Generous Gift Supports Future of Brazil-U.S. Program


WASHINGTON, April 3, 2015
– American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) is pleased to announce a generous gift commitment from Antonio Augusto de Souza Coelho, a distinguished Brazilian lawyer who is the chief legal officer of Advocacia Gonçalves Coelho, a law firm based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Coelho’s gift is designed to support the law school’s Brazil-U.S. Legal and Judicial Studies Program, a comparative law initiative dedicated to promoting understanding and exchanges between Brazilian and American judges and lawyers concerning their respective judicial and legal systems.

“It is a great honor to contribute to the study of comparative law between Brazil and the United States,” said Coelho. In 2012, Coelho received the Don Quixote of La Mancha award, which is given to individuals to honor their struggle in the defense of justice, ethics, morals, and citizenship rights by the Brazilian judiciary.

Since its inception in fall 2012, the Brazil-U.S. Program has welcomed more than 200 lawyers and judges to programs at AUWCL where they exchanged experiences in matters as diverse as criminal and civil justice, mediation, and social security law. Over the past two days the Brazil-U.S. Program hosted the First Symposium on Legal Protection for Financial Institutions in Brazil, co-sponsored by Justiça e Cidadania Institute. This seminar was attended by more than 20 Brazilian judges, including four members of the Superior Tribunal of Justice, the second highest court of Brazil.

“This gift meets the very important need of facilitating the dialogue about law and justice between two of the most important countries of the Western Hemisphere,” said Peter J. Messitte, director of the Brazil-U.S. Program and U.S. District Judge for the U.S District Court, District of Maryland.

“This is a unique program in law schools in the United States,” said American University Washington College of Law Dean Claudio Grossman. “The Brazil-U.S. Program further develops the vision of our law school to promote human dignity based on a common understanding of the rule of law.”

American University Washington College of Law is renowned for its dedication to global education through a wide variety of opportunities, including summer programs, semesters abroad, dual JD programs, LL.M. programs and an SJD program. AUWCL offers specializations in areas such as intellectual property, international commercial arbitration, environmental law, and human rights and humanitarian law to respond to today's global challenges by engaging the world through advocacy, outreach, and scholarship.

Through this generous gift, the Brazil-U.S. Program will have a dedicated presence at the law school’s new Tenley Campus.  Learn more about the Brazil-U.S. Program,  international programs at AUWCL, and about the new Tenley Campus, set to open in January 2016.


In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 100 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school's nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, and intellectual property to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its 1500 JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, DC and around the world. For more information, visit


March 31-April 1, 2015

The Brazil-U.S. Legal & Judicial Studies Progam shall be hosting its first Symposium on Legal Protection for Financial Investments in Brazil, featuring Brazil's top judges, attorney general, and bank officials at the Washington College of Law. More information is available here in English.


October 25, 2014
The Brazil-U.S. Legal & Judicial Studies Program marked the second anniversary
of its founding.


September, 2014
An article describing the August 2014 visit of U.S. Supreme Court Clerk Scott
Harris and Judge Messitte to São Paulo/Brasília/Rio appeared in the September
issue of Justiça e Cidadania (available here in Portuguese).



September 11-14, 2014

Program Director Judge Peter Messitte will give a presentation on U.S. Administrative Law at a Conference of the Tribunal Regional Federal da 4a Região in Porto Alegre, RS.


Week of August 16, 2014

As guests of the Harvard Alumni Association, FGV-Rio and the legal magazine Justiça e Cidadania, Program Director Judge Peter Messitte and the new US Supreme Court Clerk Scott Harris will be heading to São Paulo, Brasilia, and Rio de Janeiro. They will participate in a series of programs with the Tribunais de Justiça of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Supreme Court, as well as with FGV-Rio and various bar groups.



October 25, 2013

The Brazil-U.S. Legal & Judicial Studies Program first anniversary.


Friday, October 4, 2013

As a co-sponsor with the Brazil Institute, the Program presented a Panel Discussion on the Mensalão (Big Monthly Payment) criminal case, which, at the time, stood before the Supreme Federal Tribunal for reconsideration.  Panelists included, from United States, Program Director Judge Peter J. Messitte, Professor of Political Science Matthew Taylor, and from Brazil, Dean Oscar Vilhena and Professor Federico Normanha Ribeiro de Almeida of the Getulio Vargas Foundation-São Paulo Law School.  The Program was held internationally by Skype, with the Americans in Washington and the Brazilians in São Paulo.  The Program was moderated by Paulo Sotero, Director of the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center.

The Brazil-U.S. Legal & Judicial Studies Program is proud to provide a continuous forum for the examination of legal and judicial issues of mutual concern to Brazil and the United States.                                 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Panel Discussion was held on “Internet Governance: Spying: The Case of Brazil.”  Program Director Judge Peter Messitte, Professor Michael Carroll, Dr. Costas Toregas, and Dr. Cezar Alvarez appeared as Panelists.  The Program was moderated by Dra. Nathalia Foditsch.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dr. Paulo Abrão, Brazil’s National Secretary of Justice and President of the Ministry of Justice Amnesty Commission, presented and commented upon the critically acclaimed Brazilian human rights film “Bacuri’s Eyes” (in Portuguese titled “Repare Bem”).  It tells the story of Denise Crispim and her daughter and the torture and assassination of Denise's companion Eduardo Leite (Bacuri) by the Brazilian military during the military dictatorship.


October 2013

During a single week in October, 2013, the Program sponsored three public events of vital interest to Brazil and Brazilians.


In June 2013, the Jornal Notícias do Congresso Nacional - Instituto de Estudos Legislativos Brasileiros, an official publication by the Brazilian Legislative Studies Institute, published an article by Judge Messitte on initiatives taken by the United States to combat organized crime.

The article can be found here, on pages 14 and 15. (Available only in Portuguese)


In May, 2013 O Estado de S. Paulo, one of Brazil's most respected newspapers, published an extensive interview with Judge Messitte in which he discussed issues with respect to age for criminal responsibility in the U.S. The article can be found here.