Professor Steven L. Chanenson is one of the nation’s leading scholars in the areas of criminal law and sentencing. He serves as Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the David F. and Constance B. Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance at the Charles Widger School of Law at Villanova University. Earlier in his career, Professor Chanenson served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in the Criminal Division, practiced in the litigation department of Jenner & Block LLP, and clerked for Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. on the United States Supreme Court while also serving in the chambers of Justice David H. Souter. His practice at Levine Lee focuses on complex issues in white collar and securities enforcement defense.
Professor Chanenson writes primarily in the areas of sentencing and criminal procedure, with his works having been published in the Stanford Law Review, Emory Law Journal, Waseda Proceedings of Comparative Law, and Yale Law Journal Pocket Part. His scholarship and work on criminal sentencing, in particular, have gained him national recognition. Professor Chanenson has frequently spoken on sentencing before such groups as the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, the annual Judicial Conference for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the Federal Judicial Center. He has been quoted on the subject by numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune. Professor Chanenson’s contributions in the area of ethics include his work with Professor Doris Brogan of Villanova to adapt the internationally acclaimed Giving Voice to Values (GVV) approach for use at Villanova Law, which hosted the first-ever GVV conference focused on the legal profession and law schools.
Professor Chanenson also serves as the Director of the Villanova Sentencing Workshop and is the former Chair of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing. Professor Chanenson was a Member of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing for almost 14 years, having been appointed by three successive Governors of Pennsylvania. He was the elected Chair of the Commission from 2012 to 2015, the former Chair of the Commission’s Research Committee, and chaired the advisory committee for the Commission’s legislatively directed study of mandatory minimum sentences as well as its Strategic Planning Work Group.
Appointed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Professor Chanenson chairs the Pennsylvania Committee for Suggested Standard Jury Instructions (Criminal) and serves on the Pennsylvania Continuing Judicial Education Board of Judges. He also serves on Pennsylvania’s statutorily created Homicide Review Team as an appointee of the Governor.
An elected member of the American Law Institute, Professor Chanenson was the Liaison from the National Association of Sentencing Commissions to the American Law Institute regarding efforts to revise the sentencing portions of the Model Penal Code. In addition, he is a Managing Editor of and frequent contributor to the Federal Sentencing Reporter (University of California Press/Vera Institute of Justice), the leading professional journal of brief commentary on sentencing law, theory, and reform.
Professor Chanenson has served as a Crane Fellow at Princeton University in the program on Law and Public Affairs, as well as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Law, teaching American law at Xiamen University School of Law in Xiamen, Fujian Province, People’s Republic of China. During his time abroad, he spoke on sentencing issues in several other cities in mainland China as well as in Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, and Australia.
Professor Chanenson is the recipient of a Harry S. Truman Scholarship and has served in recent years on the Finalist Selection Committee and regional Selection Panels for the Truman Scholar selection process. He is also the recipient of the Truman Scholar Foundation’s Judge Joseph Stevens Award for Outstanding Public Service in the Field of Law.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A. in economics and M.S. in criminology), Professor Chanenson received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a Comment Editor of the University of Chicago Law Review. After graduating from law school, he served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Phyllis A. Kravitch of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
He is currently the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, which is the oldest organization in the country dedicated to sensible and humane criminal justice policies. Professor Chanenson was previously on the Board of Directors of JEVS Human Services, a non-profit, nonsectarian social service agency in Philadelphia.
*Professor Chanenson is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and is practicing under the supervision of licensed New York bar members.