Marianne "Mimi" Wesson has been appointed the first Schaden Chair in Experiential Learning, a newly endowed position at the University of Colorado Law School.
Wesson has been a member of the faculty for more than two decades, teaching and researching in the areas of criminal law, evidence and trial advocacy. She practiced criminal law as an assistant attorney general for the state of Texas and as an assistant U.S. attorney for the district of Colorado.
"Mimi brings the right balance of traditional classroom teaching and hands-on law practice as the inaugural Schaden Chair," said University of Colorado Law School Dean David Getches. "We are delighted to have her as a member of our faculty and that she has accepted this new position."
Wesson has been a member of the Criminal Law Test Development Committee of the National Conference of Bar Examiners for more than 30 years, including several years as its chair. Her expertise has made her an often-sought commentator for several media outlets, including NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, the Washington Post, the Dallas Morning News and The Denver Post. She also has been a legal correspondent for National Public Radio.
Wesson also is an accomplished novelist with three works of fiction published: "A Suggestion of Death," "Render Up the Body" (for which she was named a finalist for the Colorado Book Award) and "Chilling Effect." Her next book, "A Death at Crooked Creek: The Hillmon Case and the Supreme Court," is scheduled to be published in 2012.
"I've always thought that in law teaching, theory and practice are not antagonistic, as they are sometimes portrayed, but mutually reinforcing," Wesson said. "Nothing makes theory more vivid and useful than example, and nothing makes practice more virtuosic and flexible than an understanding of the theory that it serves.
"Linking the two in legal education can be immensely powerful. We've accomplished this link in many ways in the recent past, but this Schaden gift will allow us to pursue this enterprise in a more sustained, thoughtful and productive way. I'm very honored to have been chosen to lead it."
The Schaden Chair in Experiential Learning is funded by an endowment from Richard F. and Rick E. Schaden. The endowment was designed to enhance Colorado Law's clinical programs, externships, appellate and moot-court competitions, and fund additional voluntary pro bono work.
The $5 million endowment is the largest of several recent Colorado Law gifts by the Schadens, who also were instrumental in helping to fund the Wolf Law Building. Richard F. Schaden of Boulder County is an aeronautical engineer, businessman, restaurateur, highly recognized trial lawyer and founding partner of the aviation and public-interest law firm Schaden, Katzman, Lampert and McClune. His son Rick E. Schaden of Denver graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado Denver in 1987, and is founder, chairman, and – with his father – majority shareholder of Quiznos, building the company since 1991 to more than 5,000 franchises worldwide.