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May 26, 2005

Matt Nehmer: (202) 994-6467;
Claire Duggan: (202) 994-0616;


Civil Rights Scholar Frederick M. Lawrence Takes Leadership August 1

WASHINGTON - Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, president of The George Washington University, has announced the appointment of Frederick M. Lawrence, Boston University professor of law, as the new dean of The George Washington University Law School. Lawrence was selected after an extensive search and will assume his post August 1. Lawrence succeeds Interim Dean Roger Trangsrud who will return to the classroom as the Oswald Symister Colclough Research Professor of Law.

"Frederick Lawrence comes to the position of Law School dean from a terrific field of candidates," said Trachtenberg. "He brings to the school a perfect blend of scholarship and experience, and we look forward to welcoming him as the leader of the next generation of GW-educated legal professionals."

Lawrence added, "I am delighted at the prospect both of becoming dean of The George Washington University Law School and of joining the faculty of the school. George Washington Law School has a long and illustrious history in the District of Columbia and in the American legal academy. It has become one of the top law schools in the country, with a distinguished faculty and staff, an impressive student body, and a highly accomplished group of alumni. I am honored to be joining the George Washington community, and I look forward to helping the Law School reach even greater heights in the years ahead."

A graduate of Yale Law School, Lawrence is one of the nation's leading civil rights experts. He is the author of five books, including Punishing Hate: Bias Crimes Under American Law, which examines bias-motivated violence and how the United States deals with such crimes. Lawrence has lectured nationally and internationally about bias crime law, and testified before Congress in support of federal hate crimes legislation and concerning Justice Department misconduct in Boston. In 2004, he was a member of the American delegation to the meeting of the Organization and Cooperation in Europe on Enactment and Enforcement of Legislation to Combat Hate-Motivated Crimes. Since 2003, Lawrence has served as chair of the National Legal Affairs Committee of the Anti-Defamation League.

"Fred Lawrence is an outstanding choice to lead GW Law in the coming years," said Trangsrud. "He is an internationally known scholar and an extraordinary teacher, and he has been a respected leader at BU Law School. He has the energy, vision, and experience to reach out to our large and supportive alumni community and to work well with our dedicated senior staff.  I am confident that Dean Lawrence will have enormous success building upon the strong foundation laid down by former GW Deans Barron, Friedenthal, and Young over the last two decades, and that he will guide GW Law to new levels of excellence."

Lawrence began his legal career in 1980 as clerk to Judge Amalya L. Kearse of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Later, he was named an assistant United States attorney for the southern district of New York, where he became chief of the office's civil rights unit. He joined the Boston University School of Law faculty in 1988, and has taught courses on civil procedure, criminal law, civil rights enforcement and civil rights crimes. He served as the school's associate dean for academic affairs from 1996 to 1999. In 1996 Lawrence received Boston University's Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest of the university's teaching honors.

Besides legal studies, Lawrence has unique talents outside the classroom. He has performed with the New York Choral Society in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Established in 1865, The George Washington University Law School is the oldest law school in the District of Columbia. Accredited by the American Bar Association and a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools, the Law School enrolls approximately 1,750 students each year. The school was ranked 20th in the nation in the most recent "America's Best Graduate Schools" edition U.S. News & World Report. Among law specialties, the intellectual property law program was named the country's third best program. The environmental law program is ranked 10th, and the international law program is ranked ninth in the country.

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