Legal People in the News

MLaw Scholar awarded Soros Foundation

Open Society Foundations

The Open Society Foundations is pleased to announce the 2019 class of Soros Equality Fellows, a diverse group of artists, advocates, lawyers, and organizers whose work inspires advances in racial justice and equality in the United States. Fellows will each receive stipends of $100,000 over the course of 18 months.

University of Michigan Law School Senior Research Scholar Bernadette Atuahene is among the Fellows. She will build on her academic research by creating a comprehensive guide and user-friendly, interactive information hub that communities can use to fight back against racially discriminatory property tax administration.

Founded in 2017, the Soros Equality Fellowship program supports innovators and risk-takers striving to create and develop new ways of tackling the systemic causes and symptoms of racial disparity and discrimination. Beyond nurturing their specific projects, the program provides leadership development training, networking, and other professional support aimed at creating new ideas in the racial justice movement.

This year’s class features 18 fellows from different communities and regions of the country, who bring a wide range of tools to bear on the program’s core mission.

Among the projects they will be working on: launching an initiative to promote equity for black communities in the emerging cannabis economy and redress wounds inflicted by the drug war; creating new media platforms for trans people of color to tell their stories and empower their community; building the capacity of Asian American organizations to push back against conservative narratives and injustice; curating a multimedia reenactment of the largest slave rebellion in U.S. history; and defending California’s Native Americans’ battle against false representations of their communities.

“At a critical time in our history when hatred, racial discrimination, and disenfranchisement of whole communities are on the rise in America, the Soros Equality Fellows represent a new generation of ideas and strategies to strengthen our multiracial democracy and build justice for all,” said Alvin Starks, director of the Open Society-U.S. Equality team at the Open Society Foundations.

“These fellows bring boundless creativity, intelligence, and drive to their work, provoking us to confront what is happening in this country today, and lighting up the path to a better tomorrow.”

Clement named general counsel for Michigan Retailers Association

The Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) has announced the appointment of Thomas P. Clement as its General Counsel, effective Sept. 3.

Clement is currently General Counsel for the Michigan Supreme Court, where he manages litigation matters involving the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals and the State Court Administrative Office. He also serves as the legislative liaison to the executive and legislative branches, representing the court on policy and legislative issues.

Clement has practiced law for 17 years. He joined the Supreme Court in 2016, after leaving the Michigan Attorney General’s Office as a Division Chief, where he supervised a team of 12 attorneys specializing in licensing and regulatory issues. He also played a key role in working with the Legislature and Governor’s Office to address the epidemic of prescription drug and opioid abuse.

Previously, he worked in private practice, primarily concentrating on state and federal criminal law and general civil litigation, after starting out as an assistant prosecuting attorney in the Eaton County Prosecutors Office.

“Clement comes to us with expertise in several areas of the law,” said William J. Hallan, MRA’s incoming President and CEO. “He’ll be especially helpful to our members with his knowledge of issues involving the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. We’re thrilled to welcome him to MRA.”

Clement has formerly served on the State Bar of Michigan’s Criminal Jurisprudence and Practice Committee and the State of Michigan Community Corrections Board. He is a current member of a Supreme Court and Attorney General joint task force on elder abuse.

Clement received a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Michigan University and a Juris Doctorate from the Michigan State University College of Law. He lives in East Lansing with his wife, Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth T. Clement, and their four children.

Five Fellows join Michigan Law

Three clinical fellows, a Michigan Faculty Fellow, and a Sunderland Fellow have joined the University of Michigan Law School for the 2019–2020 academic year.

The clinical fellows are Jason Cowin, who joined the Pediatric Advocacy Clinic; Allison Freedman, the Civil-Criminal Litigation Clinic; and Andrea Van Hoven, the Unemployment Insurance Clinic.

Michigan Law Clinical Fellowships are short-term positions (three years or less) that allow lawyers interested in becoming clinical law professors to gain teaching experience in their chosen field. Working closely with the faculty director in one of Michigan Law's 16 legal clinics, clinical fellows teach and supervise student-attorneys enrolled in the clinic.

Legal historian Emily Prifogle, whose research focuses on the use and experience of law in rural areas, is the Law School's first Michigan Faculty Fellow. The Michigan Faculty Fellowship is a two-year, in-residence program designed for highly promising scholars with an outstanding academic record who wish to develop their scholarship and teaching skills in preparation for the academic job market.

Rainer Forst, a professor of political theory and philosophy at Goethe University Frankfurt, joins the Law School as a Sunderland Fellow. The Sunderland Faculty Fellowship focuses on mid-career and senior scholars from a discipline other than law, whose work would strongly benefit from an extended visit to the Law School and who would, in turn, contribute substantially to the life of the School.