CUA Law October 2013 Enewsletter Home Page Catholic University, Columbus School of Law website

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A letter from Dean Daniel F. Attridge:

Dear CUA Law Alumni, Family, and Friends,

This past month has been an exciting and energizing one for us at CUA Law.  As we enjoy the changing colors of the autumnal season, we’re now already in the home stretch of our fall semester. Our classes are set to end on November 26th and final exams will begin the following week. This is a brief report on what's been happening:

1.  Reunion Weekend.  On the weekend of September 27-29, we welcomed back to campus hundreds of alumni and their guests from the graduation classes ending in the years 3 and 8.  The weekend began with a Friday night reception for all attendees at a downtown restaurant.  On Saturday, early risers attended a CLE-credit ethics presentation by Professor Leah Wortham while others attended the inaugural meeting of the Law Alumni Association.  Led by Susan Newell ’93, President of the new Law Alumni Council, the alumni association will be a great way for all alumni to stay connected with each other and the Law School, especially our younger alumni and those located outside of the Washington metropolitan area.  These Saturday morning events were followed by a Q&A session with the new Dean and a family-friendly picnic on the Law School Lawn.  The afternoon offerings included tours of the Law School, the CUA Cardinals’ homecoming football game, and a special First Amendment tour at the Newseum led by Professor Sarah Duggin

Saturday night featured ten class reunion parties held at seven different locations. The parties ran the gamut from elegant sit-down dinners at leading venues, to a wonderful reception hosted by Timothy J. Cooney ’93 at J.P. Morgan’s beautiful offices, to gatherings at a few pubs known for their engaging social scenes.  I had the good fortune to attend each one.  The weekend concluded with a new event — the first convocation of the William Callyhan Robinson Society, named after the Law School’s first Dean, for the purpose of inducting alumni who graduated 40 or more years ago.  Professor Ralph Rohner ’63 acted as the convener for the luncheon event at which the inductees offered favorite memories of their Law School experiences.  For those who are interested in seeing photos and videos from the weekend, please click here and here.

2.  Board of Visitors.  The Board of Visitors, now chaired by Thomas D. Yannucci, 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.  On September 27, the BOV met at the Law School.  The meeting included a tribute to outgoing BOV chair Donald Farley ’69 for his service and a welcome to Professor Ralph Rohner ’63, whose retirement from the faculty and staff made him eligible for BOV service. The BOV meeting covered a wide range of issues, including enrollment, tuition and scholarships, fundraising, job placement, finances, curriculum changes, new initiatives, and alumni relations.  The BOV members participated actively — leading discussions, asking insightful questions, providing thoughtful advice, and offering their strong support.  The BOV meeting concluded with remarks by BOV member Michael Bidwill ’90, President of the Arizona Cardinals football team, about the high value he places on his CUA Law education and continuing affiliation with the Law School.

3.  Faculty-in-Transition Reception.  On October 20, we held a reception in the Law School Atrium to pay tribute to five distinguished members of our full-time Faculty, along with three of our long-time Distinguished Lecturers, who have made major career changes during the past academic year.  The program honored retiring Professors Ralph Rohner, Leah Wortham, Stephen Margeton, and Karla Simon, as well as Chief Judge Fred B. Ugast, of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Judge Sylvia Bacon, also of the Superior Court, and Chief Judge Loren A. Smith, of the United States Court of Federal Claims.  Professor George Garvey, who returns to full-time teaching after many years of administrative service, including most recently as Acting Dean and Vice Dean, was also honored.  Special thanks go to Director Joan Vorrasi and her team for their work in orchestrating this event.

Please click here to see the full story about the event, along with some memorable photos.  If you are interested in making a donation to recognize one or more of our honorees, please contact Tanya Easton, our Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations, at eastont@law.edu

4.  District of Columbia Court of Appeals.  On October 24, we hosted a regular sitting of the D.C. Court of Appeals in the Slowinski Courtroom at the Law School.  Chief Judge Eric T. Washington, Associate Judge John Fisher, and Senior Judge Inez Smith Reid heard arguments from counsel in three cases.  The cases involved a criminal defendant’s effort to withdraw his guilty plea before sentencing, an appeal from a decision of the D.C.’s Office of Human Rights on an age discrimination complaint, and a challenge to the U.S. Marshal’s practice of shackling juvenile defendants at their initial appearances.  The Courtroom was packed with students (as well as faculty and staff) watching justice in action.  Afterwards, students had the opportunity to ask questions and meet informally with the Judges.  We thank Chief Judge Washington for bringing this educational outreach to our Law School.

5.  Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.  On October 4, former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich spoke to a large group of students at the Law School on the subject of clemency. Governor Ehrlich explained why he made the review of clemency petitions a priority while in office, and why he is dedicated to getting current governors to pay more attention to this important function and assisting deserving applicants with their clemency petitions.  As we have previously announced, the Governor’s clemency initiative is part of a unique partnership with our Law School under which we have begun a new clemency clinic for up to eight students directed by Professor J.P. "Sandy" Ogilvy.

6.  Faith In Action.  On October 15, we held the second event in our new “Faith in Action” series for first-year and other interested students.  The program moderator, Professor A.G. Harmon, used several hypothetical scenarios to explore ethical conundrums that might be faced in the practice of law. The program panelists, representing different areas of expertise and different faith traditions, were Professors Sarah Duggin, Clifford S. Fishman, Melissa Moschella (from the Philosophy Department), and Ahmad Kazemi-Moussavi (from George Washington University). The panelists eagerly offered their perspectives to an attentive student audience.

7.  Pro Bono Legal Service Award.  On October 6, Cardinal Wuerl presented our Professor Michael McGonnigal with a pro bono legal service award on behalf of the John Carroll Society.  The award recognized Professor McGonnigal’s work as the supervising attorney for our Advocacy for the Elderly Clinic, where he teaches students about elder law issues and handles an average of 10 to 15 cases for senior citizens on a pro bono basis, and at the Archdiocesan Legal Network, where he conducts seminars on wills and probate law.  The John Carroll Society is a spiritual, intellectual, social, and charitable organization for Washington-area Catholic professionals.

8.   Crabfest 2013.  One of the great traditions of student life at CUA Law is Crabfest, an event sponsored by the Student Bar Association to benefit St. Ann’s Center for Children, Youth, and Families.  On October 18, hundreds of our students, cheered on by Cardinal Red Crab Mascot Jon Tabacoff ’14, gathered on the Law School Lawn to celebrate this tradition on a beautiful Friday night.  Together with supportive spouses and friends, some recent alumni, and a few fortunate members of our faculty and staff, our students enjoyed an evening of hard shell crabs (plus burgers and dogs), their favorite beverages, and music to keep the festivities rocking along.  It demonstrated, once again, that our students enjoy special bonds with each other that will last a lifetime.

9.  Alumni Events.  In addition to the Reunion Weekend festivities, we held several other alumni events this past month.  These included “meet the new Dean” receptions for local alumni on October 9 in Providence, Rhode Island, and on October 10 in Hartford, Connecticut.  On October 16, I attended the annual luncheon for New York area alumni of the Securities Program, directed by Professor David Lipton.  The event was hosted by Eric W. Blanchard ’99 at the offices of Covington & Burling LLP. On October 2, I met for breakfast with alumni working at Arent Fox LLP, including managing partner Matthew J. Clark ’83.  If you would be interested in having me visit your group of alumni, please contact Lauren McCaghren, our Director of Alumni Relations, at mccaghren@law.edu.

10.  Representing CUA Law.  By virtue of my position, I am occasionally asked to represent the Law School at other events.  This past month, for example, I had the opportunity to serve as a Lector at the Red Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle to invoke God’s blessings on public officials responsible for the administration of justice.  I served as a judge for the annual awards presented by the Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association for outstanding law department, chief legal officer, in-house counsel, and community service.  I attended the Blessed John Paul II New Evangelization Award Dinner for the Catholic Information Center, “the soul of Washington in the heart of the city,” as a guest of the host committee co-chair, Thomas Yannucci, who also chairs our Board of Visitors.

11.  Interesting Events.  This past month has included a wealth of other interesting events and programs:

• On October 22, law students Michelle Lease and Michael Flynn served as moderators for a panel discussion on “The New Age of Government Surveillance.”  The panelists were Brett Max Kaufman, from the ACLU’s National Security Project; Anne T. McKenna ’94, Chair of the Internet and Privacy Group at Silverman Thompson Slutkin White LLC; Gene Policinski, Senior Vice President of the Newseum’s First Amendment Center; and Jamil N. Jaffer, Republican Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.  It was a fascinating discussion about a very timely topic.

• On October 23, we hosted our Fall 2013 Externship Fair at the Law School.  Organized by Professor Lisa Lerman, the Fair drew a record number of 65 employers who are interested in offering our students the opportunity to work as externs (which is what we call interns) in many different areas of practice.

• On October 23, we held a Wellness Day program organized by Assistant Dean Maura DeMouy and Director Joan Vorrasi. The program was a reminder to students of the importance of taking care of their bodies and spirits, as well as their minds, while in Law School and of all the resources available to them on campus and around the city.

• On October 24, Assistant Dean Maura DeMouy led a program for students on “Time Management:  How to Get It All Done without Coming Undone.”  I wish I had the time to attend.

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

Daniel F. Attridge
Dean and Professor of Law

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