Faculty Focus: Summer 2020 Edition


Lazy days of summer? Not for the St. John’s Law faculty. Let’s recap their recent activities and accomplishments.

Fond Farewells

But for the pandemic, the St. John’s Law community would have gathered to celebrate Professor Lawrence Joseph, who retired after 33 years on the faculty. But, even from a distance, we can all still celebrate his latest book of poems, A Certain Clarity, which published to rave reviews in the New York Times and elsewhere.

Stop, hey, what’s that sound? It was a (virtual) celebration as colleagues, students past and present, friends, and family cheered Professor Peggy Turano ’77 on when she headed into her last class after 30+ years of teaching, leading, and being a shining light in the St. John’s Law universe.

Last, but certainly not least, please join us in congratulating Larry Cunningham as he starts a new professional chapter as the dean of Charleston School of Law. Professor Cunningham has been an integral part of our Law School’s success over the past decade, and Charleston is lucky to have him. He makes the fifth St. John’s Law faculty member to be named dean of a U.S. law school in recent years.


Our faculty are publishing their research and insights in journals as sought-after scholars:

Sheldon Evans, “Categorical Nonuniformity,” Columbia Law Review. The article was also accepted for presentation at the prestigious Stanford/Harvard/Yale Junior Faculty Forum.

Elayne Greenberg, “Unshackling Plea Bargaining from Racial Bias,” Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology

Kate Klonick, “The Facebook Oversight Board: Creating an Independent Institution to Adjudicate Online Free Expression,” Yale Law Journal

Anita S. Krishnakumar, “Cracking the Whole Code Rule,” NYU Law Review and “Three Lessons About Textualism from the Title VII Case,” Yale Journal on Regulation

Michael Perino, “Real Insider Trading,” Washington & Lee Law Review

Anna Roberts, “Victims, Right?” Cardozo Law Review and “Convictions as Guilt,” Fordham Law Review

And there’s more to celebrate!

Professor Cheryl Wade’s new book, Predatory Lending and the Destruction of the African-American Dream (Cambridge University Press), is just out. Co-authored with University of British Columbia Law Professor Janis Sarra, the book examines the racial wealth gap that’s widening with the continued economic exploitation of African Americans through targeted predation, including predatory lending in the home mortgage context. The authors conclude by offering structural, systemic changes to address predatory practices.

Let’s hear it for Associate Dean for Library Services and Associate Professor of Legal Research Courtney Selby, who completed work recently on the 4th edition of New York Legal Research, part of the Legal Research Series from Carolina Academic Press.

The popular TaxProf Blog spotlighted “Recommendations for Online Teaching,” a timely resource for educators created by St. John’s Law Professors Renee Allen, Jennifer Baum, Catherine Duryea, Robert Ruescher, Courtney Selby, Eric Shannon, Rachel Smith, and Jeff Sovern.

Podcasts and Webcasts 

St. John’s Law faculty members are coming to your favorite digital streams and devices:

Law Profs Are People Too is a new podcast about the lives of law professors brought to you by Professor Renee Nicole Allen.

Professors Marc DeGirolami and Mark Movsesian, who head the Law School’s Center for Law and Religion and write the Law and Religion Forum blog, host the Legal Spirits podcast, covering a broad range of cases, issues, and ideas in the world of law and religion.

Professor Kate Klonick and co-host Benjamin Wittes present In Lieu of Fun, a webcast featuring wide-ranging and timely conversations with interesting people. (One of their recent guests was St. John’s Law Professor John Q. Barrett.) They’re live at 5 p.m. daily and record each episode for viewing on YouTube.

Media Mentions

The media regularly tap our faculty for their expert take on legal issues of the day:

Professor Chris Borgen is our in-house expert on the growing field of Space Law. Over at OpinioJuris, he considers the proposed Artemis Accords in light of recent statements of U.S. space policy and in relation to debates about space mining under international law.

“The lay of the land, especially when you’re dealing with public spaces, like parks or city streets and so on, is that the government has a heavy burden to justify impositions on the freedom of speech,” says Professor Marc DeGirolami in this Queens Chronicle story.

Last semester, Professors Elayne Greenberg and Cheryl Wade co-taught a seminar on Lynching and Restorative Justice. In an opinion piece for Jurist titled “July 4, 2020: How Will We Celebrate?” they write: “July 4th should be celebrated as an annual aspiration of what we want our country to become in order to move closer to achieving racial justice, and an annual benchmark of what still needs to be done.”

Over at WIRED, Professor Kate Klonick weighed in on the impact of losing human content moderators—social media’s first line of defense—to social distancing. She continued the conversation about Facebook, content moderation, and the pandemic’s effects on privacy with Dean Michael A. Simons, as his first guest on the Law Matters webcast.

‘Slam dunk’ or ‘uphill climb’? Professor Michael Perino weighs in on the insider trading case against U.S. Senator Richard Burr in this story for The Charlotte Observer.

Forbes spotlights the “Credit Card Interest Relief During the Pandemic Act,” a novel proposal that Professor Jeff Sovern and Hofstra Law Professor Norman Silber crafted to help consumers and small businesses financed through credit card borrowing get through the COVID-19 crisis.

Professor Mark Movsesian is in the media and online offering his take on the U.S. Supreme Court’s religion cases. You’ll find his latest insights published in the Washington Examiner and First Things.

A sidebar: In his recent opinion in Barr v. AAPC, the robocall ban case, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch cites an article Professor Movsesian wrote about the severability doctrine.


Are faculty are also busy in the field advancing the profession and public discourse:

Kudos to Professor Renee Allen, who has been elected to a four-year term on the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) Board of Directors. LWI is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving legal communication by supporting the development of teaching and scholarly resources and establishing forums to discuss the study, teaching, and practice of professional legal writing.

Hon. Janet DiFiore ‘81, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and the State of New York, has appointed Dean Michael A. Simons, along with 23 other attorneys and judges, to serve on a new state task force that will examine the expanded use of technologies by the courts during the COVID-19 crisis.

Professor Elayne Greenberg and Colin Rule, President and CEO of mediate.com, were the guest speakers for a webinar hosted by ombudspeople and mediators of the United Nations and Related International Organizations (UNARIO), an informal network of diverse organizations dedicated to international cooperation. Their talk focused on technical and practical issues that mediators and ombudspeople need to address as they shift their in-person practice to online meetings.