Four New Summer Programs Bring Fresh Professional Development Opportunities to Lawyers and Law Students

Starting in May, practitioners and students can receive intensive training in specialized areas of the law from top experts in their respective fields through American University Washington College of Law’s specialized summer law programs in D.C.

In addition to offering our renowned programs in human rights and humanitarian law, international commercial arbitration, health law and policy, etc., the law school is proud to offer four new programs in growing practice areas: anti-corruption law, hospitality and tourism law, and litigation as well as a comparative law program focused on Brazil.

U.S. International Anti-Corruption Law Summer Program

The new U.S./International Anti-Corruption Law Summer Program features intensive five-day training in anti-corruption law from prominent experts including Richard Thornburgh, former U.S. Attorney General; of counsel, K&L Gates; Drago Kos, former chairman, Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (GRECO); international commissioner, Independent Monitoring and Evaluation Committee in Afghanistan, and Mark Mendelsohn, former deputy chief, Fraud Section, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice; partner and chair, FCPA Group, Paul Weiss.

Nancy Boswell, Anti-Corruption Law Program director, believes no issue has taken on greater prominence in the United States and around the world in recent years than corruption.  As former president and CEO of Transparency International-USA with a career in international trade and finance law, Boswell attests to the “tremendous value of strong legal grounding in anti-corruption law.”

Courses in the program focus on the U.S. legal anti-corruption framework, the evolving international legal regime governing transnational bribery and corruption, and how multilateral development institutions identify and lessen corruption risk. They also cover what practicing attorneys need to know to advise their clients and protect themselves.

“Understanding and mitigating the impact of corruption on companies operating across borders, on effective development outcomes, on economic growth in potential markets and, increasingly, on political stability is essential for those engaged in transnational business and development,” said Boswell.

The program includes a special track on the United Nations Convention against Corruption, now in force in over 160 countries which analyzes its provisions and their implementation, participation in the peer review mechanism, and the impact on transnational law enforcement and legal assistance.  MORE

Brazil/U.S. Legal and Judicial Studies Program

The new Brazil/U.S. Legal and Judicial Studies Program is a unique comparative law course focused exclusively on Brazil and the United States and their respective legal and judicial institutions.

The program will appeal to Brazilians wishing to learn about the American system and to Americans and foreigners wishing to understand Brazilian law in the light of the growing economy and importance of Brazil.

According to program director, Judge Peter J. Messitte speaking to The National Law Journal, given Brazil's growing economy and presence on the world stage, a specialized program made sense. He noted that law firms increasingly are expanding their practices in Brazil, citing Steptoe & Johnson LLP and K&L Gates as examples. "Getting an overview of what the legal system is — what the court system is, how judges operate, procedure — that's valuable," said Messitte.

Messitte has been involved with Brazil, among other countries, since 1967. He has also been extensively engaged with Brazilian lawyers and Brazil’s Judiciary and is a senior judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland where he has served for the past 20 years.

“Through the lenses of faculty members, the program allows its participants to acquire substantial knowledge of a second legal system, and a better understanding of their own legal system in comparison” said Amauri G. Costa, a dual-qualified attorney (Brazil and D.C.) and one of several distinguished faculty teaching the Brazil/U.S. program. Prior to becoming a partner at the Washington, D.C. office of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, Costa practiced law for 10 years in one of Brazil’s largest firms. He represents clients in the energy, finance, telecommunications, and information technology industries on transnational and domestic transactions.

Teaching faculty Judge Fausto Martin De Sanctis, a renowned legal expert in Brazil and around the world, anticipates that participants of the Brazil/U.S. Program will better understand the Brazilian Judiciary, its particularities and how Brazilian Courts interpret some rights, like the right of defense. Fausto also expects participants to gain “a specific view about Brazilian institutions related to preventing and combatting organized crime.” Currently a federal appellate judge in Brazil’s Federal Court for Region 3, Fausto was selected to handle a specialized federal court created in Brazil to exclusively hear complex cases involving financial crimes and money laundering offenses. MORE

Hospitality and Tourism Law Summer Program

The new Hospitality and Tourism Law Summer Program offers participants an introduction to the emerging field of hospitality practice.  

Washington, D.C. is the international center of the hotel industry, with the headquarters of Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Hilton, and Choice all located in the region. The hotel industry is subject to global economic forces resulting in evolving lodging designs, vast expansions in overseas markets, and new legal issues facing the attorney.  Until recently, issues such as cyber-security, internet-based reservations, and explosive growth in China were not addressed in the industry.

According to program director Steven Shapiro of The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, these factors mean we need attorneys with specialized training, “Hotel attorneys were once predominantly corporate lawyers or real estate lawyers but now hotel law is a specialized area,” he said.

Shapiro explains that the Hospitality and Tourism Law Summer program is designed specifically to teach the fundamental legal elements of hotel law, plus advanced courses. The courses include lectures of fundamental legal issues, layered with case studies, discussions of complex provisions, and negotiations among participants and visiting experts.

“The hope is that participants will start on a path for meaningful hotel law careers. In addition, students and young lawyers will see non-traditional legal positions in the hotel industry, such as general manager, supply chain principal, or in acquisitions and development of hotel properties,” he said.

Acknowledged leaders in hotel law will bring unique qualities and areas of expertise to the program including Dave Sherwyn, a distinguished professor at Cornell hotel school who will provide a lay of the land and offer trends and predictions in hospitality law; and Nelson Migdal, Co-Chair, Hospitality Group, Greenberg Traurig LLP who is widely seen as the leading expert on complex management agreements. Migdal will be teaching about the unending nuances of franchise and operating a hotel.

“The curriculum will be rooted in the essential elements of hotel law so that participants emerge conversant with the terminology and economics of the industry” said Shapiro. In essence, students will have gained knowledge normally only available to associates in law firm. “As a bonus, participants will have opportunities to network with industry attorneys with law firms and in-house counsel.” MORE

Litigation Skills Summer Institute

The new Litigation Skills Summer Institute will allow practitioners and qualified law students to master litigation skills. Participants will get the opportunity to brush up on their courtroom and deposition skills as well as their pre-trial skills in a civil setting. 

“A majority of lawyers do not go to court during their first years of practice, and, by the time they are asked to conduct their first depositions, they realize they are not adequately prepared or have forgotten some of the skills they learned in law school. Lawyers who take the Summer Institute will regain their confidence and fill in the gaps in their litigation skills knowledge” said Tahniat Saulat, coordinator of the Advocacy LL.M. and Litigation Skills Summer Institute.

The Litigation Skills Summer Institute was developed to answer a need for focused litigation skills training for JD and LL.M. students and practicing attorneys. “The courses in the Institute provide a unique opportunity to learn new litigation strategies and tools, strengthen persuasive abilities in pretrial and trial settings, and use cutting-edge courtroom technology,” explained Professor Elizabeth Boals, associate director of the law school's Trial Advocacy Program, and a founding member of the Institute.

According to Boals, courses are taught in a learning-by-doing format that requires participants to immediately apply what they learn during in-class simulations. “It is this active learning component that enables participants to master the skills and retain what they learn for use in practice,” Boals said.

Boals will bring her expertise to the institute. Her areas of specialization include Criminal and Civil Trial Advocacy, Criminal Law and Procedure, and Evidence. Before joining the faculty at AUWCL, Boals defended the U.S. Department of Commerce on alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. She began her legal career as an assistant public defender in the Office of the Public Defender in Alexandria, Virginia. MORE