New Directors Lead Academic Centers, Programs

UVA Law faculty

From top left clockwise, Professors Joshua Fischman, Amanda Frost, Cathy Hwang, Bertrall Ross and Ruth Mason are among new directors of UVA Law centers and programs.

September 29, 2022

The University of Virginia School of Law has named new faculty directors to lead some of the 23 centers and programs that support faculty research and shape the school’s intellectual life.

Karsh Center for Law and Democracy

Bertrall Ross
Bertrall Ross

Professor Bertrall Ross is joining Professor Micah Schwartzman ’05 as a director of the Karsh Center for Law and Democracy. Ross, who came to the faculty in 2021 from the University of California, Berkeley, is the Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law. He teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, constitutional theory, election law, administrative law and statutory interpretation.

Ross said he aims to launch the Designing Democracy Project to add a student-facing component to the “incredible convening of democracy scholars and advocates” led by Schwartzman and Karsh Program Director Nicholas Nugent.

“One of my goals as a director of the Karsh Center is to invigorate student engagement with, and investment into, American democracy at a time when it is under considerable stress,” Ross said. 

Through the project, which will be launched this year, student fellows and democracy laboratory participants will take the lead in proposing data-driven and empirical-based solutions to address defects that hamper American democracy.

John W. Glynn Jr. Law & Business Program

Cathy Hwang
Cathy Hwang

Professor Cathy Hwang, whose research and teaching focus on mergers and acquisitions, corporate contracts and corporate governance, leads the John W. Glynn Jr. Law & Business Program, following Professor George S. Geis. She is the Barron F. Black Research Professor of Law and a co-host of the Law School podcast “Common Law.”

Hwang said her goals as director “are to increase diversity, inclusion and access in business law scholarship and practice, highlight UVA Law’s business law strengths and strengthen relationships with alumni.”

The program is also celebrating its 20th anniversary this school year, with an event to mark the occasion being planned for the spring.

Virginia Center for Tax Law

Ruth Mason
Ruth Mason

Professor Ruth Mason, whose most recent work considers multilateral efforts to reform corporate taxation, leads the Virginia Center for Tax Law, following the directorship of Professor Andrew Hayashi. Mason is the Edwin S. Cohen Distinguished Professor of Law and Taxation, and the Class of 1941 Research Professor of Law. She is also a faculty adviser to student teams participating in the annual International and European Tax Moot Court competition.

She said in addition to hosting tax conferences at the Law School that attract leading scholars, the center will sponsor new webinars in the Oxford-Virginia Legal Dialogs online series with the University of Oxford Faculty of Law, with the next event planned for Oct. 21.

Center for Public Law and Political Economy

Joshua Fischman
Joshua Fischman

Professor Joshua Fischman directs the Center for Public Law and Political Economy, taking over for Vice Dean Michael D. Gilbert. Fischman’s research interests include law and economics, empirical methods, judicial decision-making and criminal sentencing.

Fischman said his top priority is to publicize the work of colleagues who apply insights from economics and political science to the study of public law, including constitutional law, election law, regulation and tax.

Immigration Law Program

Amanda Frost
Amanda Frost

Professor Amanda Frost is joining Professor Kevin Cope as a director of the Immigration Law Program. Frost, who joined the faculty this summer, is the John A. Ewald Jr. Research Professor of Law. She writes and teaches in the fields of immigration and citizenship law, federal courts and jurisdiction, and judicial ethics.

Frost said she is in the early stages of organizing a conference to bring public defenders to the Law School to discuss the intersection of criminal law and immigration. She is also working with UVA’s Democracy Initiative to offer an asylum workshop in October that will train lawyers on best practices for using expert witnesses in gender-based asylum claims.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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