Stephen P. Carney, B.S. '72, J.D. '80, was inducted as an honorary member of the Order of the Coif during William & Mary Law School's Awards Ceremony on May 14 at the Kimball Theatre in Williamsburg, Va. In addition to Carney's induction, the event included the presentation of more than 30 awards and special recognitions to 2011 law graduates.
Coif chapters may elect to honorary membership "those who as lawyers, judges and teachers have attained high distinction for their scholarly or professional accomplishments." The Law School's Coif chapter inducted its first members beginning with the Class of 1981; law alumni chosen as honorary inductees graduated in earlier classes. Membership in the Order of the Coif is the highest academic honor a law student can achieve. It is equivalent to membership in Phi Beta Kappa for undergraduates.
In his remarks, Dean Davison M. Douglas noted that Carney earned both undergraduate and law degrees at the College, and served as an editor of the William and Mary Law Review. Following graduation, he clerked for Judge Calvitt Clarke on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and afterward practiced law in Baltimore with the Venable law firm (then known as Venable, Baetjer and Howard). In 1988, he joined Medical Mutual as in-house counsel, a position he held for 17 years. He has taught insurance law at William & Mary since 2006 and also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland Law School.
Carney thanked the Law School for the honor and also expressed his gratitude for having the opportunity to teach Marshall-Wythe students. "I ... found the experience incredibly rewarding and, in fact, I suspect I may have learned more from teaching than my students have learned from me," he said. He reminded the soon-to-be graduates that their alma mater "is second to none" and noted the undergraduate academic credentials of entering students, faculty scholarship, and Moot Court Team successes as points of pride. What sets the school apart from other institutions however, he said, "is the consistent dedication that the faculty here has to the primary goal of the Law School, which is to educate and prepare the next generation ... to practice as citizen lawyers."
In addition to teaching at the Law School as an adjunct professor, Carney has served on the Marshall-Wythe Law School Foundation Board, as a trustee and as president, and on the Board of Directors of the Law School Association. He was a member of the Class of 1972 25th Reunion Gift Committee, the Law School Class of 1980 25th Reunion Gift Committee, and also served on the Board of the Law School's Annual Fund.