GW Law School Fall 2003
A Magazine for Alumni and Friends

As Seen by the Dean

photo of Dean Young

By Michael K. Young

Turning a Corner

It’s done! The renovation of Stuart Hall is complete. This beautiful new wing of our Law School, finished just in time for our students’ return for fall classes, is an extraordinary boon to our school. This new addition increases our physical space by 42,000 square feet, adding nine new high-tech classrooms, a state-of-the-art computer lab, new administrative offices, and 60 new faculty offices. This project, along with the completion of the E Building (700 20th Street), has increased the size of our campus by more than a third. It has expanded space available to students for individual and group study; made possible a significant expansion of programs, including symposia, conferences, and research consortia; permitted a major expansion of our faculty; and allowed us to bring most of our activities under one roof again, fostering communication, efficiency, and a new sense of cohesiveness.

This latest addition to the Law School complex completes the penultimate phase of a project we began in 2000, when we laid out an ambitious long-term plan for expanding and improving our facilities. We completed the first phase in the summer of 2001, with a $2.9-million renovation of our classrooms that introduced cutting-edge technology, entirely new and more aesthetically pleasing and functional furniture, and significantly improved sound and acoustical facilities.

In the second phase, we renovated—actually, rebuilt is more like it—our historic townhouse at the corner of 20th and G Streets. This building added 25,000 square feet of space, giving us four new seminar rooms, a dramatically expanded and improved admissions office, considerable additional space for the Student Affairs Office, and a new deans’ suite.

In our third phase, we turned all the space made available by our move into the townhouse on G Street into student study and student lounge space, significantly increasing the space available for individual and group study, as well as for relaxation and recreation in between classes. The phase also included our move into Stuart Hall, which added even more classrooms and offices.

Our next phase will commence when the business school completes its new building and we take over most of Lisner Hall for offices and classrooms. There will undoubtedly be phases after that, but, for the moment, we are keeping them to ourselves. Even now, my fellow GW deans are locking up their buildings when anyone from the Law School administration walks by.

“With the completion of these phases of construction and renovation, our faculty again enjoys the incalculable advantages of working together in one complex, pursuing a common aim from many different intellectual directions and traditions.”

But as I walk through the wood-paneled corridors and elegant new high-tech classrooms of our “new” law school, I realize that a project of this magnitude deserves expressions of great appreciation to many people. I start with President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, without whose cooperation and vision all of these projects would have remained merely a gleam in my eye. Senior Associate Deans Tom Morrison and Roger Trangsrud are more responsible than anyone else for the execution of our vision. And our Building Committee, chaired principally by Professor Peter Raven-Hansen and then by Professor Todd Peterson, is almost entirely responsible for that vision.

But most of all, I am extraordinarily grateful for the immeasurable support and assistance given by our alumni. You have helped us create a facility that is worthy of our faculty, our students, our staff, and our alumni. Our alumni have also contributed most generously to these various projects, donating millions of dollars to make it possible to create a facility that would be the pride of any school in the country. This is not to say that we have completed our fund-raising efforts for these building projects. We still have many naming opportunities and warmly urge all of you to consider joining us in this exciting enterprise. But, even at this juncture, the participation of our alumni has been so significant that I must offer deep thanks and recognition.

With the completion of these phases of construction and renovation, our faculty again enjoys the incalculable advantages of working together in one complex, pursuing a common aim from many different intellectual directions and traditions. Having professors, deans’ offices, and administrative offices in close proximity to each other has also greatly improved communication and cooperation within the Law School, encouraging and expanding the spirit of intellectual openness and vitality so essential to our community.

But most importantly, all this work has made the Law School an even better place to study law. By greatly increasing our campus size without proportionately increasing the size of our student body we have the luxury of stretching our limbs a bit more, allowing us to work and learn together in greater comfort and with increased effectiveness.

Happily, we have welcomed another stellar class, one of the best in the Law School’s history, to work together with us in our “new” Law School. The Class of 2006 was drawn from an applicant cohort of almost 12,000 (up from just over 6,000 four years ago). The mean LSAT of this year’s full-time class rose another full point, to 165, the third such increase in as many years. Students were drawn from 43 states and several foreign countries. Roughly 32 percent represent ethnic and racial minorities, making us one of the most diverse schools in the United States. And their experience in both school and the real world matches their extraordinary numerical credentials. This class boasts, to name just a few, a volunteer with Mother Theresa’s Sister of Mercy in Calcutta, India, a number of Peace Corps volunteers, almost 70 holders of master’s degrees, a couple of dozen PhD’s, a leader of an Army special forces unit, the founders of a dozen different businesses, and a former quarterback for the Canadian Football League.

Our extraordinary students are taught by an equally extraordinary faculty. We now have almost 100 full-time professors and draw on the ranks of well over 200 adjunct professors! No school in the country has a faculty with the breadth and range of ours.

I am particularly happy to report the arrival of two absolutely remarkable teachers who have joined our ranks on a full-time basis. John Duffy, one of the country’s premier intellectual property law and administrative law specialists, comes to us from William and Mary Law School. John not only has considerable experience in practice and an extraordinary—and very well deserved—academic reputation with a long list of highly regarded publications, but he also served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Tom Colby joins us from the University of Chicago, where he served as a Bigelow Fellow. He too clerked, first for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and then for Justice David H. Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court. John and Tom are joined by 13 distinguished visiting professors, making this year’s teaching faculty not only one of our largest, but also one of our most broad-ranging and intellectually diverse groups in a long time.

In sum, great facilities, terrific students, extraordinary professors, and exceptionally accomplished and engaged alumni.

But, as is always the case with this wonderful Law School, past is prologue and the best is yet to come. We very much look forward to working with all of you to ensure that the Law School continues to leap forward, just as it has for the past 138 years.

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