Widener Law names new distinguished jurist in residence
Public Relations - Published: February 6, 2014
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Widener Law is pleased to announce Commonwealth Court Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt will serve as the school’s distinguished jurist in residence on the Harrisburg, Pa. campus beginning this spring 2014 semester.

Leavitt will be the second distinguished jurist in residence for the Harrisburg campus. The first was Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Thomas G. Saylor.

In this position, Leavitt will teach a colloquium on special problems in government litigation, give public lectures on important legal issues in Pennsylvania and be available for consultation and exchanges with faculty and law students. Her position is hosted by the school’s Law & Government Institute. The institute is a dynamic resource for students, government officials, legislators, judges, attorneys and the public that focuses on legislation, the intersection of law and policy, and administrative agencies. For students, the institute provides knowledge and insights about how government works, the skills lawyers use when representing clients before the government and skills lawyers use when representing the government itself.

Leavitt joined the Commonwealth Court in January 2002. Prior to that, she was a shareholder at Buchanan Ingersoll, where she was a member of the firm’s litigation section and chair of the Insurance Regulatory Law Group. Her private practice focused on administrative law, appellate practice and insurance regulatory law. That legal specialty began with her appointment as an assistant attorney general in 1978 and her assignment to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. She worked at the department nearly 10 years, ending her service there as chief counsel, appointed by Gov. Dick Thornburgh. She holds a law degree from Dickinson School of Law.

Leavitt’s first lecture at the school is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26. She will speak about the use of civil forfeiture in the war on drugs, with an emphasis on Pennsylvania’s jurisprudence.

Widener Associate Professor and Director of the Law & Government Institute Jill E. Family said the school is pleased to welcome Leavitt.

“We are delighted Judge Leavitt has agreed to take on this role,” Family said. “She is a distinguished member of the judiciary and her contributions to the academic environment we provide our students will be immeasurable. We are grateful she has agreed to help us invest in tomorrow’s attorneys through her advice, counsel and general access. I am pleased to welcome her.”