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Perspectives is the University of Minnesota Law School's publication for alumni, faculty, students, staff, and supporters and is published twice a year.

Spring 2015 Perspectives: An Insider's Look at High Stakes Litigation

When people think of high stakes litigation, they tend to think of dollar signs and zeroes—lots and lots of zeroes. But as writer Cathy Madison reports in our spring 2015 cover story, high stakes cases aren't just about money. The five alumni Madison interviewed reveal that high stakes litigation can have as much to do with legal precedent and intellectual challenge as with monetary awards, and that high stakes lawyering is a people-oriented field that rewards strategy, preparation, creativity, and—since cases can last years—patience. "With an engaged court, a committed client, and maybe a chance to make new law, it's very rewarding," says one alumna. "A high stakes case can pay for the kind of legal work that plows new ground."

Professor Ann M. Burkhart wanted to be a litigator, but thought she'd try real estate law "just for a year"—and liked it so much she decided to teach it. Burkhart joined the Law School faculty in 1982 and today holds the Curtis Bradbury Kellar Professorship. In "Theory at Work," Cathy Madison profiles her as a teacher ("she can take an infinitely complex subject…and break it down into simple pieces that everyone can wrap their brains around," says one student) and as a quiet leader in a nationwide effort to improve affordable housing—specifically, to give owners of manufactured homes, often known as mobile homes, the same legal protections that other homeowners have.

This year marks the 800th birthday of Magna Carta, one of the world's great symbols of rights and the rule of law. Ryan Greenwood, the Law Library's curator of rare books and special collections, reports on a fascinating commemorative exhibition that will be on view in the library's Stefan A. Riesenfeld Rare Books Research Center through Dec. 15. The Law Library owns a remarkable 14 editions of Magna Carta printed before 1600, and eight of these are included in the exhibition, which will amplify the story of this essential document by highlighting notable figures, events, and cases associated with it through the centuries.

Additional stories include a report on the numerous legal victories recently secured by the Law School's clinics and student attorneys; a profile of Professor Jean M. Sanderson, director of the clinical program since 2007; the announcement of the successful conclusion of the GENERATIONS campaign, which exceeded its ambitious $70 million goal; news of recent visits to the Law School by Judge Jed. S. Rakoff and U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli; and a recap, with photos, of this year's Theatre of the Relatively Talentless (TORT) production, Walt Mondale's Froze-In.

Also in this issue: summaries of news, awards, and activities across the Law School; profiles of students and alumni; reports on journal symposia; staff hires and promotions; faculty publications; class notes; and much more.

Send comments to Cynthia Huff, Director of Communications, huffx070@umn.edu.


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