Spring 2001 | Fall 2000

A Message from the Dean

Our Sesquicentennial Celebration
Election 2000 in Retrospect
Like Father, Like Daughter: Rebecca Lieberman L’97
A Case Study in Pro Bono Public Service
A Legal Thriller:
Lisa Scottoline L '81

The Master Builder Retires: Professor Elizabeth S. Kelly

The Board of Overseers
Philanthropy
Symposium
Faculty Notes
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam

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Penn Law

After graduation, Scottoline worked as a paralegal for Morgan Lewis and Bockius in Philadelphia before she entered Penn Law School. “I always thought I was headed for law school. The law is dramatic.” She graduated cum laude in 1981.

“When I try to write good dialogue among lawyers I think of the professors at Penn Law School. They are very smart people. They had the brains for straight talk that made the law explainable. I admired the honesty in their intellect.”

She immediately recalls the faculty she met while a student here. Bob Gorman: “He is outstanding, warm, and wonderful. I wanted to be a labor lawyer because of him. He had such a great sense of fun.” Lou Schwartz: “He made anti-trust understandable.” Curtis Reitz: “I understood being a practical lawyer because of him.” Regina Austin: “She was a ball of fire! I remember so much stuff about the courts because of her. I especially heard her in my head during the court proceedings in this last election.”

Scottoline entered practice as a trial attorney with Philadelphia firm Dechert Price & Rhoads. “The civil stuff was fascinating to me. You have to represent someone and vindicate him. That’s very personal!”

In 1986, Scottoline stepped away from practice to raise her daughter and to begin writing her first novel. But an unforeseen divorce from her husband pushed Scottoline into circumstances worthy of dramatic fiction. She was suddenly a single mother, unemployed and living on credit cards in hope that a publishing deal would come through.

When she hit her self-determined debt limit in 1991 and there was no publishing deal in sight, Scottoline applied for a clerk position she had heard the Hon. Dolores K. Sloviter (L’56, Chief Judge of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals) had open for a woman or man in a career transition.

“I begged her for the job. When she gave it to me I had to keep myself from bursting into tears. Judge Sloviter saved my butt. I was a single mother – I couldn’t work full-time. She changed my life. She’s done so much for women that I don’t think people know enough about.”

One month later Scottoline sold her first book to a publishing house. But it would take two years before she would believe the success of that novel was here to stay and she quit her job in order to write full-time. “Everywhere That Mary Went” was nominated in 1994 for a prestigious Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for best original paperback. But it would be her second novel, “Final Appeal” that would garner her the award.

“Final Appeal” is set in the Third Circuit. Judge Sloviter hosted a signing party at her chambers to celebrate that book’s publication. She invited all the judges of the Third Circuit and ordered that they had to buy the book if they attended. “I was signing books for Third Circuit Court justices!” Scottoline exclaims with remaining awe at the change in her fortunes. “The first book signing of my life was in that court!” Continued . . .

 

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