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Eric Rothschild

Eric Rothschild

Litigation Director

Eric Rothschild is an experienced trial lawyer, who has litigated complex cases in both the private and public interest sectors. From 1994-2016, he worked at Pepper Hamilton LLP in Philadelphia, specializing in product liability, reinsurance, and commercial litigation. Before joining Student Defense, he worked as Senior Litigation Counsel at Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Eric’s public interest work has been focused on the education and civil rights of students. In 2005, while at Pepper Hamilton, he served as Lead counsel for plaintiffs in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, the case that established that teaching intelligent design in public-school biology class violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution. The work by Eric and his colleagues at Pepper Hamilton, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and Americans United, was recognized in The New Yorker and other magazine features, four books, and the NOVA documentary “Judgment Day.” Eric’s cross examination of defendants’ lead expert Michael Behe was described by the trial judge as being as “good a cross-examination of an expert as I have ever seen. It was textbook.”

Eric and colleagues at Pepper, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and the Education Law Center, successfully tried Issa v. School District of Lancaster on behalf of refugee students seeking to be taught in mainstream public schools, where their education needs could be met, rather than at alternative schools run by private companies. At Americans United, Eric represented families fighting promotion of religion by publicly funded charter schools and public school districts. He also represented plaintiffs challenging the Trump Administration’s Muslim Ban.

Eric graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in 1989. He graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1993. He served as a clerk to Judge Anita B. Brody in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He served as a board member for the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia from 2006-16, including as board chair from 2011-15. He is a member of the Legal Advisory Panel for the National Center for Science Education, and a member of A Call to the Bar, an organization of lawyers dedicated to using the law to secure the rights of all people to a healthy and sustainable planet. Eric is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.