McGeorge School of Law

Milanes-Murcia Earns JSD

May 20, 2013

Maria Milanes-Murcia

Maria Milanes-Murcia, center, with her dissertation defense examiners: From left: Professors John Sims, Gabriel Eckstein, Rachael Salcido, and her advisor Professor Steve McCaffrey.

Maria Milanes-Murcia became the fifth person to earn McGeorge's unique JSD in International Water Resources Law with a successful defense of her dissertation on May 14, 2013.

Milanes-Murcia's dissertation, "A New International Legal and Institutional Framework to Manage Fossil Aquifers and Groundwater in Conjunctive Use with Surface Water along the US-Mexico Border: A Water Banking Perspective," proposes a complete program for conserving and equitably distributing scarce shared groundwater resources along the US-Mexico border.

Milanes-Mucia, a Spanish environmental attorney who earned her LLM in International Water Resources from in December 2008, faced a formidable panel of experts in her dissertation defense. Professor Gabriel Eckstein of Texas Wesleyan School of Law, one of the leading authorities in the world on international groundwater law, chaired the examination board. Professor Rachael Salcido, the director of McGeorge's Environmental Law Concentration, and her faculty colleague John Sims were the other examiners.

"It was a well thought-out dissertation that may well have significant influence as competition increases for dwindling freshwater resources in the border region," said Professor Steve McCaffrey, the director of the JSD program. Milanes-Murcia has worked closely with McCaffrey in her years at McGeorge, including joining him as part of a Uruguayan team representing that country in a dispute with Argentina before the International Court of Justice in 2009 in The Hague.

A JSD (Doctor of Juridical Science) is legal education's equivalent of a Ph.D. The JSD typically requires three to five years to complete, and requires an advanced study in law as a scientific discipline and a dissertation, which serves as an original contribution to the scholarly field of law.

Arizona water law attorney Margaret Vick, '83, JSD '09, Taiwanese attorney/engineer Wen-Lu Wang, JSD '10, Bennett Bearden, JSD '11, special counsel on water law and policy for the state of Alabama, and Rodrigo Rondon, JSD '12, a Brazilian attorney and law professor, are the other successful candidates for the McGeorge advanced degree.