Georgetown Law 1Ls, Dean Treanor and Staff Roll Up Their Sleeves at Orientation 2018 Service Projects

August 22, 2018

It’s 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday of Orientation Week, and Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor is in Room 202 of McDonough Hall, along with a group of Section 2 1L students ready to volunteer at D.C. Central Kitchen as part of the Orientation Week service projects.

“We’ll [probably] be chopping vegetables — very tactile,” the dean jokes.

He asks the students their names and what professors they will have. Since they haven’t had classes, it takes the students a moment to remember who teaches what, but together they come up with the list: Gerry Spann for Contracts, David Hyman for Civil Procedure, Paul Rothstein for Torts.

“That’s a great group,” the dean says. Spann, he tells them, is a “legendary teacher.” Hyman, a doctor as well as a lawyer, recently published a book on health care. And Rothstein? He knows just about everything.

The dean tells them about notable alumni. Five senators, in fact, are Georgetown Law graduates, the dean says, and while there is not yet an alum on the Supreme Court, students are sure to see a few justices on campus. Upperclass volunteer Zenia Memon (L’19), reveals that she saw a particular justice three times last year. Just part of what goes on at Georgetown Law.

Then it’s off to D.C. Central Kitchen, which turns 3000 pounds of donated food into 5000 meals a day and also prepares some workers for jobs in the industry. Today, DCCK staff direct the law students to put together a fruit salad. For Dean Treanor and a few of the students, spareribs are on the menu — so they are up to their wrists in barbecue sauce.

“I chose this service project because I wanted to explore how the law school community is supporting the surrounding area,” said Gabrielle Metzger (L’21), a Section 2 student from the University of South Dakota who is interested in international law. “I was very surprised to see Dean Treanor…he was willing to chat with us about our worries and questions about law school before the service project began.”

“Kicking Orientation Week off with a service project was the perfect way to start law school, because it reflects the true purpose of a lawyer — to serve others in a manner that seeks to make the world a better place,” said Teresa Shoemaker (L’21), who studied at the University of Texas at Austin and also plans to focus on international law. At D.C. Central Kitchen, Shoemaker “sliced watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, cherries, pineapple, and banana.” Dean Treanor’s willingness to help out did not go unnoticed by her team either.

“We agreed that he has a personality that exudes kindness and compassion, and that when he addresses students, it is easy to see that his words come from a place of sincerity,” Shoemaker said. “I feel fortunate to have him as the dean of my law school, and I look forward to hearing more from him in the future.”

Treanor said that Georgetown Law is “deeply committed to making a difference.” “It’s very appropriate that when our J.D. students start at Georgetown,” he said, “they have the opportunity to begin with service projects.”

Starting with service

Georgetown Law Pro Bono Coordinator Jennifer Tschirch reported that 285 students participated in 11 projects with 6 organizations. Including the D.C. Central Kitchen, 1L students visited the Father McKenna Center, Capital Area Food Bank, Armed Forces Retirement Home, Central Union Mission and National Arboretum. Upper class students and Campus Ministry staff served as team leaders.

“That a law school experience starts with service is so Ignatian, the animating spirit of Georgetown,” said Mary Novak, Associate Director for Ignatian Formation, who took a group of 1Ls to the Arboretum. “We planted indigenous grasses as part of a stream restoration project, all the while getting to know each other and sharing stories, forming community that is so important at such a large law school. On days like today, I wish I was going to law school again.  The holistic education and formation provided at Georgetown Law still takes my breath away.”

Sarah Hainbach (L’20) accompanied incoming 1Ls from Section 5 to the National Arboretum to support the organization’s mission of conserving and learning more about plant-life. “Groups worked on planting, mulching, weeding, and other activities,” she reported. “Students were trying to rid the area by the “Capital Columns” (part of the original Capitol before it was renovated in the 1950s!) of weeds before the weeds go to seed and reproduce…we got to learn about plants and get to know one another before beginning the school year!”

Jewish Chaplain Michael Goldman took a group of approximately 30 volunteers to the Capital Area Food Bank.

“Our first assignment was to move hundreds of gallons of milk into large boxes, ready to be shipped or stored as needed,” Goldman said, adding that the help at the Food Bank could not prepare the boxes fast enough for the industrious Section One volunteers. “After a well earned break, we then proceeded to sort large boxes of foods into useful groupings, such as drinks, small and large, baby food, dry goods, cereals, plastic goods, etc.”

The Section One students, he noted, “totally enjoyed their service.” “They considered it a great way to begin their legal studies…several said they would like to be able to continue this service during the school year as well. It also gave them an informal and relaxed way to get to know each other.”