John J. Capowski
Professor Emeritus

A.B., Hamilton College
J.D., Cornell Law School

Phone: 717.541.3986

John J. Capowski is an Emeritus Professor of Law at Widener's Harrisburg campus. He is an honors graduate of Hamilton College and has his Doctor of Law from the Cornell Law School.

Following law school graduation Professor Capowski worked as an attorney with the Monroe County Legal Assistance Corporation in Rochester, New York. After his work with that federally funded Legal Services program, he returned to Cornell as a faculty member and served as the Director of Cornell's clinical program.

Professor Capowski then joined the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Law, where he served as an associate professor and directed the Legal Services Clinic, one of Maryland's clinical programs. He also was the first Director of Education and Training for the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, and he has served as a visiting faculty member at both the University of New Mexico and West Virginia University.

In 1994, Professor Capowski joined Widener's faculty as an associate professor. He has written in the areas of administrative law, evidence, lawyering skills, public benefits, public interest law, and fly fishing. He teaches evidence, civil procedure, comparative law, and an advanced evidence seminar, and he has taught in Widener’s international programs in Geneva, Venice, and Sydney.

Professor Capowski and his students have worked with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence in helping to enact two Pennsylvania laws dealing with domestic violence, he served on the American Bar Association's Project on Educating to End Domestic Violence: Law School Programs as Resources Against Domestic Violence. He has been a faculty member for the American Association of Law Schools Clinical Teachers Conference, a staff member of the Maryland Advisory Council on Family Legal Needs of Low Income Persons, and a member of the Executive Committees of both the Clinical Legal Education and Evidence Sections of the American Association of Law Schools.

In September of 2007, he traveled to Beijing to participate in an international symposium on evidence law that focused on the draft Uniform Evidence Code for China. The article he presented there was translated into Chinese and has been published in two of China’s leading law journals. In the summer of 2009, he returned to China and his presentation at the Second International Symposium on Evidence also was translated and published in China.

Selected Recent Publications

  • China’s Evidentiary and Procedural Reforms, The Federal Rules of Evidence, and the Harmonization of Civil and Common Law, to be published 47 Tex. Int’l L. J. 455 (2012).
  • The Uniform Provisions of Evidence: A Major Reform that Maintains China’s Judicial Traditions, Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Evidence Law and Forensic Science 66 (July 16-17, 2011). To be published, __ Evidence Science, No. _, __ (2012), The Journal of the Institute of Evidence Law and Forensic Science of China University of Political Science and Law.
  • China’s Uniform Provisions of Evidence of the People's Court and the Convergence of Civil Law and Common Law, to be published, 3 Evidence Science (2009). (The Journal of the Institute of Evidence Law and Forensic Science of China University of Political Science and Law).
  • Establishing Federal Criminal and Civil Evidence Codes, 61 Ark. L. Rev. 218 (2008).
  • Evidence Codification and Transubstantive and Bifurcated Evidence Rules, 2 Evidence Science, No. 2, 216 (2008). (The Journal of the Institute of Evidence Law and Forensic Science of China University of Political Science and Law). (Translated into Chinese [证据法典化、统一立法与分别立法] and published at pages 226-33). Reprinted in Chinese, 8 Procedural Law and Judicial System 28 (2008), the journal of the Research Center for Social Sciences of Renmin University of China.
  • Evidence and the One-Liner: A Beginning Evidence Professors Exploration of Humor in the Law School Classroom, 35 ARIZ. L. J. 877 (2003).
  • Values and Lawyering Skills, VIII The Law Teacher, No. 2, at 1 (2001).
  • An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Statements to Mental Health Professionals Under the Diagnosis or Treatment Hearsay Exception, 33 Ga. L. Rev. 356 (1999).
  • Editorial, Nation Could Use Dose of Meritocracy, Patriot News (Harrisburg, PA), February 20, 2009, at A9.