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Law Teaching Awards
May 27, 2008, Volume 54, No. 34

The Law School has named four winners of teaching awards for the 2007-08 academic year.


Dr. Amy Wax, the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law, was selected by Law School students as the recipient of the Harvey Levin Award. “Prof. Wax brought the class to life—she is clearly committed to the subject matter and has perfectly thought through all scenarios, hypotheticals, and potential areas of confusion,” one student wrote. “She organized the reading in a way that put the whole class into a workable framework with consistent themes.  The reading itself was always pretty interesting, but I still thought that what ‘made’ the class was Prof. Wax’s own take on the material and style of teaching it.” Added another student: “Prof. Wax knows her stuff and is able to convey it in a clear and concise manner. She also throws in a bit of humor which is always nice.” A third student concluded that when asked for advice by younger students, “Professor Wax is now on my ‘must take before graduating’ list.”

Her work addresses issues in social welfare law and policy as well as the relationship of the family, the workplace, and labor markets. By bringing to bear her training in biomedical sciences and appellate practice as well as her interest in economic analysis, Dr. Wax has developed a uniquely insightful approach to problems in her areas of expertise.

The three other winners of teaching awards were selected by Associate Dean Edward Rock, on the basis of teaching evaluations.


Professor Stephanos Bibas, winner of the Robert A. Gorman Award for Excellence in Teaching, “brings a great blend of practical and theoretical experience to the table,” wrote one of his criminal law students. Professor Bibas served as assistant US attorney for the Southern District of New York, and then taught at the University of Iowa before joining Penn Law in 2006. “Prof. Bibas was especially effective at communicating what the incentives are for each party involved and making us think about the real-world effects of procedural rules on crime and the justice system,” wrote another student.

His scholarship focuses on how procedural rules written for the idealized world of jury trials have unintended consequences in the real world, where 95 percent of defendants plead guilty. A related strand explores the powers, incentives, information, and psychology that shape how prosecutors, defense counsel, defendants, and judges actually behave.



Dr. William Burke-White is the winner of the A. Leo Levin Award for Excellence in an Introductory Course for his first-year elective course, Public International Law. “Professor Burke-White was excellent,” wrote a student. “He is an amazing instructor and makes every class and topic interesting and relevant to current events.  He pushes us to think creatively both about the past, and about solutions for the future.  He clearly cares about the subject, and makes everyone around him excited and engaged.  I think we all came away from the class more excited and eager about international law.” Added another: “Professor Burke-White is an actual teacher. His passion for the field ignites students. [He] taught us to think about the law as a political science and a collection of agreements. He dares to explore politics in ways that many would be otherwise timid to discuss in class. Guests crowded in to class during the first lectures, and they stayed through our final days.”  

His research examines the influence of international law on politics and state behavior. He has written widely on the structure of international legal regimes, the effectiveness of international courts and tribunals, transitional justice, and human rights.


Adjunct Professor Stuart Diamond, winner of the Adjunct Teaching Award for his class Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, “will stay after class until every question from every student is answered,” wrote one student.  Said another: “For an LLM who is going back to my home country, this was the best course that I had. I will use the tools that I have learned in my real life.”

Professor Diamond is the president of Global Strategy Group, which provides advice largely to developing countries and economies in transition on attracting and negotiating foreign investment, protecting intellectual property and instituting effective strategies, structures and marketing to compete effectively on an international scale. In a prior career, he was a journalist, at The New York Times where he won a Pulitzer Prize as a part of a team investigating the crash of the space shuttle.








Almanac - May 27, 2008 , Volume 54, No. 34