I received the Fall 2008 Bulletin with the picture of President-elect Obama on the cover. The story by Seth Stern was excellent. The face page of the story states, “In law school, Barack Obama ’91 already looked—and led—like a future president.” In fact, the Bulletin recognized President-elect Obama’s potential even before he finished his first semester.
In the Winter 1989 Bulletin there is an article on pages 16-17 titled “Infinite Variety—The Class of 1991.” In it eight new members of the class were profiled, one of whom was Barack Obama.
Editor’s note: Thanks to Kenneth Wolf for bringing this article to our attention. As it turns out, before Barack Obama was quoted in the Bulletin in 1989, and long before the president appeared on the Bulletin’s front cover this fall, the first lady got there first.
An article on teaching and practicing professional responsibility in the Spring 1988 Bulletin included a reflection from Michelle Robinson ’88, then a member of the Legal Aid Bureau, on her way to a job at Sidley & Austin. An excerpt follows:
I have a case now where a woman is trying to get more visitation rights with her 12-year-old son.
She signed over custody to the father after she tried to commit suicide a couple of years ago. There is tremendous tension between the two parents, and I must ask whether what either parent wants is in the best interest of their son.
Suppose I didn’t believe she should have more time with him? I do believe she is now able to take more responsibility for his supervision, but if I didn’t, I would counsel her, challenge her to examine her motives for wanting him, and hope that through discourse she would come to the opinion herself that she wasn’t ready for more responsibility.
To me, ethics is common sense. If you think things through, you’ll come up with the right answer.
The clinical experience, without a doubt, has altered my perception of ethical issues. Supervisors at the Legal Aid Bureau are always available. It’s not going to be like that in a firm. Who’s got time to sit around and talk about moral issues?
The school should give more support for clinical work. Placement opportunities in private firms are easy to come by; clinical experience should be made just as available.