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Allison Whelan

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Allison Whelan

Sharswood Fellow

Allison M. Whelan’s research and teaching encompass a broad set of medical, science, and social policy issues at the intersection of administrative law, health and FDA law, constitutional law, bioethics, public health preparedness, and social justice. Through her work, she aims to identify the public, private, and ethical factors that converge and influence the topics she writes about. In an era of political polarization and distrust, her work probes whether ethical norms and expectations related to public and individual health are best policed and enforced at the public or private level. Her work also explores how to use the administrative state to address distrust in public health institutions and inequalities in health care access and outcomes.

Previously, Allison was an associate at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington DC in the firm’s Food, Drug, and Device Practice Group. At the firm, Allison developed a particular area of focus and expertise advising clients that research and develop medical countermeasures and she co-chaired Covington’s Food, Drug, and Device Rapid Response team during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also developed an extensive pro bono practice, advising non-profit reproductive advocacy organizations, assisting low-income clients with applications for various government benefits, and protecting voting rights.

Allison clerked for the Honorable Guido Calabresi of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Honorable William J. Kayatta, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She also served as the inaugural senior fellow for the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. Allison graduated, summa cum laude and Order of the Coif, from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2014, where she served as Lead Note and Comment Editor for the Minnesota Law Review. She also holds a Master of Arts in Bioethics from the University of Minnesota. She is the author of numerous law review articles and book chapters. Allison’s work is published with the Minnesota Law Review, Cornell Law Review Online, UC Irvine Law Review, Fordham Law Review, Illinois Law Review, and the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, among others.


  • M.A., BioethicsUniversity of Minnesota2015
  • J.D.University of Minnesota2014
  • B.A./B.S.Binghamton University2011


  • Health Law