Best of 2020: MSU Law’s Year in Review

As we prepare to disembark from this rollercoaster of a year, we’re reflecting on the resilience of our faculty, staff, alumni, and students, as demonstrated by some of the incredible work they accomplished over the last year.

Revisit with us some of our favorite stories and moments from 2020.

Celebrating the Class of 2020

The last semester of law school threw a lot of change at the 2020 graduating class: from an unexpected move to online classes to a postponed Commencement ceremony. While unable to celebrate in the traditional way this year, MSU Law found new forums to communicate our pride and appreciation to the graduates; including a takeover of the Law College’s web homepage, a digital yearbook signed by some of the faculty and staff, and a graduation day video message.

While in no way a supplement for the feeling of walking across the stage, we were happy to share these moments with our impressive and inspiring graduating students until it is safe to do so in person.

MSU Law Moot Court Ranked #1 in the Nation

20 students. 13 competitions. 1 top-ranked Moot Court program. Despite the 2019-20 season being interrupted by complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSU Law students took on the challenge of virtual competitions, scheduling changes, cancellations, and more to safeguard a #1 ranking from the University of Houston Law Center’s Blakely Advocacy Institute (UHLC).

Professors Grosso and O’Brien Recognized for Racial Justice Work

Professors Catherine Grosso and Barbara O’Brien, along with their partner-institution, the Center for Death Penalty Litigation (CDPL), were awarded 2021’s University Outreach & Engagement Distinguished Partnership Award for Community-Engaged Service from Michigan State University for their project, “Racial Justice and the Administration of the Death Penalty.”

A Decade of the Immigration Law Clinic

It’s been 10 years since Professors Veronica and David Thronson teamed up to develop MSU Law’s Immigration Law Clinic. The anniversary was the feature story of our Summer 2020 issue of the Spartan Lawyer alumni magazine, in which we shared stories and more from former student clinicians who took the skills and lessons learned in the clinic and created meaningful careers.

MSU Law Hosts Post-Election Conversation with Constitutional Law Faculty

MSU Law faculty stepped in to address many of the questions and hypothetical scenarios that arose following the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. More than 100 attendees joined Professors Brian Kalt, Michael Lawrence, and Philip Pucillo for this one-of-a-kind virtual event.

Dennis Kennedy appointed as Interim Director of the Center for Law, Technology & Innovation

Professor Dennis Kennedy took over leadership for the Center after the departure of its previous director, Carla Reyes, earlier this year. His vision for the future of the Center is motivated by his desire to continue its strong legacy at the Law College, in part by working with the alumni who helped to make it what it is today.

Professor Brian Kalt’s Big Year

One of the biggest moments of the year for our nation was the 2020 presidential election. Professor Brian Kalt became a regular media commentator, sharing his scholarship and expertise on the presidency: from pardons to the 25th amendment, the pandemic, and more. There was hardly a week where we didn’t hear from Professor Kalt in various outlets, like The Hill, CNN, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, Mic, to name a few. He also released articles of his own, such as “The Very Real Problem of Both Trump and Pence Getting COVID-19 at the Same Time” with The Atlantic.

MSU Law Completes Full Integration with Michigan State University

After moving from its first home in Detroit, the Law College found a new start at Michigan State University, affiliating with the institution and starting instruction on campus in 1997. 23 years later, on August 17, 2020, the Law College officially integrated into the University. Go Green!