Five Questions

December 8, 2008Duke Law News

1. What are you working on right now?
I'm working on four projects. The first is an article with Professor Kathy Bradley called "The Boundaries of Family Privacy." This article focuses on the use of minor children as organ donors for their ill siblings and the refusal of parents on religious grounds to consent to medically recommended treatments for their children's illnesses and injuries.

The second is a book that I'm co-editing with Ken Dodge, director of the Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy, Community-Based Efforts to Prevent Child Maltreatment. I also have a chapter in the book focusing on the privacy implications of many innovative maltreatment prevention programs. These projects are both in their final stages.

The third is an article with Phil Rosoff, a medical ethicist and pediatric oncologist here at Duke, which argues that most off-label drug uses are, in effect, experiments and that we ought to consider them as such as we contemplate appropriate regulatory moves. We are particularly interested in this issue because most drug use in the pediatric setting is off-label.
The fourth is an issue of Law & Contemporary Problems that I'm co-editing with Kathy Bradley and Ken Dodge on Corporal Punishment. It's an interdisciplinary and comparative take on the subject. I'm also writing an article for the issue with Ken and Sarah Campbell, a 3L here at the Law School, on how the different actors in the child welfare system -- child protective services employees and judges, primarily -- draw the line between reasonable corporal punishment and physical abuse.

2. What are your interests or passions outside your scholarly work and teaching?
Alexander and Nicolas, our two boys. Alexander, who is 14, is as obsessed with tennis as I was with running. He's an excellent competitive tennis player and his USTA tournament play means that we spend a lot of our weekends traveling to and watching great matches.

Nicolas, who is 10, is both a great tennis player and, much more importantly from his perspective, a budding rock star. His electric guitar work is really impressive for a little guy!

3. If you could sit in on one professor's class, which professor would you choose, which class, and why?
There are actually two classes I'd love to take if I had the time: the basic IP class from David Lange and Kate Bartlett's gender law class. They are both phenomenal teachers who are literally at the top of their respective fields. How can a student beat that combination?

4. What are you reading right now?
I am reading The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by the legal historian Annette Gordon-Reid. It is the first complete history of the Hemings family, of which Sally Hemings, a slave of Thomas Jefferson's and also the mother of several of his children, is the most famous member. I've always been fascinated by the history, social norms, and law of interracial families and family-making in the pre-Civil War South. This particular family is especially interesting to me because of its larger political significance and because my brother and sister are Hemings descendants.

5. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise your colleagues and students.
There are so many things! E.g., I was suspended from school in the first grade because I couldn't say the Pledge (I couldn't speak English); I was a student crossing guard in the streets of San Francisco in 6th grade; I collect stamps -- I have a really fantastic old Swiss collection; I was a Soviet Studies major in college -- I was going to be a Sovietologist; I never said a voluntary word in class throughout law school; I'm really clumsy and often absent-minded -- I've been heard apologizing to furniture; according to my kids, I'm not only not cool, I'm by far the least cool adult on the face of the earth.