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An Emerging Corporate Law Scholar

August 25, 2023

Emily Campbell L'24
Emily Campbell L’24

Emily Campbell L’24 shares her experience conducting research, earning a clerkship, and interning at Latham & Watkins.

I feel lucky that this summer tied together a lot of the work I’ve been pursuing for the past two years. In addition to being a summer associate at Latham & Watkins in New York City, I also presented scholarly work alongside Tess Wilkinson-Ryan L’05, G’06, PhD’08, Professor of Law and Psychology, and David Hoffman, William A. Schnader Professor of Law, at an academic conference at NYU Law School.

As a summer associate, I explored practice areas that complemented some of my favorite courses, specifically in the bankruptcy and securities litigation groups. Latham’s flexible assignment system for summer associates exposed me to corporate lawyers with different expertise and proved to be an excellent supplement to my University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School curriculum.

Among other assignments at Latham, I helped draft a client alert on In re Columbia Pipeline, a recent decision from the Delaware Court of Chancery written by Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster, for whom I will clerk in 2026. As nerdy as it is to admit, I was very excited to apply my academic research on fiduciary obligations and stockholder rights to my work product at Latham.

A Pathway to a Clerkship

My journey to a Delaware Chancery clerkship began in my 2L “Corporations” class. I immediately felt like I found an area of the law that “clicked.” The equitable nature of corporate claims appealed to me since it allows parties to request, and courts to fashion, remedies that address the heart of a plaintiff’s injury in a way that contract law often fails. The Delaware Court of Chancery also fascinated me as a judicial body with latitude to develop a consistent doctrine through some of the world’s most complex and high-stakes disputes.

That interest grew substantially while taking “Startups and Venture Capital” and “Corporate Governance” with Elizabeth Pollman, Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Institute for Law & Economics, in spring 2023. We read myriad opinions from the Delaware Court of Chancery, many written by Vice Chancellor Laster. Through these classes, I became interested in engaging with corporate law scholarship more seriously. I discussed this interest with Prof. Hoffman, and he suggested I consider a clerkship on the Court of Chancery.

Since I had already developed an appreciation for the Court’s influence on corporate law, as well as its regular engagement with scholars, it felt like the perfect fit. After a rigorous interview, I was extremely excited to be offered a clerkship with Vice Chancellor Laster. It is such a unique opportunity to live and breathe corporate law, which I’ve grown to enjoy so much. I am so eager to learn Delaware law from a brilliant judge who continues to shape corporate law doctrine; this experience will make me a better practitioner and scholar.

Collaborative Legal Scholarship

During my 1L summer, I worked as a Research Assistant to Prof. Wilkinson-Ryan. This was my first experience working with a scholarly article from empirical data collection to first draft, and I absolutely loved it. Her grounding of legal analysis in the views of lay citizens was novel to me. My previous view of academic writing was that it was far removed from the people it ultimately impacts, and I was excited to see the potential for accessible research.

At the start of my 2L year, Prof. Wilkinson-Ryan asked me to continue researching for her and Prof. Hoffman. We designed several pilot studies, and they asked me if I would formally join them as a co-author on the article, “Expecting Specific Performance.” We spent the remainder of the fall and winter break conducting follow up studies, outlining, and drafting. Working with them reaffirmed my interest in legal academia and showed me the exciting possibilities enabled by collaboration with brilliant scholars.

In a convergence of events, the morning of my first day at Latham coincided with a presentation of our research at NYU Law School. The firm generously allowed me to step out of orientation to join Professors Wilkinson-Ryan and Hoffman to present our paper. Sharing our work with accomplished academics from around the country was a thrilling experience.

A Future Practitioner, Scholar, & Teacher of Corporate Law

I am excited to take “Securities Regulation” with David Zaring, Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics at Wharton and “Mergers & Acquisitions” with Prof. Pollman when I return to Penn Carey Law. I am eager to dive into the doctrines that underlie both the complex disputes I worked on at Latham and the cases I will eventually encounter as a clerk at the Court of Chancery.

I am also excited to be a Littleton Fellow this year, teaching a cohort of 1Ls in legal writing. I chose to pursue this opportunity for two reasons. First, I really enjoy mentoring. As the first lawyer in my family, I benefitted immensely from the advice of my Littleton Fellow and want to be as good of a role model for my cohort as my Fellow was for mine. Second, I want to hone the skills required to lead a classroom and to simplify complex rules and concepts—and even make them enjoyable to learn! I am confident this experience will enhance my future practice and scholarship.

After graduation, I will return to Latham in New York. I hope to work on Chancery cases and, more broadly, securities litigation before journeying down the Northeast Corridor to Delaware for my clerkship in 2026.

Long-term, I hope to be a practitioner, scholar, and teacher of corporate law. This goal feels achievable because of support from the Penn Carey Law community, especially Professors Wilkinson-Ryan, Hoffman, and Pollman. They have pushed me to achieve academic and professional goals that I could not have imagined even one year ago. I am eager to see what the future holds. I know I have my work cut out for me but am excited to keep learning!

Pathways to the Profession highlights Penn Carey Law students and post-graduate fellows as they launch impactful legal careers. From summer internships in the private sector to public interest post-graduate fellowships, these firsthand accounts of substantive legal work demonstrate the myriad opportunities available to Penn Carey Law students and graduates as they hone their skills and advance their career goals.

Hailing from New Jersey, Emily Campbell L’24 is building expertise in corporate and securities law and is a co-author with Professors Wilkinson-Ryan and Hoffman on a forthcoming article in the NYU Law Review. This coming year, Emily will be a Littleton Fellow, a Research Assistant to Professor Pollman, an Executive Editor on the Journal of Business Law, and an Articles Editor on the Journal of Constitutional Law.

Explore more of our students’ Pathways to the Profession.