Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Faculty Profile

Alan L. Calnan

Alan L. Calnan

Professor of Law

B.A., cum laude, History, 1981, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania; J.D., magna cum laude, 1985, Syracuse University; Member, Pennsylvania State Bar

Courses    Publications

Phone: (213) 738-6811
Office: BW317

Alan Calnan developed a profound interest in jurisprudence and the social policies that influence it while serving as Notes and Comments editor of the Syracuse Law Review. Today, that interest has led him to explore the roots of tort law in his book Justice and Tort Law and his forthcoming book, Duty and Integrity in Tort Law. His 2005 book, A Revisionist History of Tort Law, has garnered numerous outstanding reviews.

"I love the interaction with students. If I do my job well, I can cause them to see the world in a completely different way."

Professor Calnan has examined law from the perspectives of student, researcher, judicial clerk, law firm litigation associate, professor, and consultant. He began his career as a judicial clerk to Judge Donald E. Wieand of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, and went on to serve as a litigation associate with the firm of White & Williams. He found he missed the intellectual rigor of academic life, and left practice to accept a faculty position at Villanova University School of Law.

In 1990, he joined the Southwestern faculty. About teaching, Professor Calnan says, "I love the interaction with students. If I do my job well, I can cause them to see the world in a completely different way." His students believe that he has been successful in doing just that, and in 1999, he received Southwestern's Excellence in Teaching Award. He was named as the Irving D. and Florence Rosenberg Professor of Law that same year, the Paul E. Treusch Professor of Law in 2004, and the Irwin R. Buchalter Professor of Law in 2010 for his outstanding teaching, professional accomplishments and service to Southwestern.

Professor Calnan's expertise has been tapped by such agencies as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Marking, Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive Materials, in a study of means to combat terrorist bombings. He has been quoted on an extensive array of tort and product liability issues (ranging from municipal liability to the liability of dog food, automobile, cigarette, gun, breast implant and halogen lamp manufacturers) by The Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Arizona Republic, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Chicago Sun-Times, and other major newspapers, television, cable and radio outlets around the country.


Books and Chapters

THE RIGHT TO CIVIL DEFENSE IN TORTS (Carolina Academic Press, June 2013)

DUTY AND INTEGRITY IN TORT LAW (Carolina Academic Press, 2009)


CONTAINING THE THREAT FROM ILLEGAL BOMBINGS (with the National Research Council Committee on Marketing, Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive Materials; National Academy Press, 1998)

JUSTICE AND TORT LAW (Carolina Academic Press, 1997)

Reasonableness, Justice, and the No-Duty-to-Rescue Rule of Torts in TORT REFORM DEBATE: EMERGING TRENDS (B. Padmashree ed.; Amicus Books, 2008)

Course Structure: Negligence and Duty First; De-Mystifying Causation; Teaching Palsgraf; and Visualizing Foreseeability in TEACHING THE LAW SCHOOL CURRICULUM (S. Friedland and G. Hess, eds.; Carolina Academic Press, 2004)


The Distorted Reality of Civil Recourse Theory, 60 CLEVELAND STATE LAW REVIEW 159 (2012)

The Instrumental Justice of Private Law, 78 UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY LAW REVIEW 559 (2010)

Perspectives on Asbestos Litigation: Overview and Preview, 37 SOUTHWESTERN LAW REVIEW 459 (co-authored with B. Stier; 2008)

Strict Liability and the Liberal-Justice Theory of Torts, 38 NEW MEXICO LAW REVIEW 95 (2008)

The Fault(s) in Negligence Law, 25 QUINNIPIAC LAW REVIEW 695 (2007)

Anomalies in Intentional Tort Law, 1 TENNESSEE JOURNAL OF LAW AND POLICY 187 (2005)

In Defense of the Liberal Justice Theory of Torts: A Reply to Professors Goldberg and Zipursky, NYU JOURNAL OF LAW AND LIBERTY (2005)

A Consumer-Use Approach to Products Liability, 33 UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS LAW REVIEW 755 (Summer 2003) cited in Baseball Bats in the High Tech Era: A Products Liability Look at New Technology, Aluminum Bats, and Manufacturer Liability, 16 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 353 (M.R. Wilmot; 2006)

Defusing Bomb-Blast Terrorism: A Legal Survey of Technological and Regulatory Alternatives, 67 TENNESSEE LAW REVIEW 177 (with A. Taslitz; 1999)

Distributive and Corrective Justice Issues in Contemporary Tobacco Litigation, 27 SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 577 (1998) and ARISTOTLE AND MODERN LAW (R. Brooks and J. Murphy, eds.; Ashgate Press, 2003)

Ending the Punitive Damage Debate, 45 DEPAUL LAW REVIEW 301 (1995) cited in "Punishment by the People: Rethinking the Jury's Political Role in Assigning Punitive Damages," 56 DUKE LAW JOURNAL 1110 (N.S. Chapman; 2007)

Ending the Punitive Damage Debate, 45 DEPAUL LAW REVIEW 301 (1995)

The Admissibility of Insurance Questions During Voir Dire: A Critical Survey of Federal Approaches and Proposals for Change, 44 RUTGERS LAW REVIEW 241 (1992) (reprinted in 42 DEFENSE LAW JOURNAL 135, 1993)

The Insurance Exclusionary Rule Revisited: Are Reports of Its Demise Exaggerated?, 52 OHIO STATE LAW JOURNAL 1177 (1991)

Perpetuating Negligence Principles in Strict Products Liability: The Use of State of the Art Concepts in Design Cases, 36 SYRACUSE LAW REVIEW 797 (1985)



Selected Achievements

Consultant, Committee on Marketing, Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive Materials, National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences, 1996-98