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Penn Law Journal

The Penn Law Journal features topical stories, developments at the Law School, and updates on the ongoing success of alumni.



Available in both print and digital editions, the Penn Law Journal provides stories about the Law School, our alumni, and the law profession itself. It also keeps readers up to date on Penn Law’s faculty, fellow classmates, and upcoming events.

View the current issue of the Journal and access online archives.

Penn Law’s Pandemic Response (Summer 2020)

Faced with the extraordinary challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School mounted a monumental effort last spring which included developing virtual classes in one week; creating free summer classes for the Class of 2020; freezing tuition for the new school year while maintaining a commitment to a double-digit increase in financial aid; and offering free online CLE classes to alumni.

  • The US government increasingly deploys targeted economic sanctions to achieve foreign policy goals. Eric Lorber L’13, senior director of The Center on Economic and Financial Power, is a nationally recognized expert on sanctions. Here he takes us on a tour around the world, critiquing various efforts to impose sanctions.
  • Retail lawyers have a hard job, contending with a slew of issues in what is an ever-changing and fast-moving environment. And then the pandemic hit.

Amid a Mounting Crisis, Penn Law Promotes Well-being (Fall 2019)

The numbers are stark: Up to one-third of lawyers surveyed by the ABA reported a drinking problem, and up to a quarter suffered from depression. Students, too, are susceptible, with nearly a quarter at risk for alcoholism. Against this backdrop, Penn Law has taken the lead in creating a wellness program that teaches students how to manage and reframe stress so that they don’t carry destructive habits into their legal careers. The module, the only required upper-level course in the law school curriculum, has been dubbed “the gold standard” among U.S. law schools.

  • Sivani Babu L’10 is living a bucket list life. She takes photos and writes accounts of her harrowing travels to mysterious regions of the world, such as the Bermuda Triangle and the Arctic Circle. Quite a turnabout from her previous career as a public defender.

Reviving the Los Angeles Times (Summer 2019)

Norman Pearlstine L’67, of Wall Street Journal and Time, Inc. fame, is now leading the Los Angeles Times back to its former glory – and at age 76, no less. Here Pearlstine describes his plans for the paper, opines about the industry, and in the process spins some good yarns.

  • It was a big night In the midterm elections for Penn Law alumni. Three were elected or re-elected to Congress. We asked Matt Cartwright L’86, Conor Lamb C’06, L’09, and Mary Gay Scanlon L84 to detail their platforms, which revolved around gun control, climate change, the middle class, the opioid epidemic and much more.
  • When security is compromised, executives invariably turn to Lisa Sotto L’87 for help. And for good reason. She’s been on the front lines of privacy law for more than thirty years.

Making it in Hollywood (Winter 2018)

Making it to the top of the heap in Hollywood is an arduous journey. In this issue, we tell the stories of five alumni who persevered and reaped the rewards of a career in show business. They write compelling scripts, cut megadeals, and discover hot new talent. Welcome to the big leagues.

  • You don’t have to be a lawyer to study law. That’s the principle behind Penn Law’s Master in Law program, which has gained traction with professionals who are clamoring to get in.
  • As a lawyer at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Christina Swarns L’93 made it her life’s work to save people from the death penalty. She’s now taking on new challenges at the Office of Appellate Defender.

Engineering Change at the SEC (Summer 2018)

As chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton ENG’88, L’93 has cracked down on cryptocurrency, proposed new standards for stockbrokers, and ordered the creation of a new cybersecurity unit – all in his first year or so, winning the longtime Penn Law adjunct professor plaudits from both sides of the aisle.

  • Kathy Stroker L’04 is in the midst of her second act at the Peace Corps. A volunteer 20 years ago, today she’s second in command at the fabled agency, working to keep it relevant in a new era.
  • Witness the growth of the Penn Law faculty during a time of law school retrenchment. Evidence of our vitality can be seen in the six new faculty members, including renowned scholars, mid-career academics garnering national acclaim, and young scholars on the rise.
  • At Penn Law School, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke movingly about her own experience with sexual harassment. She urged women and millennials to push for change.

Law and Technology (Summer 2017)

British novelist and scientist C.P. Snow tried to bridge the divide between the humanities and science in the 1950s. Flash forward to today, when Penn Law is leading the effort to increase understanding of how law and technology can intersect profitably.

  • Speaking of leaders, Young Park L’90 is working to thwart an emerging health crisis at the same time that he develops a new model for vaccines. His target: the Zika Virus.
  • For those who think economic growth and environmental protection are antithetical, Ann Klee L’86 has a message for you: think again. She’s been in the forefront of fighting for clean air and clean water for years, first in government and now at GE.
  • Aaron Romano L’98 doesn’t smoke pot. Nonetheless, he thinks marijuana should be legal nationwide, and he’s carved out an interesting niche as a lawyer for growers, doctors and commercial sellers.

Big Ideas (Fall 2016)

Penn Law faculty writ large conducts research that redefines accepted legal doctrine. In this issue, we highlight the work of four such scholars – Shyam Balganesh, Sophia Lee, Serena Mayeri, and Tess Wilkinson-Ryan L’05 – who are taking on the shibboleths in areas as diverse as copyright, constitutional law in the workplace, the legal benefits of marriage, and contractual obligations. We also celebrate our newest member of the emeritus faculty, Howard Lesnick, who blazed a number of trails during his 50 years at Penn Law.

  • When CIA Director John Brennan came to Penn to talk about the challenges of his job, he faced a persistent protest from a few students and an organized group that shut him down, raising questions about how to resolve the competing interests of free speech and objectionable ideas.
  • Josiah Dubois C’31, L’34 was a largely anonymous figure who figured mightily in the effort to save Jews from extermination during World War II. Herewith his fascinating story.

Women at the Summit (Summer 2016)


This past spring, Penn Law brought together more than 200 alumnae for the Women’s Summit, the largest gathering of its kind in Penn Law history. At the event - which was organized in homage to Carrie Burnham Kilgore, the first female graduate of Penn Law School – alumnae shared career perspectives and gloried in the achievements of women who have reached the top of their professions, including keynoter Safra Catz W’83, L’86, the co-CEO of Oracle Corporation.

  • Jim Beasley M’94, L’97 literally flies through the air with the greatest of ease. And that’s saying something when you’re moving at 400 miles per hour in a bomber over land or sea as a member of the world’s only World War II P-51 Mustang aerobatic team.
  • Professor A. Leo Levin passed away last November at the age of 96, leaving a trail of memories for his hundreds of devotees. In our remembrance, we capture the essence of Leo, who for so many years represented the soul of Penn Law School.

Correction: There is an error on page 12 of the current issue. In a story about a proposed new mental health protocol at the University, we mistakenly wrote that one Penn Law student was among the six Penn students who committed suicide last year. That information is inaccurate. We apologize for the error, which has now been corrected online.

Student Counsel (Fall 2015)

Dean of Students Gary Clinton imbued the Law School with his buoyant personality and genuine sensitivity, creating an atmosphere in which the students felt listened to and protected. His mighty presence will be felt long after he retires at the end of this year.
Also in this issue:

  • There have been a string of controversial police shootings over the last year, raising numerous questions about police misconduct. We provide three perspectives on how we got here and what to do to prevent future tragedies.
  • Can hockey make it in the tropics? With equal parts boyish enthusiasm, love of the sport, and vision, Florida Panthers CEO Rory Babich L’89 is betting that it can.

A Scholar & Gentleman (Spring 2015)

The redesigned Penn Law Journal makes its debut with the formal introduction of the new Dean, Ted Ruger. Ted is a longtime presence on the faculty, an estimable scholar and a highly regarded teacher. Get to know him in this issue.
Also in this issue:

  • Students in our Detkin Clinic got front-line experience in the legal complexities associated with preparing a new invention for market – and they started with a fascinating and important project right out of the box.
  • Education reform is not for the faint of heart, but that didn’t deter three alumni from taking on the fight.

An RX to Heal Criminal Justice (Fall 2014)

Penn Law’s Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice has taken on added importance in light of several high-profile cases that raise seminal questions about the performance of our criminal justice system. The Center is working with experts from across the University to evaluate and eliminate errors in criminal justice, using a model that has proven highly successful for the aviation and health care industries.
Also in this issue:

  • Celebrate the 25th anniversary of our Public Service program, which continues to provide a wealth of opportunities for students inclined to serve the public good.
  • A tribute to Ernie Gonsalves, who retired at the end of the year as vice dean of business affairs, a title that doesn’t begin to describe his contributions.

Farewell to Fitts (Summer 2014)

Dean Michael A. Fitts led Penn Law for 14 extraordinary years, leaving behind a string of achievements including a stronger interdisciplinary program and a revitalized campus.
Also in this issue:

  • A look at the life of Noam Dworkin L’87, owner of the hottest comedy club in New York
  • The transition of Gigi Sohn L’86 from fierce advocate for digital freedom to establishment figure as top advisor to the chairman of the FCC

A Home for Inalienable Rights (Fall 2013)

For years, Penn Law has been at the epicenter of the gay rights movement, leading by example, as documented in our cover story.
Also in this issue:

  • The tale of Michael Smerconish L’87, who quit conservative talk radio to start a centrist show on satellite radio
  • The iconoclastic Richard Walden C’68, L’72, who runs a small, independent disaster relief organization that eschews federal money
  • A Hong Kong entrepreneur by the name of Joanne Ooi L’93 who prices her online jewelry under the laws of supply and demand

The Perils of Push Button War (Summer 2013)

Our homegrown Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law evaluates the limits of government in protecting national security.
Also in this issue:

  • Portraits of senior executives in the four major sports
  • Color commentary on marriage from Lynn Toler L’84, judge on the television series Divorce Court