A Message from the Dean
Confidential Sources on Trial
Shelter From the Storm
Harrison Report: Post-World War II Bombshell
A Case of Political Descent
Clinic Hits Thirty
The Brief
The Board of Overseers
Faculty News & Publications
Philanthropy
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam
Case Closed
 
A Message from the Dean  

Michael A. Fitts  
MICHAEL A. FITTS
Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law
 
To the Penn Law Community:
COULD IT BE 20 YEARS since the Iran-Contra scandal broke? I was a young academic, recently departed from the Justice Department. Having left government service in 1985, I was spared all of the hearings and media scrutiny that besiege administrations caught in crisis.

Even though I left before the storm, during my four years in Washington I discovered how exciting yet unrelenting the town can be. The work is fascinating and vital, but, along with the rewards, come risks. Washington is built on swamps which is apropos considering how many figures have been ensnared in political quicksand. Being the center of attention comes with the territory.

Which brings me to our cover story. Norman Pearlstine L'67 has had a storied career in journalism, serving as the managing editor of The Wall Street Journal and editor in chief of Time, Inc. However, I suspect that even he was not quite prepared for the reaction to his decision to turn over a Time magazine reporter's notes. These weren't just any notes, of course. The reporter, Matthew Cooper, had relied on confidential sources to write about a now infamous case: the unmasking of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Like any decision with such political overtones, Pearlstine has been criticized as well as praised for his action. He has since become a senior advisor to Time Warner Inc. and is writing a book on the saga, titled Off the Record: The Use and Misuse of Anonymous Sources. In our cover story, he recounts what led to his classic legal confrontation, and why he concluded release of the notes was the appropriate outcome. He also explains in intricate detail how he used his legal education, the one he acquired at Penn Law, to make the most difficult decision of his professional life.

Making waves in Washington is nothing new for Penn alumni. The late Earl Harrison L'23, also featured in this issue, made big news in 1945 when he released a report after World War II documenting the terrible conditions in which Jewish Holocaust survivors were living in occupied Germany. Harrison was dean of Penn Law School at the time. His report caused a scandal of its own, forcing President Truman to issue stern orders to General Eisenhower to make immediate reforms. Last year was the 60th anniversary of the release of the Harrison Report, which started a national debate about immigration. Funny how some things never change.

We also revisit history through Wayne Chang, who just graduated this year. Wayne is the great-grandson of Chiang Kai-shek, the legendary founder of Taiwan, and grandson of Taiwan's first president, Chiang Ching-kuo. With those bloodlines, it isn't hard to imagine Wayne in a leadership position himself someday.

As a closing note, 30 years ago we experimented with a new concept in legal education. The idea was to put students on real cases to marry, if you will, classroom theory with courtroom savvy. Little did we know how integral the clinic would become to the Law School curriculum. It has grown and grown under clinical director Doug Frenkel, becoming more innovative every step of the way. I think our little experiment has worked out quite welI, as you will read in this issue. I hope the story stirs a few memories. Enjoy the issue.