Office of the Dean:
News & announcements from Dean Perritt for the week of
February 14, 2000

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DuPage County Bar Association

Ready For Revolution? 

Practicing lawyers and law schools are in the early stages of a revolution driven by the forces of globalization and information technology. 

Our roles in the 21st Century will be determined by the clarity of our vision in understanding these revolutionary forces and our entrepreneurial creativity in adapting to them. 

Information technology in the form of the Internet and the World Wide Web is a revolutionary force because it provides a new marketplace for the exchange of goods and services - and a new political forum for mass democracy.  In this new marketplace, economic barriers to entry are much lower than they ever have been before.  One can set up a Web site for the price of a $3,000 computer and a $19-per-month Internet connection, compared to tens of thousands of dollars to set up a physical storefront, hundreds of thousands of dollars to operate a printing press, and millions of dollars to operate a television transmitter.  These low barriers to entry mean that small enterprises, including small law firms, have access to markets they never could reach before.  And the Internet’s low transaction costs make it possible for these small enterprises to engage in low-value transactions and still make a profit. 

The Internet also is inherently global.  A Web page published in Illinois is as visible in Kiev as it is in Kankakee.  All Internet markets are global, and special steps must taken to restrict electronic commerce on the Internet to local or regional market areas.  This characteristic of the Internet strains traditional concepts of jurisdiction, which still are based on the geographic boundaries of traditional sovereigns, even as they have adapted through the centuries to ocean borne commerce, civil aviation, the telegraph and telephone, and radio and television. 

Does the state of Texas have jurisdiction to regulate lawyers in Boston who put up a Web site as visible to clients in Lubbock as in Lawrence?  Is an Illinois corporation offering to sell its securities on the Web subject to the jurisdiction of securities regulators in Australia?  Must a manufacturer who publishes his catalog and price list on a Web server in Wheaton be prepared to litigate products liability suits in Wales? 

Whenever revolutions change the contours of markets, questions arise as to who will be the victims and the victors of new forms of competition. Lawyers, like securities exchanges, newspapers, and retail merchants, are intermediaries, and new market forms always give rise to new kinds of intermediation.  Traditional intermediaries have a poor track record in adapting to change.  As often as not, new players, rather than old, have the vision and entrepreneurial creativity to respond to new demands.  It was Microsoft, and not IBM, DEC, or Unisys, that drove the PC revolution. It was Netscape and not Microsoft that drove the World Wide Web revolution.  It was and not Borders Books that drove the e-commerce of retailing.  It is Ebay and not Sootheby’s that has proven the viability of Internet based auctions. 

Who will exploit the Internet’s potential to improve access to legal services?  Will it be Baker & McKenzie, Skadden Arps, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, or will it be some kids in the Silicon Valley who write software for designing wills and licensing agreements or electronic links for direct client access to courts and agencies?  Who will meet the needs of e-commerce enterprises for advice and representation on new issues of jurisdiction, tort liability, and contracting as they move to the new electronic marketplace?  Will it be today's today’s law firms or a handful of world wide public accounting firms providing a package of legal, technology, and strategic business services. 

Who will educate lawyers to plan enterprises and resolve disputes in new electronic markets and global electronic political arenas?  Will it be Kingsfield in a first year Socratic classroom or will it be law school providing legal education through Web based video, audio, and competency testing? 

As practitioners and professors of law, we have control over how these questions will be answered. 

As practitioners, we must understand the new marketplace and political arena.  We need not know how to program in C++ or Java but we must understand the basic architecture of the Internet and the World Wide Web.  We need not all become specialists in international law, but we must become more sensitive to the basic concepts of international jurisdiction, differing approaches of different legal cultures, and institutional mechanisms for providing economic security in transnational commerce.  What we know about the statute of frauds, income taxation, liability of retailers for defective products, and business organizations has not become obsolete, but our knowledge of basic principles must be sufficiently deep that we can adapt them to the demands of new markets and new forms of client interaction. 

We must take advantage of new ways of practicing law. Courts and administrative agencies around the world are rushing to adopt electronic dockets and electronic filing systems and to allow presentation of testimony through video technology.  We must remain ready to represent our clients with these new forms of advocacy, while remaining faithful to the core principles of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Important barriers to client access to legal services arise from search costs and the transaction costs of face to face meetings.  We must be aggressive in helping our clients find us, request our services, enter into fee agreements, and engage in some forms of lawyer-client conversation over the Web.  The seamless range of legal services available through should become the conceptual starting point for the way we practice law; not a curiosity confined to a specialized practice area. 

Law professors can no more afford to sit back and defend tradition than can practitioners. While we should not rush to replace the Socratic classroom with electronic correspondence courses for law students, we must think more deeply about the learning to think like a lawyer in a three year brick and mortar law school.  We must consider carefully how new video, audio, and programmed instruction delivered through the Internet can enrich the educational experience, not only for traditional law students in our geographic educational market areas but also for new kinds of law students around the world.  We must be willing to consider what legal education would look like if we relaxed the constraints of the 50 minute law class and the 13 week semester, redesigning some courses so they comprise short periods of intensive interpersonal interaction stitched together with longer periods of remote electronic interaction. 

Chicago-Kent is proud of its track record in helping law students and practitioners cope with the forces of change.  As the first law school in the United States to take seriously the impact of small computers on the American legal system, we now are hosting the ABA’s Internet Jurisdiction Project, which is helping the legal profession understand the jurisdictional challenges of global electronic consumer transactions, sale of securities, taxation, and privacy.  With support from the Soros organization, we are developing new ideas to use information technology to enhance access to legal services by people of low and moderate income.  We have worked with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to inform leaders of the financial services industry how they can develop electronic payment systems suitable for Internet based electronic commerce.  We are leading the effort to understand how distance learning can enhance legal education, testing the effectiveness of different technology applications, ranging from interactive video to Web based tutorials in more than 20 courses.  Our faculty is helping people think about how secured transaction law works when the relevant assets are communications satellites orbiting 22,000 miles above the earth.  With the support of the MacArthur Foundation, we are tying together diverse organizations in Chicago interested in international relations. 

In all of these efforts, we are faithful to our tradition of combining cutting edge thinking based on faculty scholarship to practice-oriented professional education.  Our students do not simply watch and listen in the classroom; they are working with us to evaluate distance learning experiments; they are actually building Web pages to deliver legal information and services; they are actually working on the ground in Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Poland, the Ukraine and China to build new legal systems around Internet-connected resources, under the sponsorship of the United States Information Agency, the World Bank, the Soros organization, and others. 

We welcome everyone’s participation in this partnership to assure that American lawyers continue to lead the global extension of democracy, rule of law, and open markets. 

DCBA BRIEF January 2000 7 
**I appreciate thoughtful comments and suggestions from my colleague, Margaret G. Stewart, reporter for the ABA Internet Jurisdiction Project. 

Dean Perritt's Remarks for January Open House

I expect that all of you feel a certain sense of excitement—and maybe a little anxiety—about the possibility of law school and the legal profession in your life.  We have arranged a sampling, a kind of “taste of law school” for you today, and I thought a good way to begin your day is to talk to you about three ideas that might shape the way you think about the law and the law in your lives.  The first idea is that the law is not static.  The second idea is that lawyers, in all of the different things that lawyers do, have the power to change things.  The third idea is that there is room for you in the law. 
What do I mean by saying that the law is not static?  Sometimes when people think about law school, they think about the Code of Justinian, which was written about 1500 years ago.  Most people have never seen it; but some people have heard about it.  Or they think about the United States Code, which more people have seen, or the Code of Federal Regulations or the Illinois law for landlord tenant relations and suppose that what is required to be a lawyer is to memorize those things.  That’s not what is required to be a lawyer.  Whatever is in those books is just a snapshot of a body of law and a set of legal institutions that are constantly in a state of flux.  Our society is always in a state of flux.  The law, if it is to be of service to us, has to change to accommodate changes in society.  So that means that at every moment in time, there is always somebody somewhere working to figure out what the law is going to be in the future. 

That means that when you think about legal education you should want to acquire that legal education in a place that is actively involved in the changes in the law that are occurring all the time.  More particularly, that means that you should want to acquire your legal education at a law school that has a faculty that is at the cutting edge of the law.  Chicago-Kent is such a place.  When people realized that it was time to rewrite Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, which is that part of our commercial law that decides how a lender acquires a property interest in collateral for its loan, it was our professor, Steve Harris, who became the reporter for the Article 9 drafting effort.  Our law students have the opportunity to learn not what commercial law was yesterday but what commercial law will be tomorrow even as it’s being written. 

It’s our faculty member, Lori Andrews, who is helping the President of the United States, the Congress, and state legislatures all over the country understand how to deal with the revolution in genetic science and reproductive technology, and how the law should address instances in which the biological parents of a child are not necessarily the members of the family that bring the child up. 
It’s our professor, Margaret Stewart, who is helping the American Bar Association and some 200 of its members understand the jurisdictional challenges that the Internet presents courts and legislatures and regulatory institutions around the world. 

This is a place that exemplifies what you should seek in wanting to have the opportunity to interact regularly with the people who are shaping the law as it evolves. 

We think that there are two huge forces that are influencing the way the law changes.  One of those forces is technology and the other force is globalization.  We think it is important for you—even as you begin your legal careers—to appreciate all of the possible ways that the law might respond to those enormous forces.  We have organized our activities that are oriented toward technology through an Institute for Science, Law and Technology.  What does that add to the experience?  What it adds is that it gives us the capacity—which we regularly use—to bring people from outside the institution, people from the private sector such as CEOs of telephone and Internet companies, people from the public sector like the chairpersons of federal agencies and the Illinois Commerce Commission who are actively struggling with things like the convergence of Internet and telephone technologies and the problems—ethical, legal, moral, and practical—that are raised by the possibilities of cloning; people who are concerned with how we protect the environment in a world in which additional billions of people seek to raise their standards of living. 

Our Institute for Science, Law and Technology also makes it easy for our law students to interact with students and faculty in other parts of the university.  It’s a common occurrence here for law students, undergraduate engineering, architecture, or design students to be in the same classroom, working together to understand how the law and technology and society relate to each other. 
In the international arena we also have created some structures that expand on the opportunities already present because of our outstanding faculty.  Our students regularly have the opportunity to use new techniques to collect information about human rights violations around the world.  Our students regularly have the opportunity to interact with people like Richard Holbrooke, the architect of the Dayton Accords in Bosnia and the present United States Ambassador to the United Nations, who came here to this room and talked to our students about the role that lawyers play in the formulation of international policy. 

The second idea about the law, is that lawyers have the power to change things.  When you think about it, every time a lawyer tries a lawsuit or argues an appellate case, that lawyer has the capability and the power to change the content of the law.  Our legal tradition is one in which most of the ideas for change in the law come not from the judge or from the legislature; they come from the lawyer who writes the brief for the judges consideration.  Every time a lawyer writes a brief or writes a complaint, that lawyer has the power to change the law depending on the force of his or her ideas and argument that he or she puts in the complaint or the brief. 

Every time a lawyer advises a client, in a family dispute, in a drunk driving prosecution, in a medical malpractice claim, that lawyer has the capacity to change things, because clients come to lawyers when they have problems.  If the lawyer is empathetic and can formulate advice so it resonates with the client’s personality and needs, then that client is going to change his or her behavior based on what the lawyer says. 

Lawyers who lead corporations, lawyers who design new kinds of non-profit institutions in Chicago or half way around the world, have the power to change things because they are the architects and engineers of the structures through which society functions. 

The many lawyers who are in public policy positions have the power to change things because their legal education has made it easier for them to reason rigorously to persuade people and to formulate new public policies in the context of a democratic society that alter the way people go about their affairs. 

It’s possible for you even while you are law students, to begin to appreciate this power to change things and to develop your skills as being agents of change.  That’s the kind of law school that you should seek. 

Here, we appreciate the connection between what we do as an academic institution, where it’s important that we generate ideas, and what we do as a professional school, where it’s important that we develop your skills as professionals to be agents of change. 

That’s why Chicago-Kent, before any other law school in America, began to take legal writing seriously as a part of our educational process.  The legal writing program that we developed here, has become a model for law schools all across America who now have joined us in understanding that a law student’s and a lawyer’s power to use words to explain and to persuade is an essential tool of professional capacity. 

That’s why long before any other law school in America, we appreciated the power of clinical education.  Of course, we weren’t the only ones that had a clinic, but what we realized was that a clinic could give people the opportunity not only to do work on a pro bono capacity for underserved members of the community.  A clinic also created the opportunity, which we have taken advantage of, to bring people who already had active and successful law practices right into the law school so that our students could be at their side and at their counsel table, working right along with them in litigating employment discrimination cases, on the plaintiff’s side as well as the defendant’s side.  Our students help defend people accused of capital crimes who are threatened with execution if they don’t have an adequate legal defense.  Our students participate in litigating healthcare cases involving nursing homes and social security disability claims. 

When Lori Andrews, a member of our faculty, drafts a statute dealing with cloning or reproductive technology for a state legislature, there is a Chicago-Kent law student at her side as often as not, writing the statute under her supervision.  When I was in Pristina, Kosovo, last month, helping the Interim Government of Kosovo and meeting with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Reconstruction and Development, I wasn’t there by myself as a law professor and law dean, I was there with a Chicago-Kent law student who was generating as many ideas and coming up with as many initial drafts of legal documents and talking as much as I did to the Prime Minister and the Minister.  When we went to the law faculty of the University of Pristina to see how that country, which has had so much turmoil, was progressing in its aspiration to develop democracy and a rule of law, we were invited into a constitutional law class that had 400 students.  We were invited by the professor to come down front.  When we were introduced as coming from an American law school to help this faculty and these students exercise their power to change things as lawyers in Kosovo, they stood up and cheered us.  They appreciated the symbol of American legal education and the American legal system.  My student was with me to receive their praise as much as I was. 
If you come to Chicago-Kent, you can expect not only a rich classroom experience at the cutting edge of the law, you can expect to participate actively in a kind of laboratory for life as a lawyer.  Here, you begin even before you get your law degree, and even before you get admitted to the bar, to experience the power that we have as lawyers to change things through your ideas and through your interaction with individual human beings. 

The third idea, is that there is room for you in the law.  It doesn’t make any difference whether you are Caucasian, African-American, or Asian, there’s room for you in the law.  It doesn’t matter whether you are coming to law school straight from undergraduate school and your are 22 years old or whether you are 50 and there has been a 30 year hiatus between your undergraduate work and law school, there’s room for you in the law.  It doesn’t matter whether you are male or female, gay or straight, shy or the life of the party, there is room for you in the law. 

Lawyers do all kinds of different things in our society.  Some lawyers are appellate litigators.  Their strengths and interests are in writing and spending time in the library and understanding how new possibilities for the law can be synthesized from cases and statutes that have gone before, and there is room for them in the law.  When you see someone try a jury case, what matters most is being able to relate to a client’s needs to share power with the client because ultimately under the rules of professional conduct, it’s the client who gets to make the decisions.  Those lawyers take a complex dispute and turn it into a story that a jury and judge can understand.  Those lawyers take and draw upon their capacity to deal with individual people, their capacity to understand complex disputes and transactions and simplify them and explain them to other people so they can understand them, and there is room for them in the law. 

Some of you are interested in harmonious resolution of disputes among major interests in society.  Labor management relations is one example.  Environmental law is another example.  One of the things that draw some of you to those areas, is your appreciation of the nature of these competing forces and your belief that sufficient lawyer creativity can find common ground and win win situations so that people can resolve their disputes and get on with progress.  There is room for you in law. 
Some of you are really good with people; you have had psychology backgrounds as undergraduates, and you want to participate as actors in an intensely human interaction at the personal level.  There is room for you in the law. 

There a lot of individual human beings, in America and all around the world, who have difficulty coping with problems that confront them.  Often, those difficulties take the form or find themselves in some legal institution, but always the problems are human ones and they are broader than the stark elements of legal theory, so for those of you who want to appreciate the human dimension or problems and work with individual human beings to help solve their problems on the human level, as well as the formal legal level, there is room for you in the law. 

Some of you are by instinct entrepreneurs, you want to build businesses, maybe build businesses on the Web, or you want to build new legal institutions or new non-profit institutions that help deliver healthcare and other kinds of services in our society.  Well, there is room for you in the law because it is lawyers more often than not that have the capacity and the opportunity to be creative in the form of entrepreneurship. 

How does all that translate into what you should be seeking in a legal education and a law school?  When you want a law school that appreciates your diversity, not one that has a kind of narrow, overly formal, cookie cutter approach.  You want a law school whose track record in student activities and whose curriculum shows flexibility and whose culture is one that tries to find a way to say “yes.”  Whenever a student comes and says I’m interested in this particular area and I would like to start something, some kind of program in this area, a new class, or a new student organization, or some kind of new externship outside the institution, you want an institution whose culture finds a way to say “yes,” instead of always saying “no, because we have always done it some other way.” 
This is that kind of institution.  One of the reasons that I was eager to come here as dean, was that this is that kind of institution. 

We treasure our diversity.  We are proud of our entrepreneurial spirit which as often as not is reflected in activities or new directions of the educational curriculum that were first suggested by law students. 

We are proud of being the law school ahead of the times.  The reason we are ahead of the times is that our students are part of this culture.  They say,  “Let’s find out where the law is going and arrange our activities so that when we graduate we really will have the power to change things.” 
If you decide that you want to come to Chicago-Kent for your legal education you are going to have plenty of company.  When the American Bar Association recognized the challenges that the Internet and e-commerce and new forms of political interaction on the World Wide Web were presenting to legal institutions all around the world and organized a quarter of a million dollar project to understand the options for jurisdiction over Internet activities.  You know where they came?  They came to Chicago-Kent. 

When the American Law Institute realized that present techniques for attracting loans to satellite ventures were problematic because it was hard to understand how you would foreclose on a satellite 250,000 miles above the earth’s service, you know where they came to figure that out?  They came to Chicago-Kent. 

When the World Bank wanted a plan for using information technology to disseminate legal information—including a brand new constitution—in the country of Albania, do you know where the World Bank came?  It came to Chicago-Kent. 

When the National Center for State Courts and George Soros’ Foundation thought that we weren’t thinking hard enough about making sure that legal services in our country are available to everyone, poor people as well as rich people, people who work for a salary or a wage and have to work a 40 hour week and can’t get to the lawyer’s office without taking time off from work, and wanted to mobilize an investigation of how information technology and new institutional structures might improve access to legal services for all of us, they also came to Chicago-Kent. 

You are going to have plenty of company if you decide to come here. 

You can be assured, if you do come here, you will be working right along side an outstanding faculty at the cutting edge of the law, taking part in the process of constant change because the law is not static and is always looking for new ideas. 

You will have plenty of company in learning and experiencing, even while you are a law student, the power to change things. 

You will have assurance and plenty of company in our tradition of diversity so that there will be room for you in the law. 

Dean Burns has arranged a great day for you.  You will have a chance to see what law school classes are like, have a chance to learn a little bit about the areas that interest you in particular, and you will have an opportunity this afternoon to see some of the things that our students are doing in the capacity of their student organizations. 

During the day, you will have frequent opportunity to see how much technology is a regular part of our lives, enhancing the educational process at the same time that it is a subject for study. 
You will also see glimmers of how much globalization is a regular part of our lives as we understand that there will be in your careers no area in which you can think only about Illinois or America without appreciating that we are part of a larger world. 

Thanks a lot for being with us, and good luck in your legal careers. 

 Dean Henry H. Perritt, Jr. 

Archive Links:  Previous Announcements from Dean Perritt

Week of February 7, 2000 
  • Balarus Delegation Reception
  • Hague on Private International Law
Week of January 31, 2000 
  • Professor Bart Brown's Membership to the Council on Foreign Relations
Week of January 24, 2000 
  • Chicago-Kent Alumnus Argues Before the Supreme Court
Week of January 17, 2000 
  • Ukraine/Kosovo Trip
  • Internet Conference in Lublin
  • AALS Annual Conference
  • Zia Hassan's Departure
  • Mickie Voges' Position Change
Week of November 22, 1999 
  • Chicago-Kent receives grant
Week of November 15, 1999 
  • Program on Gun Control
  • Talk on Human Rights in Cuba
  • Talk on Establishing the Rule of Law in Kosovo
Week of November 8, 1999 
  • Distinguished Professor Lecture
  • Center for Law and Computers
  • Russian Professor Visits Chicago-Kent
Week of November 1, 1999 
  • 22nd Annual Derivatives and Commodities Law Institute Program
  • Kosovo/Albania Trip
Week of October 25, 1999 
  • "Well Founded Fear" Event
  • Student Bar Association Meeting
Week of October 18, 1999 
  • Workshop on Promoting the Use of Electronic Payments
Week of October 11, 1999 
  • Meeting with JD/MBA Students
  • Polish Visitors
Week of October 4, 1999  
  • Luncheon for LL.M. Students
  • Security Provisions
Week of September 27, 1999 
  • Orientation Speech to First Year Students
Week of September 20, 1999 - (No new information available) 

Week of September 13, 1999 

  • Dean Perritt and Professor Stewart Participate in Workshop
Week of September 6, 1999 - (No new information available) 

Week of August 30, 1999 

  • Welcome Letter to Returning Students
  • Law House
Week of August 16, 1999 
  • Letter to First Year Students
Week of May 3, 1999 
  • Bart Brown's Presentation
  • The Alumni Luncheon
  • Tasha Kincade -- new arrival and maternity leave
Week of April 26, 1999 
  • Chicago-Kent Receives Gift
  • Faculty Scholarship
Week of April 19, 1999 
  • American Red Cross
  • Award Announcements
Week of April 12, 1999 - (No new information available) 

Week of March 22, 1999 

  • Operation Kosovo team in Albania
Week of March 15, 1999 
  • In Memoriam:  Dr. Rowine Brown Truitt '61
  • In Memoriam:  William F. Zacharias, Professor of Law
Week of March 8, 1999 
  • Dean Perritt's Travels To Central Europe
Week of March 1, 1999 (No new information available) 

Week of February 22, 1999 

  • International Travel Itinerary for Dean Perritt
Week of February 8 and 15, 1999 
  • Second Annual State of the Law School Address
Week of February 1, 1999 
  • Strategies for Excellence:  Law as a Profession 1999
  • Workshop on the International Criminal Court and U.S. National Security
  • Kosovo and Albania Trips
Week of January 18, 1999 
  • Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting
Week of December 7, 1998 
  • Esther Rothstein
  • Soros Open Society Foundation Grant
  • Alumnus Gift
Week of November 30, 1998 
  • Dean Perritt Appointed to Advisory Commission on Internet Privacy
Week of November 23, 1998 
  • Illinois State Bar Association Award
  • Newly Appointed Distinguished Professors
Week of November 16, 1998 
  • Workshop on Genetic Susceptibility to Environmental Contamination
Week of November 9, 1998 
  • Project Bosnia IPRO Installs Ministry of Justice Database Server
  • Assistant Dean for Career Services and Alumnae/i Relations
Week of November 2, 1998 (No new information available) 

Week of October 26, 1998 

  • Illinois Commerce Commission Relationship
  • Judicial Ratings Available
Week of October 19, 1998 
  • 21st Annual Commodities and Derivatives Law Conference 
  • NCAIR Grant 
Week of October 12, 1998 
  • Update on Jacob Corre' 
  • New Graduation Date 
Week of October 5, 1998 
  • Meeting of the National Academy of Sciences 
  • Committee on Global Networks and Local Values 
  • Presentation to the Great Lakes Supreme Court Justices 
  • Jacob Corre's Condition 
  • Dean's Office Seeks Research Assistant 
Week of September 28, 1998 
  • Meeting with Albanian Ambassador to the United States 
  • Meeting with Counselor for Legal Affairs of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China 
Week of September 21, 1998 
  • Illinois Bar Association Award for Project Bosnia 
  • Jacob Corre' 
  • Operation Kosovo Web Site 
Week of September 14, 1998 
  • Meeting with Vice President for Information Technology at Northwestern University 
  • Meeting with Incoming President of the Chicago Bar Association 
Week of September 7, 1998 
  • Chicago Tribune Coverage 
  • New Member of Chicago-Kent's Board of Overseers 
  • ISLAT/AFB Tour and Dinner 
Week of August 31, 1998 
  • David Gerber's Reception 
  • First Meeting of Project Bosnia IPRO 
  • Discussions with Bosnia Refugee Group 
Week of August 24, 1998 
  • Two Faculty Members Visit China 
  • ABA Jurisdiction Project 
  • New Appointments in Student Services 
Week of August 17, 1998 
  • Creating and building momentum: keeping Chicago-Kent a law school ahead of the times 

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