Congratulations to the Law School Alumni Awardees

Michael L. Shakman, AB'62, AM'64, JD'66, Lester Munson, JD'67, and Professor Richard A. Epstein are among the 2014 alumni awardees to be honored during Alumni Weekend.

Michael L. Shakman, AB’62, AM’64, JD’66, Public Service Awardee, has been a partner at Miller Shakman & Beem LLP since 1972. He is best known for battling political patronage by filing suit against the City of Chicago, other governmental bodies, and political organizations and by obtaining a series of court orders, the “Shakman Decrees,” in federal court, making political hiring and firing illegal. Michael L. Shakman et al v. Democratic Organization of Cook County et al, which is still active 45 years after it was filed, continues to make major changes in public employment and is a model for what may be achieved through public interest litigation. Shakman has written extensively on legal ethics, and, as a former colleague states, he “has become a symbol, an inspiration if you will, to those involved in other battles to eliminate corruption and restore integrity in government.” Shakman is also an active business and commercial litigator and, aside from the law, an avid soaring pilot and soaring competitor.
Lester Munson, JD'67, is receiving the Alumni Service Award along with his wife, Judith, AB'63, have dedicated a great deal of creativity, resources, and time to the University of Chicago and are beloved by students, administrators, and staff. They have demonstrated their commitment to student and alumni development by spending countless hours as Taking the Next Step panelists and Metcalf Internship hosts and serving on their reunion committees and the parents committee. More notably, Lester has served as the master of ceremonies for the Athletic Hall of Fame for 11 years, making the experience incredibly meaningful for inductees. In addition, Judith designed and funded unique international internship opportunities for students, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the culture and gain valuable work experience. The Munsons possess an insurmountable zeal for helping others and, in particular, making connections with students and fellow alumni in the Chicago community.

Professor Richard A. Epstein, Norman Maclean Faculty Awardee, a lauded legal scholar, has taught and mentored four decades of law students at the University of Chicago with memorable excitement and zeal. One former student wrote, “It wasn’t just his manner but his extraordinary legal imagination and his ability to conjure far-reaching questions from even the most pedestrian of cases.” He has gone above and beyond his role as a professor, demonstrating genuine interest in improving the student experience by listening to his students and working closely with staff to make improvements. He’s taken great pride in the individual mentorship of many students who have gone on to have distinguished careers in academics, practice, and public life. He’s become a recognizable fixture outside the classroom through intramural sports, the famed Latke-Hamantash debate, and the annual Chicago Law Foundation charity auction. He has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1985 and a senior fellow of the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the Pritzker School of Medicine since 1983.


Join us in congratulating Michael L. Shakman, Lester Munson, and Professor Richard A. Epstein at the 73rd Annual Alumni Awards Ceremony, held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 7, at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. In addition, you can hear more from Michael, and two other alumni awardees, Bret Stephens, AB'95 and Leon R. Kass, LAB’54, SB’58, MD’62, at their UnCommon Core session, "Politics and the Life of the Mind," on Saturday, June 7, at 2 p.m. You can register for Alumni Weekend at

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