As Seen By The Dean
GW Law Briefs

Public Interest Corner
International Update
Faculty File

Alumni Events
Law Newsmakers


Contact Us
Alumni Association
Law Alumni Association
GW News Center


Dr. Rosalie Burns stands in front of the self-portrait of her father, Jacob Burns, LLB ’24, Hon. LLD ’70. In addition to his highly successful law career, Jacob Burns was an accomplished portrait and still life painter.

Jacob Burns Family Endows Faculty Chair for Legal Clinics With $2 Million Gift

It’s impossible to walk the halls of GW Law without witnessing the remarkable legacy of the late Jacob Burns, LLB ’24, Hon. LLD ’70. One of the Law School’s foremost benefactors, Jacob Burns’ name graces GW’s law library, moot court room, Community Legal Clinics, largest merit scholarship fund, and the list goes on.

This spring, the Jacob Burns Foundation began a new chapter in its ongoing relationship with the Law School, endowing a faculty chair for the Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics. The generous gift places GW Law among a select group of law schools in the nation to display its commitment to clinical education by establishing an endowed clinical chair. Coinciding with the 15th anniversary of the dedication of the Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics at GW, the gift underscores the Burns family’s steadfast support of the University’s renowned clinical program.

“We are extremely proud of the Burns family’s association with the clinical law program at GW, which is ranked among the top in the nation,” says Dr. Rosalie Burns, daughter of Jacob Burns and executive vice president of the Burns Foundation. “My dad was a very grateful and loyal alumnus of GW Law School and the legal clinics were particularly dear to his heart. We’re pleased to help the clinics continue to advance and prosper.”

GW’s Legal Clinics, founded in 1971, provide members of the community with critically needed legal services while giving motivated law students the opportunity to experience the practical application of law and to develop skills as negotiators, advocates, and litigators. “The clinics serve more than 2,000 low income and elderly D.C. residents each year who wouldn’t otherwise have access to legal representation, while providing some 200 GW Law students with invaluable hands-on legal experience,” says Burns, an active member of the Law School’s Board of Advisors. “Through the endowed clinical chair, we’ll help ensure that the clinics will continue to have strong leadership and provide important services to the Washington community.”

Dean Frederick M. Lawrence presents Dr. Rosalie Burns with a bust of George Washington at a spring dinner of the GW Law School advisory boards.

According to GW Law School Dean Frederick M. Lawrence, the endowed clinical chair is a perfect complement to the Burns family’s long list of philanthropic endeavors at the Law School. “The Burns family has been an enormous benefactor, not just in terms of sheer amount of philanthropy, but in terms of the breadth and depth associated with its generosity,” says Lawrence, who worked with the family to establish the chair. “The Burns name was previously associated with every aspect of the Law School except faculty endowment, so this latest gift enhances the portfolio of their philanthropy. The endowed chair is the highest attainment in the academy, and the Burns endowment allows us to signal to the legal academic world that the clinical component of our faculty is strong and will remain strongly supported by the Law School in perpetuity.”

Lawrence says one of the early highlights of his tenure at GW Law has been working with generous, dedicated supporters like the Burns family. “Both Dr. Rosalie Burns and Barry A. Shenkman [president of the Burns Foundation and the grandson of Jacob Burns] understood the mission and asked all the right questions about the endowed chair,” Lawrence says. “I am pleased and touched that three generations of the Burns family have remained so strongly connected to our Law School and so supportive of our efforts.”

Since its inception in 1959, the Burns Foundation, a not-for-profit organization located in Pleasantville, N.Y., has contributed funds in support of the arts, legal education, legal ethics, and Jewish philanthropic causes.

“Jacob Burns was a very caring and principled person who wanted to give back to the community, and we take a great deal of pride in carrying on his name and philanthropy,” says Dr. Rosalie Burns, who chaired the Department of Neurology at the Medical College of Pennsylvania for 20 years.

At the 1967 building dedication of the Jacob Burns Law Library, GW President Lloyd Elliott, Judge Sterry R. Waterman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren, Jacob Burns, and Law School Dean Robert Kramer chat in front of the plaque marking the occasion.

Professionally, Jacob Burns was a renowned lawyer and corporate executive. He grew up in Washington, supporting himself from a young age after losing his parents as a teenager. Burns graduated with distinction from GW Law in 1924, attending night classes while working full time as shipping clerk in a small local factory to finance his studies. “My dad was grateful for what GW did for him,” Burns says. “He felt that GW Law offered him his future.”

After practicing law for a few years in D.C., Burns moved to New York to launch a business venture with his two brothers that ultimately became the U.S. Vitamin and Pharmaceutical Corp. He served for many years on the board of directors of the corporation and was later elected chairman of the board, a position he held until the company merged with Revlon in 1966. Burns simultaneously maintained an active Manhattan legal practice specializing in corporate, estate, and trust law, and was active in many professional organizations, including the New York County Lawyers Association and the New York State Bar Association.

Throughout his successful career, Burns remained passionately involved with his alma mater, serving as a long-time trustee and leading philanthropist. GW conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1970 and awarded him the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in 1983. Burns also served on the board of directors of the GW Law Alumni Association and received the Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1975.

An accomplished portrait and still life painter, Burns studied under Gerald L. Brockhurst, the distinguished English portrait painter. Burns’ portraits of prominent New York judges have been on exhibit at Columbia University Law School, Brooklyn Law School, and the New York County Lawyer’s Association, and his self-portrait hangs at the Jacob Burns Law Library at GW.

Lawrence says that the self-portrait is a constant reminder of Jacob Burns’ generosity and lasting legacy to the Law School. “When I walk out of the Law School every night, I pass the self-portrait of Jacob Burns and it’s a very special feeling for me to know that his hands were on that canvas, just as his hands are on everything that we do here at the Law School,” Lawrence says. “Even years after his passing, he still plays a major role in so much of our success.”

—Jamie L. Freedman

Class of 2006 Gift

Remarkably, more than 67 percent donated nearly $23,000 to the Second Annual Graduating Class Gift. This year’s contributions benefited the Scholarship Fund and the Loan Reimbursement Assistance Program.

The class donations were matched four to one because they surpassed the Class of 2005’s participation of 52 percent. The total gift with the matching funds will exceed $100,000. Thanks are due to Student Bar Association President Eric Koester, JD ’06, Amir Shaikh, JD ’06, and the Class Gift Committee, whose outstanding efforts led to this unprecedented result.

Additionally, special thanks go to Professors Gregory Maggs, Joan Schaffner, Steven Schooner, Daniel Solove, Peter Smith, and Jonathan Turley for their participation and donations.

The George Washington University Law School Intellectual Property Advisory Board


Roger L. May, JD ’72
Raymond P. Niro, JD ’69


Brian Brunsvold, JD ’67
Hon. Q. Todd Dickinson
Richard L. Donaldson, LLM ’73
Charles R. Donohoe, JD ’70
Donald R. Dunner
Hon. Timothy Ellis
Albert E. Fey, JD ’58
Jack C. Goldstein, JD ’68
A. Sidney Katz, JD ’66

Edward J. Kessler, JD ’70
Gary S. Kindness, JD ’65
Jeffrey P. Kushan, JD ’92
Luiz Leonardos
Hon. Richard Linn
Don W. Martens, JD ’63
Norman F. Oblon, JD ’68
Hon. Ralph Oman
C. Larry O’Rourke, JD ’71
Daniel R. Passeri, JD ’94
Hon. Marybeth Peters, JD ’71
Louis T. Pirkey, JD ’64
Hon. Randall R. Rader, JD ’78
G. Franklin Rothwell, JD ’56
Harold C. Wegner
Hon. Ronald M. Whyte

Gift Supports Returning Students

A recent gift to the Law School will support students who are returning to school in their thirties or later.

After working for many years as an economist with the Labor Department, Robert J. Rosenthal returned to school to earn a JD at GW Law in 1957. He then went on to have a successful career with the National Labor Relations Board in Washington from 1957 until he retired in 1978.

A native of Troy, N.Y., he and his wife of 59 years, Elaine P. Rosenthal, BA ’60, have both passed away, but their charitable remainder trust gift to GW Law in excess of $700,000 will assist people in similar situations who want to return to school later in life.

Rosenthal graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina in 1937 and received a master’s degree from American University in 1947. His wife was a Phi Beta Kappa art history major at GW who earned her degree while working full time at the Department of Interior.

The Elaine P. Rosenthal and the Robert J. Rosenthal fund will be used to pay full time or part tuition for students 30 years or older who are beginning law school or who are resuming attending law school to complete their JD or post-graduate degrees.

The George Washington University Law School Board of Advisors


Richard W. Blackburn, JD ’67


David R. Berz, JD ’73, BA ’70
Donald E. Egan, JD ’62


Hon. William P. Barr, JD ’77
Bradley Ian Berger, JD ’72
The Hon. Edward Blackmon Jr., JD ’73
David S. Brown Jr., JD ’69
Carol Elder Bruce, JD ’74, BA ’71
Bobby R. Burchfield, JD ’79
Rosalie Burns, M.D.
Steven L. Cantor, JD ’75
Dale L. Carlisle, JD ’60
Douglas E. Davidson, JD ’71
Stephen J. Davidson, JD ’73
Darrell L. Dreher, JD ’73
Jared M. Drescher, JD ’67
David B. Falk, JD ’75
Hon. Steven M. Goldman, JD ’76

Gary C. Granoff, JD ’73, BBA ’69
Franklin L. Haney, LLB ’65

Hon. James F. Humphreys, JD ’78
Jonathan S. Kahan, JD ’73, BA ’70
J. Richard Knop, JD ’69
Theodore A. Levine, JD ’69
Edward H. Lyman, JD ’68
Robert E. Mangels, JD ’70
Alexia Morrison, JD ’72
Preston R. Padden, JD ’73
Robert L. Patron, JD ’98
Edwin L. Phelps, JD ’68
The Hon. Margaret M. Richardson, JD ’68
Marcos G. Ronquillo, JD ’79
Hon. Gerald Rosen, JD ’79
John T. Schwieters, JD ’65
William H. Shawn, JD ’73, BA ’70
Ronald J. Silverman, JD ’72
Thomas F. Smegal Jr., JD ’61
Ira L. Sorkin, JD ’68
Dennis Charles Sweet III, JD ’80
Steven A. Tasher, JD ’73
James L. Volling, JD ’79
Charles S. Walsh, JD ’67
Timothy J. Waters, JD ’68
Martha Brown Wyrsch, JD ’86