CIVITAS Magazine of the Widener University Commonwealth Law School
Fall 2016 vol. 2 no. 1
The Making of a JAG Attorney Where the Law and the Military Meet
A RETURN TO LEGAL ROOTS
Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy visited Widener Law Commonwealth on May 6, giving the keynote speech at The Military, the Law, and the Constitution symposium. Here Murphy, a former congressman and Iraqi war veteran who began his legal career as a judge advocate general with the Army after graduation from Widener Law Harrisburg in 1999, visits with Dean Christian A. Johnson and Professor Jill Family, director of the Law and Government Institute. For more on JAG attorneys and the symposium, see pages 6-11.
ON THE COVER
Attorneys in the military are known as judge advocate generals, and many have gotten their start as law students in Harrisburg. This image draws on the statue of justice in the library on the Widener Law Commonwealth campus.
Widener University Commonwealth Law School 3800 Vartan Way Harrisburg, PA 17110 Phone: 717-541-3900 commonwealthlaw.widener.edu Published by the Widener University Office of University Relations Executive Editor Lou Anne Bulik Editor Sam Starnes Art Director Melanie Franz Associate Editor Julie Massing Contributing Writers Michael R. Dimino Sr. Christopher J. Robinette Julie Massing Photographers Melanie Franz Julie Massing Magazine Advisory Board Lou Anne Bulik Michael Hussey Christian A. Johnson Mary Kate Kearney Natasha Lewis Julie Massing
For comments or questions about the magazine, please contact Natasha Lewis, director of development and alumni engagement, at email@example.com or 717-541-3974.
contents 3 DEANâ€™S MESSAGE 4
6 MAKING OF A JAG ATTORNEY Judge advocate generals serve as military officers and lawyers. 12 PROSSER ON PROSSER What do the personal letters of famed torts attorney and legal scholar William Prosser reveal about his influence on tort law? 16 IS THERE A BETTER WAY TO ELECT THE PRESIDENT? A Widener Law Commonwealth professor argues for more political parties and a parliamentary system. 21 FACULTY NOTES 23
28 THE BACK PAGE A road race raises money for legal aid organizations.
DEAN’S MESSAGE I mark the start of my second year by sharing the good news that Widener Law Commonwealth has 50 percent more confirmed firstyear students than we did at this time last year! Enormous credit goes to the faculty and staff for the law school’s success. In particular, our new Assistant Dean of Admissions John Benfield has done great work in this regard. We start this school year not only with a bigger class but also with the launch of an exciting new program—the Widener Law Commonwealth Veterans Initiative, which signals our commitment to be the law school of choice for service members, veterans, and military families. This initiative builds on the history of Widener University, formerly known as Pennsylvania Military College, and pays homage to our location in an area rich in military installations and history. It also embraces the fact that Pennsylvania is home to more than one million veterans—the fourth largest veteran population in the country. I’d like to invite you to attend a very special Veterans Day service at 10 a.m. on November 11 as we introduce the Captain Shane Mahaffee Scholarship for Excellence, created to honor a fallen alumnus who attended our law school as a reservist. Capt. Mahaffee, who lost his life while deployed with the Army in Iraq in 2006, is an example of the hard work and commitment our military students show to both their country and their studies. The Veterans Initiative will grow beyond this scholarship to include many other components, including the establishment of a veterans legal clinic supporting our veterans from application to employment, adoption of an intentional culture of respect and camaraderie on campus for military and veteran law students and their families, and additional curricular offerings. Check our website at commonwealthlaw. widener.edu/veterans for more details on the Veterans Day service and the Veterans Initiative. Finally, please send us your updated contact information and that of friends and colleagues who you know are not getting communications from us. Active and engaged alumni are the true measure of the wealth of a law school. You have my commitment that we will stay in touch. My office door is always open, so please drop by!
Dean Christian A. Johnson
IN BRIEF A Score of Distinction Widener Law Commonwealth’s first-time bar test takers earned a 100 percent bar passage rate on the Pennsylvania bar exam in February 2016. All ten of Widener Law Commonwealth graduates taking the bar in the winter passed, making the law school the only one in Pennsylvania to achieve this success rate among first-time test takers. The Pennsylvania Bar Exam is given twice a year in February and July. The state average bar pass for first-time test takers in February was
74 percent. In addition to first-time test takers, Widener Law Commonwealth had an overall bar passage rate of 67 percent, more than ten percentage points higher than the state’s overall bar passage rate for February. “We are very excited about the perfect bar pass rate for first-time takers, as well as the overall bar pass rate,” said Anna Hemingway, associate professor of law and director of the legal methods program. “This achievement reflects our school's commitment to help our law students do their very best.”
Going to the Dogs (and Cat) During Finals To help make final exams a little more bearable, ten dogs and a cat from Caring Hearts Pet Therapy spent time with law students during exam week in the spring to provide some much-needed stress relief and a study break. “Dogs are always happy to see you,” said Tiffany Raker, a third-year law student. “They are energetic and upbeat and that energy rubs off on you. When you are tired and spending hours studying, having the dogs here is calming.” Mary Catherine Scott, director of student organizations, said each time the dogs come for a visit on campus she can see the positive effect they have on the students. “The therapy dogs came on campus for the first time for the Mental Health Awareness Day sponsored by the American Bar Association, and the feedback from the students was overwhelmingly positive,” Scott said. “We knew that having the dogs on campus several times during final exams would help the students get through this stressful period at the end of the semester.”
Professor to Retire
the school, including faculty member, director of the clinics and ITAP program, and head of student After 27 years of teaching and directing the organizations. Central Pennsylvania Law Clinics, Widener Law Lockard said his greatest accomplishment while Commonwealth Associate Clinical Professor at the law school was building the law clinic from the Palmer Lockard is heading out on new adventures. ground up. “We started from scratch,” he said. “We Lockard, who serves as the director of the law started with a committee and designed the clinic clinic and the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program and how it should look and function. It’s amazing. (ITAP), will retire in October. After he retires, he In retrospect, we have made very few changes from plans to finish hiking the Appalachian Trail, ride what we started with.” across the country on his bicycle, and float down A reception will be held to celebrate Lockard's Professor Palmer Lockard the Mississippi river. retirement at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 13 in Hired as a legal methods professor in 1989—the year Widener the Gallery in the Administration Building. Alumni are welcomed to Law opened in Harrisburg—Lockard has held several positions at attend. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. 4
Students Win Team and Individual Awards Widener Law Commonwealth students won a pair of prestigious awards in the spring semester: The Widener Law Commonwealth Transactional LawMeets team won the award for Best Draft at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Transactional LawMeet held at Drexel University in Philadelphia in February. The Transactional LawMeet is an interactive competition that provides a hands-on experience in developing transactional lawyering skills. Widener Law Commonwealth third-year law students Bridget Hendrick, James Kane, Zhao From left, members of the Transactional LawMeets team: Nick Marinelli; (Ruby) Liu, and Nick Marinelli “represented” an emerging James Kane; and Zhao (Ruby) Liu. Jessica Santiago at commencement. technology company in a joint venture with a subsidiary of a large corporate conglomerate. This is the second time in three of Tangible Medium in 21st Century.” The article will be published years that a team from Widener Law Commonwealth was recognized on the PBA website in the International Property Law Section. In her for superior drafting. Mid Penn Bank sponsored the Transactional article, Santiago argued that tattoos are copyrightable. However, as a LawMeets team. matter of public policy, a person should not allow for another person Jessica L. Santiago, a May 2016 graduate, recently earned third place in the 2016 Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) International Property Law Writing Competition for her article “Tattoos: Meaning
to have copyright privileges to their body. She concluded that tattoos should be included as a tenth category of specially commissioned work in the work-for-hire doctrine.
Campus Hosts Prison Population Forum Creating a better education system is the number one way to help reduce the number of people in the prison system, Pennsylvania’s top corrections official said during a forum on mass incarceration held on Widener Law Commonwealth’s campus. John E. Wetzel, secretary of the state Department of Corrections, spoke at Uncaging Pennsylvania: Reimagining our
Mass Prison Population, an event hosted by the Pennsylvania Women’s Forum in April. “The good news is the system is smaller than it was when I took this job five years ago,” Wetzel said. “That reduction is due to a number of small, but effective reforms.” Wetzel and Lisa Graybill, deputy legal director for mass incarceration for the Southern Poverty Law Center, addressed the
issue of Pennsylvania's current incarceration rate and practical, innovative approaches to reducing our prison population. Widener Law Commonwealth Professor Jill Family served as moderator. Both panelists agreed that while the state has made progress in reducing the number of prisoners, the larger issue is preventing the crimes in the first place. Graybill added that change is necessary in culture and the community for us to see continued improvement in the prison system. Graybill noted that Pennsylvania has made big strides in reforming their prison and justice system. “Pennsylvania is a model, a leader who engages in smart justice,” she said.
Lisa Graybill, deputy legal director for mass incarceration for the Southern Poverty Law Center, and John E. Wetzel, secretary of the state Department of Corrections, at the Pennsylvania Women’s Forum.
The Making of a JAG Attorney Where the law and the military meet By Julie Massing
elissa (Carlot) Ehlers will never forget her beginnings as a judge advocate for the Marine Corps. “One of my first cases involved a Marine who was accused of sexually assaulting and murdering a female Marine at Camp Lejeune,” said Ehlers, who served as the assistant federal prosecutor in the trial. “We were seeking the death penalty as punishment, since the murder was premeditated. Coming out of law school and sitting on a case of that magnitude, I really got to see both sides of the case. The perpetrator’s family came in, and they could have been your neighbor. He was raised by such a nice family.”
The Marine was accused of knocking a female Marine unconscious while intoxicated and taking advantage of her. After realizing his actions, he panicked and killed the victim. “Seeing those gruesome photos and listening to the case taught me compassion for both sides and made me realize how much everyone is affected by the loss of that young woman,” she said. “The Marine ended up getting life in Leavenworth.” Melissa and her husband, G. Loy Ehlers, were students in the first class at Widener Law Harrisburg. They started in 1989 and finished in 1992. After graduation, they married and served 11 years in the Marine Corps together, serving as judge advocates. “You are a lawyer, but you are a Marine first,” Melissa Ehlers said. The Ehlers are part of Widener Law Commonwealth’s long history of graduates who have become military attorneys. Each branch of the military has their own attorneys who make a commitment to serve their country as military lawyers and uphold the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The job of a military attorney consists of advising the commander on a wide range of areas of the law and also the defense and prosecution of military law. In the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, military lawyers are known as judge advocate generals or JAGs. In the Marine Corps, military attorneys are referred to as judge advocates. Widener Law Harrisburg alumni who have followed this path include Patrick Murphy, the former congressman and current under
secretary of the Army. When Murphy was in his third year of law school in Harrisburg, he was interviewed for an opening in the JAG Corps by Col. Paul “P.J.” Perrone Jr., a 1993 Widener Law Harrisburg alumnus who began serving as a JAG attorney in 1994. Murphy got the job after he earned his law degree in 1999 and went on to serve as an Army judge advocate. “The JAG Corps gives you great experience—great trial experience and great legal experience in the military,” Murphy said. As a JAG attorney, Murphy tried military cases at courtsmartial, as well as cases in the Southern District of New York as a special U.S. Attorney. He joined the faculty of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, but later when he deployed to Iraq after the attacks of September 11, 2001, he oversaw the justice system for the 1.5 million Iraqis in south central Baghdad. He prosecuted two high-level terrorists in Iraq’s top court, including one who directed attacks that led to the death of a 9-year-old girl. Perrone, in his 22-year career with the Army, has served in 11 positions at various locations in Europe and the United States, including a recent two-year position as a staff judge advocate with the 4th Infantry Division serving in both Afghanistan and Colorado. He received his undergraduate degree from Penn State in 1989, where he also participated in ROTC. He was accepted into the Trial Admissions Program (TAP) at Widener Law Harrisburg in the summer of 1990. After successfully completing TAP, Perrone was admitted to the law school.
Honors for Alumnus Killed in Combat Widener Law Commonwealth will honor an alumnus who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving with the Army in Iraq. Capt. Shane Mahaffee, a 1994 alumnus, died from wounds sustained when a roadside bomb struck his vehicle in Iraq in May 2006. He was a civil affairs officer assigned to the 489th Civil Affairs Battalion. In honor of Mahaffee’s memory, the school will establish a scholarship for excellence in his name on Veterans Day on November 11. An attorney in Gurnee, Illinois, Mahaffee was raised in Alexandria, Virginia. He began his military career as an ROTC cadet with Southwest Missouri State University and earned his commission in 1991. Mahaffee was voluntarily assigned to the Inactive Ready Reserve in 2000. In February 2006, Mahaffee completed a civil affairs course and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was 36 when he died, 8
leaving behind a wife and two children, aged 5 and 2. More than 5,000 people attended Mahaffee’s funeral, a testament to the many lives he touched during his service with the Army and career as an attorney. “I think the scholarship is a nice way to honor veterans and keep their memory alive,” said Jennifer Mahaffee, his widow. “It’s nice for students to know that there were other men and women who came before them.” The scholarship in his name, established with a generous gift from Widener University Trustee Vito R. Verni and his wife Mary Louise Verni, has made an impression on Mahaffee’s family. “I was absolutely thrilled and elated when they told me about the scholarship,” said Skip Mahaffee, Shane’s father. “It’s more than 10 years after his death, and he is still making a mark on society.”
At left, G. Loy Ehlers and Melissa (Carlot) Ehlers, both graduates of the class of 1992, serving as judge advocates in the Marines in the 90s, and more recently at their son’s wedding.
Perrone is now chief of the International and Operational Law Division for the Army JAG Corps at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. His day-to-day duties include providing legal advice to the secretary of the Army, chief of staff of the Army, and the Army staff on all international and operational issues affecting military operations. He also provides legal expertise on the topics of the law of war, intelligence activities and information operations, and stability operations and rule of law. Perrone said JAGs play a critical role in helping the military protect and defend the nation by providing advice and recommendations to commanders in all situations. The counsel provided by JAGs ensures that the military is always acting within the rule of law, the legal principal that law should govern a nation. It is used as a standard that enables the United States to maintain legitimacy while still acting as an example to other democratic nations when there is war or a threat of war. “A JAG’s efforts aiding a commander to make decisions that support the rule of law strengthens the legitimacy of both the military and the United States,” Perrone said. “It is an important component in protecting our democracy wherever our military is serving.” Murphy, Perrone, and the Ehlers are among about 30 Widener Law Harrisburg graduates who have served in this important legal-military mission. They will not be the last. This year, a recent Widener Law Commonwealth graduate and a third-year-law student hope to follow in their footsteps and go into the JAG Corps. Courtney Bassani, a third-year law student who will graduate in 2017, decided that she wanted practical experience before entering
the Navy JAG program. Bassani, of Bradford, Pennsylvania, participated in a six-week internship with the Navy JAG that gave her real-life experience and provided her with insight about what life is like as a JAG. Bassani hopes to be commissioned into the Navy JAG Corps after she graduates next May. “I have always been interested in serving, so coming to law school and applying for the judge advocate program made sense for me since it will allow me to serve and practice many different areas of law,” Bassani said. “I know I want to help people, and I know I want to serve my country.”
Military Legal Assignments Worldwide After graduating from law school and completing his training as a Marine officer, Loy Ehlers, Melissa’s husband, served as the legal officer for the Marine Security Guard Battalion. His job required him to provide protection to the nation’s embassies and consulates around the world, a job that could be described as the military’s version of in-house counsel. He provided advice to the battalion commander, oversaw the command’s military justice function, and represented the unit in negotiations with government and private organizations. “I traveled the globe and conducted criminal and administrative investigations,” he said. “I was dispatched to 22 different countries on five different continents during my time with the Marine Security Guard Battalion.” After 11 years of active duty, Loy and Melissa Ehlers opted to leave the military and set down roots. Loy left the military first to take a position as vice president and divisional general counsel at Bassett Furniture Industries. The couple later moved to North Carolina 9
and opened two Cold Stone Creamery franchises. Loy is now the legal education department head at a local college. Melissa, who oversees the couple’s government contracting business and the Cold Stone Creamery franchises, stayed in the Marine Corps reserves for several more years before ending her service in 2004. She looks back fondly on her service. “The doors were wide open for me,” she said. “I never felt oppressed and never experienced any biases because of my gender. As a woman, I was widely and well received in the military.”
procedures of labor law. He returned to his civilian job as board counsel for the Pennsylvania Department of State in July. In his 31 years as a JAG, he says there are cases that he will never be able to forget. “We were prosecuting a case about a child sexual assault that happened in both Germany and the United States,” he said. “The trial lasted about two weeks, and we brought in several expert witnesses. The most emotionally difficult cases are always the ones where children are the victims.” He said these cases are hard on everybody in the courtroom, adding that he takes special care when asking questions of a witness to help them feel safe. “You can cross examine people in a way that makes their testimony helpful. You can still get the information that you need, but not attack the witness and make them feel like they are under the spotlight—make the questions conversational, and establish a line of trust with the witness to have a conversation.”
Future JAG Officers Getting trial experience and having the opportunity to practice different types of law are the top reasons why some law school graduates decide to enter the From left: Col. Paul “P.J.” Perrone, a 1993 Widener Law graduate, is chief of International and Operational Law Division for the Army JAG Corps at the JAG Corps. “JAG officers develop expertise in a wide Pentagon. Courtney Bassani is a third-year Widener Law Commonwealth range of practice areas,” said Karen Durkin, director student who wants to go into the Navy JAG Corps. of the Career Development Office at Widener Law Commonwealth. “They are given the opportunity to A Career of JAG Service practice law and experience multiple specialties from the beginning Seeking adventure and wanting to serve, Kerry Maloney, a 1993 of their careers. JAG officers are held to the highest professional alumnus, joined the Army ROTC program in 1985 while earning standards and are greatly respected.” his undergraduate degree at Shippensburg University. After Lee Molitoris, who graduated in May 2016, said his decision to graduating, he decided to attend law school to pursue corporate go into the Army JAG Corps was largely based on the urge he felt law. His interest changed after taking a criminal law class. “After to serve his country. my focus shifted to criminal law, I thought it would be a good idea Molitoris, who is from the Scranton area, knows that the role to apply for the Army JAG and get some trial experience,” he said. of a JAG will be challenging and is eager for the opportunity to Three decades later, he’s still not ready to retire. gain experience and travel the world with the Army. He hopes Maloney is a military reservist, and was recently on an active to start his active duty service in January and is anticipating the duty assignment for three years at the U.S. Army War College in opportunity to practice in many different areas of the law. “I joined Carlisle, Pennsylvania, serving as a command judge advocate. The because I wanted to help those who are helping us by serving our assignment required him to advise the college’s commandant on country,” he said. “I’m protecting those who are protecting our all aspects of administration, ethics, fiscal issues, investigations, country, and that is very humbling.” criminal issues, and legal issues pertaining to the school and
Veterans Day Events Widener Law Commonwealth will hold a Veterans Day ceremony on November 11 to honor all of those who have served. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in the Administration Building and will include the launch of the Captain Shane Mahaffee Scholarship for Excellence. Widener Law Commonwealth students, alumni, faculty, staff, and neighbors are invited to attend. For more information, visit commonwealthlaw.widener.edu/veterans.
Symposium Tackles Critical Military Law Issues Nearly 100 active duty soldiers, veterans, lawyers, and law students gathered at Widener Law Commonwealth in May to discuss critical military law issues affecting soldiers and veterans. Panel participants included high-ranking military leaders, renowned military law experts, and administrators of organizations offering services to veterans.
Patrick Murphy, under secretary of the Army and a 1999 Widener Law Harrisburg graduate, gave the keynote address.
The Military, the Law, and the Constitution featured three panels: Ethics in Military Law; Constitution and the War on Terror; and Taking Care of Our Service Members and Veterans. The keynote address was given by Patrick J. Murphy, under secretary of the U.S. Army. He is a 1999 alumnus of Widener Law Commonwealth and the first veteran from the second Iraq war to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District from 2007-2011. All panel videos and the keynote address can be viewed at commonwealthlaw.widener.edu/militaryvideos.
Kerry Maloney, at far right, a 1993 alumnus and career JAG officer, spoke on the panel Ethics and Military Law. He was joined, from left, by Widener Law Commonwealth Professor of Law Randy Lee; Dr. Lance Betros, provost, U.S. Army War College; and James W. Houck, a retired Navy JAG officer who is interim dean of Penn State Law.
An Emphasis on Serving Veterans The launch of a veterans initiative at Widener Law Commonwealth will provide additional scholarship and curriculum opportunities for veteran students and establish the law school as one of the most veteran-friendly institutions. While the law school currently offers financial and other benefits to veterans and activeduty soldiers seeking a law degree, the initiative intends to establish a veteran student center. “Our goal is to eventually have a designated space for veterans to go for assistance with the law school process Patrick Murphy, under secretary for the from start to finish, Army, (left), with Widener Trustee Tom including helping them Bown, a supporter of scholarships for find employment,” veterans at the law school. said Widener Law Commonwealth Dean Christian A. Johnson. “The initiative is one that is needed, and it’s a small way that we can repay the veterans who have served our country.”
Courses with a focus on military and veterans law will be developed, and more scholarship opportunities for veterans will be provided. Currently, Widener Law Commonwealth offers several scholarships for veteran students. Long-term goals of the initiative also include establishing a veterans law clinic, which will help veterans navigate legal matters. Early support for this project has come from Widener Trustee Vito R. Verni and his wife Mary Louise Verni to establish the Captain Shane Mahaffee Scholarship for Excellence. Widener Trustee Tom Bown and his wife Bonnie Bown made a gift to establish the Gen. Carl E. Mundy Jr., USMC (Ret.), and Linda Sloan Mundy Marine Scholarship. A board of advisors, consisting of several veteran alumni, has been created for the project. Those serving on the board include the advisory board chair, Lt. Col. Kerry Maloney ’93, former command judge advocate, U.S. Army War College, and current board counsel, Pennsylvania Department of State; Adelle Zavada ’05, Widener Law Commonwealth clinical staff and retired colonel, U.S. Air Force; Jeremiah Underhill ’06, contract analyst for Tyco Electronics Corporation; Matt Ponzar ’03, associate general counsel, Defense Human Resources Activity and former judge advocate general, U.S. Army; Dean Johnson; Widener Law Commonwealth Professor Michael Hussey, associate dean of academic affairs; and Corinna Wilson, Wilson500, Inc., project manager.
Photos by Melanie Franz 12
Prosser on Prosser What do the recently discovered personal letters of famed torts attorney and legal scholar William Prosser reveal about his influence on tort law? Widener Law Commonwealth Law Professor Christopher J. Robinette undertakes this fascinating study.
By Christopher J. Robinette, Professor of Law
o generations of law students, William Prosser is nearly synonymous with tort law. His reputation and influence stem from multiple sources: his treatise, known as “Prosser on Torts;” his casebook, used by most Widener alumni; the Restatement (Second) of Torts, for which he served as Reporter; and a plethora of scholarly articles. In terms of shaping doctrine, Harvard’s John Goldberg calls Prosser “the most important American torts scholar of the twentieth century.” Prosser played a role in creating the doctrines of strict products liability and privacy, and helped legitimize intentional infliction of emotional distress as an independent tort. Due to his achievements, it is fair to say that Prosser is a legend in torts circles. Thanks, however, to a student in my first Torts class at Widener, I got to know Prosser on a more personal level. Clarke Madden, who graduated in 2008, was kind enough to show me his grandfather’s Torts notebook from the 1938-39 academic year at the University of Minnesota Law School. His professor was William Prosser, then teaching Torts for only the fifth time. The leather-bound notebook allows the reader to see Prosser as a classroom teacher in a year he used a draft of his treatise, yet to be published, with his students. The first day of class was the day the Munich Agreement was signed, and the notebook contains a classroom hypothetical about someone throwing a bomb into Adolph Hitler’s car. I wrote an article about the notebook and thought I was through with Prosser. A doctoral student at Berkeley, however, used the article to find me. His academic specialty involved writing about old letters. He had purchased a cache of 50 of Prosser’s letters at a garage sale in Oakland, California, near where Prosser lived for the last decades of his life. He did not know anything about Prosser, but wanted to see if I was interested in the letters. I was. Combined with a collection of 75 letters at Berkeley, the letters provide an unparalleled glimpse into Prosser’s thoughts from his teenage years through his seventies. Perhaps the most obvious personal characteristics in the letters are Prosser’s ambivalence and restlessness. Restlessness is a trademark of the “Lost Generation,” those coming of age, as Prosser did, during World War I. Prosser frequently lacked firm direction and
often changed his plans. After graduating from Harvard in 1918, Prosser enlisted as a gunnery sergeant with the Aviation Detachment of the U.S. Marine Corps. He spent the last few months of the war stateside. He went to Europe only after leaving the Marines and accepting a position as the secretary to the United States Commercial Attaché in Brussels, Belgium. While in Belgium, he struggled with career goals. Returning to the U.S., he focused on playwriting and then tried law. He left Harvard Law School after a year, while remarking how lucky one of his friends was to have a position with a paint company. After a stint on the railroad and in sales, he returned to law school at the University of Minnesota. He practiced law for a brief time, coinciding with the onset of the Great Depression. Shortly after beginning the practice of law, Prosser was offered a position teaching at the University of Minnesota Law School. He suffered bouts of indecision and declined repeated offers before finally accepting the position. Once he became a professor, he was, as with most things, ambivalent: “The atmosphere in this place is very curious; in many respects it irritates me, and in others I like it.” He eventually returned to practice. Then he went back to teaching. Finally, he was hired as dean at the University of California, Berkeley, a position of such eclectic tasks that it came closer than anything prior to satisfying Prosser. Prosser is exceedingly frank in the letters; he is often sarcastic and funny, and sometimes whiny. Prosser called U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter a “conceited jackass,” and stated that “no human being could possibly know as much as that little man thinks he does.” On being a dean, he stated: “I have to spin out about ten pages of solemn rigamarole for them, which they will duly consider and reduce to university rules. I am getting quite adept at the art of writing at length and sounding like a dean, and saying nothing.” He repeatedly invoked the image of a “desk piled high with work” and the tedium of having “to sit on the usual mess of academic committees and pass on the usual foolishness.” Unfortunately, like many of his time, he was also prejudiced, making liberal use of ethnic references.
As a torts scholar, the most interesting aspect of the letters to me is whether they shed any light on Prosser’s scholarship. One must be careful about reading too much into brief remarks in letters, but it is possible to draw connections between the letters and Prosser’s academic achievements. For example, Prosser is known for his attention to detail. The footnotes in his treatise are voluminous; there are more than 15,000 cases in the footnotes of the First Edition. Such attention to detail is already obvious in Prosser at age 21. While in Belgium, Prosser procures lace at his mother’s request. The level of detail at which Prosser learns about Belgian lace is mind-numbing. He fills three pages in one letter categorizing and describing types of lace. He resumes the theme in another letter, spending eight more pages on it. More important is Prosser’s attitude toward the theoretical: He is skeptical of “high” theory. In a sense, this is a specific application
aforementioned lace back to his mother are provocative: “As for getting the things home, if necessary I can smuggle them in the government supply truck.” Reflecting on his plan, he continued, “I always knew there was some inherited dishonesty in me anyhow. Maybe I got it from Uncle Joe Prosser.” It is hard to know how seriously to take this and many of Prosser’s remarks, because so many of his comments can be described as sarcastic. Prosser, however, seemed to be serious about many of the thoughts that he communicated in a sarcastic tone. This statement fits that pattern. He is communicating his plan to ship lace to his mother. And his analysis of the plan is accurate. It is, at least, a bit dishonest. Finally, and most importantly, is a remark that impacts the most significant debate in tort theory: What is the purpose of tort law? Some theorists argue that tort is about individualized justice for wrongs and that consequentialist, policy-oriented concerns like deterrence and
As a torts scholar, the most interesting aspect of the letters to me is whether they shed any light on Prosser’s scholarship. of his ambivalence. Prosser is an intellectual, but not too much of an intellectual. Prosser is dismissive of professors generally. He discusses their detachment from the real world; the life of a professor is one of abstraction. Prosser sees himself as worldlier and more grounded. Unlike others who “take the veil,” Prosser knows the law is about “a lot of low-browed individuals … shaking their fists under each other’s noses down in the District Court.” Prosser’s remarks about his own honesty may also be significant. Prosser’s critics have accused him of various shades of dishonesty, particularly regarding his treatise. One recent article by prominent scholars stated Prosser managed to give the impression there was more backing him up doctrinally than was actually the case. In light of this controversy, Prosser’s comments about how to get the
compensation have no place in tort law. They further argue that Prosser, at the end of the Legal Realist era, helped move tort away from its original and rightful emphasis on wrongs to focus more on policy. Combined with the remarks about dishonesty, the gist is that Prosser, especially in the treatise, changed the law and its focus. He did not just report on it. In that vein, consider his 1952 statement: “I shall probably be the last of a generation that really made the law of Torts over and did quite a job of it.” At face value, the statement is an admission, or a boast, that Prosser helped make tort into something different than it had been. Leaving aside the normative question of whether the changes were beneficial, the letters offer insight into Prosser, and his work, not available from any other source. 15
Is There a Better Way to Elect the President? An argument for more political parties and a parliamentary system By Michael R. Dimino Sr., Professor of Law
A presidential race with two candidates less liked can hardly be imagined. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are unpopular with a majority of voters. A total of 60 percent of respondents rated Trump unfavorably, while 55 percent gave Clinton a negative rating.1 The poll results are unsurprising. Trump lacks political experience but has plenty of confidence, and Clinton's political experience has been plagued by scandal. And according to another poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that neither Trump nor Clinton is “honest and trustworthy.”2 Where did we go wrong? Are Clinton and Trump really the best we can do? Who is to blame for these choices that more than half of all Americans find appalling? And what can we do to improve the electoral system in the future? In this essay, I discuss a few structural elements of the American Constitution whose unintended effects have given us the presidential candidates that so many neither wanted nor needed. By using a relatively strict version of separation of powers and creating a presidency, rather than a parliamentary system, the framers of the Constitution meant to protect liberty but created a government that is too often paralyzed, frequently because of partisan divisions between the House, Senate, and presidency. The two-party system, often championed because of its supposed stability, has instead further dissatisfied the American people, with much of the country feeling trapped into supporting one of two candidates they find odious.
1 See Peter Nicholas, Negative Views of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton Persist Despite Campaigning, Wall St. J. (June 27, 2016). 2 See Jonathan Martin & Dalia Sussman, Republicans Want Their Party to Unify behind Donald Trump, Poll Shows, N.Y. Times (May 19, 2016).
The Rules of the Political Game Determine the Winners and Losers Candidates are elected not just because we prefer them to their opponents, but because we make our choices in the context of a political game that is played by particular rules. Change the rules of politics—just as if one were to change the rules of a sport or a board game—and the outcomes may well change too. If we are unsatisfied with the presidential candidates, it is worth considering whether a different set of rules might give us better ones.
Outsider Candidates as a Reaction to Political “Gridlock” The framers of the U.S. Constitution created a system of checks and balances and separated powers in order to protect liberty
liberty from the “tyranny” that would result from “[t]he accumulation of all powers legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands.”5 By dividing lawmaking power between two branches, and by further dividing Congress into two houses, the American system of separated powers is designed to promote compromise, moderation, and deliberation.6 But inefficiency in the defense of liberty can be a vice, in that it makes it difficult for government to enact good measures as well as bad ones. In an age of instant (and often intemperate) communication on social media, talk radio, and elsewhere, the political system seems antiquated, dysfunctional, full of “gridlock,” and simply broken. The separation of powers has thus fed common frustration about politicians who blame each other much and accomplish little. A frustrated public has turned to “outsiders” who make bold promises to “get things done” even if they lack the knowledge or experience to craft wise policy. Once in office, however, outsider candidates are likely to face difficulty in working with the “insiders” with whom they have no connection. The cycle, then, feeds upon itself. The more dysfunctional government appears, the more strident are the calls for outsider candidates, or “revolutions,” with the result that government becomes only more dysfunctional. Politics seems more and more polarized, with officials intent on bypassing opponents rather than working with them.7
Worse than its effect on the rise of outsider candidates, the current two-party system limits voters’ choices, forcing them to choose the lesser of two evils. by making it difficult for different parts of the government to act in concert.3 One example of the Constitution’s separation of powers was its creation of an executive branch both staffed and chosen independently of the legislature.4 By making the president independent of Congress, the framers hoped to protect the people’s
The Two-Party System and the Separation of Powers Worse than its effect on the rise of outsider candidates, the current two-party system limits voters’ choices, forcing them to choose the lesser of two evils. As a result, voters are not only
3 See, e.g., The Federalist No. 51 at 348 (James Madison) (Jacob E. Cooke ed., 1961) (In order to preserve liberty, “each department should have a will of its own; and consequently should be so constituted, that the members of each should have as little agency as possible in the appointment of the members of the others.”). 4 U.S. Const. art II, § 1, cls. 2-3 (establishing the procedure for selecting the president); U.S. Const. amend. XII (same); U.S. Const. art. I, § 6, cl. 2 (prohibiting members of Congress from simultaneously holding any office under the United States, i.e., in the executive branch). 5 The Federalist No. 47 (James Madison), at 324. 6 See, e.g., Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 944 (1983) (“Convenience and efficiency are not the primary objectives—or the hallmarks—of democratic government . . . .”); Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579, 613 (1952) (Frankfurter, J., concurring) (“A scheme of government like ours no doubt at times feels the lack of power to act with complete, all-embracing, swiftly moving authority. No doubt a government with distributed authority . . . labors under restrictions from which other governments are free. It has not been our tradition to envy such governments. In any event, our government was designed to have such restrictions. The price was deemed not too high in view of the safeguards which these restrictions afford.”).
dissatisfied with the candidate ultimately selected, but they are often dissatisfied with the candidate for whom they feel compelled to vote. Further, votes for candidates provide virtually no information about the views the voters hold, or why they decided to vote for one candidate over another. America selects most of its public officials (with the notable exception of U.S. Senators) in single-member districts, that is, districts whose voters choose one candidate for each office.8 Because there is only a single president, the voters choose him from what is in effect a nationwide single-member district, even though technically voters choose presidential electors in each state. And, due to federal statute, each member of the House of Representatives is chosen from a single-member district.9 The winner in single-member elections is typically the candidate winning the most votes—even if that amounts to only a plurality, rather than a majority. Such systems (plurality-winner, “first-past-the-post” election systems) favor a two-party system. In a two-candidate race between Candidate A and Candidate B, each tries to position himself close to the median voter so as to have the best chance of gaining a majority of votes. If Candidate C joins the race, the winner may well have less than a majority of votes, meaning that a majority of voters may vote against the winner. Moreover, minor-party Candidate C will take votes away from the majorparty candidate that is ideologically closer to Candidate C, thereby increasing the likelihood that the candidate furthest from Candidate C will be elected. For example, imagine that the Democrats and Republicans nominate relatively centrist candidates, with the Democrat slightly more liberal than the Republican. The Green Party, upset at the Democrat’s moderation, nominates
a candidate more liberal than the Democrat. Because the liberal voters will split their votes between the Green and Democratic candidates, but the conservative voters will unify behind the Republican, the Green candidate’s candidacy will increase the chance that the Republican—Green voters’ least favored candidate—will be elected. Plurality-winner, first-pastthe-post systems strongly encourage third parties to put aside their disagreements and support one of the two major-party nominees. The American two-party system’s effects are apparent in this election. Not only are both Trump and Clinton immensely unpopular even within their own parties, but challengers in both parties—most notably socialist Bernie Sanders and conservative Republican Ted Cruz (both considered outsiders despite their seats in the Senate)—were faced with tremendous pressure in the primaries to abandon their opposition to Clinton and Trump and unite behind the nominees so as to give the major parties the largest possible chance to win in the general election. Voters will face the same decision: whether to maintain opposition to the major-party nominees, either refusing to vote or casting a vote for a different candidate, or to abandon principle and vote for the less-terrible major-party candidate.
Is a Parliamentary System the Answer? If the United States were to adopt a parliamentary system with proportional representation of parties in the Congress, we might simultaneously improve governmental efficiency, lessen the perceived need for outsiders, and allow voters to cast votes that express their true preferences. In a parliamentary system, the people do not separately vote for an executive. Rather, they vote for the legislature, and the members of the legislature themselves choose one of themselves to lead the
7 See Texas v. United States, 809 F.3d 134 (5th Cir. 2015), aff 'd by an equally divided Court 136 U.S. 2271 (2016) (blocking the President's unilateral reform of immigration policy); Nat'l Labor Relations Bd. v. Noel Canning Co., 134 S. Ct. 2550 (2014) (striking down "recess" appointments made during a threeday break between pro-forma Senate sessions). 8 Even senators run in elections for a single open seat, because states rarely have elections for both their senators in the same year. 9 2 U.S.C. § 2(c). See also U.S. Const. art. I, § 4, cl. 1 (“The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of choosing Senators.”). 10 The effect will be even more pronounced if the legislature is reformed to make it unicameral either formally or (as in countries with an honorary House of Lords) in practice.
executive branch. That chief executive—the prime minister—is typically the leader of the majority party in the legislature or the leader of one of the parties comprising the coalition that unites to form the government. The prime minister, therefore, is almost certain to be a political insider with extensive experience in government and will unquestionably be a leader who has the respect of the members of the legislature. Further, by vesting the appointment of the executive in the legislative branch, parliamentary systems ensure that there will be unified government, that is, the same party will control both branches.10 It would therefore be much easier to pass measures, and government would be seen as more responsive to the preferences of voters. Moreover, by electing members of Congress from multi-member districts and using proportional representation of parties, we could reduce the major parties’ duopoly and allow more voters to cast votes that represent their true preferences. We could adopt an even more fundamental reform by electing members of the legislature in nationwide elections in which voters choose parties rather than candidates. Under such a reform, the individuals seated in the legislature would be chosen by the party. If a minor party received 15 percent of the vote, it could receive 15 percent of the seats in the legislature. Thus, voters whose preferences are not shared by most other voters could still express their preferences without “wasting” their votes on candidates who have no chance of winning a majority. Such a party-based method of election strikes us as odd because we are used to candidate-based elections. The American Constitution was developed before modern political parties, however, and modern reforms would enable us to account for their role. By allowing voters
to vote for parties, rather than candidates, we would enable legislative seats to be allocated proportionately so that people could vote their consciences and cast votes that matter. Views of minor parties would then be represented in the legislature, with members being able to give voice to their opinions and to form coalitions with other parties when cooperation is necessary. The two-party system stifles ideological debate by penalizing voters (and candidates) with views that differ from party orthodoxy.
Facing the Facts The American Constitution takes pains to separate the executive branch from the legislative so as to protect the people from the accumulation of power. For all its benefits, though, the separation of powers has made it difficult for government to function and has led to calls for decisive action that may ultimately threaten the liberty that the Constitution was designed to protect. We should face the fact that America is a pluralistic society and that our political ideologies are poorly represented by a system that forces us to choose between only two parties. A parliamentary system with proportional representation may give us government that is both more efficient and more representative of America’s ideological diversity. Professor of Law Michael R. Dimino Sr. teaches Constitutional Law and Election Law, among other subjects, and is co-author of Voting Rights and Election Law (2d ed. 2016) and the forthcoming Understanding Election Law and Voting Rights (2016) (both with Bradley A. Smith and Michael E. Solimine).
10 The effect will be even more pronounced if the legislature is reformed to make it unicameral either formally or (as in countries with an honorary House of Lords) in practice.
FACULTY NOTES Professor Amanda Smith presented at the annual conference for the Association of Academic Support Educators on the topic Best Practices in Formative Assessment: No Red Pens Required. She is serving as the associate editor for the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute. Professor Christopher J. Robinette received the Outstanding Faculty Award at commencement in May. He has been appointed to Pinnacle Health's Ethics Committee. He published “The Prosser Letters: 1917–1948” in the Iowa Law Review and he is an editor of the most recent update of Harper, James & Gray on Torts published in July. Professor Emeritus Robert Power co-authored a book with Mark Alexander of Seton Hall Law School titled A Short and Happy Guide to the First Amendment. Professor Robyn Meadows produced a Sales and Leases chart, an electronic textbook, and a course management system through Chartacourse. Meadows, with Associate Professor Palmer Lockard and Dauphin County Bar executive director Elizabeth Simcox, published "Creating a Post-Graduate Incubator Program Through a Law School-Bar Association Partnership" in the Touro Journal of Experiential Learning. Professor Randy Lee published the article, “Billy Joel and the Practice of Law: Melodies to Which a Lawyer Might Work” in the Touro Law Review. He also spoke at the Touro Law Center as part of a symposium celebrating the life and work of Justice Louis Brandeis. Lee presented at Continuing Legal Education lectures in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. He also presented the program, “Can a Single Masterpiece Sustain a Lawyer's Life?” to the Pennsylvania Department of State and Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office. Lee spoke at the Lebanon County swearingin ceremony for new U.S. citizens and new lawyers. Lee and Professor Michael R. Dimino Sr. presented a program for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute in Mechanicsburg and Philadelphia with Ben Franklin re-enactor Chris Lowell titled Ethics and Ben Franklin.
Professor Juliet Moringiello in May became the chair-elect of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Business Law Section. She participated in a panel at the American Bar Association Business Law Section spring meeting, sponsored by the section’s Business Bankruptcy Committee, where she presented on the topic Social Media Accounts as Property of the Bankruptcy Estate. She also was appointed as vice chair of the Uniform Law Commission’s Academic Partnerships and was appointed to the Uniform Law Commission study committee on Identity Management in Electronic Commerce. In addition, she was featured on a podcast from the American Bankruptcy Institute titled Intersection of Article 9 and Retail Bankruptcy.
Professor Anna Hemingway was renamed chair of the Plain English Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. The committee works to improve the general public’s access to the law by removing the barriers of “legalese.” Professor Jill Family presented at the Law Policy Forum 2016 on the topic of immigration detention. She also began serving as the executive committee member for the Government Law Section at the Dauphin County Bar Association. She published “Whoever Has the Power, Remember the Procedure” on the Yale Journal on Regulation blog and “DAPA and the Future of Immigration Law as Administrative Law” in the Washburn Law Review. She served as moderator and panel organizer for the International Norms in Immigration Law panel at the Immigration Law Professors Workshop at Michigan State School of Law. Professor Tonya M. Evans's article “Statutory Heirs Apparent?: Reclaiming Copyright in the Age of AuthorControlled, Author-Benefiting Transfers” was accepted for publication by the West Virginia Law Review. She presented the article at the University of Washington Law School and Center for Advanced Study and Research on Innovation Policy during the annual Works-in-Progress Intellectual Property Colloquium. Evans served as moderator for the National Bar Association's Intellectual Property Law 21
Professor Tonya Evans
Review: A Survey of Recent Developments in Patent, Trademark, and Trade Secret Law. She presented a forthcoming article “Safer Harbor from Statutory Damages for Mea Culpa Infringers: Remixing the DOC White Paper” at the Tenth Annual Lutie Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Writing Workshop at the University of Iowa College of Law. She also served as a visiting associate professor at the University of Las Vegas William S. Boyd School Of Law. Professor Michael R. Dimino Sr. participated in a debate about the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution at Duquesne University for the university’s Federalist Society and Criminal Law Society.
Distinguished Professor John Dernbach co-authored a book with Distinguished Professor James May of the Widener University Delaware Law School titled Shale Gas and the Future of Energy Law and Policy for Sustainability. Dernbach also received the Douglas E. Ray Excellence in Faculty Scholarship Award at the Widener Law Commonwealth Commencement Ceremony in May. His recent presentations include, “Can Shale Gas Help Accelerate the Transition to Sustainability?” at the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences Annual Conference at American University; “Implications of the Paris Climate Agreement for U.S. and Pennsylvania Practitioners” at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute; “Sustainable Development in Law Practice: What the Leaders Say” at the Second Annual Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law; “Teaching Applied Sustainability: A Practicum Based on Drafting Ordinances, Think Globally, Act Locally” at Texas A&M University’s Initiative to Respect, Preserve, and Protect; “Lessons from Pennsylvania’s Experience with Constitutional Environmental Rights, New Frontiers in Constitutional Environmental Law” at North-West University in South Africa; “Reflections on the Effectiveness of Environmental Law”
at Franklin & Marshall College; and “The Paris Agreement and the Future of Sustainability” at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the University of Oregon Law School. He spoke on the Corporate Sustainability: Managing with Social, Economic & Environmental Responsibility panel at the Environmental Law Institute Public Seminar.
Scholar-in-Residence Donald Brown testified at the Pennsylvania Democratic House Policy Caucus on the seriousness of climate change. He also presented to the International Society of Environmental Ethics at Pace University in New York and at the Global Ecological Integrity Project in Munich, Germany, about climate change issues.
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CLASS NOTES CLASS OF 1992 Christopher Abruzzo is now senior director of Water Quality and Environmental Compliance of Pennsylvania American Water. In his role, Abruzzo will oversee environmental policies and practices and direct the company’s team of water quality experts to ensure compliance with federal and state water and wastewater regulations. Frank A. Mazzeo finished his term as chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Intellectual Property Section in May. He recently established the Bucks County Bar Association Intellectual Property Section and is the inaugural chair. Mazzeo is a founding partner in Ryder, Lu, Mazzeo & Konieczny, LLC, an intellectual property boutique law firm with offices in Colmar and Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. Gene Talerico has recently taken a position as general counsel with SCE Environmental Group, Inc., an environmental construction firm based in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Prior to joining SCE Environmental, Talerico served as 1st assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County and specialized in child abuse and
child homicide prosecution. In June 2016, he announced his candidacy for district attorney of Lackawanna County. The primary election will be in the spring of 2017.
CLASS OF 1993 Ann V. Levin has joined McNees Wallace & Nurick in Harrisburg with a focus on family law. She also has been named co-chair of Collaborative Professionals of Central Pennsylvania.
CLASS OF 1994 Scott L. Grenoble of Hershey, Pennsylvania, has been elected president of the Lebanon County Bar Association. He is a partner at Buzgon Davis Law Offices in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and specializes in complex litigation. Ellis B. Klein opened a new law practice, Ellis B. Klein & Associates, LLC. The practice has 25 offices throughout Pennsylvania and specializes in criminal and traffic defense. After graduation, he worked as the Bucks County senior deputy district attorney for five years.
CLASS OF 1996 Douglas M. Wolfberg, founding partner of Page, Wolfberg & Wirth in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, has been selected to join the Board
of Trustees for Widener University. Wolfberg is the first graduate of Widener Law Harrisburg to have this distinction.
CLASS OF 1998 Gentry Hogan joined the Deuterman Law Group, which has offices in Greensboro and Winston Salem, North Carolina, to head a new Veterans Disability Law practice. He will represent veterans in claims for disability through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Hogan also was appointed to the North Carolina State Bar Association’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. Christopher Nuneviller will head Crisp & Associates in Washington, D.C. Nuneviller, a retired military officer, has extensive military and government experience and has served on the personal staffs of the secretary of Defense and the secretary of the Army, playing a significant role in the inquiries concerning the Abu Ghraib prison controversy, Fort Hood shootings, and WikiLeaks investigations.
CLASS OF 1999 Kelly Hoover Thompson is now interim executive director of the Pennsylvania eHealth Partnership Authority in Harrisburg. She was
previously the chief counsel and privacy officer at the organization and has more than 15 years of experience in health care law and regulation. George Kostolampros has rejoined Venable LLP in Washington, D.C. as a partner. His area of practice includes securities enforcement and compliance, internal investigations, class action defense, risk and compliance, and litigation. Zachary M. Rubinich, a partner in the Philadelphia office of Rawle & Henderson, LLP, was the moderator of a panel of insurance industry experts for the session “Loss Mitigation of High Value Workers’ Compensation Claims” at the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s Workers’ Compensation Midwinter in March. Editor’s Note: In the Class Notes section of the previous issue of this magazine, we incorrectly identified the name of the law firm where Rubinich is a partner. We regret the error.
CLASS OF 2003 Peggy M. Morcom has joined Buzgon Davis Law Offices in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Her practice is focused on labor and employment law, unemployment 23
compensation, municipal and school law, and general liability. She is also the editor of the Case Law Summary Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Civil Litigation Section Newsletter. Shane Scanlon was selected as the Lackawanna County District Attorney when the position was left vacant. Scanlon will serve for the remainder of the current term, which expires at the end of 2017.
CLASS OF 2006 Brian P. Platt has joined Abom & Kutulakis as an associate attorney in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, with a practice focus on criminal defense. Prior to joining the firm, Platt worked at the Dauphin County Public Defender’s Office as a senior deputy public defender representing individuals charged with homicide, sex crimes, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, drug delivery, DUI, and others offenses.
CLASS OF 2007 Jonathan D. Koltash, senior counsel at the Pennsylvania Department of Health in Harrisburg, is the chair-elect of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Young Lawyers Division (YLD). Koltash is also the co-chair of the PBA YLD statewide Mock Trial Competition Committee and the president of Widener Law Commonwealth’s Alumni Association. Jacquelyn Pfursich has been elected Lancaster County 24
Clerk of Courts. She was elected to a four-year term and is the custodian of the Court of Common Pleas criminal division records. Aaron K. Zeamer is now a partner at the firm of Russell Krafft & Gruber LLP. The firm is based in East Hempfield Township, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Zeamer is a member of the business, real estate, and litigation practice groups.
CLASS OF 2008 Brian Gregg of McNees Wallace & Nurick in Harrisburg was named a 2015 Forty Under 40 award winner by Central Penn Business Journal. The award recognizes up-and-coming leaders in central Pennsylvania.
CLASS OF 2009 Daniel J. Bell-Jacobs is now an associate attorney with Howett, Kissinger & Holst, P.C., in Harrisburg. BellJacobs focuses his practice on matrimonial law. Prior to joining the firm, he served as a judicial law clerk for Senior Judge Robert G. Bigham of the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Julia P. Coelho, an associate of McNees Wallace & Nurick in Harrisburg was a recipient of the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg Tribute to Women of Excellence 2016 Award, which since 1989 has
honored women of distinction for their contributions to the workplace and the community as mentors, role models, volunteers, and board members. Coelho practices in the firm's healthcare law and corporate and tax practice groups. Katie Dotto has joined Pugliese Associates in Harrisburg as a lobbyist. Dotto has extensive experience with the Pennsylvania state government with the legislature, executive branch, and state regulators. In her new role, she will focus on education, PUC, transportation, and environmental issues. Andrew M. Enders, vice president and general counsel of Enders Insurance Associates in Harrisburg was named a 2015 Forty Under 40 award winner by Central Penn Business Journal. The award recognizes up-and-coming leaders in central Pennsylvania. He is also the new president of Harrisburg Young Professionals. Anthony M. Hoover, an associate of McNees Wallace & Nurick in Harrisburg, assisted in preparing free CLE materials for a pro bono video project produced by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute in partnership with the Pennsylvania Bar Association and Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network. Hoover took part in presenting the “ABC’s of Handling a Child or Spousal
Support Case” segment of the videos. Micah T. Saul is now an associate of McNees Wallace & Nurick in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His practice is concentrated on labor and employment law and workers’ compensation. Saul also regularly lectures on a variety of topics including state and federal employment law, social media in the workplace, and general liability concerns.
CLASS OF 2010 Stephen J. Matzura has joined McNees Wallace & Nurick in Harrisburg as an associate. Matzura advises businesses and energy-sector clients on a broad range of environmental issues, including matters involving water, wastewater, and waste. He belongs to the firm’s Energy and Environmental practice group as well as the Environmental Law and Toxic Tort practice group. Matthew J. McHugh is now an associate in the Business and Finance Department at Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, LLP, in Philadelphia. His focus is public finance, zoning, and land use, and general corporate matters.
CLASS OF 2011 Abraham J. Cepeda has been chosen as vice president of the board for the Reading
School District I and is currently the managing attorney at Cultura Law LLC in Reading, Pennsylvania Previously, Cepeda served as a staff attorney with The Community Justice Project, a non-profit organization with offices throughout central Pennsylvania. Paul D. Edger and his wife Katelynn are celebrating the birth of their son, Connor, born May 11, 2016.
CLASS OF 2013 Kimberly Furmanek has become an assistant public defender in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. After law school, Furmanek interned with Greene County District Attorney Marjorie Fox before going to private practice for herself. Rachel R. Hadrick, is an associate in the Litigation Practice group of McNees Wallace & Nurick in Harrisburg. She recently served as one of two novice advocates who presented mock oral arguments for Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer, Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt, and Judge P. Kevin Brobson ’95. Following the mock arguments, the panel of Commonwealth Court judges and the audience discussed the arguments in an interactive setting. Christopher W. Woodward in June celebrated one year working at Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin in
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, in the professional liability department. His focus is insurance coverage and bad faith litigation. Christopher and his wife welcomed their first child, a daughter, Tressa, on June 22, 2016.
CLASS OF 2014 Andrew J. Race is now an associate attorney with Reilly Wolfson in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Race maintains a general practice of law with an emphasis on family law, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense. John V. Tommasini is now the business development executive with Navarro & Wright Consulting Engineers Inc. in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. Tommasini brings more than 10 years of experience in government, public and community affairs, business development, and economic development to his new position. He has significant experience in both public and private sector business and is well versed in a variety of government and legal matters. Justin A. Zimmerman joined Metzger Wickersham PC in Harrisburg as an associate attorney. Previously, Zimmerman clerked for Judge Morrow, Judge Mummah, and Judge Quigley in Perry and Juniata counties.
CLASS OF 2015 Michael Casari Jr. is now an associate attorney at Olexa Law Offices in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Olexa Law Offices, Casari
Obituaries Steven C. Courtney, a graduate of the class of 1994, died July 14 from cancer. He practiced law in Harrisburg before moving to Washington, D.C., where he worked in corporate and residential real estate law. Elizabeth Kase Morelli, 48, a graduate of the class of 1995, died August 6 after a battle with breast cancer. She lived in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, and had her own practice focusing on estate planning. clerked for Justice Correale F. Stevens at the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. His practice concentrates in the areas of civil law and litigation, including family law, wills and estates, labor law, worker’s compensation and elder law. Kaitlyn S. Clarkson is now an appellate and post-conviction attorney with the McShane Firm in Harrisburg. Clarkson focuses on case errors to fight unfavorable verdicts and investigates post-conviction cases for legal error, ineffective assistance of counsel, and/ or prosecutorial and judicial misconduct. Jessica N. Smeriglio joined Goldberg, Miller & Rubin in Philadelphia as an associate attorney. Smeriglio defends clients in general liability, premises liability, and auto negligence.
Matthew Ian Wilson is now an associate attorney at Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy in Harrisburg. Wilson is working in the firm’s insurance defense group and focuses his practice on insurance defense, coverage litigation, and general civil litigation matters.
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W denotes graduates of Widener University
Patrick Parsons '16 Spencer Phillips MD & Andrea Phillips Landa Porter '16 Marc Prokopchak '16 David & Susan Raeker-Jordan Kayla Randall '16 Katie Richardson '18 Christopher J. Robinette Daniel Schuckers & Sara LeCleire-Schuckers Kevin Scott & Mary Catherine Woodman Scott '94 Justin Shedron '17 Elizabeth Simcox Jessica Smethers '18 Sarah Stigerwalt '18 Kelly Klimkiewicz '97 Swartz Drew Thompson '08 Jo-Anne Thompson '18 Peter '04 & Christine Vaughn Jennifer Walker '05 Kris Walski '18 La Tasha Williams '18 Corinna Vecsey Wilson LaToya Winfield Bellamy '05 Adelle Zavada '05 Edmund Zigmund '93
ORGANIZATIONS Leadership Circle, $100,000+ Pennsylvania IOLTA Founders' Club, $50,000-$99,999 The Verni Foundation Ambassadors' Club, $10,000-$19,999 Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, LLC Bench and Bar Club, $500-$999 Comcast Corporation Lightman Welby Stoltenberg & Caputo Donors Arooga's James S. Bowman American Inn of Court Wilson500, Inc.
Matching Gift Companies AXA Financial Hewlett-Packard Company The Hershey Company Pennsylvania Power & Light Company PNC Foundation
Class years indicate Widener Law Commonwealth class only. *Widener Law Commonwealth Board of Advisors + Widener University Trustee
An Evening at the Capitol Widener University Commonwealth Law School invites you to attend our annual gathering beneath the Main Rotunda of the Pennsylvania State Capitol. We hope you can join us for this enjoyable annual law school event that brings together many alumni, faculty, students, and friends for a night of networking and conversation. 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 15 Main Rotunda of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Light appetizers and beverages will be provided. This year the law school will select its first recipient of the Excellence in Public Service Award for an alumnus or alumna. The award will be presented at the event. To make a nomination, please visit commonwealthlaw.widener.edu/publicserviceaward. The event is free to attend. To register, please visit the law schoolâ€™s website at commonwealthlawalumni.widener.edu/events-landing-page. If you have questions, please contact Natasha Lewis at email@example.com or 717-541-3974.
More than Just a Fun Run Widener Law Commonwealth fraternity race raises funds for legal aid By Julie Massing Decked out in blue and gold, more than 80 runners including alumni, students, faculty, and staff took to the pavement at the inaugural Speedy Trial 5k in support of MidPenn Legal Services and the Volunteer Income Tax Program (VITA). Landa Porter, a member of Phi Alpha Delta and a May 2016 graduate, said the race has significant meaning for its participants. “We as lawyers, future and present, have the power to help our community,” she said. “We must remember the importance of civic engagement and the needs of those around us. If not for our community, there would be no need for our profession.” The three-mile race course started at the campus bookstore and took a scenic route through several neighborhoods around the law school. A one-mile fun run was also held. The April event, organized by the Phi Alpha Delta–Pepper Chapter law fraternity, raised $2,200 for the organizations. Mid-Penn Legal Services is a nonprofit, public interest law firm providing legal services to low-income residents and survivors of domestic violence. VITA provides free tax preparation services to needy individuals and families in the community. Supporting these programs fits Phi Alpha Delta’s main mission as a fraternity to provide service to the students, school, legal profession, and the community. “It can be easy as law students to forget that
there are much bigger problems going on while we are attending law school,” said Kayla Randall, a May 2016 graduate and past president of Phi Alpha Delta. “It is nice to have a reality check every now and then and to be a part of something bigger than yourself.” Civic engagement is a key part of Widener Law Commonwealth’s mission in the community, said Mary Catherine Scott, director of student organizations. Each year, student organizations hold several events that raise funds or provide services for local organizations in the community, including the American Cancer Society, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Wills for Heroes, and VITA. “Widener Law Commonwealth students are engaged in a number of activities and organizations that have a primary goal of giving back to the community,” Scott said. “Our students have a passion for giving back and serving their community.” The race was sponsored by the following individuals and organizations: Berks County Bar Association, Widener Law Commonwealth Alumni Association, Metzger Wickersham, McNees Wallace & Nurick, Gavin P. Holihan Law Firm, Dauphin County Bar Association, Society for the Prevention of Conviction, LexisNexis, Themis Bar Review, Bagel Lover’s, Starbucks, Ruby’s Massage Therapy, and Mind’s Eye Tattoo.
Each Donation Makes a Difference! Your financial contribution to the Widener Law Commonwealth Fund enables the law school to provide opportunities for our students outside of the classroom. Extracurricular activities give students necessary experience, making them more competitive students and ultimately proficient lawyers. This legacy of success continues to strengthen Widener Law Commonwealth’s reputation throughout the region. Please consider making a gift today! You can target your contribution to one of the law school’s numerous programs: • Veterans programs
• Business Advising Program
• Law and Government Institute
•W idener Law Journal
• Environmental Law and Sustainability Center
• Moot Court Program • Trial Advocacy Program
To make a gift, visit the law school’s website commonwealthlaw.widener.edu/alumni-friends/ give/ and select “Make a Gift today.” If you have questions or need more information, contact Natasha Lewis at 717-541-3974 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3800 Vartan Way Harrisburg, PA 17110 Address Service Requested
A Class Act in the Capitol City
Meet Widener Law Commonwealth’s Class of 2019
Widener Law Commonwealth welcomed a booming class of first-year law students at the beginning of this semester. A total of 107 students—50 percent more than the class entering in 2015—began studies in August. This new class: • Includes graduates from more than 65 undergraduate colleges and universities. •C omes from a wide geographic range, including California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, and Syria. • Is 54 percent male and 46 percent female. •R anges in age from 20 to 50 years old. •C onsists of 22 percent who self-identify as persons of color. The start of fall classes signals the beginning of an exciting, new academic year. It also marks the start of a new recruitment season for the Admissions Office. If you know someone thinking about law school, encourage them to consider Widener Law Commonwealth and to contact the Admissions Office at 717-541-3903 or email@example.com. Applications for fall 2017 are now available!