Catherine L. Carpenter
Vice Dean and Professor of Law
B.A., cum laude, English, 1973, University of California, Los Angeles; J.D., cum laude, 1976, Southwestern Law School; Member, California State Bar
Phone: (213) 738-6875
One of the foremost authorities in the country on law school curricula and accreditation, Catherine Carpenter has served in several leadership posts within the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (ABA). A past chair of the Section's Accreditation Committee, she currently serves on the Standards Review Committee. As chair of the Curriculum Committee from 2002-2004 and again from 2009-2012, Dean Carpenter was principal drafter of two comprehensive national surveys: A Survey of Law School Curricula 2002-2010 and its predecessor A Survey of Law School Curriculum 1992-2002. Her service in Legal Education earned her recognition in 2013 and 2014 from National Jurist as Among Top 25 Influential People in Legal Education. Elected to the American Law Institute in 2012, Dean Carpenter is a nationally recognized criminal law scholar in the area of sex crimes and sex offender registration laws.
"One of the most exciting aspects of teaching the core courses in law is having the opportunity to watch new students blossom as they gain confidence and perspective."
Legal education, and Southwestern in particular, has been Dean Carpenter's professional passion for more than three decades. After distinguishing herself while a law student earning several academic awards and serving as Notes and Comments editor of the Southwestern Law Review, she returned to her alma mater in 1980 as a member of the faculty and continued to add dimensions to her association with the law school - as Alumni Association President and member of the Board of Trustees, a professor and an administrator. She was appointed Vice Dean in May 2014, but had previously spent over a decade as Assistant Dean/Dean of Students and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1984 to 1997. She also served as an advisor to Southwestern's Moot Court Honors Program from 2006 to 2014. In recognition of her tremendous contributions to the law school, legal education and the profession, Dean Carpenter was named Southwestern Alumna of the Year in 2013.
Dean Carpenter derives tremendous satisfaction from teaching first-year students and says, "One of the most exciting aspects of teaching the core courses in law is having the opportunity to watch new students 'blossom' as they gain confidence and perspective." She received Southwestern's Excellence in Teaching Award in 2001 and was named as the Irving D. and Florence Rosenberg Professor of Law in 1996 and 2012, as the Irwin R. Buchalter Professor of Law in 2004, and as the Justice Marshall F. McComb Professor of Law in 2006. In addition to teaching, Dean Carpenter spent over a decade as Assistant Dean/Dean of Students and Associate Dean.
Beyond legal education, Dean Carpenter has served as a site evaluator for the State of California Council for Private Post-Secondary Education and as a consultant to the Board of Regents for the State of Kansas and the Office of Higher Education for the State of Minnesota. She is a member of the editorial board of CALI (Computer Assisted Legal Instruction) and has served as a consultant to a number of law schools.
Books and Chapters
CRIMINAL LAW CONTEXT AND PRACTICE, (with Friedland, Simmons, Arcabascio; Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming 2014)
SURVEY OF LAW SCHOOL CURRICULA 2002-2010 (principal drafter; American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, 2012)
A SURVEY OF LAW SCHOOL CURRICULA 1992-2002 (principal drafter; American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, 2005)
Against Juvenile Sex Offender Registration, 82 UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI LAW REVIEW (forthcoming 2014)
On Emotion, Juvenile Sex Offenders and Mandatory Registration 3 JOURNAL OF RACE, GENDER & POVERTY 29 (2013)
Recent Trends in Law School Curricula: Findings from the 2010 Curriculum Survey, 81 THE BAR EXAMINER 6 (June 2012)
The Evolution of Unconstitutionality of Sex Offender Registration Laws, 63 HASTINGS LAW JOURNAL 1071 (with A. Beverlin; May 2012)
Legislative Epidemics: A Cautionary Tale of Criminal Laws That Sweep the Country, 58 BUFFALO LAW REVIEW 1 (2010)
The Constitutionality of Strict Liability in Sex Offender Registration Laws, 86 BOSTON UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 295 (2006)
Recent Curricular Trends: What Bar Examiners May Want to Know, BAR EXAMINER 4 (November 2006)
On Statutory Rape, Strict Liability, and the Public Welfare Offense Model, 53 AMERICAN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 313 (2003)
Of the Enemy Within, The Castle Doctrine, and Self-Defense, 86 MARQUETTE LAW REVIEW 653 (Spring 2003)
The All-or Nothing Doctrine in Criminal Cases: Independent Trial Strategy or Gamesmanship Gone Awry?, 26 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW 257 (1999)
Should the Court Aid and Abet the Unintending Accomplice? The Status of Complicity in California, 24 SANTA CLARA LAW REVIEW 343 (1984)
AUDIO SERIES "Future Interests," Audiotape in THE GILBERT SERIES (2008)
Named Southwestern Alumna of the Year, 2013
Elected to the American Law Institute, 2012
Received Recognition in National Jurist, listed among the "Top 25 Influential People in Legal Education," 2013 and 2014
Chair, Accreditation Committee, Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, American Bar Association, 2008-2010 (member since 2004)
Chair, Curriculum Committee, Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, American Bar Association, 2010-2012; 2002-2004 (member from 2000-2004)
Member, Standards Review Committee, Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, American Bar Association, 2010-2011
Member, Foreign Programs Committee, Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, American Bar Association, 2010-2011
Member, National Council, Valparaiso University School of Law, 2010-2011
Member, Nominating Committee, Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, American Bar Association, 2003-2005
Named to Who's Who in America of Outstanding Teachers, 2002
Chair, Committee on Law School Administration, Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, American Bar Association, 1996-1999 (member from 1995-1999)