Three Minnesota Law Faculty Receive the 2023 Stanley V. Kinyon Teaching Awards

During Minnesota Law’s 135th commencement ceremony this past Saturday, Dean Garry W. Jenkins announced the 2023 recipients of the Stanley V. Kinyon Teaching Awards. 

Professor Daniel Schwarcz, Fredrikson & Byron Professor Law, received the Stanley V. Kinyon Tenured Faculty Teacher of the Year Award. His research focuses on a broad range of issues in insurance law and regulation, spanning systemic risk, regulatory federalism, consumer protection, employer-sponsored health insurance, and insurance coverage litigation. In 2017, the American Law Institute awarded Schwarcz its highly selective Early Career Scholars Medal, which recognizes one or two “outstanding law professors whose work is relevant to public policy and has the potential to influence improvements in the law relevant to the real world.” He has also been awarded the Liberty Mutual Prize, which is given annually for the most outstanding article on property and casualty insurance law.

Prof. Schwarcz’s scholarship has been published in a wide range of leading law reviews and journals, such as the University of Chicago Law Review, Virginia Law Review, and the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. He is also a co-author of the leading insurance law casebook in the country, Insurance Law and Regulation (7th edition 2020) which has been used as the principal text in courses on insurance law in more than 100 American law schools. Media outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio have covered Schwarcz’s scholarship. He regularly testifies to U.S. Congressional committees on insurance matters, and he has served as an expert witness in a wide range of insurance disputes. From 2007 to 2014, he served as a consumer representative at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

In nominating Professor Schwarcz, students noted: “Professor Schwarcz is an incredibly dedicated and passionate teacher who is always willing to help his students and the law school community.”

Professor JaneAnne Murray, director of Minnesota Law’s Clemency Clinic, received the Stanley V. Kinyon Clinical Teacher of the Year Award.  After law school, Prof. Murray worked in New York as a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; a trial attorney with the Legal Aid Society of New York in Manhattan; an assistant federal public defender in the Eastern District of New York; and a litigation counsel at O’Melveny & Myers, before opening her own practice focused on criminal defense. From 1999 to 2000, she was the International Advisor for the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights in Kampot, Cambodia.

Prof. Murray became a member of the steering committee for the Clemency Project 2014, a joint initiative of the ABA, the NACDL, FAMM, the ACLU, and the Federal Defenders to recruit and train volunteer lawyers to represent eligible applicants for the Obama administration’s clemency program for nonviolent federal inmates. Complementing that role, she established a clemency project at the Law School in the fall of 2014, and, with the assistance of Professor June Carbone, supervised 15 students who drafted 35 petitions for eligible inmates. Fourteen of these inmates received grants of clemency (a 15th received compassionate release, an application also supported by the Law School’s project). The Clemency Project officially became The Clemency Project Clinic in 2021-22. 

Murray currently serves on the board of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), where she co-chairs its sentencing committee and its second look task force.

In nominating Professor Murray, students noted that  she is “dedicated, hardworking, principled, and always willing to help her students.” With one student writing that “Professor Murray has changed the outlook of my entire law school experience.”

Lecturer in Law Kiri Somermeyer, executive director of the Corporate Institute and director of the Business Law Clinic, received the Stanley V. Kinyon Skills/Adjunct Teacher of the Year Award. Prior to joining the Law School, Somermeyer was Associate General Counsel at Post Consumer Brands, headquartered in the Twin Cities. At Post, she supported all aspects of the company’s business including advertising, supply chain, operations, intellectual property, insurance, contracts, international business, and general regulatory compliance. She was a leader of critical company projects including DE&I efforts and enterprise risk management work. 

She currently serves as co-Chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association Access to Justice Committee, and on the Board of Directors of the Volunteer Lawyers Network.

Earlier in her career, Somermeyer clerked for Judge Kevin G. Ross on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. She then practiced law as an Associate at Faegre Baker Daniels, where she concentrated on litigation and regulatory matters for food and agriculture companies from pre-suit investigation through trial and appeal.

Students who nominated Somermeyer noted, “In her first year, Professor Somermeyer has already made an incredible impact. She has organized excellent, successful events, she has brought in lots of exciting clients and supervising attorneys, and she is incredibly friendly and approachable. Being a part of the Business Law Clinic has truly been the highlight of law school.”

Stanley V. Kinyon graduated from Minnesota Law in 1933 and was on the faculty for 40 years. He was a recognized scholar in the field of commercial law and known as a friend of students, inside and outside the classroom. In his honor, his family and friends endowed the Stanley V. Kinyon Awards in Teaching.

Dan Schwarcz
Daniel Schwarcz
Fredrikson & Byron Professor of Law
Distinguished University Teaching Professor
JaneAnne Murray
Associate Clinical Professor of Law
kiri somermeyer
Kiri Somermeyer
Executive Director, Corporate Institute
Lecturer in Law