Dear CUA Law Students,
With the cherry and pear blossoms in full bloom, the season of spring has finally arrived and along with it our busiest time of the year. We are in the midst of a whirlwind of activities to conclude our academic year, as we move forward toward the end of classes on April 28, final exams from May 5 to 15, and graduation on May 26. This is a brief report on what’s been happening and what’s coming up:
1. Rankings. CUA Law is ranked #106 among law schools in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings. The new ranking is a disappointing three-point decrease from last year’s rating, although CUA Law’s overall survey score remains exactly the same. As last year, CUA Law’s score is only one point off the overall score assigned to schools ranked #100 or higher. More positively, U.S. News is ranking our part-time J.D. program at #24 and our clinical training program at #30. Compared to last year, U.S. News shows CUA Law with a higher undergraduate G.P.A. range for matriculating students, a more selective acceptance rate, and a better employment rate at graduation. But these positives are offset by downturns in our student/faculty ratio (which still compares favorably to other local schools) and bar passage rate. Interestingly, this is a down year for all of the Washington, D.C.-based law schools, with George Washington dropping five places, American dropping eight places, and Howard dropping 14 places.
At the same time, CUA Law continues to fare very well in other surveys. Other publications rank CUA Law #4 for the highest percentage of recent graduates in government and public interest jobs; #5 on the list of the best schools in the country for public defender/prosecutor careers; #12 nationally as one of the most diverse law schools; in the top 15 for preparation for law firm practice; #26 nationally as one of the best schools for associates obtaining Big Law jobs; in the top 30 nationally for recent graduates who earn the biggest paychecks; and #32 for the number of alumni who are partners at the largest law firms. These and other accolades confirm that the U.S. News’ rankings do not fully capture the essence of what we call the CUA Law Advantage – the first-rate legal education that prepares our graduates for career success.
2. 2017 Commencement Speaker. Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky ’75, formerly U.S. Trade Representative and currently the senior international partner at WilmerHale, will deliver our commencement address on Friday, May 26. She is best known internationally as the architect and chief negotiator of China's historic WTO Agreement, as well as global agreements in financial services, telecommunications, intellectual property rights, high-technology products, and cyberspace. Her extraordinary legal career has encompassed international litigation, commercial negotiations, investment and regulatory advice, and dispute resolution, and she has written and lectured extensively both here and abroad. Among her many awards, Ambassador Barshefsky has been named to the inaugural Legal 500 US Hall of Fame list, chosen by National Law Journal as among the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America" and the "50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America,” received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Chambers & Partners, selected by Lawdragon as one of "500 Leading Lawyers in America," and consistently recognized as one of the top international trade lawyers by SuperLawyers and Best Lawyers in America.
3. Law Student of the Year. National Jurist magazine has named our third-year evening division student Veda Rasheed as its Mid-Atlantic Law Student of the Year. Besides being a 3E at CUA Law, Ms. Rasheed is a full-time courtroom clerk for the D.C. Superior Court and the single mother of two young children. In announcing the award, the publication cited Ms. Rasheed’s exemplary pro bono work, which has included organizing a “Stop the Violence, Increase the Peace” rally, organizing donations of supplies for students at her local elementary school, and organizing a Record Sealing and Expungement Fair.
4. Legal Services Corporation. The Trump Administration has proposed to cut the budget of the Legal Services Corporation to zero. The LSC is the largest funder of civil legal aid in the U.S., and it has long enjoyed bipartisan support for its critically important work in helping to provide access to legal services for low-income Americans. Over 166 law school deans, including me, have written to the Congressional leadership to urge that the LSC’s funding be maintained. A copy of our letter may be found here. You may wish to make your own voice heard with your Congressional representatives.
5. Special Events and Programs. This past month has included a large number of interesting events:
• From March 4 to 12, during our spring break, many of our students volunteered to do law-related pro bono work. Our students participated with students from other area law schools in what was called an alternative spring break. They staffed a detention hotline, assisted clinic intakes and naturalization workshops, conducted outreach to families needing shelter, and researched legal issues.
• On March 7, we hosted a networking reception for evening division students with our alumni, faculty, and staff at the Washington office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.
• On March 16, our Black Law Students Association hosted its 23rd annual alumni-student reception. The honoree was Patricia Howard Fitzgerald ’00, Deputy Chief Judge and Vice Chair of the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board. Judge Fitzgerald spoke about her career journey and offered advice to the students in attendance.
• On March 18, we hosted our annual “Intro to CUA Law” program for successful applicants admitted to matriculate in the fall semester of 2017. The prospective students heard about the CUA Law Advantage from the Dean, Professor Roger Colinvaux, and panels of our current students and recent graduates. Afterwards, the prospective students joined us for an informal lunch and tours of our beautiful building.
• On March 20, we hosted a program on the Supreme Court nomination process. Our speakers were Susan Davies and John O’Quinn, both of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, who are experienced in shepherding nominees of Democratic and Republican Presidents through the Senate confirmation process.
• On March 20, the Honorable Kara F. Stoll, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, delivered remarks as part of the Dean William Callyhan Robinson Intellectual Property Lecture Series. Judge Stoll offered very useful guidance to our student audience on effective appellate advocacy.
• On March 21, our Securities Program hosted a career panel. The speakers included Jack Delaney ’09 with The Rock Creek Group, Kathy England ’81 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Katy C. Gordon ’01 with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Michael McDonald ’16 with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and Will Troost ’10 with Bloomberg.
• On March 22, we hosted an evening reception to celebrate the diversity of our Law School community at Jones Day LLP in Washington. Alumni and friends were joined by students, admitted applicants, faculty, staff, and guests.
• On March 23, we hosted our annual first-year student and faculty luncheon in our Law School Atrium. The event was a wonderful opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to personally engage with one another as members of the Law School community and a poignant reminder of the connections we share. Katie Crowley, our Dean of Students, served as master of ceremonies for the luncheon.
• On March 23, furniture maker Thos. Moser hosted a reception for alumni and friends at its Georgetown showroom. The event, which was a benefit to support summer stipends for Students for Public Interest Law, included a silent auction of one of our distinctive CUA Law library carrels.
• Also on March 23, our Women’s Law Caucus sponsored a program entitled “May She Please the Court.” The speakers were LTG Flora Darpino, Maureen Mahoney, Erin Murphy, and Michelle Kallen.
• On March 24-25, our Moot Court Association co-hosted, with the Newseum Institute, the Seigenthaler-Sutherland National First Amendment Moot Court Competition. Judges for the final rounds of the competition included CUA President John Garvey, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marion F. Harrison (Middle District of Tennessee), U.S. District Judge Joseph Leeson (Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Associate Judge Thurmon H. Rhodes (Prince George’s County, MD), Chief U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel (Eastern District of Missouri), U.S. Circuit Judge Jane Stranch (6th Circuit), and Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright (Eastern District of Arkansas). We congratulate the winning team from Notre Dame Law School.
• On March 27, we held a reception to recognize the accomplishments of our pro bono program. The featured speaker was Kevin Ring ’96, President of Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
• On March 28, we hosted an Open House about our Master of Legal Studies program.
• On March 28, we sponsored a program on “Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues in the Legal Profession.” The featured speakers were J. Paul Molloy ’65, founder and CEO of Oxford Houses, Inc., and Niki Irish, Senior Counsel with the D.C. Lawyers Assistance Program.
• On March 29, our student scholar series concluded with a presentation by Brianna Mitchell ’17 on “Child Labor on your Televisions: How Corporations Bear a Social Responsibility to Protect Children on Reality Television.”
• On March 29, our Labor & Employment Program honored John Higgins, CUA Law adjunct professor since 1982. Mr. Higgins served as a Member, Deputy General Counsel, and Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board during his distinguished career.
6. Upcoming Events. Please note the following upcoming events:
• On April 5, we will sponsor a program on “Managing Ethical Issues and the Business of Building a Law Practice.” The speakers will be alumni with managing partner experience.
• On April 6, our Securities Program will host its annual alumni-student mixer at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse.
• On April 7, Bruce Parker ’79 of Venable LLP will host a luncheon for alumni and student members of the Catholic University Law Review.
• On April 8, students will enjoy your annual Barrister’s Ball at the National Press Club.
• On April 11, the Saint John Paul II Guild of Catholic Lawyers will present its annual Mirror of Justice Lecture. Professor A.G. Harmon will speak on “Final Judgments: What Art and Physics Reveal about Discerning Vice and Virtue.”
• On April 21, the Student Bar Association and the Office of Student Life and Special Events will host Columbus Awards Night, a celebration of the best of CUA Law.
7. New Director of Alumni Relations. We are pleased to announce that Louise Lydon has begun her work at CUA Law as our new Director of Alumni Relations. She joins us from the American Association for Justice where she was the Director of Major Gifts and Development. Previously she worked as a Development Director at George Washington’s Law School and as the Director of Alumni Relations at Seton Hill University.
Thank you for your interest and support. I welcome your comments at email@example.com.