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Helping the Next Generation of Lawyers for Liberty Rise Up

At IJ, we always have one eye on the bureaucrat, government official or politician we are suing at a given time, and one eye on the future. We are always thinking not just about how we can make people more free today, but about what we can do for liberty tomorrow, next month, next year and even the next decade. One important aspect of this focus is to educate and inspire future generations of freedom fighters.

June was a busy month on that front, with IJ hosting its annual law student conference, which was attended by all 22 of the summer clerks working in our headquarters and five state offices plus seven law students whose passion for liberty came through loud and clear when they applied to attend the conference, or “boot camp” as it has affectionately come to be known.

As always, these top-notch students were given a crash course in libertarian public interest litigation. But this time we included a breakout session where students could choose a particular IJ effort—civil forfeiture, economic liberty, First Amendment protection for signs, or exploitative municipal fines—and do a deep dive on that subject with an expert IJ litigator. The sessions gave students the chance to learn how they can take IJ’s success and fight for liberty regardless of whether they choose public interest work or a big law firm.

Just two weeks later we were at it again, as the Center for Judicial Engagement hosted its first Judicial Engagement Fellowship conference, designed to showcase IJ’s unique take on the proper role of judges in protecting all constitutional rights instead of just the small handful deemed “fundamental” by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Fellowship attracted an array of graduates from America’s top law schools, all of whom were getting ready to begin or complete clerkships with prominent federal judges. The conference consisted of nine seminar-style discussion sessions led by leading liberty-friendly law professors and civil litigators (including former IJ clerks Alan Gura, who argued the Heller and McDonald Second Amendment cases, and James Burnham, who conceived, designed and, with his team at Jones Day, litigated Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, challenging compulsory agency fees for non-union public school teachers). The Judicial Engagement Fellows peppered faculty with thoughtful, challenging questions and demonstrated both a deep under- standing of and a passion for constitutionally limited government.

Leviathan never rests, and neither do we. Whether we are keeping the country safe for honest enterprise and free speech, ensuring due process for victims of civil forfeiture or protecting parents’ right to choose the best school for their children, we never stop thinking about the future of liberty and ensuring that the pool of freedom-loving legal talent is constantly refreshed.

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