William and Mary Law School

John Tarley, Jr. '92 Receives St. George Tucker Award

  • 2010-11 St. George Tucker Award
    2010-11 St. George Tucker Award
    John Tarley, Jr., at left, received the award from Dean Davison M. Douglas in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Legal Skills Program.
    by Rachel Ganong '12

John Tarley, Jr. '92 garnered the Law School's 2010-11 St. George Tucker Adjunct Professorship Award on Aug. 28. The award, created in 1995, honors a member of the adjunct faculty for outstanding service. 

The award recognized Tarley for his excellence in preparing students for legal practice.  Tarley teaches in the Law School's Legal Skills Program, which provides training to students in ethics, research, and advocacy. He received the award at William & Mary's Alumni House during a luncheon attended by faculty and staff.

"John Tarley is amazingly committed to his students and their professional success," Dean Davison M. Douglas said. "He is a model Legal Skills teacher and a perfect choice for this award." Douglas noted that the honoree had been one of his own students and that Tarley had found success in  his legal studies and in his law practice in Williamsburg.  True to form, Douglas added, he also has distinguished himself in a decade of teaching at the Law School."  John has been a stalwart of our Legal Skills program," he said.  "He has a very serious commitment to training his students to be good lawyers."

Lauren Andrews '11 affirmed Tarley's commitment to his students' success. "Without a doubt, the most important thing John did for me was to make me excited about being a lawyer," she said. "Though everyone knows the profession entails a lot of hard work, John manages to (or at least seems to) truly enjoy his job. It clearly comes across in the way he teaches Legal Skills."

Tarley balances his teaching with his practice in civil litigation, land use, and business at Tarley Robinson.  His colleagues at the firm include his wife, Susan B. Tarley, and fellow alumni Neal J. Robinson '92 and Philip S. Chapman '05.  In addition, he serves as a Commissioner of the Chancery and Judge Pro Tempore in the 9th Judicial Circuit, and he is the local bar representative on the Virginia State Bar Council.

"This award is a big deal for me," he said, in his remarks at the luncheon. "Everyone who teaches in the program works very hard. I'm proud to be part of that group."

As the 2010-11 St. George Tucker Adjunct Professor of Law, Tarley continues a tradition of excellence in legal education modeled by St. George Tucker (1752-1827), the second professor of law at William & Mary. Tucker drafted a formal description of the requirements for a law degree at the College, which included an exacting schedule of qualifying examinations in history, government and related pre-law subjects. His course material was published as the first American edition of William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England. This is the work for which Tucker is best known among American lawyers today. Tucker's Blackstone was a leading law text of its day and the first commentary on the U.S. Constitution after the Federalist Papers.