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James D. Hopkins Professor of Law Memorial Lecture

September 12, 2012, 4 pm, Judicial Institute Lecture Hall
Reception immediately following in the Great Hall

Professor Linda C. Fentiman
James D. Hopkins Professor of Law

"Are Mothers Hazardous to their Children’s Health: Law, Culture, and the Framing of Risk"

RSVP to Brenda Thornton: or 914.422.4123


Contrary to their self-image as the ultimate loving nurturers, mothers today find themselves cast in an unlikely role. The media, government, and healthcare professionals are putting a spotlight on mothers as a danger to their children’s health. In this thought-provoking lecture, Professor Fentiman examines why this is happening and debunks the thinking that underlies it. Specifically, she considers the social and psychological forces that shape our understanding of risk and explores how American law is reinforcing prevailing stereotypes about what mothers must do to assure that their children are healthy. Professor Fentiman asserts that the current obsession with the ways in which mothers can affect their children’s health is misguided. It distorts government policy decisions, denies individuals important medical and child-rearing choice, and ignores the other powerful sources of harm to children, both human and environmental. This in turn diverts public attention, and resources, away from the many serious threats of harm to children. It prevents the government from taking meaningful public health actions which would limit harm to children in the future, as well as holding accountable those who have harmed children in the past.


Professor Linda C. Fentiman has been named as the James D. Hopkins Professor of Law for the 2011-2013 academic years. The Hopkins professorship is an endowed chair established to honor Judge James D. Hopkins, who served as interim dean of Pace Law School from 1982-83. The Chair is awarded every two years to a faculty member who has made extraordinary contributions to the law school primarily in the areas of scholarship and teaching.


Justice James D. Hopkins
Interim Dean (1982–1983),
Pace Law School

The James D. Hopkins Professor of Law is an endowed chair established with contributions from alumni/ae of Pace Law School and members of the legal community to honor Judge James D. Hopkins who served as Interim Dean of the Law School in 1982–1983. The title of James D. Hopkins Professor of Law is held by a distinguished member of the faculty for a two-year term in recognition of outstanding scholarship and teaching. The Hopkins Lecture is delivered by the honoree in the fall semester of the first year.

Judge James D. Hopkins' service to society and to the legal community was a shining example of the life one should live in the law. At the time of his retirement from the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court in December, 1981, he had served with distinction at the highest level of all three branches of the Westchester County Government: legislative, executive and judicial.

A lifelong resident of Westchester County, Judge Hopkins began his legal career as an associate with Strang & Taylor and later became partner of Bleakley, Platt and Walker, now known as Bleakley Platt & Schmidt. In 1954, he became County Executive of Westchester County following a one-year term as majority leader of the Westchester County Board of Supervisors which he also served as Chairman from 1952-1953. Judge Hopkins was Councilman and later Town Supervisor of the Town of North Castle. On appointment by Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Judge Hopkins served on the New York State Supreme Court, 9th Judicial District, a post to which he was subsequently elected, in 1960, for a 14-year term. He joined the Appellate Division, Second Department, in 1962.

Judge Hopkins passed away at the age of 84 in 1996. Pace University School of Law owes a special debt to Judge Hopkins. He served as Interim Dean at a critical time in its development, from 1982-1983, and served as Honorary Chair of its Board of Visitors. We are honored to have our first Chair in Law bear his name.


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