Donald  Joseph

Donald Joseph

Visiting Associate Professor

Contact Information

Law Office: 606
V: (215) 570-5245
F: (856) 225-6516

Areas of Expertise

Courses Recently Taught


Donald K. Joseph has been teaching full time since 1996 just after he went from partnership with Wolf Block Schorr and Solis-Cohen to Of Counsel. Since the fall of 2000, he has been Visiting Associate Professor at Rutgers, the first two years under a joint appointment teaching Professional Responsibility there and at the Temple University Beasley School of Law. At Rutgers, he has also taught Poverty Law, Seminar: Business, Ethics and Law, and both semesters of the Legal Research and Writing first year course.

Three of the courses he teaches, a simulated Professional Responsibility course, the ethics seminar and Poverty Law, each were new additions he brought to the curriculum. During January 2004 he also created and led a special month long program, under emergency conditions, for a visiting Chinese delegation from Beijing of judges and prosecutors focused on the American system of jurisprudence.

A fourth course he developed, Professionalism, was built from a discretionary attendance one into a mandatory, non-credit course for all first year students.  It began this format in the summer of 2006 with a class at orientation and has had, depending on the year, anywhere from four to twelve classes throughout the first year. It fits the growing desire by the ABA to place Professionalism into the curriculum in addition to the regular course in Professional Responsibility.  Amy Timmer and John Berry, The ABA’s Excellent and Inevitable Journey to Incorporating Professionalism in Law School Accreditation Standards, 20 ABA Prof. Law. 1 (2010).

In the spring of 2006, he served as moderator of a panel at the 32nd Annual National Conference on Professional Responsibility sponsored by the ABA's Center for Professional Responsibility. The materials he prepared for use by the conference became an article in the 2006 Symposium issue of the Professional Lawyer also published by the ABA's Center. The article is entitled Stop the Shredding: Document Retention after U.S. v. Anderson.

In the past three years, Professor Joseph has chaired an all day, annual Symposium on Equality sponsored by PILCOP: in 2009, "Inequality and Work: Facing Barriers, Creating Solutions"; in 2010, "A Quality Public Education for All—the Uses of Law to Translate Theory into Practice, 8 Rutgers.J.L.&Pub.Pol'y 205 (2010)(by amended name);and in 2011,  "Overstudied and Underserved: Uses of the Law to Promote Healthy Sustainable Neighborhoods." 9  Rutgers.J.L.&Pub.Pol'y 177 (2012)(by amended name).

Professor Joseph received his B.Sci. in Physics from MIT where he was elected to Sigma Psi, the science honorary society, and his LLB from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, cum laude. After serving a judicial clerkship to Roszel Thomsen, Jr., Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, he practiced law for 25 years, most as a partner of Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen. Since then, he has taught at the Dickinson School of Law of the Penn State University, for three years as a Joseph P. Kelly Professor of Lawyering Skills and the other two focusing on courses, both basic and advanced, in Professional Responsibility.

He has served on several professional committees and boards. He presently serves on the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee and the Professional Liability Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association

While teaching at Dickinson, he chaired the board of the nationally known, then ten lawyer public interest law firm, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, known to many as PILCOP. At the same time he continued to litigate, trying to decision a case involving the ethics of a lawyer's writing a codicil adding as a substantial beneficiary the wife of the lawyer's older brother, a common pleas court judge. He has remained active at PILCOP, since 2004 acting as its Vice Chair until 2008.

In practice, Professor Joseph litigated in numerous diverse, complex, commercial areas, such as antitrust, banking, class action, government and private contracts, labor, health care, patent, real estate, RICO, securities, toxic tort, and the uniform commercial code. For many years, he worked primarily in environmental litigation, the area for which he was listed in Best Lawyers in America. He served for several years as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Chemical and Hazard and Waste Litigation Reporter, and has been an author, and a speaker at environmental seminars, both bar association and industry oriented before he began his second career as a professor, where he has participated in several similar seminars..

While Professor Joseph's major focus in the environmental area has been in litigation, he served as the principal contact to a Fortune 1000 chemical manufacturer with respect to a myriad of environmental areas. His environmental representation began with two of the first multiparty Superfund litigations in the country, United States v. Wade, 546 F.Supp. 785; (E.D.Pa. 1982), appeal dismissed, 713 F.2d 49 (3d Cir. 1983), later proceedings, 577 F. Supp. 1326 (E.D.Pa. 1983) and 653 F.Supp. 11, (E.D.Pa. 1984) and the Enterprise Avenue case, City of Philadelphia v. Stepan Chemical Co., 544 F.Supp. 1135 (E.D.Pa. 1982). He litigated the liability phase of the $80 million, four-party Superfund case U.S. v. Tyson, 1989WL 159256 (E.D.B. 1989) involving the drinking water of Norristown, Pa., and was the one of a four person settlement committee that accomplished one of the earliest multiparty settlements under Superfund, cf. U.S. v. Price, 523 F.Supp. 1055, (D. N.J. 1981) affirmed, 688 F.2d 204 (3rd Cir. 1982) involving fifty parties and their often multiple insurers, a case arising out of threats to the drinking water of Atlantic City. See Jerome B. Simandle, Resolving Multiparty Hazardous Waste Litigation, 2 Vill. Envtl. L.J. 111 (1991), esp. fnte 36. These cases have provided seminal opinions in such areas as the responsibility of private parties to governmental agencies for hazardous waste clean-ups and for the nature of that responsibility. They have also led him into the environmental insurance area, where he was been involved in recovering for the firm's clients legal fees and coverage for these clean-ups.

During his four decades plus as a member of the bar, he has had to grapple with numerous professional ethics issues and has consulted as an expert witness in this area. At one point, he was called the Thomas More of the litigation department at Wolf, Block for a position he took involving one of the firm's clients.

After graduating MIT, he first worked in basic research for Fairchild Semiconductor in the Silicon Valley outside San Francisco. He then served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cape Coast, Ghana.

He lives in Elkins Park, PA, with his wife, Dr. Harriet B. Joseph, Director, University Scholars Program, University of Pennsylvania. Their elder child, Rachel, having earned her a joint JD and MSW from the University of North Carolina, has worked for four years the Center for the Study of Social Policy in DC, and is now Special Assistant to Deputy Mayor, for Human Services for the District itself. Their younger, Seth, a recent cum laude graduate of Temple University, Philadelphia, PA majoring in sociology, is employed by Stellar Tickets, a reseller of tickets mainly for sports events.


Stop the Shredding: Document Retention after U.S. v. Anderson, Professional Lawyer, 2006 Symposium Issue13 (ABA Center For Profesisional Responsibility)

Pa Ethics Handbook, PBI (3rd ed. 2011) (Editor, Chapt 7, Lawyer As Advocate)

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