Letter from the Dean
At Georgetown Law our goal has always been to help students prepare for successful and meaningful careers by providing them with an educational experience that is of unrivaled quality. A distinctive aspect of a Georgetown education is our commitment to providing students with academic experiences that link theory and practice.
We have, of course, the leading clinical program in the country, but we have also recently deepened our commitment to experiential education by developing an array of practicum courses, increasing their number from three to 33 during the last three years. The practicum provides students with remarkable opportunities to study the law, see it in practice and reflect on how it actually operates.
For instance, students in Federal Fraud Prosecution learned economic crime investigation techniques and trial issues while working 15 hours a week in the Justice Department’s Fraud Unit. Students in Lawyering on the Hill were placed in congressional offices and committees to learn how laws are made. They reflected on their insights in a seminar and developed proposals on how to amend filibuster rules, pitching them to Senate staffers. Students in Advanced Environmental Law grappled with the regulatory and constitutional issues of climate change.
At the same time that we have been developing our practicum curriculum, we have also been dramatically expanding our externship opportunities, which have increased five-fold in the past three years. I am particularly proud of the fact that this year we combined our externships with 28 pass-fail workshops designed to teach students skills related to their externships. They choose several over the semester to meet their needs. These workshops cover such topics as learning how to write congressional testimony or how to network effectively. You can read more about new experiential learning opportunities in this issue’s feature article, “From Theory to Practice,” which begins on page 28.
Of course, we’re always striving to improve, especially now that we’re undergoing our once-every-five-year strategic planning process, as described in the previous issue of Georgetown Law magazine. It has been an invaluable process, and has already led to innovations. A new intensive one-week financial literacy course called Demystifying Finance (see page 45) gives upper-class students a head start in finance and accounting. We are also looking at whether to incorporate other skills traditionally taught in business schools — such as management, leadership and strategic planning — more fully into our curriculum.
In short, we continue to keep the best of our traditions and merge them with the most innovative learning approaches to give our students the sorts of “theory into practice” opportunities that the current legal climate requires.
I hope you are as excited as I am about the way the Law Center continues to grow and change — while still holding fast to its essential mission.
Dean William Treanor