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By Kathleen Kocks

When the American Bar Association gathered in Hawaii in August for its annual conference, attendees from GW Law showcased the school’s excellence in several ways. These included two ABA awards, a festive alumni reception in honor of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI), JD ’52, and expert presentations by faculty members.

Dean Carol Mon Lee of the William S. Richardson School of Law, Dean Frederick M. Lawrence, former Chief Justice of the Hawaii State Supreme Court William S. Richardson, and Senior Associate Dean Tom Morrison.

Ki’i Honu Images

Attracting more than 5,000 registered attendees, the ABA conference ran from Aug. 3 through Aug. 7 in Honolulu at the Hawaii Convention Center. With regular ABA committee and delegate meetings, the conference included more than 1,200 events with expert speakers providing timely information on virtually every area of the law.

Excellence in Student Programming

Congratulations are due to GW Law’s Student Bar Association, which took home two of the top annual awards presented by ABA during the conference.

For the second year in a row, the ABA’s Law Student Division named the SBA as the best in a field of nominees from 22 other associations at law schools nationwide. The award is based upon the SBA’s overall organization; performance by members as a team; total number and type of programs; quality of and response to programs and events; interaction with faculty members and administration; how the student government voices and addresses students’ concerns; and interaction with the local legal and non-legal community.

The ABA also presented its SBA President award to Eric Koester, JD ’06, who was selected from a field of 23 other nominees. Last year, Koester was the runner-up in the same contest. The award is based upon overall leadership, ability to organize programs, interaction and accessibility with the student body, ability to address student body concerns, interaction with faculty and administration, representing student needs nationally, and relationship with the broad community.

Koester also served as vice chair of the ABA Law Student Division at the time of the conference and helped organize and conduct the division’s program of events. Koester is now an associate at Heller Ehrman in Seattle. His activity within ABA continues, now within the Young Lawyers Division’s business law section.

“The ABA experience was really helpful to me in terms of developing contacts around the country. For example, I’ve visited around 20 law schools and met people with expertise in many areas. This allowed me to learn from their experiences as well,” Koester says.

The new SBA president, Sam Jammal, also is lending his leadership skills to ABA’s Student Law Division. He serves on the elections and resolutions committees, and was elected in August to be one of the division’s three delegates to the House of Delegates, ABA’s policy-making body.

“The SBA, its president, and all its officers continue to make me and our Law School proud,” Lawrence says. “I am very pleased that the ABA recognized the hard work, organizational skills, and social concerns that this organization provides to our students on a daily basis. The SBA adds much to the learning experience of our Law School Community. Ultimately, one of the things that makes our community of scholars, teachers, and students so special is our collegial atmosphere. The dynamic leadership of the SBA contributes significantly towards maintaining that sense of community, and it has served us well.

Honoring an American Hero

Taking advantage of the Hawaii venue, the Law School hosted an alumni reception to honor one of its most respected alumni on his home turf—Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. The evening event, held Aug. 4, was co-hosted by GW Law and the University of Hawaii Law School. Inouye is an alumnus of both universities, receiving his BA from the University of Hawaii in 1950 and his JD from GW Law in 1952.

Alumni from GW Law and the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law gathered to celebrate Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who earned a BA from the University of Hawaii and a JD from GW Law. Hawaii Rep. Scott Nishimoto, a graduate of the William S. Richardson Law School, formerly served as a staff member in Inouye’s Washington office.

Ki’i Honu Images

The stage for the event was the elegant Plaza Club in downtown Honolulu. More than 170 guests from both schools came to show their appreciation of the senator, meet new peers, and reacquaint themselves with fellow alumni. It also was a rare opportunity for alumni based in Hawaii to meet with GW Law deans and faculty members, to share memories, and to discuss improvements and changes at the Law School.

Although Sen. Inouye was unable to attend the reception, due to an important trip to China, he was very honored by the event. To show his appreciation, he took the time to create a personalized DVD welcome presentation, which was shown during the reception (see sidebar). Dean Frederick M. Lawrence also gave opening remarks welcoming the guests and expressing GW Law’s appreciation for the many ways Sen. Inouye has supported the school, as well as for his public service during his two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and eight terms in the U.S. Senate.

In his remarks, Dean Lawrence shared some exciting news with the GW Law community.

“It was my pleasure to announce at the reception the Law School’s intention to raise a Chair in honor of Senator Inouye and his late wife, Margaret. The Chair will be dedicated to the role of law in addressing the particular concerns of groups within a multicultural society,” Lawrence says.

“Senator Inouye, a war hero and a distinguished legislator, is a shining example of a public servant committed to using all aspects of the law to address issues of concern to Hawaiians, Native Americans, and other indigenous populations throughout America. We are proud that he is an alumnus of our Law School and even prouder to have a permanent Law School Chair to honor his remarkable career and achievements.”

Faculty Members Share Expertise

Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Stephen L. Schooner visited the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law campus during the ABA annual conference. He is joined by William S. Richardson School of Law Professor Danielle Conway-Jones, LLM ’96, director of the Hawaii Procurement Institute, who will travel to Australia this year on a Fulbright.

As the conference got into full swing, four GW Law professors were among the expert speakers, bringing their perspectives to five panels.

On Aug. 3, Stephen Saltzburg organized and moderated “Guantanamo Trials End FOR NOW: The Future of Military Tribunals.” Founder of the Law School’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution master’s program, Saltzburg is the chair-elect for ABA’s Criminal Justice Section, a delegate to ABA’s House of Delegates, and was formerly the deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and formerly the associate independent counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation.

The session, which attracted more than 150 attendees, included five speakers familiar with the topic: a criminal defense lawyer, a military lawyer from the Army criminal law division, a Wall Street Journal reporter, an ABA observer who had been at Guantanamo, and Saltzburg. The panel discussed the military’s procedures in prosecuting detainees at Guantanamo, and this session was considered a highlight of the conference. The general sentiment at the session’s conclusion was that the Guantanamo issue has done a lot to damage America’s stature in the international community, Saltzburg says.

The second session with GW Law participation was “Historical Trial: The Massie Case.” This was a reenactment of an infamous trial in which five native Hawaiians were accused of kidnapping and raping an American woman, but claimed they were innocent and were acquitted. One of the accused was then murdered by criminals hired by relatives of the victim. The murderers and relatives involved were subsequently tried and found guilty, but received a one-hour sentence, served in the judge’s chambers. The case stirred up many issues regarding race, class, intimidation, and political power.

The session included a moderator; Hawaii Lt. Gov. James R. Aiona Jr. as judge; three attorneys representing prosecutors and defenders; a psychiatrist; and a forensics expert—James E. Starrs, professor of forensic science.

Starrs is the David B. Weaver Research Professor of Law. His dual expertise and compelling writing style have earned Starrs some fame in the two areas.

“I presented the forensic materials for and against a conviction of the five persons accused of the rape. I also gave out materials describing the technology available at the time of the trial, which was 1932, and the technology we have available today,” Starrs explains. “The event attracted a huge crowd, with standing room only, and it was a very good visual and animated presentation. As to the overall conclusion, we asked the audience to decide and all voted to acquit the accused men.”

Starrs has presented this type of event at the ABA conference for the past five years. Last year, the session covered the Haymarket Riots in Chicago and a previous year covered the mysterious death of Meriwether Lewis.

Professor Cynthia Lee moderated the third session with GW Law participation, “Multicultural Perspectives on Gender, Race, and Crime in Post 9/11 America.” Lee is a member of the American Law Institute and an expert in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedures, and crimes of passion. She is also of Asian descent and has done research on issues involving gender, race and culture.

The session’s three speakers gave 20-minute presentations on many different areas. One speaker argued for allowing cultural evidence as a way for immigrant and minority defendants to justify their actions. Lee says attendees were intrigued by the idea, but also concerned about the possibility of people being able to use their culture to escape punishment for their crimes.

Lee also moderated a second session titled “Mothers (and Grandmothers, Aunts, and Sisters): Preparing the Next Generation of Multicultural Women Attorneys.” During this session, Kay Hodge, chair of ABA’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, talked about the importance of getting members of minority groups into the pipeline—college, law school, and then successful careers.

“This was a terrific session, very motivating,” Lee says of the event, which attracted about 30 attendees. “We had three pairs of attorneys who are mentors and their mentees: a current law student, a recent graduate and a junior associate. I asked the panelists questions, they answered, then the audience chipped in. Most of the discussion was about why women attorneys of color should mentor and ways they can do it.”

Christopher Yukins spoke at a session titled “Contracting in a Restructuring Marketplace: Are You Ready?” This session dealt with new rules in military procurement and speakers also included senior Department of Defense lawyers, private industry lawyers, and the past chairman of ABA’s public contract law section.

Yukins is an associate professor of government contracts law and the co-director of GW Law’s Government Procurement Law Program.

“The purpose of the panel was to discuss important emerging rules regarding military contracts for complex weapon systems that are being overseen by private contractors that are known as ‘lead systems integrators.’ One example is the Future Combat System, a huge military program with Boeing as the lead,” Yukins explains. “The lead’s role is to choose and oversee the program’s subcontractors. They are also now performing some tasks that were formerly performed by government program managers.

Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Stephen L. Schooner visited the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law campus during the ABA annual conference. He is joined by William S. Richardson School of Law Professor Danielle Conway-Jones, LLM ’96, director of the Hawaii Procurement Institute, who will travel to Australia this year on a Fulbright.

“The issue is: Do the leads have an inherent conflict of interest because it is very likely some of the subcontractors bidding for contracts or hired in these complex programs will also be competitors of the lead or of some of its divisions,” Yukins says. “The panel’s general consensus was that much more needs to be done as the law catches up with a rapidly evolving procurement industry.”

Broader Impact

Considering the awards, reception, presentations, and reunion events in which GW Law was involved during the conference, it is clear that the Law School’s presence was felt by the ABA and beyond.

Of special note are the strengthened ties between GW Law and the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law. Inouye, as a member of both academic communities, thanked Dean Lawrence and Dean Aviam Soifer of the William S. Richardson School of Law for their support in his reception DVD. He also reminded alumni of both schools that coming together in the academic and professional realms will help those who practice law “identify peaceful ways for the citizens of the world to live together.”

“The annual ABA meeting always provides an opportunity for reflection, camaraderie, and dealing with hard issues facing the legal community,” Lawrence says. “I am pleased that GW Law plays a prominent role in all of these areas.”

Students, alumni, faculty and staff members, and administrators who participate in such external events represent GW Law to the broader legal community. In turn, they take the knowledge they gain at such events back to Washington, further enriching the Law School community in and outside the classroom.

The Call to Serve

Senator Daniel K. Inouye

By Laura Ewald

Sen. Inouye and Dean Frederick M. Lawrence at the Dean’s Dinner, held Oct. 20 at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Dave Scavone

The attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, forever changed the United States; though it in many ways was the catalyst for unimaginable tragedy, it also was the day America gained a strong leader. Daniel K. Inouye was only 17 years old, but when the high school student and Red Cross volunteer provided first aid to civilians, it marked the first of his countless acts of service to his home state and his country.

In 1943, Inouye enlisted and joined the Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He became a platoon leader, sergeant, second lieutenant, and eventually captain. Among Inouye’s many heroic efforts, he helped rescue a Texas battalion surrounded by German forces in the French Vosges Mountains.

Later, in Italy, Inouye continued to lead a platoon while sustaining severe injuries that ultimately resulted in the loss of his right arm. After his honorable discharge in 1947, Inouye received the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, and a dozen other medals and citations. In 2000, he received a Medal of Honor from President Bill Clinton.

After graduating from the University of Hawaii, and then GW Law in 1952, Inouye began the political career he continues today as one of the most senior members of the Senate.

Inouye’s service to Hawaii began before its statehood. After acting as deputy public prosecutor for the city of Honolulu, he was elected to the Territorial House of Representatives in 1954, later winning election to the Territorial Senate. When Hawaii became a state in 1959, Inouye was elected its first congressman. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962, Inouye now is serving his eighth consecutive term.

He is a champion for Hawaii, first bringing its unique interests to the political forefront during early statehood and continuing to look out for its economy, health and human services, and the protection of its priceless natural resources today.

On a national and international level, Inouye places an emphasis on diplomacy and embracing cultural diversity. His experience makes him a natural leader in efforts to enhance the quality of life for military personnel and their families. He is chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, the Communications Subcommittee, and the Indian Affairs Committee.

Inouye’s ties to Washington began at GW Law, and those ties have improved the District for those in and outside of the GW community. He helped to establish the Metro system and insisted on the installation of its elevators to assist persons with disabilities. He has advocated for the support of GW Hospital, as its unique location and services are an asset to leaders in Washington. In addition to his decade-long service on the GW Board of Trustees, Inouye helped to plan an American Indian Policy Center.

Inouye also attends GW Law alumni events, including this year’s Dean’s Dinner. Dean Frederick M. Lawrence welcomed Inouye and many distinguished alumni Oct. 20 at the National Museum of the American Indian. The senator said he was pleased to reconnect with fellow alumni as well as faculty members and administrators. He also expressed his gratitude at the Law School’s announcement to raise a Chair in his name.

The Chair will honor Inouye’s contributions to Hawaii, the United States, and the University—and also pays tribute to his late wife, Margaret.

Via a personalized DVD shown at the reception held in his honor in Hawaii in August, Inouye thanked community members of both GW Law and the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law for their continued support. “I am honored to be part, in some small way, of the ideals that these two law schools embody,” Inouye said.

Always thinking of the big picture, Inouye then turned words of gratitude into a call to action. Calling to mind events of unrest the world over, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Inouye said legal knowledge must be used for the greater good.

“We are reminded that it is the rule of law that has enabled us to maintain an ordered American society,” Inouye said. “And, as attorneys, we are trained not to abandon the rule of law but to adapt it to more effectively address contemporary circumstances, whether they be domestic or international.”

As these words are written, the effects of a devastating earthquake in Honolulu are only beginning to be realized. But Hawaiians have long known they have a compassionate and effective advocate in Inouye. On his home soil, the Senate floor, the battlefield, or in the support of academia, Inouye has proven a good man for any job.