A Message from Dean West

A Sense of Belonging

When we ask students why they chose Michigan Law (and we do ask), they immediately point to the academic reputation of the institution—a reputation that we all continue to shape and grow. Next on the list are two factors: career opportunities and student life.

They chose well on both counts, of course. As for career opportunities, Michigan is a name that opens doors around the world. Our employment statistics tell part of that story. Ninety-seven percent of the Class of 2015 was employed or continuing their education 10 months after graduation, and the Class of 2016 is on equal pace. Michigan also is a name that opens many different kinds of doors—from the most prestigious global law firms and highest levels of government, to small nonprofits and startups. We train people to be smart, creative, analytical problem solvers in whatever kind of practice they pursue, or if they choose never to practice at all.

As for student life, Michigan is a different kind of law school. I felt the difference as I interviewed with multiple law schools for my first faculty position nearly two decades ago. The Michigan group was the one that I wanted to follow home—despite never having been to Michigan. Students feel it, too, before they’re even students. Countless times I have heard people say that they were on the fence about law school until they came to our Preview Weekend—a powerful experience that offers a glimpse into their future lives. Our student life is bursting with a rich array of activities, and the culture that accompanies it is based on a genuine respect for and interest in each other.

As alumni, you epitomize these qualities. The reputation of our institution stems, in part, from your professional success and the impact you have made in so many different aspects of our society. The alumni in this issue of the Law Quadrangle demonstrate the intellectual horsepower for which our students have long been known, as well as the value of the training that Michigan Law provides. It should come as no surprise that Michigan Law graduates are at the center of the effort to strike balance between national security and individual privacy, as you’ll read in the cover story. It also should come as no surprise that our graduates are working on all sides of the issue. Our law school always has thrived on congenial discourse, the ability to examine problems through multiple lenses, and an eagerness to bring differing opinions together in pursuit of a common goal.

A 1L recently wrote, “… nothing compared—even remotely—to the way I felt when, on a snowy January morning, I opened up an envelope with two simple words written in maize and blue on a piece of cardstock: You Belong.” Thank you for leading by example and for demonstrating the endless possibilities that accompany that acceptance letter from Michigan Law.

Mark D. West


Nippon Life Professor of Law

Online Extras

Reaching New Heights

Did you ever walk to class at the Law School with a spring in your step? Or jump for joy after acing an exam? Summer starter Lori Interlicchio takes it to the next level by traveling through the Quad on her high-flying pogo stick.

Class of 2019

The newest 1Ls (including summer starters and fall starters) and LLM students join the Michigan Law family. The 1Ls have the highest median undergraduate GPA ever for an entering class (3.78), and they attended 155 undergraduate institutions. They include military veterans, alumni of Teach For America and the Peace Corps, as well as Fulbright and Truman scholars and a Soros fellow.