Meet Our Faculty and Staff
The Northeastern University faculty represents a wide cross-section of professional practices in fields ranging from finance to education to biomedical science to management to the U.S. military. They serve as mentors and advisors, and collaborate alongside students to solve the most pressing global challenges facing established and emerging markets.
The distinguished faculty who teach courses in Northeastern Law’s online Master of Laws program have served as counsel on pivotal cases, published important papers and books, and worked at law firms across the country.
Learn more about the professors in the online Master of Laws program.
University of California Los Angeles, BA 1998
University of California Los Angeles, JD 2001
Professor Jeff Blank is a business litigation attorney at Garcia Rainey Blank & Bowerbank, which has been certified by Supplier Clearinghouse as a women-owned law firm. Professor Blank specializes in all forms of commercial litigation, intellectual property law, sports law, employment litigation and contracts, real estate law, and alternative dispute resolution.
As a certified baseball agent and sports attorney, Professor Blank has represented baseball players in baseball arbitration cases and has handled arbitration work for other baseball agents for their clients. In 2008, Professor Blank obtained the second largest raise of any major league baseball player through the arbitration process and in 2009, he obtained a contract in excess of $7 million through the arbitration process for his client Garrett Atkins.
Professor Blank also represents agents and sports agencies in various matters, including grievance proceedings and the drafting of employment agreements. He has served as an adjunct professor in Sports Law, most recently teaching the class at UC Irvine School of Law.
Professor Blank’s most recent accomplishments include a bench trial victory in a lawsuit involving an ownership dispute concerning a duplex, and the obtaining of a dismissal of a lawsuit brought by six operators of medical marijuana dispensaries regarding the constitutionality of a city’s total ban on such dispensaries. He is currently one of the two lead attorneys representing a cosmetics industry manufacturing giant in a lawsuit against several of its former employees for claims including trade secret misappropriation.
Professor Blank began his legal career at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, one of the top law firms in the country. He was a member of the firm’s Business Trial practice group and the Real Estate and Land Use Litigation practice group and was in charge of mentoring and handling assignment coordination for the summer associates in the Orange County office. Professor Blank was elected by his peers to serve on the firm’s Associate Issues Committee. He served as the lead associate on the litigation team that represented the City of Anaheim in the high profile lawsuit brought against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim regarding the team name change.
In December 2014, Professor Blank was selected as one of the Most Influential People In Orange County, California by the Orange County Register and was featured in the Laguna Niguel News, an edition of the Orange County Register.
Professor Blank has served as the volunteer attorney coach for the Trabuco Hills High School mock trial team for the past seven seasons. In 2014, Professor Blank was recognized as the Constitutional Rights Foundation-Orange County Mock Trial Attorney Coach of the Year.
Manhattan College, BA 2007
University of New Hampshire School of Law, JD 2013
Vincent DePalo teaches courses in Torts and Financial Transactions at Northeastern. In his private practice, Mr. DePalo specializes in complex civil litigation, including toxic torts, environmental claims, and commercial disputes. His courtroom experience includes securing a defense verdict in the first joint asbestos-tobacco trial in Massachusetts history.
Mr. DePalo has been published in both scientific and legal journals. As an attorney, Mr. DePalo extensively researched attorney-directed voir dire and jury dynamics. That work culminated in a law review article authored jointly with Associate Justice Dennis J. Curran and published in the Suffolk Journal of Trial and Appellate Advocacy, entitled “Attorney-Directed Voir Dire Comes to Massachusetts: The Republic is Safe.” Most recently, Mr. DePalo co-authored the Massachusetts law chapter of the “Claims Professional Desk Reference” published by The Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel.
In addition to teaching at Northeastern, Mr. DePalo has been invited to lecture at Brown, Tufts, and Roger Williams School of Law. He also frequently presents at Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (M.C.L.E.) and Massachusetts Bar Association programs.
The Massachusetts Bar Association selected Mr. DePalo as a Fellow in the 2017-2018 Leadership Academy. He currently serves as a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Judicial Administration Council.
University of Connecticut, BA
Harvard University, JD
Fernande (“Nan”) R.V. Duffly, former Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, was born in Indonesia on December 10, 1949. She received her BA from the University of Connecticut in 1973, and her JD from Harvard Law School in 1978. Justice Duffly began her legal career in 1978 as an attorney in the litigation department of the Boston law firm then known as Warner and Stackpole. She teaches courses on Civil Procedure and Family Law.
Justice Duffly served on the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court from 1992-2000; on the Massachusetts Appeals Court from 2000 to 2011; and was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court on February 1, 2011, by Governor Deval Patrick.
As an attorney, she provided pro bono legal services to indigent clients through the Volunteer Lawyers Project. She also served on the Boston Bar Association’s committees on pro se litigation and attorney volunteerism; the Probate and Family Court’s committee on pro se access to the courts; the ABA subcommittee on representation of children; and the Supreme Judicial Court’s Standing Committee on substance abuse.
Justice Duffly is a member and past President of the National Association of Women Judges. She is NAWJ’s delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates, and has served three years as a Commissioner on the ABA ‘s Commission on the Status of Women in the Profession, and one year as a Commissioner on the Special Committee on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities. She has served on the Resolutions Committee of the ABA’s Minority Caucus. Justice Duffly has served on the Center for Women in Law’s Women’s Power Summit Advisory Board since 2013. She is also a member of the CWIL Consortium for Advancing Women Lawyers and was instrumental in its inception.
Justice Duffly has written articles and taught seminars on various subjects. She speaks frequently on topics related to ensuring access to justice, increasing diversity in the courts and advancing women and minorities in the profession. Justice Duffly has received numerous awards including the Distinguished Service Award from the Probate Judge’s Association; the Distinguished Jurist Award from the Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers; and the Trailblazer Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. She has also been recognized as a Diversity Hero by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and was named a 2008 Woman of Justice, an award co-sponsored by Lawyers Weekly, the Women’s Bar Association and Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers. In 2011, the ABA Business Law Section presented Justice Duffly with its annual award honoring a woman judge who has contributed to the advancement of women in the legal profession; in 2012 NAWJ bestowed on Justice Duffly its highest honor, named after founding member Joan Dempsey Klein.
Paul R. Carey Award, SEC
Northeastern University, JD
University of Massachusetts, BBA in Accounting
Professor Forni is a trial attorney with extensive experience leading litigations – including federal trials – and enforcement investigations involving complex securities fraud, securities registration violations and broker-dealer or investment adviser rules. Prior to joining DLA Piper, he served as a trial and enforcement attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for 15 years, where he coordinated parallel investigations with agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and worked on matters with the assistance of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Additionally, he was a member of the SEC’s Market Abuse Unit, focusing on matters related to complex insider trading, broker-dealer and hedge fund conduct and market manipulation.
Professor Forni previously worked as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, where he conducted federal jury trials in cases concerning conspiracy; securities, mail and wire fraud; witness tampering; false statements; and structuring. He also worked on all aspects of criminal prosecutions, including grand jury investigations and plea negotiations.
University of Southern California, AB 1986
Yale University, JD 1989
James Hackney was appointed dean of the law school on July 1, 2018; he joined the faculty in 1992. From 2013 to 2015, he served as the law school’s associate dean for entrepreneurial programs and research support. In that role, he launched the law school’s first online programs for non-lawyers, which focus on the increasing importance of law and regulations in such fields as health, human resources, intellectual property, and compliance. After Northeastern President Aoun tapped him to become his chief of staff in 2016, Dean Hackney managed the president’s staff and worked closely with his top leadership team to devise university strategy. He was deeply involved in developing Northeastern 2025, the university’s new academic plan. He also co-chaired the Presidential Council on Diversity and Inclusion.
Dean Hackney teaches and conducts research in the areas of intellectual history, torts, corporate finance, corporations, the mutual fund industry, law and economics, and critical race theory. He is the author of two acclaimed books: “Under Cover of Science: American Legal-Economic Theory and the Quest for Objectivity” (Duke University Press, 2007) and “Legal Intellectuals in Conversation: Reflections on the Construction of Contemporary American Legal Theory” (New York University Press, 2012).
Prior to joining the Northeastern faculty, Dean Hackney was an associate with the Los Angeles law firm of Irell & Manella. He was a book review and comment editor of the Yale Law Journal during law school.
Harvard University, BA
St. John’s College, MA
Duke University School of Law, JD
At Northeastern, Professor Hart teaches courses on Privacy Law, Compliance, and Data Regulation. With significant trial litigation, appellate advocacy and data privacy and security experience, Professor Hart has counseled and represented sovereign nations, Fortune 500 companies, start-up companies, non-profits, and individuals in a wide variety of contexts for over a decade. He represents clients before the U.S. Supreme Court, argues in appellate courts across the country, including successfully before the Massachusetts Appeals Court and Supreme Judicial Court; and advocates on behalf of clients in federal and state courts nationwide. He also frequently represents clients in significant internal investigations.
As a civil litigator in U.S. courts, Professor Hart has helped obtain successful outcomes for clients before, during and after trial. He has successfully defended national law firms against allegations of legal malpractice and employment discrimination; represented sovereign nations in high-stakes suits brought by private litigants; defended large corporations in patent infringement suits; defended against large and complex claims arising out of lengthy construction contracts; and challenged state and federal administrative actions. Professor Hart also represents companies and individuals in investigations brought by federal and local law enforcement authorities, including the Massachusetts State Attorney General’s office.
Wellesley College, BA
Columbia Law School, JD
Professor Mary Landergan currently serves as counsel to Rich May, PC. She is a lawyer with extensive experience in contracts, litigation, first amendment law, international law entertainment law, copyright law, trademark law, corporate law, privacy, employment law and government regulation. Work experience includes New York City law firms, in-house counsel at CBS and ABC, independent consultant for WGBH and Draper Labs, in addition to serving as counsel at Rich May since 2006. Mary has taught for over 20 years most recently as Associate Teaching Professor and Director of IP CO-LAB at Northeastern University School of Law and earlier as an adjunct professor, first at Suffolk University School of Law and then at Northeastern School of Law. In addition to teaching Constitutional Law for Northeastern’s LLM program, Mary has taught Mass Media Law, Entertainment Law, Intellectual Property Law, Antitrust Law, Professional Responsibility, First Amendment Law and Trademark Law. Her pro bono experience includes work in following fields: human rights, domestic violence, bullying, global health and immigration.
Mary graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors from Wellesley College with a degree in English and Psychology. She also received a Master’s Degree with honors specializing in Anglo-Irish Literature from University College, Dublin, Ireland and a JD from Columbia University School of Law where she was selected as an International Fellow. She currently serves on the Boards of Medicines for Humanity and the Melrose Alliance Against Violence.
Professor of Law and Health Sciences
University of California, Berkeley, BA 1992
Yale University, JD 2000
Stanford University, PhD 2001
Professor Madison holds a joint appointment in the School of Law and the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. Most of her teaching and research activities are in the areas of health law, health policy, and health economics.
After receiving her undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, Professor Madison worked for two years as a research assistant with the healthcare consulting firm now known as the Lewin Group. She received a JD from Yale Law School and a PhD in economics from Stanford University before joining the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2001. She joined the Northeastern faculty in 2011. In addition to her joint appointment, she has a courtesy appointment in the Department of Economics and is an affiliated faculty member of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.
Much of Professor Madison’s work evaluates the implications of healthcare quality reporting and related trends for patients, providers and regulators. In “Regulating Health Care Quality in an Information Age,” Professor Madison argues that the health care information revolution will produce a shift from more traditional market-displacing regulation to more market-oriented regulatory approaches. In “Hospital Mergers in an Era of Quality Improvement,” she examines the implications of quality measurement for health care antitrust policy. In “The Law and Policy of Quality Reporting,” she explores the theory and practice of healthcare quality reporting and regulatory responses to reporting deficiencies. In “From HCQIA to the ACA: The Evolution of Reporting as a Quality Improvement Tool,” she explains how two different types of reporting, health care quality reporting and physician-related reporting to the National Practitioner Data Bank, could be combined to improve healthcare quality. In “Donabedian’s Legacy,” Professor Madison documents the evolution of healthcare quality-related health law and policy.
Professor Madison’s more recent articles, “Building a Better Laboratory: The Federal Role in Promoting Health System Experimentation” and “Health Regulators as Data Stewards” extend her previous work by focusing on the ways health regulators generate, use and facilitate others’ use of data.
Professor Madison has also examined law and policy related to employers’ use of health incentives. In work published in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics; the Journal of Health Politics, Policy & Law; JAMA; and the Health Affairs Blog, she considers the many legal and ethical issues that arise when employers adopt wellness programs that tie financial rewards or penalties to tobacco use, body mass index levels, or other health-related factors.
Victoria McCoy Dunkley
Assistant Teaching Professor and Director, Academic Success Program
University of Texas at Arlington, BA 2004
University of Texas at Arlington, MBA 2004
Vanderbilt University Law School, JD 2009
The University of Houston Law Center, LLM 2013
Professor McCoy Dunkley joined the faculty in 2017 and directs the law school’s Academic Success Program, which provides students with a variety of services to maximize their academic experience. Previously, she was the assistant director of academic support and bar readiness at Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Professor McCoy is a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, where she was a managing editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review. After law school, Professor McCoy clerked for the Hon. Eric L. Clay of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and later worked as a litigation associate at Mayer Brown in Chicago. She also completed an LLM in environmental, energy and natural resources law at the University of Houston Law Center.
Amherst College, BA
Harvard University, JD
Professor Robert (Rusty) Russell is an attorney and environmental consultant who over his career has worked almost exclusively with nonprofits and government agencies. He recently served as executive director of a watershed advocacy organization, the Merrimack River Watershed Council, which protects and promotes public use of the Merrimack River and its watershed, the fourth largest in New England. Professor Russell also has extensive experience collaborating with students on law- and policy-related projects, including ten years as a full-time instructor in Tufts University’s graduate Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP), where he coordinated and co-taught its Field Projects program, co-led a multidisciplinary, graduate-level water resources program, and offered courses in environmental law and policy, water and air quality, and the law of climate change.
Professor Russell also taught property law and environmental practice at the Northeastern University School of Law and energy law at Boston College Law School. For a decade, he served as an attorney and then communications director for the Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation. Prior to that, he directed the staff of a health policy program at a Massachusetts regulatory board, served as an environmental consultant to public agencies and private nonprofits, worked as a corporate lawyer and spent several years as a daily journalist.
University of California, Los Angeles, BA
University of Oxford, MPhil
Harvard Law School, JD
Professor Urman is the director of the School of Law’s online and hybrid programs and holds a joint appointment with Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, where he leads the undergraduate law and public policy program.
Professor Urman joined Northeastern University in 2009 where he has taught undergraduate and graduate classes and led several university programs. His classes explore the American Legal System, Law & Policy, Constitutional Law & the US Supreme Court. He also developed a short seminar for prelaw students to meet lawyers, policymakers and Northeastern alumni. Professor Urman lectures about law, policy and politics at learning communities around New England.
Before coming to Northeastern, he practiced law at a private law firm and served as a criminal prosecutor for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He earned his bachelor’s degree at UCLA, his M.Phil at the University of Oxford and his Juris Doctor at Harvard Law School.