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MSU College of Law



September 29, 2010


MSU Law Board of Trustees Elects Four New Members

East Lansing, MI — The Michigan State University College of Law Board of Trustees welcomed four new members to its ranks on September 29, 2010.

Elaine Fieldman, ’76, is currently of counsel to the Detroit firm of Barris, Sott, Denn & Driker, with which she has been affiliated since 1979. She graduated cum laude from Detroit College of Law (DCL) and earned an LL.M. from Wayne State University Law School in 1986. Before joining Barris Sott, Elaine clerked for the Honorable John H. Gillis of the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Honorable Charles L. Levin of the Michigan Supreme Court. Fieldman has served on the executive boards of Lighthouse PATH and JVS, nonprofit social service agencies.

Douglas Laycock is the Armistead M. Dobie Professor of Law and Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, and the Alice McKean Young Regents Chair in Law Emeritus at The University of Texas at Austin, where he served for 25 years. Laycock has published extensively on religious liberty and other constitutional law issues, as well on the law of remedies. He has extensive appellate litigation experience, including in the U.S. Supreme Court, and has played a key role in developing state and federal religious liberty legislation. He is a 1970 graduate of The Honors College at Michigan State University, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a vice president of the American Law Institute.

Michael G. Morris, ’81, is chairman, president, and chief executive officer (CEO) of American Electric Power (AEP), one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, as well as chairman and CEO of all of AEP’s major subsidiaries. Morris, who joined AEP after 12 years in top leadership positions at Northeast Utilities and Consumers Power Company, was elected to his current positions in January 2004. Morris is a director of Alcoa, Battelle Memorial Institute, and The Hartford Financial Services Group. He has also served as chairman of Edison Electric Institute and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, and as director of Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited.

James M. Nicholson is vice president of Detroit-based PVS Chemicals and also holds executive roles in five subsidiary companies with operations across the United States. He is president of the Grosse Pointe Hunt Club and serves on the board of directors for the YMCA of Metro Detroit, the board of trustees of the College for Creative Studies, The Nature Conservancy, and Citizens Research Council of Michigan. He is chairman of Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan and chairman emeritus of the Michigan Manufacturers Association. Nicholson holds an economics degree from Stanford University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago.

“Our new Board members are highly-accomplished professionals and dedicated leaders in the legal and business communities who will bring a wealth of insight and experience to the Law College,” said Clif Haley, president of MSU College of Law. “We look forward to working with them as we continue to advance the Law College down our path of excellence into the future.”

Morris previously served on the DCL Board of Trustees before the Law College’s move to East Lansing. “I was excited about the move and the growth potential it presented to Detroit College of Law,” he said. “Our enrollment and reputation have grown and geographically have spread beyond the historic Detroit boundaries. I am excited to rejoin the Law College Board of Trustees and assist in continuing that progress.”

“We are honored to have these four distinguished individuals join our Board of Trustees,” added Dean Joan Howarth. “The contributions of our new members will prove invaluable as we pursue our shared goal of designing the 21st-century law school.”

Michigan State University College of Law is a leading institution of legal education with a long history of creating practice-ready attorneys. As one of only a few private law schools affiliated with a major research university, MSU Law offers comprehensive interdisciplinary opportunities combined with a personalized legal education. After 100 years as a private and independent institution, the affiliation with MSU has put the Law College on an upward trajectory of national and international reputation and reach. MSU Law professors are gifted teachers and distinguished scholars, its curriculum is rigorous and challenging, and its facility is equipped with the latest resources—all affirming MSU Law's commitment to educating 21st-century lawyers.


320B Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824

Feldman  Laycock  Morris  Nicholson

From left: New MSU Law Trustees Elaine Fieldman, Douglas Laycock, Michael G. Morris, and James M. Nicholson

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