A letter from Dean Daniel F. Attridge:
Dear CUA Law Students,
Spring has finally arrived in earnest on our Law School campus. Outside, the flowers are in bloom, the grass and new leaves on the trees are bright green, and the waters are flowing again in our courtyard fountain. Inside our building, the academic year is roaring to a close, with a grand mix of many activities and events. Our classes ended on April 28, final examinations are being held from May 1 to 12, and Commencement Day is set for May 23. This is a brief report on what’s been happening and what’s coming up:
1. Scholarship at CUA Law. We are pleased to announce that CUA Law has moved our legal scholarship to the readily accessible world of digital online publishing. Our new online repository, called Scholarship at CUA Law and available at http://scholarship.law.edu, includes our own law journals: the Catholic University Law Review, CommLaw Conspectus: Journal of Communications Law and Technology Policy, and the Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy. Over time, the repository will be expanded to include publications of the CUA Law faculty, and it will showcase symposia and other events happening at the school. We invite you to check out the new website and download your favorite CUA Law articles for free.
2. 2014 Commencement Speaker. Jane Golden Belford, who served for 13 years as the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Washington, will serve as the speaker at our 125th Commencement on May 23. As Chancellor, Mrs. Belford held the highest ecclesiastical or decision making office that a layperson can hold in the Roman Catholic Church. Before that, she practiced law as a partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner, while also serving in a host of leadership positions in bar organizations and charitable organizations. Mrs. Belford is a model of what it means to be a Catholic lawyer, intertwining her faith and professional training in the most meaningful ways possible. She will be awarded the President’s Medal, the highest honor awarded by CUA, in recognition of her outstanding achievement as an individual embodying the mission and spirit of the University.
3. Class of 2013 Employment. While the perception remains that is nearly impossible or extremely difficult to land a job after graduation with a J.D. degree, our class of 2013 graduates know otherwise. Despite being part of the largest group of law students ever to graduate in the same year from law schools accredited by the American Bar Association, 82.7% of our class of 2013 graduates are employed as of February 15, 2014 (the date that the ABA uses for reporting the data). Of our 197 newly employed graduates, 29.9% are working at law firms, 28.9% are in business or industry, 26.4% in government, 11.6% in clerkships, and 3.0% in public interest positions. 78.2% of those employed are working in the District of Columbia (44.7%), Virginia (17.3%), or Maryland (16.2%). In substantial part, we believe this initial local employment focus is a tribute to the key role our geographic location plays in facilitating externship and other real-world work experiences while in law school that our students successfully convert into post-graduate job offers. We know, however, that over time many of our graduates disperse to myriad locations around the country and, indeed, the world.
4. J.D. Program Admissions. While the number of applicants to all law schools accredited by the American Bar Association has dropped by 8% compared to last year, what matters most is not the number of applicants or even the number of those admitted, but the number of successful applicants who put down deposits and matriculate. We are pleased that we have so far received deposits from 134 successful applicants. We hope that this number will grow as we continue to roll through the admissions cycle. If you are interested in getting personally involved – by referring a prospective applicant or by assisting our efforts to reach out to admitted students – please contact our Director of Admissions, Shani Butts, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your help in recruiting our next great class of CUA Lawyers.
5. Law Journal Symposia. All three of our law journals recently held symposia on important topics of great current interest. On April 1, CommLaw Conspectus: Journal of Communications Law and Technology Policy presented a symposium on “Telecom in the 21st Century: Tech Revolution and Regulatory Evolution.” On April 4, the Catholic University Law Review presented a symposium on “Emerging Threats to America: Learning from the Past to Protect our Future.” On April 10, the Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy presented a symposium on “Expanding Medicaid: A Cross-State Comparative Analysis.”
6. Student Scholar Series. This semester three students were selected to deliver lectures as part of our Student Scholars Series. LL.M. student DeCarlo McLaren presented on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “Regulating Pay to Play Practices.” 2L student Zachary Navit spoke on “Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Programs: Businesses and Students Slip through a Crack in the School Choice Wall of Separation.” 4E student Kathryn Spates lectured on “The Commerce Clause and the FDA Regulation of Stem Cells: Regenerative Sciences Serves as the Example.”
7. The Board of Visitors and the Alumni Council. On April 11, the Board of Visitors met at the Law School. The BOV is a group of distinguished lawyers, led by Thomas D. Yannucci, Chair Emeritus of the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP, who provide advice to the Dean about ways to strengthen the Law School. At the BOV meeting, we discussed the status of the many initiatives that CUA Law has launched during the past year, our enrollment, finances, ranking, employment and bar passage rates, fundraising efforts, alumni engagement, and other issues. Our luncheon speaker was the University Provost, Dr. James F. Brennan, who spoke about the goals of the University’s strategic plan, particularly the goal of promoting CUA’s Catholic culture.
On April 12, the Alumni Council, the governing body of the newly established CUA Law Alumni Association, met at the Law School. The Council reviewed alumni relations and development activities, addressed membership issues, and conducted a wide-ranging discussion about its purposes and goals. At the meeting, Susan Newell ’93 completed her year as the Council’s first Chair, and James Anagnos ’96 was elected as the new Chair. We very much appreciate their service.
8. Alumni Events. We have held a variety of alumni events during the past month, including an evening reception celebrating diversity hosted by Jones Day LLP, a Scholarship Donor Appreciation Luncheon at the Law School to connect donors with the student recipients, an evening reception for alumni and admitted students in Philadelphia, a luncheon for alumni and admitted students in New York City, and an evening reception for alumni in Arlington, Virginia, and a breakfast for alumni at Wiley Rein LLP. In addition, we are grateful to our notable alumni at Latham & Watkins LLP (Alice Fisher ’92 and Daniel Lennon ’90), Mayer Brown LLP (Richard Favretto ’66 and Alan Grimaldi ’71), and WilmerHale (Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky ’75) for hosting gatherings for small groups of our first-year students.
All together, we have held over 80 events for alumni in the fiscal year that closes on April 30. Over 2,500 alumni have participated in these events, although some alumni happily have attended multiple events. Sadly, I must report that Lauren McCaghren, our Director of Alumni Relations, will be leaving us in mid-May to join her husband in their native Alabama. We thank Lauren for the extraordinary enthusiasm and organization that she has brought to the position while we search for her replacement. Coming up, our schedule of alumni events includes a reception in Boston on May 7, and a pre-swearing-in brunch for successful applicants to the Virginia Bar on June 3.
9. Notable Events. This past month has included many other interesting events and programs:
• On April 1, His Excellency William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, delivered the Pope John XXIII Lecture at the Law School. His topic was “Mercy According to Blessed John Paul II." Archbishop Lori was introduced by former Maryland Governor Robert H. Ehrlich, Jr., who is partnering with us on the new clemency component of our Innocence Project Clinic and Clemency Project.
• On April 3, James Sandman, President of the Legal Services Corporation, spoke at the 4th Annual CUA Law Pro Bono Reception. The event honored CUA Law students who collectively volunteered nearly 12,000 hours to pro bono causes and services during the past year.
• On April 7, the Women’s Law Caucus and Office of Career and Professional Development presented a program on “Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination in the Legal Profession.”
• On April 10, the Board of Visitors and other donors hosted the Dean’s Dinner, a special benefit dinner to raise money for the scholarship fund at the Law School. Our featured speaker was former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who has argued more than 70 cases in the Supreme Court.
• On April 11 and 12, we held a special “Intro to CUA Law” program for newly admitted applicants. Our aim is to give them a realistic picture of the law school experience, an opportunity to meet some of our wonderful students, faculty, and staff, and a tour of our beautiful building and campus. We hope to see many of them starting with us in the fall semester.
• On April 15, first-year students mediated a fascinating Federal Tort Claims Act case before a professional mediator in our Slowinski Courtroom. The simulation exercise was developed by Professor A.G. Harmon as the culminating experience for our Lawyering Skills Program.
• On April 15, Shira Perlmutter, Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, delivered the Dean William Callyhan Robinson Lecture. Her topic was “From Paralysis to Progress: The (Useful) Art of Copyright Pragmatism.”
• On April 22, the Law and Public Policy Program honored its ten certificate candidates at a reception at the Newseum. Remarks were delivered by Gene Polincinski, the Chief Operating Officer of the Newseum Institute and Senior Vice President of the First Amendment Center.
• On five separate occasions up until April 23, we held “pizza with the Dean” sessions for small groups of first-year students. It was an opportunity for students to ask the Dean literally anything and to share thoughts about their law school experiences, whether positive or negative. A number of thoughtful suggestions were made about possible areas of improvement.
• On April 25, we celebrated Columbus Awards Night. Awards were presented to students for their outstanding service not just to the Law School community but also to the many people whose lives are touched by their service. The Columbus Award for embodying the Law School’s qualities and spirit went to 3L Jonathan Tabacoff, while the Cardinal Hickey Award for community service went to 3L Meghan Pedati. The students also presented awards to their favorite faculty and staff members. The evening’s awards included an unprecedented three-way tie for the best student skit among the 1Ls for their musical performance of “Lawyers in Love,” the 2Ls for their short film called “House of Cardinals,” and the 3Ls for their musical performance of “Breaking the Ice.” This is an amazingly talented group of students!
Thank you for your interest and support. I welcome your comments at email@example.com.
Daniel F. Attridge
Dean and Knights of Columbus Professor of Law