Home Court 30 Raises More Than a Million for Washington Legal Clinic

March 27, 2017

The 30th anniversary game of Home Court will not be forgotten in Georgetown Law history. Not because of the winning team (the “Hoya Lawyas”), the humble score (34 to 31) or even the game — although the Lawyas pulled ahead in an exciting fourth quarter to win.

The annual charity basketball game typically pits Georgetown Law professors (the “Hoya Lawyas”) against members of Congress (“the Hill’s Angels”) as a fundraiser for the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (WLCH). But in the hours leading up to the March 22 game, the original “Hill’s Angels” team was lost to the health care debate.

So Home Court 2017 will be remembered for those who filled in: the Georgetown Law faculty, staff, students, and Hill staffers who made up both teams so the game could continue. The Georgetown Law and Washington, D.C., communities who came out to cheer. The students who had spent years planning the milestone event. In the end, Home Court raised more than one million dollars, a record-breaker from last year’s $646,000.

“Without the support of the Georgetown students, faculty, administration and folks from the Hill who have played over the years, we might not have a legal clinic for the homeless, and that would be disastrous…” Patricia Mullahy Fugere (L’84), co-founder and current executive director of WLCH, said at the event. “The reality, the truth that our clients experience every single day, [is that] the best laid plans often go awry…when things go awry in their lives, they know they can count on us, and they can only count on us because we’ve been able to count on you.”

30 Years of Home Court

If the amount of money raised wasn’t impressive enough, there was another unique twist to Home Court 30: Patty Fugere helped plan the first Home Court game in the fall of 1987 for the game in 1988. In 2017, Patty’s daughter Genevieve Fugere Hulick (L’17), now a Georgetown Law 3L, served as co-chair of the event along with Stephanie Ritter (L’17).

The Home Court tradition was born when Jeff Schwaber (L’88), who was then writing a law school paper on homelessness issues, reached out to Fugere, who had by then founded WLCH. Schwaber suggested the idea of a charity basketball game. Why?

“I was walking to Georgetown Law and passing the CCNV shelter, and it seemed like a strange juxtaposition, with the Capitol there, and the idea formulated in my head to put it all together,” Schwaber says. “I’m a big sports fan, [so it was a logical] idea to have a Congress versus faculty basketball game to raise money to deal with the issue of homelessness…then I met Patty Fugere. We decided to turn it into a fundraiser for the clinic; we set a goal of $10,000 the first year and raised $40,000.”

When Patty went to planning meetings for the first Home Court in late 1987, she was pregnant with Genevieve. “Many a year later, I would drag her and my son to the games when they were little kids. They would be so excited to be a part of all the festivities,” Patty says.

Genevieve was no ordinary Home Court co-chair. Like many Georgetown Law students, she’s dedicated to tackling issues of homelessness. But with a few exceptions for college, Genevieve has never missed a Home Court game in her life. She went to work for then-Congressman Mike McIntyre (D-NC), who played on the Hill’s Angels team for years. In those days, Genevieve rooted for the Hill’s Angels. By spring 2015, she was cheering on the Hoya Lawyas.

“There’s really nothing quite like it at any other school,” Genevieve says. “You’ll hear professors who played in the early days wax nostalgic about the different members who have played in the game, so that’s really a neat tradition that we have.”

A Family Affair

As Patty Fugere told all the participants — players and fans alike — Home Court has been a family affair for 30 years: “It’s so beautiful to see the heights to which you and your colleagues, your amazing colleagues, have taken us tonight.”

At the 2017 game, Professor David Koplow received recognition for playing since the first Home Court (Professor Michael Frisch, who co-captained with Dean of Students Mitch Bailin, received the honor last year). Hundreds of students, faculty and alumni have been involved in Home Court over the years, and many Georgetown Law graduates have gone to work for WLCH. Lindsay Amstutz (L’06) helped create a fellowship program for Georgetown Law students — the Lane Evans Home Court Fellows Program — at WLCH.

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, whose wife is an attorney for WLCH, spoke to the crowd. “All we have to do is walk around this city and we understand the unfinished business…” Perez said. “I was Jesuit educated, and one of the reasons I am so appreciative of Georgetown is because you are putting those…values into action right here.”

Georgetown Law Players (and Halftime Entertainment):

Dean William M. Treanor
Professor Charles Abernathy
Dean of Students Mitch Bailin
Professor Michael Cedrone
Professor Fran DeLaurentis
Professor Laura Donohue
Professor Michael Frisch
Professor David Koplow
Professor John Mikhail
Professor Rick Roe
Professor Neel Sukhatme
Professor Kris Tiscione
Professor Jessica Wherry
Professor David Vladeck
Adjunct Professor Peregrine Russell-Hunter
Matt Calise – Senior Director, Alumni Affairs
Tom Clark – Chief Financial Officer
Shon Hopwood – Fellow
Nate Mensah – former Fellow, LL.M.’16
Ronnie Rease – Customer Services Supervisor
Officer Frank Richardson
Sandor Callahan – Student
Oliver Cohen – Student
Jennifer Ong – Student
Kate Taylor – Student