D.C. Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto (LAW ’17) will teach an intensive, one-week course at the Georgetown University Law Center (GULC) over the winter break in January 2023.
Pinto will teach the course — “Law and Policy in the Capitol City,” — alongside Georgetown Law Professor Meryl Chertoff, who serves as the executive director of the Georgetown Project on State and Local Government Policy and Law (SALPAL). Pinto will teach the course in accordance with the D.C. Code on Ethics and Government Accountability and as such will not accept payment for her services.
Pinto said she hopes to form the same kind of connections with students that she was able to find with her professors during her time studying at GULC.
“Returning to my alma mater to teach a course to law students is an enormous privilege,” Pinto wrote in a statement to The Hoya. “My time at the Law Center was filled with professors who made meaningful impacts on the trajectory of my career.”
The course will focus specifically on Washington, D.C., and its complex system of governance as a federal district but not a state, allowing law students to examine the challenges the D.C. Council faces when aiming to navigate governance.
According to Chertoff, inspiration for the course grew out of her previous teaching on state and local government law.
“We’re going to be talking about things including D.C. statehood, but we’re going to go well beyond questions of of D.C. statehood,” Chertoff said in an interview with The Hoya. “And we’re going to be talking about the way that the district government is set up — the D.C. Council, the court system, the regulatory agencies — we’re going to be talking about developments in the city transportation, housing and education and how D.C. faces some unique challenges.”
The course will enable students living in and around the District to better understand the legal context of the city, according to Chertoff.
“Given, of course, that all of our students are here, either actually living in Washington, D.C., or commuting to law school, we thought that it was very important to set into context what they were experiencing in Washington D.C.,” Chertoff said.
Chertoff said Pinto’s expertise as a representative for Ward 2 — which houses Georgetown’s main campus — will help her foster conversations about the ways in which the university itself interacts with the D.C. government.
“She is very interested as a pedagogical matter on questions of D.C. governance,” Chertoff said. “We decided it would just be terrific to work together on doing something for the law students, and lifting up some of these issues, which I know interest her as they interest me.”
Pinto said her time in the classroom at GULC was accompanied by experiences volunteering that fortified her connection to the District.
Andrew Kales (LAW ’03) said GULC students have a unique opportunity to learn about the legal system through D.C., and that Pinto and Chertoff’s course will enable them to understand how the city functions on the most local level.
“Georgetown Law students come from all over the country because they want to study in DC, but most of the classes focus on federal law and the federal legal system,” Kales wrote to The Hoya. “This type of class will give them a unique perspective on the city they’re living in.
Kales said he also believes the course will grant students a deeper connection to the D.C. community.
Pinto said her goal for the class is to inspire students to care about issues pertinent to the District and utilize the skills they are gaining at GULC to give back to the community.
“My hope in teaching this class is that students are galvanized to continue to expand their learning about the community they call home for three years and use their gifts and talents to serve and support District residents,” Pinto wrote.