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Tonya M. Evans is a full tenured professor on the Penn State Dickinson Law faculty and, beginning July 1, 2022, she begins a five-year co-hire appointment with the Penn State Institute for Computational and Data Sciences. She is a member of numerous national and international boards and committees, including the World Economic Forum/Wharton DAO Project Series co-led by the WEF Crypto Impact and Sustainability Accelerator (a research initiative focused on the evolving blockchain phenomenon), as well as Senior Advisor to Black NFT Art and Advisor to Maxwell Frost, US congressional candidate in the 10th district of Florida.
Professor Evans is also founder of the Advantage Evans™ Academy (an inclusive online crypto education and onboarding platform), and host of the Tech Intersect Podcast, a weekly podcast that highlights new and notable experts at the intersections of law, business and technology.
In 2022, Professor Evans was named to the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center’s Women of Legal Tech 2022 list. And in 2021, she was named to the prestigious 2021 Forbes 50 Over 50 Investment List and selected as a Fastcase 50 2021 list awardee, which honors the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders.
Prior to joining Dickinson Law, Professor Evans served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at the University of New Hampshire’s School of Law, where she created and directed the school’s Blockchain, Cryptocurrency & Law online professional certificate program and developed its world-class instructor pool and curriculum. During her stint at UNH Law, she also served as former Chair of the Intellectual Property & Technology Online Programs.
Professor Evans has substantial expertise in the areas of intellectual property, new technologies (including blockchain and distributed ledger technology), entrepreneurship & innovation, entertainment law, trusts & estates, and municipal finance. She writes, speaks, and teaches primarily about the intersections of copyright and new technologies as well as estates law issues.
Professor Evans’ service on International Boards, Task Forces and Committees includes:
- Chairperson, the Maker DAO’s Maker Ecosystem Growth Foundation (2020-2021)
- Member, World Economic Forum/Wharton DAO Project Series Working Group (2022-present)
- Contributor, United States GAO Study on Blockchain (2022)
- Advisor, NFT Black Art (2021-present)
- Advisor, Maxwell Frost (2022 US Congressional Candidate, CD Florida 10)
- Member, Bermuda Global FinTech Advisory Board (2018-present)
- Observing Member, Global Blockchain Business Council
- Member, Consensys Grants Advisory Board (2019) (previous Committee Member)
- Member, Intellectual Property Committee of the Advisory Council to the United States Court of Federal Claims
- Advisor, Emerging Impact (2021-present)
- Member, International Telecommunications Union Focus Group on Digital Currency including Digital Fiat Currency (2018-20)
- Member, International Telecommunications Union Focus Group on Application of Distributed Ledger Technology (2018-20)
Prior to UNH Law, she served as Associate Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Inclusion & Equity at Widener University Commonwealth Law School. Professor Evans also served as Visiting Associate Professor of Law at UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law during the summer of 2016 and also served as Adjunct Professor of copyright, publishing and licensing at York College of Pennsylvania in Spring 2007.
Professor Evans speaks and consults regularly in the United States and abroad about the legal implications of new technologies and innovation for startups, entrepreneurs and creatives. Professor Evans has delivered presentations across the globe, including at the IBM Cloud Forum, Annual Meeting of Licensing Executives Society (LES)-Thailand (IP issues in fintech and blockchain), the New England Chapter of the Copyright Society of the USA (copyright & succession laws), the Association for American Law Schools Annual Meeting (copyright & succession laws), the annual South by Southwest (SxSX) interactive, film, and music industries Festival (copyright & new technologies), the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit:Crypto, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for an internal blockchain presentation to over 150 lawyers and staff.
Her press appearances include Cheddar TV, Bloomberg TV, The Tammi Mac Show and many quotes in print media including Sports Illustrated, Bloomberg News, Protocol, and the LA Times.
[full list of presentations]
Professor Evans attended Northwestern University on a four-year tennis scholarship, and thereafter she competed on the women’s professional tennis circuit and played most notably in the US Open, Virginia Slims of Philadelphia, and Lipton in 1993. After retiring from the tennis circuit in 1995, she attended Howard University on an academic scholarship. During law school, Professor Evans interned with the Honorable Arthur L. Burnett, Sr. in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, with U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah and with the Honorable Theodore A. McKee in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Dean Evans also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Howard Law Journal (1997-1998).
After graduating with honors, Professor Evans clerked for the Honorable Theodore A. McKee in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for one year and thereafter worked at Drinker Biddle & Reath and Pepper Hamilton in Philadelphia until establishing her own firm in 2002. During that time, she also founded an independent publishing company, Legal Write Publications, LLC.
Professor Evans is also author of an award-winning series of legal reference guides for writers and publishing industry professionals and was selected by Writer’s Digest Book Club as a club selection for its members. She is also a performance poet and author of two poetry books: Seasons of Her: A Collection of Poetry and SHINE! (book/CD). Additionally, her short story, Not Tonight, appears in an anthology titled Proverbs for the People, published by Kensington.
Professor Evans is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, New Jersey, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Third Circuit and New York. She is also a founding member and found Chair of The Pinkwellchick Foundation, Inc. and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Short Form Bio
Tonya M. Evans, Esquire, is a Full Professor of Law at Penn State Dickinson Law School, 2020-21 Professor of the Year nominee, 2021 Forbes Over 50 Listee (Investment category) and 2021 awardee of the Fastcase 50 list. Prior to Dickinson Law, Professor Evans served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, where she created and directed the school’s Blockchain, Cryptocurrency & Law online professional certificate program and developed its world-class instructor pool and curriculum. She is also the former Chair of the Intellectual Property & Technology Online Programs.
Professor Evans has expertise in the areas of intellectual property, new technologies (including blockchain and distributed ledger technology), entrepreneurship & innovation (including advisor to startups), entertainment law, trusts & estates, and municipal finance. She writes, speaks, and teaches primarily about the intersections of copyright and new technologies, blockchain and the law, and trusts and estates.
Professor Evans served as chairperson of the Maker DAO’s Maker Ecosystem Growth Foundation (2020-21) to lead oversight of the foundation’s planned dissolution, and member of the Bermuda Global FinTech Advisory Board. She also participates as an observing member of the Global Blockchain Business Council. Professor Evans serves on the Intellectual Property Committee of the Advisory Council to the Court of Federal Claims and also received the inaugural Enterprise Blockchain Award in the category of Governance and Policy Leadership during the 2019 Blockchain Revolution Global Conference in Toronto. She is a former member of the Consensys Grants Advisory Board and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Focus Groups on Digital Currency including Digital Fiat Currency and Distributed Ledger Technology.
Professor Evans is a graduate of Northwestern University (Dean’s List) and Howard University School of Law (cum laude). She also served as the Howard Law Journal editor-in-chief. She is licensed to practice law in PA, NJ, NY and DC and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.