Spring 2013 Symposium

Perspectives on Mass Tort Litigation

April 16, 2013 – Harrisburg Campus

Pharmaceuticals. Asbestos. BP oil spill. “September 11th.” How does the civil justice system respond when a large number of claims derive from a product or event?

This symposium approaches mass tort litigation from a variety of perspectives. First, a group of nationally renowned legal academics describes and discusses the theories underlying mass tort litigation. Then a panel of practitioners introduces several emerging issues in the practice of mass torts. Next, Pennsylvania-specific civil justice issues, including joint and several liability and venue, are debated. These reforms affect not only mass tort, but more traditional tort litigation as well. One of the original mass tort issues—asbestos—created the widespread problem of bankrupt defendants, and resolving the problem is the subject of the fourth panel. Finally, traditional rules of ethics are applied in the mass torts context.

United States District Judge Eduardo Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania will deliver the Distinguished Address, “Federal Asbestos Litigation: Black Hole or New Paradigm?” Judge Robreno is the presiding judge of the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation docket, MDL 875, the largest and longest-lasting MDL of all. Judge Robreno’s 2008 appointment as presiding judge led to a significant change in the management of MDL 875.

“Perspectives on Mass Tort Litigation” features a distinguished group of legal academics, practitioners, and judges addressing an increasingly important area of litigation.

Spring 2015 Symposium

Halt & Reform: Death Penalty & Criminal Sentencing Reform Symposium Registration Now Open!

 Death Penalty Reform_e-card_2015_front

Monday, April 20, 2015, 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Widener University School of Law

Administrative Building , Room A180

3737 Vartan Way

Harrisburg, PA 17106


wusl_librarybldgThe Widener Law Journal (WLJ) will host its annual symposium on April 20, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Widener University School of Law’s Harrisburg Campus. WLJ will also live tweet the event @WidenerJournal and hashtag #WLJSymposium.

This year’s symposium topic is Halt & Reform?: Death Penalty & Criminal Sentencing Guidelines Reform. The focus at the local and national level will be on the administrative, constitutional and policy considerations in criminal sentencing guidelines, the 8th Amendment and capital punishment. The latter topic is particularly timely and relevant in Pennsylvania given Governor Wolf’s recent decision to halt executions in Pennsylvania and the reaction among District Attorneys throughout the Commonwealth to challenge the decision.

Click here for more information about panel topics and confirmed panelists.

Spring 2014 Symposium

Bankruptcy and Beyond: Solving the Problem of Municipal Financial Distress

April 14, 2014-  Harrisburg Campus

 Municipal financial distress is a problem of enormous importance both nationally and in Pennsylvania. Detroit recently filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in history, 21 cities in Pennsylvania are in Act 47, the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act program, and Harrisburg is on its way to recovery after operating in receivership for over two years. This Symposium, presented by the Widener Law Journal of Widener University School of Law’s Harrisburg Campus, will explore the causes of municipal distress and approaches to alleviating the problem. Reducing existing debt is not enough; policymakers must think creatively about municipal structure, finance, and expenditures. The invited speakers include experts in state and local government law, municipal finance and tax issues, public pensions, and Chapter 9 bankruptcy.  The Symposium will provide a unique opportunity for nationally recognized scholars in a variety of areas related to municipal financial distress to exchange ideas with professionals involved in Harrisburg’s recovery. Six CLE credits will be available for Pennsylvania and Delaware lawyers.

Keynote Speaker: General William LynchReceiver for the City of Harrisburg

•Michelle Wilde Anderson, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
•Hon. Thomas Bennett, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Alabama
•Christine Sgarlata Chung, Albany Law School
•Hon. Mary D. France, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania
•Mark Kaufman, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
•Juliet M. Moringiello, Widener University School of Law
•Matthew Parlow, Marquette University School of Law
•Randle Pollard, Indiana University Kelley School of Business
•Scott Pryor, Regent University School of Law
•Frank H. Shafroth, George Mason University
•David A. Skeel, University of Pennsylvania School of Law
•David Thornburgh, University of Pennsylvania Fels Institute of Government
•David Unkovic, McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC

Spring 2016 Symposium

2016 Symposium

Ruling the Courts:

The Future of Local Rules of Civil Procedure in Pennsylvania


Monday, February 22, 2016

Widener University Commonwealth Law School

Administrative Building , Room A180

3737 Vartan Way

Harrisburg, PA 17106


Last Updated: January 27, 2016

The Widener Law Journal (WLJ) will host its annual symposium on February 22, 2016 in the Moot Court Room (A180) of Widener University Commonwealth Law School. WLJ will also live tweet the event @WidenerJournal and use hashtag #WLJSymposium.

Please join us for a symposium on the development and future of the local rules of civil procedure used in Pennsylvania’s counties and federal courts. The program seeks to understand the history of the local rules, their current role in Pennsylvania’s unified judicial system, and to question whether local rules should remain a prominent feature. This symposium is approved for 4.5 CLE credits.

Register Online Now

Agenda, Presenters, and Registration

  • 8:15 – 8:45 Continental Breakfast and Registration
  • 8:45 – 9:00 Opening Remarks
  • 9-10:30 Panel 1: Origin and Application
  • 10:30-10:40 Break
  • 10:40-12:10 Panel 2: Pros and Cons
  • 12:10-12:45 Lunch
  • 12:45-2:15 Panel 3: Call for Reform or Revision

Panels and Presenters:

Panel 1 (Origin and Application):  Professor Susan Raeker-Jordan, Moderator

Panel 2 (Pros and Cons): Professor Palmer Lockard, Moderator

Panel 3 (What’s Next?): Alexandra Makosky, Esquire, Moderator

  • Bret Keisling, Esq., The Keisling Law Offices, P.C.
  • Dale G. Larrimore, Esq., Senior Partner, Larrimore & Farnish, LLP; Adjunct Professor, Villanova University School of Law
  • Matthew Lyon, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Law, Duncan School of Law, Lincoln Memorial University


  • Early: $85 (ends February 9th)
  • Regular: $100
  • Discounted: $75 (alumni, government attorneys, and academics)

Register Online Now

For more information or special needs requests, contact:
CLEcwlaw@widener.edu or 717-541-3965

Widener Law Commonwealth
3800 Vartan Way, P.O. Box 69380
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9380


Previous Widener Law Journal Symposia


Halt and Reform?: Death Penalty & Criminal Sentencing Guidelines (2015)

Bankruptcy and Beyond: Solving the Problem of Municipal Financial Distress (2014)

Perspectives on Mass Tort Litigation (2013)

Volume 24, Issue 2

Volume 24, Issue 2

Published 2016

A Legislative History of Article I, Section 27 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of John C. Dernbach Pennsylvania Legislative History of Article I, Section 27 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth: John C. Dernbach and Edmund J.Sonnenberg

Introduction: Robyn Meadows

Reflections on Starla Williams: In appreciation of a Friend by Linda L. Ammons

Violence Against Poor and Minority Women & the Containment of Children of Color: A Response to Dorothy E. Robert by Starla J. Williams

In Appreciation of Professor Starla williams, Champion for Racial Equity in Child Welfare by Dorothy E. Roberts

Williams on “Volence Against Poor and Minority Women & the Containment of Children of Color: by Randy Lee

Not Out of the Woods Yet: Why the Medical Malpractice Crisis Has not Completely Abated in Pennsylvania and What Can Be Done to thwart it: by Nikki Lyn Harrison

Federal Preemption of Generic Drug Manufacturer Liability: by Jordan A. Marzzaco

Fracturing the Key: Why Fracking in Pennsylvania Should be Considered an Abnormally Dangerous Activities: by Richard Rinaldi


Volume 24, Issue 1 (2015)

Volume 24, Issue 1 (2015)

Bankruptcy and Beyond: Exploring the Causes and Solutions
to Municipal Financial Distress

Introduction by Juliet M. Moringiello

Municipal Distress: Reflections of a Receiver by David Unkovic

Felling Insecure- A State View of Whether Investors in Municipal General Obligation Bonds Have a Mere Promise to Pay or a Binding Obligation by Randle B. Pollard

Municipal Bankruptcy, Essential Municipal Services, and Taxpayers’ Voice by Christine Sgarlata Chung

Who Pays the Price? The Necessity of Taxpayer Participation in Chapter 9 by C. Scott Pryor

From Chrysler and General Motors to Detroit by David A Skeel, Jr.

Who Needs Local Government Anyway? Dissolution in Pennsylvania’s Distressed Cities by Michelle Wilde Anderson