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University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer/Fall 2016

which in 1991 had its Chardonnay ranked as the best of the year by Wine Spectator magazine. Kirlin says joining McGeorge to found the public policy programs was the confluence of “an unusual constellation of opportunities.” He credits the school’s status as the nation’s only law school dedicated to teaching public policy plus its commitment to engaging public policy issues in the rich cauldron offered in Sacramento. “This program has great potential,” Kirlin says. “I’m looking forward to it growing and having an impact.” A self-described “political obsessive,” Parento encourages hands-on learning in the classroom. Parento has worked up close on health care policy, including advising on the ACA’s initial rollout. Parento served under former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear as the state’s executive director of the Office of Health Policy, where in the ACA’s first year, Kentucky experienced the largest percentage decrease in uninsured individuals in the country. “I saw how it affects the lives of real people,” she says. She was also instrumental in procuring grants, including one for $2 million to develop a State Innovation Model Design to improve health care delivery in Kentucky. Later, she worked with the National Governors Association to develop a state health workforce plan. A self-described “political obsessive,” Parento encourages hands-on learning. For instance, in her Administrative Law class, students split into small groups rather than listen to her lecture, in order to develop the ability to think like lawyers and apply what they’ve learned in real time. Similarly, in her seminar classes, students are tasked with identifying a public health problem—for example, the high cost of pharmaceuticals—and propose legal and policy solutions. “Oftentimes, the solutions are fantastic and very creative,” Parento says. This real-world approach, she adds, provides students with a clear path to starting their career. On joining the faculty in 2015, Parento was named the Gordon D. Schaber Health Law Scholar, a designation that includes funding she intends to use to hold events such as bringing in distinguished speakers on health-related law, which will be open to the general public. Jennifer Harder Enhancing the Water Law Program It’s only fitting that Assistant Professor Jennifer Harder loves teaching about water-related legal issues, as it was a teacher who instilled in her a lifelong passion for the subject. Harder, formerly an attorney and partner focused on water issues at Downey Brand LLP in Sacramento, teaches Water Resources Law as well as Water & Environmental Law Practice A and B at McGeorge. But her first exposure to the connection between the environment and the law came a long time ago. Associate Professor Emily Whelan Parento Emily Whelan Parento On the Cutting Edge of Health-Related Law A major factor in Associate Professor Emily Whelan Parento’s decision to teach an Affordable Care Act (ACA) Seminar and classes in Public Health Law and Administrative Law at McGeorge was the university’s reputation for “intersecting academics with practical, real-world impact.” In Parento’s case, that’s something she knows a thing or two about. 14 summer / fal l 20 1 6 S t e v e Y e at e r


University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer/Fall 2016
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