For many years, attorneys seeking careers in hotel law faced limited options of apprenticeship in a law firm or self-directed study. With Washington, D.C. as the corporate home to the titans of the hotel industry, the Hospitality and Tourism Law Program at American University Washington College of Law is recognized for its legal education in hotel law and a directed career path.

The two-week program, with classes in the morning and evening, is designed to meet the busy schedules of law students interested in earning academic credit during the summer and practicing attorneys. The program is ideal for attorneys seeking careers in hotel law with law firms and in-house counsel, as well as non-traditional careers that include hotel development and general manager operations.

All participants will be eligible to receive a Certificate of Legal Studies in Hospitality Law and Practice upon completion of the program.


Message from Director Steven Shapiro

Steven Shapiro
Steven Shapiro

Hotel law practice has been a leading indicator and global driver as the legal market emerges from the economic downturn. Traditional legal positions are available in law firms, hotel general counsel offices, and in-house attorneys for hotel developers. Non-traditional legal positions are available as hotel general managers, acquisitions officers, and in the hotel supply chain. The Hospitality and Tourism Law summer program mixes the pragmatic, while rooted in the academic, and we want you to leave with substantive knowledge of the industry, legal and economic risks to the various parties, introductions to industry leaders, and lasting camaraderie with your classmates.

My own career began in the practice of real estate development and corporate law, before making a fundamental career change to construction and engineering, where I use my legal training every day. I invite you also to explore a rewarding career path in the hospitality and tourism industries through your participation in our summer program and get an up-close introduction to our hotel community in D.C. You can reach me at

Comprehensive Curriculum, Practical Skills, Professional Networking

Taught by leading practitioners and industry legal experts, the Hospitality and Tourism Law Summer Program provides intensive training for students and professionals interested in pursuing a career in the hotel industry. Executives and attorneys bring practical and academic experience to the classroom, where they'll share current industry practices, themes, and trends. Site visits in Washington, D.C. to corporate hotel headquarters and to convention center hotels bring participants outside of the classroom and into the real world.

Photo Credit
Photo credit: Washington College of Law, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
"As a new attorney looking to break into the hospitality law arena, participating in WCL’s Hospitality and Tourism Law Program was the best career decision I have ever made."

Diana Ovsepian, 2014 HTL program participant