On September 29, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law hosted an installation ceremony, celebrating five faculty member’s scholarly accomplishments and their appointments to endowed professorships: Emily Kadens as Edna B. and Ednyfed H. Williams Professor of Law, Michael S. Kang as Class of 1940 Professor of Law, Heidi Kitrosser as William W. Gurley Professor of Law, Jide Nzelibe as Howard and Elizabeth Chapman Professor of Law, and Deborah Tuerkheimer as James B. Haddad Class of 1967 Professor of Law.
Professorships honors senior faculty members for their impactful research and provide an enduring tribute to the donor who establishes them. Dean Hari Osofsky and University Provost Kathleen Hagerty led the proceedings, which included former interim dean James Speta, and Professors Erin F. Delaney, Martin Redish, John McGinnis, and Janice Nadler introducing the honorees.
The ceremony focused on the major scholarly contributions of the honorees. As Dean Osofsky addressed the attendees—who gathered both virtually and in-person at Lincoln Hall—she emphasized the important role that faculty plays in the prestige of the Law School. “Today’s Ceremony is an incredibly important opportunity for us to recognize and honor outstanding scholarly contributions by our faculty members through the awarding of endowed professorships.” she said. “The five professors that we are honoring today, Professors Emily Kadens, Michael Kang, Heidi Kitrosser, Jide Nzelibe, and Deborah Tuerkheimer, have impacted scholarly understanding and participated in important public policy conversations through their cutting-edge scholarly work.”
Provost Hagerty highlighted the importance of the moment. “An endowed chair is among the highest accolades a university can bestow upon a professor in recognition of their research and scholarly work,” she said. “Today we are installing five faculty members into endowed chairs who are renowned scholars in their areas of expertise. As they pursue this critical work, they also inspire and influence the next generation of scholars and changemakers through their teaching and mentorship.”
The honorees gave personal and meaningful speeches as they officially accepted their chairs. Professor Kadens, a leading legal historian with a particular focus on the medieval and early modern history of commercial law and practice, talked about her respect for Professor Steven Lubet, who previously held the Edna B. and Ednyfed H. Williams Professorship, and their shared love of American legal history. “I am incredibly jealous of Steve’s ability to take historical episodes and turn them into morality lessons. I’m hoping to live up to the example set by Steve Lubet and enable the past to speak usefully to the present.”
Professor Kang, a nationally recognized expert on the campaign finance, voting rights, redistricting, judicial elections, and corporate governance, used his time to discuss the important role that law has in politics, particularly now, referencing the contested 2020 election, and encouraging others to call out misinformation. “When you hear other people repeat false claims about the 2020 election, please challenge them,” he said. “Conspiracy thinking about elections breaks down public trust and fundamentally threatens how we elect leaders moving forward. It’s all our responsibility.”
After thanking her colleagues, friends, and family, Professor Kitrosser, an expert on the constitutional law of federal government secrecy and on separation of powers and free speech law more broadly, spoke on the privilege of teaching the new generations of lawyers. “I consider myself so lucky, but also bearing a real responsibility, to get to do this work. Whatever the topic, it’s always a tremendous privilege to be able to earn your living by teaching, thinking, and writing about things that you think matter.”
Professor Nzelibe, a leading scholar in the areas of international business transactions, foreign relations, contracts, and international trade, encouraged the audience to be open to change as they navigate their careers, Something he said his time at Northwestern has taught him. “By a certain stage in your career, you become more fixed in your ways. You’ve established your reputation, [so] you feel what you’ve done has helped you and your fixed,” he said. “Sometimes it doesn’t give you the opportunity to question. One of the things I’ve benefitted from my interactions at Northwestern is that it’s given me an opportunity to revisit my priors.”
Nationally-recognized scholar on gender-based violence Professor Tuerkheimer closed out the ceremony critiquing the ways in which the law has failed many and the legacy of the establishing donor, James B. Haddad—a member of the class of 1967. “One thread that weaves throughout my scholarship is how law disregards the claims and experiences of those with less power in our society,” she said. “I’d like to think that such challenges to dominate understandings and structures would resonate with Jim Haddad.”
More information on the Law School’s faculty chairs can be found here. Read the professors full biographies below:
Edna B. and Ednyfed H. Williams Professorship
This professorship was established in 1969 through a bequest from Mrs. Williams in honor of her husband, a member of the class of 1909.
Professor Kadens is a legal historian with a particular focus on the medieval and early modern history of commercial law and practice. She has written extensively on how custom does—or does not—function as law, the concept of the law merchant, and the early history of English bankruptcy. Her current work focuses on the history of commercial fraud. Professor Kadens has been a fellow the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and a Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress and held the Richard & Diane Cummins Legal History Research Grant at George Washington University Law School. She is also a member of the American Law Institute. Her articles have won the Sutherland Prize and the ABLJ Editors Prize. Professor Kadens joined the Northwestern Pritzker Law faculty in 2013 after serving as the Baker and Botts Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law. Professor Kadens earned her JD from the University of Chicago Law School and her PhD from Princeton University.
Michael S. Kang
Class of 1940 Research Professorship
Members of the Class of 1940 established this chair in 1991 on the occasion of their 50-year Law School reunion.
Professor Kang is a nationally recognized expert on campaign finance, voting rights, redistricting, judicial elections, and corporate governance. His research has been published widely in leading law journals and featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Forbes, among others. His current work focuses on partisan gerrymandering; the influence of elections and campaign finance on judges; the de-regulation of campaign finance after Citizens United; and so-called “sore loser laws” that restrict losing primary candidates from running in the general election. He recently served as a member of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States and is co-author of the forthcoming book, Free to Judge: How Campaign Finance Money Biases our Judges. Professor Kang joined the Northwestern Pritzker Law faculty in 2018 after serving as Thomas Simmons Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Faculty at Emory Law School. Professor Kang earned his JD from the University of Chicago Law School and his PhD from Harvard.
William W. Gurley Professorship
This professorship was established in 1975 through a bequest from Helen K. Gurley in memory of her father, a distinguished member of the Chicago Bar and general counsel to a number of major business firms.
Professor Kitrosser is an expert on the constitutional law of federal government secrecy and on separation of powers and free speech law more broadly. She has written, spoken, and consulted widely on these topics. Her book, Reclaiming Accountability: Transparency, Executive Power, and the U.S. Constitution, was published in 2015 by the University of Chicago Press. It was awarded the 2014 IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law / Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize. Her articles have appeared in many publications, including Supreme Court Review, Georgetown Law Journal, UCLA Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, and Constitutional Commentary. Professor Kitrosser received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017. Professor Kitrosser joined the Northwestern Pritzker Law faculty this year, after visiting during the 2021-22 academic year. Previously, she served as the Robins Kaplan Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, where she first joined the faculty in 2005. She earned her JD from Yale Law School.
Howard and Elizabeth Chapman Professorship
This chair was established in 2013 by Howard and Elizabeth Chapman. Howard Chapman is a 1958 graduate of the Law School. The Chapman Professorship is focused in the areas of business law, trial advocacy, trust or estate law.
Professor Nzelibe is a leading scholar in the areas of international business transactions, foreign relations, contracts, and international trade. He has authored and co-authored over 25 scholarly publications and was elected a member of the American Law Institute in 2020. Professor Nzelibe joined the Northwestern Pritzker Law faculty in 2004 after serving as an associate at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans and as a Bigelow Teaching Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. Professor Nzelibe earned his JD from Yale Law School. He also holds an M.P.A. in international relations from Princeton University, where he was awarded a fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and a pre-doctoral fellowship from the Ford Foundation.
Class of 1967 James B. Haddad Professorship
In 1992, members of the class of 1967 and other alumni established this chair in honor of James B. Haddad, a member of the class of 1967 who served on the Law School faculty from 1969 until his death in 1992. Professor Haddad was an expert in the fields of criminal law, criminal procedure, and evidence, and was regularly honored by students for his excellence in teaching.
Professor Tuerkheimer is a nationally recognized expert on evidence, feminist legal theory, and criminal law. She has authored and co-authored dozens of scholarly publications, including her most recent book, Credible: Why We Doubt Accusers and Protect Abusers. In 2014, Oxford University Press published her book, Flawed Convictions: “Shaken Baby Syndrome” and the Inertia of Injustice. After clerking for Alaska Supreme Court Justice Jay Rabinowitz, she served for five years as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she specialized in domestic violence prosecution. Professor Tuerkheimer joined the Northwestern Pritzker Law faculty in 2014 after serving as a Professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law and the University of Maine School of Law. In 2015, Professor Tuerkheimer was elected to the American Law Institute. She earned her JD from Yale Law School.