Wayne Law Review honors alumna Valerie Newman

 Valerie Newman, a 1992 alumna of Wayne State University Law School, was honored Wednesday, May 7, by The Wayne Law Review with the Richard J. Barber Alumni Achievement Award.

Newman of Pleasant Ridge is an assistant defender in the State Appellate Defender Office in Detroit. Her work has made her a frequent recipient of awards, including the first Thomas Award for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy from the defender office in 2012, Headliner Award from the Women of Wayne Alumni Association in 2013 and State Bar of Michigan’s Champion of Justice Award in 2013.

Among Newman’s outstanding cases is the 2011 U.S. Supreme Court case Lafler v. Cooper, during which she argued successfully for her client. The court’s decision in that case has been recognized as a watershed opinion clarifying that the constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel includes guilty plea negotiations.

Newman also litigated the 2013 case People v. Thomas (and Raymond) Highers, which resulted in the release of two men who each had served 25 years of incarceration for crimes they didn’t commit. Newman has represented hundreds of clients on appeal since she started working for the defender office in 1995. She also has been an adjunct clinical professor at Wayne Law and the University of Michigan Law School.

“In addition to her renowned work as an advocate in the state and federal court systems, Professor Newman has advanced the name of Wayne Law through her continued involvement in the community, which includes being an active member and former president of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, an active member and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and the former chair of two NLG national conventions,” said Lynn Bartkowiak Sholander of Plymouth, 2013-14 editor-in-chief of The Wayne Law Review who graduated this month.

The Richard J. Barber Alumni Achievement Award, named in honor of The Wayne Law Review’s first editor-in-chief, is given annually to a Wayne Law graduate who has advanced the reputations of The Wayne Law Review and the law school through his or her service to the legal community. Past recipients include former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kelly, now distinguished jurist in residence at Wayne Law; Judge Elizabeth Gleicher of the Michigan Court of Appeals, 2nd District, and a Wayne Law adjunct professor; Judge Nancy Edmunds of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; and attorneys Peter Sugar, an adjunct professor at Wayne Law; Eugene Driker, a member of the Wayne State University Board of Governors; Michael F. Gadola; and Marian Faupel.

This year’s alumni achievement award and other honors were presented during The Wayne Law Review’s annual Alumni Dinner and Awards Banquet at Union Street restaurant in Detroit.

Other awards presented included the Sunita Kini “Hard Hat” Award, recognizing a staff member who embodies the highest ideals of The Wayne Law Review and performs his or her duties with diligence and dedication. Receiving the award was Maryam Karnib of Dearborn Heights, senior articles editor who graduated this month.

The Richard B. Gushee Award, recognizing the best student Note selected for publication, went to Josh Zeman, a second-year student from West Bloomfield.

His Note – “A Slender Reed Upon Which to Rely”: Amending the Espionage Act to Protect Whistleblowers – will be published in an upcoming issue of The Wayne Law Review, as will those of these second-year Wayne Law students: Kiefer Cox of Livonia; Nathan Inks of Lincoln Park; Brittney Kohn of Southfield; Fatima Mansour of Harrison Township; Kathryn Pawlicki of Novi; Rachel Pinch of Dearborn; Rob Schwartz of Detroit; and Zachary Zurek of Clarkston.

The Wayne Law Review is one of two scholarly journals edited and produced by Wayne Law students. It contains articles, book reviews, transcripts, notes and comments by prominent academics, practitioners and students on timely legal topics. Each year, one of the issues highlights a topic of interest discussed at the review’s annual symposium. Another issue features an annual survey of developments in Michigan law, which is widely read by members of the Michigan legal community.


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