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Innovation in legal studies: $5 million endowment supports health law and intellectual property programs

A new endowment at DePaul University College of Law will expand and strengthen scholarly and educational programs at a dynamic intersection of legal studies— intellectual property and health law. 

The $5 million endowment established by the Jaharis Family Foundation Inc. will create an endowed directorship for the college’s Health Law Institute; support a competitive internship program for up to 20 students committed to practicing intellectual property and health law; and fund a faculty fellowship program for scholars to create and disseminate research and curricula in these areas.

Michael Jaharis (JD ’58) is the founder of several pharmaceutical companies. For decades, he and his wife Mary have generously supported students and programs at the College of Law. In recognition of their support, the Health Law Institute has been renamed the Mary and Michael Jaharis Health Law Institute (JHLI). DePaul’s intellectual property and health law programs are nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report. 

As discoveries and innovations in fields such as genomics, nanotechnology and pharmaceuticals have accelerated, intellectual property challenges have created a demand for lawyers with credentials and expertise across these areas. The endowment will support the addition of curricula and research into interdisciplinary issues such as the law and economics of drug development for impoverished groups of afflicted individuals and the nexus of patent law, pharmaceutical regulation and international importation.

Assistant Professor Wendy Netter Epstein was appointed the first Jaharis Faculty Fellow and recently was named faculty director of the JHLI. Epstein, whose work has appeared in Cardozo University Law Review, American University Law Review and Case Western Reserve Law Review, has worked on curricular advances in intellectual property and health law for the College of Law and in partnership with Rush University Medical Center and Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science.

“As advances in medicine are brought to market, the interaction of health law and intellectual property will become more and more important to all of us,” said the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul University. “The new endowment will promote academic excellence and leadership in those important and dynamic fields.”

Jaharis Health Law Institute: Facts & Figures

Mission: The Mary and Michael Jaharis Health Law Institute (JHLI), first established as the Health Law Institute in 1984, responds to contemporary ethical, legal and moral challenges in the health care field through systematic, innovate approaches that influence policy development.
Leadership: The JHLI is managed by a faculty director and an executive director, and receives guidance and support from a 15-member advisory board and a 10-member student board.

Wendy Netter Epstein, Faculty Director
Katherine V. Schostok, Executive Director

Health Law Summer Scholars: In summer 2015, eight students will serve as summer scholars in prestigious health law placements throughout the Chicago area. 

Gloria Crawford, Rush University Medical Center
Luci Doler, Baxter International
Tobin Klusty, American Medical Association, Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs
Nesko Radovic, Presence Health
Lacey Rogers, Walgreens Co.
Asik Shaa, American Medical Association, Office of the General Counsel
Leah Sibbio, Husch Blackwell
Andrea Torgrimson, Accretive Health

Student Competitions: The JHLI annually sponsors two teams to compete in the L. Edward Bryant Jr. National Health Law Transactional Moot Court Competition at Loyola University Chicago. It also sponsors a team for the Health Law Regulatory & Compliance Competition at the University of Maryland.

Lectures and Symposia: The JHLI hosts an annual symposium, bringing together leaders in academia and legal and health care fields. The 2015 symposium topic was “Designer Genes: The Cost of Genetic Information.”