The Dean’s Fall 2015 Welcome Letter to Students

Author: Charles Williams

August 24, 2015

Dear students,

Welcome back to NDLS! Each August I like to take a few moments to give you a brief overview of the new people, programs, and opportunities you will be encountering in the coming year.

Judicial Visitors

First, I am delighted to announce that once again two Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States will be visiting NDLS to meet with students and faculty. This year our visitors will be Associate Justice Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Alito will be here November 18 and 19. I will provide you with more details of his schedule once they have been finalized. Justice Sotomayor will be at Notre Dame on September 2 and 3. As you can imagine her schedule is packed and includes University as well as Law School events, but we were delighted that she agreed to participate in a conversation with NDLS students to be led by Professor Jennifer Mason McAward from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on September 2.

We are so fortunate to have a fund created by the late Judge James J. Clynes, Jr. to support short or long visits by distinguished professors and especially jurists. In addition to Justice Alito, two state supreme court justices and a justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa will also visit as Clynes chairs this year. Associate Justice and Adjunct professor Carol Corrigan of the California Supreme Court taught Intensive Trial Advocacy during the first week of the program, which takes place before school starts. In late September, we will welcome Associate Justice Mary Yu of the Washington Supreme Court. During her visit she will be meeting with students and visiting classes. Finally, The Hon. Mbuyiseli Madlanga of the Constitutional Court of South Africa will be co-teaching Comparative Constitutional Law with Professor Donald Kommers during the spring semester.

Alumni Networks

The quality and increasing number of ND lawyers serving as judges no doubt helps advance the reputation of our law school. This August, Judge Bernard M. Jones became a United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Oklahoma. Judge Jones joins Judge Robert Numbers and Judge Anthony Patti, who became Magistrate Judges last year and Judge Jack Blakey and Judge Jerry Pappert who were sworn in as federal district court judges last year. Notre Dame grads also serve as judges on the 4th, 7th, 9th, and 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and numerous federal district courts and state courts at all levels. Last year the Law School was ranked 8th in the nation for the percentage of graduates securing federal judicial clerkships.

Of course our alumni network extends well beyond the judiciary. In fact, Notre Dame Law School was recently listed as #4 in a ranking of law schools with the best networking opportunities. This is due in large part to the wonderful work of the Notre Dame Law Alumni Association (NDLA) and the Law Alumni Council, both of which are comprised of distinguished attorneys and judges. Members of these organizations enjoy meeting with students when they are on campus. The Law Council will be here on Friday September 4, and the NDLA will meet on Friday September 25. The NDLA, in particular, usually holds a mentoring session for all students during each of its biannual meetings. Members of the NDLA have also created lawyers’ clubs within the Notre Dame club in many major cities, with more cities to come. Since last spring, I have met with Notre Dame lawyers’ groups in New York, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Denver, and Chicago and can report that one of the main purposes of these groups is to provide assistance to our students.

Other Events of Interest

During the spring the ABA will send a site team to evaluate Notre Dame Law School to ensure that we meet the standards required for accreditation. This team will also contain a representative of the Association of American Law Schools whose job will be to make sure we meet the standards required for us to continue as members of that learned society. This process takes place every seven years and we welcome the opportunity to take a hard look at our program of legal education and also learn from the experience and feedback of the site team members.

Retirements and Departures

​Professor Eric Smithburn, a member of the NDLS faculty since 1978, has transitioned to emeritus status, and Professor Joe Bauer will be doing the same at the conclusion of the fall semester. We will miss them both immensely.​

We were also sorry to see Events Coordinator Rosalind Alexander leave the Law School and Patron Support Assistant Susan Hamilton retire. In addition, Research Librarian Trezlan Drake accepted a position at Northwestern University Law School’s library;​ ​Librarian and Head of Technical Services Joe Thomas accepted a position at Georgetown Law; and​ ​Associate Librarians Carmela Kinslow and Laurel Cochran moved to emeritus status. We thank them all for their exemplary service to NDLS and wish them the very best on their new journeys.​

New Arrivals and Moves

This summer the Career Development Office staff completed their move from Biolchini Hall to their new location on the first floor of Eck (Suite 1150). Please drop by to see their new digs and meet their newest members: Christine Holst and Lindsay Shadrick.

Christine Holst earned her B.A. with Honors in Political Science from Calvin College and her J.D., summa cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law. She then worked as an attorney for Barnes & Thornburg and developed a strong legal network that will be put to good use in her new position as Career Counselor.

Lindsay Shadrick joined the CDO as Special Projects Assistant in June. She graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and from Notre Dame in 2012 with an M.B.A. in Corporate Finance. Lindsay is also a C.P.A. and has years of work experience in tax, private accounting, and internal audit.

Lauren Love will be joining our Marketing Communications Office in September as a Communications Specialist devoted to spreading the word about Notre Dame Law School to potential employers and others. Lauren comes to us from the Chicago Urban League, where she served as Manager of External Affairs. Previously she was Press Secretary to the Rainbow PUSH Coalition in Chicago. Lauren earned her B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University and her M.A. in Public Service Management from DePaul University.

Margaret Lloyd joined the Law School during the summer to direct student services for our South Bend LL.M. program for foreign law graduates who want to pursue an LL.M. tailored to their particular interest. She will be in charge of programming and assisting students in this program adjust to life in South Bend. As a concurrent professor, she will also teach a specialized legal writing course to the LL.M. students and a section of legal writing to incoming 1L students. Margaret is a 1990 Notre Dame graduate and a 1993 graduate of the Law School. She comes to us from the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies.

​T​he Center for Civil and Human Rights (CCHR) also has a highly regarded LL.M. program in human rights (in addition to its research projects). I am happy to report that Professor Jennifer Mason McAward has agreed to serve as acting CCHR director during the 2015-2016 academic year.

In addition to our visiting jurists, we will welcome a number of visiting and adjunct professors this academic year. Stephen Cribari has agreed to return to teach Federal Criminal Law, Criminal Process, Evidence, and Lawyers in Film. The Intensive Trial Advocacy course has added several new adjunct faculty, including former La Porte County Judge Kathleen Lang, and former congressman James P. Moran. Immigration lawyer Rodolfo S. Monterrosa will be teaching Immigration Law this fall while Paul H. Dykstra and Paulita Pike will co-teach Mutual Fund Regulation. Paul and Paulita are both partners in the Chicago office of Ropes & Gray and adjunct professors at Northwestern University Law School.

In the spring, Dr. Josephine van Zeben, a Tutorial Fellow in Law at Worcester College, Oxford, will be teaching a short course on International Environmental Law, and Professor Michael Moreland, the Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, will be teaching Catholic Social Thought and the Law.

Also in the spring, Professor Luigi Crema (who has a concurrent faculty appointment with the Kellogg Institute for International Studies) is set to teach International Law.

Summer London

As many of you know, we focused the 2015 Summer London program on Intellectual Property Law in order to take advantage of London’s unique location as the birthplace of Anglo-American IP law and the center of modern international IP practice. Interest was high and participation good. We will be evaluating the experiment this fall and I will keep you posted.

Distance Learning

Look for yet more opportunities for distance learning at NDLS this year. Over the summer we worked to upgrade two classrooms in Eck Hall of Law to mirror the technology in place in Biolchini 1310 and 1315. The upgrade to 2173 Eck is now complete; the work on 1130 Eck is nearing completion. The enhanced technology in these rooms will further expand our ability to bring renowned experts from around the nation to our video-equipped classrooms.

Externships and Skills Courses

The ABA has instituted a new requirement that, beginning with the class graduating in spring 2019, students must take at least six credits of experiential classes, including clinics, simulation courses, and externships. Fortunately, we have been adding new experiential programs and courses every year to meet the increased demand for these opportunities at NDLS (71 percent of the graduating class of 2015 participated in a clinic or externship, up from 61 percent of the class of 2014 and 51 percent of the class of 2013). We are confident that the new programs and courses we have already added will enable our 1L students to meet this new ABA requirement before graduation. Students interested in eventually practicing law in our nation’s capital, for example, will want to explore our new externships with congressional office and administrative agencies as part of our new semester-away program in Washington, D.C. We have also added new externships with corporate counsel offices and regulatory agencies in both Chicago and Washington.

As always, Associate Dean Bob Jones is happy to discuss any of these programs with you and welcomes your questions.

Programs of Study

Before your coursework shifts into overdrive, I urge you to take a moment to review our seven Programs of Study, designed to guide you in your selection of courses if you are interested in the areas of law included in the programs. Unlike certificate programs that require a rigid progression of required courses in order to earn a formal certificate, programs of study provide for flexibility in course selections while still providing carefully thought-out curriculum recommendations regarding how best to focus your efforts in particular fields.

Each program’s recommended course guide was assembled by a group of professors who have volunteered to counsel students who are interested in their field. These programs also recommend particular clinics or externships, and each has or is developing a capstone experience. Our website provides a lot of information about these programs (in Business Law; Criminal Law; Environmental Law; Global Law; Intellectual Property and Technology Law; Law, Ethics, and Public Policy; and Public Law) as well as the contact info for professors who are eager to offer you their advice and a friendly ear.

Dean’s Open Door Policy

I very much look forward to working with SBA President (and former Dean for the Day) Tim Dondanville and all the student organizations that will be working to enhance your law school experience this year. Please remember that my door is also open to any individual NDLS student who would like to see me. Feel free to email me at any time 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 introduce ourselves or to discuss any matter.

I know the faculty joins me in welcoming you back to campus. I hope that you have a great year ahead.

Nell Jessup Newton