Law School Honors Adjunct Faculty

In May, GW Law paid tribute to its dedicated adjunct professors with an Adjunct Faculty Appreciation Luncheon in the Michael K. Young Faculty Conference Center. The event is held every year and gives deans, full-time faculty members, and staff the opportunity to meet and personally thank members of the adjunct faculty for their hard work and dedication to the Law School and its students.

This year, the Law School offered awards and recognition to adjunct professors who have served for five, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 35 years. In his welcoming remarks, Interim Dean Gregory E. Maggs discussed just a few of the ways in which the adjunct faculty contributes to the Law School community.

“Our adjunct faculty is remarkable—we are offering about 520 courses during the next academic year, and of those courses, 233 are taught by adjuncts. It is because of their experience, knowledge, and loyalty that we are able to offer such a rich and extensive curriculum,” Dean Maggs said.

Dean Maggs also said that the adjunct faculty is not just composed of experts in the DC area, noting that some adjuncts travel from as far away as Chicago, Delaware, Georgia, and Philadelphia to teach.

GW Law’s nearly 250 adjunct faculty bring incomparable real-world experience to the classroom—their “day job” titles include acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; attorneys for the Department of Justice as well as for several congressional committees; public interest lawyers; and top partners from prestigious law firms. And many adjunct faculty members are also GW Law alumni, making their connection to the Law School and their interest in the success of their students even stronger.

“Our adjunct faculty brings prestige to GW Law, and we are grateful for their dedication to teaching. They share real-world knowledge and show our students what it means to practice law on a daily basis, in a variety of capacities. They also help our students figure out which area of law in which they may want to practice,” said Lisa M. Schenck, associate dean for academic affairs. “Other law schools have part-time faculty, but none are better than our experienced lawyers in our nation’s capital who hold an important and unique expertise that is invaluable to our students.” 

These experts include David S. Jonas, director of legal strategy and analysis with the U.S. Department of Energy, who teaches Nuclear Non-proliferation Law and Policy. He previously served as general counsel of the National Nuclear Security Administration, where he served for 10 years. Professor Jonas says he enjoys the opportunity to serve the Law School and to engage with his students.

“It is highly meaningful and a great honor to be an adjunct professor at GW Law,” Professor Jonas said. “It is a top-flight law school due to its superb leadership, faculty, and staff. But it is the students that keep me coming back. I continually learn from their thoughtful, creative, incisive questions. And they even have superb senses of humor—not always easy to maintain in a rigorous academic environment.”

Just a few days after the luncheon, during commencement festivities, former Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snow, J.D. ’67, cited the expertise and connections of the adjunct faculty as one of the Law School’s greatest strengths as he gave the diZerega lecture at the Law School Diploma Ceremony.

“The opportunity to engage first-rate minds which you’ve had, the opportunity to go through the broad case law and to go through the programs, the rich programs that this law school offers you, the chance to engage with an adjunct faculty that knows Washington and the federal agencies and the courts like no other law school has access to—that’s a huge asset for you as you move on,” Secretary Snow said to the graduating class.

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