Washington College of Law Fountain
Legal Eagle Contact

Shelly Horn
Director of Alumni Relations
Office of Development & Alumni Relations
(202) 274-4036

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Legal Eagle Vol. 17 Summer 2009


Dear Alumni,

The current economic market and resulting employment struggle is affecting graduating students and alumni across the nation. I would like to share with you that the Washington College of Law has been working hard to assemble both internal and external resources to assist our community members in need.

Although the job market has proven challenging, our talented and dedicated staff in the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) continue to provide students with employment opportunities, quality counseling and professional development programming. While some of our graduating students have secured job offers, some of these offers have been subsequently deferred. Accordingly, these alumni are in need of internships for the time period before their jobs begin, often in January 2010 or beyond. If you are in need of job assistance, or if you know of a paid or volunteer opportunity that would provide valuable experience for other alumni or students, please contact the OCPD's Assistant Director for Alumni Counseling, Matthew Pascocello, Esq., at 202-274-4092 or mpasco@wcl.american.edu

In addition, WCL's Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance Program (PILRAP) helps relieve financial burden of educational debt by providing loan repayment assistance for JD graduates who work in full-time non-profit, or government positions in which the graduate is engaged in serving under-represented or traditionally-marginalized populations.  Several enhancements were made to the program last year, including an increased salary cap (of $50,000), and additional endowments by the Dean's Office ($500,000) and the SBA ($60,000).  As a result, the number of awards increased by 100% - from 19-39, with an average PILRAP award of $6,300.  For 2009-10, WCL will provide up to 50 PILRAP awards if the need arises. 

At the same time, a new repayment plan for all federal loans has been instituted to reduce monthly loan payments.  The Income-Based Repayment (IBR) option caps monthly load payments at 10-15% of discretionary income. Alumni may take advantage of IBR beginning July 1, 2009. For further details on PILRAP and IBR, visit http://www.wcl.american.edu/finaid/, or contact Jarrod Shirk, Public Interest Coordinator, at  jshirk@wcl.american.edu.

Our Office of Development and Alumni Relations is focusing resources on graduate outreach and support, including increased networking programs, job assistance events and webinars in conjunction with OCPD,  and online resources such as InCircle, the alumni community. Currently, InCircle has more than 1,700 registered alumni who share information about professional interests, as well as search for others by location, practice area or geographic region. As more alumni join InCircle, its success and usefulness continue to grow.  I encourage you to register for participation in InCircle at wcl.affinitycircles.com. You will only need your name and student/alumni ID number, the latter which you may obtain by contacting alumni@wcl.american.edu (with the subject line: InCircle).

Over the next few months you will receive electronic and print materials about how these and a myriad of other resources can benefit you.  Information will also be posted on OCPD's web site, on the Alumni Relations web site, and in InCircle.

Allow me to conclude by noting that WCL continues to be one of the most dynamic and thriving institutions in the nation. Applications for both our JD and LL.M. programs continue to increase to record levels, and the caliber and diversity of our candidates is superb. We are proud of our talented faculty and of the staff who are working long and hard to ensure that the current students are well prepared to compete in this challenging job market, and to assist our graduates with their job search.

We will make every effort to alert you electronically and via WCL's web site to the career and networking programming available. Please consider your school as an important resource whether you are searching for employment, considering a career move, or would like to discuss available possibilities with fellow alumni.

On behalf of the entire WCL community, I thank you for your continued commitment to the law school.


Dean Claudio Grossman


06/12/2009 - MD Alumni Reception in Ocean City
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Location: Fresco's Restaurant

06/19/2009 - Baltimore Area Alumni Reception
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Location: Pazo Restaurant

09/10/2009 - What WCL Can Do For You
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Location: WCL, Sixth Floor

09/2009 - John Sherman Myers Society Dinner
Time: 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Location: National Museum of Women in the Arts

11/05/2009 - First Thursday Minority Alumni Networking Reception
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Location: Olives Restaurant, 16th and K Sts, Washington, DC

11/19/2009 - Washington, DC Alumni Networking Reception
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Location: Acadiana

12/02/2009 - Maryland Alumni Networking Reception
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Location: TBA

Please visit our web calendar at www.wcl.american.edu/calendar for details on these (and other) events as they become available. (Alumni are invited to attend any event regardless of where they live.)

Reunion 2009

Did you Graduate in a year ending in a 4 or a 9?

(1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999 and 2004)

Then HOLD THE DATE and join us October 16 and 17, to celebrate your Reunion!

Details are in the planning stages now. Join the committee and help make the decisions for your big weekend! Email reunion@wcl.american.edu or call 202-274-4163 today!


HONOR ROLL OF DONORS CORRECTION: In the last edition of the Washington College of Law Honor Roll of Donors publication, Robert J. Gaynor '66 was wrongfully listed as deceased. We apologize for this unfortunate error and are thankful Mr. Gaynor brought this to our attention. He is a longtime WCL supporter and an accomplished attorney in Massachusetts where he has served the community for more than four decades. Again we regret the error and would like to assure colleagues and peers that our distinguished alumnus is alive and well.

Incircle Facebook Application: The Best of Both Worlds!

Did you know you can now access InCircle - our WCL alumni online community - through Facebook? You can go from the inclusive to the exclusive just by clicking on an application in Facebook. Find old friends, network, search for jobs, and connect!

Already a member of Facebook but not InCircle? Go to wcl.affinitycircles.com and register using your name and ID number. And if you need your ID number, simply email alumni@wcl.american.edu (with your name, degree and graduation year). Once on the site, click the application button in the news section and you will be ready to go!


Gender and Justice Presents: An International Inquiry

June 14-16, 2009 at WCL
Phone 202-274-4442

The Washington College of Law's Women and International Law Program and the Women's Division of the American Jewish Congress will hold an international conference with women judges from Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Bhutan, Cameroon, North Cyprus, India and Sri Lanka who will be joining women justices from the United States, Israel, Europe and South America.  They will examine the challenges they face and the opportunities to use the law to change women's lives.
The audience will consist of United States Federal and State Court Judges, United States Attorneys, law school deans, bar association presidents, practitioners and others interested in women's rights, law and justice. CLE credits will be applied for.
A full list of confirmed speakers and online registration is available on the American Jewish Congress website at www.ajcongress.org.


WCL 2009 Summer Programs in D.C. and Abroad

Registration is now available for American University Washington College of Law's 2009 Summer Programs held in D.C. and locations abroad, and focusing on topics such as human rights, international arbitration, environmental law, health law, and international law. These intensive programs offer participants unparalleled opportunities to network with peers from across the globe while gaining academic or CLE credit through courses taught by distinguished faculty and leading practitioners. Discounts are available for alumni. For more on WCL's summer offerings, visit www.wcl.american.edu/summer

Office of Diversity Services Fall Events

August 20 – First-Year Diversity Day

September 24 – Dean's Diversity Council Speaker Series Luncheon featuring Acting EEOC Chairman Stuart Ishimaru

Date TBD – Book talk and signing of Remembering Scottsboro:  The Legacy of an Infamous Trial by James A. Miller,  professor of English and American studies and chair of the American Studies Department at George Washington University, with Prof. Angela Jordan Davis.

Women and the Law Program

Want to help WCL grads get what they really want out of a family leave policy?

Please take this quick survey about the impact of family leave policies on WCL graduates.
If you are a WCL graduate (male or female) who has children or is considering having children one day, we want to hear from you! We want to hear from all WCL graduates - whether you graduated in 2008 or 1978, work for the government, a law firm, or have left the workforce all together, are living abroad or stayed in the states, we want to learn what you think about the family leave policies you've encountered. Did you return to work earlier than desired because your maternity leave wasn't paid? Do you think men deserve as much time off as women to spend with their kids? Do you think the whole parental leave issue is blown out of proportion? Tell us your story and help a WCL student working in conjunction with the Women and the Law Program write a paper about what WCL grads really think about family leave policies. All written information will be kept strictly confidential. Please follow the link below:

Office of Public Interest

Lower your loan payments! Beginning July 1, 2009, Income-Based Repayment (IBR) will be available as a new loan repayment option for federal loans (undergraduate and graduate). IBR uses a sliding scale to determine how much borrowers can pay on their loans. For most borrowers, IBR loan payments will be less than 10% of their income. Borrowers must qualify for a "partial financial hardship" to receive a reduced payment. Based on program guidelines, many WCL graduates will qualify. Remaining debt, if any, will be forgiven after 25 years of qualifying payments. For graduates working in the public sector, the new Public Service Loan Forgiveness program will forgive remaining debt on federal loans after 10 years of qualifying payments.

WCL has debuted a new podcast series about recent developments in federal debt relief assistance. In conjunction with Equal Justice Works, the series discusses both IBR and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The first podcast is a general program overview. Subsequent podcasts will discuss specific portions of this federal program and other debt assistance programs. Alumni with questions about this program or other debt relief assistance programs should contact Jarrod Shirk, Public Interest Coordinator, in the Office of Public Interest at jshirk@wcl.american.edu.

Office of Career and Professional Development

Alumni Job-Search Assistance

WCL alumni have full access to OCPD's on-line and office resources to use for their career development. Alumni are encouraged to register for the on-line jobs database, CareerLink, through the OCPD website. Also, under OCPD's Alumni Services link (http://www.wcl.american.edu/career/alumni.cfm), alumni will find access to the Mentor Database, Job Exchange Bulletins, information about Reciprocity to other law schools' career offices, as well as free access to the Career Library portion of Lexis.
Contact: Matthew Pascocello, Esq. is our Alumni Counselor and is happy to meet with alumni by appointment either in person or by phone. Contact Matthew at 202-274-4092 or mpasco@wcl.american.edu.

Consider Becoming an Alumni Mentor!

One of the best ways for students and alumni to get the inside scoop about employment trends, opportunities, and information about what it is like to practice a particular area of law, or with a particular employer, is by asking alumni who have "been there" and "done that." WCL Alumni Mentors play an integral role in affording students and fellow alumni the opportunity to conduct networking and informational interviews. In a competitive marketplace, the need for such valuable contacts and opportunities cannot be overstated. Statistically speaking, more lawyers get jobs through networking than from any other job search method!  The Office of Career & Professional Development encourages you to enroll today to be a Mentor by contacting alumni counselor Matthew Pascocello at 202-274-4092 mpasco@wcl.american.edu.

Recruitment Programs/Employment Opportunities for Students and Alumni

OCPD is now accepting registrations for its 2009 Fall Recruitment Program. The program highlights 2010 summer opportunities and post-graduate positions with large and mid-size law firms, government agencies, public interest organizations, judicial internships/clerkships, among other employers. For more information or to participate, please contact Robin Fulton, Recruitment Coordinator, at rfulton@wcl.american.edu or (202) 274-4095.  As always, if you know of any opportunities for current students, recent graduates, or seasoned alumni, please forward job postings to jobs@wcl.american.edu.

EXTERNSHIP PROGRAM: Legal interns available to work for Summer, Fall and Spring Semesters

Each year over 300 WCL students participate in externships throughout the Washington D.C. area, across the country, and outside of the United States. Externs earn academic credit for legal work at approved not-for-profit organizations (this includes courts, government agencies, and law firms engaged in pro bono projects). The students must be engaged in substantive legal work under the supervision of an attorney. Students can earn credit for up to 20 hours of work per week during the fall and spring semesters and can work full-time during the summer semester. If you would like us to provide students with information about your firm, organization or agency with whom you work, please let us know and we would be happy to include all of the relevant information in our Externship Database.

For additional information, please contact:
Externship Program, Avis L. Sanders, Director or Greg Seidell, Program Assistant: externship@wcl.american.edu