Georgetown Law Celebrates Family Weekend 2014

September 16, 2014 —

Advice for families of Georgetown Law students? Don’t be surprised if your Hoya suddenly starts speaking a foreign language, using words like “promissory estoppel” in casual conversation. Encourage your students to talk about the law they are learning. Support them, love them and listen to them — and remind them to take a break once in a while.

Those were some of the pointers handed out at Georgetown Law’s first Family Weekend to more than 500 relatives, spouses and friends of Law Center students who traveled from states far and near to learn about the law school experience in Washington, D.C. “Any mom or dad knows that there’s no expiration date on being proud of your children,” said Dean of Admissions Andy Cornblatt, explaining the terrific turnout for the inaugural event.

Greg McLaughlin and Rachel Sullivan, the drivers behind the weekend, co-chair the Parents Leadership Council — which is “unprecedented for any law school, certainly any top law school,” McLaughlin said. The council is striving to increase opportunities for scholars to attend Georgetown, hosting events around the country, improving career opportunities and advocating for the school.  

The families, Sullivan noted, have also lived through the LSATs and the admissions process. “We welcome you to be a part of this incredible campus, this community, this [unusually supportive] environment…,” she told attendees on Saturday. 

Cornblatt, Dean William M. Treanor, Dean of Students Mitch Bailin and other members of the faculty and staff also worked hard to entertain, feed and above all educate families about the Law Center, the “D.C. advantage” and the realities of law school life. Contrary to  “The Paper Chase” myth, one out of three ILs does not vanish after the first year; students do, in fact, have a life. “A small life,” Bailin joked. “But [they] will have one.” 

In some of the weekend highlights, Treanor held a conversation with Congressman John Delaney (L’88), D-Md., and April McClain-Delaney (L’89), who met during their 3L and 2L year at Georgetown Law. Family aside, the Law Center was also crucial to the Delaneys’ careers in business, communications law, nonprofit work and political office. “If I go back and trace the really important parts of my career, I really do track them back to my experience here at Georgetown,” Delaney said.

On Friday night, the Law Center welcomed Kenneth R. Feinberg (H’14), special master of the federal September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, who gave families a sense of the adjunct professors who might be teaching their students. Feinberg spoke of the challenges of compensating victims, in particular the 950 private hearings he conducted with survivors who lost loved ones on 9/11. “It stays with you for as long as you are alive,” Feinberg said. “I will never escape the stories [I heard].”

Darian Hands (L’16), Katherine Hannah (L’16), Brian Lewis (L’15), Jenadee Nanini (L’17), and Genevieve Ryan (MBA’15, L’15), provided a student perspective. The weekend concluded with a Supreme Court Institute mock moot court. Professors David Vladeck and Irv Gornstein argued Elonis v. United States, a First Amendment case that the Court will be hearing this term. Professors Dori Bernstein, Paul Butler, Michael Seidman and Martin Lederman acted as justices. 

Dale Pinto, a member of the Parents' Council, and husband James (C’73, L’76) found the atmosphere on Family Weekend to be "exceptionally welcoming." As Dale noted, "it was a perfect starting point to illustrate what this community means.”

A video may be viewed here.

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