The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.comh
Thursday, November 5, 2009 - 5A
AFTER THEY WALK
From Page 1A
red hair flying everywhere, and
though she was frazzled she always
had time to talk through problems
with her friends.
Burgess added that Miller always
takes the time to meet with her son,
who lives in Washington, something
especially important to Burgess
given that she lives in Australia.
"She just has a way with people,"
Burgess said. "Most of our friends
would tell you the same thing. No
matter how busy she is, no matter
how's she's risen in the Washington
scene, she's always made time for
her personal friends."
And her ease in communicat-
ing has helped her professionally
as well. David Feldman, a partner
at Nixon Peabody who has worked
with Miller on countless cases said
she's just as comfortable talking
about the Wolverines' most recent
football game as she is talking about
a legal brief.
"She's obviously incredibly smart
and a terrific lawyer but I think what
sets her apart from a lot of other
people that you could say the same
things about is that she has a really
unique talent for making everyone
on a team feel like they are an essen-
tial component of the team," he said.
"Laurie just has a knack for commu-
nicating in a way that makes every-
one feel invested in the effort."
Miller even got the chance to
try out her communication skills
overseas. She was chosen as one
of 10 lawyers by the American Bar
Association to travel to Sudan and
train Sudanese lawyers to represent
refugees from Darfur in the Inter-
national Criminal Court.
(LEFT) Laurie Miller (second from right) was one of 10 legal experts chosen by the American Bar Association to travel to Sudan and train Sudanese lawyers to represent refugees from Darfur in the International
Criminal Court. (RIGHT) Miller with then-Sen. Barack Obama at a fundraiser for the National Women's Forum for Obama at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington D.C. in 2007.
During the process, Miller was
adamant that all parties be able to
talk with each other on the trip,
despite language barriers.
"I insisted that we get interpret-
ers because otherwise how would
we to be able to communicate?"
Miller said. "And ultimately I was
pretty tenacious, probably stubborn
was the better word for it."
But even once interpreters were
secured for the trip, Miller wasn't
satisfied because they would only be
working with the group from 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m.
"What happens at breakfast?
How do we.talk to people if we have
different languages," she said. "I
went down to Borders - a tradition
from my Ann Arbor days - and I
picked up Arabic tapes about three
weeks before we went and played
them non-stop in and out of work
so at least when I was sitting down
with people I could ask them how
In addition to representing the
ABA on the trip, Miller is also the
managing director of the group's lit-
igation section. Though she's risen
to prominence in the legal commu-
nity - she was named one of the 50
most influential women lawyers by
the National Law Journal - the law,
her first love, has been her second
After graduating from the Uni-
versity in 1974, Miller relocated to
Cambridge, Mass. to pursue a joint
degree in public policy from Har-
vard University's Kennedy School
of Government and a law degree
from Harvard Law School. But her
dreams of becoming a lawyer were,
put on hold.
"The only really sad part of this
entire story is that when I was at
the Kennedy School my dad got very
sick,"shesaid."Hehad a heart attack,
which he ultimately died from, but it
meant that I didn't have the resourc-
es to do a four-year degree."
So Miller came back to Washing-
ton, and by then Gerald Ford had
become president. She worked in a
consulting firm for a couple of years
until she was able to get a job in gov-
ernment, when Jimmy Carter was
She worked as a special assistant
to Joseph Califano, the then-Secre-
tary of the Department of Health,
Education, and Welfare and a larg-
er-than-life character. Eventually
Miller became the deputy director
of the United States Administration
for Children, Youth and Families.
At 25, Miller was suddenly in
charge of a $1.4 billion budget and
"I would probably be terrified to
take the job now, 30 years later, but
at the time I didn't know enough to
be scared," she said.
But Helen Kanovsky, the gen-
eral counsel for the Department of
Housing and Urban Development,
who worked with Miller during her
time in the Carter administration,
said Miller was wise beyond her
"As a policy person and as a man-
ager she was superb," she said. "And
I got to say I'm shocked that some-
one as young as she was did as phe-
nomenal a job as she did."
Many of Miller's friends and col-
leagues attribute her success to her
unique mix of raw intelligence and
unmatched sensitivity to the needs
of others. But Miller said she owes=
much of her good fortune to the
place where she spent many Foot-
ball Saturdays and nights with her
friends at the nearby watering hole,
the Village Bell.
"My experience at Michigan was
a fortunate one," she said. "It was a
gender-neutral series of opportuni-
ties and I'm not sure I really under-
stood when I arrived in 1970 how
lucky I was to be experiencing that.
That comes on the backs of gen-
erations of women having to plow
ground in order to give me those
opportunities and I've felt pretty
strongly ever since that I in turn
have an obligation to other young
women coming up."
But it's not just the University's
women that Miller tries to look out
for. She's the chair of the Michigan
in Washington program and always
makes herself available as a mentor
to the students in the program.
"Michigan was very important to
me," she said. "Mydad was avegeta-
ble salesman. Michigan gave me all
sorts of opportunities that I never
would've had otherwise, it's quite
clear to me that it's a debt I want to
repay all my life."
From Page 1A
group, depending on the number of
players in the tournament.
Allen Ginzburg, a second-year
Law student, is a regular at the
Wednesday night poker tourna-
ments.At a recent Wednesday night
tournament, Ginzburg walked
away with about $100.
2. usuallycome maybepaces a
week," Ginzburg said. "I really do
like playing poker and it's a good
cause, and it's good to know that
even if Ilose, a part of theminey is
going to charity."
"It's a good combination of the
two," he added. "I know there are a
From Page IA
An LSA senior, who asked to
remain anonymous because of the
sensitive nature of the issue, wrote
in an e-mail interview about diffi-
culties scheduling an appointment
through CAPS and issues with the
computer assessments students
take when first entering CAPS.
"After taking this assessment,
students have to wait a few weeks
to even see someone about what-
ever they're dealing with," the
student wrote in the e-mail. "I
have some serious problems that I
quite honestly need someone pro-
fessional to talk about."
"I know I'm not the only one
in this university who could use
someone to talk to about the shit
going on in their lives," the stu-
The student's longest wait time
for an appointment was two weeks
and a few days, which the student
said was "quite a long time."
Sevigsaid CAPS is as concerned
about the extended waiting period
as students are.
"We don't like it when the wait
stretches either," he said. "What's
hard from an administrative point
of view is that there is no one
magic wait period that is accepted
by every student so we literally
make 3,000 individual decisions
for what's best for each of those
Vicki Hays, CAPS's associate
director, said students who go
to CAPS have the option to see a
counselor on duty, who students
can choose to see from the very
first time they come in or when-
ever they feel it necessary.
She added that the counselor
on duty is available from 9 a.m. to
6 p.m. every day, and sometimes
there are two on duty.
Sevig said CAPS chose to have
the counseloron dutyoptionavail-
able every hour the center is open
whereas many counseling centers
at other universities only have the
option available for a few hours.
"Students do have that choice,"
he said. "But the reality is that
sometimes waiting for that sched-
uled appointment is a perfect fit
for students. There are multiple
ways that people get in and we
work with every individual stu-
few (other bars that offered poker)
that used to be in the area, but
(they) aren't open that often."
Cheryl Altman, charity coordi-
nator, said the notion of poker is a
no-brainer for charities.
"A charity bar in downtown Ann
Arbor is a sure thing," she said. "It's
"Students should not be intimi-
dated in coming here," Cheryl Alt-
man said. "We do keep in mind that
students wilihe playing, We want
to have tables for people with less
money in their pockets, and one for
those with more and maybe one in
Nonprofits can book the poker
room for $50 per night in order to
benefit their causes, whether rais-
dent to make something happen."
Hays said CAPS is busiest in the
fall semester because there is an
increase in students coming to the
center and officials are busy orga-
nizing training programs.
From Sept. 1 to Oct. 23 there
had been 747 first appointments
scheduled at the rate of about 93
per week, 75 psychiatric evalu-
ations scheduled, 240 counselor
on duty contacts at an average of
about 30 per week, and 69 stu-
dents seen for pre-support group
interviews. Many groups are
already up and running.
Hays said that on average CAPS
sees around 3,000 students a year.
Sevig said officials are doing
everything they can to accommo-
date students' needs and shorten
the wait time, but the center is
maxed outintermsofspace, which
is why he is looking forward to the
completion of the new offices.
"We're trying to increase our
capacity to see more students
more quickly," he said.
Sevig added that the assess-
ment students need to fill out
on their first visit to CAPS takes
about 7 to 10 minutes and is simi-
lar to paperwork that is required
at other health care offices.
"All health care units need
some information ahead of time,"
he said. "We have not forced stu-
dents to be short or to be long. We
leave it up to each student to let us
know as much or as little as they
Music, Theatre & Dance sopho-
more Rachael Albert wrote in an
e-mail interview that she went
to CAPS after being convinced
by a close friend that it would be
helpful for her sometime before
Thanksgiving last year. She didn't
get an appointment until Dec. 8.
She said the meeting she had
was very superficial and didn't
really address her concerns.
Albert added that at the conclu-
sion of her session her counselor
told her that CAPS was busier
than ever and that it seemed as if
she has worked out all her issues
and therefore it wasn't necessary
to make another appointment,
though she could if she wanted to.
"It was entirely inappropri-
ate and left me feeling like crap
because it took so much willpower
for me to decide to go in the first
place and I was shut down," she
wrote. "I honestly felt worse leav-
ing money for a loved one or educa-
For the charity on a given week,
it is very hard to lose money on
tournament days since the nonprof-
its only pay $50 per night. Because
the charity gets a portion of each
player's cover charge, the amount
raised does not fluctuate based on
whether the player wins or loses.
After radio and television atten-
tion, Mark Sackrison, owner and
pit boss of the upstairs poker
room, said he hopes more people
will attend the poker nights. At
a Wednesday night tournament
recently;- Sackrison estimated
the two full tables would raise
between $1,500 and $2,200 for
ing than I did going."
CAPS's 2007-2008 annual
report says that in the year 2000-
2001, CAPS provided services for
1,914 students compared to 3,032
students in 2007-08, represent-
ing a 58-percent increase in that
"We want to be able to meet all
these needs but the connection is
that no one entity is able to meet
all of those needs all of the time
for all students," Sevig said.
The student who wished to
remain anonymous wrote in the
e-mail that from personal expe-
rience, students can only see
one counselor for three sessions
before they are scheduled with
"Three sessions aren't enough
to help resolve much of anything,"
the student said. "Of course the
student can come back, but they
get placed with a new CAPS
employee and they have to start
explaining their problems all over
"That's more stressful than
anything," the student added. "It's
frustrating and exhausting."
Sevig said that this is not
"We would never do that
because that's not how health
care works," he said. "We have a
service decision that takes each
case on its own instead of a one-
policy-fits-all and I think that in
the end is better health care for
Hays said that at many similar
colleges, students are limited to
only 12 visits to the counseling
center in the entire four years
they are enrolled, but that is not
the case at CAPS.
"We would never want to do
that," Hays said. "If somebody has
a struggle sophomore year and
later wanted to talk about what
they want to do when they gradu-
ate their senior year, we want to
be able to serve them at both of
Hays said CAPS tries to make
the best decisions based on its
resources and on students' issues
She added that sometimes a
student would be referred to a
different counselor who may be
better suited to help the student,
but overall there is no set limit to
the number of sessions a student
According to Sackrison, if the
poker room turns out to be full, the
charity can make between $7,000
"The charity technically sets the
rules," Sackrison said. "We try to
run the room as close to a casino as
According to Sackrison, many
other poker rooms are closing
because of insufficient funds and
The Heidelberg poker room is soon
to be the only pokerronoin Aua,
"Some like to call it a loophole in It helps a lot of people with jobs
the system," he said. "Some people that otherwise aren't there."
look at us running a casino without Cheryl Altman also recognizes
getting a gainer's license, but it is the state's reluctance to issue these
licensed by the state." licenses. The charity and poker
Although the state of Michigan room must follow the strict guide-
is hesitant to give a license to a bar lines set by the Michigan Lottery
for an 18-and-over poker room, Commission.
Sackrison said that it does noth- "I hold the charity's hand from
ing but help the charity and the beginning to end so there is no
economy. problem, because the state is very
"There are 172 of these rooms in picky how everything is filled out,"
thestate r ht now," he said, ".W ,aid CheryjAltm "If he gstat's
employ a decent amount of people. happy, the charity's happy."
Try a health care career in