Spartan Lawyer Summer 2019

A Message from the Dean

Dear Spartan Lawyers and Friends,

In this issue of Spartan Lawyer, we explore the Law College’s history through the eyes of the alumnae who experienced and shaped it. Their stories will take you from our very first location on St. Antoine Street to the fondly-remembered Elizabeth Street building to our current home on the campus of Michigan State University.

Through archival research, first-person narratives, and one-on-one interviews, we pay tribute to hard-won triumphs and celebrate distinctive voices. Our graduates will share with you the many ways in which the Law College has upheld the principles of access and equality, and the times when we have fallen short of our founders’ inclusive mission.

This is, admittedly, an incomplete narrative; the stories of many notable alumnae do not survive in the historical record, and we are all poorer for their absence. But by telling the stories of a few of the women whose journeys to earning a place in the legal profession began at the Law College, we hope to pay tribute, by extension, to all of their colleagues and classmates. The tenacity, talent, and commitment to professionalism exhibited by these many women shaped the legal landscape that today’s 12,500 Spartan lawyers occupy.

I have no doubt that our graduates of 2019 and beyond will continue in the steps of their forbearers, improving our profession for generations to come.

Our efforts toward full integration with Michigan State University continue as we work to ensure compliance with our assorted oversight and accrediting bodies, as well as deal with myriad operational issues. Both the Law College and the University administrators remain united in our commitment to treating our students, faculty, and staff with fairness and consideration throughout the integration process. Though I find my time consumed with minutiae (and meetings), I remind myself that we perform this work in the spirit of stewardship: so that we may continue to offer a financially-accessible, high-quality legal education to talented students.

I would like to recognize with gratitude the impact of the generosity of our donors on our students’ and faculty’s lives. In particular, your gifts ease the financial burdens of our students. This helps them to focus their efforts on meeting the considerable intellectual challenges of a legal education. By reducing the amount of borrowing, it also enables them to pursue a wider range of meaningful post-graduation opportunities. From recruitment to Commencement, your gifts make a difference for our students. On behalf of a grateful Law College community, thank you.

Finally, I hope that you and your loved ones have a restorative and enjoyable summer! I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events.


Lawrence Ponoroff