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MSU College of Law

Attorney General Frank J. Kelley Endows Chair in Legal Ethics at DCL/MSU


Media contact:
Deb Pozega Osburn
Kristan Tetens,
Media Communications,
(517) 355-2281

East Lansing, Michigan. - Michigan attorney general Frank J. Kelley will endow a faculty position in legal ethics at the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University and lead a campaign to raise $1.5 million to support it.

The announcement will be made at a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 10 a.m. in the Moot Court Room, Law College Building. Kelley will be the featured speaker in a program that also includes George N. Bashara, Jr., president of the DCL/MSU board of trustees; Jeremy T. Harrison, dean of DCL/MSU; David S. Favre, senior associate dean of DCL/MSU; and Lou Anna K. Simon, MSU provost.

Also in attendance will be Conrad L. Mallett, Jr., chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, and associate Supreme Court justices Michael F. Cavanagh and Elizabeth A. Weaver.

Although all law students are required to take a course in ethics, endowed chairs in the subject are a rarity in the nation’s law schools.

"The days when a law student could get by with a single course in ethics are long gone," said Kelley, who is retiring this year after 36 years in office. "Having only a technical proficiency in the law is inadequate. The complexity of today’s legal environment demands that lawyers be able to think critically about the ethical implications of their actions and the responsibility of their profession to the community that supports it. Law schools must offer more intense and rigorous training in this area. "

Kelley’s gift of $x will serve as the starting point for a fundraising campaign to underwrite the position. It is the college’s first endowed chair.

The nationally recognized scholars who become holders of the Frank J. Kelley Endowed Chair in Legal Ethics will present lectures in addition to leading college-wide conversations on a range of ethical issues confronting the profession.

"This generous gift by a dedicated public servant and one of the hardest working chief legal officers in the history of our state advances our commitment to being a leader in preparing the next generation of lawyers," Bashara said. "The endowed chair will be a continuing reminder of the ways in which he has touched the lives of countless Michigan citizens by shaping laws that protect them. He is an exemplary role model whose honesty and integrity are above reproach."

"This gift is a reflection of the overall excellence of the legal education provided by DCL/MSU," Simon said. "It is yet another example of the synergy and new opportunity created by the affiliation of the college and the university."

Kelley, who was first elected to his post in 1962, is the nation’s longest-serving attorney general. He holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Detroit, and practiced law in Detroit and Alpena before becoming attorney general. During his tenure, he has led efforts to control crime and drug abuse, developed an aggressive consumer protection program, fought polluters of Michigan’s air and water, and worked for civil rights for all citizens. He was the first state attorney general to create divisions within the office addressing consumer protection, environmental protection, and Medicaid fraud. He was also instrumental in the creation of Michigan’s open meetings and freedom of information acts. He is the only Michigan attorney general to be elected president of the National Association of Attorneys General and has received numerous awards for his public service.

The Law College Building is located at the corner of Shaw and Bogue Streets on the campus of Michigan State University.


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