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Bar News - September 17, 2014

Broderick: Rudman Center Aims to Host Policy Dialogues


John Broderick Jr., now executive director of the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership & Public Policy at the UNH School of Law, hopes to make the center a destination for thoughtful, vigorous but civil dialogue on national policy.

Broderick, who no longer has “judge” or “dean” as a title, acknowledges he’s been “in search of my first name for a while,” stepped down as dean of the law school in May after more than three years at the helm. He oversaw the completion of the merger and re-branding of the Franklin Pierce Law Center with the University of New Hampshire and helped the school enhance its national reputation.

Broderick said he has already raised half of the $10 million goal for funding the Rudman Center, which he outlines as having three missions:

  • Fostering nonpartisan, lively dialogue on national policy issues here and elsewhere;
  • Inspiring young people to consider careers in public service and underwriting all UNH law school tuition for a select number of high-achieving students who agree to serve at least three years in public service after graduation. The Rudman Center already funds two students and has funded summer public service internships for UNH Law students;
  • Creating a space in New Hampshire for public policy conversations that will go beyond politics and the New Hampshire primary season.

The Rudman Center has already held a couple of events, including a program in Washington, DC, on the budget deficit. Coming up on Oct. 9 will be “The Presidency in Real Time: A Rudman Center Conversation with Presidential Chiefs of Staff” featuring former presidential chiefs of staff for Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, moderated by a Washington, DC-based journalist who is writing a book on that key White House role.

In partnership with NH Public Radio, the Rudman Center will be conducting “conversations” with general election candidates that will be announced following the Sept. 9 primary. (See upcoming NHBA e-Bulletins or the Rudman Center website for details.)

On Nov. 6, Rose Gottemoeller, US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, speaks on “Nuclear Policy in the 21st Century”.

Broderick said he intends for all of the Rudman Center events to be free and open to the public, and will take advantage of a new auditorium at the law school.

The Rudman Center, he said, won’t just be another whistle-stop on the primary circuit where candidates give stump speeches, nor will it host debates – he hopes to “turn down the volume” and provide a place for “conversational” discussions, without the rancor typical of cable TV.

Rather than just politicians, the Rudman Center will feature other people from other disciplines – regulators, appointed officials, citizen leaders – in public policy discussions, either on panels or in one-on-one discussions with thoughtful, informed questioners, before nonpartisan audiences.

“We’re trying to build a resource for the state,” Broderick said. “The Rudman Center will provide a neutral stage for informed discussion on national policy.”

Broderick served 15 years as a NH Supreme Court judge, including six as chief justice. The law school, which has long had an international reputation in intellectual property, needs to raise its profile in its home state, he said.

“Because of our reputation in intellectual property law, when I went to Beijing, I was treated like I was dean of Harvard Law School,” Broderick said. “My goal since I came to the law school almost four years ago was that I want to make UNH Law as well known in Nashua as it was in Beijing. The Rudman Center gives us that opportunity.”

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