Each year, The Chicago Law Foundation ("CLF") hosts one of the most popular social events of the year, the Public Interest Auction. This year's auction, "Prohib-Auction: Where the Drinks are Cold, but the Bidding is Hot," marks the eleventh anniversary and will be held on Thursday, January 31st at the Law School. To promote the event as well as the type of work the auction supports, CLF hosted a preview lunch for students this past Tuesday, January 21st. The law firm of Jenner & Block, LLP (and my former firm!), a sponsor of the event, also sponsored the lunch. In attendance were two of my former colleagues and fellow graduates of the Law School, Melanie Nelson ('01) and Shannon Jones ('05), both of whom spoke not only about their experiences working with CLF during law school, but also the way they have been able to continue to give back to the community through pro bono work focusing on domestic violence and housing issues, respectively. Melanie also shared an amusing and timely anecdote about an auction item she and a group of friends purchased during her 3L year. The item was a day in Springfield at the Capital with then-State Senator and Law School Senior Lecturer in Law, Barack Obama. At one point during the day Mr. Obama apologized to the students that he wasn't a "more important or impressive host for the day."
Euler Bropleh ('08), Co-Chair of this year's auction, provides us with this excellent overview of all the goodies up for frantic bidding as well as a bit more about CLF and all of its great work:
"One of the biggest events of the school year is a week away and you can feel the excitement. Each year, the Chicago Law Foundation organizes an auction to raise money for students who pursue public interest work. This year's Auction will be held on January 31st, from 4:30 PM - 8:30 PM here at the Law School. The Chicago Law Foundation Executive Board hopefully to build on the success of past auctions. Last year we raised over $44,000 which enabled us to provide grants to more than twenty students!
One of the hallmarks of the Auction is the unique faculty items that are offered each year. Students here at the Law School cherish their professors and the Auction gives them the opportunity to put a price on their appreciation. Once again, Professor Douglas Baird will serve as auctioneer and he is also offering his highly coveted scotch tasting and dinner event. Professor Baird is a trained chef and has an extensive scotch collection. The scotch tasting has been one of the highest ticket items for many years running.
Dean Levmore and Professor Roin will take six lucky students for an afternoon of indoor wall climbing at Vertical Endeavors followed by a replenishing dinner. Associate Dean David Zarfes will treat four students to an afternoon at the Peninsula Hotel Spa and dinner at Alinea, one of Chicago's seven AAA Five Diamond Award-winning restaurants. Professor Miles offers a unique new outing to a Murder Mystery Weekend at the Bay Pointe Inn & Restaurant in Shelbyville, Michigan.
The list of amazing faculty offerings go on and on; however, for the first time during my Law School days, non-faculty items may end up going for the most money. Law firms, businesses, and alumni have all been extremely generous, and, as a result, we have some of the most spectacular items ever offered in the Auction. Alumnus Clifford Weaver (AB '66, JD '69) and his wife Donna donated a week-long stay for four at their Italian wine estate, Le Miccine. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is providing air fare to Italy and a four-night stay in Rome. Latham & Watkins LLP has contributed a vacation package that includes gives winning bidders a choice of one of three unbeatable options: a Mediterranean cruise; a 60-day trip through all of South America; or a 3-week, luxury trip throughout Asia and Australia or New Zealand. Neiman Marcus contributed a shopping spree followed by dinner with its CEO and General Counsel. One last item sure to go for big bucks is the chance to attend the 2008 NBA Draft with NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver ('88). You can view more of the other items at the Auction's website.
Since its inception, the Auction has grown to become one of the most important events of the year. It is exciting not just because it gives us a chance to help our fellow classmates pursuing low-paying public service careers, but also because it is an event that the entire Law School community can enjoy. You will see faculty and staff enjoying the festivities with students and alumni and the market forces hard at work as people are inspired by the generosity of those around them. The event truly embodies the spirit of the Law School."
Thanks for the great sneak peek, Euler, and check back soon for a run-down on the results of the Auction and some pictures of all the fun!