AUWCL'S Program on Law and Government Welcomes New Senior Affiliates


May 29, 2018

American University Washington College of Law is pleased to announce the appointment of three Senior Affiliates to the Program on Law and Government, beginning in the Fall semester.

Louis Caldera, Bettina Poirier, and Steven Shapiro will join the Program in August. As Senior Affiliates, they will teach, counsel and advise students, organize academic and career planning events, and serve as resources to faculty and staff. Shapiro is currently Adjunct Professor Law and Poirier is currently Adjunct Associate Professor of Law; Caldera will be appointed Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Law.

“We are excited to have this illustrious and diverse group of leaders in their new roles and look forward to the impact they will have as part of our community of engaged and dedicated expert colleagues,” said Dean Camille Nelson . “Their presence will elevate our work in preparing future lawyers for success at the intersection of law and domestic policy.”

“We are delighted to welcome these distinguished practitioners and teachers,” said Professor Fernando Laguarda , faculty director of the Program on Law and Government. “They will contribute immeasurably to our work connecting students and alumni with the policymaking and influencing community, and empowering us all to act effectively for the common good.”

Caldera and Poirier have extensive experience in executive and legislative roles, and will be expanding course offerings and programming focused on state and local government, legislation, and the law of democracy. Shapiro has a strong track record in real estate development and finance, and will be leading efforts to enhance AUWCL’s work in government contracting and related fields.

Lois Caldera

Louis Caldera previously served as President and Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico. Following his service in the United States Army, he has extensive public sector expertise in elected and appointed positions as a California legislator, Secretary of the Army during the Clinton administration (the first Latino in that role), and Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Military Office in the Obama administration. Most recently, Caldera served as Professor of Leadership at The George Washington University and Senior Fellow at the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute, where he founded the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, a nationwide coalition of higher education leaders focusing on highlighting the importance of immigrants to higher education and the need for common sense immigration reform. Caldera is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and received his J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Harvard University. His accolades include receiving the American Heritage Award from the American Immigration Council and the Distinguished Civilian Service Award from the Department of Defense.

Bettina Poirier

Bettina Poirier is currently Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at AUWCL, where she teaches courses in legislation and in the externship program. She previously served as staff director and chief counsel for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the first woman to hold this position in the committee's history. Previously, she was legislative assistant and senior counsel to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and minority counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee under Ranking Member John Dingell (D-MI). Poirier was previously honored by the Department of Justice for her work on environment and public lands issues and by the Children’s Environmental Health Network for her work protecting children from environmental toxins. She received her J.D. from New York University School of Law and her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University.

Steve Shapiro

Steven Shapiro is Director of the Hospitality and Tourism Law Program and Adjunct Professor of Law at AUWCL, where he teaches courses in Construction Law and Contract Drafting. An engineer and lawyer, Shapiro has also authored several books on real estate and construction law. He has served as Chair of the Program on Law and Government Advisory Committee on Government Contracts and was recently honored by the faculty for his outstanding teaching. Shapiro earned his B.A., J.D. and LL.M. degrees from Georgetown University and his M.S. in Engineering from the University of Maryland.



AUWCL’s Program on Law and Government was founded in 1993 by Rep. Jamie Raskin and the late Tom Sargentich. For the last 25 years the Program has distinguished AUWCL as a vibrant center of critical thinking and discourse about the institutions of law, government, and public policy. More information on the Program can be found here or at, or by following @LawGovAUWCL on Twitter.


In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 120 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, health law, and intellectual property to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its JD, LLM, 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