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Penn Law Teaching Awards

May 24, 2011, Volume 57, No. 34

The University of Pennsylvania Law School has named four winners of teaching awards for the 2010-11 academic year. They are David Skeel (Harvey Levin Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence), Jill Fisch (Robert A. Gorman Award for Excellence in Teaching), Gideon Parchomovsky, (A. Leo Levin Award for Excellence in an Introductory Course), and the Honorable Kent A. Jordan (Adjunct Teaching Award).


David Skeel, the S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law, has been awarded the Harvey Levin Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. Professor Skeel is the author of The New Financial Deal: Understanding the Dodd Frank Act and Its (Unintended) Consequences (Wiley, 2010), Icarus in the Boardroom (Oxford, 2005) and Debt’s Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in America (Princeton, 2001), as well as numerous articles and other publications. He is a highly sought-after expert and regularly appears on national news programs such as Nightline, Chris Matthews’ Hardball (MSNBC), National Public Radio, and Marketplace, and is quoted regularly in prominent publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. This is Professor Skeel’s third time receiving the Harvey Levin Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence, as selected by a vote of the graduating class. In recent years he has received the Robert A. Gorman Award for Excellence in Teaching and the University’s Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. He holds a BA from the University of North Carolina and a JD from the University of Virginia. 

Among students, Professor Skeel is known for bringing deep expertise, enthusiasm, and wit to the classroom. “Professor Skeel is fantastic,” wrote one student. “He really enlivens what could be extremely tedious subject matter. He’s clearly enthusiastic about the issues and that helps a lot.”

“He does a great job engaging the class, explaining principles clearly, and keeping things interesting with amusing hypotheticals,” remarked another. Students praise Professor Skeel for his ability to put students at ease in the classroom and promote independent thought. “Professor [Skeel] was very encouraging, and the discussions were lively, especially when people were allowed to freely debate their divergent ideas about corporate governance,” wrote one student. Another noted, “He typically doesn’t use the Socratic Method and instead asks for volunteers, which worked well because everyone seemed focused and engaged in the class.” “Professor Skeel is one of the best professors that I have ever had at Penn,” offered a student. “I only wish that I had discovered him before my third year.”


Jill Fisch, Perry Golkin Professor of Law and co-director of the Institute for Law and Economics, has been awarded the Robert A. Gorman Award for Excellence in Teaching for her classes on Corporations and Corporate Governance. Professor Fisch is a nationally known scholar whose work focuses on the intersection of business and law, including the role of regulation and litigation in addressing limitations in the disciplinary power of the capital markets. She is a member of the American Law Institute and a former chair of the Committee on Corporation Law of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

Professor Fisch, who teaches classes in Corporate Governance and Corporations, is admired for her attentiveness to students and mastery of the class subject matter. “Professor Fisch is absolutely amazing—helpful, responsive, and [she] did an amazing job of stimulating interest in the area and sharing her knowledge on a variety of corporate governance subjects,” said one student. Another student wrote that Professor Fisch is “always keen to have the students see the two sides of the coin,” and thus “attending class is always enriching.”


Gideon Parchomovsky, professor of law, has received the A. Leo Levin Award for Excellence in an Introductory Course. This is the second time Professor Parchomovsky has been selected for this award; the first was in 2004. Professor Parchomovsky, who specializes in intellectual property, property law, and cyber law, has made significant contributions to the law through his wide-ranging scholarship, including numerous articles for major law reviews on property and liability rules, insider trading, trademarks, domain names, and patents. Most recently, he has been advocating the need for a comprehensive property theory and the need to introduce a value-oriented theory.

Students in Professor Parchomovsky’s introductory Property Law class describe him as “an excellent instructor—clear, organized, knowledgeable, patient, humorous.” One student commented, “Professor [Parchomovsky] did a great job simulating interest while constantly supplementing our reading with information on studies related to what we were learning. [He] also kept the energy in classroom high and positive.”

“While I was not interested in property before the course, I now already see the world a bit differently from taking his class,” remarked another student.


Honorable Kent A. Jordan, adjunct professor of law, received the Adjunct Teaching Award for his class Intellectual Property: Trademarks. Judge Jordan was appointed to serve as United States Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit in 2006 by President George W. Bush. Prior to that appointment, he served as a United States District Judge for the District of Delaware from 2002-2006. He was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1984 and is also a member of the District of Columbia Bar, and the bars of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.  Prior to taking the bench, Judge Jordan served as an officer and as a member of the boards of directors of privately held businesses and was a partner in a Wilmington, Delaware law firm, with a practice focused on intellectual property, corporate, and commercial litigation.

“Judge Jordan is a great professor and not only teaches the material effectively but balances it well with stories about the application of the law in practice and the courtroom,” reported a student. “He’s hilarious, charismatic, clever and engaging,” added another. In the classroom Judge Jordan goes “beyond the limits” of what is required of him and creates a “great multimedia stimulation of interest,” according to students. “The lectures are excellent and the class is frequently tied to current events and issues that are developing in the law while the class is in progress,” wrote one student.



Almanac - May 24, 2011, Volume 57, No. 34