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Seton Hall Law's Maggie Lewis

Seton Hall Law Professor Maggie Lewis in the Washington Post, The National Post, Yahoo! News, and More

January 16, 2019

Seton Hall Law Professor Margaret Lewis, legal expert in mainland China and Taiwan with an emphasis on criminal justice, was quoted in several articles after a Chinese court sentenced a Canadian man to the death penalty. 

Professor Lewis lended her expertise and spoke to the media as to what makes the case unique, the difficulty in determining what exactly has occured, and reasonings why. 

From the Washington Post:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday expressed “extreme concern” after a Chinese court sentenced a Canadian man to death in a retrial ordered not long after the arrest in Vancouver of a Chinese technology executive. 

A death sentence for Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, 36, complicates an ongoing standoff over the arrest of Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer on U.S. charges and the subsequent detention in China of two Canadians on national security charges.

“The procedures in Mr. Schellenberg’s case would be unusual even if he was a Chinese national. The fact that he is a Canadian, combined with the welcoming of foreign media to view court proceedings, makes it downright suspicious,” said Margaret Lewis, a law professor at Seton Hall University.

More from the Washington Post.

From The National Post:

Unlike one of the other accused in the case, Schellenberg’s death sentence did not come with a two-year suspension, which usually results in the penalty being commuted to life in prison, noted Margaret Lewis, a law professor at New Jersey’s Seton Hall University and an expert on the Chinese legal system.

He can appeal, and all death penalties are reviewed – and invariably confirmed – by the Supreme People’s Court, but without political intervention, his prospects look grim, she said.

“Unless there is some dramatic turn of events, this is marching toward execution in the not too distant future,” said Lewis. “This is the most severe sentence allowed under Chinese law. It is death, with execution (after) crossing the Ts and dotting the Is.”

More from The National Post

From Yahoo! News:

"What's unusual is how this case shifted from extremely slow handling to suddenly rapid fire movement," said Margaret Lewis, a law professor at Seton Hall University.

More from Yahoo! News

Professor Lewis was also quoted in The Guardian, and appeared on CTV News, and VOA Asia

Professor Lewis has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar at National Taiwan University, a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Public Intellectuals Program Fellow with the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and a delegate to the US-Japan Foundation's US-Japan Leadership Program.

Professor Stephen Lubben

Professor Stephen Lubben Speaks on Sears Downfall in the Financial Times

January 14, 2019

Sears collapse shines spotlight on the cost of going bust

Eddie Lampert is not the most patient of men when it comes to the costs of clean-up. The billionaire investor who has controlled Sears Holdings, the once-mighty US retailer, since 2004 is trying to pull off a last-ditch deal to buy a portion of the company out of bankruptcy for $5bn. The deal would see several hundred stores saved and prevent a full liquidation (Mr Lampert, importantly, would also be released from liability from potential legal claims arising from his years of financial engineering at Sears, should his bid prevail).

He has, however, balked at the so-called “administrative costs” he would face if his rescue bid were accepted, according to people familiar with the situation. These costs, which include fees and expenses for hundreds of lawyers, bankers, consultants and assorted hangers-on, could run to about $100m. Weil, Gotshal & Manges, the prominent Wall Street law firm representing Sears, billed more than $5m on its own for the first 16 days of work at the outset of the bankruptcy.

Stephen Lubben, a professor at Seton Hall University School of Law, paints a nuanced picture. “If a debtor could find cheaper bankruptcy counsel, are we sure that creditor recoveries would go up, as the conventional wisdom often implies, or will recoveries go down, because the cheaper firm is too inexperienced or too small to handle the case?” he asks. “The focus must be on identifying how much Chapter 11 costs, how much value Chapter 11 generates overall and how those figures compare to the available alternatives.”

The rest of the article can be found on the The Financial Times website

Professor Lubben was also quoted in Reuters

Professor Stephen Lubben

Professor Stephen Lubben Quoted in The Economist on Racketeering

May 21, 2018

McKinsey manages to get itself sued for racketeering

Mobsters,gangsters and bent cops have all been tried under America’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations (RICO) Act. Might consultants be next? McKinsey, a management consultancy, is being sued under the law by Jay Alix, the founder of AlixPartners, a competitor in the field of bankruptcy advice. Mr Alix alleges that McKinsey knowingly misled courts in order to land clients. The firm denies any wrongdoing.

Bankruptcy is lucrative, for those doling out the advice. According to Debtwire, a data provider, corporate bankruptcies generated $1.3bn in fees in 2016, with lawyers taking home over half, and the rest going to consultants, accountants and financiers. McKinsey is a relative newcomer: it set up its restructuring arm, which turns around companies in financial distress, in 2010. Though its share of the market is smaller than those of the top players, AlixPartners and Alvarez & Marsal, its entry has stiffened competition. Its clients have included American Airlines, Puerto Rico and a number of energy companies.

Mr Alix has said he wants to ensure all advisory firms operate on a level playing field. But some wonder if the RICO suit, originally designed to litigate against criminal organisations, is being used to grab headlines. Nor is it clear how Mr Alix can prove his firm was deprived of work.

Even if it had made more disclosures, says Stephen Lubben, a law professor at Seton Hall University, McKinsey may not have been disqualified all the time; and if it had been disqualified, AlixPartners may not have snapped up all the work. Court cases, just like bankruptcy advice, can be messy.

Read the rest of "McKinsey manages to get itself sued for racketeering"

Professor Gaia Bernstein

Professor Gaia Bernstein

Institute for Privacy Protection's School Outreach Program Featured in Washington Post

April 09, 2018

NEWARK — The fifth-graders of Yolanda Bromfield’s digital-privacy class had just finished their lesson on ­online-offline balance when she asked them a tough question: How would they act when they left school and reentered a world of prying websites, addictive phones and online scams?

Susan, a 10-year-old in pink sneakers who likes YouTube and the mobile game “Piano Tiles 2,” quietly raised her hand. “I will make sure that I don’t tell nobody my personal stuff,” she said, “and be offline for at least two hours every night.”

Between their math and literacy classes, these elementary school kids were studying up on perhaps one of the most important and least understood school subjects in America — how to protect their privacy, save their brains and survive the big, bad Web.

Classes such as these, though surprisingly rare, are spreading across the country amid hopes of preparing kids and parents for some of the core tensions of modern childhood: what limits to set around technologies whose long-term effects are unknown — and for whom young users are a prime audience.

The course offered to Susan’s 28-student class at First Avenue School, a public neighborhood school in Newark, is part of an experimental curriculum designed by Seton Hall University Law School professors and taught by legal fellows such as Bromfield. It has been rolled out in recent months to hundreds of children in a dozen classrooms across New York and New Jersey.


Read the rest of "The new lesson plan for elementary school: Surviving the Internet."


Dean Charles Sullivan

Seton Hall Law Deans Sullivan and Glynn Write Op Ed for NJ Spotlight

March 16, 2018

Op-Ed "A Call to Restore the Courts' Role in Addressing Sexual Misconduct"

The attorneys general of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several territories recently signed a letter to Congress urging an end to mandatory arbitration of employment sexual harassment claims. While there has been much public attention paid to the role of nondisclosure agreements in insulating public (and not-so-public) figures from criticism for their misconduct, the role of mandatory arbitration agreements in shielding workplace sexual predators from public disclosure is far less understood but perhaps ultimately more of a problem.

Nondisclosure agreements, of course, are typically part of settlements of harassment claims and therefore exist only when the victim has received some satisfaction for her claim — typically monetary but often career-related. We do not argue that the amounts paid typically reflect the harm done (indeed, recent reports suggest a staggering range of payments from millions to a few thousand). Nor are we confident that internal corporate processes that are usually entailed when the corporate employer pays the victim usually result in meaningful reforms to prevent recurrences of the conduct. The Weinstein debacle alone establishes that that is not always the case. But it remains true that, where there is a nondisclosure agreement, there has almost always been compensation paid and usually escalation of the wrongdoing to higher ups who can, at least in the wake of #MeToo, be expected to have learned the costs of sweeping misconduct under the rug.


Read the rest of "A Call to Restore the Courts' Role in Addressing Sexual Misconduct".

Professor Stephen Lubben


Professor Stephen Lubben quoted in New York Post as bankruptycy expert

March 13, 2018

Buyout kings lately are having a harder time bullying creditors with bankruptcy threats.

A year ago, lenders to radio broadcasting giant iHeart Media were getting threats from private-equity firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners, who demanded they take a haircut on $15 billion in bonds and cede control of the company in order to avoid a bankruptcy filing.

The lucrative bondholder backlash has surfaced as “private equity has gotten increasingly aggressive in an attempt to save some of their investments,” Seton Hall Law professor Stephen Lubben told The Post. “Basically the attitude seems to be, ‘Let’s see if we can get away with this.’”

Read more of Buyout firms’ bankruptcy threats are losing their bite.

Dean Kathleen Boozang


Seton Hall Law Featured in US News - "Use a Law Degree for Nonlegal Jobs"

February 08, 2018

Some people go to law school knowing they don't intend to practice law because they plan on pursuing a law-related job in communications, politics or business.

“We know from experience that a fair percentage of our students already are coming to law school intending to do something other than practice law," says Kathleen Boozang, dean of the Seton Hall University School of Law.

She says this trend is particularly pronounced among enrolled students in Seton's part-time weekend program, who typically also work full time. Many of these students, she says, are currently employed in jobs where a J.D. is an advantage but not a requirement.

Legal career experts say a J.D. is relevant in a wide array of fields.

"A J.D. is a very powerful degree to have in your tool belt regardless of the field you end up working in," says Lisa Bertrand, who earned her J.D. from Georgetown University and has held both legal and nonlegal jobs.

Bertrand, who is now a graduate school recruiter at the New York Institute of Technology's School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, says prospective law students with an interest in nonattorney jobs should see whether their target law school offers second- or third-year electives in topics relevant to their desired career path.

Experts advise law school hopefuls with an interest in nonattorney jobs to make sure a J.D. will make them marketable for positions they desire.

"Law school is a challenging three years; it’s in many ways grueling, and it’s not for everyone. And for the people who aren’t sure they want to go, it’s really true that it’s advisable to take some time off to know what you want to do," says David Helfenbein, an alumnus of the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law and a senior vice president with the Main & Rose strategic branding company.

Here are three law-related fields where experts say a J.D. is a compelling advantage.

 Crisis communications: Helfenbein – who specializes in branding, crisis communications and government relations – says his law degree regularly comes in handy when he represents clients with public relations troubles. Crisis communications is a challenging form of public relations work that involves representing individuals or companies facing litigation or criminal charges or receiving other negative publicity.

“People in crisis communications have to be very careful with the words that they choose just as lawyers have to be very careful with the words that they choose," he says.

Helfenbein adds that crisis communications work often involves collaborating with a client's attorneys to ensure that no public statements released on the client's behalf put the client in legal jeopardy. “We are in many ways a public-facing component of a legal defense," he says.

 Politics: Some experts say lobbyists have more credibility with politicians if they have law degrees, and many experts say a law degree is an advantage for government relations careers.

"A lot of people in the political realm have law degrees, because it helps them understand the governing process beyond the basics that we learn in elementary or high school," says Helfenbein, who has held a number of political positions and appointments.

But Roger Austin, a Florida-based political consultant with a J.D. from the University of Florida's Levin College of Law, emphasizes that a law degree isn't a requirement to work in a policy or political job. He says he knows many successful policy professionals who never attended law school.

However, Austin says he uses his legal training when assisting state and local politicians with their political campaigns, ensuring that all contributions comply with campaign finance laws.

 Compliance: Boozang of Seton Hall University says compliance jobs are also a natural fit for law school graduates. "We know that so much of the business world, so much of industry is heavily regulated," she says.

Experts on legal careers say that occasionally executives at companies in highly regulated industries decide to attend law school so they can understand the laws that govern their business. One such executive is Matthew D'Ambrosio, a senior vice president and global chief compliance and ethics officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance – the health and wellness company that owns Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacies.

D'Ambrosio says he has no regrets about earning his J.D. in health law at Seton Hall University in 2001, because he uses his legal expertise on a daily basis to ensure that his company complies with government regulations.

He adds, "I don’t think I’d be where I am today without my legal training."

Searching for a law school? Get our complete rankings of Best Law Schools.


Professor Stephen Lubben

Professor Stephen Lubben

Professor Stephen Lubben quoted in Reuters as Bankruptcy Expert on Biofuel Costs

January 22, 2018

The plan revives a debate between U.S. refiners and ethanol producers over the nation’s renewables policy, and could spur actions from other struggling refiners should the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration allow PES to reduce its biofuel obligations.

The Trump Administration could also wade deeper into the fray should the Pennsylvania refinery, which has some 1,100 workers, face closure.

Stephen Lubben, a professor at Seton Hall Law School, said other struggling refiners may also attempt to offload these obligations if the PES bankruptcy gives the refiner relief.

“The EPA will look closely to make sure this is not a sham to leave them holding the bag,” said Lubben. He said a debtor that cannot comply with such rules usually has to liquidate. “If you want to restructure, the business coming out the other side has to comply.”

Read more of U.S. refiner PES pins bankruptcy plan hopes on biofuel costs

Dean Charles Sullivan

Dean Sullivan Quoted in ESPN as Legal Employment Expert On NFL Players Benching

October 11, 2017

But does Jerry Jones, or any other owner, have the right to bench a player for protesting during the anthem? Could such a benching be a violation of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement or, beyond that, could it even be illegal?

For its part, the NFL Players Association issued a statement that said in part, "We should not stifle these discussions and cannot allow our rights to become subservient to the very opinions our Constitution protects." A benching of this type would certainly prompt the NFLPA to file a grievance under the CBA.

The players seem to have some built-in advantages in such a dispute. Unlike the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, the NFL CBA does not specifically require players to stand for the anthem. There is, however, a section in the NFL Game Operations Manual that mentions that players "should stand at attention, hold helmets in their left hand and refrain from talking." And commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to teams on Tuesday reiterating the language.

According to a half-dozen experts we contacted, workplace employment law may have the last word. While the experts are divided on who would win such a legal battle, our sample ruled narrowly in favor of the owners.

Charles Sullivan, professor of law, Seton Hall University: "Where I think the players have a problem is there's not really an adverse employment action if they are simply benched. They are still being paid, and I don't think they necessarily have the right to play in games."
Advantage: Owners

Read the rest of Is it legal for Jerry Jones to bench players who don't stand? 

Professor Sarah Waldeck

Professor Sarah Waldeck Quoted in The Detroit Free Press

August 30, 2017

On his way to becoming the University of Michigan's largest donor, Stephen M. Ross and a group of business partners donated a collective gift to his alma mater.

In return, the partnership claimed a giant charitable tax deduction: $33 million.

The Internal Revenue Service didn't buy it.

IRS lawyers flagged Ross and his partners as engaging in a "tax avoidance scheme lacking in economic substance … to the benefit of Mr. Ross and his associates at Related Companies.”

It would take nearly a decade of legal wrangling before U.S. Tax Judge James S. Halpern sided with the IRS last month and disallowed the entire $33-million write-off that the judge valued at a more paltry $3.4 million. The judge also imposed maximum civil penalties for a "gross valuation misstatement" that could now cost Ross and his partners millions more.

Seton Hall University’s Sarah Waldeck, a law school professor who specializes in charitable giving, sees the university's role as thoughtful despite unusual circumstances.

“In my experience, nonprofits work really hard to stay away from the question of what donors are actually claiming on their taxes," Waldeck said. "I think that the decision not to become tangled up in or involved in what donors’ tax returns looks like a legitimate, practical move by a nonprofit.”

Read the rest How Stephen M. Ross' gift to the University of Michigan ended up in tax court

Dean Kathleen Boozang on NJTV

Dean Boozang Interviewed by NJTV on Jump In National Rankings

August 28, 2017

At a time when law school enrollments nationwide have remained flat or fallen, Seton Hall Law has broken the mold. Its admissions up 33 percent. Its national rankings on the rise. What’s its secret? Seton Hall Law Dean Kathleen Boozang shares it with Correspondent Lyndsay Christian.

Christian: Dean Boozang, when you became dean of Seton Hall Law in 2015, you had an aspiration that it would become a top 50 law school in the nation. And, that’s a dream that’s actually within reach because in your short tenure, the ranking jumped from number 57 in the U.S. News and World report. What would you attribute to the success?

Boozang: We’ve held fast to make sure that we admit highly-qualified applicants who we’re certain will be successful when they graduate and take the Bar. So, it’s been a hard market for law schools, but we’ve stuck to the fundamentals and we are seeing it through.


Watch the interview here.