Amy Sepinwall is Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the Wharton School.
After graduating law school, she clerked for the Honorable Louis H. Pollak of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Prior to her appointment at Wharton, Sepinwall was an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. Her research calls for an expansion of the understandings of responsibility standardly advanced in law and ethics, and a deflation of the conception of the corporation pervading much legal and public discourse.
More specifically, she has two research streams, the first looking at questions of responsibility for financial and corporate wrongdoing, and the second interrogating the notion of corporate constitutional rights. Articles emerging from the first research stream address questions about assigning responsibility for corporate crimes: When and why it is appropriate to prosecute and punish corporations, or the executives who work for them? And when is it appropriate to have innocent beneficiaries of a corporate or financial crime return the proceeds they earned from that crime (e.g., when and why might it be appropriate for those who innocently profited from the Madoff Ponzi scheme to return their “winnings”?).
Articles emerging from the second stream seek to gain clarity on the kind of citizen the corporation is, for purposes of delineating the scope and strength of its constitutional rights. Prior work has addressed the criminalization of harm to the unborn, reparations for slavery, the responsibility of commanders for atrocities committed by their troops, and the responsibility of citizens for transgressions committed by their nation-state. Her works-in-progress seek to articulate an over-arching theoretical framework that will serve as a complement to the traditional, individualist paradigm, and help assign responsibility for collective wrongdoing.
She received her B.A. with First Class Honors in Philosophy and English from McGill University, where she also earned a Masters degree in Bioethics. She graduated with a JD from Yale Law School, and a PhD in Philosophy, with Distinction, from Georgetown.