Dean Newton's fall 2018 welcome letter to students

Author: Nell Jessup Newton

Nell Jessup Newton Official W

Dear students,

Welcome back to school, 2Ls and 3Ls, and a special welcome to the 1L class.

First, I want to thank you so much for your support and understanding as our community works through the grief and stress of losing our beloved Law School registrar, Anne Hamilton. Many of our students and alumni wrote notes or sent flowers, and Anne’s family appreciated your thoughts and prayers more than you can know. Although we are working very hard to make sure we continue to provide you with all of the vital services that she handled so well, there have been inevitable glitches and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

Each fall I like to share information regarding the people, programs, and opportunities you will be encountering this year. At the top of that list this year is the good news that not one, but two, members of the NDLS community will be heading to Washington, D.C., to clerk for justices on the Supreme Court of the United States during the October 2019 term. Laura Wolk ’16 J.D., will be clerking for Justice Clarence Thomas, and Professor Stephen Yelderman will be clerking for Chief Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, for whom he previously clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. When Professor Yelderman returns to NDLS after his clerkship, NDLS will boast 12 faculty members with Supreme Court clerkship experience.  

NDLS faculty and students always bring outstanding speakers to South Bend. Among the speakers scheduled for this fall is the top antitrust official for the U.S. government, Makan Delrahim, who will be here August 31 (the day before the Michigan game) to talk about applying antitrust law to college and professional sports. Our own Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit will be speaking on the role of original meaning in constitutional interpretation on September 12 at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. On November 8, the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Program of Study is bringing Judge Raymond Chen of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to NDLS to deliver a Clynes Chair Lecture. And speaking of judges, I am also delighted that Judge Thomas Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has agreed to serve on the panel of judges who will preside over our annual Showcase Moot Court in February 2019. These are only a few of the speakers and events that will be planned this year. Be sure to check out the Monday Morning Update in your inbox for up-to-the-minute news of the week ahead.

Since I became dean in 2009, we have added a number of new clinics and externships to the curriculum. This fall we are offering a new externship, the Wrongful Conviction Externship. Born of the all-volunteer and student-led Notre Dame Exoneration Project, participation in the new externship now brings course credit and is being supervised by both Professor Jimmy Gurulé and Adjunct Professor Elliot Slosar.

The Law School’s Economic Justice Clinic has garnered national attention. Recently, the University’s website highlighted the role of the clinic in helping a homeless woman regain possession of her house. We are also excited that the clinic and the work of Professor Judy Fox on fair housing is the subject of NBC’s “What Would You Fight For?” ad that will be shown at halftime during the Ball State game September 8.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Law School’s London program. Our London program is the oldest of any American law school and features the only ABA-approved full-year London option. Our new London director, Professor Michael K. Addo, has plans for enhancements to the London course offerings and externship opportunities. Professor Addo will be visiting NDLS in the first week of October to talk to interested students. I encourage you to seek him out at that time. We will be sharing more information about his visit in the coming weeks.

As most of you know, the Rev. Patrick E. Reidy, C.S.C., ’08, ’13 M.Div., our outstanding Law School chaplain for the past two years, has decamped to Yale Law School to earn his J.D. We will miss him terribly but are delighted to have a new Law School chaplain in place, Justin McDevitt. Justin holds a law degree from Loyola University Chicago and is no stranger to NDLS, as he spent many hours in the Kresge Law Library doing research for his M.A. in political science. While not an ordained priest, he will be assisting with the daily Mass in St. Thomas More Chapel and plans to be a regular presence at the Law School where he will be readily available for consultations, conversation, and support. Following in Fr. Pat’s footsteps, he hopes to offer informal “office hours” in the Eck Commons. You can reach Justin at

In another major staff development, after 18 years as Director of Student Services, Peter Horvath left NDLS this summer to pursue other opportunities. A nationwide search is now underway for a new director. In the meantime, Assistant Director of Career Development Christine Holst has relocated to Peter’s old office in the 1100 Suite of Eck Hall where she and Assistant Dean Kevin O’Rear are available to assist you. We will also soon begin a search to identify a new registrar, but in the interim the Communications Office’s digital editor, Amanda Gray, is handling many of the routine tasks of the registrar’s office. Cathy Roemer, Assistant Dean for Law School Administration, also remains out on sick leave while she recovers from a serious illness. Mike Favorite is now serving as Acting Assistant Dean for Administration. Mike is a senior financial analyst in the Accounting Operations office of the University Controller and a concurrent faculty member who has long taught undergraduate accounting at Mendoza. He is also the son-in-law of former NDLS dean Fr. Dave Link, so he is quite familiar with the Law School.

I am delighted to announce that Judge Amy Coney Barrett will continue her relationship with NDLS, keeping an office and teaching while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. This fall, Judge Barrett is teaching the Statutory Interpretation Seminar.

You will also have the opportunity to study with six outstanding new full-time faculty members this year.

Many of you already know Sam Bray, who taught here during the 2017-2018 school year as a visiting professor. He had such a great time with us that he left sunny Los Angeles and UCLA Law School to become a permanent member of our faculty. A graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, he clerked for then-Judge Michael W. McConnell on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Before joining the UCLA faculty he practiced law at Mayer Brown LP and served as Executive Director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School. Professor Bray will be teaching Remedies, Civil Procedure, Property, and Constitutional Law.

Emily Bremer, another experienced law professor, comes to us from the University of Wyoming College of Law. She will teach in the areas of administrative law, civil procedure, and business associations. A graduate of New York University School of Law, Professor Bremer clerked for the Hon. Andrew J. Kleinfeld at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, served as an attorney advisor and research chief for the Administrative Conference of the United States, and practiced law as an associate in the telecommunications and appellate litigation group of Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, D.C.

Sadie Blanchard is a graduate of Yale Law School. After earning her J.D. she was a law clerk to The Hon. Charles N. Brower of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, in his capacity as an independent arbitrator in foreign direct investment disputes, and practiced law in Paris in the international arbitration group of King & Spalding. She has also served as a Max Planck Institute for Procedural Law (Luxembourg) and most recently as Fellow in Private Law at Yale Law School. She will be teaching Contracts and International Business Law at Notre Dame.

Christian Burset is a legal historian with a J.D. and a pending Ph.D. in history from Yale. A law clerk for the Hon. José A. Cabranes at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Professor Burset comes to us from New York University School of Law where he was the Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History. He will be teaching Civil Procedure and Legal History. 

We are also delighted that Professor Thomas P. (Pat) Dore has joined our faculty to teach courses on real estate law and transactions. A 1979 graduate of NDLS, Professor Dore has had a highly successful career as a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City where he most recently headed their real estate practice group before becoming senior counsel. He brings his considerable expertise to enrich our growing focus on real estate law as a partner in the University’s interdisciplinary Real Estate Institute, a collaborative effort of Law, the Mendoza College of Business, the College of Engineering, and the School of Architecture. 

Finally, Enrique Schaerer will be starting with us as a full-time Visiting Assistant Professor in 2019 and plans to teach in a number of areas, including evidence. Professor Schaerer was the class valedictorian at Notre Dame, where he earned his B.A. in Political Science and his B.B.A. in Finance, summa cum laude. He went on to earn his J.D. at Yale Law School where he served as senior editor for the Yale Law Journal. After clerking for the Hon. Carlos T. Bea of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Professor Schaerer entered private practice in Reno, Nev., where he is now a partner with Maupin, Cox & LeGoy, PC.

This year we have invited four visiting professors to Notre Dame to expand our course offerings. Thomas Antkowiak, from Seattle University School of Law, is teaching Accountability for Gross Violations of Human Rights and Regional Human Rights Protection. Stephanie Bair, from BYU Law School, is teaching Patent Law as well as Trademarks and Unfair Competition. Alejandra Gonza, from the University of Washington School of Law, is teaching International Human Rights Advocacy. Stephen Cribari, formerly of the University of Minnesota Law School, has returned to teach Evidence to students in South Bend and London and will also reprise his popular course on lawyers in film.

Among the highly regarded practitioners who served or are joining our faculty as adjunct faculty this fall are Steven Frost (Transactional Law Intensive), Luke Reilander (Deposition Skills), Greg Ripple (Labor and Employment Law), and Thomas Stipp (Deposition Skills). This spring Claire Leatherwood Slebonick will be teaching Legal Topics in Intercollegiate Sports and Matt Lahey of the Notre Dame General Counsel’s office will be teaching Employment Discrimination.

Many of our faculty focus their teaching and research on aspects of private law. As a result, we have begun a new research program, the Program in Private Law, directed by Associate Dean Paul Miller. Watch for announcements of speakers and events as the program takes shape. Dean Miller also began serving as the Associate Dean for International and Graduate Programs in July, replacing Professor Roger Alford, who is on leave in order to spend a second year at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

Professor Alford is not the only faculty member who is traveling. Professor Mary Ellen O’Connell is visiting at the University of Chicago Law School, Professor Jeff Pojanowski is visiting at Harvard Law School, and two professors will be teaching in our London program this year: Professor Bruce Huber in the fall and Veronica Root in the spring.

I hope that you will take full advantage of one of this law school’s greatest strengths: the incredible Notre Dame Lawyer alumni network. Two quick points in this regard. First, the Notre Dame Law Association will be meeting at NDLS on September 14. Please save the date, as you will have the opportunity to attend the Board’s lunch and engage in other networking opportunities. Second, if you haven’t already completed the form that Mara Case sent you August 21 regarding an exciting new initiative from the Alumni Ambassador Program, please do so. The new project is called “Football Meet and Greets” and it seeks to match students with alumni who are practicing in their target legal market when those attorneys are in town for game days.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to work closely with SBA President Luke Franz and all the student organizations that are dedicated to making your law school experience the best it can possibly be. I also very much look forward to meeting with you individually, however, and 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.

While this will be my last school year as NDLS dean, I will be staying on at the Law School as a regular faculty member. In the fall of 2019 I will be in London to help grow the externship program. In the spring of 2020 I will be teaching a reflective seminar that is a component of our Washington, D.C., semester externship.

I know the faculty and staff all join me in welcoming you to the new school year.

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