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  • Caleb Dulis

Celebrating 50 years of the Government Procurement Law Program

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the George Washington Law School's Government Procurement Law Program. To celebrate, the program's directors will be hosting a gala on Thursday, February 18, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on Constitution Avenue. The gala, beginning at 6:30 PM, will feature a reception and three-course dinner. Presenters will include the Honorable Daniel Gordon, former adjunct at the Law School and recently confirmed as the Administrator for Public Procurement Policy in the White House. Professor Steven Schooner, one of the co-directors of the program, expects Gordon to discuss the current policy and legislative landscape.

The gala is open to students, and tickets are available for $35 through the Law School Office of Alumni Relations website. Program co-director Professor Christopher Yukins said the gala, held in conjunction with the Thomson Reuters/ West Year in Review, "will be a fun and easy way for students to meet a broad cross-section of the procurement bar here in Washington," he said. Professor Schooner agreed that the evening could be a valuable experience for students. "On the one hand," he said, "it's a networking event. We expect a nice turnout. In addition, the Mellon Auditorium is a pretty spectacular venue, and the food will be excellent!"

Professor Gregory Maggs, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Law School, commented on the program's anniversary. "The Law School's Government Procurement Law program is widely considered to be the preeminent program of its kind in the nation and increasingly attracts attention from around the world," he said. "It benefits the entire Law School community by enhancing the academic reputation of the Law School and by attracting firstrate students, scholars, and practitioners to its many functions."

According to the program's website, the Government Procurement Law Program was founded in 1960 by George Washington Law professors Ralph Nash and John Cibinic. While Professor Cibinic passed away in August 2005, Professor Nash still works with the program. Professor Yukins called Nash "an important source of support and inspiration" for the program.

Currently, the program functions as both a Masters of Law program and as an academic focus area for J.D. students. Along with Professors Schooner and Yukins, the program is co-directed by Professor Joshua Schwartz and also employs two full-time professors, as well as adjuncts and visiting scholars. The program sponsors the Public Contract Law Journal and the McKenna Long & Aldridge "Gilbert A. Cuneo" Government Contracts Moot Court Competition. This year, the competition will be held in March.

Professor Schooner described the program's mission as "constantly evolving" but said its highest goal is to "prepare students to be the best government contracts attorneys in the marketplace. We attempt to meet the market's demand for quality attorneys by helping our students - and [alumni] - find jobs in government service, private practice, and in corporations and, of course, clerkships." Schooner said that the program also attempts "to constructively influence procurement policy so that the acquisition regime works better, specifically, so the public gets good value for the money it spends." He also pointed to the program's work with foreign governments, which he characterized as a process of helping those governments "learn from more-developed nations' success and mistakes" in the area of procurement policy.

Professor Yukins highlighted the program's academic strengths, saying, "At its best, the program serves as an intellectual clearing-house for the procurement community." He added, "Our students have discovered over the years that procurement law is a fun, diverse area of law, which demands litigation, transactional, and political skills - and which is becoming more globalized every day. There is strong demand for procurement lawyers in Washington and around the world, so our program is very likely to be around - even if we're not! - 50 years from now."

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