All members of the Michigan Law community are encouraged to submit nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Award, including alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends of the Law School. Please submit nominations in writing with a cover letter that provides reasons for making the nomination, a brief bio of the nominee, and relevant general background information such as news clippings or letters of support.
Nominations may be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed in hard-copy form to Lara Furar, director of alumni engagement, University of Michigan Law School, 701 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091.
The deadline for nominations is September 1 for each annual cycle.
2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
Herb Kohn, ’63, a titan of the Missouri legal community for more than half a century, was honored as the 2021 recipient of Michigan Law’s Distinguished Alumni Award at a ceremony in Kansas City.
“We are so proud to call Herb one of our own and to present this award to someone who so fully exemplifies the kind of person that the Law School believes in, someone who is dedicated to the law and is held in such high esteem by his peers,” said Mark West, the David A. Breach Dean of Law and Nippon Life Professor of Law.
Curtis L. Mack, LLM ’73 (2020 recipient)
Curtis Mack, a nationally recognized labor and employment attorney, began his journey to the legal profession in Valdosta, Georgia, where while growing up he attended class in a one-room church schoolhouse that was founded in 1850 by his then-enslaved ancestors. He was the youngest-ever graduate from his high school, and went on to receive a BA from Michigan State University, a JD from the University of Akron School of Law, and an LLM from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was the first African American Cook Fellow. He was the first African American tenure-track professor at the University of Florida Law School, and has taught as an adjunct professor at Michigan Law, Michigan State Business School in Dubai, and Emory University.
Mack was the first African American attorney to join the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Cleveland, and was later appointed as regional director of the NLRB's Atlanta region—the second African American to hold such a position and the youngest person ever. In that role, Curtis was responsible for overseeing Georgia, most of Tennessee, and northern Alabama. He also has served as general counsel and chairman of the Florida Public Employee Relations Commission.
Following his time with the NLRB, Mack entered private practice and opened his own firm, Mack and Bernstein, which after 20 successful years merged with McGuireWoods LLP. Prior to his retirement from McGuireWoods, Mack was a partner and led the Atlanta labor and employment group. He has been lead counsel in numerous cases in state and federal courts, and has negotiated or tried more than 250 individual termination actions and sexual and racial harassment cases, as well as NLRB and public section hearings. He has represented 30 of the nation's Fortune 100 companies, passed the bar in five states (Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio), and authored and co-authored several law review articles about labor and employment.
Mack has long been a committed advocate for young African Americans and other individuals seeking to improve their career opportunities and station in life. He was instrumental in establishing Michigan Law's African American Alumni Reunion, and is considered a founding father of the University of Michigan Alumni Association's Gabriel Hargo Scholarship Fund, named after the first known African American to graduate from the University of Michigan—and the first to graduate from the Law School.
Mack was awarded a Trailblazer Award by the education nonprofit Just the Beginning, which celebrated his work supporting minority students pursuing a career in law. Among many other distinctions, he has been named one of America's Top Black Lawyers by Black Enterprise and is a member of the Gate City Bar Association Hall of Fame. Mack also has served as chairman of the Human Relations Commission of the City of Atlanta, as well as on the board of directors of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, the Michigan State University Social Science Advisory Board, the University of Akron National Alumni Board, and the We Are Family Foundation.
Alan I. Rothenberg, ’63 (2019 recipient)
Alan I. Rothenberg, ’63, is a renowned expert in sports and business law who helped initiate a new era of American soccer as president of U.S. Soccer, provided decades of executive leadership to the National Basketball Association, and has served the greater Los Angeles area with wide-ranging civic engagement.
Rothenberg’s successful career in sports law began in the 1970s and 80s when he was vice president and general counsel of Jack Kent Cooke Inc. and California Sports Inc., during which he represented both the Lakers and the Clippers on the NBA’s board of governors. In 1990, partly on the basis of a successful stint as soccer commissioner for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Rothenberg was recruited for a successful run for president of U.S. Soccer.
Under his leadership, U.S. Soccer hosted the most successful World Cup in history; the 1994 event achieved attendance records that stand today. He established Major League Soccer, America’s professional men’s soccer league, and chaired the 1999 Women’s World Cup, which was then considered the most successful women’s sporting event ever. He has received FIFA’s Order of Merit and is a U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame inductee.
Rothenberg has held senior leadership roles for a number of sports-related corporations and on the boards of several banks. Before retiring from private practice in 2000, he was managing partner of Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg & Phillips LLP and a partner at Latham & Watkins LLP. Today, he is chairman of 1st Century Bank and Premier Partnerships.
He has served as president of the State Bar of California and the Board of Airport Commissioners of Los Angeles, as a member of the Board of the Century City and Beverly Hills Bar Associations, and as chairman of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles sports council, and the Los Angeles tourism and convention board.
Rothenberg and his wife, fellow U-M graduate Georgina, are longtime California residents, and have three sons and six grandchildren.
Whitmore Gray, ’57 (2018 recipient)
Professor Whitmore Gray joined the Michigan Law faculty as an assistant professor in 1960. He remained at Michigan until his retirement in 1993, following a distinguished 33-year career of teaching and research.
In 1993, he was awarded emeritus status from Michigan Law and continued teaching for 20 years while also teaching at Fordham Law School in New York City, where he was named the George Bacon-Kilkenny Distinguished Visiting Professor. He served as a guest lecturer and visiting professor around the world, including at the Universities of Muenster and Tubingen in Germany; the Universities of Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan; and universities in Mexico, China, France, Hong Kong, and the United States, including Stanford and Princeton. Gray was a founding faculty member of Peking University’s School of Transnational Law in Shenzhen, China, from 2008 to 2014.
Gray made numerous trips to Russia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and Japan for lectures, research, and teaching. During his robust career, he compiled extensive sets of teaching materials on contract law, alternative dispute resolution, and comparative law. His work has helped to shape this country’s understanding of law in Russia, Japan, China, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
Gray received his AB from Principia College in 1954 and served as editor-in-chief of the Michigan Law Review. He studied at the University of Paris and practiced law in New York City at Casey, Lane & Mittendorf (1958–1960); Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton (1974–1980); and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae (1994–2001). He received an LLD degree from Adrian College in 1982.
Bill Jentes, ’56 (2017 recipient)
For close to 40 years, Jentes was a principal litigating partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP acting as lead trial and appellate counsel in many of the firm's most significant business, commercial, competition, and corporate cases. He left the firm in 2004 to establish an independent practice as an arbitrator and mediator of significant disputes, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Jentes has served as chair, sole arbitrator or panel member in over 60 domestic and international arbitrations administered by the American Arbitration Association, its International Centre for Dispute Resolution, the ICC International Court of Arbitration, the London Court of International Arbitration, and the CPR International Institute for Dispute Prevention & Resolution, plus several ad hoc proceedings.
The arbitrations have involved a broad spectrum of disputes, both here and abroad, with the parties coming from 17 countries. The subject-matters have included complex accounting, contract, competition, construction, corporate, insurance, intellectual property and securities issues, among others, and have ranged across most major industries. In addition to his work as an arbitrator, Jentes has successfully mediated difficult commercial disputes involving a similarly wide array of issues, parties and industries.
Jentes, a civic leader and philanthropist in Chicago, also has been an active supporter of the Law School. He has been an adviser to numerous deans of the Law School, and taught at Michigan Law from 1991 to 2008. Jentes has served on fundraising committees during capital campaigns and championed the establishment of the Kirkland & Ellis Professorship, as well as a collective gift from Michigan Law alumni at Kirkland & Ellis toward the recent campus expansion and renovation project. For nearly two decades, he has funded the Jentes Scholarship Fund, which provides merit scholarship support to nine outstanding law students each year.
Bill Bogaard, ’65 (2017 recipient)
Upon graduation from Michigan Law, Bill Bogaard, ’65, joined O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles and pursued a corporate securities law practice. He served as deputy commissioner of corporations for the State of California in 1966 and then returned to private law practice until the early 1980s. At that time, he joined First Interstate Bancorp, a financial services holding company, as executive vice president and general counsel.
Following First Interstate’s merger with Wells Fargo & Co., Bogaard served as a visiting professor at Michigan Law from 1996 to 1997, where he taught banking law and securities regulation. He then taught securities regulation and corporations as an adjunct law professor at the University of Southern California while also pursuing an arbitration practice. In 1999, he became the mayor of Pasadena, California—the city’s first directly elected mayor. Bogaard went on to serve four four-year terms.
The Los Angeles Bar Association honored Bogaard as outstanding corporate counsel in 1987, and in 1997, the City of Pasadena presented him the Arthur Noble Award, its most prestigious recognition for community service.
Bogaard currently serves as chairman of Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative, a life sciences incubator and workforce development program whose partners include the City of Pasadena, California State University Los Angeles, Cal Poly Pomma, and Pasadena City College. He is a board member of Huntington Memorial Hospital and the Pasadena Community Foundation. He also co-chairs, with Doug Kranwinkle, the Arroyo Advisory Group, which the City of Pasadena formed to enhance and preserve the Arroyo Sec, its 1,000 acre “Central Park.”
Mary Frances Berry, ’70 (2016 recipient)
Mary Francis Berry, ’70, has long been one of the most visible activists in the cause of civil rights, gender equality, and social injustice in our nation. As chairperson of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Berry demanded equal rights and liberties for all Americans during four presidential administrations. She also became the first woman to head a major research university, serving as chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Berry also served as the principal education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, working to improve access and quality education in our schools. Berry’s publications include such subjects as the history of constitutional racism in America and childcare and women’s rights. She offers insight into and provides historical context for Presidents Obama’s memorable speeches in Power in Words: The Stories Behind Barack Obama’s Speeches, from the State House to the White House. Her latest book, Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich: Vote Buying and the Corruption of Democracy, explains that some campaign voter turnout activities are just another form of voter suppression. In addition, she wrote We Are Who We Say We Are: A Black Family’s Search for Home Across the Atlantic World, which offers a new angle of vision for looking at racial identity, demography, and migration as themes of our national history.
In 2013, Berry received the Nelson Mandela award from the South African government for her role in organizing the Free South Africa Movement to help end apartheid. She is a fellow of the Society of American Historians and the National Academy of Public Administration. She also is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Society for Legal History, the high honor the Society can award. Since 1988, she has been the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought, History, and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and holds a PhD in history from the University of Michigan, in addition to her JD.
Ken Salazar, ’81 (2016 recipient)
In December 2008, President Obama selected Salazar to serve in his cabinet as secretary of interior. Salazar was confirmed as the 50th secretary of the interior by a unanimous Senate vote on January 20, 2009. Salazar helped to lead the United States energy efforts in developing and implementing President Obama's energy strategy. The effort included overseeing the exploration and development of conventional and renewable energy resources on the nation's public lands and oceans, and working on matters relating to climate change, exploration of frontier areas like the Arctic, leading the successful response to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, and overhauling the regulatory oversight of oil and gas exploration and production. He also created the five-year plan that governs the leasing for oil and exploration for the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Arctic Seas.
Prior to his confirmation, Salazar served as U.S. Senator for Colorado, winning the election in 2004 and serving on the Energy and Natural Resources and Finance Committees, which oversaw the nation's energy, natural resources, tax, trade, social security and healthcare systems. He also served on the Agriculture, Ethics, Veterans Affairs and Aging Committees.
Salazar was also attorney general and top legal officer for the State of Colorado. He led the resolution of some of the most complex natural resource and environmental conflicts in Colorado history, including longstanding natural resource damage cases at places like the Summitville mine and other CERCLA cases that had been filed some 25 years earlier.
From 1987 to 1994, Salazar served first as chief legal counsel and then as executive director of the Department of Natural Resources for the Governor of Colorado.
Besides his public sector experience, Salazar also has substantial experience in the private practice of law. He practiced natural resources and water law for 11 years in the major Denver law firms of Sherman & Howard and Parcel, Mauro, Hultin and Spaanstra. In his practice, Salazar represented ski areas, land developers, farmers and mining companies in both transactional and litigation matters.
Thomas Kauper, ’60 (2015 recipient)
Thomas E. Kauper is the Henry M. Butzel Professor of Law Emeritus. He joined the Law School’s faculty in 1964. Professor Kauper is an antitrust expert who, in recent years, has focused on international antitrust and competition policy of the European Union. He has twice served in ranking positions with the U.S. Department of Justice, first as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel and then as assistant attorney general in charge of the Antitrust Division, the chief enforcement officer in that field. In these positions, he worked on matters ranging from executive power and treaty obligations to the application of American antitrust laws to international transactions and conduct abroad.
He also served for 14 years as a member of the American Bar Association Council of the Antitrust Section and for one year served as vice-chairman of the Section. Professor Kauper spent the winter 2002 semester as the John M. Olin Visiting Professor of Business, Economics, and Law at Harvard Law School. He has written in the fields of property and antitrust, and is coauthor of Property: An Introduction to the Concept and the Institution.
He earned both his AB and JD degrees from the University of Michigan. At the Law School he was editor-in-chief of the Michigan Law Review, a member of Order of the Coif, and the recipient of the Henry M. Bates Award, considered the highest student award at the School. Following a clerkship with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, he practiced law in Chicago before beginning his academic career at the Law School.
Yoichiro Yamakawa, MCL ’69 (2015 Recipient)
Yoichiro Yamakawa is a partner in the Tokyo firm of Koga & Partners. He sat on the boards of Mitsui Sumitomo Financial Group and Daiichi Mutual Life Insurance Company until June 2009, and Renesas Electronics Corporation until June 2014; Yamakawa now serves on the boards of Nisshin Steel Co. Ltd. and Daio Paper Corporation.
His areas of practice include First Amendment-related issues, general corporate work, and international transactions and litigation. He has represented major media in some of Japan’s most high-profile First Amendment cases, including Mainichi’s Okinawa secret telegram case and NHK’s newsmen’s privilege case.
During the 1991–1992 academic year, he was a visiting professor at Michigan Law, teaching Freedom of Speech in the U.S. and Japan with then-Dean Lee Bollinger.
Yamakawa has written widely on constitutional litigation and freedom of expression, and on issues related to defamation and privacy. He also has translated into Japanese both Archibold Cox’s The Warren Court and Joseph Sax’s Defending the Environment.
He holds a bachelor of law degree from the University of Tokyo. Yamakawa currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Law School. He is married to Chieko Yamakawa, and they have two daughters, Maiko and Emi. Maiko studied for one year in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan.
Roger Wilkins, ’56 (2014 recipient)
Roger Wilkins exposed injustice and fought for equality—through the complex lens of being a black man in America—throughout his career as a public servant, educator, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.
"I don’t think we’re 'Africans in America,'" Wilkins, AB '53, JD '56, HLLD '93, said in a 1997 speech at U-M. "At least I’m not. What kind of African is born in Kansas City; lives and dies for the University of Michigan football team; loves Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, and the Baltimore Orioles; reveres George Washington and Harriet Tubman; and who, when puzzled by the conundrum of Thomas Jefferson, collects his thoughts while listening to B.B. King?" Read more [LINK TO Roger Wilkins, AB '53, JD '56, HLLD '93, Honored as Distinguished Alumnus]
Valerie B. Jarrett, ’81 (2013 recipient)
Valerie B. Jarrett has devoted much of her career to service—as a government official, a community activist, and a businesswoman known for championing urban revitalization.
Jarrett served as a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, overseeing the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, while chairing the White House Council on Women and Girls. The Council was created by President Obama in 2009 with the charge of providing a coordinated federal response to the challenges confronting women and girls, by ensuring that all cabinet-level agencies consider how their policies and programs impact women and families.
Jarrett also served as co-chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, and was a senior adviser to then-Senator Obama’s presidential campaign.
Prior to joining the Obama administration, Jarrett was the chief executive officer of the Habitat Company, a real estate development and management company headquartered in Chicago, with offices in Detroit, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta. The Habitat Company was the receiver for the Chicago Housing Authority during Jarrett’s tenure, responsible for the redevelopment of mixed-income communities on sites where large concentrations of public housing stood previously.
Jarrett’s career in real estate began after she graduated from Michigan Law, when she practiced real estate law with two private firms. She then transitioned to the public sector as deputy corporation counsel for finance and development for Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. She went on to serve as deputy chief of staff and commissioner of planning and development for Mayor Richard M. Daley, where she oversaw the redevelopment of Chicago’s neighborhoods, landmark designations, and economic revitalization.
During her career, Jarrett also has been active on numerous corporate and not-for-profit boards, including serving as the chair of the Chicago Transit Board, chair of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and chair of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees.
In 2013, she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people as well as the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s Newsmaker of the Year.
John M. Nannes, ’73 (2013 recipient)
John M. Nannes has distinguished himself as an attorney and government official, as well as through his dedication to and support of the Law School.
Nannes is Go Blue through and through. The Detroit native has served on numerous Law School alumni committees over the past 40 years—including the National Committee for the Law School Fund, the Committee of Visitors, the Dean’s Advisory Council, and multiple Campaign Steering Committees. He currently chairs the Development and Alumni Relations Committee.
Nannes conceived and generously funded one of the Law School’s most successful development initiatives, the 3L Challenge. Each year, third-year students can designate $250 to the Law School student activity of their choice in exchange for their commitment to make a contribution to the Law School in each of the first four years after they graduate. Through the 3L Challenge, students see the benefits and importance of alumni giving firsthand. The program is run each year by a committee of third-year students who then are asked to become class agents for the Law School after they graduate. As a result of the 3L Challenge, the giving percentages for recent graduating classes are among the highest of any Law School class. The 3L Challenge promises to be the catalyst for lifetime alumni support for the Law School.
Following a clerkship with Justice William Rehnquist, Nannes was a special assistant to Tom Kauper in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He went on to become the first associate and later a partner in the Washington office of Skadden, Arps. Nannes has remained at Skadden except for a three-year appointment as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and then Acting Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division from 1998-2001.
In addition to his work for the Law School, Nannes has served on the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Committee and the boards of the Legal Aid Society of Washington, D.C., the D.C. Bar Foundation, and the Supreme Court Historical Society. In 2009, he received the Learned Hand Award from the American Jewish Committee.
Theodore J. St. Antoine, ’54 (2013 recipient)
Theodore J. (Ted) St. Antoine, the James E. & Sarah A. Degan Professor Emeritus of Law, is one of the most highly regarded teachers and scholars in the University of Michigan Law School’s history, and a nationally renowned authority on labor and employment law.
St. Antoine practiced labor law in Washington, D.C., for seven years with Woll, Mayer & St. Antoine before joining the Michigan Law faculty in 1965. In addition to teaching labor and employment law and contracts, he was dean of the Law School from 1971–78. St. Antoine has been a labor arbitrator for more than 40 years and is a past president of the National Academy of Arbitrators.
A nationally respected arbitrator, St. Antoine has held leadership roles in several organizations: the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section, the Michigan Bar’s Labor and Employment Law Section, the Executive Committee of the American Arbitration Association’s Board of Directors, the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board, the UAW’s Public Review Board, and the UAW-GM Legal Services Plan. He is a member of the American Bar Foundation and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.
St. Antoine is co-editor of a leading labor law casebook, now in its 12th edition, and editor of the National Academy of Arbitrators’ publication, The Common Law of the Workplace: The Views of Arbitrators (2d ed. 2005). He has been a visiting professor at universities worldwide and lectured widely on labor and employment law in Europe and China.
St. Antoine received the State Bar’s Champion of Justice Award, the Labor Law Section’s Distinguished Service Award, and the American Arbitration Association’s George W. Taylor Award for his contributions to industrial peace and collective bargaining.
As a law student, St. Antoine was editor-in-chief of Michigan Law Review and a member of the winning team in the annual moot court competition. After serving in the U.S. Army JAG Corps, he studied law and economics on a Fulbright grant at the London School of Economics.
Bruce P. Bickner, ’68 (2012 recipient)
Bruce P. Bickner has forged a successful career in law and business, while serving with distinction in higher education governance at several institutions, notably the University of Michigan and its Law School, and as an active community volunteer.
After a federal clerkship, Mr. Bickner began his legal career as an associate with Sidley Austin LLP, where he became a partner specializing in antitrust and securities/commodities matters.
From 1975-2002, Mr. Bickner worked as an executive in agribusiness and oil and gas exploration. At DeKalb Energy Corporation, he served in various management positions leading to his role as chairman and chief executive officer. Mr. Bickner also served in the chairmanship and chief executive role with DeKalb Genetics Corporation after holding several management positions with the company. From 1998–2002, Mr. Bickner was executive vice president for competitor strategy with Monsanto Corporation, where he was co-president of the company’s Global Seed Group. He is now an independent business consultant and director.
Mr. Bickner’s experience with institutions of higher education includes service as chairman of the Board of Trustees of North Park University; member of the Board of Visitors of DePauw University; and past interim president of North Park University.
His community service roles include membership on the State of Illinois Governor’s Biotechnology Advisory Council and chairmanships of the Kishwaukee Community Hospital, the Illinois-Missouri Area YMCA Swim Committee, and Hillcrest Covenant Church.
Mr. Bickner is a member of President Mary Sue Coleman’s Advisory Group and was a member of Dean Evan Caminker’s Advisory Council. He chaired the Law School’s Development and Alumni Relations Committee, and the steering committee for the Law School’s Michigan Difference Campaign. His leadership of fundraising volunteers led to a successful effort that changed the face of the Law School. In recognition, the University has recognized Mr. Bickner with the David B. Hermelin Award for Fundraising Volunteer Leadership, its highest such award.
The Honorable Amalya L. Kearse, ’62 (2012 recipient)
Judge Amalya L. Kearse’s distinguished and pioneering career has led from successful private practice with a Wall Street law firm to the bench of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Upon graduation from law school, Judge Kearse began her professional career as an associate with Hughes Hubbard & Reed. At Hughes, she engaged in general corporate litigation in matters involving antitrust, banking, real estate, securities, copyright, contract, commercial, trust, administrative, criminal, and constitutional law issues. In 1969, she became a partner with the firm—the first African American and the first woman to achieve this status.
With her appointment to the federal judiciary on June 21, 1979, Judge Kearse became the first woman and the second African American, after Thurgood Marshall, to serve on the Second Circuit bench. Judge Kearse took senior status on June 11, 2002. Throughout her judicial career, she has established a reputation as an exceptionally scholarly writer and a hard-working jurist.
Judge Kearse has been affiliated with numerous professional organizations, including the American Bar Association, the American College of Trial Lawyers, and the Executive Committee of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
In addition to her success on the bench, Judge Kearse is also a world-class bridge player. In 1986 she was a co-winner of the World Women Pairs Championship, which earned her the title of World Bridge Federation World Life Master. She is also a seven-time U.S. national champion of the game.
Judge Kearse has authored numerous legal publications as well as several books and articles on bridge. She is a member of the Charles Goren Editorial Board.
Judge Kearse holds honorary doctorates from New York University and the University of Hartford. She is the recipient of the Learned Hand Medal, the Commission Award from the New York City Commission on the Status of Women, and the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement.
James J. White, ’62 (2012 recipient)
James J. White, the Robert A. Sullivan Professor of Law, is one of the most highly regarded teachers and scholars in the University of Michigan Law School’s history and a nationally renowned authority in commercial law.
Professor White began his professional career in the Los Angeles office of the law firm of Latham & Watkins before joining the Michigan Law faculty in 1964. From 1978–81, Professor White served as Associate Dean of the Law School. In 1982, he was named the holder of the Sullivan Chair.
Professor White served his country with distinction in the United States Air Force (1956–59 and 1961–62) and as a pilot in the Ohio Air National Guard (1964–81), attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel.
It is as a scholar and teacher of commercial law that Professor White is best known. His book Uniform Commercial Code (co-written with Robert S. Summers and Robert A. Hillman) is the most widely recognized treatise on the subject. Professor White is also the author of several casebooks on commercial, bankruptcy, and contracts law and of scores of law review articles in these areas.
Among students and alumni, Professor White is legendary for his drill-sergeant deportment during 8 a.m. classes, though his gruff demeanor does not successfully mask his true caring. Indeed, though he might bristle at the notion, Professor White is much-beloved, and many are the alumni who count him as a mentor.
Professor White is a member of the Permanent Editorial Board of the Uniform Commercial Code. He has served as the reporter for the revision of Article 5 of the Uniform Commercial Code and is a Commissioner on Uniform Laws from Michigan. He has also served on several committees of the American Law Institute and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
Professor White received Michigan Law’s L. Hart Wright Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Homer Kripke Achievement Award from the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers.
The Honorable Harry T. Edwards, ’65 (2011 recipient)
Judge Harry T. Edwards’ distinguished career has included notable achievements as a private practitioner, teacher, scholar, arbitrator, Chairman of the Board of Amtrak, and federal judge; and his work has been widely acclaimed by members of the bar, bench, and legal academy.
Appointed by President Carter in 1980 to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Edwards served as its Chief Judge from 1994–2001. He earned accolades for implementing more efficient case management programs; pursuing congressional support for much-needed expansion of facilities; presiding over many important cases; establishing programs to enhance communications with the lawyers who practice before the Court; and, most significantly, fostering collegial relations among the members of the Court.
In addition, Judge Edwards has a passion for teaching and has held tenured positions on the faculties at the University of Michigan Law School (1970–1975 and 1977–1980) and Harvard Law School. He also taught at the Harvard Institute for Educational Management from 1976–1982. He has continued to teach throughout his years on the bench, most recently at New York University School of Law, where he has been a Visiting Professor. He combines an abiding commitment to legal education with his core values of public-spiritedness and social justice. Judge Edwards believes strongly that public service through the legal profession is a noble calling, and he presses that belief in his teaching, mentoring, and scholarship.
Judge Edwards served as a member and then Chairman of the Board of Directors of Amtrak from 1978–1980 and also served as a neutral labor arbitrator during the 1970s. In 2006, he was appointed co-chair of the Forensics Science Committee at the National Academy of Sciences. The Committee issued a seminal report in February 2009 calling for major reforms in the forensic science community.
A prolific writer and scholar, Edwards has co-authored five books and publishes scores of law review articles. His most recent book is Federal Standards of Review, published in 2007.
Robert B. Fiske, Jr., ’55, HLLD ’97 (2011 recipient)
Robert B. Fiske, Jr. is a top-flight litigator who has given generously of his expertise to government service.
Mr. Fiske began his legal career at Davis Polk & Wardwell in 1955 and is currently a senior counsel in the firm’s Litigation Department. His practice emphasizes professional liability, securities, products liability and white collar crime.
His extensive experience as a government prosecutor includes service as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1957–1961 and U.S. Attorney for that district from 1976–1980, when he was also Chairman of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys. In 1994, he served as Independent Counsel in the Whitewater Investigation.
While at Davis Polk, Mr. Fiske represented the Judicial Counsel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in disciplinary proceedings against a U.S. District Judge and has served as chairman of a Judicial Commission on Drugs and the Courts appointed by New York State Chief Judge Judith Kaye. He was a member of the Commission for the Review of FBI Security Programs and Special Advisor to then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in an investigation of the New York State Police. He currently serves on the seven-member Judicial Compensation Commission established by the New York Legislature to determine compensation of New York State judges for the next four years.
Understanding the importance of government service in a legal career, Mr. Fiske endowed the Robert B. Fiske Jr. Fellowship Program for Public Service at Michigan Law a decade ago.
Mr. Fiske is a past president of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Federal Bar Council. He has chaired the Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary of the American Bar Association and the Planning and Programming Committee of the Judicial Conference of the Second Circuit.
He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and a former Trustee of the Vermont Law School. He served on U-M President Mary Sue Coleman’s Advisory Group, and at Michigan Law, he has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council and the Development and Alumni Relations Committee.
Richard W. Pogue, ’53 (2011 recipient)
Richard W. Pogue led Jones Day to become a global law firm and works tirelessly for the region of Northeast Ohio, where he lives.
Mr. Pogue became acting managing partner of Jones Day in 1984 and managing partner a year later. During his years in these roles, the firm grew significantly and for the first time entered international markets. His specialty areas of practice were antitrust and corporate takeover defense, and he served as arbitrator or mediator in a large number of major commercial disputes.
A past chairman of the Antitrust Law Section of the American Bar Association, Mr. Pogue has also served in many civic leadership roles in Cleveland, Northeast Ohio, and the state of Ohio, several of those roles in education (for example, he currently serves as Vice Chairman of the University of Akron). He retired from Jones Day in 1994 to become a senior advisor at Dix & Eaton, a corporate public relations firm. In 2004 he rejoined Jones Day and today serves as senior advisor at the firm.
A longtime advocate of teaching Michigan Law students about the business of law, Mr. Pogue created and taught the course “The Business of Law” as a visiting professor at Michigan Law in 1993–95, a popular course that continues today under the name “Law Firms and Legal Careers.” Since the fall of 2007, the Law School has held several programs for students sponsored by a fund Mr. Pogue endowed to support education on the business of law, featuring distinguished Michigan Law alumni speaking on leadership challenges and professional issues. These “Pogue Panels,” as they are known at the Law School, regularly attract hundreds of students.
In 2006, Mr. Pogue became the inaugural chair of Dean Evan Caminker’s Advisory Council, a position in which he still serves. In 2008, Mr. Pogue was named a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the highest award for alumni bestowed by the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.
He was awarded honorary degrees by the University of Akron and the Cleveland Institute of Music.