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Mary Kate Kearney

Professor of Law

Bepress SelectedWorks

Phone: 717.541.3918

“I enjoy working with students during their first year as they master the process of legal analysis. The most rewarding moments are when the confusion clears and students “get it” for the first time. The skills students learn in their first year are the foundation for their legal careers.” 

Mary Kate Kearney teaches and writes in the areas of torts, contracts and family law. Her writing emphasizes the role of children in the legal system and issues that affect them. Her most recent article, co-authored with a third-year student, explores adoptees’ access to information about their origin via the Internet.

Selected Publications

  • & Arrielle Millstein, Meeting the Challenges of Adoption in an Internet Age, 41 Cap. U. L. Rev. 237 (2013).
  • Identifying Sperm and Egg Donors: Opening Pandora’s Box, 13 J.L. & Fam. Stud. 215 (2011).
  • Justice Thomas in Grutter v. Bollinger: Can Passion Play a Role in Judicial Reasoning?  78 St. John’s L. Rev. 15 (2004).
  • The Propriety of Poetry in Judicial Opinions, 12 Widener L.J. 373 (2003), reprinted in 38 Int’l Soc. Barristers Q. 475 (2003).
  • DeShaney’s Legacy in Foster Care and Public School Settings, 41 Washburn L.J. 275 (2002).
  • & Mary Jane Kearney, Reflections on Good (Law) Teaching, 2001 Law Rev. Mich. St. U.-Det. C. L. 835.
  • Child Witnesses of Domestic Violence: Third Party Recovery for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, 47 Loy. L. Rev. 238 (2001).
  • A Lawyer’s Call to Integrity: A Response, 9 Widener J. Pub. L. 339 (2000).
  • The ADA, Respiratory Disabilities and Smoking: Can Smokers at Burger King Really Have It Their Way?, 50 Syracuse L. Rev. 1 (2000).
  • The New Paradigm In Custody Law: Looking at Parents With a Loving Eye, 28 Ariz. St. L.J. 543 (1996).
  • Substantive Due Process and Parental Corporal Punishment: Democracy and the Excluded Child, 32 San Diego L. Rev. 1 (1995).
  • Breaking the Silence: Tort Liability for Failing to Protect Children from Abuse, 42 Buff. L. Rev. 405 (1994).
  • & Mary Beth Beazley, Teaching Students How to Think Like Lawyers: Integrating Socratic Method With the Writing Process, 64 Temple L. Rev. 885 (1991).
  • Recognizing That They Watch, 14 Widener L.J. 437 (2005).
  • & Douglas E. Ray, Editorial, Giving Alcohol to Minors a Dangerous Act, Patriot News (Harrisburg, Pa.), July 21, 2002, at F1.
  • Editorial, Denzel Washington’s Comment Overlooked, Patriot News (Harrisburg, Pa.), March 31, 2002, at B7.
  • Editorial, Improving the game: Professional golf will benefit, not suffer, from Martin decision, Patriot News (Harrisburg, Pa.), June 7, 2001, at A19.
  • & J. Palmer Lockard II, Editorial, Child Support: Benefit Would Last Beyond Payer’s Death under Proposed Change in Custody Law, Patriot News (Harrisburg, Pa.), June 15, 1998, at A9.
  • & Greg Randall Lee, Setting the Legal Context: What is the Meaning of Equal Access to Mental Health Services, in Model State Mental Health Plan for Deaf Persons (1995).


BA, Yale University
JD, Notre Dame Law School
LLM, Harvard University Law School


Visiting Professor, “De Paul University College of Law
Visiting Assistant Professor, Loyola University School of Business, Chicago
Director,  Legal Reasoning, Writing & Research Program, Vermont Law School
Instructor, Legal Reasoning, Writing & Research Program, Vermont Law School

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Association of American Law Schools

faculty directory a-d e-k l-p q-z