Professor Sarah Haan Joins the W&L Faculty

By: Emily Hoover, 1L

Contributing Writer

As the 2017-2018 school year opens at W&L Law, 1Ls are not the only unfamiliar faces on campus. Professor Sarah Haan has joined the staff as an Associate Professor specializing in Business Law.

Her focus is an interesting and relevant one. “I teach business law subjects and I write at the intersection of business law and political issues, so some of my most recent articles have focused on corporate campaign finance disclosure,” Haan said. “I mainly [write about] corporate governance and the intersection of corporate governance issues with other interesting topics.”

Furthermore, Professor Haan’s teaching style has been generating very positive reviews around campus. “Professor Haan is everything that is quintessentially great about W&L’s Law faculty: brilliant and accomplished, but wildly accessible and helpful with a fantastic sense of humor,” 2L Quentin Becker said. “We have a partnership—Professer Haan and the class—and our business together is CBA and the profit we’re sharing is knowledge.”

Professional  headshot of Sarah Haan

Source: https://law.wlu.edu/faculty| Professor Haan specializes in corporate governance legal issues.

Like many professors (and students) at W&L, Haan did not follow a linear path into the law. After receiving her undergraduate degree at Yale, Professor Haan decided to give back by working with Teach for America. This experience is what propelled her into the legal field. “I taught in Compton from 1995 to 1997, and it was a very challenging time to be in Compton,” Haan said. “I like to joke that I spent a lot of my time as a fourth grade teacher walking around the school [thinking] ‘that must be illegal.’ Finally I decided I could do more good if I knew more.”

After law school Professor Haan worked as a litigator with Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City. While she did not anticipate her work intersecting so deeply with business law, she found that she really enjoyed the challenge. “I went to practice at Davis Polk, where I was in the litigation department,” Haan said. “[It just so happened that] all of the litigations we did were about various aspects of Wall Street business, and it was very interesting. I worked on a number of pretty high profile cases, including accounting fraud, accounting defense work and internal corporate investigations.”

Eventually, however, Professor Haan decided that she wanted a change of pace. “I did [law firm work] for about 7 years,” Haan said. “I was going to move into being a partner and I just decided that I did not want to do that. Some of the people that I liked working with and respected the most had gone into academia, and they raved about it.”

Professor Haan appears to have found her calling. “It is much more driven by your own ideas, your own creativity,” Haan said. “The student work is very rewarding and then all the scholarship that we produce—I really like that aspect of the job, because you get to talk about current problems and grapple with different emerging issues and influence the way that the legal landscape takes shape.”

It’s not all work all the time, of course, even for professors. Professor Haan and her family are also getting used to life in Lexington. “It has been a good move for my family,” Haan said. “I have two little boys and we have been apple picking and blueberry picking. We are really looking forward to the VMI parade that happens every Friday. We can often be found at The Palms—my kids are obsessed with the pretzels that they have there. Sometimes, if you’re out about town, you will find us at The Palms, eating pretzels.”

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