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The Greatest Generation

I suspect that every generation of GW Law students has believed that it attended the school during the best possible time to be studying law in Washington, D.C. Amazingly enough, each is correct. How can I disagree with today’s students telling me that there has never been a more exciting time to be a law student in Washington than January 2009? This is a time of enormous challenges, but it is also a time of enormous hope and anticipation. The eyes of the world have been focused here throughout this period, especially on Jan. 20, 2009, during the historic inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th U.S. president. Those of us living and working in Washington have been particularly affected by the numerous activities associated with this change in presidential administrations—not to mention the awe-inspiring crowds that traveled to the city to view the inauguration.

I am delighted to say that GW Law School alumni and friends have been at the center of many activities, and more than just a few will be assuming positions of responsibility within this new administration. Indeed, our potential for increased involvement and visibility is limitless as the GW Law family continues to be incorporated into the highest levels of service in the public sector. I believe Henry David Thoreau said it best: “In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.” I urge you to join me as we continue to aim very high. We have accomplished great things at our Law School. With your help we will accomplish greater things still.

Of comparable importance to us all is the state of the nation’s economy. We have watched the recent economic downturn with growing concern, all the while trying to maintain long-term optimism as we welcome the new year and the plans of the new administration. There is always a certain element of unpredictability in forecasting the giving levels from our supporters. While these current economic conditions have had an impact upon our ability to operate optimally, the GW Law community—each faculty member, student, member of our staff, and each of our alumni and friends—can be proud of what together we have accomplished and are accomplishing. We are well positioned to continue our forward progress, but as always we rely on your help. Now more than ever it is important to demonstrate your support for the Law School, at whatever level and in whatever way you are able.

Highlighted in this issue are some of our many recent accomplishments. I am delighted that our new dean for intellectual property, John Whealan, has focused his endeavors on making our IP program even stronger and more dynamic than it is currently. I also call your attention to the feature article on Dean Susan Karamanian and our India program and what we hope to accomplish on an international level through these efforts. This article ties nicely with the profiles of our international faculty members as we spotlight the successes of these professors and the work in which they are so passionately involved. It is with great pride that I continue to point to GW Law School and its faculty as the heart and soul of what we accomplish in training the new global leaders of tomorrow.

Lastly, let me echo what our new president has called upon all of America to do. He has asked us to enter into new levels of commitment to serve our country and one another. As part of our mission and goals here at the Law School, we are continuing our efforts to foster and encourage our students to serve in both the public and private sectors of the legal community. It is in this same spirit that I now ask each of us to reassess our levels of commitment to supporting our Law School in these challenging economic times.

I especially am grateful for your dedication to the Law School through your hiring GW Law graduates and fellow alumni. Please look for additional opportunities, both financial and practical, in which you can become even more involved in your Law School. Scholarships for our students are our most urgent need at this time. We appreciate your financial support and other contributions to support the goals and mission of GW Law. Thank you for what you have done already to make us one of the nation’s premier institutions for legal education, and for what you yet will do to make us even better for the next generation of GW Law alumni.

Frederick M. Lawrence
Dean and Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law