Strategic Planning: Rethinking the Future of Legal Education
“This is a time of challenge for legal education … but also a time of tremendous opportunity,” said Dean William M. Treanor as he opened Georgetown Law’s strategic planning council on February 1. Citing the decline in law jobs, rising tuition and increasing levels of student debt, Treanor said now is the time to “rethink how to best prepare our students.”
And so began two full days of break-out groups, plenary sessions, working lunches and, eventually, a flurry of new ideas to consider — ideas from people who know the legal world inside and out, 60 alumni from law firms, government, business and public interest. An “extraordinary” group, said Treanor, and they couldn’t have convened at a better time: “We need alumni involvement like never before.”
Every five years Georgetown Law takes a good, hard look at itself. It examines its strengths and weaknesses, analyzes the legal climate in which it’s operating, looks as far into the future as it can. While it has been engaging in such periodic soul-searching for more than 30 years, this time there’s an unprecedented effort to solicit alumni suggestions and other input.
What kind of world awaits the class of 2033 — or even 2013? What are the skills and ideas that best equip new lawyers for practice? Should the school change its curriculum, and if so, how? And finally, how best to approach the future in a way that reflects the Georgetown Law mission? The answers to these questions will help inform the strategic plan that guides the Law Center for the next five years.
Download this Feature Article
25 Years of PILS
In the fall of 1988, Georgetown’s first class of Public Interest Law Scholars — 15 members of the entering first-year J.D. class — arrived on the Law Center campus, looking forward to studying with a group of like-minded peers.
Twenty-five years later, approximately 250 students have graduated as Public Interest Law Scholars and moved on to distinguished careers in government, public interest law firms, prosecutors’ offices, legal aid, public defender work and other public interest positions.
We profile five PILS alumni: E. Débora Benchoam (C’87, L’00), coordinator of the protection group at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Sarah Craven (L’92), director of the United Nations Population Fund’s Washington, D.C., office; McGoldrick, Teach For America’s vice president of legislative and regulatory analysis; Eric Rosenthal (L’92), founder and executive director of Disability Rights International; and Williams, who was honored at Reunion Weekend with one of the Law Center’s 2012 Paul R. Dean Alumni Awards. Their inspiring stories speak to the value and effectiveness of this remarkable program.
Download this Feature Article
Faculty Article: On Constitutional Disobedience
By Louis Michael Seidman
The American Constitution is the oldest currently in force in the world. It was written generations before the advent of the technological, material, cultural, and moral conditions that define modern American life. When the framers did their work, America was a small, preindustrial society huddled along the eastern seaboard. A large portion of the country’s economy depended upon slave labor. Travel was arduous and treacherous. Communication beyond one’s immediate environment took weeks or months. The framers knew nothing of nuclear weapons, mass production, multiculturalism, cell phones, professional sports, modern birth control, or global warming. They had never heard of Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Adolph Hitler, or Lady Gaga. It is impossible to imagine what they would have thought of women’s liberation, evolution, gay marriage, psychoanalysis, reality television, globalization, or the war on terror.
This gap between them and us provides a powerful argument for giving up on constitutional obedience. The sheer oddity of making modern decisions based upon an old and archaic text ought to give constitutionalists pause. They insist that we follow the commands of people who knew nothing of our problems and have nothing to do with us, who are not even biologically related to most of us. In what sense are their hopes, fears, preoccupations, and obsessions our own?
Download this Faculty Article