Professor Hopkins Developing Course on Intersection of Torts and Public Policy as Brody-O’Neill Endowed Faculty Scholar

Professor Kevin Hopkins teaching in the classroom

Professor Kevin L. Hopkins, recently announced as the inaugural Brody-O’Neill Endowed Faculty Scholar, will begin development on a new course, entitled Law at the Intersection, in Spring 2022. The course, which will more deeply explore the intersection of tort law and contemporary public policy issues, will be open to UIC Law students, as well as students in other UIC graduate programs.

Law at the Intersection represents a natural convergence of Professor Hopkins’s longtime interests. Before attending law school, Hopkins had earned his master’s in public policy at Duke University. During his graduate work he recognized developing knowledge of the law was central to his greater understanding of legislation and public policy. That realization pushed him to law school, and ultimately, to become a law professor. But due to time constraints, the seasoned Torts professor has never had time to explore the collateral policy issues raised by courts and legislatures in his classes.

“Teaching Torts and Advanced Torts, I could only touch on these topics; never explore them in greater detail,” offers Professor Hopkins. “By developing and teaching a course like Law at the Intersection, I’ll be able to provide students with greater context for delving into these important discussions and offer a richer, broader view of how the law intersects with moral and contemporary policy issues.”    

The completed Law at the Intersection course will expose students to challenges policy makers must evaluate, such as how to apportion damages or the role insurance should play in a typical civil suit. Topics may also include causation and public policy, wrongful birth/life/death, vicarious liability, tort reform movements, punitive damages, reparations, “stand your ground” laws, invasion of privacy, and misuse of the legal system.

Professor Hopkins joined UIC Law in 1996 and has been named the student body’s favorite professor multiple times. Before joining the law school, he taught at Widener University School of Law from 1991–1996. He has also taught as a Visiting Professor at Seattle University School of Law, Rutgers University School of Law, and Washington & Lee School of Law, as well as the East China University of Politics & Law in Shanghai, China, and the State Intellectual Property Office in Beijing. His scholarship has been published in the Georgetown Law Journal, the Rutgers Law Review, the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law, the Boston College Third World Law Journal, and the New York University Review of Law & Social Change, among others. He researches and writes in the areas of tort law, legal ethics, and race.

Created in 2018, the Brody-O’Neill Endowed Faculty Scholar fund was established to encourage innovative teaching projects and new practices in legal education. The Brody-O’Neill Endowed Faculty Scholar position, which recognizes professors who either have a proven track record of teaching excellence or are emerging as excellent teachers, emphasizes the importance of faculty development and excellence in the classroom by providing awardees with the time and funds to develop new and innovative courses and/or teaching techniques. At the conclusion of the awardee’s two-year term, the faculty scholar will present their teaching project and related implementation for the betterment of the UIC Law faculty body.

Named to honor the teaching legacies of Professors Susan L. Brody and Timothy P. O’Neill, who taught at the Law School from 1982 until the end of 2018, the fund has been generously supported by several alumni who fondly remember and recognize the impact of their teaching.

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