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Professor, artist opines on intersection of law, creative process Lawyers could take a lesson from artists when it comes to trusting the process they use to achieve results. That was one message from Professor Sandra Craig McKenzie during her address, “What Lawyers Can Learn from Artists,” at the 8th annual Paul E. Wilson Friends of the Wheat Law Library Lecture and Luncheon on April 8. McKenzie, who joined the law faculty in 1979, is herself an artist. She works primarily with bright, McKenzie intense acrylics and paints “in the spirit of mindfulness,” with her attention focused on the brush as it spreads paint on the paper. “I do not work from a painting or plan, but simply paint whatever asks to be painted,” McKenzie reveals on her Web site. “Thus, I am both participant and observer as the painting unfolds.” McKenzie showed examples of her art during the lecture, then connected her creative process to the work that lawyers do. She noted that students in her Alterna-

Sandra Craig McKenzie’s “My Way,” acrylic on vellum paper, was among the works the artist and professor discussed during the Paul E.Wilson Friends of the Wheat Law Library Lecture and Luncheon on April 8. She spoke about “What Lawyers Can Learn from Artists.”

CLICK here to view more of Sandra Craig McKenzie’s artwork tive Dispute Resolution courses are often frustrated by the notion that there is no guaranteed result in mediation, for example. “All we can guarantee our clients is that we’ll do the best we can and pick the process that makes the most sense,” McKenzie said. She also analogized her use of mixed

media to create art books to what she sees as a growing need for lawyers to be less specialized and more holistic. This is true in the practice of elder law, for instance, where attorneys need experience in many areas to best serve their clients About 40 guests attended the event, including its namesake’s widow, Harriet Wilson. Professor Paul Wilson was an ardent supporter of the law library and an expert in legal history. The library honors his memory each April by hosting a lecture on legal history, law books or law libraries.

Former solicitor general outlines roles of office Paul Clement, the 43rd solicitor general of the United States, gave a KU Law audience a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of the office that he oversaw from June 2005 to June 2008 during a talk on March 2 at Green Hall. Clement, a guest of the KU Federalist Society, explained the detailed process the solicitor general’s office follows to determine which adverse decisions affecting the federal government in the courts of appeals will be taken to the Supreme Court. In the majority of cases, when the general counsel of a government agency wants to appeal a decision, Clement said, the solicitor

general’s office turns down the case. “In most cases the SG’s office has a lot of flexibility to make the judgment that they feel best about the long-term Clement litigation interests of the federal government,” he said. “Because we have this internal process and are very selective … the SG’s office gets something like 75 percent or 80 percent of its cases granted.” That’s compared to less than 1 per-

cent among litigators in general, he added. The average assistant in the solicitor general’s office will argue two or three cases in the Supreme Court each term, Clement said, which is what draws many successful attorneys to the job. “I think that it’s a particularly great honor to walk into the Supreme Court of the United States and argue a case on behalf of the United States of America,” he said.

LISTEN to a podcast of Paul Clement’s talk at Green Hall


KU Law Magazine | Spring 2009  
KU Law Magazine | Spring 2009  

A magazine for alumni and friends of the University of Kansas School of Law. Story highlights include: Alumni spread legal roots in rural Ka...