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First Gruber Foundation International Law Fellow Named

Luke Wilson, JD ’09, is the first Gruber Foundation Law Fellow.

Anne Wernikoff

The International Court of Justice in The Hague has selected Luke Wilson, JD ’09, to serve for one year as a law clerk under the ICJ’s University Traineeship Programme. Luke has also been named the first Gruber Foundation International Law Fellow. The fellowship was established at The George Washington University Law School in 2009 by a gift from the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, which honors and encourages educational excellence, social justice, and scientific achievements that better the human condition.

“By providing invaluable financial support for a GW Law graduate to clerk at the prestigious International Court of Justice, the Gruber Foundation is aiding in the development and understanding of international law,” says Frederick M. Lawrence, dean and Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law at The George Washington University Law School. “We are honored that the generosity of the Gruber Foundation will help GW Law to continue to expand its nationally-recognized program in international law in this meaningful and substantial way.”

Wilson, a graduate of Bowdoin College with a BA in international relations and French, chose to study at GW for its strength in international law and its location in the nation’s capital. Wilson has served as executive articles editor of The George Washington International Law Review, and he has held several other on-campus positions, including having served as music director of the Law Revue variety show. He secured coveted internships at the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser, and at the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division. After his clerkship with the ICJ, he looks forward to a career as an international lawyer.

“Working for the International Court of Justice is an unparalleled opportunity for a young international lawyer,” Wilson says. “I plan on making the most of my time in The Hague. I am truly grateful for the support that GW Law and the Gruber Foundation have given me. This fellowship will allow me to clerk at the court during a particularly fascinating time in the court’s history, and I look forward to engaging the legal issues on the horizon alongside some of the world’s foremost international jurists.”

The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Established in 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations, the ICJ settles a wide range of legal disputes that states may bring to it for resolution. It also issues advisory opinions on legal issues that an authorized U.N. organ or specialized agency may refer to it. Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, the ICJ is the only one located outside of New York City.

Under the ICJ’s trainee program, distinguished law graduates with a background in international law are invited to clerk at the ICJ. In 2008, Daniel Fromm, JD ’08, was GW Law’s first ICJ trainee; Wilson will be the first to be supported by the Gruber Fellowship.

The fellowship is not GW Law’s only connection to the Gruber Foundation. Thomas Buergenthal, an ICJ judge and GW Law’s Lobingier Professor Emeritus of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence, was the co-recipient of the Foundation’s 2008 Justice Prize.

Buergenthal Endowed Scholarship

It was no surprise when Hon. Thomas Buergenthal, the American judge on the International Court of Justice who is considered one of the world’s leading international human rights experts, was awarded the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation 2008 Justice Prize. The prize recognized his “lifetime of dedication and determination to the principles of equal rights and justice through law,” says Patricia Gruber, co-founder of the foundation that has been awarding the Gruber Justice Prize annually since 2001. Buergenthal, who is the Lobingier professor emeritus of comparative law and jurisprudence, showed his dedication to GW Law by giving the prize money to the Law School to provide tuition awards to international LLM students committed to justice and the rule of law.

Thank You for Rising to the Challenge!

Congratulations to all GW Law graduates who contributed to the Law Fund to meet The George Washington University Board of Trustees 2008 challenge! The many alumni who gave for the first time, made a reunion year gift for class years ending in 2, 3, 7, or 8, or who were first-time members of the Dean’s Fund through their gift of $1,000 or more, generated a matching gift of over $790,000 to the Law School from the Trustees’ University-wide fund of $2 million. Thanks to all who participated—your gifts allow GW Law to increase scholarship aid, attract and retain outstanding faculty, and stay on the cutting edge of legal education.

Class of 2009 Establishes Scholarship Fund

Class of 2009 Gift Committee section captains with Dean Frederick M. Lawrence

Members of the Class of 2009 commemorated their graduation by establishing the Class of 2009 Scholarship Fund. The class surpassed its gift and pledge participation goals and generated a projected total gift of more than $21,000 to GW Law. Led by Student Bar Association President Brett Sheats and Class Gift Chair Dan Zambrano, more than 68 percent of the Class of 2009 contributed to the fund, which is dedicated to providing scholarship support to deserving and qualified students regardless of financial need.

William Threadgill, LLB ’49, expressed his appreciation for the education he received at GW Law by offering a matching challenge grant to the Class of 2009. A longtime member of the bar, he was a founder of Threadgill Smith Saunders & Jolly, which later merged with Mitchell, McNutt, and Sams to create the largest law firm based in North Mississippi. Now retired from Mitchell, McNutt, and Sams, Threadgill continues to practice law in Columbus, Miss.

The graduating Class Gift program was established in 2005 by students who wanted to commemorate their graduation from the Law School by giving back to an area of the school in need of critical financial support. The program has grown consistently each year since its inception. The collective achievements of each succeeding class have set important examples for all classes—past, present, and future.

Thank you, Class of 2009, for your hard work, generosity, and belief in the Law School. The tradition continues for graduating students to leave the Law School better than they found it.

—Nky Soribe

GW Law Advisory Boards Meet in New York City

In response to members’ suggestions, the GW Law School Board of Advisors, including the Intellectual Property Advisory Board and the Government Contracting Advisory Board, met on April 24 and 25 in New York City for the first time.

The meeting began with a kick-off dinner at the grand ballroom of the Yale Club. Work sessions on Saturday focused on the Law School’s present concerns and future opportunities, and the meeting closed with an exclusive docent-led tour at the Museum of Modern Art, followed by lunch.

Also new for the April 2009 meeting, board members with their spouses or guests were invited to attend all work sessions and social events. Many commented that the change of location and expanded mix of participants led to a lively exchange of fresh ideas.

Dean Frederick M. Lawrence greets Paul Butler, associate dean for faculty development; John Hay, JD ’80; and Richard Langan Jr. during dinner in the Yale Club’s grand ballroom.

Michael Koblenz, LLM ’74; Gary Granoff, JD ’73; Ike Sorkin, JD ’68; and Larry Zweifach, JD ’73

GW Law Development Officer Megan Ching with Lan, Christina, and Edwin Widodo

Dean Frederick M. Lawrence with Peter and Patricia Gruber (see Gruber Fellowship story and Buergenthal Scholarship note, News section)

Rick Knop, JD ’69, and Yazmin Ronquillo review the draft working paper to be discussed at GW Law visioning dinners in the next few years.

A Museum of Modern Art docent leads a tour for Law School board members and Dean Frederick M. Lawrence and his wife, Kathy.