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Teaching. Service. Scholarship. That's how Penn Law professor Anita L. Allen-Castellitto defines the three pillars of her professional life. It's also a useful framework for the formidable task of summarizing her many achievements and contributions. A Harvard-educated lawyer who also holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Michigan, Allen-Castellitto has combined both to establish herself as an innovative force in the emerging field of privacy law.

The qualities that have made Allen-Castellitto a pioneer in privacy law - confidence, determination, and a willingness to take risks - manifested themselves early. In 1970 she won a full scholarship to New College, an experimental college in Sarasota, Florida. Upon her graduation Allen-Castellitto won a coveted Ford Foundation Fellowship for minorities that fully funded her doctoral studies at the University of Michigan. For her doctoral dissertation in Philosophy, she took as her topic children's rights in education.

While reading Supreme Court cases about family privacy and education, Allen-Castellitto became intrigued by the concept of privacy generally. She wrote an article on women's privacy and then a book, Uneasy Access: Privacy for Women in a Free Society (1988). The book discussed a number of issues relating to women's reproductive health, including contraception, abortion, childbirth, surrogate parenting, and decision-making about the care of critically ill and disabled newborns.

"My transition from academic philosophy to law evolved naturally from my interest in ethics," she says, pointing to their common link. Allen-Castellitto entered Harvard Law School in 1981, viewing law school as a "great way to learn more about how government, the legal system, and the private sector work."

After taking a JD from Harvard in 1984, Allen-Castellitto practiced corporate litigation at Cravath, Swaine & Moore for a year before returning to academia. At the Georgetown University Law Center she held joint appointments in law and philosophy, and helped to develop a joint law and philosophy degree program. As Allen-Castellitto's interests grew increasingly more interdisciplinary, she became interested in opportunities at the University of Pennsylvania. "Penn has a combination that few schools can match: a first-rate university on a cohesive campus; top-notch law, medical and business schools; an excellent philosophy department; and outstanding programs in both bioethics and women's studies." In 1998, she joined the Penn Law faculty as a tenured Professor of Law and Philosophy.

At Penn Law, Allen-Castellitto has taught a course in "Privacy in American Law" that includes sections on abortion, contraception, genetic and blood testing, bioethics, and laws governing human reproduction. She has also co-authored a definitive privacy law casebook, entitled Privacy Law: Cases and Materials (with Richard Turkington, West Publishing Co., 1999). Another of her courses, "Bioethics of Law and Human Reproduction," explores the legal consequences of new fertility technologies and treatments. Adding to her roster, next year she plans to develop a course called "Bioethics and Health Law" which she will teach in the Spring of 2001.