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2018 Year in Review: Penn Law Faculty

December 24, 2018

Over the last year, the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania Law School have continued to push the legal community forward by producing groundbreaking, nuanced, and important work. Their scholarship and work outside the Law School have made a significant impact on legal thought not only within the academy, but among policymakers and others in the larger legal world. Throughout the year, Penn Law professors have won awards, had their work cited in major judicial decisions, and shared their insights with fellow scholars worldwide. Here are 10 highlights of this year’s stories on Penn Law faculty members.

Morse contributes to ground-breaking report on criminal justice reform

Stephen J. Morse contributed a chapter to a comprehensive report titled Reforming Criminal Justice. Morse’s chapter, “Mental Disorder and Criminal Justice,” examined the wide-reaching interactions between mental health and the criminal justice system. Morse is the Ferdinand Wakeman Hubbell Professor of Law, a Professor of Psychology and Law in Psychiatry, and the Associate Director of the Center for Neuroscience & Society.

Yoo cited in judicial decision approving AT&T-Time Warner merger

Christopher Yoo, the John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science and the Director of Penn Law’s Center for Technology, Innovation & Competition, was prominently cited in the judicial decision approving the AT&T/Time Warner merger, one of the most closely watched cases of the year. The decision by Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia cited scholarship by Professor Yoo on the video programming and distribution industry.

Lee draws parallels to the first right-to-work litigator in reaction to SCOTUS ruling on union dues

Professor of Law and History Sophia Lee provided her thoughts on the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFCSME, where the court ruled that government workers could not be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining. 

Knoll addresses U.S. Army War College graduates on emerging economic trends of 21st century

As part of a dialogue intended to illuminate the long-term implications of taxing, spending, and redistribution policies within advanced economies, Michael Knoll addressed the Army War College’s faculty and its class of 2018 on “Emerging Economic Trends in the Twenty-First Century: Government Taxing and Spending in the United States and Abroad.” Knoll is the Theodore K. Warner Professor of Law and Professor of Real Estate, the Co-Director of the Center for Tax Law and Policy and the Deputy Dean of Penn Law. 

In Q&A, Natasha Sarin discusses law, finance, and her arrival at Penn

Natasha Sarin, newly appointed Assistant Professor of Law with a secondary appointment in the Finance Department at the Wharton School, spoke with her about her upcoming plans at Penn and her latest research.

Gordon receives Arrington-Prucha Prize from Western History Association for article on Mountain Meadows massacre

Sarah Barringer Gordon, the Arlin M. Adams Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History, co-authored “Fatal Convergence in the Kingdom of God: The Mountain Meadows Massacre in American History,” which details the history of the Mountain Meadows massacre of 1857, when a group of Mormon settlers in southeastern Utah ambushed and killed a wagon train of Methodist migrants. The WHA awards the Arrington-Prucha Prize annually for the “best article on the history of religion in the West.”

New study by Heaton and RAND co-authors finds holistic defense effective in reducing mass incarceration

The groundbreaking study co-authored by researchers at RAND and Paul Heaton, Senior Fellow and Academic Director of the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice, finds that by adopting an innovative holistic approach to defending poor clients in criminal cases, jurisdictions can significantly reduce incarceration and save taxpayer dollars, without harming public safety.

In new paper, Austin provides backstory to production of “Second Looks, Second Chances” documentary calling for reforms in parole eligibility for life sentences

Regina Austin, the William A. Schnader Professor of Law, wrote a paper, “‘Second Looks, Second Chances’: Collaborating with Lifers on a Video about Commutation of LWOP Sentences,” that offers a behind-the-scenes account of producing an advocacy video that calls for expanded parole eligibility of Pennsylvanians sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The paper is forthcoming in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change.

Fisch wins award for excellence from AALS

Jill Fisch, the Saul A. Fox Distinguished Professor of Business Law and Co-Director of the Institute for Law and Economics was named one of the recipients of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section of Business Associations Outstanding Mentor Award. She was acknowledged at the 2018 AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego.

University of Augsburg hosts conference highlighting Robinson’s scholarship on criminal law theory and policy

The conference, entitled “Punishing in the name of the people? Exploring the relevance of empirical needs for punishment by the general public in terms of penal theory and criminal policy,” focused on the work of Paul Robinson, the Colin S. Diver Professor of Law, and featured presentations by scholars from universities throughout Europe and participation by professors from China, Poland, and South Korea.