Another View- Supreme Court Preview 2014

brownby Cathy Brown, Class of 2017

In late September, the Institute of Bill of Rights Law at William & Mary Law School hosted its 27th Annual Supreme Court Preview.  This two-day event brought many esteemed legal scholars, journalists, judges, and attorneys to campus to examine the highest court in the land’s docket in its new term, which began in early October.  To my excitement, law students were invited and encouraged to attend as well.

To some, the prospect of attending a series of legal discussions on a Friday evening and Saturday sounds unappealing (especially because, as students, we spend quite a lot of time thinking about the law anyway!).  However, I’m a legal nerd.  In college, I decided to subscribe to not one, but two email bulletins about the Supreme Court of the United States.  Through these updates, I’m notified from October until June whenever the Court so much as sneezes, and certainly whenever the justices grant certiorari to a new case or release an opinion.  I was therefore intrigued by what the Supreme Court Preview would have to offer.

Supreme Court Preview 1The Preview began with a Moot Court demonstration of a case that will go before the Supreme Court this term.  Although many of the intricacies of the case went over my head (I am only a couple months into my law school education, after all!), it was still really interesting to watch seasoned professionals – who have both argued before the Court – deliver compelling oral arguments in one of the lecture halls where I go for class every week.  It was also entertaining to see some of my professors pretending to be the Supreme Court justices presiding over the case and interrupting the attorneys’ arguments to ask a barrage of nuanced questions.

As I already mentioned, I didn’t understand everything that was said at the Supreme Court Preview.  I really shouldn’t be surprised about this; after all, I only have a B.A. in Government and half a semester of law school under my belt, whereas the professions attending the event have dedicated their lives to the legal profession and are preeminent members of the field.  Still, it was inspiring to be sitting among them for a few hours in the same room where I routinely struggle to understand my doctrinal coursework.   Before classes began, members of the law school administration reminded all the incoming 1Ls that our membership in the legal community begins in law school, not with passing the bar exam or arguing our first case.  My experience with the Supreme Court Preview proved this to be true and reminded me that I’m one of many professionals who are eagerly anticipating what the Court has up its sleeve for this new term.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

Supreme Court Preview 2014

liz berryby Liz Berry, Class of 2016

The Institute of Bill of Rights Law held the 27th Annual Supreme Court Preview last month to discuss the upcoming term. The Preview features the people most knowledgeable about the Supreme Court—reporters, scholars, former Solicitor Generals, attorneys who argue in front of the Court, and even judges. It is, to sound slightly nerdy, the star-studded SCOTUS event of the season. As I’m in the Supreme Court Seminar class this semester, I actually had the opportunity to listen and ask questions of two participants– Judge Jeffrey Sutton, 6th Circuit, and Jeff Fisher, mastermind of Riley and co-director of Stanford Law’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic– before the Preview. It was an incredible experience, as both spoke about topics and cases they were clearly passionate, and very knowledgeable, about.

On Friday, the Institute kicked the Preview off with a moot on the DC and 4th Circuit split over the ACA (a preemptive moot, as the Court has not yet granted certiorari). Andrew J. Pincus and Michael A. Scodro, both of whom have literally argued dozens of times in front of the Court, did an absolutely fantastic job advocating for both sides. Ultimately, the moot Court– with justices ranging from the New York Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak to W&M Professor Allison Orr Larsen, recent star of The Colbert Report –ended in a 5-4 split in favor of the government. While the preview was a great forecast of how the Court might decide, it will be interesting to see if the Court actually grants certiorari.

Supreme Court Preview 2Saturday featured a series of presentations. Panelists spoke on different areas of the law the Court is sure to face this term—civil rights, business, First Amendment, and criminal law. It was truly fascinating to hear the preeminent scholars discuss what the Court will see this season. Some of them (especially in the business section) were actually discussing cases they were going to be arguing this term. Without giving away any of their Court strategy, they were very open about the many facets of the case and what it could mean in the future. Overall, the Preview was highly thought-provoking. All that’s left to do now is see how the Court decides the issues this term.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

Constitutional Law Star Speaks in Annual Cutler Lecture

graham bryantby Graham Bryant, Class of 2016

William & Mary Law is no stranger to a variety of illustrious speakers on all aspects of the law. From the annual Supreme Court Preview to myriad guest lecturers the various student organizations bring in each year, students at William & Mary often find themselves faced with the difficult decision of with which speaker to spend their lunch hour on a given day.

Among the most distinguished of William & Mary’s speakers are those called upon to address the faculty and students during the law school’s annual endowed lectures. And Kenji Yoshino, the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law, did not disappoint when he presented a talk entitled “Constitutional Factfinding: The Case of Same-Sex Marriage” during the 2014 Cutler Lecture on September 23.

Yoshino, a leading advocate for marriage equality and an anti-discrimination law scholar, was originally invited to deliver last year’s Cutler Lecture, but an unexpected snow storm that closed the university meant that Yoshino had no one to address—despite having already arrived in Williamsburg.

Thanks to the foresight of scheduling the 2014 lecture during a warm September, the Harvard, Oxford, and Yale Law graduate (who is also a Rhodes Scholar), presented his views on the distinction between law and fact as it relates to the immediate constitutional and social question of same-sex marriage.

10629287_755608304504220_3172313010524199479_oOn the surface, law and fact appear plainly different, Yoshino observed. Law is articulated by courts according to controlling precedent and subject to de novo review on appeal. Facts are discovered by a fact-finder—judge or jury, depending on the case—and are reviewed on appeal with clear error deference.

But two types of facts are addressed by courts, according to Yoshino—and this is where the law/fact distinction begins to blur. Courts make findings of adjudicative facts—the “whodunit” facts of a case, such as the fact that Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, the Prop 8 plaintiffs in California, were denied a marriage license.

In addition, courts can also make findings of legislative facts—the broad social facts not particular to a given case. For example, a court could determine that marriage is, at its core, about procreation.

The catch, according to Yoshino, is that both legislative and adjudicative facts are facts found by the court and subject to clear error review, even though only adjective facts are typically determined through the adversarial process of a trial. Legislative facts, on the other hand, are typically found by judge via non-adversarial means, such as the judge’s own research or amicus briefs.

The solution, Yoshino concluded, to the legislative fact problem is to step away from the pure distinction between law and fact, and to instead view the two on a continuum. Likewise, Yoshino argued that legislative facts should be established through adversarial testing, like a trial, and be subject to a new standard of review between clear error and de novo.

Intrigued? Good. Confused? That’s to be expected. At this point, it’s okay not to understand the fine points of the doctrines Professor Yoshino covered in his lecture. I’m a second-year law student, and I still didn’t follow his argument completely.

For a prospective student at William & Mary Law, the important take-away from this overview of the 2014 Cutler Lecture is that William & Mary allows students to engage directly with some of the top scholars on bleeding-edge issues in the law.

Even if you aren’t interest in a particular area of the law yet, speakers like Yoshino will help you explore new issues and begin to develop your views on them. And if you disagree with a speaker, that’s even better—William & Mary is a place where enlightening and respectful debate is encouraged among faculty, students, and visiting speakers.

The James Goold Cutler Lectureship was established in 1927 by James Goold Culter of Rochester, New York, to provide an annual lecture at William & Mary, the nation’s oldest law school, by “an outstanding authority on the Constitution of the United States.”

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

Women Served as Editors-in-Chief of all Journals in 2014

For the first time in William & Mary Law School history, all five outgoing editors-in-chief of the school’s law journals were female.

Cassandra Roeder served as Editor-in-Chief of the William & Mary Law Review; Beth Petty, of the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal; Eileen Setien, of the William & Mary Business Law Review; Yvonne Baker, of theWilliam & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, and Lindsay Paladino, of the Journal of Women and the Law. In addition, four of the five managing editors of the school’s law reviews were also women.

Five female Editors-in-Chief. Front: Yvonne Baker and Cassandra Roeder; back: Eileen Setien, Beth Petty, and Lindsay Paladino.

Five female Editors-in-Chief. Front: Yvonne Baker and Cassandra Roeder; back: Eileen Setien, Beth Petty, and Lindsay Paladino.

Click here to read about the editors’ descriptions of their experiences.

 

 

Public Service Fellowships, Summer 2014

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William & Mary Law School awarded $335,395 – the most ever awarded by the Law School – to 109 students for public service fellowships during Summer 2014.  Students will assist 98 organizations in 16 states, the District of Columbia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Morocco, The Netherlands, South Africa, and Spain.

A-007Arts

  • Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (New York, NY)

Aviation and Maritime Commerce

  • U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Torts Branch, Aviation and Admiralty Section (Washington, DC)

Child Advocacy and Protection

  • Legal Aid Justice Center, Just Children Program (Richmond, VA)
  • Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Practice (New York, NY)
  • Partnership for Children’s Rights (New York, NY)

 Civil Legal Aid

  • Bet Tzedek Summer for Justice Program (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Community Legal Services (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Legal Aid of North Carolina (Greenville, NC)
  • Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia (Norfolk, VA)
  • Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia (Williamsburg, VA) (2)
  • Texas Appleseed (Austin, TX)

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

  • American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia Foundation, LGBT Civil Rights Summer (Richmond, VA)
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights (Washington, DC)
  • New York Attorney General, Civil Rights Bureau (New York, NY)
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Appellate Section (Washington, DC)
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section (Washington, DC)
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section (Washington, DC)

Comparative Constitutional Law

  • Conreason Project (Madrid, Spain)

Diplomacy

  • U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (Washington, DC)

Election

  • Fair Vote (Takoma Park, MD)
  • Federal Election Commission (Washington, DC)
  • National Conference of State Legislatures, Campaign Finance Legal Department (Denver, CO)
  • National Conference of State Legislatures, Campaign Finance Legal Department, Candidates and Campaigns Legal Department (Denver, CO)

Environmental

  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Tallahassee, FL)
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Defense Section (Washington, DC)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Enforcement and Compliance (Washington, DC) (2)
  • Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bangladesh Ceracean Diversity Project (Sonadanga, Bangladesh)

Federal Government: U.S. Supreme Court Litigation

  • U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Solicitor General (Washington, DC)

Financial and Business Regulation

  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Corporation Finance (Washington, DC)
  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Enforcement (Washington, DC) (2)

Health Care

  • Legal Information Network for Cancer (Richmond, VA) (2)
  • Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Family Support and Healthcare Division (Charlotte, NC)

Immigration

  • Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, Detained Children’s Program (Washington, DC)

Indigent Criminal Defense:  Federal

  • Federal Public Defender, Eastern District of Virginia (Norfolk, VA)

IMG_2469Indigent Criminal Defense:  State and Local

  • Charlottesville Public Defender (Charlottesville, VA)
  • Fredericksburg Public Defender (Fredericksburg, VA)
  • Hampton Public Defender (Hampton, VA)
  • Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy (Newport, KY)
  • Monroe County Public Defender (Rochester, NY)
  • Norfolk Public Defender (Norfolk, VA) (2)
  • Public Defender of Metropolitan Nashville & Davidson County (Nashville, TN)
  • Richmond Public Defender (Richmond, VA)
  • Schuylkill County Public Defender (Pottsville, PA)
  • New Hampshire Public Defender (Concord, NH)
  • Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center (Charlottesville, VA)

International Human Rights

  • Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (New Haven, CT)

Judiciary

  • Alexandria Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (Alexandria, VA)
  • Hampton Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (Hampton, VA)
  • The Honorable David G. Larimer. Western District of New York (Rochester, NY)
  • The Honorable David J. Novak, Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, VA)
  • The Honorable Sarah Ellis, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago, IL)

Labor and Employment

National Labor Relations Board (Baltimore, MD)

  • North Carolina Department of Justice, Attorney General’s Office, Labor Section (Raleigh, NC)
  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Chicago, IL)

Military Justice

  • U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Maritime and International Law (Washington, DC)
  • U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General Corps, Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (Washington, DC)

Post Conflict Peacebuilding/Rule of Law (funded by William & Mary Law School’s Program in Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding)

  • American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, Morocco (Rabat, Morocco)
  • Beijing Children’s Legal Aid Research Center (Beijing, China)
  • Center for Legal Aid and Regional Development (Pristina, Kosovo)
  • Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Transitional Justice (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Democracy for Development (Pristina, Kosovo)
  • East West Management Institute (Baku, Azerbaijan)
  • East West Management Institute (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)
  • East West Management Institute (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) (2)
  • International Bridges to Justice (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) (2)
  • International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (The Hague, Netherlands)
  • International Law Development Organization (Rome, Italy)
  • International Center for Transitional Justice (New York, NY)
  • International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (The Hague, Netherlands)
  • Law Institute of Lithuania (Vilnius, Lithuania)
  • National Center for State Courts, International Programs Division (Arlington, VA)
  • People Against Suffering, Poverty and Oppression (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • PUSAKO Center for Constitutional Studies (Padang, Indonesia)
  • Tetra Tech DPK Access to Justice Program (Baghdad, Iraq)
  • Tetra Tech DPK Justice Sector Support Program (Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire)
  • United States Institute of Peace (Washington, DC)

Prosecution: Federal

  • U.S. Attorney, District of Columbia (Washington, DC) (2)
  • U.S. Attorney, District of Nebraska, (Omaha, NE)
  • U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia (Newport News, VA)
  • U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia, (Norfolk, VA)
  • U.S. Attorney, Southern District of West Virginia, (Beckley, WV)
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section (Washington, DC)

BushrodMootCourt2014 (58)Prosecution: State and Local

  • Baltimore City State’s Attorney (Baltimore, MD)
  • Colonial Heights Commonwealth’s Attorney (Colonial Heights, VA)
  • Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney (Hampton, VA) (2)
  • Harris County District Attorney, Human Trafficking and Juvenile Justice Division (Houston, TX)
  • Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney (Louisa, VA)
  • Nassau County District Attorney (Mineola, NY)
  • New Kent County Commonwealth’s Attorney (New Kent, VA)
  • Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney (Norfolk, VA) (2)
  • Prince George’s County State’s Attorney, Domestic Violence Unit (Upper Marlboro, MD)
  • Shelby County Attorney General (Memphis, TN)
  • State’s Attorney, Ninth Judicial Circuit, Homicide Division (Orlando, FL)
  • Virginia Attorney General, Public Safety and Enforcement Division, Computer Crime Section (Richmond, VA)

Research Compliance

  • George Mason University, Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (Fairfax, VA)

State and Local Government: Civil

  • Maryland Attorney General, Department of Human Resources (Baltimore, MD)
  • Nassau County Attorney (Mineola, NY) (2)
  • Spotsylvania County Attorney (Spotsylvania, VA)

Three Law Faculty Win Plumieri Awards

NewsealEach year, the Plumeri Award recognizes exemplary achievements in teaching, research, and service. Faculty members have used the award to enhance their research and teaching and to support travel to scholarly conferences.

Of the 20 recipients throughout the College of William & Mary, three are members of the faculty here at the Law School: James Dwyer, Michael Green, and Tara Grove.

Congratulations to Professors Dwyer, Green, and Grove!

Click here and here for more information on our Plumieri award winners.

Wythepedia is Live!

Wythepedia” is now live! You might ask what exactly is Wythepedia? It’s an online encyclopedia about George Wythe. Wythepedia features pages describing the law library’s George Wythe Collection, aspects of Wythe’s life, his letters and papers, and even some poetry.

George Wythe was William &Mary’s and the nation’s first professor of law. Additionally, Wythe was a statesman, lawyer, and jurist.

wythepedia475x265

Wythepedia is a library-wide project, with Graduate Fellows and law library staff serving as authors and/or editors.  More information and pages will be added as more information is uncovered.  More information can be found here!

Law School Discusses Political Giving and Hosts the Fourth Circuit Court

Classes are over, and students at William & Mary Law School are in the midst of finals after a fantastic semester.

Members of the Law School brought amazing speakers and programs to Williamsburg this spring. Here are two highlights:

On February 27th, the William & Mary Law School’s Election Law Program hosted three distinguished practitioners of political and election law for the 2014 Election Law Symposium, entitled “McCutcheon & the World of Political Giving: A Fundamental Change?” Panelists discussed the history and current landscape of the law of political contributions and possible changes to this landscape depending upon the outcome of the current Supreme Court case McCutcheon v. FEC.

election law

Click here for the more information.

William & Mary Law School hosted the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on March 20, allowing students to witness the appellate process during the course of a regular morning of classes. The event marked the third time the Court has held oral argument at the Law School. William & Mary Law School hosted the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on March 20, allowing students to witness the appellate process during the course of a regular morning of classes. The event marked the third time the Court has held oral argument at the Law School.

Click here for the full story

 

Learning from Justice Kennedy

by Liz Berry, Class of 2016

In law school, Supreme Court justices become your best (or worst) friends. You can laugh about their opinions…and sometimes criticize them for failing to match every other opinion you’ve read. Either way, you develop a very, very close bond with the Justices and their writing. You probably spend more time with them than your friends. But have you ever thought that you’d be able to meet a Supreme Court justice? How about have one teach your Constitutional Law class? Never, right?

kennedyWell, if you’re in Professor Zick’s Constitutional Law class (or one of the lucky lottery winners who filled the back of our room), you had had that opportunity last week. Justice Anthony Kennedy came to “teach” our class on Wednesday, April 9. Covering everything from federalism, to the commerce clause, to individual rights, Justice Kennedy was clearly passionate about his work and happy to be back in front of a classroom.

I think my favorite line of the class was (something very similar to what’s in quotes) “When is this thing over? Because I have a lifetime job…I can stay.” I only wish we could have convinced him to stay and tell us how to get an A on the final….

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

Working with Mandela: The Constitutional Process in Post-Apartheid South Africa

by Phillip Lecky, Class of 2015

The William and Mary Law School, through the International Law Society (ILS) in partnership with the Black Law Student Association (BLSA), was honored to welcome Justice Albert “Albie” Sachs of South Africa on March 31, 2014 for a talk and book-signing. Born in South Africa in 1935 of Lithuanian parents, Justice Sachs was instrumental in fighting against the oppressive white-dominated rule in South Africa. Due to the large numbers of people interested in hearing Justice Sachs speak, his talk had to be relocated to a larger room, and still there was standing room only! His talk was entitled Working with Mandela: The Constitutional Process in Post-Apartheid South Africa.

albie sachs

As Justice Sachs began to speak, it was clear that all in the audience were intently focused on what he had to say for he had an uncanny ability of keeping people hanging on his every word. Whether he was speaking about how he first became involved in the fight against oppression as a juvenile; his memories of the trial which caused Nelson Mandela to be imprisoned for almost three decades; how he lost part of one arm and sight in one eye as a result of a bomb; his activity in regards to crafting a new Constitution in which all South Africans would be treated equally; or his role on the Constitutional Court, his energy and passion for the causes he stood for was more than evident.  What a man! What a legend! I, and, I think it is safe to say, the rest of the William & Mary community collectively thanks Justice Sachs for gracing us with his presence and all that he did to make this world a better place!

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

What They Have to Say: A Faculty Q & A with Professor Griffin

by Scott Krystiniak, Class of 2016

One thing I will always remember about my 1L year is the perpetual feeling of being awestruck by the brilliance and cleverness of all my professors.  What is also fascinating is that these intellectual titans have also gone through a similar chapter in their lives.  In realizing this, I’ve often wondered what all my professors were like as law students or what they experienced during their three years of law school.  Then I decided that I would just ask them and learn exactly what they have to say.

clgriffinjrI recently had the pleasure of corresponding with William & Mary Professor Chris Griffin, a graduate of Yale Law School (he’s also my Property professor).  I prompted him with a few questions that were geared towards his experiences as a law student and now as a law professor.  He was gracious enough to offer his insights and memories, many of which have an apt analog to the various opportunities and offerings here at William & Mary.   Here it is:

What was the most memorable experience or moment you had while you were in law school?

There were countless such moments. The law professor in me would point to a spirited, organized debate one afternoon between two giants of law and economics: Judge Guido Calabresi and Judge Richard Posner. But the former law student in me would cite the three Law Revue skit shows I attended. Each one was held on the last day of classes and lampooned life in law school with all the wit of a great Daily Show or SNL episode. During 2L year, my schoolmates set their sights on our rivalry with Harvard Law School and then-Dean, now Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan with great panache. In my final year, a video cameo by Sam Waterston of Law & Order fame brought down the house. (We’ve all been sworn to secrecy, or I would say more!)

What was your favorite class in law school?  Why?

A seminar called The Civil Rights Revolution with the legendary Bruce Ackerman. The course combined the great 20th Century cases that paved the way for race equality with relevant statutes, legal scholarship, and historical accounts. The course offered a chance to pull back the curtain and understand how the Supreme Court arrived at landmark decisions like Brown v. Board of Education. We discussed what was inspiring about them and even identified how they still often fell short in ensuring full equality under the law for all citizens.

Was there any law school class or topic that stuck out in your mind as particularly challenging?

It might sound strange, but I would single out Remedies, a course I now teach at William & Mary. When I saw it listed in the catalog as a student—for the first time in twenty years apparently!—I knew it sounded practically useful and intriguing. It was as if the class would provide a magic key to unlock the secrets of many courses taken in the first year. It turned out to be just that. With that reward, however, came much challenging but no less stimulating reading and lecture time. Now I thoroughly enjoy passing along those insights to our students.

What do you miss most about being a law student?

Thankfully those memories are not too far in the past for me! And while I enjoy being on my side of the podium, I do think fondly about learning directly from great legal minds in the classroom. The most enduring part of the experience, though, remains the camaraderie with fellow law students: commiserating over a paper in the student lounge, source-citing for a journal into the late hours, and of course “law school prom.” My classmates made the three years a genuinely exciting and uplifting time, easily the best educational experience of my life.

What extracurricular activities or organizations were you involved in and how did they contribute to your legal education?

I was most actively involved in journal work, serving as an Editor of the Yale Law Journal and Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law & Policy Review. I learned a tremendous amount about the world of legal scholarship as well as working closely with classmates to produce each issue. I also participated in the work of the American Constitution Society and our Latino Law Students Association chapter. Even though I didn’t share their ethnic heritage, my Latino/a friends encouraged me to be involved and help advance diversity initiatives, which remain very important to me today.

What do you enjoy most about being a law professor?

Without a doubt: the “ah-ha” moment, when I can tell that a student has put together pieces of a doctrinal puzzle. As I see it, my job in the classroom is to deconstruct the rules into manageable pieces and then reassemble them into a coherent whole. I mostly teach first-year students in Torts and Property, so I know I’m doing something right when those “ah-ha” moments occur early in one’s legal education. I also deeply appreciate the freedom of my scholarly pursuits, which involve statistical study of how the law affects us socially and economically.

If you were to give one piece of advice to incoming law students, what would it be?

My advice to the law school applicant, well before he or she hopefully comes to William & Mary, would be: take some time off after college. Thinking about how a law degree will fit within one’s professional goals can only enrich the three years working toward it. I know this from my own experience and those of former classmates and current students. There are so many avenues one can take, and law school is a smorgasbord of options and opportunities. Working for a year or two and reflecting on how best to use the J.D. will make you a much more informed student and allow you to hit the ground running with a purpose. 

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

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