As the Michigan Law community closes out another eventful year, the change of the calendar offers the opportunity to reflect on a few of the highlights that helped to make 2023 memorable.

Khalilah Spencer, ’01

1. Spencer, ’01, Delivers MLK Talk on the Promise of Democracy

As part of the University’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday events, the Law School welcomed Khalilah Spencer, ’01—a partner at Honigman LLP and president of Promote the Vote—who spoke on how lawyers work with communities to fulfill the promise of democracy.

Jeff Titus walking in the woods.

2. Innocence Clinic Obtains Exonerations for Three Wrongly Convicted Prisoners

The Michigan Innocence Clinic celebrated several successful exonerations, including the release of three men who had been wrongfully convicted of murder in separate cases.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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3. Auction for Student Funded Fellowships Brings Michigan Law Stars to the Red Carpet

The highly anticipated Student Funded Fellowships (SFF) Auction served to benefit public interest students.

Five people stand in solidarity, holding signs that demand recognition of gender apartheid as a crime against humanity at the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture

4. Bennoune Helps Lead Fight Against Gender Apartheid

Professor Karima Bennoune, ’94, gained international attention for a paper and related work to classify the mistreatment of women in Afghanistan as a form of apartheid.

Members of the Zell Entrepreneurship Clinic pictured during a visit at the Michigan Athletics department.

5. Michigan Law Community Helps Athletes Become Entrepreneurs

The cover story in the spring issue of Law Quadrangle detailed how the Zell Entrepreneurship Clinic is leading the way in helping U-M student-athletes understand the new rules allowing them to make money from their name, image, and likeness.

2L Collin Christner is working with the International Commission of Jurists during his Geneva Externship

6. A 2L Student on an International Stage

Collin Christner made a statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar.

Emily Prifogle teaching a Mini-Seminar

7. From Cows to Shakespeare: Mini-seminars Teach Major Lessons

These unique offerings, held in professors’ homes or other nontraditional settings, offer small groups of students a break from the usual syllabus of textbooks and journal articles and provide a unique perspective on the law. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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8. 1Ls Network with Alumni at Meet the Employers

Numerous Michigan Law alumni returned to campus for the annual Meet the Employers event in the Jack Roth Stadium Club at Michigan Stadium, where they met with 1Ls to talk about life in the law.

Student celebrating at the U of M law school senior day, 2023

9. Class of 2023 Celebrates Senior Day

Bridget Mary McCormack, former chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, co-founder of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, and adjunct assistant clinical professor of law, returned to the Law Quad to encourage graduates to take collective action to right the wrongs they see in the law.

Two people standing in front of a festive background. One person is handing a leadership award to the other person.

10. Stefan Tucker, Curtis Mack Receive Alumni Honors

In June, Michigan Law awarded Stefan “Stef” Tucker, ’63, the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award, the school’s most prestigious honor. In October, University of Michigan President Santa Ono presented Curtis Mack, ’73, with a 2023 David B. Hermelin Award for Fundraising Volunteer Leadership.

11. Supreme Court Cites Michigan Law Professors

In the annual summer flurry of Supreme Court decisions, the justices cited the work of Professor Matthew Fletcher, ’97, in two separate opinions—Haaland v. Brackeen and Lac Du Flambeau Band Of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians v. Coughlin. They also cited two Michigan Law professors, Leah Litman, ’10, and Eve Brensike Primus, ’01, in a dissent in Jones v. Hendrix. In addition, shortly before she formally joined the faculty, Professor Elise Boddie’s work was cited in the dissent in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard/UNC.

Nicholas Bagley

12. Uhlmann, Bagley Recruited for Federal Positions

Michigan Law has a distinguished history of faculty members serving the government, and that continued this year as Professor David Uhlmann was confirmed as the enforcement and compliance chief at the Environmental Protection Agency, and Professor Nicholas Bagley was appointed to the Administrative Conference of the United States. In addition, Professor Aaron Perzanowski testified before a congressional subcommittee on the “right to repair.”

Student Orientation 2023 class gathers outside in the Law Quad

13. New Classes Bring New Energy

The annual arrival of incoming students brought fresh vitality—not to mention some pretty snappy outfits—to the Law Quad.

A portrait of Eve Brensike Primus, ’01, Director of MDefenders and Michigan Law’s Public Defender Training Institute

14. Data for Defenders Project Helps Indigent Clients

A new public database housed at the Law School aims to assist indigent clients by making available a wide range of briefs, motions, and transcripts that public defenders could find useful.

John Hoyns, ’79, Commits $20M for Scholarships at Michigan Law

15. John Hoyns, ’79, Commits $20M for Scholarships

In one of the largest gifts in the Law School’s history, John Hoyns, ’79, has committed $20 million to fund annual scholarships that prioritize students with financial need.

Many people listening to a lecture in the conference room

16. New Program on Law and the Global Economy Introduced

Michigan Law inaugurated the Program on Law and the Global Economy this fall by hosting an international conference on investment arbitration. Led by Professor Julian Arato, the new program serves as a hub for the study of international economic law.

Headshot of Kyle D. Logue

17. Kyle Logue Named Interim Dean

Kyle D. Logue was appointed interim dean of the University of Michigan Law School on October 19. Logue, who currently serves as associate dean for faculty and research in law, succeeds Mark West, whose term ends December 31. Logue’s appointment is effective January 1 and runs until a permanent dean is appointed. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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18. Big Law at the Big House 

The annual Big Law at the Big House event gave students a chance to meet with alumni working in Big Law and to explore practice areas and differentiate among them.

Portrait of James Pierce

19. From Michigan Law to The Bachelorette

Wherever James Pierce, ’21, finds himself—whether it’s his family farm in Indiana, the Michigan Law Quad, or a reality television show—he discovers ways to step outside his comfort zone. Earlier this year, that included seeking true love in front of a television audience of millions on season 20 of ABC’s megahit reality show, The Bachelorette.

Three people talking on a panel and two people standing in the background

20. Ratner Serves on UN Commission Investigating Ethiopia

Professor Steven Ratner and two colleagues served on the United Nations International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia. Ratner argues that continued attention and pressure from the international community are required to address ongoing atrocities. 

A deer wandering indoors.

21. That Time a Deer Got into the School

Everybody loves the Michigan Law Library, but it was more than a little surprising when a deer broke through a window and entered the building in late October. It’s still unknown whether the deer was looking for an inspiring photo background or just a quiet place to study, but it quickly left without incident via an open door.

Dana Thompson, ’99 speaks in front of a crowd.

22. Strengthening Neighborhoods through Small Business

In the fall issue of Law Quadrangle, we shined a spotlight on the Community Enterprise Clinic, where student-attorneys work under faculty supervision to help revitalize and reinvigorate urban communities across Michigan, supporting organizations with a mission beyond the bottom line.

Richard Friedman

23. Faculty Books Cover All the Bases

The Michigan Law faculty continued their prolific book production—both writing and editing—during 2023, with a few of the highlights including Patrick Barry on how to provide quality feedback, Steven Ratner on legal argumentation outside in international law, Anne Peters on the need for global animal law, Nicholson Price on medical innovation and COVID-19, and Richard Friedman on sports as legal systems.