The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School announced that President Emeritus of the Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”) Jim Sandman L’76 will deepen his relationship with Penn Law through his new role as Distinguished Lecturer and Senior Consultant to the Future of the Profession Initiative (“FPI”).
An ardent supporter of the Law School and its mission of preparing students to enter a dynamic profession, Sandman provides a unique and broad understanding of the professional legal world. He spent 30 years with global law firm Arnold & Porter, ultimately serving as its Managing Partner. He also served as President of the 100,000-member District of Columbia Bar and as General Counsel to the District of Columbia Public Schools.
Sandman spent most of the last decade as President of LSC, the United States’ largest funder of civil legal aid programs before assuming President Emeritus status earlier this year.
Sandman has contributed immensely to the Law School’s education of developing lawyers over the years. For the last decade, he has introduced new law students to the profession through his rousing keynote address during 1L Professionalism Day activities. More recently, Sandman joined the Alumni Advisory Board that guided the design of the FPI.
In his new role as Senior Consultant to FPI, Sandman will work closely with its leadership to advance goals of educating new lawyers about changes afoot in the profession and leading profession-wide conversations about innovation in legal services. Sandman’s role establishes a powerful connection between the Law School and the growing community of leaders in the profession who advocate for innovative approaches to the delivery of legal services. His affiliation with FPI will propel its overarching aim of transforming the way legal services are delivered to secure greater access to justice for individuals across the income spectrum as well as for small businesses and non-profit organizations.
“I am thrilled to be returning full-time to the Law School that launched me on my career and shaped my values as a lawyer,” said Sandman. “It’s a dream job for me. I look forward to working with the Future of the Profession Initiative to promote innovation in the delivery of legal services, to deliver on America’s promise of equal justice under law, and to help educate and inspire the next generation of lawyers.”
FPI’s Executive Director, Jennifer Leonard L’04 expressed her enthusiasm over the addition of Sandman and all of the positives he brings to the initiative.
“Simply put, Jim is an icon in the profession and his partnership with FPI will allow the Law School to not only lead conversations about innovation but also become an actively engaged advocate for transformational change,” Leonard said. “He deeply understands the enormous power of the legal profession as well as its structural flaws and the profound inequities those flaws create, and this insight will inspire FPI’s work going forward.”
Ted Ruger, Dean and Bernard T. Segal Professor of Law echoed Leonard’s sentiments.
“Each member of our profession owes a debt of gratitude to Jim for the enormous contributions his various leadership roles have allowed him to make and for his insistence that we can and must be better if we are to embody the ideals to which lawyers aspire,” Ruger said. “We are elated to welcome this inspirational alumnus home to the Law School and for his guidance in charting our path forward as a leading law school that prepares students to enter a profession in the midst of great change.”
Sandman has already used his role with FPI to advocate for change to the regulatory structure that governs lawyers. He recently filed comments with the Utah State Bar and the Supreme Court of Utah, arguing in support of a set of proposed changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct in that jurisdiction. In his comments to the Utah State Bar, Sandman argued that the changes would “offer the prospect of justice that reflects the kind of access, effectiveness, and efficiency that innovation has brought to so many other professions and industries serving the public interest in the 21st century.”
Presidential Assistant Professor of Law Shaun Ossei-Owusu noted that Sandman’s deepened relationship with the Law School is a “big win for Penn on multiple fronts.”
“I am thrilled that Jim Sandman is rejoining the Penn Law community,” Ossei-Owusu said. “We’ve gained someone who has deep and significant experience in the public and private sectors and understands the challenges facing both. As someone who works on the legal profession, I’m excited to learn from Jim as well as see how students and colleagues benefit from his intellectual company.”
Sandman’s new role with the Law School will also provide students the opportunity to learn from him; he will teach courses such as Professional Responsibility and offer invaluable mentorship, which he has provided countless attorneys throughout his storied career.
“Jim has been an instrumental mentor for me throughout critical junctures of my career development — from leading me on my path to work on the Justice for All Project in Alaska to supporting my vision of developing the Access to Justice Technology Fellows Program,” says Law School Admissions Council Inaugural Presidential Innovation Fellow Miguel Willis.
Sandman is currently Chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Legal Issues Arising Out of the 2020 Pandemic. He serves on the Board of Advisors to the Institute for the Advancement of American Legal Services (“IAALS”), is Vice Chair of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission, and is a member of the American Law Institute and the Advisory Council of the American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation. He is a member of the boards of directors of the Pro Bono Institute and Albany Law School.
Sandman previously served on the ABA’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services, on the Law School’s Board of Overseers, and as Chair of the Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services of the District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference. He has received the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s Alumni Award of Merit and Howard Lesnick Pro Bono Award as well as the District of Columbia Bar’s highest honor, the Justice William J. Brennan Award.
Sandman is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, where he served as Executive Editor of the Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Max Rosenn of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.