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Meet the Wilmington University School of Law’s New Faculty

The Wilmington University School of Law announced its esteemed,
full-time faculty. Classes begin in August at the commencement of the
Fall 2023 semester.  

“Wilmington University School of Law Dean Phillip Closius and his staff have assembled an exceptional faculty who will utilize contemporary teaching methods that prepare diverse, future attorneys for the competitive field,” says Wilmington University President Dr. Laverne Harmon. “Like all of the University’s faculty and staff, these professionals are student-centered and dedicated to providing individual attention to students from all walks of life.” 

“I am pleased that we were able to hire eight faculty members who fully embrace the mission of our new law school,” adds Dean Closius. “Though they come from varied backgrounds, they share a commitment to excellence in teaching and service to students.  The eight also possess impressive legal practice experience.  I have no doubt that their hiring will enhance the culture of our Wilmington University community.”

Law School faculty seated on a common space.

From left: Patricia Wise, Alex J. Smalls, Lawrence Ponoroff, Alisa B. Klein, Edson A. Bostic,
Veronica J. Finkelstein, Nicole Mozee and Michael Hornzell

 

Edson A Bostic

Edson A Bostic

Edson A. Bostic is a seasoned litigator with many years of criminal and civil litigation experience. He has dedicated himself to zealously representing individuals charged with federal criminal offenses over the last 25 years. He is the former Chief Federal Defender for the U.S. District of Delaware (2006 to 2021) and the U.S. District of the United States Virgin Islands (2012–2014). As Chief Defender, Bostic oversaw the ligation of thousands of criminal cases during the trial, appellate, and habeas stages. He has defended complex and high-profile criminal cases, including the 2022 trial of a client charged with offenses stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection and the nation’s first federal cyberstalking resulting in a death trial. He has tried over 35 jury and hundreds of non-jury cases, ranging from complex white-collar criminal cases to drug, RICO, and bribery matters. Prior, Bostic served for over a decade as a Senior Assistant Federal Defender with the Community Federal Defender Association of Philadelphia, including several years as the Managing Attorney for the Allentown Branch. Early in his career, he was a staff attorney at the Defender Association of Philadelphia and the Broome County, New York, Public Defender’s Office. Bostic was also a senior associate at Cozen O’Connor, representing several Fortune 500 companies and other entities in complex civil matters. Bostic has chaired and served as a member of Merit Selection Committees for the Appointment/Retention of Magistrate Judges in the District of Delaware and on the Merit Selection Committee for the Selection of Federal Defender for the District of the United States Virgin Islands. He served on the 2021 Judicial Nominating Commission to fill a judicial vacancy for the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. Bostic has also served as an adjunct professor and lecturer, teaching trial advocacy at Temple University, Rutgers-Camden, and Widener Law Schools. He has been a lecturer and presenter for the National Institute of Trial Attorneys (NITA). Also, Bostic has presented lectures and continuing legal education programs on various criminal law topics. On Feb. 19, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, sitting en banc (on the bench), honored Bostic for his service, contributions, and dedication to the zealous representation of indigent defendants charged with federal crimes and his contribution to the administration of justice in the Circuit. He is a Rutgers University School of Law – Camden graduate and a member of the Pennsylvania and New York bars.

 

Veronica Finkelstein

Veronica Finkelstein

Veronica J. Finkelstein combines the best of practice and teaching, devoting herself to developing the next generation of top advocates. She is both an experienced litigator and a skilled educator with diverse scholarly interests. Finkelstein currently works as an assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in Philadelphia and will transition to a full-time teaching role at the Wilmington University School of Law in August. She served as the training officer and paralegal supervisor for the Civil Division before being selected as senior litigation counsel. As an assistant U.S. attorney, Finkelstein handles various civil affirmative and defensive matters and criminal child exploitation cases. She has tried numerous civil cases to defense verdicts, including tort, employment law, and medical malpractice. She has also successfully litigated cases on appeal. In addition to this defensive work, Finkelstein investigates and prosecutes affirmative fraud claims, including qui tam actions. In 2014 she was awarded the Executive Office of United States Attorneys Director’s Award for Superior Performance as a Civil Assistant United States Attorney. Before joining the DOJ, Finkelstein clerked for the Honorable Jane Cutler Greenspan on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. She previously worked as a construction litigator at Duane Morris, LLP and Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman, PC. A gifted teacher who regularly works with both lawyers and law students, Finkelstein has taught at the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center on ethics, appellate advocacy, legal writing, and trial practice. She frequently serves as a program director for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, where she teaches depositions, motion practice, and trial advocacy programs. She serves as adjunct faculty of law at Drexel Law, Emory Law, and Rutgers Law. She was awarded the Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III Outstanding Contribution to the Thomas R. Kline School of Law Community Award in 2021 and has been named Rutgers Law School Adjunct Professor of the Year every year from 2007 to the present. Finkelstein’s scholarship is as diverse as her litigation and teaching experience. Her scholarship has addressed various topics, from civil procedure to constitutional law. She is the co-author of the Professional Responsibility textbook “Ethical Lawyering: A Guide for the Well-Intentioned,” which contextualizes the rules of professional conduct in realistic litigation settings. Finkelstein graduated, with honors, from the Emory University School of Law. She was a highly competitive member of Emory Law’s moot court society and was selected for the Order of the Barristers. 

 

Michael Hornzell

Michael Hornzell

Michael Hornzell, a career educator excited to bring his passion for teaching to the Wilmington University School of Law, will teach Property and Legal Writing. Before transitioning to legal academia, Hornzell cultivated over a decade of experience as a wrestling coach for the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a tutor for a national standardized test prep company. In both roles, he received multiple awards for improving his students’ academic and athletic performance. Hornzell began his legal journey as a student at the University of Baltimore and after a successful first year, transferred to Harvard Law School, where he received his J.D. cum laude. While at Harvard, he was a supervising editor of the Journal on Legislation, a Harvard Law peer advisor and research assistant, and contributed to works published in the University of Chicago Law Review, the UC Davis Law Review, and the American University Law Review. Hornzell then clerked for the Honorable Joshua Wolson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Honorable D. Michael Fisher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In his spare time, Hornzell has volunteered as an academic tutor and coach for Beat the Streets Baltimore and the Courtyard Mentor Network in Philadelphia.

 

Alisa B. Klein

Alisa B. Klein

Alisa B. Klein is a senior-level career appellate attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, D.C. She will join the full-time faculty at Wilmington University Law School in August 2024, after leaving the DOJ. Klein began working for the DOJ’s Civil Division appellate staff in 1995, after clerkships with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Judge Louis H. Pollak. The principal work of her office is to defend, in the federal courts of appeals, the federal government’s laws, programs and policies. As a member of the office’s leadership team, Klein is responsible for her own work and for supervising dozens of other attorneys’ work. She also serves on the office’s hiring committee. Recent cases include the defense of the COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates, the CDC’s eviction moratorium, FDA measures to curb the youth vaping epidemic, and key Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provisions. Klein has argued over 100 cases in federal appeals courts, briefed hundreds of appellate and Supreme Court cases, and supervised hundreds of briefs and oral arguments. She has coordinated teams of attorneys in complex matters, including dozens of challenges to the requirement that insurers cover contraceptives and many appeals from the civil judgment that the DOJ secured against major cigarette companies. Klein regularly mentors and trains new attorneys and interns and gives presentations to agencies and professional associations. She has been co-teaching a constitutional law seminar about federalism — the relationship between the federal government and the states — as an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School since 1998 and is currently teaching a federalism seminar as a visiting professor of Political Science at Haverford College. Klein is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

 

Nicole Mozee

Nicole Mozee

Nicole Mozee advocates for civil liberties, civil rights, and social justice. She works as a Deputy Attorney General for the Delaware Department of Justice Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust to investigate and prosecute civil rights violations, incidents and crimes of bias and hate, public official misconduct, and law enforcement use-of-force cases. Mozee successfully prosecuted the Division’s first hate crime conviction and the state’s first-ever conviction of a sitting elected official. Before joining the Delaware DOJ, Mozee worked in government and policy, family law, and employment discrimination. She was associate legal counsel for Gov. John Carney, a staff attorney at Delaware Volunteer Legal Services, and a labor enforcement officer for the Delaware Department of Labor Office of Anti-Discrimination. She is also an active member of the Delaware State Bar Association’s Multicultural Judges & Lawyer Section and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Breakfast and Day of Service Executive Committee. Additionally, she has held leadership roles for the Delaware Barristers Association and the American Constitution Society of Delaware. With a fervent belief in community service, Mozee participates in outreach and advocacy efforts involving public policy, hate crimes education, fair housing, disability rights, employment discrimination, criminal justice reform, and voting rights. She has been recognized by many local and national organizations for her work, including the Delaware Business Times, which honored her as a “Top 40 Under 40 Professional” in 2019. Mozee looks forward to transitioning to a full-time teaching role at the Wilmington University School of Law. She is a graduate of the New York Law School. 

 

Lawrence Ponoroff

Lawrence Ponoroff

Lawrence Ponoroff is both a professor at Wilmington University and professor emeritus at Tulane University Law School. He also served as professor and dean at Michigan State University College of Law, where he successfully negotiated the agreement leading to the full integration of the College of Law with Michigan State. From 2009 to 2016, Ponoroff was the Samuel M. Fegtly Chair in Commercial Law at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, where he was also dean. Additionally, Ponoroff served as the dean of Tulane Law School and held the Mitchell Franklin Professorship in Private and Commercial Law. Earlier in his career, Ponoroff was a partner with Holme Roberts & Owen (now Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP), a Denver-based firm specializing in corporate and commercial litigation. He is the author or co-author of over 30 law review articles and essays and seven books focused on business and consumer bankruptcy, contracts, and commercial law. Ponoroff served by appointment of the Chief Justice of the United States on the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules to the U.S. Judicial Conference and the Bankruptcy Judges Education Committee of the Federal Judicial Center. From 1992 through 1994, he was a reporter to the Long-Range Planning Subcommittee of the Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System of the Judicial Conference of the United States. Ponoroff is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He has previously served on the Board of Governors of the Arizona State Bar and the Louisiana State Bar Association, the Board of Directors of the American Board of Certification, the Louisiana Supreme Court Historical Society, and the Advisory Board of the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review. In 2003, Ponoroff was elected as an American College of Bankruptcy Fellow. A graduate of Stanford Law School, Ponoroff has taught as a visitor at the University of Michigan Law School, Wayne State University Law School (Detroit), and as a faculty member at the University of Toledo College of Law where for two years, he was associate dean for Academic Affairs. He earned student-voted teaching excellence awards from four law schools.

 

Alex J. Smalls

Alex J. Smalls

Alex J. Smalls was appointed Chief Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in 1997 and was the first African American in Delaware to become a Chief Judge of a State Court. Early in his career, Smalls worked in the New Castle Law Department, the Wilmington City Solicitor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office. In 1985, he returned to the City of Wilmington as the Commissioner of Licenses and Inspection, followed by an appointment to the position of Director of Public Safety for the City of Wilmington. After serving in this role for six years, he was appointed Associate Judge of the Municipal Court for the City of Wilmington in 1991. From there, he moved into the Chief Judge of the Court of Common Pleas position. In addition, he served on the Governor’s Justice Reinvestment Task Force, the Delaware Racial Justice Improvement Project Task Force, and the Delaware Criminal Justice Council. Previously, Smalls was chairman of the Community Legal Society, and served on the Board of Directors of  the Layton Home and the Board of Trustees for both St. Edmond’s Academy for Boys and Ezion-Mount Carmel United Methodist Church. In a story for Delaware Public Media upon his retirement from the Court in 2021, Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Collins J. Seitz Jr. said that Smalls “led one of the State’s busiest courts with great distinction. Litigants and attorneys who appeared before him, and his judicial colleagues, know the Chief Judge as a humble, caring, and compassionate man. We thank him for his service to the citizens of the First State.” Smalls is a graduate of the Rutgers University School of Law.

 

Patricia Wise

Patricia Wise

Patricia Wise is a nationally known employment law practitioner. She has been interviewed by NPR, quoted in the Wall Street Journal and The Economist, and has contributed to publications from San Francisco to Atlanta. Wise has testified before a Congressional subcommittee, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the California State Legislature. Wise was appointed by former EEOC Chair Jenny Yang to its Select Task Force on Workplace Harassment and is a past member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Labor Relations Special Expertise Panel, which she co-chaired in 2014–2015. She has trained thousands in civil rights and employment law, including state banking associations throughout the country, and has been a part-time professor for the University of Toledo College of Law for 20 years. Wise is a member of the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin in Madison faculty. She has published books on harassment and retaliation, most recently the third edition of her book, “Understanding and Preventing Workplace Retaliation,” published by the Thompson Publishing Group. Wise previously served as in-house counsel to a multi-billion-dollar bank holding company and was appointed as special counsel by the Ohio Attorney General from 2003-2007. She is certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a labor and employment law specialist and represents diverse clients of all sizes and industries. In 2014, the Ohio Supreme Court appointed Wise as a member of the Board of Professional Conduct, where she served for nine years, including two as chair. For over 10 years, she has held Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent rating, the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. Wise is a College of Labor and Employment Lawyers member and a certified Title IX investigator. Wise is a graduate of The University of Toledo College of Law.

 

Group photo of the Law School Faculty

In addition to the previously listed faculty, the Law School team includes: (far left) Jeffrey Zavrotny, associate dean of Admissions; Kim Gattuso, associate dean of Experiential Learning; Taylor Warrington Purcell, administrative assistant; (fifth from left) Harvey Morrell, law librarian; Dean Phillip Closius; (fourth from right) Heather Karns, associate dean of Career Services; (second from right) Laurie Meehan, associate dean of Academics.

Bios were supplied by the faculty. For more information about the Wilmington University School of Law, visit law.wilmu.edu.

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