Law Student Conference Trains & Inspires Liberty's Advocates

Law Student Conference
Trains & Inspires Liberty’s Advocates

By Krissy Keys

In July, the Institute for Justice held its 16th annual law student conference at George Washington University in the nation’s capital.  IJ welcomed 36 attendees from 24 law schools, including summer clerks from our headquarters and state chapter offices and even a practicing attorney from Sweden.  The annual conference is not only attended by law students, but it also has become a fun refresher for both new and veteran IJ staff members.

Pepperdine University Law School Professor Doug Kmiec has taught at the annual Law Student Conferences since its inception providing students with insights into cutting–edge constitutional theories.

Participants enjoyed a three-day crash course in public interest law “The IJ Way.”  Presentations from law professors Doug Kmiec of Pepperdine University and Todd Zywicki of George Mason University, Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute, attorney Robert Kry (a past IJ and U.S. Supreme Court clerk and law student conference alumnus), IJ attorneys, staff and clients gave attendees a exciting look at public interest law from a free market perspective. Attendees participated in lectures on IJ’s four litigation pillars (property rights, economic liberty, school choice and free speech), media and outreach tactics, cutting-edge constitutional theories, legal policy, entrepreneurship and public choice theory.  They also participated in a workshop putting what they learned to use.  The IJ client roundtable, a favorite among attendees, reminded us of the importance of putting a human face on each case.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Markman delivered Saturday night’s keynote address, discussing the proper role of the judiciary in shaping legal policy nationwide.

After the weekend-long public interest law boot camp, the law students became members of our Human Action Network.  HAN is a network comprised of past IJ clerks and interns and alumni of our various training conferences, who volunteer with IJ to help further the cause of liberty throughout the country.  Members of HAN support IJ by identifying and researching potential cases, serving as local counsel, authoring amicus briefs and even litigating cases.  As in years past, we expect to see many of the new HAN members take prestigious clerkships with state and federal courts.  Many HAN members often go on to have influential careers in public interest law, private practice or academia.

IJ’s annual law student conference is an important first step in many of the attendees’ involvement in public interest law and often lays the foundation for a career-long relationship with the Institute for Justice and our continued fight for freedom.

IJ Clerks & Interns

Our clerks and interns for the summer of 2007 provided excellent legal research for IJ. They are, from left to right, Aaron Reese-University of Illinois, Jacob Gutwillig-Princeton University, Rob Johnson-Harvard Law School, Erin Smith-Wake Forest University School of Law, K.H.-West Virginia University, Allen Unzelman-Pacific Lutheran University, Alison Schmauch-Emory Law School, James Burnham-University of Chicago Law School, Ezra Hood-George Mason University School of Law, Sarah Ribstein-Duke Law School, Arpan Sura-William & Mary School of Law, Nick Sarwark-American University Washington School of Law, Noreen Johnson-University of Minnesota Law School, and Lauren Wiggins-University of California, Davis, School of Law.

Krissy Keys is IJ’s assistant outreach coordinator.

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