Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz
Background: University of Scranton (B.S. 1989), Loyola University New Orleans (J.D., 1992), Georgetown Law Center (LL.M., 1997). Before joining the LSU Law faculty, Professor Pietruszkiewicz served as attorney/advisor to the U.S Department of Education’s chief administrative law judge and was instrumental in the design and implementation of the first agency-wide Informal Dispute Resolution Center; as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice in the litigation of civil tax matters; and as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the George Mason University School of Law. He is the co-author of a treatise on corporate reorganizations, has published his research in a number of leading law reviews, and is a frequently invited speaker at national academic and tax conferences. He is an active member of the American Bar Association, Section of Taxation, where he chairs several tax subcommittees and he is the 2005-06 President of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools. At the LSU Law Center, he teaches a number of tax courses and is the Chair of the Admissions Committee and Chair of the Faculty Scholarship Committee.
LSU Law Students: Our student body is exceptionally well qualified and is drawn from a broadly diverse cross section of backgrounds, talents, experiences, and perspectives from the state, the nation, and jurisdictions that share our Civilian heritage. The students at LSU are hard working, eager to learn, and very exciting to teach. The LSU Law Center has one of the most demanding curricula in the nation, one that requires 97 credit hours in both the civil law and common law traditions. In addition, many of our students are also public service oriented and their commitment continues to grow on campus. For example, our students prepare over 250 tax returns every year for international students and scholars through the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), and, in 2005, the VITA program was honored by the American Bar Association as the “Best Continuing Site.” Our students also participate in nearly a dozen national moot court and mock trial competitions and consistently demonstrate a high level of writing and advocacy abilities.
LSU Law Faculty: LSU Law has a very good balance of teaching, scholarship, and service. As the flagship state law school, there is a public service emphasis among faculty members with members involved in national and regional organizations such as the American Bar Association, the American Association of Law Schools, and the Southeastern Association of Law Schools. Our faculty also lends its expertise to the State of Louisiana in drafting legislation, providing testimony to the legislature, and offering continuing legal education seminars to its practitioners. In addition, our faculty has written the leading treatises on Louisiana law and has published a number of national casebooks, treatises, and academic articles in a variety of subjects.
Since 1998, new faculty members make up approximately half of our current faculty. The integration of the faculty has allowed for a blending of new ideas with the traditional ones that created the historically strong academic reputation of the Law Center. The result is a valuable combination that produces cohesiveness and a vitality that enhances our educational goals and adds to the learning process for our students.
The Tax Program: Each year, 10-12 of our graduates attend graduate tax programs (LL.M.) throughout the country and are frequently accepted in the top-ranked programs in the nation. Because of their legal training and the rigor of the course work at LSU, our students have an excellent reputation among the leading tax programs and are consistently viewed by those programs as exceptionally well prepared to succeed in their demanding curricula. The reputation comes from a level of effort necessary by our students to be successful at LSU and the commitment of the faculty to our core mission of preparing our students for the practice of law. The blending of student effort and faculty commitment provides a solid foundation to not only be successful in an LL.M. program, but also for all students as they begin their legal careers. Moreover, in 2005, our National Tax Moot Court team placed first in the National Tax Moot Court competition in Tampa, Florida and one of our team members was named the “Best Oralist” in the competition.
Two Degrees: Bijural essentially means bilingual as far as the law is concerned. The training in civil law and common law provides students with a unique insight and understanding of the legal traditions in practice throughout the world. While a majority of the United States is based in common law, a majority of the rest of the world is grounded in the civilian tradition. Because LSU is the only law school in the country that requires training in both traditions and recognizes that training by awarding two degrees upon graduation – a traditional J.D. and also a Bachelor in Civil Laws. While civil law defines our Louisiana heritage, the addition of common law course offerings literally prepares our graduates to practice throughout the world.
The Law Campus: The LSU Law Center campus has seen a spectacular transformation over the past few years. We just completed a $16 million renovation of our two law buildings with state of the art technology to enhance the learning environment for our students. The new surroundings make the campus a great place to work and study, including a fantastic library just ranked 19th of 183 law school libraries in the nation by the National Jurist. This impressive ranking is a testament to the facility itself, in addition to the number of volumes and electronic databases maintained by the library as well as a knowledgeable and incredibly helpful staff. In addition, the Law Center has a beautiful courtyard and student lounge where students can study or discuss the issues of the day while enjoying our local Louisiana coffee at CC’s Coffee.
The Future: We are attracting students with higher credentials from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences to add to the learning environment, and we are confident that this trend will continue. Our admissions process has become increasing more selective based on the quality of our applications, which, in turn, advances the academic and intellectual mission of the Law Center. In addition, to help in attracting top students, our development efforts have also resulted in significantly more scholarship funds for prospective and continuing students. Overall, the beneficiaries of all of the changes at the Law Center are our students. The future of the Law Center is very bright as we build on our past successes and continue our efforts to be among the top-ranked law schools in the country.