The Power of Human Capital
By Chip Mellor
We devote considerable time and effort to developing the human capital of IJ. Our success at this can best be appreciated by recognizing that everyone we have ever hired at the Institute for Justice had their first exposure to public interest law through the Institute. We have no free agents hired from other teams.
It takes a special kind of person to thrive at IJ. Of course we look for bright, talented individuals, but we look for something more, something I call “the spark”–that intangible quality that evokes a positive enthusiasm for meeting life’s challenges, and a hunger to get started with what lies ahead. There also needs to be something a bit unconventional that shows they’re suited to a career in public interest law. After all, it’s not for everyone.
We invest a lot in finding the right people, generally young people, usually from outside the libertarian/conservative movement. We then immerse them in the IJ Way, offering them opportunities that enable them to grow beyond anything they could find elsewhere.
With this in mind, I’d like to introduce three special people who have joined IJ in recent months. Readers of Liberty & Law may have noticed an article in the last issue by our new Director of Development, Beth Stevens. Beth is the consummate professional and has already contributed importantly to ensuring that IJ has the resources it needs, even in these challenging times. Beth joins us from Citizens for a Sound Economy where she worked for eight years. In this newly created position, Beth will also ensure that as our donor base grows, our supporters will continue to receive the information and personal attention that are a hallmark of IJ.
Steve Simpson has the distinction of being our first Dunn Foundation Fellow in Constitutional Litigation. Steve is a hard-charging litigator who comes to us after five years at the prestigious law firm of Shearman & Sterling. In addition to his duties representing our clients in courtrooms across America, Steve will author a major article on economic liberty and the Constitution in coming months.
Bob Freedman knows first-hand the soul-destroying effects of totalitarianism. Bob served in Kiev for the State Department where he witnessed the legacy of decades of communism. He was so moved by what he experienced and so frustrated with his inability to advance first principles while in the State Department, that Bob wasted no time in seeking out IJ after reading about us in a George Will column while still in Europe. Since his arrival Bob has been immersed in our Ohio school choice litigation. Not many attorneys get the opportunity to start a career in public interest law working on a U.S. Supreme Court case.
Please join me in welcoming Beth, Steve and Bob as they become part of the human capital that makes IJ a uniquely effective force for liberty.
Chip Mellor is the Institute for Justice’s president and general counsel.