Mitchell Hamline professors Laura Hermer and Mehmet Konar-Steenberg have been chosen to receive the 2017-2018 John H. Faricy Jr. Professorship for Empirical Research in the Law.
The professorship is rotated annually among the school’s faculty members. It was created by John H. Faricy Jr. ’82 (WMCL), founder of Minneapolis-based Faricy Law P.A., to provide professors with resources to research and test theories and legal practices using quantitative techniques.
Hermer’s research will focus on measuring the perceived stress levels of patients who receive legal services through Mitchell Hamline’s Medical-Legal Partnership with United Family Medicine.
Mitchell Hamline is currently working to assess the legal needs of United Family’s patients and the community around the organization’s clinic in St. Paul’s West Seventh Street Neighborhood. Hermer hopes to determine if stress levels for patients decrease after they receive legal assistance from Mitchell Hamline.
“I’m very grateful for the award,” Hermer says. “Thanks to the generosity of John Faricy Jr. and the law school, I will be able to study the efficacy of the work we’re doing.”
Konar-Steenberg, the Briggs & Morgan/Xcel Energy Chair in Energy and Environmental Law at Mitchell Hamline, will use the professorship’s resources to analyze whether Minnesota state agencies are increasingly using state statutes to put regulations in place instead of using administrative rule-making.
He says an initial review suggests agencies have been making fewer regulations of their own over the past 25 years. “At the same time, we see some highly technical matters being addressed through legislation, which tends to be a more political process.”
Konar-Steenberg says anecdotal evidence suggests the rule-making process in Minnesota has become so cumbersome that state agencies prefer to rely on the Legislature to set regulations—for example on water quality—rather than setting those rules at the agency level.
“Part of what the Faricy Professorship will allow us to do is to design a more rigorous way of testing that initial rough conclusion that administrative rule-making is on the decline. If it is, perhaps we can start a more empirically sound investigation into why it might be happening.”
The professorship’s namesake, John Faricy Jr., is one of a long line of family members who graduated from Mitchell Hamline legacy schools, including both of his grandfathers. His grandfather Roland J. Faricy ’22 (SPCL) was co-founder of the noted St. Paul law firm Faricy, Burger, Moore, Costello & Hart, and hired Warren E. Burger ’31 (SPCL), who went on to serve as U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice from 1969-1986.