The Brief: Law School News and Events

Michael A. Fitts
Dean and Bernard G. Segal
Professor of Law

We observe a number of wonderful rituals at the Law School: Reunion, Keedy Cup, and the EJF auction come to mind. But, in my estimation, nothing beats the splendor of graduation at the Academy of Music.

This past May, I presided over my tenth commencement exercise as dean. I continue to relish the day. I enjoy everything from the stately procession of graduates and faculty to the moment when students throw their caps in the air to celebrate the end of one journey and the beginning of another. I love watching generations of Penn Law alumni hug their children on stage, and listening to class presidents speak with such energy about the friends they made and the challenges they endured. I take special pleasure in handing out diplomas, knowing that I am presenting students with a ticket to the greatest adventure of their lives, and knowing, too, that these bright lights have the capacity to shape our countrys future.

The ritual never grows old.

I could go on about what a remarkable group of students we attract every year their stunning LSAT scores, their incredible life experiences prior to law school, or their humanity, as evinced by the stellar community work many of them perform. Instead, let me offer proof of the excellence of our students in this issue of the Penn Law Journal, in which we profile six members of the Class of 2009, all of whom, I am confident, are destined to have an impact on their corners of the world.

Public Interest Week is another great ritual in the making. Last spring we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Public Service program with a slate of speakers who conveyed, in lectures and in direct contact with small groups of students, the importance of working on causes larger than ones self. As the first major law school to make public service a requirement for graduation, we have an historic commitment to community service. Public Interest Week flows from that commitment. In honor of that charge to serve, this issue also spotlights four alumni Tsiwen Law, L84; Michael LiPuma, C90, L94; Andrew Morton, L00; and Mary Gay Scanlon, L84 who devote considerable time to pro bono work.

Of course, ultimately, great law schools are defined not only by their students and alumni, but by the quality of their faculties. In that regard, we have been truly blessed with top-rank scholars in every era. And so I note with sadness the passing of two of the very best: Stephen Goldstein, C59, L62, and Paul Mishkin. Stephen taught here from 1966 to 1976, setting the stage for a renowned career in Israel, including as dean of the law school of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Paul joined a dynamic faculty after World War II. From 1951 to 1975, Paul helped catapult Penn Law into the upper echelon of law schools. We were enriched by their presence, and are poorer in their absence. May they rest in peace.

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