Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that Devon Morris, a graduate student in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will receive this year’s Schiff Hardin Construction Law Group Award. The annual $1,000 award is presented to the student with the highest marks in the construction law class (ARCH 544 Professional Practice) taught by Michael J. Hanahan, a partner in the firm’s construction practice.
“Twenty three years ago, my colleague Mark Friedlander instituted the award when he began teaching at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the early 1990s. Mark wanted to give back to the community by gifting $1,000 to the student with the highest grade in the class from the stipend he was to receive for teaching the course. I’m proud to continue with that tradition of awarding $1,000 to this year’s recipient, Devon Morris,” said Michael.
The annual Schiff Hardin Construction Law Group Award is given to the top performer in the construction law class, determined after mid-term and final exams are scored each spring. The award will be presented on Friday, May 6, at the School of Architecture’s annual Year End Show where students and faculty celebrate the best design work produced at all levels of the graduate and undergraduate programs throughout the 2015–16 academic year, including the top performing student from Michael’s class.
Kenneth M. Roberts, leader of the firm’s Construction Law Group, added, “Schiff Hardin is committed to the communities where we live and work. This award is just one example of how we give back, hopefully imparting the value of giving back to these young professionals, as well.”
Michael has taught as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago for five years. He strongly believes that architecture and design professionals need to be proactive in protecting themselves and their work so they can prosper in the business world while creating superior designs. It is Michael’s belief that if he can open his students’ eyes to some of the business and legal issues they will face in their career, then the class was a success. Michael also makes his class presentation notes and the audio portion of his lectures available through Schiff Hardin’s website. These materials provide comprehensive information on construction law, often assisting future architects in passing the law section of the Architect Registration Examination® exam (one of the most frequently failed sections of the exam). Architecture schools traditionally do not cover legal issues in their professional practice classes—making UIC and Michael’s course rather unique.
The lawyers in Schiff Hardin’s Construction Law Group speak and understand the language of the construction industry, as many of its lawyers have first-hand experience in the field. A number of the firm’s attorneys have backgrounds in architecture, engineering, project finance, construction management, and hands-on work on construction projects. Drawing on this experience, Schiff Hardin’s construction lawyers quickly understand their clients' projects, assess problems, and craft solutions that align with clients' business and legal needs.