University of Pittsburgh

Faculty News

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 1:30pm


Professor Mary Crossley is one of six legal scholars from across the country selected to work with a public health department in tackling pressing public health law issues as part of Scholars in Residence, a new program sponsored by the Network for Public Health Law and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Crossley will work with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to identify innovative ways in which California health officials can use their legal authority to address the growing burden of chronic diseases through interventions targeting risk behaviors and social and economic factors that impact health.  

Read the full announcement here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 11:31am

On May 3, Prof. Vélez Martinez spoke at the UNESCO Celebration of World Press Freedom Day and the Caribbean Media Summit in Curaçao.  As part of UNESCO Caribbean celebration of WPFD Prof. Vèlez Martínez was asked to speak about criminal defamation prosecution of journalists as political persecution.  In particular she discussed recent cases where journalist have been granted asylum in the United States and Central America.   
Coverage of the conference (in papiamento) is here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 9:48am


Today on NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin, Pitt Law Professor David Harris will offer commentary on the closing arguments in the federal class action trial involving New York City's stop-and-frisk policy. The trial has been going on for two months in Manhattan.

Plaintiffs in Floyd v. City of New York claim the New York Police Department, its supervisors and its union pressured police officers to stop, question and frisk hundreds of thousands of people each year, even establishing quotas. They argue that 88 percent of the stops involved blacks and Hispanics, mostly men, and were in fact a form of racial profiling.

This show will be broadcast live at 11AM.  Listen here.

Tell Me More focuses on the way we live, intersect and collide in a culturally diverse world. Each day's show features a variety of segments examining U.S. and international news, ideas and people; its range of topics covers politics, faith and spirituality, the family, finance, arts and culture and lifestyle.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 10:31am


Pitt Law Professor Arthur D. Hellman expressed surprise at the “huge spread” in the number of opinions written by individual Ninth Circuit judges over a period of three years. According to a story in the Recorder, posted on the website, some judges published almost three times as many opinions as some of their colleagues.

Hellman, who was described in the article as “a close follower of the court,” pointed out that judges take different approaches to allocating their time. “A conscientious judge can spend a lot of time reviewing the record even in an unpublished case," says Hellman.

Read more here

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 2:12pm


Jessie Allen gave a presentation on her research project on the combination of doctrine and policy at the Developing Ideas Conference at the University of Kentucky's College of Law in Lexington, KY.

Monday, May 13, 2013 - 8:29pm


On May 10, 2013, Professor Deborah Brake filed an amici curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court (co-authored with Joanna Grossman of Hofstra law school) in support of the Petition for Certiorari in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., on behalf of Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund), the Women’s Law Project, the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, and a group of legal scholars with expertise in gender discrimination.  The brief argues that the Supreme Court should step in to correct a growing body of decisions, including in the case below from the Fourth Circuit, permitting employers to extend accommodations to certain, favored conditions affecting work while denying them for pregnancy.   Such decisions have eroded the protections afforded by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and have the greatest negative impact on the workers most in need of the Act’s protections: women in lower wage jobs, inflexible workplaces, and occupations with physically strenuous job requirements.

Monday, May 13, 2013 - 8:16pm


Assistant Professor Charles C. Jalloh has just published an article entitled “Prosecuting those Bearing Greatest Responsibility: The Lessons of the Special Court for Sierra Leone” in the spring 2013 issue of the Marquette Law Review, Vol. 96, at pp. 863 to 911. This is the first published work to examine the implications of this limited personal jurisdiction over those bearing “greatest responsibility” for national and international crimes in the first tribunal to be so mandated by the United Nations. The abstract and paper maybe downloaded from SSRN here.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 9:43am


Professor Burkoff talked to multiple media outlets about the recent sentencing of Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin.  Melvin avoided prison time for her campaign corruption conviction but was ordered to send written apologies to every judge in the state because she abused her office.  About the sentencing, Burkoff said, Melvin "got off easy" because she's not going to prison.

San Francisco Chronicle:


Huffington Post:

WTAE interview:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 9:33am


University of New Mexico Provost Chaouki Abdallah has announced the appointment of David Herring as dean of the University of New Mexico’s School of Law.  His appointment will begin July 1, 2013.  Professor Lu-in Wang will also be joining the School as a professor of law, continuing her focus on scholarship in the area of ordinary and extraordinary forms of discrimination.

Herring served as dean at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law from 1998 to 2005. Among his accomplishments as dean were leading the school’s successful capital campaign and recruiting strong teachers and scholars to join the faculty. Prior to serving as dean, he founded and served as the first director of Pitt Law School’s clinical legal education program.

Herring has written extensively on child welfare law issues and assessing student learning in legal education. His most recent work in child welfare focuses on behavioral biology research and its implications for children placed in foster care; his previous work focused on the political functions of the family in American society. Herring’s research on legal education has included a series of empirical studies of student learning gains in the areas of legal reading and cross-case reasoning, for which he developed and administered pre and post tests to measure gains.

“While the departures of Professors Herring and Wang will be a great loss for Pitt Law, we are proud of them and wish them well,” said Dean Carter. 

Read the National Law Jounal article here.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 10:42am

Professor Arthur D. Hellman testified as an invited witness at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C., on “an examination of the judicial conduct and disability system.” The hearing was held by the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. The chairman of the subcommittee, Rep. Howard Coble of North Carolina, described Professor Hellman as “perhaps our nation’s leading authority on the subject of judicial discipline.”

In his testimony, Professor Hellman said that the current system “is sound and does not require fundamental restructuring” but that “the experience of the past few years has revealed gaps and deficiencies in the regulatory regime that warrant attention.”  Some of these gaps, he said, should be addressed by Congress through revision of the statutes.

Professor Hellman’s suggestions drew support from the other expert witness at the hearing, Russell R. Wheeler of the Brookings Institution. The suggestions were discussed by members of the subcommittee and two judges representing the federal judiciary.

To read Professor Hellman's written testimony, click here.

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