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Inquiring Minds Want to Know
Barbara G. McClung G'81, L'87
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BARBARA G. M C CLUNG G’81, L’87 loves science. She loves inventors. She loves to have fun in her work. She loves to travel. She loves studying primates. She loves teaching. In other words, Barbara McClung embodies joie de vivre.

McClung came to the law by happenstance. A Ph.D. candidate in the Physical Anthropology Department at Penn, she traveled to Sierra Leone on a grant to study primates. It was 1982 and the continent was filled with poachers slaughtering elephants to sell their parts on the black-market. McClung was appalled by what she witnessed. Soon after she returned to the U.S. she enrolled at Penn Law School in the hope of affecting change as an environmental lawyer.

But she found the emphasis on regulatory statutes in environmental law studies wasn’t what she had in mind. Still, she remained engaged in science through her teaching of Physical Anthropology at the University of Delaware, simultaneous to her studies as a law student. Then a course she took that was taught by adjunct lecturer Herbert Schwartz G’64, L’64, the renowned patent lawyer with Fish & Neave in New York, captured and fulfilled her imagination with the possibilities of law. She hasn’t looked back since.

“The inventors were free from the bottom line,” McClung recalls of her work as an attorney at E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. “They were young scientists and they were night-owls. My own nocturnal habits fit with the scientists.”

Family matters brought McClung back to her native California where she joined the law firm Townsend and Townsend as an associate. But after her experience in the labs of creativity back East, joining a law firm was a staid experience by comparison.

“The problem with being in a firm was I wasn’t dealing with interesting people but with business development people. I couldn’t think broadly without tripping over a client.” 

 
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