“It’s important to me for students to see how creative being a lawyer is,” says Professor Erin Daly
, adding, “As lawyers, they will never be bored, because each case is different, each client is different, and how they will need to approach the problem will be different in each new situation. They will always be trying to find the best solutions to difficult problems. And although that is challenging, it is also a lot of fun!”
As teacher, she strives to get her students to think critically. “Every case is the result of parties not being able to reach an agreement on something that’s important to them. I want my students to understand that these questions that we deal with are not easy or simple, and that the different responses that a court might have reflect different assumptions and perspectives and values that need to be taken into account. I want them to understand how complicated law can be, but also how, by thinking through a problem analytically, they can understand and master the problem.” Professor Daly has served as the Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development for four years. “I’ve really loved the job in part because it’s given me insight into all the incredible things we do at Widener, from the clinics to the externships, to the student organizations,” she says of her experience.
She initiated the successful Local Leaders program that “brings in people from around the area who have really made a mark in their communities by taking on leadership responsibilities.” The program is co-sponsored by the Student Bar Association
and has brought prestigious guests to the campus including U.S. Senator Chris Coons, who was the New Castle County Executive at the time.
“What I love most about the program is its informal nature: students get to meet the guests and hear their stories and really see what they’re like and what it takes to be a local leader,” she says. “It’s great to see how enthusiastic these people are about meeting our students, even though they are incredibly busy.”
Professor Daly came to Widener Law’s Delaware campus in 1993. Though she began her career immersed in US Constitutional Law, Professor Daly’s interest shifted to the constitutional law of other countries after being exposed to comparative constitutional law as a teacher in Widener’s International Program in Sydney
in 1996 when she co-taught with one of Australia’s foremost constitutional authorities.
“From that experience, I began to see how other countries – often dealing with the same constitutional challenges as we do – reach very different results and think about the role of the constitution in society in very different ways. Comparative constitutional law is endlessly fascinating because each country has its own approach,” she says.
In 2006, she co-authored Reconciliation in Divided Societies: Finding Common Ground
with Dr. Jeremy Sarkin. “Although it hasn’t hit the best-sellers’ list,” she says, “it did receive very nice reviews that indicated that people thought the book was important and valuable. It’s always nice to get recognition for your scholarship because when you are writing it, you never know how it will be received.”
Of her reasons for coming to Widener Law, she concludes, “I love the location – being Delaware’s law school has numerous advantages for our students. Widener gave me the opportunity and the freedom to pursue areas of great interest to me both as a scholar and as a teacher. And the faculty at Widener is terrific!”