GW Law Alumni Celebrate Women's History Month

March 1, 2023
Women's History Month graphic

Each Women’s History Month in March, the country honors women who have played key roles in history. This year, GW Law is highlighting the stories of some of our alumni.

Corinne Ball, JD '78

Corinne Ball headshot

1. Share one or two memories from your law school days

My memories always go to first year. That is the time for discovery, friends and successful survival. Classes in the first year were like the paper chase, grades went out to four digits beyond the decimal point, you were called on , you stood, and you responded—all part of your grade. Strongest memories are of Max Pock in Contracts, and David Seidelson in torts. Both were awesome, always prepared, and great on their feet, especially when you were on yours responding. Humor was the best tonic of all. I will never forget the experience of one of our colleagues with David Seidelson. The circumstances were a nighttime accident between an eighteen-wheeler and a Volkswagen bug. The driver of the Volkswagen stating that he never saw the truck until it crashed into his vehicle as he turned, contending that he had no idea that the oncoming traffic was an eighteen-wheeler. The running lights on the truck were not on. My friend was dead silent in response to Prof. Seidelson’s questions, until asked why large trucks are required to have running lights on the top and length of their trailers. Then my friend, grasping for a response, inquired whether it was to warn low flying aircraft. The tension was broken and he and most of the class went on to success.

2. Why did you choose GW Law?

I was coming Williams College which is in rural Massachusetts and only had a total of 2,000 students. Washington was a perfect transition to a city. It had a university, the home of the Supreme Court, the World Bank, government and think tank internships, including mine at the National Academy of Science. GW Law was a great “way station” for taking on the energy, courts, talent, and crowds of the Big Apple, which was undoubtedly my ultimate destination.

Plus, at the time I was engaged to a medical student at Howard University, and I liked the idea that I could ride my motorcycle in DC.

Stephanie Basta, JD '93

1. Share one or two memories from your law school days

"The Van Vleck Moot Court competition was one of my most memorable experiences at GW Law. I recall the experience requiring extensive collaboration. My partner was Julie Rottenberg - who I remember preparing for hours - practicing our opening arguments, peppering each other with questions, and trying not to run out of time before we finished our closing arguments. To succeed, we had to be good on our own and even better as a team.

While at GW Law, I interned at the United States Court of Federal Claims with Judge Roger B. Andewelt, a GW Law alumnus. Judge Andewelt loved being a lawyer and a judge, and a mentor. He challenged me to think critically and write clearly and urged me to 'love the law' and to love learning the law."

2. Why did you choose GW Law?

"I wanted to be at a law school where I could immerse myself in not only the study of law but in learning the law through experiences. Being in the heart of DC, GW Law offered this. 

I loved Washington, DC, and thought it was a fantastic place to study and live. I loved the museums, memorials, the Capital, the Library of Congress, and all the open spaces - the mall, Rock Creek Park, and the Zoo. And, of course, I loved the Fox and Hound."

Stephanie Basta headshot

Barbara Pariente, JD '73

Barbara Pariente headshot
1. Share one or two memories from your law school days

My most vivid memory is my experiences through the law school clinic Law Students in Court and having the ability to represent tenants against slumlords in court. As well as the bonds that I formed with the few but amazing women who were law students at the time.

2. Why did you choose GW Law?

It was a combination of several factors: a) its location in Washington D.C. b) its excellent reputation c) my grand uncle S. Chesterfield Oppenheim, who co-wrote one of the textbooks on anti-trust law and had been a professor at George Washington for over 25 years highly recommended this law school to me! 

Laura Reiff, JD '89

1. Share one or two memories from your law school days

"One of my vivid memories is my 1L Tort class with John Banzhaf. He was an amazing tort professor and a rabid anti-smoking advocate. He came up with his bonding experience where he had the class hike the Billy Goat trail. It was all uphill and rocky." Reiff said that she will always remember that, and she did bond with a couple of other 1L's.

She also recalled the two externships that she had from her clinic work. Reiff worked with the Central American Refugee Center and with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. She said both were amazing experiences.

The final experience she shared was when Judge Antonin Scalia came to her Constitutional Law class to give a talk. This was after his nomination to the Supreme Court but before his confirmation.

2. Why did you choose GW Law?

After receiving her undergraduate degree from American University, Laura said staying in Washington, DC for law school was important. Mentioning that she applied to Georgetown, GW Law, and American University. However, after touring all three schools she was impressed with GW Law's tour and reputation. Her daughter felt the same way, as she also graduated from GW Law. "GW Law was a wonderful experience with its clinics and great professors."

Laura Reiff headshot