The Catholic University of America







Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky Extols Her Education at CUA Law


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Former United States Trade Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, CUA Law Class of 1975, assured students at a Nov. 7 networking event that they made an excellent choice in their decision to attend the Columbus School of Law.
“It was the single best professional decision I’ve ever made,” said Barshefsky, who is now Senior International Partner at WilmerHale.  
She counted manageable class sizes, a terrific faculty, and a supportive and collegial study body as among her best memories of law school. “I don’t think it’s changed. It still embodies that same spirit as it did then, said Barshefsky.
Long a strong supporter of her law alma mater, Barshefsky was the guest speaker at the year’s first Alumni Mentor Reception for first-year students on Friday evening. During her gracious remarks, the ambassador outlined her own career trajectory, offered students advice on how to study, and urged them to stay connected to the law school as the years roll by.
“You should always remember where you got the education that got you where you are today. Support the schools you went to. They all need alumni support,” she said.
Ambassador Barshefsky was the chief trade negotiator and principal trade policymaker for the United States from 1997 to 2001, a long climb up from her days as a student worker in the law school’s admissions office.
She has been named by National Law Journal as among the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America," in 2013, the “Most Influential Women in Washington” and "The Decade's Most Influential Lawyers" in 2010 and the "50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America" in 2007.
Barshefsky wanted today’s students to know that throughout her stellar career, she never once felt outmatched or at a disadvantage when facing graduates from prestigious Ivy League law schools.
“I never felt at a loss for my education. I knew what everyone knew. It was stunning to me,” she said.
After her remarks, the ambassador took questions and remained for a while chatting with students, faculty and staff. The Alumni Mentor Reception is among a series of First Year Friday Programs co-sponsored by the offices of Student Life and Special Events and Development and Alumni Relations.