This feature is part of an ongoing series celebrating the diverse array of University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School students who make up our Law School’s uniquely collegial academic community. Together, students at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School engage in rich academic discussions, push the boundaries of contemporary legal thought, and work collaboratively toward our shared goal of upholding principles of justice locally, nationally, and around the world.
Kenneth Scott Zuckerberg ML’23 is pursuing his Master in Law (ML) degree from the University of Pennsylvania Carey law School. Ken is an experienced institutionally trained securities analyst and former investment manager who advises clients on capital and strategic matters. He currently serves as a senior research strategist and lead industry analyst focusing on grains, farm inputs, biofuels and agri-food technology for CoBank, ACB, the leading lender to America’s rural industries. Ken is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) and a 2019 graduate of the Wharton Executive Education General Management Program (GMP). He holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of South Florida and lives in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
What inspired you to pursue your law ML degree?
The main reason to pursue the ML degree was intellectual: I have always wanted to gain a greater understanding of the U.S. legal system and how changing regulations impact the sectors I research. And while I have always been committed to lifelong learning, I never took the time to obtain a proper master’s degree. My thinking changed after I completed the Wharton Executive Education General Management Program (GMP), which I thought was excellent on many levels. It provided a fresh look at modern business topics and a great opportunity to collaborate with other senior professionals in the business community. On the heels of that very positive experience and finding myself grounded from traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided that the lockdown was a phenomenal opportunity to investigate and ultimately enroll in the Law School’s ML Program.
In learning about the program, I felt there were three benefits.
First, the ML Program is a tremendous match with my professional interests. My current course, “Navigating the Regulatory State,” is highly relevant to my day job researching and advising companies that operate in the highly regulated food and agribusiness value chain.
Second, the ability to engage with professors, professional staff, and classmates across the entire Penn community remains a compelling ML Program benefit that will pay dividends now and in the future. Based largely on my positive experience with the Wharton program, I felt that I would benefit tremendously from continuing to engage with bright people from diverse backgrounds and career paths.
Third, the ML Program provides me with a thoughtful pursuit and a way to deploy pent-up intellectual energy at a time when my business travel (usually 50-75% of my time) has been reduced dramatically. The ML Program allows me to explore a topic that I have been interested in since undergrad but, up until now, did not have the opportunity to pursue.
What aspects of your University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School experience have you found most influential so far?
Each of the three classes I’ve taken — “Business Law” with Lecturer in Law Donyale Reavis, “U.S. Law and Legal Methods” with Adjunct Professor of Law Lee Rosengard, and “Fundamentals of U.S. Legal Research” with Adjunct Professor of Law Edwin Greenlee — has covered interesting topics and helped me to develop important skillsets.
I felt that “Business Law” was the logical place to begin my ML studies, and it did not disappoint. It was highly engaging. Reavis operates an entrepreneurial business law firm, so the examples she brought into the classroom were current and interesting. The class was interactive (which made it hugely enjoyable) and involved a series of value-adding group projects.
Rosengard’s course, as he warned us from the outside, was a crash course in eight to ten JD topics condensed into one semester. I loved the challenge of mastering all the material and felt that “U.S. Law and Legal Methods” gave me a framework to truly understand how the legal system really works.
Greenlee’s course, “Fundamentals of U.S. Legal Research,” was also excellent! While I am a professional research analyst, I found that the course provided me with new tools to conduct research on legal topics that I can easily apply to other subjects.
How has Penn’s commitment to cross-disciplinary legal training impacted your education?
Wharton’s GMP was extremely applicable to me — even after three decades of business experience — because it broadened my understanding of new topics to which I would not have been exposed 30 years ago. It is an enormous strength of the ML Program to have one of the country’s foremost business schools on campus and close by — and to have people who are associated with Wharton also associated with and/or integrated into the ML curriculum. Further, classmates from the medical, public health, engineering, education, and sustainability communities are also engaged with the ML Program, making for a rich learning experience. Finally, I really like the ability to have access to all Penn libraries as part of the ML program.
In what ways has Penn augmented your understanding of how the law intersects with the public interest?
The short answer is: “Many ways!” In starting the program, I had not been as focused on the public policy dynamic as I am today; rather, I was focused more on how the law works and how it impacts the business world in general. In doing case analysis, I am always struck by how much better of an understanding and appreciation for the law that you get when you look at issues through a social justice and public policy lens. The key takeaway is that, because of the ML Program, I have a much better appreciation of how law affects virtually every part of life and how it can contribute to a better society.
What do you hope your University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School education will help you to accomplish?
I would like to use my ML degree to allow me the privilege to serve on a public company board of directors, helping senior leaders engage more meaningfully in complex issues related to corporate social responsibility. While many senior businesspeople have a basic understanding of ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and sustainability, few have the understanding of their legal and social responsibility to effect positive change. Many public companies want to do the right thing, but there is often a lag between their aspirations and results. I would like to use the ML degree to help catalyze immediate action.
What is one thing about you most people don’t know?
I wake up and listen to Metallica every single morning to help me start my day! Other fun facts: I consume massive amounts of turkey and arugula, along with Swiss muesli, virtually every day to keep my energy level high.
What is your favorite thing to do in Philly?
Near campus, I would say dinner and drinks at the White Dog Café. Also, getting an Old Fashioned at the Living Room Lounge at The Inn at Penn is a must do whenever I stay over in Philadelphia.