The Catholic University of America

The Certificate in Law and Public Policy

Students who complete the requirements listed below receive certificates in law and public policy in addition to a J.D. upon graduation. LPP certificate requirements include completion of certain courses, fieldwork, and participation in the academic planning process described below.  Click on the links to the right for specifics.
Academic Planning Exercise
Under the supervision of the Director of the program, LPP students draft a tentative four-semester academic plan during the second semester of law school. If a student is accepted into the program later than the second semester of law school, this academic planning exercise must be completed during the first semester of the student's participation in the program.
The LPP Edge
The LPP certificate offers recognition of the specialized study, research and fieldwork that differentiate the legal education of students in the LPP Program from that of other students at the law school. The required courses are:
       Becoming a Public Policy Lawyer 
        This two-credit course provides LPP students with a forum for reflecting on public policy implementation, the role of the lawyers in the policy-making process, and their experiences as legal externs. This course assists students in their professional development as attorneys by cultivating skills through dialogue and role playing and exploration of public policy issues.  This fall, students learned how to view law and public policy from a variety of perspectives from the following guest lecturers:
  • Elizabeth Getman, Associate with Sandler, Reiff & Young, P.C.
  • Larry Halloran, Director of the International Development Initiative at Professional Services Council
  • Ryan Long, Chief Health Counsel at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy & Commerce
  • Afshin Mohamadi, Communications Director for U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
  • Clint Carte, Special Assistant in the Office of U.S. Homeland Security Secretary
        In their externships, students learn about the day-to-day practice of law as it applies to some aspect of public policy or public interest advocacy. In-class exercises, such as simulated Congressional hearings and mock cabinet meetings complement more traditional classwork. In addition, students extensively research and analyze a public policy issue that relates to their externship work and write a paper examining the role of law and lawyers in the implementation of that issue. 
       Public Policy Practicum
        The Public Policy Practicum sharpens the public policy skills students develop over the course of the program by providing opportunities to apply them to existing public policy issues. During the first semester of this year-long course, students extensively research and write a paper on a public policy issue of importance to them (including how the issue affects the Washington, D.C. area) and they develop policy proposals to address these issues. Then, in the second semester, students have the opportunity to engage in hands-on advocacy by creating and implementing a related public policy project.  Last year, student projects included policy development in the areas of juvenile justice, health care coding, school grant writing, and domestic worker empowerment.
       The purpose of the Practicum is to encourage students to engage in public policy life and debate. In furtherance of this purpose, students are required to use policy history from the perspective of the decisionmaker to inform their own views and approaches to policy matters. This fall, to aid in this process, Brian Hart, Sales Executive, offered guidance on marketing ideas to decisionmakers, and Paul Strauss, U.S. Senator for D.C., discussed the D.C. Government and its relationship to the U.S. Congress.
       Administrative Law
        This course involves the study of the administrative process, including formal and informal processes within various administrative agencies, as well as judicial, legislative, and executive control of administrative activity. It addresses the investigative, interpretative, rulemaking, adjudicatory, and enforcement operations of administrative agencies. During the 2009-2010 academic year, LPPers participated in administrative law classes taught by Professors Gregg, Leiter, Mintz, and Smith.
Detailed descriptions of these courses appear in the law school Announcements.