This October, Masaryk University awarded an honorary doctoral degree to Michael P. Seng, a US lawyer from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago who specialises in constitutional law, comparative law, the US federal courts system, and housing law and fair housing policy. In addition, he has been the driving force behind the cooperation between his home institution and the MU Faculty of Law over the last 25 years.
Professor Seng is also the director of The John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Support Center & Clinic, which is dedicated to educating the public and providing legal assistance in housing cases to both private and public organisations. Throughout his career, he has worked both in private practice and in courts and still occasionally serves as a court consultant.
In the early 1990s, he participated in the project of the American Bar Association designed to help rebuild the legal systems in countries of the former Eastern Bloc. Thanks, in no small part, to Professor Seng’s efforts, the cooperation between the MU Faculty of Law and the John Marshall Law School was established and developed during this time.
This cooperation allows Czech students to attend lectures and participate in discussions with US experts from academia as well as leading practitioners of law and public and political figures. Moreover, this cooperation also opens the door to students of the MU Faculty of Law to travel to the United States for a study visit.
In his acceptance speech, Professor Seng talked about his relationship with the MU Faculty of Law and described the opportunity to work with its students and teachers as one of the most profound experiences of his life. However, he also mentioned his thoughts on the rule of law.
“Today, we are again witnessing challenges to the rule of law in the United States and elsewhere. Irrational fears, lack of respect for collective and individual rights, increasing inequality, especially in income and the distribution of wealth, and the inability to see further than what directly affects us – these are all challenges to the rule of law.” He added that his generation believed in what Pope Paul VI said: “If you want peace, work for justice!”
Professor Seng was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1942 and his family has Czech roots. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame and Notre Dame Law School.