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Washington at Washington Square

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The highly ordered world of legal theory can seem far removed from the hard-nosed, policy-driven ethos of Washington, D.C. Recently, however, a host of leading public figures from the federal government have bridged that distance by teaching at NYU Law. It’s a golden opportunity for students to learn how things get done in the capital.

The visitors from Washington span political parties and ideologies. For example, President George H. W. Bush’s former White House counsel C. Boyden Gray focuses his class on how energy issues affect international security, while Robert Bauer, who stepped down as White House counsel in June, but serves as general counsel to President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee, teaches a seminar on Law and the Electoral Process. Douglas Ginsburg and Sally Katzen, who served as the Office of Management and Budget’s administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Reagan and Clinton administrations, respectively, will each teach a 1L course, the Administrative and Regulatory State, this spring. Judge Ginsburg’s current colleague on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Harry Edwards, was appointed by President Carter. Edwards’s classes elucidate the appellate process as well as the art of decisionmaking from the bench.

Hearing stories firsthand of the crafting of major policy initiatives or of dealing with political heat and a media hungry for a story not only demystifies federal government, but also allows students to imagine themselves in these roles. Martha Roberts ’12, a student in Katzen’s seminar last spring, the aptly named How Washington Really Works, says, “You get a more complete picture of who affects the regulatory process and the ways you can influence it—through comments or meetings, through different jobs. She’s also really good at challenging assumptions that you have about how things should work.” For those interested in pursuing government careers, having their eyes opened also may simply open doors.

Regulars on the Acela Express

NYU Law Visiting Professors and Fellows from the Federal Government, 2010-11

Nine distinguished federal public servants who have recently taught or are currently teaching as adjunct or visiting professors, and a sampling of their courses.

Neil Barofsky ’95, Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, 2008-11
Course: Government Responses to the Financial Crisis Seminar

Robert Bauer, White House Counsel, 2010-11
Course: Seminar on Law and the Electoral Process

Paul Clement, U.S. Solicitor General, 2005-08
Course: Supreme Court Seminar

Harry T. Edwards, Senior Circuit Judge, Chief Judge Emeritus, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Courses: The Art of Appellate Decisionmaking; Federal Courts and the Appellate Process

Ezekiel Emanuel, Special Advisor for Health Policy to the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, 2009-11
Course: Health Law Policy Seminar

Kenneth Feinberg ’70, Administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility; Special Master of September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, 2001-04
Course: Mass Torts

Douglas H. Ginsburg, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Course: Readings in Legal Thought Seminar; Administrative and Regulatory State

C. Boyden Gray, White House Counsel, 1989–93
Course: Law and Policy Seminar on Energy, Environment and Security

Sally Katzen, Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, 1993–98
Course: How Washington Really Works Seminar; Administrative and Regulatory State

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