Lance Cole

Lance Cole

Professor of Law
Honorable W. Richard and Mary M. Eshelman Faculty Scholar

Director, Center for Government Law and Public Policy Studies

Phone: 717-240-5215

J.D., Harvard Law School 
B.S., University of Arkansas

Cole on Teaching

I teach law classes on business entities and government investigations of business entities and individuals. I love teaching these courses not only because the subject matter is inherently fascinating and of great importance in our society, but also because I have the opportunity to share with my students and apply in the classroom the lessons I learned in law practice at a Wall Street law firm, as a senior counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee, and as a legal consultant on the 9/11 Commission investigation.

I strive to teach not only the core legal doctrines but also the practical realities of the role lawyers play in the modern regulatory state and the greater societal implications of that role. My goal is to leave my students with a sophisticated understanding of business law and governmental regulation of business, so that they will feel confident and prepared to enter the legal profession ready to compete and excel in whatever career path they pursue.

Cole on Scholarship

The core focus of my scholarship is governmental investigations of all kinds — civil regulatory, criminal, and legislative — and the power of governmental investigators to compel the production of information from businesses and individuals. This focus encompasses both common law evidentiary privileges, such as the attorney-client privilege, and constitutional doctrines, such as the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The application of these legal doctrines to business entities and their agents present especially challenging theoretical issues. I am the co-author of a casebook on congressional investigations law and procedure, and I have written numerous scholarly articles on issues relating to government investigations for law journals at Columbia, Texas, Villanova, Yale, and other law schools. All of my scholarship is closely related to my classroom teaching, and I work very hard to engage my students in the theoretical issues that are the focus of my scholarship.

Cole on Service

I engage in a variety of professional activities that serve our University, the legal profession, and society generally. I have served on two major national investigative bodies that reviewed matters of importance to our country. In 2003 and 2004, while a member of our law school’s faculty, I served as a legal adviser to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the “9/11 Commission). I was a member of the staff team that investigated the role of the FBI in counterterrorism intelligence collection inside the United States. In 1995 and 1996, immediately prior to joining our law faculty, I served as the Deputy Special Counsel (Minority) to the United States Senate Special Committee on Whitewater. Shortly after joining our faculty, in 1998, I assisted the defense team in the House Judiciary Committee impeachment proceedings against President Clinton. I also address bar association groups, legal departments of state and federal government agencies, and other public and private organizations on legal issues in my areas of expertise. Like all of our faculty members, I am actively engaged in the governance and administration of our law school and University. I serve on faculty committees responsible for appointments of new faculty members, curricular review and innovation, faculty professional development, and other responsibilities. I am also a member of bar association committees and groups, American Association of Law Schools sections, and other professional associations.

Cole on Community

The greatest reward for a law teacher is to be part of a community of students and alumni who share an extraordinary common bond to their law school. Through my work creating two new experiential learning programs for students to work in government in the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C., and the state capital in Harrisburg, I have also become a part of an even more intensely bonded group of students and alumni who share a common passion for government service. Maintaining and strengthening both these programs and our broader law school community is my highest personal priority as a member of the faculty of our law school. 

Cole's Engagement with the Profession

During my almost two decades as a law teacher, I have sought opportunities to remain engaged in the legal profession through a wide range of professional activities. In addition to serving on bar association committees and speaking to groups of lawyers in both government and private practice, I have sought out opportunities, such as the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton and the 9/11 Commission investigation, to engage in public service that affects our society in significant ways. For example, I recently provided legal advice to committee staff in connection with a high-profile congressional investigation in the U.S. House of Representatives. I also serve as the chair of the independent audit committee of a large privately held Pennsylvania corporation. Maintaining these “real world” connections to the government and corporate sectors give me an enhanced perspective for my scholarship and make me, I believe, a better classroom teacher.

Cole's Publications

Paul Manafort, Monica Lewinsky, and the Penn State Three: When Should the Crime-Fraud Exception Vitiate the Attorney-Client Privilege?, 91 Temple L. Rev. 533 (2019) (winner of the Edward Ohlbaum Annual Paper in Advocacy Award).

Multiple Representation Meltdown: “Penn State Three” Case Illustrates Entity Representation Pitfalls for Both Criminal Defense Counsel and Prosecutors – and the Need for Systemic State Law Reforms, 79 Pitt. L. Rev. 583 (2018).

Semester-in-Residence Programs: Design, Implementation, and Best Practices,” in Experiential Education in the Law School Curriculum (Carolina Academic Press 2017) (with Camille C. Marion)

“Making Corporate Law More Communitarian: A Proposed Response to the Roberts Court’s Personification of Corporations,” 81 Brook. L. Rev. 895 (Spring 2016) (with Robert M. Ackerman)

“Environmental Enforcement Actions in Pennsylvania — Ethics Essentials,” in Environmental Enforcement Actions in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Bar Institute Nov. 2015)

“The SEC's Corporate Cooperation Policy: A Duty to Correct or Update?", 41 Securities Reg. L. J. 127 (Summer 2013)

Building Better Blue Ribbon Commissions,” Benzinga

Congressional Investigations: Cases and Materials (with Stanley M. Brand, Carolina Academic Press, 2010)

“Special National Investigative Commissions: Essential Powers and Procedures (Some Lessons from the Pearl Harbor, Warren Commission, and 9/11 Commission Investigations),” 41 McGeorge L. Rev. 1 (2009)

“U.S. Government Cooperation Policies: Encouraging Cooperation or Coercing Capitulation?” EU Financial Services Regulation: Completing the Internal Market, Academy of European Law (ERA publication 206 R 08, 2006)

“Reexamining the Collective Entity Doctrine in the New Era of Limited Liability Entities — Should Business Entities Have a Fifth Amendment Privilege?,” 2005 Colum. Bus. L. Rev. 1. (2005)

“How to Watch the Watchers,” The New York Times (op-ed with Richard Ben-Veniste) (September 7, 2004)

"Confidentiality," in Foundations of the Law and Ethics of Lawyering (George M. Cohen & Susan P. Koniak, eds. 2004) 

The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (W. W. Norton & Company, 2004; contributing staff member)

“Law Enforcement, Counterterrorism, and Intelligence Collection in the United States Prior to 9/11” (co-authored) and “Reforming Law Enforcement, Counterterrorism, and Intelligence Collection Inside the United States” (co-authored), in The 9/11 Investigations: staff reports of the 9/11 Commission (edited by Steven Strasser, Public Affairs, 2004)