Public Law Center turns 25

November 13, 2012 10:00 AM

Nick Marinello

At a recent celebration commemorating a quarter-century of work, The Public Law Center at Tulane conducted a short program that contemplated past accomplishments. Then those involved took a moment to consider what they were most thankful for.

Public Law Center

Law school dean David Meyer offers opening remarks at a recent event to celebrate The Public Law Center’s 25th anniversary. Standing beside Meyer is the center’s founding director, David Marcello. (Photo by Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo)

“First and foremost, it’s the work we get to do day in and day out,” said David Marcello, the center’s founder and executive director. “It’s satisfying to have work that you feel is meaningful.”

When The Public Law Center first got off the ground in 1988, it was conceived as a way to deliver clinical education in legislative drafting to second- and third-year Tulane Law School students.

“I had in mind that we would provide training for students and services for clients who had been traditionally underrepresented in the legislative and administrative processes of government,” said Marcello, who estimates that more than 150 acts of the legislature have had their start as student drafts hatched in the clinic’s curriculum.

What Marcello said he didn’t anticipate was that the center would develop the capacity to train actual legislative drafters from around the world, which it does through an intensive two-week institute in June as well as on-site training in countries as far-flung as South Africa, Bulgaria, the Republic of Georgia and Mongolia. All in all, more than 1,000 legislative drafters from 95 jurisdictions across the globe have received training through the center.

In the course of 25 years, Marcello said he has gained a greater appreciation for the “rule of law,” a legal maxim that, when fully realized, dictates that even government must abide by the laws it has enacted.

“That’s where rule of law has its greatest value and meaning,” said Marcello. “It’s accepted that everyone, government included, obeys the rule of law and doesn’t just dispense with it when it’s uncomfortable.”


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