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Samuel H. Moerman, JD ’34. Moerman, now 94, practiced with the same Washington law firm for 55 years.

Paving the Road to Success

Transportation attorney to donate $2 million

Samuel H. Moerman began his career with a Washington law firm by running errands and sorting mail.

Fifty-five years later, the senior partner was regarded as one of the nation’s premier transportation attorneys, representing clients in major projects like the World Trade Center, the John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Port Newark, the largest containership port in the United States.

For Moerman, practicing law has been quite a ride.

“If it came to air, rail, trucks, or seaports, I was there,” says Moerman, sipping tea in his Potomac, Md., home. “I had a specialty and it served me well.”

After decades of making strides in the legal field, Moerman, JD ’34, now wants to spread the wealth.

Dedicated to helping GW students earn a valuable education, Moerman, who retired as a senior partner at LaRoe, Winn, Moerman & Donovan, has included in his will a $2 million bequest for GW Law School. At 94, he still feels fortunate for a degree that led him to a “charmed career,” he says.

“What else could I do than give [a gift] for people to get educated,” says Moerman, a native Washingtonian.

As the son of immigrants growing up in the Great Depression, Moerman learned to appreciate the value of hard work. His path to success wasn’t easy.

Moerman’s father, a Jewish tailor, discouraged him from going to college after high school, arguing that the raucous university boys racing around the streets of D.C. in their Ford Model “T’s” were no good. Instead, he searched for a job.

A plumber hired Moerman, then a paper company, but the economy continued to dwindle in the early 1930s and he was soon out of work.

That’s when Moerman walked into the Clark & LaRoe law firm at 15th and K streets, taking a job as an office boy. In between running errands and sorting mail, he attended night classes to earn his law degree.

Young but eager, Moerman thirsted for the education.

“I went down to the court house after three years of law school and said, ‘Swear me in.’ They took a look at my birth certificate and told me to go home and come back in three months,” says Moerman, who had to wait to turn the permitted age to practice law. He wasn’t yet 21.

While Moerman’s legal career was steady in his early days, the war effort surged and he joined the Navy in 1943 to fulfill a civic duty. At home, he had a wife and a three-month-old daughter.

As a cryptographer during World War II, Moerman helped encode and decode U.S. military messages while stationed at sea and in Arzew, Algeria; Marseilles, France; and Naples, Italy.

With all of his later business ventures and legal successes, Moerman still says that “helping to win the war” is his greatest accomplishment in life.

He served for three years.

When he returned to his Washington firm, Moerman focused on interstate commerce. Articulate and earnest, he climbed his way to the top during a time when the nation was making serious progress in transportation development.

His career path hit it big when shipping magnate Daniel Ludwig—a billionaire and innovator in ship design—went to the firm looking for representation. Moerman became Ludwig’s right hand man, helping him purchase American-Hawaiian Steamship Co. and build his business throughout the globe. Ultimately, Ludwig became the world’s number one independent ship owner.

Ludwig appointed Moerman as chairman and president of American-Hawaiian shipping for several years, and trusted Moerman with other business ventures. On land, Ludwig asked Moerman to seek out acreage for ports, lead coal mining projects, and purchase land for major developments, including what would later become the residential community of Westlake Village, Calif.

While uncompromising in his work ethic, Moerman says he was known as a “gentle” attorney, a soft spoken person who never shouted or raised his voice inside or outside the courtroom.

“It pays to be aggressive if you’re a boxer, but if you want to be a lawyer in the industrial and financial world, being nonconfrontational is very helpful,” he says.

Throughout his 55 years with his law firm, Moerman worked on several significant projects with the New York Port Authority. Most notably, he was the Washington attorney for The World Trade Center, a series of buildings, including the twin towers, which fell in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. For 15 years, Moerman’s office was on the 38th floor of one of the towers.

Watching the buildings collapse, “[W]as like watching something that I loved get killed,” says Moerman, who has a framed picture of the towers in a sitting room at his home.

Moerman says his career, which spanned more than a half-century, was always varied and always interesting. He argued before the Supreme Court eight times. He lectured other lawyers on how to make a case in Washington to gain federal money for airports and seaports. He was the go-to guy on transportation issues.

While it wasn’t the life he imagined when he was young, a courtroom—like a stage—suited Moerman’s penchant for eloquent speaking. Even as a teen, he enjoyed reciting poetry for his high school class and reveled in the written word.

Now in his 90s, Moerman still enjoys reciting the lines of a famous oration by John Donne as if he’s standing in the spotlight:

“No man is an island, entire of itself,” Moerman says, his voice raising just a bit to emphasize certain words. “Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

The 17th century verse about the interconnectedness of humanity seems even more fitting now for Moerman. His $2 million gift to the Law School is a legacy like no other, as his generosity will help law students achieve their own “charmed” careers.

The contribution will touch the lives of GW’s finest.

“Therefore do not seek to know for whom the bell tolls,” Moerman continues. “It tolls for thee.”

Jaime Ciavarra

Lifelong Partnership Lives on Through Nash-Cibinic Chair

Nash and Cibinic—for nearly half a century, the names Ralph Nash Jr., JD ’57, and John Cibinic Jr., JD ’60, were uttered in the same breath by government contracts students and practitioners alike. Widely recognized as the patriarchs of government procurement law, the team created the academic discipline of government contract law at GW, educated a generation of students, and co-wrote the field’s core texts.

When John Cibinic passed away unexpectedly in his sleep in August 2005, he left a huge void in the lives of his family and colleagues. To honor and perpetuate his and Nash’s lifelong contributions to government procurement law, GW Law School Dean Fred Lawrence recently announced the establishment of the Nash and Cibinic Government Contracting Industry Chair. More than $600,000 has already been raised toward the $2 million goal, and contributions continue to pour in—a token of the high regard that former students and industry professionals feel for the duo.

Ralph Nash and John Cibinic’s legendary professional partnership was recognized by GW Law School in 2002, when the duo received the George Washington University Distinguished Law Alumnus Award.

“Professors Nash and Cibinic really defined the field of government procurement law and educated most of the leading contract lawyers,” says campaign chair and contributor J. Richard (Rick) Knop, JD ’69, senior managing director and co-head of defense and government services for BB&T Capital Markets/Windsor Group. “They are revered in government contracting law, and I’m honored to take a leading role in endowing the Nash-Cibinic Chair at GW Law School.”

An investment banker who focuses his career exclusively on the government defense contracting industry, Knop says that the chair will take the government procurement law program to a whole new level. “We’re already recognized as the number one law school in the world in the area of government procurement law, thanks in large part to the tremendous contributions of Professors Cibinic and Nash,” Knop says. “Through the Chair, we will move the program forward by building upon the strength of its outstanding full-time faculty, offering graduate fellowships, expanding public forums and lectures, increasing course offerings, beefing up support for faculty research and publications, and welcoming visiting scholars and policy officials from abroad.”

Chair campaign contributor Ed Phelps and wife Linda with GW Law School Dean Fred Lawrence

It’s a fitting tribute to Nash and Cibinic, who brought international acclaim to GW for their pioneering work, touching many lives in the process. “What John and Ralph built is breathtaking,” says Steven L. Schooner, senior associate dean for academic affairs and co-director of GW’s government procurement law program. “They created an academic discipline, established a core curriculum which, in large part, remains intact today, wrote a foundational library to facilitate the study of government contract law, influenced the thinking of more than a generation of attorneys in the field, and cemented GW Law School at the academic center of federal procurement law. My colleagues, Chris Yukins, Joshua Schwartz, and Fred Lees, and I daily endeavor to fulfill John and Ralph’s legacy.”

The program started simply enough, reflects Nash, who learned government contracting law “from four very good bosses” while working for the government in the 1950s. “GW Law School contacted me in 1960 and asked if I’d be willing to set up a government contracts program,” he recalls, noting that no other university had previously identified government procurement law as a specialized field of study. The rest is history. Nash founded the program in 1960, the year Cibinic graduated from GW Law, and was joined by Cibinic in 1963.

Rand Allen, Carlton Jones, and William Mutryn, JD ’75

Over the years, the team wrote a series of books that literally defined procurement law. In 1966, they came out with the first edition of their Federal Procurement Law casebook, followed by second and third editions, as well as a series of specialized texts. Their volumes became classics—a staple of every government contracts office nationwide. The duo also won acclaim for their widely read and insightful monthly periodical, the Nash & Cibinic Report. Both taught at GW until their retirement in 1993 as professor emeriti and continued to collaborate professionally until Cibinic’s death.

Writing in a memorial published in the Public Contract Law Journal, GW Law alumnus Jim Nagle, LLM ’81, SJD ’86, explained: “It is common to talk of Nash and Cibinic as the Williston and Corbin of federal contract law. [Yet, even that does] not sufficiently describe their impact. When Williston and Corbin wrote their renowned treatises on contract law, contracts had been a defined area of study for centuries.... Not so with federal contracts. What Nash and Cibinic did for government contract law is the jurisprudential equivalent of the ‘perfect storm’: the perfect combination of the right people at the right point in time and the right geographic location creating an awesome force.”

Chair campaign contributor Sy Herman, LLM ’66, and Ralph Nash at the campaign kick-off reception at the home of Rick Knop, JD ’75, in November

A special career highlight for Nash was establishing a vibrant post-JD government contracts program at GW. “Over the years, somewhere in the range of 300 to 350 people received their LLM degree in government procurement law at GW and another 350 students took the bulk of our courses as JD candidates,” Nash says. “Government contracting law is a complex web of rules and regulations, and we tried to expose our students to every aspect of the field from beginning to end.”

One beneficiary of the team’s work was Edwin Phelps, JD ’68, who made a substantial gift to the campaign. “I entered law school in 1964, when the government procurement law program was just starting, and was very impressed with what John and Ralph were doing,” he says. “At the time, I worked at the Navy Department as a contract negotiator and took all the government procurement courses that GW had to offer. I used a lot of the knowledge that I gained in the program to start my company, Educational Services Institute [now ESI International], which has offered courses in government contracts law for more than 25 years now.”

Campaign chair Rick Knop, JD ’69, (second from left) gives an overview of plans for the Nash-Cibinic Chair at the kick-off reception at his home.

Phelps kept in touch with Nash and Cibinic through the years, tapping the duo to speak at ESI courses. In the early 1990s, GW approached ESI to run the continuing education courses of the government contracts program. “I enjoyed a long, productive relationship with Nash and Cibinic while I owned ESI,” Phelps says. “They were instrumental in creating the field of government contracting law and making it a real profession and legal specialty.”

Another early student was Sy Herman, LLM ’66, a long time supporter of GW Law who also made a substantial gift to the campaign. Herman had a successful career with IBM and Arthur Anderson and helped establish key profit policies in government contracting, among other achievements. As one of the early graduates of the government contracting LLM program, Herman remembers Cibinic as a master of his trade. “He was just phenomenal in terms of his understanding of the information,” Herman says. “He was the first one to really analyze cases, interpret the regulations, and give commentary on their meaning.”

Christopher R. Yukins, co-director of the government procurement law program, Ralph Nash, and retired judge Ruth Burg, BS ’45, JD ’50

Along with the establishment of the endowed chair in Nash and Cibinic’s honor, GW Law is facilitating the development of a Government Contracting Industry Advisory Board to draw upon the advice and expertise of leaders from throughout the field. “The advisory board is a wonderful way for GW Law to plug into the government contracting industry, which is headquartered here in Washington, and a great new avenue for industry professionals to interact with their peers and with the Law School,” Knop says.

The idea took flight at a campaign kick-off reception hosted by Knop in November at his McLean, Va., home. “We invited all the leading government contract lawyers in the industry to attend, and many of them said that they’d never been to such a large gathering of industry professionals before,” Knop recalls. “We realized that an advisory board would be a wonderful networking opportunity offering attractive two-way benefits to practitioners, as well as the Law School. It’s a great addition to the Nash-Cibinic Chair.”

“The community’s response in building the Nash & Cibinic Fund has been incredibly gratifying,” says Associate Professor Christopher R. Yukins, who co-directs the procurement law program at the Law School. “Rick Knop reminds us that the fund can help move our program to the next level, and he’s right. To me, that means being able to do more cutting-edge international and comparative work, particularly with the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and other international organizations. Looking outside of the U.S. federal procurement system is increasingly important to our students and to the procurement community worldwide.”

Schooner, who will provide leadership to the advisory board, is excited about the new venture. “No matter how you slice it, government procurement is big business, and many believe it is the primary engine that drives the D.C.-area economy,” he says. “GW Law School is, therefore, a perfect home for the Government Contracting Industry Advisory Board.”

Jean Cibinic, John’s widow, says that her family is deeply moved by the establishment of the endowed chair. “We are extremely appreciative to the Law School for establishing the Chair to commemorate Ralph and John’s 50-year collaboration and dedication to the field of government contract law, as well as their contributions to the quality and reputation of the law school,” she states. “We are also grateful to all of those who made generous donations to the Chair, which will allow their long friendship and partnership to be recognized and carried forward.”

Nash, too, is delighted with the honor. “John was a smart, caring guy, who inculcated thousands of students with his knowledge and work ethic, earning their lasting admiration and long-standing friendship,” he says. “It was a privilege to work closely with him for 45 years. I’m pleased that our longstanding partnership will live on through the faculty chair. It’s a great way to perpetuate the program and our work.”

—Jamie L. Freedman

For more information on the Government Procurement Industry Advisory Board or the Nash and Cibinic Government Contracting Industry Chair, please contact Associate Dean Steven Schooner at 202-994-6288, e-mail, or Rich Collins at 202-994-6117, e-mail

The Dean’s Fund

Today, more than ever, we rely on our Dean’s Fund members to provide scholarships, to support the faculty and clinics, to improve our library, and to enhance our facilities. While we continue to seek major and planned gifts for endowments and capital projects, gifts to the Dean’s Fund enable us to remain competitive and address our most important needs.

We thank Weston D. Burnett, JD ’75, LLM ’83, for his continuous service as the Law School Dean’s Fund Chairperson.

The George Washington University Law Firm Challenge

This year, The George Washington University Law School Advancement Office has established a Law Firm Challenge to involve alumni in the life of the Law School and to promote alumni participation in the GW Law Annual Fund.

How does it work?

Each participating firm has at least one volunteer agent who encourages colleagues to make a gift to the Law Annual Fund. Agents receive progress updates throughout the year and every other week from April through June, as well as helpful hints and strategies to facilitate peer solicitation.

Why is the Law Firm Challenge important?

The GW Law Firm Challenge helps raise funds for the Law Annual Fund. Gifts to the Dean’s Fund are a vital source of funding for GW Law, providing support for faculty recruitment and development, student financial assistance, and the community clinics as well as enhanced library and teaching facilities. In short, gifts to the Law Annual Fund fuel the most vital programs, those that allow GW Law to attract the best and brightest law students.

Alumni Volunteers & Participating Firms

A special thanks to our Law Firm Challenge chair, vice chair, and partner agents who will help make this year’s Law Firm Challenge a success!

Carol Elder Bruce, JD’74

Venable LLP
Carol E. Bruce, JD ’74, Law Firm Challenge Chair

Hogan & Hartson LLP
Jonathan S. Kahan, JD ’73, Law Firm Challenge Vice Chair

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates
Mike Naeve, JD ’84, Partner Agent

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
James R. Sims III, JD ’86, Partner Agent

Winston & Strawn LLP
Barry J. Hart, JD ’73, Partner Agent

Dean’s Dinner in Manhattan

Back row, from left: Adam H. Koblenz, JD ’06, Michael R. Koblenz, JD ’74, John J. Hay, JD ’80, Robert P. Lewis, JD ’80. Front row, from left: Amir Shaikh, JD ’06, Dr. Irving Ladimer, JD ’40, SJD ’58, Doris Bendheim, Raymond J. Dorado, JD ’83

Earlier this year, Dean Frederick M. Lawrence held a Dean’s Dinner in New York City to reengage alumni in the life of the Law School by hosting a special dinner for 60 alumni in leadership positions living and or working in the New York City metro area. The dinner was hosted by New York City Dean’s Dinner Chair, Douglas E. Davidson, JD ’71, and was held Jan. 24 at the ASTRA restaurant in Manhattan.

Traditionally, the Dean’s Dinner recognition and engagement activities have been held in the Washington, D.C., area. Dean’s Fund Chair, Weston D. Burnett, JD ’75, LLM ’83, was pleased with this year’s outreach efforts to alumni living in the New York City area. This special event provides Dean’s Fund members (individuals who have given $1,000 or more during the past year) with an opportunity to become better acquainted with the dean, receive Law School progress updates, network with other professionals, and reconnect with fellow GW Law graduates.

Back row, from left: Douglas E. Davidson, JD ’71, Lawrence Zweifach, JD ’73, Gary C. Granoff, JD ’73, Dean Frederick M. Lawrence. Front row, from left: Sandy Davidson, Kathleen Lawrence, Steven A. Tasher, JD ’73, Barbara Tasher

Back row, from left: Terri Hassid, Hon. William P. Barr, JD ’77, Erik A. Tepper, JD ’82, Roger L. Stavis, JD ’82. Front row, from left: Jack Hassid, JD ’70, Alan H. Kress, JD ’71, Marilyn Kress, Robert N. Solomon, JD ’68, Ira L. Sorkin, JD ’68