in the upcoming SFF auction?

RAP: That’s tough. You see, the problem is that this was the dream and I don’t know if something comes after it. It’s not the only thing I’ve ever bought at SFF auctions -- I also bought a week on a cattle ranch in Nebraska at a previous auction. But, worthy as that was, it wasn’t a Zingerman’s sandwich. I’m not sure that there is anything for sale in Ann Arbor that is more exciting than that.

RG: Maybe then it won’t be so hard to beat you next year. Well, other than your sandwich, which sandwich or two would you recommend to people from your experience?

RAP: Well I have notes on the subject.

RG: Really?

RAP: Well certainly, because the theory was: try all the sandwiches so that, for the rest of my sandwich purchasing life, I will know what to do. I don’t have a perfect memory so I take notes on lots of things, including this. [Opens a file on his computer containing detailed information on each Zingerman’s sandwich.] So, my notes say that my favorite sandwiches off of their menu are the 1, the 18, the 20, the 34, the 62, and the 67, and maybe the 73. Now, I’d need to look through the menu and see what those are to narrow it down further. The number 1 I remember. The number 1 is called the “Who’s Greenberg Anyway?,” it’s corn beef, chopped liver, and Russian dressing on rye. If I eat it every day I’ll be dead by the time I’m 45, but I’ll die happy. And, what else? Let’s see. [Consults a Zingerman’s menu.] 18, 20…. Like I said, I think their turkeys are very good. So, ah, so the 18 and the 20 are essentially the same version of a turkey Reuben, just one is grilled and one is not grilled. They are excellent. They are also relatively close to mine, except they have cheese – mine’s a no cheese version. And mine has yellow mustard which they don’t have. And then, let’s see, 34, 62, and 67; what are those?

RG: Wait, 67, 73, does that mean you’ve eaten seventy sandwiches from there?

RAP: Oh, I’ve eaten them all, and the numbers stretch up to nearly a hundred – or rather, I’ve eaten all of them except the ones containing ingredients forbidden by the God of my Ancestors, which basically means that I didn’t eat any of the sandwiches with pork. And, I finished the menu right about the time I bought the sandwich at SFF. I figured that’s what made me ready to do it. I think I couldn’t have bought the sandwich in an earlier year because I would still have been operating without full information. So let’s see: 34, 62, and 67. Oh yeah, the 34, which is “Diana’s Different Drummer,” is ranch beef brisket with coleslaw and horseradish. I think, let’s not count the 18 and the 20 because they are too similar to my own. Once you knock those out I might say the number 1 and the number 34.

RG: Do you have any advice for the sandwich consuming public?

RAP: I would say: “Life is short, use the right mustard.”

RG: Thank you.

RAP: You’re welcome.

*******
Darin Latimer, the Front of House Manager for Zingerman’s Deli, recalls the Primus Inter Pares. “Although it didn’t sell enough to make it onto the menu,” says Latimer, “it did develop a bit of a following while it was on the special menu.” Rick Strutz, the Managing Partner of Zingerman’s Deli, adds that “[n]ot only was [the Primus Inter Pares] one of the best tasting, but also one of the most requested sandwiches we have co- created in the 10 or so years we’ve been involved in the auction.” Even if it isn’t listed on the menu, customers can still order the Primus Inter Pares. As an added incentive, Latimer noted that “it’s always possible [for a sandwich] to make it on the menu” if enough people ask for it.

That means that all hope is not lost for those of us who weren’t able to purchase happiness at last year’s SFF auction. We can each carve a slice of immortality for ourselves if we do our part to buy the Primus Inter Pares onto the permanent menu. And, at $10.99, we could do it for much less that what that sandwich cost Prof. Primus!


Nate Kurtis is a 3L and the Editor-in-Chief of the Res Gestae (why else would a newspaper devote so much space to a sandwich?). Questions or comments about this article may be sent to rg@umich.edu.

Lost in Law School: Keeping Your Perspective and Finding Your Way

"Save Yourself: A Semester-Long Exercise in Perspective"
By Liz Polizzi

I have a confession to make. On several occasions over the past year, I’ve found myself looking with deep appreciation at bad landscape paintings.

It all started during OCI last year. I was standing in the kitschy hallways of the Holiday Inn, listening through the door as the interviewee ahead of me guffawed with the interviewer. Sure that my own chances of success must be shot – how could I possibly follow such an act? – I began to scan the halls for something to take my mind off of my misfortune. That’s when I beheld it.

The color scheme of the painting involved teal, purple, and a sort of beige-ish pink, in a swirl of pastels that somehow gave the impression of a landscape involving water. It was the sort of painting you’d expect to see in a Holiday Inn – nothing more, nothing less – but it captivated me, it soothed me. It took me to a faraway place, a distant land where I was free to sit on the blurry riverbank and watch the garish teal water reflect the purplish-beige trees. I imagined a breeze. The air smelled somehow fruity.

Since that moment, I’ve spent a great deal of time rationalizing and making excuses for my obviously horrendous taste in art, evidenced not only on that occasion but on countless others. I love bad landscape paintings, and that’s all there is to it. But why?

This fall marked the fifth occasion on which I have enjoyed the almost-but-not-entirely-unpleasant queasiness of returning to Ann Arbor after a long absence. Every time I reenter the city limits, get stuck in student pedestrian traffic, catch a first glimpse of the Law School, I have the same thought: “This time will be different. I have perspective now. Armed with fresh memories of the world outside of law school, I hereby banish all the ‘scary law student’ thoughts I had before. I will remain a level-headed, good-natured human being throughout the whole semester. Yes, this atmosphere and period of life are unique, but life is still composed of days and minutes, which I hereby promise to enjoy and live well, as a human being.”

Sadly (and this is a heart-wrenching personal admission, so I expect the reader to feel at least a little pang of sympathy), it usually only takes a week or two before I’ve gotten myself twisted back into such a state that a purple-tinged pastoral scene is required to facilitate anything resembling a state of calm.

I am egomorphic enough to assume that I am not alone in this, and thus we come to the point of this column. I have a fabulous friend, whom I was lucky enough to meet at the beginning of law school, who is fond of putting her face inches away from mine and screaming “Snap out of it!” But sometimes that’s not enough – just like it isn’t enough merely to know about the world outside and how little it really cares about or even understands most of the things that plague the average law student. In order to overcome a negative, you need a positive, like kite-flying or jumping rope – only more suitable to our positions as the future leaders of the free world and all that.

The key, in the end, is to maintain connections with the things that make us who we are – or, at least, who we were before law school. The things that make us unique, and not just another notch on the grade curve. I know many people who have done a much better job of this than I have. They remember what they used to like to do, or what they always wanted to learn how to do, and make a little time each week to pursue things totally unrelated to law school. Although I always intended to follow suit, I just never found the time ... until now.

From now until the end of the semester, I promise to explore in each issue of the RG a new way of leaving the Law School campus and embarking on a human adventure entirely unencumbered by the laws of Civil Procedure or the Uniform Commercial Code – and I’m taking you with me. I’ll be delving headlong into perspective-enhancing adventure – from art and music, to yoga and volunteer work, from philosophy, music, and religion, to adventures in food. Along the way I hope to take my cues from other law students who have done this sort of thing all along and thus theoretically kept a heightened degree of perspective (although I suppose that question must be examined as well). To that end, I hope my loyal readership will not hesitate to write in with their own personal methods for maintaining sanity in a not-so-sane place.

For the time being, let’s all just take a moment to find our own peaceful place and meditate upon the notion that it’s never too late to begin the process of reintroducing simple human pleasures into the maelstrom of our to-do lists, to rediscover the versions of ourselves that made Dean Zearfoss invite us to come here in the first place, or to reacquaint ourselves with our own truly sophisticated taste in art.

Liz Polizzi is a 3L and Managing Editor of Res Gestae. Comments, suggestions, and treasure maps should be e-mailed to epolizzi@umich.edu.

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