Alumni Add New Dimension to Week One

January 13, 2014 — How do first-year evening students starting the second semester of law school advise some of D.C. and New York’s most experienced lawyers on the operation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?

Quite well, actually — if they took Professor Michael Cedrone and Professor Susan McMahon’s version of Week One: Law in a Global Context, held January 6 through 10 at the Law Center.

All Georgetown Law 1Ls participate in the weeklong program, designed to give students a taste of what many of them came to Washington for: international law. This year, Professors Jane Aiken, Laura Donohue, David Koplow, Marty Lederman, Julie Ross, Cedrone and McMahon led students through one of three mock problems involving terrorism, extradition and abduction; Internet defamation; and a new problem on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

It’s a statute that lawyers in practice see a lot of, say Cedrone, McMahon and Margaret Gerety, the J.D. Program Director who helped develop the latest problem, the brain child of Professor Peter Byrne. 

All “Week One” problems place a strong emphasis on practical skills. Students might present a mock oral argument to the European Court for Human Rights, for example, or participate in arbitration and mediation. And all students learn from guest speakers and experts in a particular field. 

This year, Section 7 students got a little help from eight alumni. Ann Beth Stebbins (C’86, L’94), David Wochner (F’96, L’02), Mark Schneider (L’84), Al Puchala (L’88), Brian Ashin (L’08), Carl Northrop (L’76), David Ralston (F’76, L’79) and Courtney Edmonds (L’02, L’16) role-played general counsel in an FCPA exercise involving a U.S. pharmaceutical company seeking to acquire a French company.

First-year students Hanjoong Kim, Aaron Kor and Parker Lacoste were among those playing the role of outside counsel in the international merger, lending Stebbins their thoughts on whether a French company’s contributions to a charity in Lesotho ran afoul of the FCPA. Hearing that the company’s compliance officer for Africa, played by a teaching fellow, got the job through his uncle, Stebbins asks, “Was he qualified when he got the job?” 

The students next provide information concerning the company’s $250,000 contribution to a charity in Lesotho — and apply the FCPA to the facts before giving their recommendations on the merger.

“The alumni provided just a really wonderful perspective to the students,” McMahon said. “I think they got a very good sense from them of what the practical concerns are when you do a presentation like this, and that’s the kind of experience that I know I didn’t get in law school.  … It seems like the students responded really well.”