Karen H. Rothenberg, J.D., M.P.A.

Karen H. Rothenberg, J.D., M.P.A., is the Dean, Marjorie Cook Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Law School and is the first woman with the distinction of holding this position in the 185-year history of the School.

A resident of Maryland for more than two decades, Dean Rothenberg has worked tirelessly and passionately on issues concerning the intersection of law and women’s healthcare. As a member of the faculty, Dean Rothenberg was the founding director of the Law and Health Care Program at the University of Maryland School of Law. She has also overseen the creation of such programs as the Women, Leadership and Equality Program, which works to encourage the development of lawyers who understand the barriers women face as leaders in society. Under her guidance as Dean, the Maryland School of Law has become one of the top ranking schools in the country, with a particularly strong program in the legal areas of healthcare, the environment and clinical experience.

Dean Rothenberg has been a leader in her field since graduating in the first class of women from the Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where she earned both her B.A. and her M.P.A. magna cum laude. After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School with the Order of the Coif, Dean Rothenberg worked for the District of Columbia law firm of Covington and Burling.

As testimony to her leadership and passion, Dean Rothenberg has received numerous appointments. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Law Deans Association, the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission and the American Bar Association Task Force on Law School Accreditation. She is also an Academic Advisor to the Business Women’s Initiative Against HIV/AIDS. In the past, Dean Rothenberg served as president of the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics and was a co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics.

Dean Rothenberg has worked closely with the National Institutes of Health to bring her legal expertise to the field of women’s healthcare. She served as a panel member for the 2006 NIH State-of-the-Science Conference on Cesarean Delivery on Maternal Request and worked as a member of the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee. Similarly, she served as a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Legal and Ethical Issues Relating to the Inclusion of Women in Clinical Studies and worked on the National Action Plan for Breast Cancer.

Despite her many commitments, Dean Rothenberg continues to produce scholarship on the issues of women’s health care and the law, including a book she co-edited, Women and Prenatal Testing: Facing the Challenges of Genetic Technology. Other recent publications include an article in Science that she co-authored with Associate Dean Diane Hoffman, entitled, “Judging Genes: When Should Judges Admit or Compel Genetic Tests?”

Dean Rothenberg has won many awards recognizing her contributions, including the 1996 Joseph Healey Health Law Teachers Award, presented by the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics. In 2002, the Maryland Women’s Law Center distinguished Dean Rothenberg with the Dorothy Beatty Memorial Achievement Award and in 2003, she was recognized by the Maryland Leadership in Law. The Daily Record has twice named Dean Rothenberg one of the Top 100 Women, in 2002 and 2006.

Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 2007.

© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2007