Alumni News

Valena Beety, '06: Wins Faculty Scholarship Award at West Virginia University College of Law

April 29, 2016 - 10:28am
Original source:

Professor Valena Beety, '06, is the recipient of the 2015-2016 Significant Scholarship Award at the West Virginia University College of Law.

Beety, an associate professor of law, won the award for her article “Judicial Dismissal in the Interest of Justice,” published last year in the Missouri Law Review (Volume 80, Issue 3). In the article, Beety examined the capacity of judges to grant clemency, or dismiss cases, in the interest of justice.

According to Beety, most of the country’s 1.6 million inmates are serving sentences for non-violent offenses. She argues that by making judges more accountable, they can dismiss some cases based on overzealous prosecutions, race-based patrolling, and the overuse of “three strikes” laws.

Beety looked at factors such as community impact, prosecutorial misconduct, safety and welfare of the community, and a conviction’s effect on public confidence in the criminal justice system. She proposed reform of the criminal justice system and practical assistance for individual cases and lives.

“This article illustrates the high level of research and scholarship our professors produce on significant issues,” said Gregory W. Bowman, dean of the College of Law. “Valena raises important questions related to fairness, efficiency, and effectiveness in the criminal justice system, and she provides courts an option to begin addressing the need for reform.”

Categories: Alumni News

Cheryl Stanton, '97: 'Support network' key in career

April 28, 2016 - 9:38am
Original source:

From a labor and employment lawyer in New York, to the White House, to the head of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

Cheryl Stanton, '97, says despite one’s desires, life can sometimes lead a person along a different path.

“I started getting the recognition that I needed to stop planning my life and recognize opportunities when they come to you and take them when they come to you,” Stanton told about 240 administrative professionals gathered at the Orangeburg Country Club for the 11th Annual Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce’s Administrative Professionals Day Luncheon.

Stanton said as a young girl, she wanted to become an FBI agent after touring the FBI headquarters in Washington.

But finding the law profession attractive, Stanton graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and was intent on working as a labor and employment law lawyer in New York. She had a nice place to live and no desire to leave.

But shortly after graduating from law school, Stanton had an interview with a very “quiet and introverted man” who was serving as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.

The man is Samuel Alito, now a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Stanton get the job and clerked for Alito in 1997-1998.

“This was not the path I had chosen for myself to go down,” Stanton said.

After Alito’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005, Stanton went back to Washington in January 2006 to offer her support during his congressional hearings. She provided him with documentation on his past cases and decisions.

It was then that friends from law school, who were already working for President George W. Bush’s administration, suggested she submit her resume.

But again, Stanton was set on staying in New York.

Eight months later, she had an interview with deputy counsel Bill Kelly and White House counsel Harriet Miers.

Several weeks later, she walked through the gates as an employee, serving as the White House counsel for labor and employment matters.

Stanton worked at the White House for several years, but with her parents retiring to South Carolina and her sister moving to Lake Norman in North Carolina, she had a desire to move closer to family.

Categories: Alumni News

Robert J. Martineau, '59: Opinion - Supreme Court too monolithic

April 27, 2016 - 2:27pm
Original source:

Robert J. Martineau is professor emeritus at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He has served as the administrator of a federal court of appeals and a state supreme court.

Here’s a suggestion for Senate Republicans currently holding the line on their refusal to hold hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee: You can find a solid basis for opposing Judge Merrick Garland – while appearing more responsible and less partisan – if you look at his qualifications and what he would bring to the Court.

One little-known aspect of the Supreme Court is the incredibly narrow background the eight members of the Court have (and Antonin Scalia was no different). All of the justices went to either Harvard or Yale law schools. All are Catholic or Jewish. All but two spent all or substantial parts of their careers with the federal government. All but one spent most of their careers in Boston-Washington corridor. All but one never sat on a federal court outside of that same corridor. None has ever held elective office. None has ever sat on a state court. In short, the makeup of the Court is essentially monolithic except as to religion, and even then none is a Protestant, the largest religious group in the country.

Categories: Alumni News

Edward S. Hintzke, '60: 1937-2016

April 27, 2016 - 9:58am
Original source:

Edward Stanley Hintzke,'60, a resident of Winnetka, IL, died on April 17, 2016. He was born in Chicago on August 7, 1937, the son of Stanley and Harriett Hintzke (DDS).

He attended The University of Chicago, graduating with an A.B. in 1958 and a Law JD in 1960. He joined the U.S. Air Force in the Judge Advocate General's office serving two active duty periods. Thereafter, he served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel. He furthered his government service, joining the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. Thereafter, he served in the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board as Assistant General Counsel until his retirement in 1993.

He was a connoisseur of classical music and opera, and cartography (past president of the Chicago Map Society), and a lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Blackhawks. He is survived by his beloved wife Teresa Mikosz Hintzke, children Richard (Ewa) Sobilo and Barbara Sobilo, and grandchildren Alexandra and Maya.

Categories: Alumni News

Eric Waldo, '06: "From Cleveland Heights to the White House"

April 27, 2016 - 9:37am
Original source:

On paper, former Cleveland Heights resident Eric Waldo, 06, might seem like the last person with a message for under-privileged kids insecure about higher education.

Look at Waldo's background:

  • Son of a University Hospitals cardiologist (father) and pro-bono immigration lawyer (mother) at the Spanish American Committee.
  • Graduate of University School, fan of the Coventry Road scene (he misses Arabica and goes to Tommy's when in town).
  • Alum of Brown University, Harvard University (grad school), University of Chicago (law school).
  • Former clerk for a federal judge, Ann Aldrich, in Cleveland. 
  • White House employee

His resume shouts "achievement." 

Yet here he is, working for First Lady Michelle Obama as executive director of her "Reach Higher" initiative, which encourages students to apply to college or pursue other educational options after high school, stay enrolled and face down doubts. The social and financial challenges -- the seeming reality of those doubts -- can seem daunting to someone whose family members stopped their schooling after high school. 

And so today, Obama will go to New York for what the White House calls "National College Signing Day."

It commemorates the day, usually around May 1, when students tell colleges whether they accept admission offers. If you're the first in your family to apply and be accepted to college, this can be a big deal, and Obama -- whose brother, Craig Robinson, was the first in their family to graduate from college -- wants to make sure that today's high school seniors feel that way, too.

Waldo, 38, has the job of fostering resources to make college dreams real, throughout the year. On behalf of the first lady and President Barack Obama, he works with schools, universities and the government to encourage post-secondary enrollment and promote aid, mentorships and campus programs to keep students going during moments of self-doubt, cultural alienation or financial need. 

Categories: Alumni News

Antonio Gracias, 98: Elected Trustee at the Aspen Institute

April 26, 2016 - 8:33am

Antonio Gracias, 98, is the Founder, Managing Partner, and Chief Investment Officer of Valor. Antonio founded Valor in 2001. He currently serves as Lead Independent Director at Tesla Motors and is a director of several Valor portfolio companies, including Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Marathon Pharmaceuticals, Solar City, and Antonio is actively involved in philanthropic activities. He is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, a member of the board of directors of World Business Chicago, a member of the board of visitors of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and a member of the board of visitors of the University of Chicago Law School. Antonio holds a joint B.S. and M.S.F.S. (honors degree) in International Finance and Economics from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.  Antonio is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

Categories: Alumni News

Ryan Walsh, '12: Talks to the Badger Herald on "law school, working for late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia, right-to-work law"

April 25, 2016 - 12:02pm
Original source:

Ryan Walsh, '12, Wisconsin’s new chief deputy solicitor general as of February, wants to uphold the truth of the law in his new role, something he learned from his former boss, the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Walsh said one of the most important things about litigation is that the outcomes of decisions rely on the logic of the law, rather than politics or twisting facts. He said judicial decisions rely on well-argued reasons that can’t simply be dismissed.

“If you think law is all politics or personal preferences, then you’re not listening to the judges — you’re shortsighted to what you think,” Walsh said.

Walsh graduated with high honors from University of Chicago Law School in 2012. While law school was challenging, Walsh said he thought it was fun. Walsh was a law clerk for Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and a clerk for the Scalia in the U.S. Supreme Court for the October 2013 term.

Categories: Alumni News

Russell Pelton, '63: Publishes New Novel, "The Sting of the Blue Scorpion"

April 21, 2016 - 12:51pm
Original source:

The 1960s. An America on edge--the cold war, race riots, Vietnam. A frozen Midwestern Air Force town. A pair of gruesome sex murders. A black airman on trial. Will justice or bigotry prevail? For Tony Jeffries, it’s a double-edged sword: a surprise promotion to captain in his first weeks as an Air Force JAG―and, right on its heels, an appointment as defense counsel in a near-unwinnable case. Two local women have been brutally raped and murdered, and the evidence points squarely at George Torrance, a black airman with a checkered past. The town’s and the base’s bigwigs are determined to make him pay. A slick veteran JAG is heading the prosecution. But is Torrance guilty, or is an innocent man being railroaded? The more Jeffries learns, the less certain he becomes. So does the reader, riding the twists and turns of the court-martial and its aftermath until the shocking final pages. Based on his own experiences as a young JAG, Russell Pelton’s, '63, The Sting of the Blue Scorpion―an edge-of-your-seat follow-up to his acclaimed The Dance of the Sharks―upholds the verdict: here’s an authoritative, highly entertaining legal storyteller.

Categories: Alumni News

Craig M. Boise, '94: Named Dean of Syracuse University’s College of Law

April 15, 2016 - 11:32am
Original source:

Recognized as an innovator in legal education, Craig M. Boise, '94, has been named dean of Syracuse University’s College of Law. Boise comes to Syracuse University from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University, which under his deanship made significant gains in academic programs, national rankings and fundraising. The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees approved his appointment earlier today. Boise will assume his new role on July 1, 2016. 

“Craig Boise is a dynamic and forward-thinking leader who is equally passionate about quality, access and enhancing the student experience,” says Michele G. Wheatly, vice chancellor and provost-designate. “I am impressed by his record of achievements and know the College of Law will make great strides under his leadership.”

Chancellor Kent Syverud echoed Wheatly’s sentiment, saying Boise will achieve great things as dean of the College of Law.

Categories: Alumni News

Jerry N. Clark, '66: 1942-2016

April 12, 2016 - 8:14am
Original source:

Veteran LGBT rights activist Jerry Clark, '66, dies at 74. Jerry N. Clark, an attorney, union health and pension fund director, and health care benefits consultant in Washington who for years served as an advocate for the cause of LGBT rights and D.C. statehood died April 9 at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.

His sister, Melinda Rider, said the cause of death was complications associated with a severe head injury sustained from a fall in January at his home of 40 years in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood.

“Jerry was a progressive with an unwavering vision of equality for all people,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, for which Clark has served as a member and co-chair of its board of directors.

“He will be remembered for his leadership, but also for his kindness and compassion,” Carey said in a statement. “Surely the world is a better place having had his talents, and we are beholden to all that Jerry contributed to the movement.”

Categories: Alumni News

Esther F. Lardent, '71: 1948-2016

April 6, 2016 - 8:51pm
Original source:

Esther F. Lardent, '71, will be remembered as a tireless champion for equal access to justice, Legal Services Corporation President James J. Sandman said today.

“Esther did more to increase pro bono work by big law firms and corporate legal department than any other person in the history of American law,” Sandman stated. “She helped transform the pro bono sector and inspired countless lawyers and law firms to take an active role in expanding legal services to disadvantaged groups.” 

Lardent founded the Pro Bono Institute (PBI) in 1996, leading the organization for 19 years until transitioning to a strategic advisory role last summer. Under her leadership, PBI became a powerful force for change, expanding and deepening the pro bono engagement of law firms and corporate legal departments. Lardent believed that leveraging the talents and resources of these organizations could have an enormous impact on improving access to justice for low-income Americans.

Lardent’s commitment to expanding access to justice was long standing. She served as an independent legal and policy consultant for the Ford Foundation, the American Bar Association, state and local bar associations, and public interest and legal services programs. She was the founder and initial director of one of the nation's first organized bar pro bono programs, the Boston Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project. During that time, she also administered a nationwide pro bono technical assistance effort. She received her B.A. from Brown University and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.



Categories: Alumni News

Nirav Shah, '07: JD/MD Impacts National, Global Public Health Regulation

April 5, 2016 - 11:34am

Last year, Nirav Shah, ’07 JD, ’08 MD, was appointed to the cabinet of Governor Bruce Rauner as the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Last year, Nirav Shah, ’07 JD, ’08 MD, was appointed to the cabinet of Governor Bruce Rauner as the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Charged with protecting the health and wellness of the people of Illinois, the agency has a budget of more than 500 million dollars, manages more than 200 programs, and has more than 1,000 employees.

“This is my dream job,” Shah says. “To have it this early in my career was kind of stunning at first, and it’s still very demanding, but my training and experience are serving me well.”

Shah entered medical school at the University of Chicago in 2000 with the intention of becoming an academic in the medical field. His career focus shifted when he took a hiatus from his studies beginning in 2001 to serve a fellowship in Cambodia, working as an economist on public health issues. “I was uniquely unqualified for what I was expected to do when I arrived in Cambodia,” he recalls. “I suppose the good news for me was that the country’s health system had fallen into such complete disrepair that anything I could do helped.” Among other things, he tackled disease outbreaks, conducted cost-effectiveness studies, fought against counterfeit drugs, and worked to root out the corruption that had become pervasive in the system. By the end of his time there, he held the title of Chief Economist within the Ministry of Health.

When he returned to Chicago, it was with a strong determination to become a highly effective public health leader. Attending law school made sense in that context. “Ever since I had first met Richard Epstein, during my first year in med school when we had a common interest in medical ethics, he had been telling me that I should study law in addition to getting my medical degree,” Shah recalls. “I realized how right he had been. Most modern public health issues come down to two things: regulation, and compromise or deal making among many competing interests and stakeholders. There’s no place where regulation is as richly understood as it is at the Law School, and there’s no place that prepares you better to reach optimal negotiated outcomes.”

He continued to work with the Cambodian government during law school and as he completed his last year of medical school, traveling to Cambodia on occasion but mostly interacting over Skype. He was able to communicate at long distance because he had become fluent in the Cambodian language, Khmer. At the Law School, he won the Hinton Moot Court Competition and was a John M. Olin Scholar in Law and Economics.

After his graduation from medical school, Shah joined Sidley Austin in its global life sciences practice. He credits the firm for adding a crucial finishing touch to his preparation: “For all the great things I learned at the Law School and the med school, Sidley taught me something just as vital—how a true professional acts in the world. That included so many things—how to communicate with others, how to handle disagreement diplomatically, when to speak out and when to hold back, how to negotiate, how to write a business letter and a memo, how to run an effective meeting. No one sat me down to teach me that; I learned it by example, from observing the consummate professionals at Sidley. I realized from my mentor at Sidley, Paul Kalb, that ultimately, if you don’t possess those skills, no one cares how smart you are or how good your ideas might be. You have to make effective human contact to get things done. I have been very happy to see that since I graduated, the Law School is incorporating excellent preparation of this type into the curriculum, through the Kapnick Leadership Development Initiative and other offerings.”

“The Illinois Department of Public Health has a weighty responsibility, to serve all citizens of Illinois with a focus on helping those who are most disadvantaged,” Shah observes. “Every day as I pursue that responsibility I benefit from the brilliant legal scholarship and wise counsel that were imparted to me at the Law School.”

Categories: Alumni News

Lisa Ellman, '05: Polivation Expert Leads at White House and in Drone Policy

April 5, 2016 - 11:27am

Lisa Ellman, ’05 JD, ’05 MPP, is a partner at Hogan Lovells in Washington, DC, where she cochairs the firm’s global Unmanned Aircraft Systems Practice Group, which addresses legal and policy issues related to commercial drones in the United States and around the world.

Lisa Ellman, ’05 JD, ’05 MPP, is a partner at Hogan Lovells in Washington, DC, where she cochairs the firm’s global Unmanned Aircraft Systems Practice Group, which addresses legal and policy issues related to commercial drones in the United States and around the world.

She first became involved with drone policy during the five and a half years that she served at high levels of the Obama administration, when she was asked to lead a Department of Justice assessment of domestic drone policy. In that role she participated on a federal interagency working group dealing with drone policy and helped craft the 2015 White House Presidential Memorandum on drone policy, which established protections related to the federal government’s domestic use of drones and created a multistakeholder process to consider similar issues in the context of commercial and private drones.

“It’s hard to think of a sector that isn’t affected by drone policy,” Ellman observes. “It’s a large and complex ecosystem. Our clients at Hogan Lovells include broadcasters, farmers, realtors, energy producers, engineers, manufacturers, technology companies, and many more types of businesses.”

Last year, for her leadership in this emerging area, Fortune magazine included her in its “Most Powerful Women” series, and her other graduate-level alma mater, the Harris School of Public Policy, recognized her with its “Rising Star” award as an outstanding graduate under 40 years of age. Her insights about drone policy are frequently reported in major media outlets.

She has applied her acumen in many other policy realms as well. Working as a research assistant to Cass Sunstein while she was a student, she coauthored a paper and a book with him about the effects of federal judges’ ideologies on their decisions. In 2004, she took time off from the Law School to become one of a small group who advised Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of then-vice-presidential candidate John Edwards, on policy matters, coordinating with the campaign’s staff and also collaborating with Mrs. Edwards in developing policy positions and recommendations.

When Barack Obama invited her in 2007 to join his presidential campaign as a policy advisor, things kicked into an even higher gear. “For about nine months in 2007 and 2008, I lived out of a suitcase, traveling the country and learning how the people I met were affected by a very broad range of federal policies,” she recalls. After the election, she served on Obama’s transition team, then took on the responsibilities of being the legal director of the presidential personnel office, and then joined the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy.

In 2011, she was detailed to the White House to lead the president’s Open Government Partnership initiative, which aimed to promote public participation in government, improve government transparency, and increase innovation in the delivery of government services. It was during that time that she coined the word polivation to describe the process of creating an effective balance between innovation and governmental policy-making. “Policy-makers need to promote innovation, and innovators need to work with policy-makers,” she says. “Polivation requires all parties to bring their expertise to the conversation while respecting the perspectives of others. That can be a challenging thing to accomplish, but learning to do it well is essential for society to make the best use of new ideas and technologies.”

“I learned a lot about the value of substantive dialog from my time at the Law School,” Ellman reflects. “I was the president of the Law School Democrats. There weren’t all that many of us, and I learned not just to defend my views, but to really pay attention to the thinking of others who saw things differently. I also learned a lot at the Law School from faculty with many different viewpoints—from Geof Stone, Richard Posner, Martha Nussbaum, and Abner Mikva, to name just a few. There’s no ideological monopoly on wisdom, no way of thinking about issues that doesn’t have potential value. When I was a policy advisor, I had to think on behalf of all of the American people, and as a practicing attorney in a complex emerging field, I need to be able to see all sides in order to represent my clients most effectively. The Law School helped me learn how to do those vital things.”

Categories: Alumni News

Vincent Cordero, '99: Latino Media Leader Directs Expertise toward Community Service

April 5, 2016 - 11:10am

“I believe we are all called to be our best, and everyone at the Law School, faculty and students, propelled me in that direction.”

Vincent Cordero, ’99, is the chief operating officer of HBO Latin America. After graduating from the Law School, he began his media career with Univision, becoming one of the youngest general managers in Chicago television history, and continued at 21st Century Fox in Los Angeles as executive vice president and general manager of Fox Deportes, where he led the network’s ascent to become the number-one-rated Latino sports cable network in the United States.

At Univision, he enacted extensive community-service campaigns, including voter registration and engagement programming with the Chicago Board of Elections, as well as college readiness and access programming and town halls with the Chicago Public Schools. Such efforts earned Cordero recognition by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the city’s top “40 Under 40.” Broadcasting and Cable recognized Cordero as one of the “Next Wave of Leaders,” describing Univision under his leadership as “a lifeline for the Chicago Latino community.” At Fox, he launched college access town halls and a PSA campaign with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund that aired across the country on the 21st Century Fox networks. The National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications recognized Cordero as a “Next Generation Leader” and awarded him its Corporate Diversity Leadership Award.

Cordero was raised in south Los Angeles, by three women to whom he says he “owes everything”—his mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. He shares: “Growing up in my neighborhood was not easy. But as Nietzsche said, ‘What doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger.’ I knew I was an agent of my own destiny, that I would dream big and commit myself to make a difference in the world.”

The first in his family to attend college, he graduated magna cum laude from UCLA with a triple major in philosophy, political science, and Chicano studies.

While interning for California congressman Xavier Becerra during his second summer at the Law School, Cordero met Henry Cisneros, the former San Antonio mayor and former HUD secretary who was then Univision’s COO and president. Cordero had an epiphany: “Ideas shape the world. Media shapes ideas. Therefore, media shapes the world.” Ultimately, Cordero interviewed with Cisneros and industry legend Jerry Perenchio, who was then Univision’s CEO and chairman.

After graduating from the Law School, Cordero began at Univision as an executive trainee in Los Angeles and assumed the role of vice president and general manager of the Chicago television station duopoly just five years later. Under his leadership, the channel received nearly 40 Emmy nominations, and its nightly Spanish-language news program became Chicago’s number-one-rated news show in any language. At Fox Deportes, Cordero’s team launched what would become the number-one-rated Latino sports news show in the United States; expanded the portfolio of live event content, including the NFL, UFC, Golden Boy Boxing, and NASCAR; and made television history by being the first US Spanish-language network to air the NFL Super Bowl live.

“I fell in love with Chicago the first day I came to visit the Law School as a prospective student,” Cordero says. “I was thrilled to return in my professional career and contribute to the life of such a great city.” He attributes his professional success to his mentors, colleagues, and Law School training: “I believe we are all called to be our best, and everyone at the Law School, faculty and students, propelled me in that direction. When you graduate, you know you have been taught and tested by some of the best minds in the world—not to mention US President Barack Obama, who was a professor. You are equipped to succeed and realize your dreams.”

At HBO Latin America, his team’s accomplishments include increasing advertising sales by record amounts and implementing the technological underpinnings of the new standalone HBO GO online subscription service that the company is introducing throughout Latin America.

“Media is the ever-evolving business of creative story sharing. It inspires and informs the imagination,” he says. “The transformative opportunities are limitless. I am eternally grateful to Chicago and the Law School for empowering me to achieve my dreams and make a difference.”

Categories: Alumni News

Tom Eggemeier, '97: Applying Law School Skills in Silicon Valley Customer Service

April 5, 2016 - 10:37am

“At Genesys, we create and power the world’s best customer experiences with a focus on highly personal and individualized interactions. Perhaps uniquely among law schools, Chicago has those qualities."

Tom Eggemeier, ’97, became president of Genesys last fall. The largest privately held software company in Silicon Valley, Genesys does business in more than 100 countries, helping companies improve their online, email, and voice interactions with customers. Its clients include Apple, Airbnb, and Emirates Airline.

“A customer’s experience with a company is a critical factor in creating brand loyalty, and that’s a major business battleground today, when consumers are far less brand loyal than they once were,” Eggemeier says. “We match individual customers’ information with a company’s communications and services, so people are far more likely to get the help or information they need quickly, smoothly, and accurately.”

He gives an example: “Let’s say that you’re an air traveler who speaks only French. You’re in Tokyo, your flight is canceled, and you need to rebook. When you call for that new reservation, you would typically expect to reach a Japanese-speaking agent and then experience a chain of frustrating, time-consuming interactions before getting to someone who could help you. With Emirates Air, for example, it’s different. In the best of cases, our software will identify you as French-speaking when you call, based on your cell phone number and the profile Emirates has of you, and you will automatically be routed directly to a French-speaking agent. At a minimum, the agent you reach will see your profile, realize immediately that you speak only French, and be able to very quickly connect you to a French-speaking agent.”

“It’s a win/win,” Eggemeier says. “The customer gets unexpectedly great service, and the company saves time and money. And you can be very sure that that customer will tell plenty of other people about that amazing experience, which builds the brand and attracts more customers.”

Eggemeier started working in tech not long after he graduated, having quickly realized that law firm life was not for him. “I summered at two big firms, and just didn’t like it much. The firms were great and the people were great, but I wasn’t really happy. After graduating, I tried a smaller firm, but within a year I was ready to do something else.” A friend who worked at Compaq told him that the company was hiring. “It was a time in Silicon Valley when if you had a pulse, you could get a job,” Eggemeier recalls. “I had a pulse. They put me in marketing, and I found that I liked it.”

Four years later he joined Alcatel, and eight years after that he became the company’s senior vice president of enterprise global sales, based in Paris and traveling nearly every other week throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Genesys, which had been a software division within Alcatel-Lucent, became a standalone company after its acquisition by the private equity firm Permira, and Eggemeier went with the company, serving as senior vice president for four years before stepping into his current leadership role.

“People ask me whether I would still have gone to Law School, given the way my career turned out, and I answer that with an unequivocal yes,” Eggemeier says. “Every day I apply skills I learned there: analyzing problems, speaking and writing clearly, listening closely to others, recognizing and weighing risks and opportunities, and so many other things. If I had it to do over, I might also have gotten an MBA, but for sure I wouldn’t have missed out on what the Law School gave me.”

“There’s another way, maybe more subtle, in which my Law School experience helped me,” he adds. “At Genesys, we create and power the world’s best customer experiences with a focus on highly personal and individualized interactions. Perhaps uniquely among law schools, Chicago has those qualities—faculty and administrators know you as an individual, and you have open-door access to all the attention and information you want, completely focused on you and provided by great subject-matter experts. That’s the way our customers want their customers to feel. I was fortunate to grow up seeing an intense customer-service ethic in my parents and grandparents, but the Law School really locked it in, and it has helped me throughout my career. Brand loyalty? The Law School sure earned that from me.”

Categories: Alumni News

Ted Frank, '94: A Bloomberg Profile - "Lightning Rod for Class Settlement Storms"

April 4, 2016 - 12:26pm
Original source:

Greed is undermining class actions, according to Ted Frank, '94, founder and director of the Center for Class Action Fairness in Washington.

Consumer and other class settlements often pay more to trial lawyers than to their clients, Frank says, and he's devoted his professional life to fighting that trend.

Frank is an objector—a lawyer for class members who claim excess attorneys' fees or other settlement terms siphon benefits from consumers—and he says he fills a void.

“We continue to see the vast majority of settlements being abusive,” Frank told Bloomberg BNA recently. But in class actions, “nobody has the incentive to bring the individual case unless it’s aggregated, and nobody has the incentive to object,” he said.

Nobody, it seems, but Frank and a handful of lawyers like him.

Categories: Alumni News

Sharon Fairley, '06: IPRA's new chief is ready to work with Chicago

April 4, 2016 - 12:20pm
Original source:

As the chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority, one of my responsibilities is to oversee investigations related to officer-involved shootings and allegations of excessive use of force by members of the Chicago Police Department. An important part of my job is evaluating whether police officers involved in these incidents have violated the department’s use-of-force policies. Having been immersed in this process for the last few months, I am convinced that our Police Department’s use-of-force policies must be re-examined as soon as possible.

I believe that the need to develop sound use-of-force policies should be a major priority for the CPD. I recognize the challenge this effort presents: developing policies that strike the right balance between the need for police officers to be able to appropriately defend themselves within the context of highly charged situations and the need to protect the safety and sanctity of life for all community members.

Categories: Alumni News

Bjarne Tellmann, '95: Reinventing and Redefining a Major In-House Legal Department

April 1, 2016 - 2:18pm

In 2014, Bjarne Tellmann, ’95, was named senior vice president and general counsel of Pearson PLC. With headquarters in London and New York and more than 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries, Pearson is the world’s largest company in many fields, including general publishing, textbook publishing, digital learning technologies, and private English-language instruction.

When Tellmann joined Pearson, the company was engaged in a major transition from a decentralized holding company to a vertically integrated organization. The previous structure had often resulted in attorneys serving their functional or geographic units without a holistic view of the organization’s needs. “We really had about ten separate legal departments, which were reporting to local management and not to a single corporate GC—with all the risks and inefficiencies associated with that,” Tellmann says.

His charge was to fully rethink and reconfigure the way that legal services are provided. With his team, he identified five key dimensions to address. He says: “We had to wholly revamp the organizational structure of the legal department, creating a global matrix to get our people as close to the business as possible. We had to rethink the department’s mission and its strategic priorities, committing to become less reactive and more pragmatic, proactive, and protective of the business. We had to implement five major new technologies that would help us be more effective and efficient, and we had to get a much better handle on our global risk exposure.”

He is also reinventing the way that Pearson engages with outside counsel. “We were top-heavy on outside spend,” he observes. “So much is happening in the profession to make possible new kinds of relationships; we have a duty to closely examine all of our relationships and maximize their payoff.” In the UK, he instituted a series of panels at which firms pitched their services to Pearson. “It was a great experience,” Tellmann says. “They came bearing gifts, saying they could do great things if we gave them the chance. We saw what an array of excellent firms is out there for us, and we learned a great deal about how to work most effectively with them.” Similar panels are scheduled for the US.

Also charged with finding annual cost savings of two million dollars, he exceeded that expectation with savings of more than seven million dollars in his first 18 months. For the innovations he has led at Pearson, he was named to The Lawyer magazine’s “Hot 100” list in 2015.

The son of a Norwegian diplomat, Tellmann lived all around the world as he was growing up. By the time he came to the Law School, he spoke five languages and had earned a martial arts black belt, played leading roles in a film and on television, and received a master’s degree from the London School of Economics. He describes his experience at the Law School as “completely mind-altering”: “So much of what I had previously experienced, studied, and observed came together for me at the Law School. One after another, great professors showed how the law is a richly woven tapestry, a confluence of so many things, including human nature, the arts, incentives, and centuries of thinking about how society and its organizations can best be structured and regulated. There were so many moments when complexity was resolved into stunning clarity.”

His experience after the Law School also helped prepare him for his current responsibilities. During the 13 years before his appointment at Pearson, he held top legal positions at Coca-Cola, including time overseas as the chief legal officer for the Asia-Pacific region and several years at corporate headquarters, managing an 80-person team deployed across four continents.

Now, as he leads the reinvention of the 200-person legal department of a nine-billion-dollar global company, Tellmann says, “There are plenty of challenges and almost uncountable opportunities to keep learning how to do things better. Thanks to the perspectives and skills that I started developing at the Law School, I am confident that we’re going to succeed.”

Categories: Alumni News

Stephanie Scharf, '85: Founding Partner Advocates for Women in the Legal Profession

April 1, 2016 - 1:53pm

Stephanie Scharf, ’85, is a cofounder of Scharf Banks Marmor LLC.

Stephanie Scharf, ’85, is a cofounder of Scharf Banks Marmor LLC. The firm, which was formed in 2012, is the largest women-owned firm in Chicago and is one of fewer than 30 women-owned law firms throughout the United States to have more than 10 employees.

Scharf, who has advocated for women in the legal profession throughout her career, says there were two primary motivations for forming Scharf Banks Marmor: “My partners and I believe that we can deliver high-caliber legal services cost effectively, provide clients with the kinds of professional relationships they seek from a firm, and do that in a satisfying collegial work environment. We also wanted to show that a women-owned firm can practice with the best of all the other firms that are out there.”

“Starting a new law firm is a scary thing,” she says. “A lot can go wrong financially, professionally, and personally. It’s not something I would have done if I hadn’t believed that we could offer distinctive value to clients and also create great working lives for everyone at our firm.”

Scharf came to the Law School after earning a PhD in behavioral sciences from the University of Chicago. “I had thought that I was going to be an academic, but I found that I didn’t have an academic temperament; I was drawn to more action.” Her six years with the University’s acclaimed National Opinion Research Center, while she was a graduate student and afterward, helped her succeed as a lawyer. “We were doing top-flight, scientifically sound quantitative research,” she says. “I learned how to get to the heart of things empirically, and I learned how to present data clearly and persuasively.”

She says there were two things about the Law School, and the University in general, that made a big difference in her life: “First, there was the commitment to interdisciplinary learning—no structures that prevented people from learning from each other. And there was no status system: it was ideas that mattered, and everyone was on an equal footing as long as they could hold their own in the realm of ideas. Those great qualities open up worlds of possibilities.”

She began her career at Kirkland & Ellis, where she would remain for ten years and become a partner. It was during her time there that she experienced an important realization: “All my women lawyer friends were disappearing. Practicing law wasn’t working out as well for them as they had expected.” She joined the National Association of Women Lawyers, rising to become its president and launching several high-impact initiatives that included the Annual Survey of Women in Law Firms. “My background in social science research helped me to create studies that no one could dismiss,” she says. “The facts were right there.” For the American Bar Foundation and the American Bar Association, she recently completed an innovative empirical survey about women as first chairs at trial.  She is a past commissioner of the ABA Commission on Women and a member of the board of DirectWomen. She has received awards from the National Law Journal, the Chicago Bar Association, and others recognizing her contributions to the advancement of women in the legal profession.

Scharf joined Jenner & Block, where she practiced for 12 years, as a partner in 1995 and was with a New York firm for several years before forming Scharf Banks Marmor. She and her husband, Jeffry Mandell (a criminal defense lawyer), have raised two children, a son who is an entrepreneur and a daughter who will graduate this year from Northwestern Law School.

Her law firm continues to grow. She says, “We are bringing on great talent, enjoying the luxury that a small firm has to hire experienced lawyers. Technology enables us to work more efficiently, minimize layers, and partner effectively with other firms to staff some larger projects. And we will only grow as fast as we can retain our core values.”

“The scary part of leading a new firm is mostly over now,” Scharf says. “The satisfactions confirm a personal belief that was very strongly reinforced by my time at the University: To be true to yourself, you have to be brave.”

Categories: Alumni News

Donald Ephraim, '55: Career Anatomy: From Novice Advisor to Dedicated Philanthropist

March 31, 2016 - 12:45pm

In 1964, a Bear changed the life of Donald Ephraim, ’55.

In 1964, a Bear changed the life of Donald Ephraim, ’55. After service in the army, Ephraim, who is also a CPA, had settled into a successful law practice, principally focused on taxes and estate planning. One of his clients was the Chicago Bears’ star wide receiver Johnny Morris. When a Chicago television station offered Morris a sportscasting job, he asked Ephraim to represent him in the negotiations. “I’ve never done anything like that before,” Ephraim told Morris, “but I’d love to try.”

Morris was pleased with the results, and the rest became broadcast history. Ephraim and the Chicago firm he founded, Ephraim & Associates, went on to represent a very long list of major Chicago celebrities, many of whom enjoyed prominent national careers with Ephraim’s guidance. They included Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, Bill Kurtis, Jane Byrne, Jack Brickhouse, and Tom Skilling.

“I was young enough and dumb enough not to know the rules of those negotiations, which were mostly that the talent should be grateful to the network for the opportunity and not ask for too much in compensation, perks, and privileges,” Ephraim recalls. “It was very one-sided. I took positions that the broadcasters didn’t always like, but usually we reached an agreement that worked out very well for my clients.”

In his autobiography, Roger Ebert remembered some of Ephraim’s strengths: “Don was legendary for his attention to detail and once sent back a contract to Disney after finding that they had taken two-thirds of a cent and rounded it down instead of up. ‘It’s the principle of the thing,’ he said, with an indignation I sometimes thought was acting. ‘If they go to the trouble of rounding it down, we can go to the trouble of rounding it up again.’”

Retired now from Ephraim & Associates, which is led these days by his two lawyer sons, David and Eliot (his third son, Eric, is a CPA and senior bank executive), Ephraim devotes his time to enjoying life, abundant philanthropy, and community service. His recent philanthropy toward the Law School includes creating the Donald M. Ephraim Prize in Law and Economics, to be awarded annually by the Coase-Sandor Institute for the best treatise in the field from a worldwide competition; and leadership in creating a scholarship fund as a fifty-fifth reunion gift from his class. Among many other things, he also funds a scholarship offered by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) and is the chairman of, and provided the principal endowment for, the Donald M. Ephraim Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival, a cultural highlight that is now in its twenty-sixth year.

He served in local and national leadership positions at NATAS, and was recognized with its top honor, the Governor’s Award. He’s a director or trustee of organizations that include the Mandel Jewish Community Center of Palm Beach and the Palm Beach County Cultural Council, which distributes more than three million dollars annually to individual artists and arts and culture organizations.

“I attended the Law School when many of the most storied professors were there: Llewellyn, Mentschikoff, Meltzer, Katz, Blum, and others,” he says. “They were just as great as legend says they were, and—just as things still are today with the current faculty—they didn’t just teach, they were mentors, and often great raconteurs outside of class. My classmates were very special, too. I stay in touch with many of them. Law school was a great experience that has enhanced my life for more than sixty years.”

Now fully recovered from back ailments that had confined him to a wheelchair not that many years ago, he reports that life is very good: “I wake up every day thankful for my good health. I’m very proud of my children and deeply love my six grandchildren, and I have a wonderful significant other in Maxine Marks. I wish everyone the same good fortune that I have enjoyed.”

Categories: Alumni News