The Beck Chair in Law

The Beck Chair in Law was established through the support of the Independence Foundation for the purpose of bringing to the faculty notable leaders or outstanding scholars in law or a field related to law. Beck Professors typically teach, engage with the law school community, and deliver the Beck Lecture during their tenure.

Previous Beck Professors include:

The Honorable Phyllis W. Beck

Judge Phyllis Beck
The Hon. Phyllis W. Beck

The Honorable Phyllis W. Beck has served as the Chair of the Independence Foundation, a philanthropic organization investing in people and programs that enrich the life experiences of the residents of the Philadelphia area, since 1993. It is one of the many roles in which Judge Beck has dedicated her life and career to serving the people of Philadelphia.

After graduating first in her class from Temple Law School, where she studied in the evening division, Judge Beck worked in the private sector for several years before returning to Temple as a member of the faculty. She later served as Vice Dean at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She left that post in 1981 to become the first woman to serve on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania since the court’s founding in 1896. After retiring from the Court in 2006, Judge Beck took on several public roles, including service as general counsel of the Barnes Foundation, chair of the advisory board of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, an Appellate Master for the Chester Housing Authority, and mediator for the Superior Court and in asbestos cases for the First Judicial District. She currently serves as the vice-chair of the Ethics Board of the City of Philadelphia.

Judge Beck is an active and generous member of the Temple Law community. In addition to establishing the Beck Chair in Law, Judge Beck is a member of the Temple Law School Board of Visitors and a 2003 recipient of the Temple Law Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Award.

She is the recipient of numerous other awards and honors as well, including a 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Legal Intelligencer, the 2005 Sandra Day O’Connor Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the 1997 Anne X. Alpern Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association. In 2000, she was named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania by then-Governor Tom Ridge.

The Independence Foundation

The Independence Foundation is a private, not-for-profit philanthropic organization serving Philadelphia and its surrounding Pennsylvania counties. The Foundation’s mission is to support organizations that provide services to people who do not ordinarily have access to them. With a strong focus on health, the Foundation invests in people and programs that enrich the life experiences of the residents of the Philadelphia area. In addition to health care, the Foundation extends its funding to human services, legal aid and arts & culture, building on the belief that a region that promotes physical well-being, provides equal access to services, values justice, and appreciates the arts will thrive for generations to come.

Public Interest Law Fellowships

Independence Foundation is committed to supporting free legal services for residents of the Philadelphia region. The Independence Foundation Public Interest Law Fellowship Program is a key element of this commitment. Over the past several years, many Temple Law graduates have served as Independence Fellows with local agencies, including:

Alex Dutton ’15, Education Law Center

Jacqueline Rodriguez ‘14, Nationalities Service Center

Theresa Brabson ’13, Legal Clinic for the Disabled

Tomas Bednar ’12, Legal Clinic for the Disabled

Justine Elliot ’11, Community Legal Services

Josie Hyman ’10, Community Legal Services

Benjamin Beck Coon ‘09, Legal Clinic for the Disabled

Jennifer Russell ’09, SeniorLAW Center

William Shuey ’08, Regional Housing Legal Services

Brian Wang ’08, Nationalities Service Center

Roxane Crowley ’07, SeniorLAW Center

Karly Grossman ’06, Pennsylvania Health Law Project

Aisha Baruni ’05, Community Legal Services

Margaret Retz ’05, Homeless Advocacy Project