June 12, 2000
Volume 52, No. 35
Bernstein sits in first Nunn chair
By Elaine Justice
Visiting professor Anita Bernstein has joined the law school's permanent faculty as the school's first Sam Nunn Professor of Law.
The chair was established last year with Emory's share of an $11 million settlement involving the DuPont Co. The settlement awarded $2.5 million to each of Georgia's four law schools, with an additional $1 million to establish an annual symposium, in an agreement devised by U.S. District Court Judge Hugh Lawson of Columbus, Ga.
"Anita Bernstein's appointment fulfills both the spirit and intent of the settlement agreement devised by Judge Law-son," said law Dean Woody Hunter. He added that Bernstein "brings a breadth and depth of experience in teaching and research that will demonstrate in a concrete way our commitment to the pursuit of excellence in legal ethics and professionalism."
Bernstein said she was humbled by the appointment and that it is apt since one of her specialties is product-liability law, which was the subject of the case DuPont settled. "All four of the [American Bar Association] accredited law schools in this state have their own chairs to create out of these funds, as well as support for shared symposia and conferences on legal ethics," Bernstein said. "As soon as Georgia State fills its vacancy, we'll have a foursome. I'd like to know more what the other three colleagues are interested in.
"My own burning questions include, What is a lawyer? And how do lawyers participate in social change?" she continued. "Lawyers often think of themselves as messengers who tell lay people what they can or can't, should or shouldn't do because of what the law says. But they're also messengers who tell the law what it can or can't, should or shouldn't do because of what lay people say. That dynamic fascinates me."
Bernstein comes to Emory from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she had been a faculty member since 1989. Her teaching and research specialties include the areas of legal pedagogy and professional responsibility, torts, justice and the legal system, product liability and sexual harassment. One of her current projects is editing a collection of essays by 13 prominent feminists.
Already an involved member of the Emory faculty, Bernstein was an instructor in the first-year professionalism session and taught a continuing legal education course for Emory alumni last fall. She serves on the board of the Women's Center and on the President's Commission on the Status of Women.