Exploring the world at the intersection of law and society

Gain invaluable real-world experience as you take an up-close look at the criminal justice system with the help of our Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society.

You'll get connected with faculty who are also interested in the study of law and society and learn from well-regarded legal scholars that the center brings to campus each year.

Interested in an internship? We've got you covered. More than a dozen paid student internships in the community are available.

You just won't find opportunities like this at most other universities of our size. 

Adams Center Scholars

For students selected as Adams Center Scholars, their experiences help define and solidify their research interests and career paths.

Adams Center Scholars
Adams Center Scholars

We'll help you get hands-on, resume-building experience through:

  • Internship and externships 
  • Visiting courts and law schools 
  • Attending national and regional conferences and professional seminars 
  • Independent study research projects in social and criminal justice 
  • Enhanced library resources relating to law and society
  • Networking relationships with law schools, medical centers, businesses, courts and social service agencies

More than a dozen paid student internships are available each year to our Adams Center Scholars.  They've worked with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), as well as area judges, district attorneys and probation offices.

You might even have a chance to stay on-campus during the summer, at no cost to you, for internships and research.

Graduates who have had experiences through the Adams Center are now in law school, graduate school, working on Capitol Hill and one even won a Fulbright award.

The Evolving U.S. Supreme Court

Lee Epstein

Faylor Hall
Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m.

Lee Epstein is the Ethan A.H. Shepley distinguished university professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research and teaching interests center on law and legal institutions, especially the behavior of judges. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Political and Social Science, she also serves as co-director of the Center for Empirical Research in the Law, lecturer in law at the University of Chicago, and a principal investigator of the U.S. Supreme Court Database project. Epstein has authored or co-authored over 130 articles and essays and 18 books, including The Choices Justices Make (co-authored with Jack Knight), which won the Pritchett Award for the Best Book on Law and Courts and, more recently, the Lasting Contribution Award for making a “lasting impression on the field of law and courts.”


Valerie Jenness & Julia Abbate

The Power, Promise and Peril of Law: A Discussion of Law on the Books and Law in Action as It Relates to Prison Rape

When does the law work as intended? When does it not? Why? And how can we deliver on the promise of law to protect the rights of the most vulnerable among us? These are a few of the larger themes addressed in the presentations and attendant discussion.

Julie Abbate is the national advocacy director for Just Detention International (JDI), a health and human rights organization devoted to ending sexual abuse in all forms of detention. Valerie Jenness is a professor of criminology, law and society at the University of California, Irvine.


Shoba Wadhia

Shoba Wadhia, Samuel Weiss faculty scholar, clinical professor of law and director of the Center for Immigrants' Rights at Penn State, is one of the nation's leading scholars on the role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law, with research focusing on the intersections of race, national security and immigration. Wadhia's scholarship has served as a foundation for scholars, advocates and government.

Author of Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases (2015), she has appeared on MSNBC and C-SPAN and has been quoted or featured by international, national and local publications, including The Hill, National Law Journal, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press. She was formerly deputy director for legal affairs at the National Immigration Forum in Washington, D.C.


Paul Kaplan

Kaplan's lecture is titled"He Never Had a Chance": Capital Defendants in Contexts of Racist Fear. Although in many senses capital punishment is withering in America, use of the death penalty survives unabated in small pockets of the country, especially the collection of southern states that comprise the U.S. Bible Belt. A key factor driving death penalty activity in these communities is entrenched white fear of dangerous black and brown "outsiders." In his talk for the Adams Center, Kaplan will discuss how capital mitigation-a sensibility that sees capital defendants as damaged human beings rather than terrifying monsters-offers an alternative to hegemonic narratives that sustain high rates of execution in parts of the American South.


Robin D.G. Kelley, Ph.D.
"Crimes of Liberty: Race, War and the Unfinished Business of Abolition"
Kelley is a distinguished professor of history and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair  in United States History at UCLA. Kelley's research has explored the history of social movements in the U.S., the African Diaspora, and Africa; black intellectuals; music; contemporary urban studies; historiography and historical theory; colonialism/imperialism; organized labor; and more. His essays have appeared in a wide variety of professional journals and general publications.


Robert Skitol
"Trust Me? The Shifting Sands of U.S. Antitrust Policy, 1890-2014"
Skitol received his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Hobart College in 1967 and graduated from New York University Law School in 1970 Order of the Coif. He has written and lectured extensively in the antitrust and trade regulation field. He co-authored the book titled Mergers in the New Antitrust Era, published 1985, contributed to Business Opportunities in the United States, 1991, and founded and co-edited International Merger Law, a monthly journal. He has been a frequent contributor of articles to the ABA Antitrust Law Journal, the ABA Antitrust Source and other publications. He is a member of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law (past co-chair of the Computer Industry Committee), the DC Bar Antitrust and Trade Regulation Committee (past chairman), and is the Chairman of the American Antitrust Institute Board of Directors.


Richard Leo
"False Confession and Wrongful Conviction: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions"
In the past two decades, hundreds of convicted prisoners have been exonerated by DNA and non-DNA evidence alike, revealing that police-induced false confessions are a leading cause of wrongful conviction of the innocent in the American criminal justice system. In this talk, UCLA Law Professor Richard Leo analyzed empirical research on the causes and correlates of false confessions. After a description of the kinds of errors (misclassification, coercion, and contamination) that typically lead to facially persuasive but completely false confessions in criminal cases, Professor Leo discussed the psychology of police interrogation along with empirical research on the consequences of introducing false-confession evidence in the criminal justice system. He also talked more generally about various sources of error in the criminal justice system - such as eyewitness misidentification, perjured informant testimony, and forensic error/fraud - and the most important policy reforms designed to reduce the frequency of the wrongful conviction of the innocent.


Timothy Sandefur
"The Right to Earn a Living"
Timothy Sandefur is a principal attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento, Calif. As the lead attorney in the foundation's economic liberty project, he has undertaken several projects designed to limit government regulation. He also has worked to prevent the expansion of eminent domain laws, having litigated important eminent domain cases in California, Missouri and elsewhere and having filed briefs in many significant eminent domain cases, including Kelo v. New London.

Sandefur is the author of two books, Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21 st Century America and The Right to Earn A Living: Economic Freedom And The Law, as well as some 40 scholarly articles on subjects ranging from eminent domain and economic liberty to copyright, evolution and creationism, and the legal issues of slavery and the Civil War. His articles have appeared in Liberty, National Review Online, The Claremont Review of Books, Forbes Online, The San Francisco Chronicle, Regulation and The Washington Times, among other places. He is an adjunct professor of law at the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. In February 2006, he became one of the youngest attorneys ever featured on the cover of California Lawyer magazine. He is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, including The Armstrong and Getty Show, the Jim Lehrer News Hour and NPR's This American Life. Sandefur is a graduate of Chapman University School of Law and Hillsdale College.

Valerie Jenness, Ph.D.
"Agnes Goes to Prison: Transgender Prisoners in Prisons for Men and the Olympics of Gender Authenticity"
Professor Jenness is Dean of the School of Social Ecology and Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society and in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests are organized around the politics of crime and criminalization; the nexus between law and marginalized communities; and public policy related to social control. Professor Jenness is the author of three books, including Making Hate a Crime: From Social Movement to Law Enforcement Practice (2001), Hate Crimes: New Social Movements and the Politics of Violence (1997) and Making it Work: The Prostitutes' Rights Movement in Perspective (1993), and a vast array of articles published in top-tier academic journals. Over the years, her work has been recognized with awards from the American Sociological Association, the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America, and the Society for the Study of Social Problems, among others. She is frequently invited to speak at universities and governmental bodies both in the United States and internationally.

In addition to her extensive record of cutting-edge research, Professor Jenness has recently undertaken work with an array of public officials to develop evidence-based policy related to crime and justice. Most recently, she has worked with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to develop historic policy mandating engagement with transgender people in a respectable and fair way during encounters in public as well as in local jails. This work was informed by her research on transgender prisoners, including the first systematic empirical study of transgender inmates in men's prisons. To do so, she worked with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to identify all transgender inmates in all California prisons. This was no small task, requiring Professor Jenness to work both collaboratively with, and independently from, the CDCR's Director of Adult Institutions (to whom all 33 California prison wardens report). To do this, she developed an innovative interview schedule specifically designed to be sensitive to transgender prisoners and to capture a wealth of information on their lives inside and outside of prison. When contacted, 95% of the transgender population in California's prisons agreed to participate in the study, a stunning participation rate that clearly speaks to Professor Jenness's unique ability to work with transgender people caught up in the justice system.


Charles Ogletree
"Is America Post-Racial in the Age of Obama?"
Charles Ogletree, the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and Founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, is a prominent legal theorist who has earned an international reputation by taking a hard look at complex issues of law and by working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution for everyone equally under the law.

He has examined these issues in the classroom, on the Internet, in the pages of prestigious law journals, as a public defender and in public television forums.

Ogletree is the Founding and Executive Director of Harvard Law School's new Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice. He is the author of several books including, most recently, The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America.

Ogletree has served as faculty director, associate dean and vice dean of the Harvard Law School Clinical Program. He holds honorary doctorates of law from North Carolina Central University, New England School of Law, Tougaloo College, Amherst College, Wilberforce University and the University of Miami School of Law.

Awards include the first ever Rosa Parks Civil Rights Award from the city of Boston; Morehouse College's Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Prize; and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Award for National Service.

Ogletree earned a Master of the Arts and a Bachelor of the Arts (with distinction) in political science from Stanford University. He earned his law degree from Harvard Law School.


Edward Schumacher-Matos
Born in Colombia, Schumacher-Matos was in the U.S. illegally from age 14 until age 21, when he went to court, was allowed to declare his citizenship, and joined the Army to serve in Vietnam. He was educated at Vanderbilt University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, served as a Fulbright Fellow in Japan, and as a Bi-National Commission Fellow in Spain. He also was executive director of the Spanish Institute in New York, a nonprofit dedicated to U.S.-Spanish political, economic and cultural affairs.

The Robert F. Kennedy Professor for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, Schumacher-Matos is also a Shorenstein Fellow on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he teaches a graduate seminar on immigration from Latin America into the U.S. and is writing a book on the subject.

Schumacher-Matos applies his rich experiences-immigrant, soldier, reporter, editor, publisher, author, ombudsman, professor, academic fellow-to his weekly, syndicated column on national and international affairs. His work has appeared in the influential journal Foreign Affairs, and he has published numerous op-ed articles, which, he says, express "the value of human dignity over self-righteousness and realism over wishful thinking."

His talk was the keynote address of Susquehanna University's 16th annual Latino Symposium.

Angela Davis
Davis, a professor of history of consciousness and feminist studies at the University of California Santa Cruz, is the author of eight books, including her most recent publications Abolition Democracy and Are Prisons Obsolete? She is now completing a book on Prisons and American History.

Like many other educators, Professor Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a "prison industrial complex," she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.

Judge Arlin M. Adams' distinguished career included 17 years on the bench of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and years of involvement in professional, charitable and educational organizations. A long-time friend of Susquehanna University, he was a visiting Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Susquehanna in 1981 and received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University in 1985.

A Philadelphia native, Judge Adams earned his undergraduate degree from Temple University. He holds a law degree from The University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of Penn Law Review, and a master's degree in economics awarded by both universities. He was a veteran of naval service during World War II and has had a long history of public service, including a term as secretary of public welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 1963 to 1966. President Richard M. Nixon appointed him to the federal bench in 1969.

He served as counsel at one of Philadelphia's largest law firms, Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, where he spent a significant amount of time on issues of public interest. He was also a past president of the American Judicature Society, the American Philosophical Society and a member of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts.

The family of Sigfried and Janet Weis and The Degenstein Foundation of Sunbury, Pennsylvania, with support from the Annenberg Foundation, established the Center in 2001 in honor of Adams.

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