Summer Programs in D.C. Feature Instruction from Top Legal Minds

Commencement has passed and the 2011-2012 academic year has drawn to a close, but American University Washington College of Law’s exciting line-up of summer law programs in D.C. are only just beginning.

Students and practitioners can gain a competitive edge by participating in one of the law school’s eight summer programs which feature intensive training and networking opportunities within diverse and compelling fields of law.  

Perhaps the hallmark of the law school’s summer programs is the expert instruction that each student receives from some of the world’s top legal scholars and practitioners.

"I look forward to the different perspectives that students bring."

 “I look forward to the interaction, and the different perspectives that students bring,” says Ed Jurith, senior counsel for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ODNCP), and one of the instructors in The Summer Institute on Law and Government. 

Jurith ensures ONDCP compliance with all Federal laws and regulations and serves as general legal adviser to staff on the development and implementation of the National Drug Control Strategy. He has also served as acting director of the agency under Presidents Obama and Clinton.

This summer, Jurith will teach “Drug Law & Policy I: Medical Marijuana, Federal Preemption, and Legal Ethic in Conflicting Jurisdictions” and “Drug Law & Policy II: Controlling Prescription Drug Abuse.”  According to Jurith, drug law is topical even in the nation’s capital, particularly as prescription drug abuse becomes the leading drug problem in the country.

“In the course, we’ll determine the legal remedies, most effective tools, and responses to the nature of the problem,” said Jurith. “I have pretty well formed opinions, and I’m always inspired by how they can be challenged by students from both the left and the right.”

Read about the other renowned faculty teaching in the Summer Institute on Law and Government.

"Students should come ready bring their vocal perspectives."

The United States Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in late June.  

Participants in the Health Law and Policy Institute will have the opportunity to work closely with leading health lawyers, including Cristina Meneses, an expert on Health Insurance Exchanges, which are a central part of the ACA’s health insurance coverage strategy. 

Currently a staff attorney with the Network for Public Health Law’s Eastern Region, Meneses has worked in health care law and policy in many forms, from legislation to developing trainings for health care providers.  Meneses worked as a therapist for seven years prior to attending law school, and has seen firsthand how important the law is for patient access.

“I’ve always concentrated on health law because of my background, and I’m interested in health disparities,” said Meneses. “I got involved with the exchange in Maryland because it’s a good opportunity to influence decision makers and amplify the voices of patients.”

Meneses' course, "The Law and Politics of Health Insurance Exchanges," will feature guest lectures from experts who have worked in establishing the health insurance exchange. Each expert will focus on a particular part of what is considered a very vast area of the law.

"This course is an exciting opportunity to explore what the exchange looks like, and what it looks like setting it up in a state," said Meneses. "Students should come ready bring in their vocal perspectives from their home states to shape conversation about ACA and access to care."

Read about the other faculty teaching at the Health Law and Policy Summer Institute.

"This summer course will be a wonderful chance to share what I've learned in my career."

David Downes, assistant director for Policy in the Office of International Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., has been an adjunct at AUWCL since 1993. He is teaching International Wildlife Law one of 10 courses at the 2012 Summer Session on Environmental Law.

As a philosophy major in undergrad, Downes pursued a degree in law because he appreciated the use of argument, analysis, and study of text as a way to "understand the world and seek truth." Now, nearly 25 years into his career, Downes is impressed by the direction and drive he sees in his students.

"For me, the summer session is a great chance to engage with students," said Downes. "In this program we have quite a few young lawyers from other countries, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to talk with students from different backgrounds."

According to Downes, the course will cover a lot of emerging trends and questions that are important for conservation today. For example, what happens to wildlife preserves when long term climate change forces migratory routes to be altered? Discussion will also cover topics like urbanization and the theory that Earth is now in a geologic period where the world is entirely affected by human activity (referred to as Anthropocene, or the "age of man").

"This summer course will be a wonderful chance to share what I've learned in my career while addressing student questions," said Downes.

Read more about faculty teaching at the Summer Session on Environmental Law.

Human Rights Month

The Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law of the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law offers courses taught by more than 30 visiting world-renowned scholars and practitioners in the field of human rights. Among the expert instructors this summer are four judges: Antonio Cançado Trindade, judge, International Court of Justice; Margarette May Macaulay, judge, Inter-American Court on Human Rights; Sylvia Steiner, judge, International Criminal Court; and Fausto Pocar, judge, International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia.

The Program also emphasizes the concurrent observance of Human Rights Month, which includes conferences, workshops, and a film festival, beginning May 31. This series of events addresses both achievements and challenges in human rights law, featuring the expertise of legal practitioners, scholars, and activists.

Schedule of Events:

  • May 30 - The Case of Hissène Habré: The role of international law and courts in the victims' quest for justice
  • May 31 - International Courts and the Development of International Human Rights Principles: A separate or collective endeavor?
  • June 5 - Assessing the Recent Work of the UN Human Rights Council: Achievements and challenges
  • June 6 - The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions and the Challenges of Monitoring Gross Human Rights Violations: An overview of his work in Sri Lanka, India and Syria
  • June 7 - Protecting the Right to Freedom of Expression in a Complex World: International and regional challenges
  • June 12 - The Contemporary Human Rights Social Agenda: Stocktaking of the protection of economic, social and cultural rights
  • June 13 - The Future of the International Criminal Court: The Lubanga judgment and beyond
  • June 13 - A Look at the Recent Thematic Work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
  • June 14 - The Reform Debate and the Inter-American Human Rights System: An appraisal of the recent reforms and an assessment of the need for more measures
  • FILM FEST May 30, June 4 & 11

Read about Human Rights Month and the Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.