Today’s “Clinical Voices” comes from Jonathan Wroblewski, who runs the Semester in Washington program at Harvard Law School. Here is his note to his students at the end of the semester:
The 2012 edition of the Harvard Law School Semester in Washington has ended, and it has been a wonderful semester in so many ways!
We’ve explored what policy making is and the building blocks that make up rigorous and thoughtful policy making. We’ve met fascinating people, including Senator Tom Udall, National Security Staff Deputy Counsel Michael Bahar, Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu, White House Human Rights Director Samantha Power, policy entrepreneur Jeanne Smoot, Sentencing Commission General Counsel Ken Cohen, Professor Doug Berman, and many more. We visited the Facebook policy shop and wrestled with issues of privacy and commerce. We’ve worked on some critical writing skills and heard some pretty good “Elevator Pitches,” including ones to revamp foreign aid, reform defense spending, and make a change at the top of the FHFA. We visited the Supreme Court and watched as the Solicitor General defended the Stolen Valor Act. We’ve set goals for ourselves; met some (maybe most); and missed a few, too. We’ve worked hard at our placements and shared and learned from each other’s experiences. We’ve thought about the ethical responsibilities of the government lawyer and picked apart how government bureaucracies work. We ventured outside of the Washington of tourists and monuments and served some of the people who call Washington home. We shared a few meals together and gotten to know one another a lot better. For each of us there were expectations met, expectations missed, and some surprises.
Most gratifying is that we were able to create a small community of learning away from Cambridge and in this strange city of Washington, D.C. I have enjoyed getting to know all of you and sharing some of your experiences over the past three months. Please don’t hesitate to call on me if there is ever anything I can do for you. I will be in Cambridge in the fall to recruit for our Semester in Washington Class of 2013. I hope to see some of you there. And if you are ever near the Main Justice Building, please drop me a line and let’s find time to catch up.
Enjoy the summer!