A Message from the Dean to Students

Author: Dean Nell Jessup Newton

Dear students,

On behalf of all faculty and staff: Welcome back, we’re delighted to see you!

While I promise to try to keep my emails short and their numbers to a minimum, I will write occasionally to update you with news regarding your school.

New Faculty

I am delighted to announce Professor Stephen Yelderman has joined the Law School after a career with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. Professor Yelderman has also worked as a patent agent and plans to teach patent law, as well as copyright, the basic course in intellectual property, and antitrust law (although not all at once, of course). His office is in 2112 Eck Hall. Professor Yelderman will strengthen our already very strong IP faculty. Professor Yelderman’s wife, Adjunct Professor Alexandra Levy, will be teaching a new course in Human Trafficking (3 credits) and bringing to the classroom the experience she acquired in her career at The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center.

We will also welcome three visiting professors this year – one this semester, and two more in the spring. Chris Lund, our fall visitor, is teaching Contracts and a Freedom of Religion Seminar. You can find him in Room 2156. Professor Lund comes to us from Wayne State, where he was voted Professor of the Year three times.Cecelia Klingele will visit with us from the University of Wisconsin Law School in the spring semester. Before joining Wisconsin, she clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens on the United States Supreme Court. Professor Klingele will teach Criminal Law and a Sentencing & Corrections Seminar. Brian McCall will visit from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and will teach Business Associations and a Catholic Social Thought Seminar. Before joining the faculty at that University of Oklahoma College of Law, Professor McCall was a partner at the international law firm of Dechert LLP, where he focused on cross border mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance transactions.

In addition, attorney David Smith, a partner with Kilpatrick Townsend in Washington, D.C., will be back to teach his popular short course in Indian Law. This year he will be joined by a co-teacher, Paul Shagen, who is Assistant General Counsel of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.

New Courses

You will have noted that a number of the above courses are new. New are:

• Communications Regulation (2 credits)
• Courtroom Evidence/ Trial Skills (2 credits)
• Human Trafficking (3 credits)
• Law, Business & Catholicism (2 credits)
• Legal Interviewing & Counseling (3 credits)
• Sentencing & Corrections Seminar (2 credits)

Notre Dame Law in Chicago

Since coming to Notre Dame, I have placed a priority on interdisciplinary and experiential programs that are designed to better prepare students for the changing legal marketplace. In that regard we have launched new clinical programs that emphasize hands-on transactional work and begun six new programs that confront the interdisciplinary dimensions of law and legal practice. Then, in 2012 we created Notre Dame Law in Chicago, an externship program with offices and classroom space in the Loop.

Now I am happy to announce that ND Law in Chicago will be opening its newly renovated quarters in the Loop this September 9. As many of you know, the Chicago program allows you to spend a full semester living, externing, and networking in the top job market for NDLS graduates. You may extern in nonprofit organizations, government agencies, or corporate council offices. Our terrific facilities are located on the second floor of the historic 17-story building at 224 South Michigan Avenue.

The Chicago facilities include a conference room and 40-person classroom that have videoconferencing capability to enable Chicago lawyers to teach courses as adjunct professors to NDLS students in South Bend or London as well as those in the Chicago program. For example, Professor Chuck Roth, Litigation Director at the National Immigrant Justice Center, is teaching an Immigration Law course in Chicago this fall that is also open to students here in South Bend. There are many other excellent Chicago attorneys who would love to teach a course at NDLS but cannot afford the time to commute back and forth from South Bend. Now they won’t have to.

Associate Dean for Experiential Programs Bob Jones spearheaded the Chicago effort and will continue to teach the externship seminar and remain involved to ensure that Notre Dame Law in Chicago sets the standard for off-site externship programs. Bob is continuing to expand our local externship opportunities too, by the way – his new Lawyering Practice Externship program is up and running and held its first class meeting earlier today.

Staff Changes

We have also made some staff changes. On September 3, we will be joined by Assistant Dean for Graduate and Strategic Programs Janet Laybold. Dean Laybold was a key senior advisor and dean at Washington University in St. Louis and has moved to Chicago where she will be housed in our Chicago facility and visit South Bend regularly.

While at Wash. U., Dean Laybold started an externship program in New York and we have asked her to help us develop other off-site externships in addition to overseeing the externships in Chicago. She also will serve as a liaison to the Career Development Office in Chicago, provide strategic advice to admissions, and oversee development of an LL.M. program in South Bend. She will, in other words, be quite busy. In addition to these tasks, Dean Laybold hopes to teach her course in Negotiation and Mediation Theory in Chicago this spring.


One of the best ways to expand both your academic and career interests is to attend as many of the outstanding public conferences and hear as many of the visiting speakers that come to NDLS as you can. Two events in particular may be of interest to our students:
First, the Bank of America has provided NDLS with a generous grant to enable us to host a major national conference on the future of homeownership in America on October 10. Professor Nicole Garnett took the lead role in organizing this conference, which will be bringing an array of the top scholars and attorneys in the field to NDLS for a full day of discussions about the institution of homeownership and the necessary regulatory reforms needed to optimize the industry moving forward.

Then the very next week, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will be visiting us for two days. Judge Kozinski will teaching courses and speaking to the student body on both October 15 and October 16.

Please keep an eye on the NDLS website for more information about these and other events.

Student Issues

I very much look forward to working with SBA President Ashley Wood and all the student organizations that seek to enhance your law school experience, but my door is always open to all students.

I will be teaching Contracts this fall, so I will have a chance to get to know a number of 1Ls, but I enjoy meeting students. Feel free to email me or to drop by the Dean’s suite in 2100 Eck Hall to see my assistant Julie Shook. She will be happy to fit you into my schedule for a private meeting to discuss any matter or just to introduce yourself.

I hope you have a great fall semester, and good luck with your studies.