American Law Institute Names Professor Podgor A Life Member

Law Professor Ellen Podgor smiles in front of the library.
Law Professor Ellen Podgor, an expert in white collar crime

For her 25 years of service to its mission of clarifying, simplifying, and modernizing common law, the American Law Institute has given prestigious Life Member status to Stetson Law Professor Ellen Podgor.

Podgor, a nationally recognized criminal law scholar whose award-winning work focuses on white collar crime, was nominated to ALI and elected to the group in 1997. While several other Stetson Law faculty members are members, she is the only current faculty member to have a Life Membership.

Exclusive group, invaluable work

Currently on the eve of its centennial, the institute has been dedicated to the mission of making the law clearer, more consistent, and reflective of modern society since its founding in 1923. Its work entails drafting, discussing, refining, and publishing “Restatements of the Law, Model Codes, and Principles of Law that are enormously influential in the courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education,” according to the organization’s website.

The ALI consists of law professors, lawyers, and judges who have earned significant achievements in their field and have shown interest in making the legal system better serve the people. Prospective members are nominated by current members, and the recommendation must be backed by at least two other members.

Rethinking the penal code

Since joining ALI, Podgor has been a member of six of the organization’s consultative projects, and has been an active member of the Model Penal Code Sentencing Project. The effort aims to examine the sentencing guidelines of the ALI’s existing Model Penal Code “in light of the many changes in sentencing philosophy and practice that have taken place” since the code was developed more than half a century ago.

Several years ago, she was also co-author, along with Rutgers Law Professor Roger Clark, of the Motion to Oppose the Death Penalty. Although the membership did not vote to oppose the death penalty, they did, two years later, remove the death penalty provisions from the Model Penal Code.

“Law reform work can often feel tedious as one works line-by-line through proposed statutory language,” Podgor said. “It is enormously rewarding, however, to look back over the past 25 years of being a part of the ALI’s important work and see all that has been accomplished to advance our legal process. But it is also important to recognize that there is so much more work yet to be done.”

Stetson Law’s ALI legacy

A popular professor who has authored numerous books and articles on white collar crime and other aspects of criminal law, has been quoted on major cases in national media outlets, and launched Stetson’s Law’s Business Law Review Symposium, Podgor was named the college’s Gary R. Trombley Family White-Collar Crime Research Professor in 2011. She is editor of the highly regarded White Collar Crime Law Prof Blog.

Those who have worked with her over the years say her ALI Life Member status is fitting.

“Achieving Life Member status is a well-deserved recognition Professor Podgor has received for her dedication to law reform and justice,” said Stetson Law Interim Dean Theresa Pulley Radwan, who is also an ALI member. “She elevates everything in which she is involved, and we are incredibly fortunate that she is a member of the Stetson Law community.”

The other Stetson Law faculty members belonging to the ALI are professors Kristen Adams, Rebecca Morgan, Luz Nagle, and Candace Zierdt, as well as Liz Moody, emeritus professor, who is also a Life Member.