• Archive for February, 2010

    Student Brief: Jack Getman at C-K: “What Makes A Great Law School?”

    by  • February 24, 2010 • Faculty Workshops/ Conferences, Student Contributions • 1 Comment

    by student blogger Orijit Ghoshal

    On Monday, February 22, Jack Getman of the University of Texas Law School spoke to a gathering of faculty members about what makes a great law school. Dean Krent observed that as a novelist, professor, and clinician, Professor Getman is uniquely positioned to comment on different approaches taken to law professorship. 

    Professor Getman claimed that two unique characteristics made law schools great, in spite of administrators’ efforts to game widely published and relied upon law school rankings. First, great law schools produced new ideas and innovative approaches to the law. Second, great law schools focused more on teaching students than publishing in academic circles.


    Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Caps on Medical Malpractice Damages

    by  • February 23, 2010 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    Prof. Ralph L. Brill

    Two weeks ago, the Illinois Supreme Court held unconstitutional the state statute that placed caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases and wrongful death cases based on medical malpractice.  735 ILCS 5/2-1706.5).  The statute was passed by the legislature because of a perceived “health care crisis.” The $500,000 cap on non-economic damages caused by doctors, health-care professionals, and their staffs, and the $1,000,000 cap on non-economic damages caused by hospitals, hospital personnel and hospital affiliates, were voided on the ground that the legislature had violated the separation of powers clause of the Illinois Constitution. (Ill. Const. 1970, art. II, sec. 1). In dicta, the Court affirmed support for its previous holding that caps on medical malpractice damages constitute special legislation, in violation of the Illinois Constitution.  Wright v. Central DuPage Hosp. Ass’n, 63 Ill. 2d 313 (1976); Best v. Taylor Machine Works, 179 Ill. 2d 367 (1997).


    Canadian Supreme Court Flexible on Mandatory Minimum Sentences

    by  • February 20, 2010 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    By Sarah Harding

    Every once in awhile a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada will catch my eye if it tends to buck legal trends on both sides of the border. This past week, in a remarkable 9-0 ruling, the Canadian Court decided in R. v. Nasogaluak that mandatory minimum sentences may be ignored in cases where there is a “particularly egregious form of misconduct by state agents in relation to the offence and to the offender” even if there is no related Charter of Rights (Canada’s Bill of Rights) violation. The decision by Mr. Justice Louis LeBel endorses a more flexible view of sentencing that marks a bit of a retreat from the Court’s more rigid approach to mandatory minimum sentences in R. v. Ferguson decided in 2007.

    A New Development in Jury Instructions in Illinois

    by  • February 5, 2010 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    By Nancy Marder

    Improvements in our justice system often come about from many small steps that collectively make a big difference.  A great example occurred just this past year when Illinois, after several years of effort, made a rule change that requires that jurors in civil cases receive their own written copy of the jury instructions rather than having to a share a single copy.  It may not seem important at first glance, but think for a moment about how much lawyers and judges care about getting the jury instructions right because they know how important they are for explaining the law. Yet, despite all the effort that goes into writing the instructions, jurors have had to absorb the instructions by listening to the judge read them aloud.  How many courses would our students pass if they had to absorb an entire semester’s worth of material without being able to study from books or notes but had to depend on their memories or on a single copy of the materials that the class had to share?