Tina Talks

Dear Tina,

My boyfriend and I had a huge fight recently.  We made up, but I can tell he still thinks that I was wrong and that he’s just being the bigger person about it.  How big of a problem do you think this is for the relationship?  Right now we’re acting like it never happened.

Sincerely,

Considering appealing oral arguments

Dear Considering:

“How big of a problem” is the right  question.  Because it is a problem.  Obviously the fight was too important for you to just forget about it.  This could quickly turn into resentment for you, if it hasn’t already.

In a fair world, both people in a relationship would win arguments an equal amount of time, which would prevent resentment from tipping the scales in either person’s direction.  However, in the real world, there is usually one person in the pair that is right more often.  For example, in my marriage, I am right approximately 95% of the time.  Of course, knowing that he is right only 5% of the time is a bit discouraging for my husband, so I like to let him know that I’ve heard his point of view before I explain to him why it’s wrong.  This keeps resentment from building up for the loser of the argument. 

When couples argue, it’s really important for both parties to feel heard.  In any fight, there can only be one winner, but there must also be an emotional consolation prize, such as a hug, a “there, there” and a shoulder pat, or an “I can see how you could feel that way.” 

So, that brings us to our two options: either you were wrong, and you still have a problem because he was not being sensitive to your feelings; or you were right.  Let’s assume you were right.  I’m guessing it was an important subject, which means it wasn’t you throwing him a bone and letting him have this one.  You must reengage the conflict.

Calmly and sweetly lay out your case, remind him of what he said last time, and proceed to poke through the holes in his logic.  Afterwards, ruffle his hair, give him a “better luck next time, buddy,” and tell him that his feelings, although irrational, are important to you.  Problem solved.

Other ways to win a fight with your significant other include changing the topic (this works particularly well if you can bring up a situation in which even he admits he was in the wrong) and tears.

Or, if you feel the issue for you is more your rising resentment than the content of the fight, consider “letting it go” by taking up a series of passive aggessive maneuvers, i.e., make a delicious dinner for one (you) and then leave your dirty dishes piled in the sink.  Your relationship will be back on the right track in no time.

And if he cheated, told you your butt looked fat in those jeans, or asked to borrow more than twenty dollars on more than one occasion, forget everything I said and just end it.  Same goes if he compared you to his mother (or your mother, for that matter) or criticized your parents at any point during the fight.  END IT.

Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper

In Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper, the Supreme Court expands review of the actions of defense attorney in counseling their client regarding plea negotiations by the judiciary. On Wednesday, March 12th, the court held that counsel may be found ineffective if he or she fails to properly inform the defendant of a beneficial plea agreement offered by the prosecution, or if he or she incorrectly advises defendant on the state of the law, leading the defendant to reject a beneficial plea agreement.

Galin E. Frye was charged with driving with a revoked license. Because of previous convictions, he faced a felony charge carrying a maximum sentence of four years. The prosecution offered Frye a plea deal by way of a letter to his counsel. The deal included an offer to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor and recommend a 90 day sentence. Counsel didn’t bring the offer to Frye and it expired. He pled guilty without an underlying plea agreement was sentenced to three years in prison.

Anthony Cooper was charged with assault with intent to murder and other offenses. The prosecution offered to dismiss two charges and recommend a sentence roughly between 4 and 7 years. Cooper rejected the deal on advice of counsel, who incorrectly believed that Cooper could not be found guilty of intent to murder because the victim was struck below the waist. At trial, it was established that Cooper fired at the victim’s head and missed, then fired repeatedly at her as she fled, hitting her three times.

The opinion in these cases came one day after the Court handed down its decision in Martinez v. Ryan. In that case, the Court also expanded judicial review of defense counsel behavior by holding that claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel may be raised in federal habeas proceedings regardless of whether state law only permits such claims to be brought in state collateral proceedings if there no counsel during the collateral proceeding or counsel was ineffective.

Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court in both cases, Justice Scalia filed a dissent in both cases, which Justices Roberts and Thomas joined. Justice Alito joined Scalia’s opinion in Frye and filed a dissenting opinion in Lafler, joining Scalia’s opinion in part.

Kennedy’s opinion in Frye recognized that the plea bargaining process is “often in flux, with no clear standards of timeliness and with no judicial supervision of the discussions between prosecution and defense.” And, that there is no constitutional right to receive a plea offer. But, the Court reasoned that the practical reality of the modern criminal justice system required greater oversight of defense counsel in plea negotiations. Where only three percent of federal convictions and six percent of state convictions are not the result of a guilty plea, “it is insufficient simply to point to the guarantee of a fair trial as a backstop that inoculates any errors in the pretrial process.”

In Frye, the Court held that defense counsel has a duty under the Sixth Amendment to communicate formal plea offers from the prosecution. It recognized that exceptions to that duty may arise in the future, but “need not be explored here.”

In Lafler, the Court held that counsel is ineffective where the defendant shows that 1) but for the ineffective advice of counsel there is a reasonable probability that the plea offer would have been accepted and brought before the court; 2) that the court would have accepted its terms; and 3) that the conviction or sentence would have been lesser than under those imposed after trial. The question of what constitutes ineffective advice was not explored in the case because both petitioner and respondent agreed that trial counsel’s advice was ineffective.

The question of appropriate remedy for a finding under Lafler is somewhat complex, as accepting a plea deal may result in conviction of a lower offense. Where a court finds that a plea deal would have resulted in a lower sentence, it has discretion to reduce the existing sentence appropriately. Where the court were to find that accepting the plea deal would have resulted in conviction of a lesser offense, it may need to require the prosecution to re-offer the plea, vacate the trial conviction, and accept the plea.

Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinions stated that the Court had “open[ed] a whole new field of constitutionalized criminal procedure: plea-bargaining law.” For example, Scalia argued that “it would be foolish to think that ‘constitutional’ rules governing counsel’s behavior will not be followed by rules governing the prosecution’s behavior.” Justice Alito proposes two circumstances where requiring a prosecutor to renew a plea offer would be an abuse of discretion: 1) Where new information comes to light after the offer is rejected; and 2) where the prior rejection resulted in a costly expenditure of prosecutorial resources.

“The Hunger Games” satisfies your entertainment appetite

Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy, and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games.”

by Matt Bogdan, 1L

Rating: 8 out of 9. Thomas dissenting.

I like to think that my insatiable bloodlust, and hence my appreciation for “The Hunger Games,” is a product of my time in law school and not any underlying character flaw. The many fans of the best-selling trilogy will not be left disappointed by the film adaptation of the first book in the series. The film stays true to the novel, almost to a fault (it took me roughly fivehours to read the first book; the film itself is 142 minutes). Jennifer Lawrence delivers a remarkable performance as Katniss Everdeen, a young woman faced with the prospect of her imminent death as she battles for her life in the seventy-fourth Hunger Games.

Set in a not too distant, dystopian future, “The Hunger Games” follows the story of Lawrence’s Katniss, who must fight for her life after she volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, an annual gladiatorial event pitting one boy and one girl from each of the 12 subservient districts against one another for the benefit and enjoyment of the nefarious Capitol District. The event takes place in the Arena, a Truman Show-esque dome. The Games are broadcast throughout each of the 12 Districts and the Capitol, with the Capitol crowd particularly enjoying each moment of the carnage. Only one of the twenty-four participants leaves the Arena each year.

Even though the film is marginally geared for the tween crowd, it is incredibly dark, violent, and at times emotionally disturbing, especially the scenes in the Arena. Director Gary Ross does not steer away from child-on-child murder, and in fact seems to embrace it as enhancing his antiauthoritarian message. Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss is spot-on, capturing the character’s cold, external reserve, while highlighting her flashes of anger, sorrow, and even love.

Lawrence leads a group of actors who pull off surprisingly strong performances. Full disclosure: I have been a huge fan of Woody Harrelson since “White Men Can’t Jump” (also the title of my life story). Harrelson was regarded by many as an odd choice for the role of Haymitch Abernathy, Katniss’s mentor in the series, but he delivers a remarkably poignant performance for such limited screen time. Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci are also solid, with Tucci particularly effective as the Hunger Games’ host, Caesar Flickerman.

The one fault I find with the film comes during the scenes in the Arena, where it can be particularly difficult to follow the action. The “shaky cam” method of creating realism is a bit overplayed and I almost felt dizzy at points (although, to be fair, it could have just been the nausea from seeing a young girl brutally maimed by genetically enhanced wasps). I would not go into the film expecting tremendous character development either (the movie is the heir-apparent to the “Twilight” series). And those who have not read the book may feel slightly lost at times, although those I have spoken to said that not having read the books did not impair the storyline in any serious way.

Ultimately, fans of the books will leave the theater satisfied, no small task considering how wildly popular the series has been. Jennifer Lawrence brings Katniss Everdeen to life, and director Gary Ross puts the pieces in place to bring Susan Collins’ dystopian world to life.

 

Editor, concurring in judgment

While I agree with Justice Bogdan’s excellent assessment of the quality of the movie, I write separately to say a few words about his characterization of the book as the “heir-apparent to the ‘Twilight’ series,” and the notion that an insatiable bloodlust is necessary to enjoy the movie. “Twilight” is a chastity metaphor. “The Hunger Games” is a social critique, touching on everything from celebrity obsession and reality television to environmentalism and the corrupting influence of power. Both involve teenage heroines caught in a love triangle. The similarities end there.

As to bloodlust, it is undoubtedly true that the movie is primarily about teenagers murdering each other (and perhaps for some that is the appeal), but the deaths are played for shock, not visceral thrills. This is not “Battle Royale.” Whether the popularity of the books and the movie confirm Collins’s critiques and mean that we, as consumers, are adopting our role as the Roman mob is a fair debate. But it is a debate that can be framed through discussions of the novels, and that, for me, is enough to elevate them above guilty pleasure entertainment.

 

Journals prepare for write-on competitions

The write-on competition for membership on Georgetown’s law journals will run from May 18-29, 2012. The Office of Journal Administration will host a town hall meeting on Wednesday, March 28 at 3:30 p.m. in Hart Auditorium. The editors-in-chief of each journal will be available during the town hall to answer questions about each journal and the competition. The write-on packet will be available for purchase on May 5. The Law Weekly has included a letter after the jump.

American Criminal Law Review

Dear rising second year students,

It is my privilege to introduce you to ACLR as its editor-in-chief elect. ACLR is the nation’s premier criminal law journal and its issues sit on the desk of thousands of prosecutors, litigators, and judges. Whether you want to practice in criminal law, public interest, corporate, litigation, or join the legal academy, ACLR can help you fulfill your goals.

In addition to publishing at least four issues a year, life on ACLR includes:

The Annual Survey of White Collar Crime: Our comprehensive guide to yearly developments is the definitive reference work in white collar crime. Each staff member has the opportunity to update and revise the Annual Survey, meaning every staff member will have a publication credit in the Annual Survey by the end of next year.

50th Anniversary Symposium: To celebrate ACLR’s 50th Anniversary in 2012, we will host the largest symposium in the journal’s history. It is a forum for discussion of cutting edge legal developments by some of the law’s brightest legal minds and a homecoming for ACLR’s thousands of talented alumni. Being part of the 50th Anniversary symposium is an unparalleled educational and networking event.

Directed Note Program (DNP): Several staff members will be selected to work with 3L advisors on their scholarly notes, and they are guaranteed publication in Volume 50. Participants in this program receive substantial support in developing, writing, and editing their notes, giving DNP participants the chance to truly impact the criminal law field of their choice.

Featured Bloggers Program (FBP): Several staff members also have the opportunity to publish constantly on the ACLR blog, engaging with practitioners and professors on a variety of topics. This program allows participants to become thought leaders regarding current events as they happen in real time. FBP participants are assisted by 3L advisors.

Leadership Experience: The ACLR is entirely student run and among the most prestigious and well-respected journals in the United States. ACLR staff members are exposed to a broad array of legal scholarship and gain practical writing and management skills recognized by legal employers everywhere. Social events and training sessions make ACLR a true community of like-minded and supportive students, working together toward a worthy goal.

You must rank ACLR first or second in order to be considered for selection. We value the write-on scores (55%) slightly more than academic performance (45%). If you have any questions, please contact me, and I look forward to welcoming you to ACLR this fall.

Best of luck and best regards,

Jeff Golimowski
Editor-in-Chief, ACLR Volume 50

 

Georgetown Immigration LawJournal

Dear first-year students:

Thank you for your interest in the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal (GILJ). Our journal is the only student-edited journal in the country devoted to immigration and international migration, and we’d love to have you join our team!

The journal addresses issues in immigration, human rights, national security, international, labor, constitutional, criminal, and administrative law. Commonly discussed in media and frequently debated in legal circles, immigration is unexpectedly complex and offers a fascinating study of present and future global concerns. Our nation’s leaders constantly reevaluate immigration programs and policies, making this field dynamic and increasing the journal’s relevance.

Importantly, an interest in pursuing a career in immigration or human rights law is not at all necessary to be on the journal. Please note that applicants to GILJ must include a resume, but a statement of interest in the journal—while potentially providing a boost to those applicants who illustrate enthusiasm for the journal and its topics—is optional.

The number one thing we value here at the GILJ is your time, and we strive to make the entire journal experience respectful of the fact that you have other lives and commitments. As such, we have no office hours. Further, unlike some journals, you do not have to rank GILJ first on your Write-On application for us to consider you. Additionally, almost all of our work is done electronically, so the journal is excellent for day and night students alike. In addition to getting terrific Bluebook experience and a snazzy line on your resume, you can look forward to scholarly and networking events that take advantage of our location here in D.C. We also want the journal experience to be a fun one, so we are planning social events throughout the year to allow you to meet the diverse group of 2Ls and 3Ls that make up the GILJ.

As a member of the journal, you will have two opportunities to become a published author. All members write a student note during their first year on the journal and have the option of seeking publication of that note. Student notes must generally be about a topic covered by the journal, but within that broad sphere, your choice of topics is endless. For example, if you are interested in human rights, you may choose to write about potential alternatives to refugee camps in first countries of asylum; if you are interested in tax law, you may choose to write about whether the tax code should encourage companies to hire immigrants. Regardless of your interests, our student note editors and faculty advisor are here to help you choose a topic and guide you through the process to publication. Many of our members are able to use the papers they write for their Georgetown Writing Requirement (WR) classes as their notes. This is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.

Members may also choose to write current-development articles for publication. Each issue, the journal publishes student-written articles about current developments in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. When appropriate, articles about international current developments are also included.

Please do not hesitate to contact me about the GILJ or the write-on process in general. I look forward to welcoming you to the GILJ team!

Best regards,

Joe Darrow, Editor-in-Chief, 2012-2013
E-mail: jad288@law.georgetown.edu

 

Georgetown International Environmental Law Review

Dear first-year students,

As you begin thinking about the 2012 Write-On competition, I encourage you to consider joining the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review. Our journal offers members an opportunity to hone their editing and writing skills and to take valuable steps toward future employment in a variety of legal fields. Our membership comes from a variety of backgrounds, reflecting the diverse impact of environmental law.

GIELR is a leading journal in environmental law. We publish articles on a wide variety of topics, including climate change, endangered species, water rights, energy, environmental ethics, and land use law. Because of the extraordinary breadth of environmental law, GIELR publishes articles with both domestic and international focuses. As a result, members build knowledge bases that are applicable to both private and public sector jobs.

All GIELR members write student notes. Our Writing Editors will work with you to plan your note, which is due at the end of your second year. The Directed Note program features two first-year staff members who write notes under the guidance of Writing Editors. Participation in the Directed Note program guarantees publication in the journal. Student notes are a great opportunity to further hone legal research and writing skills, and make for excellent writing samples for potential future employers.

First-year staff members edit articles, collect sources and edit citations, and conduct preemption checks. Second-year editors provide regular feedback to first-year staff members, allowing them to improve their editing and research skills. As second-year members, you will select and edit articles, learn about the process of scholarly publication, and manage the GIELR staff. These editing and leadership responsibilities provide benefits in all legal fields.

GIELR has a flexible office hours policy, whereby members sign up for time to do work rather than spending time in the office. Members may complete office hours by drafting short articles for the GIELR blog or by assisting second-year editors with other tasks. The blog offers another way for members to receive exposure for their writing.

In selecting members, GIELR considers first-year grades and the Write-On score, which count for 45% and 55% of the selection criteria respectively. If you have any questions about the journal, please do not hesitate to send me an email. I wish you the best of luck on Write-On and with the rest of your first year.

Best wishes,

Daniel Honberg, Editor-in-Chief, Vol. XXV
E-mail: djh77@law.georgetown.edu

 

Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law

The mission of The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law is to explore the impact of gender, sexuality, and race on both the theory and practice of law. We publish scholarship that explores current problems and controversies in the law by examining them in this context, especially where issues of gender, sexuality, and race intersect. The Gender Journal seeks to complement the critical work being done by existing journals by expanding inquiries into the intersection between gender, sexuality, and race. We are one of the only legal journals in the world to explicitly address these intersections.

Our journal’s three annual publications integrate cutting-edge legal scholarship and practical applications. Our most unique publication is the student-authored Annual Review of Gender and the Law—the nation’s only comprehensive guide to legal issues relating to gender and sexuality. The Annual Review serves as an indispensable tool for practitioners judges, advocacy organizations, and scholars as it informs readers of existing law and highlights recent changes.

Learn About A Dynamic Legal Field: Legal scholarship on gender, sexuality, and race encompasses a broad range of exciting and dynamic areas of law, including constitutional, family, criminal, education, employment, health, and more. We are proud to have brought Vice President Joe Biden to campus on April 22, 2009, for our symposium on the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act and are in the process of planning next year’s symposium marking the 25th anniversary of the historic case, Gay Rights Coalition of Georgetown Law Center v. Georgetown University.

Publish A Student Article: Each 2L staff member will be responsible for writing and/or editing and updating an article in the Annual Review. As a result, the Gender Journal is one of the only publications at Georgetown to guarantee its members the opportunity to publish legal articles in their second year of law school. Additionally, a handful of students are selected to publish student notes. Because issues of gender, sexuality, and race have implications for many areas of the law, students have considerable freedom to focus their notes on the disciplines of their choosing.

Hone Your Research And Writing Skills: Our journal is committed to helping individual members refine their legal skills through substantive research, writing, and editing projects. 2L staff members do much more than simply edit, cite-check, and verify sources. Our staff members substantially revise and update Annual Review articles during the fall semester and begin work on original student notes during the spring semester, working closely with the 3L members of the Journal and receiving substantive feedback on their work.

Work Hard And Have Fun: the members of the Gender Journal are a fun, diverse, and passionate group of women and men of varied political persuasions, experiences, and career goals. We encourage mentorship between 3L and 2L members and offer ample leadership opportunities. Additionally, we enjoy hosting events for the broader law school community, such as our upcoming Symposium in Spring 2013, and holding social events for our members.

Our journal seeks to maintain a diverse staff that shares the Gender Journal’s mission and wishes to participate in the Journal’s rigorous academic program. Admission to the Journal is based equally on a combination of grades (50%) and the write on score (50%). Because we do not require a personal statement, we strongly encourage interested participants to preference the Gender Journal near the top of your rankings.

The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law is one of the most exciting opportunities at the Law Center. We encourage you to join our staff.

Sincerely,

Alina Hoffman
Editor-in-Chief, Volume XIV
arh66@law.georgetown.edu

 

The Georgetown Journal of International Law

Dear first-year students,

Congratulations on completing your first year of law school! As your thoughts turn to your second year, we at the Georgetown Journal of International Law (GJIL) hope you will apply to join us. Founded in 1969, GJIL is the second oldest law journal at Georgetown and has grown from its roots as the Georgetown Journal of Law and Policy in International Business into one of the nation’s top journals in the diverse field of general international law.

GJIL is an excellent for anyone interested in developing deeper knowledge about specific aspects of international law or in expanding his or her understanding more generally. We emphasize broad-ranging contemporary issues in the area of international, human rights, public international law, and international security, and any other relevant international subjects. We are committed to publishing diverse content that is relevant to legal practitioners and professors. For example, GJIL publishes an annual Trade Issue in cooperation with the Court of International Trade, while our 2012 Symposium focused on the Alien Tort Statute.

Joining GJIL will make you a part of an incredible and talented community of people. Many members of the journal speak multiple languages, have lived and worked overseas, and will practice international law upon graduation. While working with next year’s editors, I am consistently impressed not only by their varied backgrounds but also by their enthusiasm for GJIL and the topics we cover.

Next year, we will continue to shape the journal as a tool for furthering our understanding of developing issues in international law, while also strengthening our internal networking as well as our connections with Georgetown Law alumni and area practitioners.

Our core aim at GJIL is to give all members the most valuable and enjoyable journal experience possible. For example, you will have the opportunity to contribute to the direction of future issues and work closely with 3Ls on article selection, substantive editing, solicitations, and other big picture tasks. In addition, members can seek to publish a note that may make a meaningful contribution to international law scholarship.

Each GJIL member must submit a note, but publication is not required or guaranteed. GJIL’s Notes Team provides students with the flexibility, time, and guidance to thoughtfully complete the note requirements during or before their second year on the journal. The Notes Team strives to publish GJIL members and will work closely with all students to shape student notes to publishable quality.

Selection for GJIL is based on a combination of grades (50%) and the Write-On competition score (50%). We only accept applicants who rank GJIL first or second. Please feel free to contact me via email at dc286@law.georgetown.edu if you have any questions. We wish you the best of luck on exams and the Write-On competition. Enjoy the summer!

Best regards,

Dasha Chestukhin
Editor-in-Chief, Volume 44

 

Georgetown Journal of Law & Modern Critical Race 

We are Georgetown’s newest law journal and one of the few law journals in the country dedicated to legal scholarship on race, ethnicity, and identity. We were founded in 2007 by a driven group of students who were inspired by their experiences with critical race theorists at Georgetown. These students viewed the establishment of a race and identity law journal as a meaningful contribution to Georgetown Law, as well as the larger legal community.

MCRP is grounded in critical race theory and takes an interdisciplinary perspective on law and policy. Critical race theory examines race and identity with the goal of addressing and transforming the historically subordinate relationships that have defined race in America. Founders of this field include Georgetown Professors Mari Matsuda, Charles Lawrence and Gary Peller. MCRP is a scholarly forum for academics and professionals who are committed to racial justice, civil rights, and civil liberties and provides a platform for critical race theorists to discuss the unique challenges facing society in our postmodern age. In the past year, we have published on a wide range of topics, from race-based medical treatment to criminal prosecutions of Asian American gangs in California to the impact of the “The Wire” on popular culture.

Our journal strives to include the perspectives of our members throughout in the decision-making process. We have a culture of open communication between board members and staff, and our leadership acknowledges that students have other priorities in addition to journal. Many of our staff members are in clinics, hold externships, and have full or part-time jobs. Our staff possesses a camaraderie that comes from a shared sense of purpose. We provide a rigorous editorial experience for our members who benefit from discussing interesting (and oftentimes challenging) topics. As a staff editor, you will play an integral role in the organization and will learn from some of the brightest legal academics in not only critical race, but from scholars in other disciplines (law and economics, critical legal studies etc.) who regularly choose to submit to our journal.

As a journal, we provide unique opportunities for student leadership and community activism. By design, MCRP is a relatively small but highly dedicated and motivated organization. We organize group volunteer
activities with local non-profits in Washington, D.C., and hope to build strong lifelong bonds among our
members. Staff editors have ample opportunity to take on leadership positions, and we strive to assign all members to articles of their choosing. We are also committed to the publication of student work and require journal members to write a student note, which will potentially be published. Additionally, we solicit short (500 word) reaction pieces from our staff members and publish them in our journal, increasing the opportunity to get published while in law school. Student authors are mentored by our
senior staff and are given a vital introduction to the published scholarship process.

In applying to enter our journal, we rely on a combination of factors, including the case comment, bluebook test, and grades. We encourage students of diverse backgrounds and life experience to apply. If you have any questions regarding the journal or membership, please feel free to email me.

Mercedes C. Morno
mercedesmorno@yahoo.com

 

Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy

The Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy (GJLPP) is one of four law journals in the country dedicated to championing and critiquing conservative, libertarian, and natural law perspectives on law and policy. Because our journal focuses not on a particular topic but on a way of thinking, journal members are exposed a nearly endless array of subject matter. For example, our most recent issue contains articles and notes on topics as varied as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Affordable Care Act, Citizens United and the original understanding of corporations, redistricting, voting rights, the Guaranty Clause, natural law and patent rights, due process and drug testing, and Dodd-Frank and the effects of financial regulation. Furthermore, thanks to our unique ideological focus and location in Washington, D.C., we are able to publish work from top legal scholars and high-profile authors such as Ted Olson, Kenneth Starr, Richard Posner, Ed Meese, Michael Chertoff, Douglas Ginsburg, and Senators Bill Frist and
John McCain.

GJLPP is a relatively young journal, and as we celebrate our tenth anniversary this year we take pride that our influence continues to grow. Our journal was cited by Justice Scalia in District of Columbia v. Heller, by Justice Thomas in Northwest Austin Utility District v. Holder, by the lead attorney for the appellant in McDonald v. Chicago, and by the Seventh Circuit in Ezell v. City of Chicago. We have also been cited by state supreme courts, federal district courts, and numerous law reviews.

If you have a particular interest in conservative, libertarian, or natural law scholarship, we hope that you will preference GJLPP at the top of your list. Even if you do not consider yourself a proponent of conservative, libertarian, or natural law theory, we still encourage you to consider our journal, as we gladly welcome students whose ideas span the political and ideological spectrum. At the end of the day, we are concerned with publishing top rate material from notable authors and outstanding students. GJLPP makes an extra effort to publish as many student notes as possible, and our editors will provide guidance and feedback during topic selection and note drafting to increase the chance of publication. The journal will also provide social and educational opportunities to ensure a rewarding journal experience.

In evaluating write-on candidates, we consider academic achievement and write-on scores in equal proportion (50/50). We do not require a résumé or personal statement. Because of the strong interest in our journal in recent years, you must preference GJLPP within your top two or three choices.

Best regards,

Jonathan Bailyn
Editor-in-Chief, Vol. 11

 

Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics

Dear 1L,

The Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics (GJLE) hopes you will consider joining our Volume 26 editorial staff next year.

GJLE is the nation’s leading journal on legal ethics and the future of the legal profession and one of the three most-cited student-run specialty journals in the country. During a moment of rapid change in the profession, the ethical issues confronting lawyers and scholars have never been more complex and relevant; topics of debate range from jurors contacting defendants on MySpace to political interference with law schools’ clinical programs.

As a member of GJLE, you will be a published author by the end of your 2L/3E year, which makes us unique among Georgetown’s journals. You will choose your own topic, write an original note, workshop it with the help of our editors, and have offprints of your published work in hand as you app summer. Like most things worth doing, it is challenging but enormously gratifying to write a printable note. Our editorial board is committed to making the authorship and publication process as collaborative and intellectually rewarding as possible.

GJLE’s success draws heavily on our commitment to the values of public service and social justice. When the late Father Robert Drinan founded the journal in 1987—after his career as a congressman and human rights advocate—he wrote: “[No] journal has been established as the central forum for the discussion and development of the ethical and professional dilemmas confronting the lawyers of America . . The Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics hopes to be that forum.” We have worked hard to honor the vision of higher ethical conduct and community service that Father Drinan fostered during his years at the Law Center. We retain his conviction that lawyers work in service of justice, and justice works in service of society.

Historically, we’ve been unable to offer membership to students who rank GJLE lower than third during the Write On competition. Our selection criteria are intended to attract individuals who have strong academic and writing abilities, and who are motivated to contribute to the journal’s continuing success.

If you have any questions about GJLE, please feel free to contact me at jrs283@law.georgetown.edu. Good luck with exams, and we hope you will join us!

Sincerely,

Julia Sferlazzo
Editor in Chief, Volume XXVI

 

Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy

Dear journal candidate,

The Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy is the nation’s premier law journal on poverty issues. As part of its mission to bring an end to poverty in the United States and around the world, the journal publishes articles by distinguished law professors, scholars, and practitioners in poverty-related fields. In addition, the journal features student research and narratives of persons living in poverty. The journal’s comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and comparative analysis of poverty issues and law represents a groundbreaking approach to scholarly publication.

In light of the current economic climate, the Journal’s mission is becoming increasingly important as we work collectively to address widening disparities in wealth and class. We believe it is important to pursue distinctive and influential scholarship that revisits once-latent debates about the impact of the legal system on people living in poverty, as well as fresh, new approaches to understanding and reforming the laws and policies that relate to poverty.

Furthermore, while the journal is committed to soliciting and publishing scholarship that livens the debate on poverty, our obligations do not end with the completion of our editorial responsibilities. The journal is also actively involved in meaningful community outreach. Consistent with that mission, the journal works with legal and social service organizations to provide assistance to those in need through community service projects.

Our staff includes members pursuing positions in a variety of legal fields, including the government, non-profits, and law firms. Despite our differing backgrounds, we are all bound together by our shared commitment to fighting poverty. The journal seeks to support the academic and professional growth of our members, both through our mentoring program, which connects new members to experienced staff, and through our writing program, which guides all members through the process of writing a student note on a scholarly topic related to poverty.

I hope you will consider joining the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy next year. Our selection process emphasizes the Write On competition score as well as your resume, personal statement, and grades. Your one-page personal statement should briefly address your interest and/or experience in poverty law and policy. Good luck during the Write On competition, and please do not hesitate to contact me with questions!

Sincerely,

Nick Sheehan, Editor-in-Chief, Volume 20
njs42@law.georgetown.edu

 

The Georgetown Law Journal

Dear first-year students,

Congratulations on nearing the end of your first year! After finishing exams, I hope that you take a moment to relax and recover—and then devote a full week to the write-on competition. When you rank the journals by preference, I invite you to rank The Georgetown Law Journal first.

The journal, founded in 1912 and celebrating its 101st anniversary next year, is one of the oldest and most prestigious law reviews in the country. Our generalist approach—welcoming high-quality scholarship about any aspect of the law—offers members a unique opportunity to deepen their understanding of diverse legal subjects. Each year, the journal selects for publication approximately
twenty articles from more than 2,000 submissions. This process offers an unparalleled opportunity to
interact with—and critique—the work of the world’s most prominent legal scholars.

In addition to selecting and editing articles, journal members write a scholarly note on any legal topic of their choice. All second-year members also contribute to our secondary publication—Annual Review of Criminal Procedure—that serves as the “practitioner’s bible” for the federal criminal bar.

Students may earn membership on the journal in any of three ways:

  1. 50% of our new members are accepted solely on the basis of their write-on scores.
  2. 40 to 50% of our new members are accepted on the basis of a formula that equally weighs write-on scores and grades.
  3. Up to 10% of our new members are selected solely on the basis of their personal statement, provided that they have reached a certain threshold score on their write-on submission. Every student is encouraged to submit an optional personal statement describing how his or her diverse background will contribute to the membership of the journal.

I invite you to discuss your interest with me or any other member of The Journal, and I hope you will preference The Georgetown Law Journal first—not only for the doors it will open throughout your legal career, but also for the skills you will develop, the first-class scholarship you will publish, and the friends and colleagues with whom you will work over the next two years. I look forward to welcoming many of you into our community as staff members on Volume 101 of The Georgetown Law Journal!

Sincerely,

Lala R. Qadir
Editor-in-Chief
lrq@law.georgetown.edu

 

The Tax Lawyer

The Tax Lawyer is the only student-edited law journal published jointly with the American Bar Association (ABA). Our publication is not only the nation’s premier tax journal; it is also one of the most respected law journals in the country. Each issue reaches more than 20,000 readers—the largest circulation of any student-edited law journal.

While The Tax Lawyer is the only business-centered law journal at Georgetown Law, its readership extends far beyond the corporate world. Because taxation pervades all areas of the law, The Tax Lawyer accommodates an extensive range of scholarship. Our members develop writing and editorial skills that are advantageous in the practice of law or the pursuit of a career in a related cross-disciplinary specialty. Neither knowledge of nor a desire to practice tax law is a prerequisite for membership. Many of our editorial board and staff members had no exposure to tax law prior to joining The Tax Lawyer. Nonetheless, many journal members have appreciated their exposure to the practice of tax law as a building block for understanding other aspects of corporate structure and legal practice.

In short, The Tax Lawyer offers unique opportunities for a broad range of students, including:

Prestige. Membership on The Tax Lawyer is impressive to potential employers, who recognize the significance of our exclusive affiliation with the ABA and the quality of our publication. The Tax Lawyer is popular among not only tax lawyers, but is also read by corporate transactional lawyers, labor lawyers, judges, and many others. Indeed, interviewers often have first-hand experience with our journal, and many are longtime subscribers. It is not uncommon to see copies of The Tax Lawyer on a practitioner’s desk.

Student Publication. The Tax Lawyer prides itself on a strong commitment to publication of student work. Students are paired with an LL.M. mentor, as well as a faculty advisor, to assist the writing process and provide tax expertise.

Publication space allows for up to half of the student notes submitted each year to be published. We have consistently published four issues each year since our first student editorial board took office more than thirty years ago. Our members continue to provide a fresh perspective on a number of cutting-edge tax and tax-related issues.

Social Opportunities and Networking. While most of our present members chose to join The Tax Lawyer because of its national reputation, this advantage constitutes only a part of the journal experience. The Tax Lawyer is also a resource for social interaction, networking, and career advice. We hold fully-funded social events throughout the school year, including an annual Tax Prom and ABA-sponsored networking events, and pride ourselves on having a friendly, open working environment. Journal members are editors, teammates, and friends. In addition, individual practitioners, law firms, and judges often send notices of employment to our office because of our strong reputation and close-knit network of former members.

Leadership. The Tax Lawyer offers outstanding leadership opportunities. Our editors develop invaluable skills that serve them well after graduation, and we offer several different types of advanced editorial opportunities and experiences.

Membership. Our membership selection process is very competitive. If you are considering The Tax Lawyer, our journal must be ranked as one of your top two choices. In considering Write-On candidates, equal weight is given to the Write On score and grades.

If you have any questions, please contact me at ebr26@law.georgetown.edu, or just drop by our office. We hope to see you next year.

Best regards,

Erica B. Richey
Editor-in Chief

Kevin on college basketball: all your burning questions answered

Georgetown lost to North Carolina State in the round of 32.Since I am the Law Weekly’s resident, self-appointed college basketball expert, and this is the biggest week in college basketball, I will be answering all your burning college basketball questions.

Why is college basketball so much more exciting than the NBA?

Excellent question. There are four main reasons why college basketball is usually perceived as being more exciting than the NBA.

First, the season is shorter. College basketball teams usually play thirty something games in a season. The NBA regular season is (normally) 82 games. Each game is therefore more important to the overall success of the season in college, and thus demands a greater amount of effort and passion.

Second, the games are shorter. College basketball games are two twenty-minute halves instead of four twelve-minute quarters. That means each possession is more important to the outcome of the game, and, again, demands more effort and passion.

Third, the players are college students. At least in theory. It is true that many stars at big-name programs essentially function as professionals. Many receive under-the-table payments from boosters, or at least winking promises from agents, and only attend enough class to ensure their tutors can pass their finals for them. However, for many college basketball players, this is the height of their career, and they know it. Their enthusiasm and competitiveness comes from a love of basketball fostered through long hours alone in gyms and millions of shots. Seniors who know they are playing their last games often perform above their own ability level. It is this level of passion that grants college basketball charm.

Finally, college basketball is a coach-driven system, while the NBA is dominated by its players. Coaches like K, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino, and John Calapari are a large part of what gives the game its flavor. General fans ofcollege basketball know characteristics of those teams even if they can’tname any players, or haven’t seen any games this year. Duke will play tough man-to-man defense and shoot a lot of 3s. Syracuse will put a lot of athleticism in a 2-3 zone. Louisville will full courtpress. Kentucky will run a dribble-drive offense showcasing a handful of NBA talents.

Additionally, the coaches’ importance means they have a greater degree of authority, and are more often more effective in achieving a unity of on-court purpose. Even one manshows like last year’s Jimmer and the Fredettes (a.k.a. BYU) are impressive in their united effort: other players know that Jimmer should be shooting most of the shots and they need to compensate on defense, and they play accordingly. This level of teamwork is aesthetically pleasing.

I go to Georgetown. Why don’t I feel a rooting interest in Georgetown’s basketball team?

Correction: you don’t go to Georgetown, you go to Georgetown Law. They’re two entirely separate entities. We’re like “CSI: Miami,” or, better yet, “Law & Order: SVU.” Do you think Mariska Hargitay cares if Sam Waterston hits fade-aways? Of course not. She knows her show is better-rated and staying on the air.

That said, you might want to take a look―this year’s team was a fun one to watch. They were a likable bunch that has attained success largely through suffocating defense and precise execution.

What happened on Friday? Howdid two fifteen seeds win on the same day?

College basketball happened.

The expansion of the sport generally and the shorter 3-point line have combined to increase college basketball parity. Basketball’s accessibility and increasing international popularity have widened the talent base and lowered the gap in ability between top teams and the so-called “mid-majors.” A less talented team can beat a big time program by playing smart, team oriented defense, and knocking down a lot of three-pointers. The slogan, “live by the three (see Norfolk State beating Missouri), die by the three (see Duke losing to Lehigh),” is true, but it doesn’t make those games where the threes are falling for the underdog any less exciting.

Should college basketball players get paid?

The billion-dollar question. As currently situated, the system is clearly unfair. NCAA basketball is a billion-dollar business, and the people who play the games make 0, excluding scholarships. Playing college basketball is essentially a full-time, high pressure job, which often hinders the ability of players to get a well-rounded college experience and therefore the value of scholarships.

Ultimately, the biggest problem with the current rules strictly prohibiting payment of players is that they reward the teams that cheat. The NCAA’s system of self-reporting violations further compounds the problem by making it easy to get away with lesser violations. Additionally, the NCAA’s punishment of “vacating” wins is utter nonsense. According to the NCAA, Kansas won an epic classic in 2008 on a Mario Chalmers 3-pointer that beat …nobody. The record books have that game down as a forfeit. What a sham.

One proposed solution is to create a trust. Money would be put in based on performance and memorabilia sales, and players can access the money upon graduation. Of course, a graduation requirement would incentivize schools to not graduate their players. There are however, some rules in place punishing programs failing to graduate athletes, which could be strengthened. The rule would also encourage the players themselves to graduate, effectively increasing the value of the scholarships and furthering the fiction of “amatuerism” in college basketball.

Who’s going to the Final Four?

Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State,and North Carolina. Kentucky willbeat Carolina 79-75 in the final.

Contraceptive health debate: where are the men?

The hearing that started it all. Sandra Fluke, 3L, was not allowed to testify, leaving only men seated at the table.

by Daniel Smith, 1L

“Where are the women?” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney asked as she and her female colleagues walked out of a House Oversight hearing after Chairman Issa disallowed Sandra Fluke from testifying. The hearing set off a surreal chain of events, culminating in dozens of advertisers dropping Rush Limbaugh for his incendiary comments about her. With deference to the many Georgetown women who were personally offended and want to see him held accountable, Rush is a distraction from the real issue. Taking him down is the project of national liberals who sense blood in the water. Their battle is not Georgetown’s, where students led by the Law Students for Reproductive Justice have fought for years to get fair healthcare for female students.

Students have had many reasons to support that effort. Why, then, did it take Rush’s statements to get many men to be sympathetic toward Sandra Fluke? And on the substantive policy issue of contraceptive healthcare, “Where are the men?”

Certainly, this is a women’s health issue, and it makes sense for women to lead on it. Ms. Fluke portrayed the victims of the disparity faithfully and avoided presenting herself as a victim. She didn’t have to: Rush was more than obliged to victimize her himself. And only after Rush engaged in a “misogynistic, vitriolic … misrepresentation” (President DeGioia’s words) and emerged as the chief defender of our school’s policies did the Administration directly contact students on the issue. Don’t get me wrong: I was relieved to see their strongly worded support and dutifully added my name to both Dean Teanor’s statement and the SBA letter that commended him for it. But as Ms. Fluke delivered student testimonials to Congress, the school was silent.

Although the Administration’s statements subtly reinforced their opposition to Ms. Fluke’s message, the situation gave the school a chance to be seen on the right side of an issue, even if it wasn’t the issue. National news organizations no longer needed to report the issue as Georgetown against female students with Sandra at their back, but as Rush against Sandra with Georgetown at her back. With Georgetown’s image under attack and being defended so poorly, something needed to be said. The quality of recruited faculty could be impacted, diminishing the reputation of a school we worked hard to attend.

It was also right for Ms. Fluke to stand up for women at our school. Before Issa’s hearing, Georgetown enjoyed a low profile regarding its lack of coverage to incoming students, which, of course, exacerbated the policy’s negative effects after students matriculated. Funding is denied to student groups raising awareness of the issue. The Administration probably viewed the aversive effects of the policy on some (mostly female) prospective students as not much greater than the appeal of taking a principled stand for the orthodox—notwithstanding that Georgetown is in the minority on this issue, even among Catholic law schools.

But any benefits to a top tier school from subtly appealing to contraceptive conscientious objectors have now collapsed. Last Friday, President Obama clarified that the HHS rule that set off this debate, which requires employers or at least insurance providers to fully cover contraceptive healthcare for employees, will extend to students as well. The university, however, should not wait for the rule to go into effect: Georgetown must show it is willing to do the right thing on its own.

Two days before Rush began his tirade, the SBA passed a resolution declaring widespread support among the student body for Ms. Fluke’s efforts. The resolution also encouraged “the leadership and Administration of GULC to publicly clarify by both ‘faith and reason’ the apparent discrimination in their institutional stance towards women students.”

A few days after the Administration’s statements, a Law Democrats email pointed out “neither message represented progress toward resolving the substantive issue of students’ rights to determine the scope of the university health coverage that we purchase.” The email called for full contraceptive coverage for the next academic year and for the school to confirm that tuition isn’t being used to advocate or lobby on the issue.

Last week, Professor Gregg Bloche circulated an email asking his colleagues to join him in requesting “that the Georgetown University administration appoint a committee … to consider ending the contraception exclusion in Georgetown’s health insurance plans for students.” Sixty-six faculty members signed on to the message by the time he delivered it to the Administration. Professor Bloche also explained:

… As a physician, I’ve been moved (and disturbed) by the accounts I’ve heard of the suffering Georgetown’s policy has wrought – and of the ongoing harm to our students’ physical and mental health that this policy is doing. I’m also much-troubled by the breach of medical ethics that this policy demands. It calls upon physicians (and health insurance administrators) to conduct inquiries into the sexual lives of our students – for enforcement rather than for therapeutic purposes. 

Georgetown’s official policy is to cover birth control for medical conditions, but the school’s policy forcing women to opt in leaves many eligible women in the gap due to lack of knowledge and privacy concerns.

Controlling behavior by limiting the availability of preventative medicine is ineffective and unrealistic. Expanding the risk pool to make contraceptive healthcare more widely available is more efficient and helps bring down costs. Even as it lowers costs, expanding coverage is distributionally fair: there is no sensible reason for at least heterosexual, sexually active men to escape sharing the cost to prevent something to which they presumably contribute half the risk.

Yet constitutional rights may trump the best policy. Does a right to practice a religious conviction against contraceptive insurance consume someone else’s right to be free from discriminatory treatment based on another’s religion? The First Amendment would seem not to be so one-sided, or at least is not dispositive on its own. The debate is in fact over who pays, and setting the entitlement has overall distributional effects, making the debate fundamentally political.

After all, the new HHS rule only goes slightly further than a December 2000 E.E.O.C. ruling, which found that insuring prescriptions but withholding birth control coverage for employees to be sex-based discrimination. The ruling was upheld in federal court in Erickson v. Bartell Drug Co. Staff and faculty are covered at Georgetown. After receiving a complaint from the E.E.O.C. a few years ago, DePaul University, another Catholic institution, added birth control coverage to its insurance. Why the dustup now?

The controversy has remained national news for weeks. Georgetown and its graduate schools face fierce competition. This is the time of year students are receiving offers, deciding where to enroll based on all available information. Georgetown must project to prospective students that it puts the interest of students first, whether it’s federally regulated or not. The new rule will expand full coverage as far as students when it finally takes effect. Because the stakes are so high, students who care about our school’s reputation and future should demand the change be made immediately.

Meanwhile, as the school’s defenders parrot the consent argument that “those girls should have attended a different school,” bright young women considering Georgetown just might follow suit.

Daniel Smith, 1L, can be reached at dts42@law.georgetown.edu.

Georgetown Law moves up in U.S. News rankings

Thirteen is a lucky number for Georgetown Law.

On Tuesday, March 13, U.S. News & World Report released its annual Best Law Schools ranking. For the first time since 1998, Georgetown has moved out of the 14 spot―leapfrogging Cornell―to occupy the no. 13 spot.

This is welcome news to students and alumni, many of whom were apoplectic when GULC tied with T-14 interloper University of Texas for the fourteenth spot last year. A Law Weekly story that indicated GULC was in danger of falling out of the T-14―a distinction the law school had enjoyed since the magazine started publishing rankings in 1990―garnered many comments. Texas is currently ranked no. 16.

While heartened by the improvement in rankings, the administration wants to downplay the emphasis on rankings while questioning the methodology behind them.

“We know that rankings matter for students and their job prospects,” said Dean of the Law Center William Treanor. “We’re pleased when they move up, but it’s important to recognize that there’s an arbitrary element in any ranking, including U.S. News. That’s a point to keep any movement in perspective.”

Nonetheless, Dean Treanor credits an improvement in many factors for the better ranking, including stronger GPAs in the first year class and a better peer assessment rating from judges as well as the attorneys from the American Bar Association. In addition to an improved overall rank, the Law Center maintained its top spot in the categories for best clinical and part-time programs in the country, and also ranked in the top 10 rankings in three other U.S. News & World Report’s specialty rankings― International Law (#2), Tax Law (#3) and Healthcare Law (#7).

While Georgetown’s rankings improved this year, the Law Center continues to be dinged in the category of Faculty Resources, primarily due to its large class size. The large class size means lower expenditures for students and a higher faculty-to-student ratio.

“A lot of the U.S. News’s weight is placed on how much of the total resources the law center spends per student. To some extent, that’s a measure that disfavors bigger schools; it doesn’t really recognize the economies of scale. So, a bigger school is able to have great education and spend money more efficiently than a smaller school, and that’s not a metric that U.S. News takes into account,” said Treanor.

Despite the accusation of smaller school bias, the administration is working to improve the faculty resources category rating to improve their rankings.

“Long term we’re very much focused on trying to provide more resources. We launched last year a $150 million campaign as part of the university’s $1.5 billion campaign and that’s really designed for us to increase the resources that we have available,” said Treanor. “So, that will mean more chairs for faculty members, which means more faculty members. It’ll mean more financial aid for students. So that’s something we at the law school are very focused on.”

Below is a breakdown of this year’s ranking methodology.

Quality assessment (weighted by 0.40)

  • Peer assessment score (0.25)
  • Lawyer/judge assessment score (0.15)

Selectivity (weighted by 0.25)

  • Median LSAT scores (0.125)
  • Median undergrad GPA (0.10)
  • Acceptance rate (0.025)

Placement success (weighted by 0.20)

  • Graduate employment rates (0.18)
    • At graduation (0.04)
    • Nine months after graduation (0.14)
  • Bar passage rate (0.02)

Faculty resources (weighted by 0.15)

  • Expenditures per student in 2010 and 2011 fiscal years (0.1125)
    • Average instruction, library, and supporting services (0.0975)
    • Other items, including financial aid (0.015)
  • Student/faculty ratio (0.03)
  • Library resources (0.0075)

 

 

Thirteen is a lucky number for
Georgetown Law.
On Tuesday, March 13, U.S. News
& World Report released its annual Best
Law Schools ranking. For the first time
since 1998, Georgetown has moved
out of the 14 spot―leapfrogging
Cornell―to occupy the no. 13 spot.
This is welcome news to students
and alumni, many of whom were
apoplectic when GULC tied with T-14
interloper University of Texas for the
fourteenth spot last year. A Law
Weekly story that indicated GULC was
in danger of falling out of the T-14―a
distinction the law school had enjoyed
since the magazine started publishing
rankings in 1990―garnered many
comments. Texas is currently ranked
no. 16.
While heartened by the improvement
in rankings, the administration
wants to downplay the emphasis on
rankings while questioning the
methodology behind them.
“We know that rankings matter
for students and their job prospects,”
said Dean of the Law Center William
Treanor. “We’re pleased when they
move up, but it’s important to recognize
that there’s an arbitrary element
in any ranking, including U.S. News.
That’s a point to keep any movement
in perspective.”
Nonetheless, Dean Treanor credits
an improvement in many factors
for the better ranking, including
stronger GPAs in the first year class
and a better peer assessment rating
from judges as well as the attorneys
from the American Bar Association. In
addition to an improved overall rank,
the Law Center maintained its top
spot in the categories for best clinical
and part-time programs in the country,
and also ranked in the top 10 rankings
in three other U.S. News & World
Report’s specialty rankings―
International Law (#2), Tax Law (#3)
and Healthcare Law (#7).
While Georgetown’s rankings
improved this year, the Law Center
continues to be dinged in the category
of Faculty Resources, primarily due to
its large class size.. The large class size
means lower expenditures for students
and a higher faculty-to-student
ratio.
“A lot of the U.S. News’s weight is
placed on how much of the total
resources the law center spends per

International Women’s Human Rights Clinic visits Uganda

Georgetown Law students Elizabeth Hira, 2L (left) and Katrina Homel, 2L (far right) spoke with Uganda WHO Country Representative Joaquim Saweka (center) during the trip. Also pictured are Emma Sslai, LAW-U attorney, and Teaching Fellow Aparna Polavarapu.

Georgetown Law students participating in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic found during their spring break trip to Uganda that even Ugandan law students were closely following recent events at Georgetown.

“One law student we spoke with asked me if I personally knew Sandra Fluke,” said Elizabeth Hira, 2L.

Hira and six other students in the clinic conducted a fact-finding mission in Uganda over spring break researching women’s access to reproductive healthcare as well as Ugandan customary marriage practices, including polygamy, child marriage, and bride price, before the trip.

Students interviewed more than 80 individuals, including government ministers, judges, lawyers, doctors, officials at U.N. agencies, and nonprofit experts as well as men and women in polygamous marriages, about their experiences with family planning and marriage practices.

During their interviews, students were encouraged to use provisions included in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and other international treaties to advance women’s rights related to their research topics.

“I was shocked to find that the issues women in Uganda are dealing with are the same as in the United States,” said Hira. “I was pleasantly surprised to see that arguments using international law effective in the U.S. are also actively used in Uganda.”

“As a member of the clinic who worked on access to reproductive rights, these issues resonate with the Georgetown community right now with the [lack of] ability of students to get access to contraceptives because of Georgetown’s policy,” said Avy Mallik, 3L. “The clinic allowed me to see problems that countries have which are less inclined to recognize the right to access reproductive healthcare.”

Indeed, Clinic Director Professor Susan Deller Ross founded the clinic in 1999 after hearing from the students in the Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA) program at Georgetown Law that women in African countries, much like women in U.S., struggle to overturn laws infringing upon their rights in areas such as family law and inheritance.

“While teaching International and Comparative Law on Women’s Human Rights, my African students started telling me about the laws on the books that were very oppressive to women,” said Ross. “I realized that they were similar to the oppressive laws that we fought in the U.S.”

“I began to get the idea of using human rights treaties as a new tool to get legal changes in African countries to address all of the inequities that women face.”

The clinic has collaborated with Law and Advocacy for Women in Uganda (LAW-U), an organization of alums of the LAWA program, on several projects. In 2004, the clinic spring project focused on eliminating discrimination against women in Uganda’s inheritance laws and on female genital mutilation. During the following semester, clinic students worked with LAW-U, including with a clinic alum to develop test-case litigation challenging the discrimination in both the inheritance and criminal adultery laws.

LAW-U subsequently filed the lawsuits in Uganda’s Constitutional Court, and won both cases in 2007. The Court ruled the existing inheritance laws discriminated against women and were unconstitutional.

Included among the provisions struck down were sections of the Succession Act that preferred a male heir to a female heir; gave the father, but not the mother, the right to appoint a guardian of his children through a will; and prevented female relatives from being appointed as statutory guardians, but giving the right to male relatives.

The clinic has also worked on projects in Kenya, Namibia, Ghana, Swaziland, and Poland.

In addition to LAW-U, the clinic is also partnered with the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“Legal change is slow, but in Uganda, we have had so many successes,” said Ross. “Our partner has won lawsuits against three of the laws that we targeted—divorce, criminal adultery, and inheritance.” She cited recently passed laws banning the practice of female genital mutilation as well as protecting women from domestic violence and employment discrimination, all of which have been the subjects of previous student projects, as examples of the clinics progress in women’s rights advocacy.

The clinic provides students who are interested in careers in international human rights law with hands on experience in the field.

“Along with the human rights fact-finding seminar, the clinic is one of only a few ways in which students can conduct a fact-finding investigation while still in law school,” said Lisa De Gray, 3L.

Kiera Bloore, 2L, agreed. “Over the course of the week, I learned how to obtain the information I needed while not asking leading questions,” she said. “These are important skills for a lawyer to have and ones my other classes do not cover.”

During the trip, Hira realized that her clinic research made her an expert in the area of reproductive healthcare law. “We put a ton of work in, and it was sometimes frustrating, but I was amazed that when we were sitting before people working in the law and I realized that they didn’t know the status of the law,” she said.

“A good lawyer is a unique asset in pushing for reform, whether legal or not,” said Hira.

Clinic participants will use interviews from their trip to support human rights reports and legislative proposals. Although still in the process of drafting their reports, they have observed general trends that emerged in their interviews.

“[One] thing that struck me was how much the children of polygamous parents resented the lack of attention from their father,” said Ross.

Mallik noted that he realized through the clinic’s work in Uganda that HIV/AIDS has a severe disproportionate impact on women.

“Women are more susceptible to HIV/AIDS; that is exhibited at higher rates in terms of the higher rate of infection among women, but also, HIV rates create a higher burden on women who may be keeping the family together,” said Mallik.

The trip helped students understand the cultural issues with which they have been grappling throughout the semester.

De Gray said, “I really enjoyed speaking with a wide range of people—government officials, members of civil society organizations, and everyday citizens—and gaining a greater understanding of Ugandan culture and the issues and laws we’re working on.”

researching women’s access to reproductive
healthcare as well as Ugandan
customary marriage practices, including
polygamy, child marriage, and
bride price, before the trip.
Students interviewed more than
80 individuals, including government
ministers, judges, lawyers, doctors,
officials at U.N. agencies, and nonprofit
experts as well as men and
women in polygamous marriages,
about their experiences with family
planning and marriage practices.
During their interviews, students
were encouraged to use provisions
included in the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women, the
International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, and other international
treaties to advance women’s rights
related to their research topics.
“I was shocked to find that the
issues women in Uganda are dealing
with are the same as in the United
States,” said Hira. “I was pleasantly
surprised to see that arguments using
international law effective in the U.S.
are also actively used in Uganda.”
“As a member of the clinic who
worked on access to reproductive
rights, these issues resonate with the
Georgetown community right now
with the [lack of] ability of students to
get access to contraceptives because of
Georgetown’s policy,” said Avy
Mallik, 3L. “The clinic allowed me to
see problems that countries have
which are less inclined to recognize
the right to access reproductive
healthcare.”
Indeed, Clinic Director Professor
Susan Deller Ross founded the clinic
in 1999 after hearing from the students
in the Leadership and Advocacy for
Women in Africa (LAWA) program at
Georgetown Law that women in
African countries, much like women
in U.S., struggle to overturn laws
infringing upon their rights in areas
such as family law and inheritance.
“While teaching International and
Comparative Law on Women’s
Human Rights, my African students
started telling me about the laws on
the books that were very oppressive to
women,” said Ross. “I realized that
they were similar to the oppressive
laws that we fought in the U.S.”
“I began to get the idea of using
human rights treaties as a new tool to
get legal changes in African countries
to address all of the inequities that
women face.”
The clinic has collaborated with
Law and Advocacy for Women in
Uganda (LAW-U), an organization of
alums of the LAWA program, on several
projects. In 2004, the clinic spring
project focused on eliminating discrimination
against women in
Uganda’s inheritance laws and on
female genital mutilation. During the
following semester, clinic students
worked with LAW-U, including with
a clinic alum to develop test-case litigation
challenging the discrimination
in both the inheritance and criminal
adultery laws.
LAW-U subsequently filed the
lawsuits in Uganda’s Constitutional
Court, and won both cases in 2007.
The Court ruled the existing inheritance
laws discriminated against
women and were unconstitutional.
Included among the provisions
struck down were sections of the
Succession Act that preferred a male
heir to a female heir; gave the father,
but not the mother, the right to
appoint a guardian of his children
through a will; and prevented female
relatives from being appointed as
statutory guardians, but giving the
right to male relatives.
The clinic has also worked on
projects in Kenya, Namibia, Ghana,
Swaziland, and Poland.
In addition to LAW-U, the clinic is
also partnered with the Center for
Reproductive Rights.
“Legal change is slow, but in
Uganda, we have had so many successes,”
said Ross. “Our partner has
won lawsuits against three of the laws
that we targeted—divorce, criminal
adultery, and inheritance.” She cited
recently passed laws banning the
practice of female genital mutilation
as well as protecting women from
domestic violence and employment
discrimination, all of which have been
the subjects of previous student projects,
as examples of the clinics
progress in women’s rights advocacy.
The clinic provides students who
are interested in careers in international
human rights law with handson
experience in the field.
“Along with the human rights
fact-finding seminar, the clinic is one
of only a few ways in which students
can conduct a fact-finding investigation
while still in law school,” said
Lisa De Gray, 3L.
Kiera Bloore, 2L, agreed. “Over
the course of the week, I learned how
to obtain the information I needed
while not asking leading questions,”
she said. “These are important skills
for a lawyer to have and ones my
other classes do not cover.”
During the trip, Hira realized that
her clinic research made her an expert
in the area of reproductive healthcare
law. “We put a ton of work in, and it
was sometimes frustrating, but I was
amazed that when we were sitting
before people working in the law and
I realized that they didn’t know the
status of the law,” she said.
“A good lawyer is a unique asset
in pushing for reform, whether legal
or not,” said Hira.
Clinic participants will use interviews
from their trip to support
human rights reports and legislative
proposals. Although still in the
process of drafting their reports, they
have observed general trends that
emerged in their interviews.
“[One] thing that struck me was
how much the children of polygamous
parents resented the lack of
attention from their father,” said Ross.
Mallik noted that he realized
through the clinic’s work in Uganda
that HIV/AIDS has a severe disproportionate
impact on women.
“Women are more susceptible to
HIV/AIDS; that is exhibited at higher
rates in terms of the higher rate of
infection among women, but also,
HIV rates create a higher burden on
women who may be keeping the family
together,” said Mallik.
The trip helped students understand
the cultural issues with which
they have been grappling throughout
the semester.
De Gray said, “I really enjoyed
speaking with a wide range of people—
government officials, members
of civil society organizations, and
everyday citizens—and gaining a
greater understanding of Ugandan
culture and the issues and laws we’re
working on.”

Students gain real-life trial experience in Juvenile Justice Clinic

Every year, Georgetown Law students enrolled in the Juvenile JusticeClinic (JJC) represent children charged with all types of crimes―primarily cases that involve robbery, weapons possession, car theft, and similar crimes. KatieKronick, 3L, shares her experience in the clinic.

Students in the Juvenile Justice Clinic engage in trial advocacy at the H. Carl Moultrie DC Family Court. Source: Wikimedia CommonsOn Dec. 6, 2011, I heard the two most amazing words a judge can say to a fifteen-year-old defendant who is accused of a crime: “Not guilty.” And these are not just words that every defendant waits to hear, but as the student attorney representing this fifteen-year-old, I was almost as thrilled as my client. As a participant in the Juvenile Justice Clinic (JJC) here at Georgetown, I had the amazing opportunity to conduct my first trial,and the luck to be assigned a good, winnable case with a client whose innocence I believed completely.

Student attorneys in JJC can be assigned any case where a juvenile needs a public defender (as long as it will not likely be transferred to adult court). Students can be assigned felonies, misdemeanors, or a combination of the two. And all they know when the case is assigned is basic information―almost no facts. Whether a case will result in a trial, a plea, or dismissal is unknown to student advocates, sometimes for weeks.

This was the second case I was assigned in the clinic, and it was a winnable one. My client never waivered from asserting his innocence, and many of the facts pointed in his favor. Except one. The judge. No clinic student or fellow had ever won a case before her. My client, though, was adamant—he would not plead guilty to something he did not do.

So to trial we went. My client did not have a prior record, so if I lost this case, he could be facing two felonies. And, for the most part, this was all on me. My supervisor and clinic fellow, Lula Hagos, was amazing and I could not have prepared without her, but she made it clear that this was my case. My clinic-mates came with me on stake-outs and countless witness interviews and I could not have done it without them. I would be the one, however, doing the opening, conducting cross and direct examinations, arguing motions, and doing the closing. We prepared endlessly. The last week and a half, I think I met with my supervisor almost every day to run through the questions, tweak words, and perfect my tone.

Then, the trial began. During my opening, the judge interrupted me (a fairly rare occurrence, and definitely unexpected). I had to cross-examine a scared 16-year-old, one of the two complaining witnesses, to try to poke holes in his story and create doubts to his credibility. I cross-examined a hostile police detective who tried to fight every question I asked. I objected to leading and vague questions, hearsay, and anything else that seemed appropriate. I called my client’s mom as awitness, and then in one of the riskiest moves, we called the other complaining witness to testify that my client was not there.

This went on for 4 days running into Thanksgiving. I thought we were going to lose—the judge seemed to be against us from the beginning. But then, on Dec. 6, she said those magic words, “Not guilty.” My client did not know what to do. He almost read what he was going to say if we lost. But then it hit him, and I had never seen him smile so big. I am pretty sure that I had never smiled so big.

I survived my first trial and, through mostly luck and a lot of work, had that unbelievably satisfying feeling of knowing that my client was not going to be punished (or rehabilitated, as we like to say in the juvenile world) for something he simply did not do.

I am now prepping for two more trials, and while it is a lot of work again, I feel so much more comfortable in this role. I know that as a trial attorney, and particularly as a public defender, a heartbreaking loss can be as common, or more, as a gratifying win, and these next two trials could easily both be losses. But whether we win or lose, some of our clients have never had someone who is their advocate, their voice—someone fighting as hard as possible for them. And in the midst of all the impossibly hard work, building a client relationship, and making sure your client has the best advocacy, best deal, and best sentence, is the most gratifying part of this work.

Katie Kronick, 3L, can be reached at kek54@law.georgetown.edu.