Michael Liebman, JD '89

July 28, 2023

Michael Liebman headshot

Tell us about your career path after law school.    

I graduated with a JD from GW Law in 1989, at age 24.  I went from first-day of kindergarten to law school graduation with nothing but summers off.  I would not recommend it.  After graduating I did a one-year clerkship for Judge Frank Schwelb of the DC Court of Appeals (not to be confused with the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.)  The DCCA is the equivalent of a state supreme court.  In 1990, I was hired into the Department of Justice, Criminal Division Honors Program, where I worked in a variety of sections, but primarily what was then known as the Internal Security Section.  That section oversaw national-security related DOJ prosecutions around the country.  In 2002 I became an assistant U.S. attorney in DC, where I have been ever since.  I am currently in the office's Homicide Section, which primarily practices in DC Superior Court.

Is there a class or experience during your time as a student at GW Law that you found particularly helpful or impactful?

In my 3L year I took a course in advanced criminal procedure taught by an adjunct professor named Ken Melson.  At the time Ken was the First AUSA in the USAO for the E.D. Va.  I found the topic fascinating and decided right then and there I would be a prosecutor.      

What motivated you to help students as a mock trial coach? 

I love being a mock trial coach and helping students hone their skills.  It took me years after graduating from GW until I felt comfortable in the courtroom.  I want to help students acquire that comfort much earlier.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself as a 1L?   

If you want to be a litigator, go to the courthouses and watch.  Before you get your JD.  It will take away the mystery of the courtroom.  It will make you think, "Hey, I can do that."