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Debt’s Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in America, an excerpt from a new book by Prof. David A. Skeel, Jr.

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To the Penn Law School Community,

In these pages we are proud to report on the remarkable progress the Law School has made in remaking its academic program in recent years. When our Strategic Plan was drafted just four years ago, we envisioned the Law School expanding and deepening its connections with the preeminent law related professional schools that sit next to us on the Penn campus, as well as with other unique institutions in the City of Philadelphia. In the compelling feature article you will come to understand much of what has been achieved in our collaborations throughout Penn, and what we aspire to create in the future.

As part of this effort, in Academic Year 2001-2002, Penn Law School welcomes six new faculty members to its already accomplished body – perhaps as many as we have added in any year in the history of the school. They deepen our already existing strengths in corporate law and inject momentum into areas we have been building over the last years, most notably in health law, technology, and constitutional law. We are in the process of remaking the curriculum for lawyers of the 21st century, as our graduates increasingly traverse the integrated worlds of law and these other professions.

To provide the means to expand in these areas the Law School is dependent on the generosity of its alumni and friends. In May of this year a remarkable gift was made to the Law School that buoyed the corporate law program. The Winding Way Foundation made a commitment of $4 million in honor of Saul A. Fox, a member of the Class of 1978, a Philadelphia native, and Chief Executive of private equity management firm Fox Paine in Foster City, California. This gift funds the new Saul A. Fox Distinguished Professorship in Business Law, an endowed chaired professorship to which Professor Edward B. Rock, co-director of the Institute for Law and Economics, was named this Fall. In addition, it funds the associated Saul A. Fox Research Fund.

With our historic 150h year now past, our eyes are trained on the future. So many of you took advantage of last year’s celebrations to return to the Law School, and I encourage you to come back again for the lectures and symposia highlighted in the Calendar of Events. For our distinguished lectures this year we will welcome David Boies, who argued U.S. v. Microsoft and Bush v. Gore, and distinguished Judge and former Dean of Yale Law School, Guido Calabresi, among other eminent speakers. Our students will mount symposia that examine Native American Law and the Constitution, and Municipal Unions and Governance, for example. Finally as a prelude to the Institute for Law and Economics’ Bankruptcy Roundtable, we offer an excerpt in this magazine from Professor David A. Skeel Jr.’s new book Debt’s Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in America.

Feel welcome to return to Penn Law School, and keep in touch to let us know what is news with you.

- Michael A. Fitts, Dean