Director, Indigent Criminal Justice Trial Clinic
Director, LL.M. Legal Writing, Research, and Analysis
Assistant Professor of Clinical Law
J.D., Penn State Law
B.S., SUNY Binghamton
Professor Richard Settgast joined Penn State Law after serving for seven years as an assistant public defender for Centre County, where he maintained a perfect jury trial record. He also served on the planning committee for the Centre County Drug Court, where he was tasked with ensuring the proposed treatment court program did not violate any of the constitutional rights of its participants.
In 2013, while still serving as an assistant public defender, he co-founded the Indigent Criminal Justice Trial Clinic which gives Penn State Law students in their third-year of study the opportunity to represent actual clients charged with misdemeanor crimes. Students selected for his clinic represent clients through every stage of a criminal case including a potential jury trial. In 2014, he also began work as an adjunct professor, teaching LL.M. students legal writing and advanced legal writing. In 2017, he left the Centre County Public Defender Office to teach as a full-time adjunct professor and to become director of LL.M. Legal Writing, Research, and Analysis at Penn State Law. In 2020, he became an Assistant Professor of Clinical Law. He also acted as the academic adviser to international students enrolled in the Penn State Law L.L.M. Program from 2017 through 2021.
Prior to becoming an assistant public defender, he was a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas K. Kistler in the Court of Common Pleas for Centre County.