Summer 2009

Development Report:
Public Citizen Co-Founder to Lead GW Law’s Public Interest Initiative

Left to right: Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest and Public Service Law Alan B. Morrison, GW Law School Dean Frederick Lawrence and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Alan B. Morrison will head GW’s public
interest and public service law program as the University’s first Lerner Family
Associate Dean for Public Interest and Public Service Law. A gift of $3 million
from the Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation endowed the
new position.

“The generosity of the Lerner family has enabled us to create a position in the law school that exemplifies our University’s commitment to and our students’ passion for public service,” says GW President Steven Knapp.

“GW Law has a long history of dedication to public service and a demonstrated commitment to public interest law,” says Frederick M. Lawrence, dean of GW’s Law School. “The selection of Alan Morrison provides a unique opportunity to put GW at the forefront of the growing interest among lawyers to participate in public service and make GW a recognized leader in cultivating this desire for professionals to be a part of larger causes.”

Morrison teamed up with Ralph Nader in 1972 to found and direct the Public Citizen
Litigation Group, the litigating arm of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.
Over the span of his career, Morrison has argued 20 cases before the United States Supreme Court, including the ground-breaking Immigration and Naturalization
Service v. Chadha

“Having spent most of my career in public interest and public service work, I am very
excited about this opportunity to promote and advance these programs at GW Law School,” says Morrison. “I hope to be able to imbue students with all the reasons that I and so many others have found it so rewarding to pursue those careers—and to make it possible for more students to do so.”

GW Law has been on the forefront of public interest law since the field began to emerge four decades ago. Opportunities for students are numerous and include the Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics, the GW Law Pro Bono Program, and faculty- and student-run public interest projects in fields such as animal welfare law, environmental protection, criminal justice reform and prisoners’ rights.

Morrison received his undergraduate degree from Yale College and his law degree
from Harvard Law School. Between his undergraduate and graduate education, he
served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. His early legal career includes
working as an attorney at Cleary Gottlieb and as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. In 2004, Morrison retired from Public Citizen to work
at Stanford Law School as a senior lecturer on administrative and public interest law.
He has taught at numerous law schools including Harvard University, New York University, Tulane University and China’s Fudan University.

The position was created by a gift from the Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation. Under the leadership of GW alumni Theodore N. Lerner, A.A. ’48, L.L.B. ’50, Robert K. Tanenbaum, J.D. ’82, Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, J.D. ’83, as well as Judy and Mark Lerner, B.B.A. ’75, and Edward and Debra Cohen, Lerner Enterprises has become the largest Washington, D.C.-area private real estate developer and is also the managing principal owner of the Washington Nationals Baseball Club. Ted Lerner has served on the GW Board of Trustees and Executive Committee. Gifts from the Lerner Family Foundation funded the Annette and Theodore Lerner Family Health and Wellness Center at the University and the Theodore N. Lerner Hall at the Law
School. Robert Tanenbaum is currently a member of the GW Board of Trustees.


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