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Law Alumni Serve the District’s Attorney General Office

Ruff Fellows Photo

D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan, center, poses with this year's 2013-2014 Ruff Fellows from Georgetown Law Center. From left, Argatonia Weatherington (L'12), Charles Coughlin (L'12), Karen Hu (L'12), Robert Rich (L'12), Gregory Cumming(L'12), Daniel Snow (L'12), Joshua Karpoff (L'12), Portia Roundtree (L'12) and Jacob Narva (L'12).

July 29, 2013 – Nine alumni from Georgetown’s Law Center are working for the D.C. Office of the Attorney General after receiving the highly competitive 2013-2014 Ruff Fellowship.

Each of the fellows has been using their Georgetown law education since January to serve the city by focusing on civil litigation, labor and employment, public safety and other areas.

Joshua Karpoff (L’12), for example, has spent the better part of a year working long hours to prepare and conduct trials through the attorney general’s office'public safety division.

The Georgetown law alumnus says he learned the importance of public service early on.

“I have long been interested in representing the government as an attorney,” says Karpoff, who lives in Silver Spring, Md. “The Ruff Fellowship provides me with the opportunity to gain experience as a trial lawyer, representing the District of Columbia on a daily basis both in and out of court.”

2013-2014 Ruff Fellows

This year’s other Georgetown Ruff Fellows include:

  • Charles Coughlin (L’12), Civil Litigation Division
  • Gregory Cumming (L’12), Office of Solicitor General
  • Karen Hu, Personnel (L’12), Labor, and Employment Division
  • Jacob Narva, Attorney General’s immediate office
  • Robert Rich, Public Interest Division
  • Portia Roundtree, Civil Litigation Division
  • Daniel Snow, Public Safety Division
  • Argatonia Weatherington, Public Safety Division

Talented Lawyers

Sally Gere, the D.C. deputy attorney general who works with the fellowship program, says the Georgetown graduates have made significant contributions to the attorney general’s office.

“The Ruff Fellows program is so important because it encourages a new generation of law school graduates to learn about and make a commitment to public service that will endure regardless of where their career paths may take them,” says Gere, who also has taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown's Law Center for more than 20 years. “At the same time, the Ruff Fellows program provides the Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia with exceptionally talented lawyers.”

The Ruff program supports the city with additional legal assistance and promotes public interest legal service by tapping into the legal talent at three of D.C.’s law schools – at Georgetown, George Washington University and the University of District of Columbia.

Interesting Challenge

Working in the solicitor general’s office, Cumming has handled a variety of cases.

“The office deals with appeals in a wide range of fields – including tort, labor and employment, tax and constitutional law,” says the Georgetown alumnus from Bainbridge, N.Y.  “I think it's an interesting challenge to support the work of government, especially at the state and local level, in a time of budgetary constraints and fiscal uncertainty.”

Hu, of Fairfax, Va., similarly describes her fellowship experience in the personnel, labor and employment as “serendipitous.”

Before being selected as a Ruff Fellow, Hu had focused on women’s rights and minority issues in the nonprofit sector. Working in the public sector, she says, has added to her skill set.

“It is a great section [personnel, labor and employment] for gaining both trial and legal writing experiences,” Hu says . “I am able to apply my law school education directly to my work here at the Office of the Attorney General.”

The Ruff Fellowship

Created in 2011 in memory of Charles “Chuck” Ruff, the fellowship program is funded by each university with matching funds from the D.C. government.

Ruff, a former Georgetown Law faculty member, was the last special prosecutor in the Watergate investigation and also served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

He was D.C. Corporation counsel, which is now known as D.C. Attorney General, from 1995 to 1997 before serving as White House counsel to President Bill Clinton. Ruff died in 2000. 

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