A newsletter for the students of the Columbus School of Law - January 2014 Catholic University, Columbus School of Law website Catholic University, Columbus School of Law website

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A letter from Dean Daniel F. Attridge:

Dear CUA Law Students,

We have successfully concluded our fall semester. You have taken your final exams and turned in your final papers. Congratulations on that.  Our faculty members are busy grading all of this work, while preparing for the next semester. Everyone is ready to enjoy the Christmas holiday break. Our new spring semester will begin on January 8. This is a brief report on what’s been happening and what’s coming up:

1. Christmas. On behalf of all members of the faculty and staff at CUA Law, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Or, if you do not celebrate Christmas, we wish you all the best in commemorating your own faith or other traditions at this time of year. We hope you have an opportunity to celebrate this holiday season with your family and friends. At the Law School, we are grateful for all of our successes during the course of this year. We appreciate your support as students as we seek to provide each of you with a first-rate legal education.

2. Super Lawyers. “Super Lawyers” is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. There are over 570 CUA Law alumni currently listed in “Super Lawyers.” This includes 111 CUA Law graduates practicing as Super Lawyers in the District of Columbia and another 16 CUA Law graduates practicing in D.C. as “Rising Stars.” “Super Lawyers” rates a total of 291 CUA Law alumni in the DC/MD/VA market as Super Lawyers or Rising Stars. Congratulations to all of the CUA Law alumni who are listed in “Super Lawyers.”

3. Law School Enrollment. There are 202 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association. For the fall of 2013 entering class, total first-year enrollment at all ABA law schools decreased by 4,806 students or 11 percent compared to last year. Two-thirds of ABA law schools experienced declines in first-year enrollment this fall. Our Law School was one of only 27 (or 13% ) ABA schools where first-year enrollment increased this fall. Our first-year enrollment increased by 14% from 141 to 161 students compared to last year. But lest we be too optimistic, it is important to note that the number of applications to law schools, including ours, is continuing to decline again this year. Thus, while our first-year enrollment compares very favorably to the overall market, the trend of dramatic declines in law school enrollment shows no signs of reversing itself.

4. Supreme Court Moot Court. Under the leadership of Professor Mark Rienzi, we are hosting a series of moot court opportunities for advocates to prepare for their upcoming oral arguments before the Supreme Court. CUA Law alumnus Shawn Patrick Regan ’96 recently used our Slowinski Courtroom at CUA Law to prepare his case involving the application of the Hague Convention to a child custody dispute. For more information about the case, please click here. In January, we expect to hold three more Supreme Court moot courts at CUA Law, including a First Amendment challenge to a Massachusetts law protecting abortion clinics that Professor Rienzi himself will be arguing. In these preparation sessions, a panel of experts grills the Supreme Court advocate with tough questions and then offers candid strategic advice. An eager audience of students (and some faculty) observe the real-world preparation and also have a chance to ask questions, all under a promise of strict confidentiality.

5. New Emeritus Professors. Retired Professor and former Dean Ralph Rohner and retired Professor Stephen Margeton have been awarded the honorary title of Professor Emeritus by CUA’s Board of Trustees. They are joining Professor Emerita Leah Wortham, who was awarded the same honor earlier this year. Congratulations to all three of them.

6. The Knights of Columbus. Our Law School enjoys a longstanding special relationship with the Roman Catholic fraternal organization, the Knights of Columbus. Indeed, our very name, the Columbus School of Law, is derived from our merger with the Knights’ own law school many years ago. In the late 1980’s, the Knights established a charitable fund to benefit our Law School. Over the years, that fund has provided $2.5 million to support the costs of the construction and debt incurred for our building. Now, in accordance with the Knights’ intentions, that fund will be used to support a professorial chair at CUA Law. It is my great privilege and honor to be named as the first Knights of Columbus Chair by virtue of my position as the Dean of the Law School. While it will mean no difference in my own compensation, the funding of the Knights of Columbus Chair will enable us to reduce our operating expenses and free those monies for other uses at the Law School. We thank the Knights for their generous support as major benefactors for so many years.

7. New Members of the Board of Visitors. The Board of Visitors is a group of distinguished lawyers who provide advice to the Dean about ways to strengthen the Law School. For more information about our BOV, please click here. I am pleased to announce that two distinguished alumni have agreed to join the Board: Paul M. Bisaro ’89 and Paul A. Serini ‘83. Mr. Bisaro is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Actavis, Inc., a global specialty pharmaceutical company. Mr. Serini is the former Executive Vice President of XLHealth, Inc., which is now part of UnitedHealthcare.

8. Alumni Events. I am continuing my visits with groups of alumni, both at their offices and at various off-campus locations. Earlier this month, we held our signature all-alumni Christmas party at the aptly-named Columbus Club at Washington’s Union Station. Hundreds of CUA Law alumni and friends turned out for this festive event despite the wintery weather. For a story about the event with photos, please click here. We also held a pre-swearing-in lunch in Richmond for the newest alumni members of the Virginia Bar. Congratulations to all our new Virginia Bar admittees.

Thank you for your interest and support. I welcome your comments at attridge@law.edu.

Daniel F. Attridge
Dean and Knights of Columbus Professor of Law

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