February 15, 2007

Law school to host associate justice from Maine

by Pete Rosenbery


Howard H. Dana, Jr.

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Howard H. Dana, Jr., an associate justice of the Maine Supreme Court, will visit Southern Illinois University Carbondale's law school later this month.

Dana is participating as the SIU School of Law's William L. Beatty Jurist-in-Residence, an endowed program that began in 2005. Dana will visit with students in several classes, share his experiences, and meet informally with faculty and senior staff during his visit, Feb. 21-23.

The program is one of three the law school created from proceeds received in 2004 from the settlement of a multi-million dollar national class action consumer protection lawsuit.

The program honors William L. Beatty, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court of Illinois, who died in 2001.

Dana is highly regarded for his commitment to public service and legal services. Dana has a "passion" for alternative dispute resolution, and specifically asked to meet with Legal Clinic students and faculty to encourage them in their work, Dean Peter C. Alexander said.

"It's very important for us to meet these distinguished men and women from the bench, interact with them, and learn from them," Alexander said.

Dana is the third Beatty Jurist-in-Residence.

Virginia Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth B. Lacy and U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit Judge Harris L. Hartz are the two previous Beatty Jurist-in Residence judges.

"We want distinguished judges to get to know the law school's mission and its various constituencies," Alexander said. "This is a very important relationship-building exercise. There are lessons to be learned from these distinguished jurists that cannot be learned in the classroom."

Dana became an associate justice on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 1993 after nearly 30 years in private practice. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1962. He received a law degree and master's degree in public administration from Cornell in 1966, and a master's degree in judicial process from the University of Virginia in 1998.

In 2004, the law school received $425,000 in unclaimed funds from a 2001 settlement reached in the Southern District of Illinois in a case involving MCI and rates for direct-dialed long distance telephone calls. MCI did not admit liability in the settlement, which totaled $88 million, with $10 million returning to MCI.

In class action lawsuits, courts distribute unclaimed funds in a manner consistent with the basis for the lawsuit.