The Catholic University of America

Summer Law ProgramsRome



Professor Lucia Ann Silecchia, Director
Professor of Law
The Catholic University of America

Professor Silecchia  received her B.A. degree summa cum laude from Queens College (C.U.N.Y.) in 1987 and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1990, where she was a senior editor of The Yale Law Journal,  a current topics editor of The Yale Law & Policy Review, and a Francis Coker teaching fellow. Following her graduation from law school, she practiced law in the litigation department of Rogers & Wells (now Clifford, Chance) in New York City.

Professor Silecchia has taught at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law since 1991. She has been an ordinary professor since 2004, and served as the law school's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 2004 and 2005.  She was one of the founding directors of Catholic University’s International Human Rights Summer Law Program in Rome.

She teaches or has taught Environmental Law, Property, Trusts and Estates, Corporations, Advanced Legal Research and Writing, Comparative Property,  International Environmental Law and Human Rights, Catholic Social Thought and Human Rights Theory, Environmental Crimes, Lawyering Skills, and Law Journal Writing. During her 2000-2001 sabbatical, she spent the fall semester as a Visiting Scholar at Yale Law School and the spring term in Rome conducting research on environmental ethics issues from the perspective of Catholic social thought. Her 2007-2008 sabbatical saw travel to Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, Spain, and Italy.

In April 2007,  Prof. Silecchia was one of nine Americans to participate in a Vatican conference on Climate Change and Development, organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. She has participated in the activities of the Association of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools, and was the 2008-2009 chair of the Conference on Catholic Legal Thought.

Professor Silecchia has written in the areas of environmental law and ethics,  Catholic social thought, legal education, law and literature, elder law, and legal writing.   Professor Silecchia has given presentations at national and international conferences for legal educators, lawyers, religious groups, students, and environmental professionals. She has also participated in projects of the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace, advised  the Environmental Justice Project of the U.S. Catholic Conference, assisted the American Bar Association's CEELI Project in critiquing draft business association laws for Estonia, taught in Catholic University's cooperative programs at Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland, and lectured as part of Catholic University's U.S. - Portuguese Law Initiative at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. She was named one of three national "Persons of Distinction" by the Association of Legal Writing Directors and was Catholic University's "Mirror of Justice Scholar" in 1996. She has also been a member of the teaching faculty for the international law students in the Washington D.C.-based Institute for United States Law.

Professor Silecchia is admitted to the bars of New York, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, and the Supreme Court of the United States.


Professor Mary Leary

Professor of Law
The Catholic University of America

 Professor Leary is an associate professor of  law at The Catholic University of America. She is a former prosecutor and attorney in the non-profit sector, focusing on crimes against women and children; the former policy consultant and deputy director for the Office of Legal Counsel at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC); and the former director of the National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse (NCPCA).

Before joining academia, Professor Leary worked primarily on issues addressing the exploitation of children and women, child pornography, child prostitution, computer facilitated crimes against children, and the investigation and prosecution of family violence cases. As both a state and federal prosecutor, Professor Leary focused on family violence and sexual assault, but successfully prosecuted at the trial and appellate levels, an array of criminal cases. She is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and served as deputy chief of the Domestic Violence Unit for the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Leary also served as an assistant district attorney in the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. Professor Leary clerked for the Hon. Sue L. Robinson in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.  

Professor Leary's scholarship examines the intersection of contemporary social problems, technology, criminal law, and criminal procedure. She focuses on areas of exploitation and abuse of women, children, and “vulnerable peoples.”       

Her current work in progress includes a comprehensive review of the role of technology in child sex trafficking cases since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. She also recently completed a book chapter regarding technology’s effect on child sexual exploitation for Oxford University Press. She is currently completing a co-authored book on missing persons.  
Professor Leary plays an active role in policy development on a number of issues regarding both exploitation and technology. Professor Leary served as the head of delegation for the Holy See at the III World Congress Against the Exploitation of Children and Adolescents. She has addressed audiences both nationally and internationally including the World Congress in Brazil, The University of Virginia, University of Mississippi, Syracuse University, The University of Leeds (England), The International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law; The Department of Justice's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, The Child Abuse Group of the Pediatric Academic Society, The CBI Academy in Delhi, India, The National Association of Attorneys General, and numerous other audiences. Professor Leary has been a lecturer for NCMEC, The National Law Center for Children and Families, The National Advocacy Center, National Judicial College, The National Center for Justice and the Rule of Law, and The International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She has served as a member of several advisory boards and was an original member of the National Coalition for the Prevention of Child Sexual Exploitation.
Professor Leary is a sought-after commentator for numerous media outlets and has provided commentary to platforms including, but not limited to The New York Times, C-Span National Journal, National Public Radio, The Legal Times, Wall Street Journal Online, Gannet Newspapers, Politifact, and CNET News.
She is the 2011-12 recipient of the Award for Teaching Excellence in Early Career from The Catholic University of America. The 2010, 2011, and 2013 graduating classes selected Professor Leary as their Faculty Marshal. In 2009, the students of Catholic University's law school named Professor Leary Teacher of the Year. She is also the recipient of the Mary, Mirror of Justice Award (2009).
She received her B.A. with honors from Georgetown University and earned her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.


Professor Regina Jefferson
Professor of Law
The Catholic University of America

Regina T. Jefferson is a nationally recognized authority on pension law, employee benefits, and tax law. In addition to teaching and producing a rich body of scholarship in these areas, she has been actively involved in the policy development of these fields. She has testified before Congress and briefed Congressional staff on employee benefits and tax topics. Professor Jefferson was also a delegate to the First White House Summit on Retirement Income Savings. She teaches courses in Federal Income Taxation, ERISA: Pensions Tax Policy, and Partnership Taxation.  

Professor Jefferson joined the CUA faculty in 1992 and served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 2000 and 2001. Prior to joining the faculty, she was a Tax Law Specialist at the National Office of the Internal Revenue Service in the Employee Plans Division, where she specialized in qualified employee plans. From 1990 through 1992, she was a teaching fellow in the Graduate Teaching Program for Future Law Professors at Georgetown University, where her research and teaching focused on the tax aspects of private pension plans. Before attending law school, Professor Jefferson worked in the pension actuarial field.
Professor Jefferson’s scholarship focuses primarily on employee benefits and tax law. She has written extensively on the re-distributional impact of the private retirement system, the confluence of pension and tax law, the tax and actuarial aspects of the funding limitations of defined benefit plans, and the risks of defined contribution plans.
Professor Jefferson was selected as a Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefits, and the National Academy of Social Insurance. She is a member of the Pension Rights Center Board of Directors, the BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter Advisory Board, and the Institute on Retirement Security Academic Advisory Board. She also is a former chair of the Employee Benefit Section of the Association of American Law Schools. 
Professor Jefferson earned a B.S. degree in mathematics from Howard University, a J.D. degree from George Washington University, and an LL.M. degree from Georgetown University.


Dr. David Dawson Vasquez, CUA Rome directorDr. David Dawson Vasquez
Director, The Catholic Universitity of America Rome Campus

Dr. Dawson has been teaching theology in Rome since 2001. He graduated from the University of Dallas in 1986 with a BA in Psychology and then went on to earn an MA in Systematic Theology at Boston College and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology at The Catholic University of America. He currently directs CUA's Rome Global Education Program. His theological interests center around the relationship between faith and reason, the role of liturgy and the experience of God in theology, and the importance of the body for Christian thought. His dissertation studied the role of the experience of God in the theology of the Orthodox Churches. He lives year-round in Rome with his wife, Susan, and daughter, Magdalena.


Ms. Aurora Santoro
Assistant Director, The Catholic University of America Rome Campus,