Get to Know: Northwestern AGEP

Linda E. Kelly, Director, Northwestern Law Attorneys General Education Program

The Northwestern Law Attorneys General Education Program (AGEP) offers free---no tuition, plus reimbursement of expenses---education programs to Attorneys General and their senior staff. The AGEP is a new program for state Attorneys General and their staff at Northwestern Law School in Chicago. The program was established in 2009 under the auspices of the Searle Center on Law, Regulation and Economic Growth. The Searle Center is a nonprofit research and educational organization committed to the study of the impact of laws and regulations on economic growth. The Center was founded in 2006 with a generous grant from the late Daniel C. Searle, and is led by Executive Director Henry N. Butler, PhD. Our efforts seek to provide academic, public policy, and judicial leaders with analytically rigorous and balanced information on important and timely issues. Research, education, and outreach are conducted in accordance with the highest academic standards and maintain practical utility through consultation with our Advisory Boards.

The Searle Center is organized into three divisions. These are the Searle Civil Justice Institute, Searle Legal and Regulatory Studies, and Education and Outreach. The Searle Civil Justice Institute is a public policy institute focused on producing large-scale, empirical studies on important civil justice issues. Our Legal and Regulatory Studies division sponsors scholarly academic research on important issues related to the study of laws, regulation, and economic growth, which is disseminated through a variety of program models including roundtables, conferences, and symposia. Our Education and Outreach division houses two programs – the Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program and the Northwestern Law Attorneys General Education Program.

The Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program, formerly the AEI-Brookings Judicial Education Program, has provided high-quality, relevant and timely education programs to more than 3,000 members of the state and federal judiciary over its 15-year history. Building upon this successful model, last year we established the Northwestern Law Attorneys General Education Program (AGEP) as a sister program to the Judicial Education Program.

The purpose of the AGEP is to provide balanced, educational programming to Attorneys General and their staff that will enhance their understanding of the public policy implications and context of their actions. Because Attorneys General assume increasingly central roles in policy formation and implementation, we saw a need for a common forum for identifying and analyzing such issues on a broad policy level, allowing Attorneys General to communicate directly with one another and with leading experts with varying points of view. The program is a natural extension of the work we already do with the judiciary and fit well with the law school’s objective of increasing its reach to key policy makers.

The activities of our program are informed by a bipartisan Advisory Board that currently includes Attorneys General Thurbert Baker (Ga.), John Suthers (Colo.), Rob McKenna (Wash.), Martha Coakley (Mass.), Bill McCollum (Fla.), and Lisa Madigan (Ill.).

The AGEP has established two standard program models: Public Policy Conferences, which are two to three day programs focusing on a particular public policy issue or arena, such as last year’s program on the financial crisis, and Public Policy Institutes, which are week-long programs intended to enhance the toolkit of Attorney General staff by providing instruction in basic economics, statistics, empirical legal research, judicial behavior and other topics. The curriculum of the Public Policy Institutes remains standard, while the topics covered by the Public Policy Conferences vary. In all, representatives from 31 states and two territories participated in our 2009 programs.

This year, the AGEP will host its Second Annual Public Policy Conference on May 6-7, 2010, with a program entitled Data Privacy, Internet Regulation and Antitrust: Balancing Commerce and Consumer Protection in the Digital World. In addition, the AGEP will host two Public Policy Institutes, the first will run June 6-11, 2010 and the second will take place Oct. 3-8, 2010. It is our hope that all 56 Attorneys General offices will take advantage of these great, tuition-free programs in 2010.

Linda Kelly is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center. She assumed her role as Director of the Northwestern Law Attorneys General Education Program in January 2009. She can be reached at Linda-Kelly@law.northwestern.edu. For more information on the Northwestern Law Attorneys General Education Program, please visit www.law.northwestern.edu/agep.

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Linda E. Kelly, Director, Northwestern Law Attorneys General Education Program (AGEP)