Professor Charles Szypszak in Lithuania

In May 2019, faculty member Charles Szypszak conducted a weeklong workshop for junior law faculty and doctoral students at the University of Vilnius law school in Lithuania. During his visit, Szypszak instructed participants from various specialties, including human rights, marriage law, as well as civil and criminal procedure.

In this particular seminar, Szypszak taught an analytical dialogue method in which teachers lead discussions aimed at improving students’ analytical thinking skills. Specifically, Szypszak instructed participants to identify the elements of questions and problems, look for patterns in analogical situations, isolate logical flaws, and see beyond their own biases.

After studying the method, participants analyzed a famous Lithuanian legal case, Vasiliauskas v. Lithuania. In 2011, the Lithuanian defendant, career KGB officer Vytautas Vasiliauskas, was convicted of genocide for the 1953 killing of two brothers, Lithuanian partisans resisting post-World War II Soviet rule. Yet in 2015, a split European Court of Human Rights overturned the genocide conviction. Through his workshop, Szypszak encouraged the participants to consider the case from various angles.

Although this was his first workshop in Lithuania, Szypszak has previously taught for several years in Central Europe, including at three Polish universities (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, and the University of Wrocław), twice on Fulbright awards. On previous trips, he taught methodology seminars as well as courses on individual rights and real property law.

Pictured are Vilnius University Faculty of Law seminar participants (L to R) Klaudijus Širvelis, Agnė Oseckytė, Simona Bronušienė, Ieva Marija Ragaišytė, Donatas Murauskas, Agnė Selvestravičiūtė, Karolina Mickutė, Ineta Breskienė, Laurynas Totoraitis, and School of Government Professor Charles Szypszak.

Szypszak has served in the School of Government since 2005. Presently, he is the Albert Coates Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government. In the School's Master of Public Administration program, Szypszak currently teaches Introduction to Law; he also teaches Introduction to Legal Thinking to undergraduates. Szypszak is a previous recipient of the University’s J. Carlysle Sitterson Freshman Teaching Award and the School’s Albert and Gladys Hall Coates Teaching Excellence Award. He often provides counsel to state, national, and international institutions, organizations, and public officials on real property registration and conveyance laws.

Prior to serving with the School of Government, Szypszak served as an adjunct professor of law at Franklin Pierce Law Center, as a law clerk for Circuit Judge Hugh Bownes on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, as the director of a general practice firm in New Hampshire, and as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. Szypszak earned his BA from the University of Southern California, an MA from San Diego State University, and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.