Bridging the Political Divide: William & Mary Hosts Groundbreaking ‘Citizen Lawyers in Action’ Event with Bipartisan Legislators

As the political landscape gears up for yet another election cycle, William & Mary is set to host a groundbreaking event that brings together legislators from opposite sides of the aisle.

The inaugural “Citizen Lawyers in Action” event, hosted and developed by William & Mary Law School’s Institute of Bill of Rights Law and cosponsored by the Virginia Law Foundation, promises a unique insight into bipartisan cooperation on pressing issues.

Scheduled for Nov. 28, 2023, at 11:30 a.m., this event will feature Representatives Joyce Beatty (D-OH) and Mike Carey (R-OH) engaged in a conversation moderated by William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe. The venue will be William & Mary Law School.Joyce Beatty (D-OH) and Mike Carey (R-OH)

The roots of this event trace back to the visionary George Wythe, William & Mary’s — and America’s — first law professor. Wythe believed in a legal education that not only imparted vocational skills but also nurtured young lawyers into the leaders the new republic desperately needed. Through participatory learning, he organized mock legislatures, providing students with real leadership experiences.

“Citizen Lawyers in Action” kicks off with a workshop led by the congress members at 11:30 a.m. in Room 120 of the Law School. Here, students will have the unique opportunity to glean practical advice on negotiation, problem-solving and other skills crucial for effective governance in a democracy.

The interactive element of the event comes alive with an optional simulation styled after George Wythe’s historic “mock legislatures.” This simulation, incorporating modern legislative challenges, encourage interest-based negotiation. The simulation is slated for 12:50-1:50 p.m.

A cocktail party and reception from 5 to 6 p.m. in Penny Commons will cap off the day. The casual setting will provide an opportunity for students, faculty and attendees to engage in informal conversations, fostering a sense of community and collaboration.

The event is free and open to the entire William & Mary community. It serves as a testament to the university’s commitment to nurturing future leaders who understand the importance of bipartisanship and collaboration in the democratic process. For registration and more information, please visit our Citizen Lawyers in Action page.

Editor’s note: Democracy is one of four cornerstone initiatives in W&M’s Vision 2026 strategic plan. Visit the Vision 2026 website to learn more.