I’m happy to share with you highlights of the many exciting things happening here at John Marshall. As with almost all law schools, times are difficult on the job front, but we continue to fight the good fight for our students. Also, as opportunities open up to make our school better, we are seizing them.
As we were going to go to press, the law school purchased the three-story building at 19 W. Jackson that is
adjacent to John Marshall’s current State Street building. This is the
most significant purchase of real estate for the school in over 30 years and will give us room to grow for the next ten years. We are still exploring how we will use the new building and what programs will be located there, however, when the opportunity to acquire this property became available, our board acted quickly to get it. My thanks to Board President Leonard Amari and Board Member and Chair of the Building Committee, Jordan Peters, for their leadership and vision in getting this important resource for our school. See more information on page 5.
The purchase of 19 W. Jackson, when coupled with our renovation of the first floor of 304 S. State Street for a “student commons” area and a new entrance, will give us an additional 50,000 square feet of space for current programs and for growth. Our new State Street entrance and façade will give us increased visibility in the community and a presence in the South Loop Education Corridor. Construction on the new State Street entrance will begin next year and hopefully will be completed by February 2012.
The new Justice Arthur Goldberg Memorial Courtroom on the fourth floor of the 304 S. State St. building has been in full use the past few weeks and I am delighted to tell you the reviews are terrific.
Our faculty find the new courtroom to be a wonderful teaching space both because of the latest technology available in it and its great layout. It has seating capacity for 100 students, with three drop- down screens around the room for easy viewing of PowerPoint lectures. You can read more about it in this issue of Briefcase. In addition, the school continues to use its full service Philip and Edith Baim Courtroom on the third floor, which also has been equipped with the latest in courtroom technology.
The Edward T. and Noble W. Lee Chair in Constitutional Law is our first academic chair. Many thanks to John Lee, the president of The John Marshall Law School Foundation, and to the Lee family for helping make this Chair a reality for the school. The law school also is initiating the first Leighton Fellowship in the Study of Prisoners’ Rights named in honor of retired United States District Court Judge George N. Leighton, the distinguished lawyer, federal judge and civil rights champion who was a member of our adjunct faculty for many years, teaching the course in Prisoners’ Rights. See the details on page 4.
We’ve welcomed new faculty members this year: Professor Anthony Niedwiecki, from Nova Southeastern School of Law in Florida, who is our new director of Lawyering Skills; Visiting Professor John (Jack) Oest, formerly a partner at Lord Bissell and Brook and a former visiting lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School; and Visiting Professor Jeffrey A. Parness, a well known and experienced civil procedure expert from Northern Illinois University’s College of Law. Visiting with us in the spring semester will be Peter Alexander, former dean of Southern Illinois University School of Law.
In Career Services, we welcomed Meghan Riley (JD ‘06) as the Employer Outreach Coordinator. Her role will be to cultivate and maintain relationships with law firms, corporations, government, and public interest organizations to create opportunities for our students and graduates.
We are very excited by the $250,000 grant Professor Debra Pogrund Stark and her colleague, Dr. Jessica Choplin of DePaul University,
received from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a three- year study to investigate how prospective homeowners read, assess and recall important information before agreeing to the terms of home loans.
We also are very pleased with the Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic (VLSC) grant of $350,000 from the United States Department of Justice. This grant enables the VLSC to, in part, serve as a model and assist other schools with veterans projects.
We awarded two outstanding first-year students, Tiffany Onyemaobi and Rufus Barner, the Inaugural Donald Hubert Endowed Memorial Scholarship for Legal Diversity. These are full tuition scholarships that also carry a stipend with them. They are among the most attractive law school scholarships in the country and are a fitting way to keep alive the legacy of Don Hubert, a much loved Chicago lawyer and past president of the Chicago Bar Association.
The Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits has offered numerous externships and practicums to its students, affording the joint degree students with “real life” experience prior to graduation within a governmental agency, not-for-profit institution, law firm or consulting firm. As a result of these externships with the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S Department of Treasury, and the IRS Tax Exempt Government Exempt Employee Plans, students have been extended full-time employment. Last count, the Center had more than 20 graduates at the Department of Labor and five graduates at the IRS.
The Center for Intellectual Property Law hosted its third summer program in Beijing, China. U.S. District Court Chief Judge James Holderman joined us again. He co-taught a course this year with his wife, Paula Hudson Holderman (JD ’79) of Winston & Strawn. Other faculty were Professor Zhang Guangliang (LLM/IP ’01), one of our first Chinese attorney graduates, and John Marshall Professors Richard Gruner and Maureen Collins. This year we had 15 John Marshall students and four students from other law schools.
Thanks again for all your input about the work we’re doing. I welcome you back to the law school to see our updated facilities, be part of a CLE program or lecture, or to meet with students.