McGeorge School of Law

Vick Completes Law School’s First-Ever JSD

December 18, 2009

Margaret Vick, JSD '09, with Professors Gregory Weber, Dan Tarlock and Kojo Yelpaala

Margaret Vick, JSD '09, with Professors Gregory Weber, Dan Tarlock and Kojo Yelpaala

Margaret Vick, '83, earned McGeorge's first JSD in International Water Resources Law, her doctoral work culminating with a public dissertation defense in front of a panel of examiners on December 16, 2009.

Vick submitted her 200-page dissertation, "Integrated Water Law - Local to International," prior to her appearance before a distinguished panel, which included Professor Dan Tarlock of the Chicago-Kent School of Law and McGeorge Professors Gregory Weber and Kojo Yelpaala. Her degree, a Doctor of Juridical Science, is legal education's equivalent to the PhD.

In arguing for an interest-based collaborative process rather than a rights-based approach to water law issues, Vick discussed legal pluralism, political will, and horizontal versus vertical water law dispute resolution systems. After facing a barrage of questions, her work was applauded — and approved after a short panel recess. "The sweep of what you've done is staggering," said Weber. "You certainly have set the bar high for those who will follow in your [JSD] path," added her advisor, Professor Steve McCaffrey.

Vick is an Arizona attorney who has a specialized practice in Indian law and environmental law representing tribal governments and inter-governmental organizations. She is currently working on a USAID project as a legal advisor to the Afghanistan Ministry of Water and Irrigation. She will return to Afghanistan in January to complete her one-year assignment.

"Some of my greatest intellectual challenges and strongest friendships have been forged at McGeorge," said Vick, who added her deep appreciation for those at the law school who helped her in her academic journey.