Dean Newton's fall 2017 welcome letter to students

Author: Dean Nell Jessup Newton

Dear students,

Welcome back 2Ls and 3Ls, and special welcome to the 1L class. Here is a brief overview of the new people, programs, and opportunities you will be encountering this year.

First, your fellow students and faculty have been working hard to line up some outstanding speakers this year, and more will be coming on line as the year progresses. First, on September 29 the Career Development Office will be bringing you Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. Mayor Suthers is a former attorney general of Colorado and a former U.S. attorney for Colorado and he is sure to have excellent career advice. The annual Law Review Symposium is always a major event, and the keynote speaker will be the Hon. Tom Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Judge Hardiman is a great supporter of our students and has hired clerks from NDLS. Professor Cass Sunstein will be traveling here from Harvard Law School to give the November 21 Clynes Chair Lecture. Professor Sunstein is an engaging speaker and prolific constitutional and public policy scholar with wide-ranging interests. He has written numerous books ranging from “Constitutional Personae” to “Nudge” and, most recently, “The World According to Star Wars” and “#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media.”

On November 30, Professor John Inazu of Washington University Law School will address a topic that could not be more timely: “Confident Pluralism and the University: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference.”

Still more innovative programs are in the works. For example, the Law School will be an active participant in the new University Interdisciplinary Real Estate Institute, which will work on real estate law and policy issues together with our partners in the School of Architecture, Mendoza College of Business, and the College of Engineering. NDLS Professor Dan Kelly is the acting director of this new University program.

A direct benefit to the Law School is a new Program of Study in Real Estate Law and a newly appointed Professor of the Practice, Professor Thomas Patrick (Pat) Dore, Jr. The program of study (our eighth) recognizes that students are increasingly interested in the critical roles lawyers play in real estate regulation, development, finance, investment, and transactions. As many of you know, programs of study are in-depth course-selection guides that help students interested in specializing in a particular area of law select their courses in a strategic way. A Double Domer, Dore is senior counsel at Davis Polk in New York City, where, as partner and head of its Real Estate Group, he practiced and supervised the practice of real estate law at the highest levels. In addition to real estate, Professor Dore has a special interest in the London program, which he credits as a formative influence in his professional life. He will teach Real Estate Transactions in the fall and again in the spring.

The beginning of a new school year is an excellent time to review this and the other seven Programs of Study (Business Law; Criminal Law; Environmental Law; Global Law; Intellectual Property and Technology Law; Law, Ethics, and Public Policy; and Public Law) to see if any fit your interests and to learn which professors are available to offer you advice and a friendly ear regarding them. For descriptions and more information, see the “Academics” page on our website. (While you’re at it, please take a moment to review Choosing Your Curriculum at Notre Dame Law School on our website.)

I also have several pieces of good news regarding the LL.M. programs at NDLS. First, although the Center for Civil & Human Rights has moved a couple of buildings south to the new Jenkins Hall, the LL.M. in International Human Rights Law is staying in Eck Hall. The human rights LL.M. program has welcomed 24 experienced lawyers and human rights activists from 17 countries and the students will continue to be an important part of our community. In addition, our general LL.M. program has enrolled 18 lawyers from 10 countries. Click here for thumbnail bios and photos of our International Human Rights lawyers and click here for the same regarding our LL.M. at Notre Dame students.

Faculty & Staff News

Lots of news to share here. At the top of the list, of course, is professor and Seventh Circuit judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing that was set for this morning. At a time of extraordinarily divisive politics on the national stage it is an especially remarkable testament to both Amy and this law school that, regardless of their personal politics, every full-time member of the NDLS faculty signed a strong letter of endorsement supporting Professor Barrett’s nomination. In addition, every law clerk who was serving a justice who was on the Supreme Court during the term that Professor Barrett clerked for Justice Scalia also endorsed her nomination. As Professor Jennifer Mason McAward noted in a recent op-ed in the South Bend Tribune, Professor Barrett’s “career as a teacher and scholar has been incredibly successful — our students have twice selected her as the teacher of the year, and she has published many important articles in top law journals. She also served for six years, by appointment of Chief Justice John Roberts, on the committee that makes the rules for all the federal appellate courts in the country. It is no surprise, then, that the American Bar Association in evaluating Amy’s qualifications gave her its highest rating of Well Qualified.”

I wish Professor Barrett all the best and look forward to her confirmation by the full Senate. Upon confirmation, it is our hope that she will, like Seventh Circuit Judge Kenneth Ripple, remain on our faculty and continue teaching on a part-time basis. In that happy eventuality, NDLS will become one of the few law schools in the nation with two federal appellate judges on their faculty. If you would like to view this morning’s hearing, the Judiciary Committee plans to stream and then archive it on its website.

In other faculty news, Professor Bruce Huber was granted tenure and promoted to full professor last May, and Professor Randy Kozel became Associate Dean at the end of Professor Mark McKenna’s term this year. Professor Roger Alford, dean of graduate and international programs, is on leave now to serve as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for international affairs with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Professor Alford’s work on antitrust matters at the Justice Department will be significant, and the expertise, integrity, and professionalism that he is bringing to the position will benefit us all. Equally important, I have no doubt that his experiences there will inure to the benefit of his students and prove fruitful for his scholarship once he returns home to teach full time at the Law School. While on leave, Professor Alford is keeping in touch with us on international matters.

We also have some superb new faculty hires to tout. Professor Paul B. Miller joined us this fall with a special expertise in the areas of equity, fiduciary law, trust law, and corporate law. He comes to us from Canada, where he taught at McGill University in Montreal and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and will be teaching Jurisprudence in the spring.

This year will be an exciting one for our London Law Program. Professor Michael Addo joins our faculty as director of the London Global Gateway Law Program. He brings more than 25 years of experience in international law and human rights research, teaching, and policy from his years at the University of Exeter and the United Nations. Professor Addo will be in town for a week beginning Thursday, September 7, and I encourage you to get to know him and learn more about the opportunities in our full-year, semester, and summer London programs. I will be traveling to London at the end of October and look forward to meeting with the students studying there this fall.

Changes are also coming to the Kresge Law Library (although, I am sorry to say, we haven’t figured out a way to have espresso drinks delivered to your carrels on demand). This is an exciting time for law libraries as they rethink the ways information can be delivered and accessed by users. Over the years, the Law Library has benefited from strong leadership and a rich tradition of service to students, faculty, and the legal community. Thomas Mills, who joined us from Cornell Law School as Notre Dame’s seventh library director, will continue that tradition and expand upon the past. The energy and vision that made Director Mills so valued at Cornell is already in evidence as he begins his new position at NDLS. I also am delighted that 2017 NDLS alum and visiting assistant librarian Joe Nugent is joining us. Prior to coming to South Bend to earn his J.D. at Notre Dame, Joe earned his MLS at Indiana University in Bloomington and worked as a librarian in Washington, D.C., for about seven years.

A number of visiting professors are bringing their talents to NDLS this year. Visiting during the fall semester are Kenworthey Bilz from the University of Illinois Law School (teaching Evidence and a seminar on Race & Policing); Robin Effron from Brooklyn Law (Civil Procedure and International Sales); and Saura Masconale (Inequality, Efficiency & the Corporation) and Simone Sepe (Business Associations), both from the University of Arizona Law School. A fifth visitor, UCLA’s Samuel L. Bray, is teaching Civil Procedure this fall and will also be returning in the spring to teach Remedies and a soon-to-be-named seminar. In addition, Stephen Cribari, an experienced visiting professor at NDLS and a former Federal Public Defender who twice argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, will be returning this spring as a visitor to teach Evidence and Lawyers in Film.

Finally, I would be remiss in not noting that a number of new and outstanding adjunct professors joined us this fall as well.

Kevin Burke, formerly with the Chicago firm Burke Wise Morrissey Kaveny, is teaching Personal Injury Litigation this fall.

John B. Griffith, executive vice president of administration, general counsel, and secretary of 1st Source Bank and 1st Source Corporation, is teaching Banking and Financial Institutions Law this fall while Michael Hays, a partner with the South Bend and Elkhart law firm Tuesley Hall Konopa, is teaching the Corporate Counsel Externship course and Damon Leichty, a partner in the Litigation Department of Barnes & Thornburg’s South Bend office, is teaching Product Liability.

Jerry McKeever, of the South Bend firm Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, is teaching Deposition Skills both semesters.

St. Joseph County Circuit Court Magistrate Judge Andre Gammage and Nancy Morrison O’Connor (formerly of the Washington, D.C., firm Bracewell LLP) taught in the Intensive Trial Advocacy program this fall and will do so again in the spring.

Finally, Alan Minuskin of Boston College Law School is teaching Negotiations this fall as an adjunct professor in the London Law Program.

I am also delighted to report that the Clinical Law Center has a terrific new director. A Double Domer, David Pruitt comes to us after having served as a partner in the litigation department in the South Bend office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP where he concentrated on commercial and intellectual property litigation and represented clients in state and federal courts around the country. Currently about 33 percent of NDLS students participate in one of the Center’s five clinics in the course of their three years and David is eager to take us to the next level.

Meet interesting people (and get help finding a job)

Several years ago, our Career Development Office began emphasizing, through presentations and individual counseling, the crucial role networking plays in finding a good job in your area of interest. The results have been striking, with NDLS employment figures improving every year as students take this advice to heart and the world-famous ND alumni network rises to the challenge.

I am particularly proud of the fact that in just its third year of operation our Alumni Ambassador program is already a rousing success. Alumni Relations Director Tammye Raster, Career Development Office Director Vinny Versagli, the entire Notre Dame Lawyer Association, and this year’s alumni ambassador director, 2L Theresa Barton, are now coordinating student networking events with NDLS alumni in nearly 30 cities throughout the country.

Coming up just this month: NDLA board members will meet with students during a networking happy hour on September 28 and with mentoring lunch groups on September 29. Then, on September 30, the Alumni Office and NDLS Advancement Office will team up to host a Homecoming Weekend that will feature more networking opportunities for NDLS students and all the NDLS alumni who will be back on campus for the ND vs. Miami of Ohio game.

These are all wonderful opportunities not available to law students at every law school – please take advantage of them!

Open door policy

I very much look forward to meeting with you individually. I will see some of you this semester in D.C. where I will be teaching in the D.C. Seminar, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work closely with SBA President Athena Aherrera and all the student organizations that are dedicated to making your law school experience the best it can possibly be. Meanwhile, as always, my door is always open. Just email me or drop by the Dean’s suite in 2100 Eck Hall to see my assistant, Julie Shook. She will gladly fit you into my schedule for a private meeting where we can introduce ourselves or discuss any matter that you would like.

The faculty and staff all join me in welcoming you to the new school year. Let’s all have a great one.

​Nell Jessup Newton
Joseph A. Matson Dean and Professor of Law
Notre Dame Law School