Professor Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer delivers James D. Hopkins Professor of Law lecture

October 7, 2021
Professor Leslie Tenzer

Professor Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer delivered the James D. Hopkins Professor of Law Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, October 6, on "Social Media and the Common Law." Dean Horace Anderson appointed Professor Tenzer as the James D. Hopkins Professor of Law for the 2019-2021 term. During the holder's term, the James D. Hopkins Professor delivers a lecture that is open to the entire law school community and members of the public.

"Social Media is the technology that connects people." Professor Tenzer opened her Hopkins lecture with this statement. The lively and well-attended lecture, with over 100 audience members in person and over 80 watching remotely, was presented in three parts. The first part covered the History of Social Media, the second discussed Social Media Wrongs and the Law Courts Use to Resolve Them, and the last covered the Benefits and Burdens of Relying on Precedent. Throughout the lecture, Professor Tenzer noted that the framers of the United States Constitution and those who created the early common law were no strangers to printed media. However, they could not have anticipated the widespread ability of average citizens to communicate instantaneously with large audiences via platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The lecture acknowledged that despite this, these early eighteenth-century laws provide an excellent foundation for resolving issues at the intersection of social media and the legal system in the twenty-first century. 

Professor Tenzer concluded her lecture by noting that "while we are losing the opportunity to regulate social media through courts – and legislators and Congress have kind of dropped the ball in acting – the one good takeaway is that our judicial system is doing what it is intended to do, which is relying on cases they have decided before in reaching its new conclusions."

After the lecture, audience members had an opportunity to comment and ask questions. Many members of the audience, including numerous law students, shared their concerns. Most questions focused on the future of litigating social media claims.  

Professor Tenzer's presentation centered on much of her research agenda, which focuses on regulating conduct in the digital age. Before coming to Pace, Professor Tenzer was a legislative attorney in the Legal Division of the Council of the City of New York. At Haub Law, she currently teaches and writes in Commercial Law, including Contracts and UCC Article 2, Criminal Law, Torts and Social Media Law Law. Professor Tenzer's most recent scholarship focuses on issues concerning emotional harm and the impact of the Internet on the law. In addition to her regular teaching at Pace, Professor Tenzer is the host of Law to Fact, a podcast for law students.  Professor Tenzer regularly lectures nationally, most often on issues concerning Affirmative Action and Social Media Law.

The Hopkins lecture is the culmination of Professor Tenzer’s two year endowed chair title as Hopkins Professor. The title of James D. Hopkins Professor of Law is awarded to a member of the faculty for a two-year term in recognition of outstanding scholarship and teaching. The designation is among the Law School’s most significant faculty honors. The Hopkins Professor is selected by the Dean in consultation with the former holders of the Hopkins Chair. Professor Noa Ben-Asher was appointed as the James D. Hopkins Professor of Law for the 2021-2023 term. You can learn more about the James D. Hopkins Professor of Law chair and its past recipients here.


About Elisabeth Haub School of Law

Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University offers JD and Masters of Law degrees in both Environmental and International Law, as well as a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Environmental Law. The school, housed on the University’s campus in White Plains, N.Y., opened its doors in 1976 and has more than 9,000 alumni around the world. The school maintains a unique philosophy and approach to legal education that strikes an important balance between practice and theory. Haub Law launched its Environmental Law Program in 1978, and it has long been ranked among the world’s leading university programs, with a current #1 ranking by U.S. World and News Report. Pace’s doctoral graduates teach environmental law at universities around the world. Pace’s JD alumni are prominent in environmental law firms, agencies and non-profit organizations across the U.S. and abroad. In 2016, the Law School received a transformational gift from the family of Elisabeth Haub, in recognition of its outstanding environmental law programs. For more information about Haub Law, visit


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