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Winter 2010

Cultivating a Law School Culture: Gary Clinton Reflects on 33 Years at Penn Law


Gary Clinton

Organizational culture can be difficult to define, let alone understand. In many circles, the term has become an empty cliché. But when it comes to schools, experts call culture the "invisible essential" that, although not visible to the eye, is clearly apparent to those who have experienced it. So it is not surprising that alumni often have a similar reaction when asked: what makes Penn Law Penn Law? Beyond excellent academics and rankings, they respond, is a discernable culture of community. Invariably, in trying to pinpoint that culture, someone will mention Gary Clinton, the ubiquitous dean of students. It's no surprise that for many, Clinton embodies Penn Law's culture - serious and driven when necessary, but also supportive and remarkably fun. For over 20 years, it's been Clinton's job to cultivate a school culture where community and diversity are more than just buzzwords, where collegiality really does trump competitiveness.

More »

Campaign Corner

Bold Ambitions Donations

The Levy Challenge

Several months after the Law School conducted a successful fund-raising challenge at the end of the last fiscal year, Paul Levy L'72 has issued one of his own.

Levy, chair of the Bold Ambitions campaign, has agreed to match all $50,000 gifts toward the new building, known as the Sansom Street Project. Under the terms of the Levy Challenge, each contribution will ultimately total $100,000. Donors would pay $10,000 a year for five years.

Alumni who meet the $50,000 challenge will have an opportunity to name a faculty office in the new building. Traditionally, naming of a faculty office requires a gift of $100,000.

Groundbreaking for the $33 million Sansom Street Project is scheduled for May 2010. The 40,000-square-foot building will provide more space for program and faculty expansion, and will result in the finest urban law school campus in the country.

Last June, the Law School launched a challenge to close a gap in annual giving. It was wildly successful, raising $960,000 in one month. This new challenge comes at a critical stage in the Law School's effort to fully fund the Sansom Street Project, and carries the potential to exceed our June challenge. At the same time, it aids the Bold Ambitions campaign, of which the new building is a part. The Law School has raised $146.5 million toward the $175 million goal.  

"My challenge is designed to meet alumni halfway and create impetus for funding of the new building," said Levy. "As campaign chairman and former chairman of the Board of Overseers, I understand how vital the Sansom Street Project is to Penn Law's future and to the success of the campaign. That is why I am making such an open-ended commitment. I invite fellow alumni to follow my lead." 

Levy has been a stalwart supporter of Penn Law School, serving as the chairman of the Board of Overseers from 2001 to 2007. In addition, he established the Levy Scholars Program which annually gives a group of students the resources to pursue specialized study in law-related areas such as business, medicine, engineering and communications. Levy and his wife, Karen, also made a substantial gift in support of the renovation and restoration of Sharswood Hall, which is now the Levy Conference Center, home to scores of prominent events at the Law School.

For more information, or to make a gift, please contact Cricket Brosius at or 215-898-0860.

Major Gifts

Sincere thanks to our alumni for their continuing gifts in support of Penn Law School. Since November 2009, the following alumni have given generously with $250,000+ contributions.

  • Major contributors to the Sansom Street Project are: Losenge & Osagie Imasogie GL'85; Mark B. Davis L'75 & Yolanda Villamil-Davis; Marcy Engel L'83 & Stuart Cobert; and Joseph Frumkin L'85.
  • Robert C. Heim W'64, L'72 endowed the Robert C. Heim Endowed Scholarship fund.
  • Stephen Goodman W'62, L'65 and Janis Goodman G'89, SW'91, SWP '05 endowed a scholarship in their name.


Highlights of February at Penn Law

February 9
4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Penn Law Association for Law in the Arts
Robert Edsel, author of The Monuments Men, will speak about WWII allied heroes, Nazi thieves, the valuable art looted by Hitler and the story of one of the greatest treasure hunts of our time.

February 12
Journal of Business Law Symposium
"Navigating the Storm:  The Regulatory Response and Reform Agenda in the Wake of the Financial Crisis" 

February 13
APALSA Conference "The Changing Legal Landscape"

Sponsored By: Asian Pacific Law Student Association

February 16
4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Chancery Court Program:  High-Stakes Showdown in Delaware
A Look Back at Paramount Commc'ns v. Time.
Panelists include William T. Allen (New York University School of Law), Martin Lipton (Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz), Theodore N. Mirvis (Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz), and Paul K. Rowe (Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz).
Moderated by Hon. Leo E. Strine, Jr. (Chancery Court of Delaware) and Michael L. Wachter (University of Pennsylvania Law School). 

February 17
4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
The Irving R. Segal Lecture in Trial Advocacy

Presented by: Seth P. Waxman, Partner, Wilmer Hale LLP and former Solicitor General of the United States

February 20
Sadie Alexander Memorial Conference
Sponsored by: Black Law Students Association
The Penn Law community will gather to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Alexander, the first African-American woman to graduate from the Law School and to be admitted to the Pennsylvania bar.

February 25
The Equal Justice Foundation Auction

The annual EJF Auction raises money for students working in the public interest sector over the summer.  

More on the Law School Calendar »


Alumni News

Alumnus Leads Medical Team to Help Haitian Victims; Penn Law Pitches in to Raise Money

Alumni Clubs
Dr. Mazzarelli (4th from left) with his team of medical personnel before heading out to treat Haitian earthquake victims.

Mere days after a powerful earthquake struck Haiti a team of 18 physicians, nurses and technicians from Cooper University Hospital in New Jersey arrived at a border town in the Dominican Republic to administer care to victims. Leading this team is Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli L'03, GR'03. He and his team arrived after an 11-hour bus ride.

As director of emergency services at Cooper, Dr. Mazzarelli is accustomed to dire scenes. He is used to wailing ambulances and doctors barging through the doors with patients maimed on the mean streets of Camden and surrounding areas. But the scope of the human tragedy in the Caribbean no doubt exceeds anything he's seen stateside. Indeed, his colleagues describe scenes out of a war movie, with amputees lying on mats on the floor, as infection sets in. More

Alumni Weekend

Alumni Clubs

Plans are "under construction" for Penn Law Alumni Weekend, May 14th and 15th.

This year's events include:
  • The 3rd Annual Senior Partners luncheon
  • CLE panel discussions featuring members of Penn Law's stellar faculty
  • Dean's State of the Law School address
  • Friday night Alumni Weekend Kickoff Cocktail Party
  • 1.5 mile Quaker Trot run/walk through Penn's campus
  • Tours of the fabled Barnes Foundation
  • The Reunion family picnic and more

What's new this year? Due to the much anticipated construction of the new Sansom Street Building, all reunion class dinners will be held on Saturday evening at the Franklin Institute. Join fellow Penn Law alumni and Ben Franklin on May 15th - you won't find better dinner companions anywhere!

For more information and to register for Alumni Weekend events, please visit the Alumni Weekend site.

Alumni Clubs/Events

Alumni Clubs
Alumni gather at Los Angeles' City Club for an alumni reception with Professor David Skeel

With 22 Penn Law alumni clubs around the world (and a few more on the way), you can now locate them on our new map here. From Boston to Brazil, there may even be one in your "backyard." And check out all our alumni events, organized by the clubs or the Law School, here. You can discuss the latest law topics with professors at upcoming panels in Washington D.C., New York City and Miami, and meet other alumni along with incoming 1Ls at Summer Send-Offs/Happy Hours.

Peter Darling Offers Tips to Open New Doors for Business

Peter Darling  

In Peter Darling L'93, Madison Avenue meets the bar. Peter is using tried-and-true principles of advertising and marketing to help attorneys bring in new business. In doing so, he draws on years of experience, first as a copywriter under the tutelage of legendary adman Peter Arnell and then as co-founder of Flycast Communications, one of the world's first online advertising networks. In 2001, he sold Flycast for $2.1 billion and launched a consulting practice in which he provides business development services to a number of clients including law firms ranging from AmLaw 100 firms to solo practitioners. More

Law Alumni Society Board of Managers

Actively involved in the life of the Law School, its students and its alumni, the Law Alumni Society Board of Managers has a new energy and focus under the leadership of president Rick D'Avino W'77, L'80. See who's on the board here.

Rick sees the Law Alumni Society, made up of all alumni of Penn Law, as a "tremendous asset to the Law School." He adds, "The best ways to harness the power of alumni are to communicate broadly the service opportunities available to our alumni body; to organize our efforts properly, so we have committed leadership to help focus the collective efforts of our diverse alumni; and to publicize our efforts, so the students and alumni alike feel supported and know where to go for help."

During their all-day visits to the school three times a year, the 39 members of the Board volunteer, working with the school's administrative staff, through four alumni committees: Admissions, Career Planning and Professionalism, Public Interest, and Student Life. They also sit in on classes, enjoy an informal lunch with a guest or panel, meet with Dean Fitts, and attend a special Penn Law event that evening.

Leaders from the 22 Penn Law Alumni Clubs are new members of the Board, contributing to an all-inclusive effort to engage various outlooks and efforts.

If you'd like to know more about the Board and the nomination process, please contact Nancy Rasmussen at

More on alumni »


Student & Faculty News

Anita Allen analyzes the ethics of looting in post-quake Haiti for NPR.

Christopher Yoo has been busy testifying on Capitol Hill and advising the FCC on technology policy - from the open Internet to net neutrality to piracy of live sports broadcasting on the Internet.

As scares about imported products increase - whether it's deadly pet food or lead paint in toys - the Penn Program on Regulation has just come out with a book on improving import safety. Co-editor Cary Coglianese discusses the book in this Q&A.

The debate over the war effort in Afghanistan contains no shortage of opinions on the best strategy for defeating the Taliban, but far too little discussion on the actual objectives of the war, write Craig Martin and Adnan Zulfiqar L'09 in the Japan Times.

Students in Penn's Supreme Court Clinic headed to the nation's highest court for the second time this academic year. They helped Stephanos Bibas and Stephen Kinnaird brief and prepare oral arguments for two Supreme Court cases.

Penn's Criminal Law Research Group is helping reform Pennsylvania law. In December, Paul Robinson led a group of students to Harrisburg to present their findings about the criminal code - that it's rife with inconsistencies - to the state's Senate and House Judiciary Committees. Read more about the project in our newsroom and in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

News Around the Building

Plans for the new Sansom Street building are moving full steam ahead. Crews will break ground in May for a structure that will complete a legal facility as fine as any in the country.

The Toll Public Interest Center is gearing up for Penn Law's annual Public Interest Week beginning March 15th. Alumni are invited to join lectures, workshops, and the Sparer Symposium, which will focus this year on expanding access to justice in times of crisis.

More on our news and media pages »

Current Students and Penn Law Alumni:  New Opportunities for Engagement

Given the fast pace of change in our profession, there is no more important time for our students to connect with our alumni. We've answered this need with new initiatives in the 2009-2010 academic year.

Here are a few examples:

center on professionalism logo

The Center on Professionalism Alumni Liaison Program

The first year class is broken into cohorts, small groups of 14-15 students working closely together not only on their legal writing, but also more broadly on their professional development under the guidance of the Center on Professionalism.

This fall, 36 Penn Law alumni from the classes of 1999 to 2007 accepted the invitation to serve as Alumni Liaisons for 18 1L cohorts. This alumni group attended the kickoff event in September, a Professionalism Day Networking Luncheon. In the late fall, volunteers posted their tips, advice and guidance on tackling a first set of law school exams for their cohorts on the Penn Law course portal.

A New Student and Alumni Committee of the Law Alumni Society Board of Managers

Each fall Penn Law's Council of Student Representatives holds elections to fill various committees around the Law School such as the Building Committee, the Admissions Committee and the Career Planning & Professionalism Committee. This fall, four students were elected through the CSR to serve on the Student Life Committee of the Law Alumni Society Board of Managers.

A great avenue for students and alumni to engage in a meaningful way, the Student Life Committee will meet for the first time in late February. Self-selected members of the Law Alumni Society Board of Managers and the four elected students will begin their work immediately. Their task is to determine what student-alumni projects or programs can be spearheaded by the committee. Student members, Meena Sharma L'10, Rachel Stanton L'10, Wai Choy L'12 and Brendan Stuart L'12 are canvassing classmates to come up with a short list for the February meeting. Ideas include alumni hosting students in the workplace; informal gatherings where students can interact with alumni (in a non-interview setting!); joint service projects. Watch for further news from the LAS Board's Student Life Committee.

Inaugural Alumni-Student Speed Networking Event

We look forward to the Career Planning & Professionalism Office's inaugural Speed Networking Event for first year law students in March. The program will offer alumni another opportunity to engage with students while advancing student skills in key areas including communication and lawyering.

Stay tuned as we continue to seek new avenues of engagement for current students and alumni.