William and Mary Law School

Larsen Honored with 2012 W&M Alumni Fellowship Award

Republished, with permission, from the Fall 2012 William & Mary Alumni Magazine (opens .pdf). Photo by Mark Mitchell.

 A relatively new face on the faculty, Allison Orr Larsen began teaching at William & Mary Law School in 2010. Professor Larsen completed her Professor Larsenundergraduate degree at William & Mary before graduating first in her class at the University of Virginia Law School while serving on the managing board for the Virginia Law Review. Afterward, she clerked for two prominent judges, one on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and one on the U.S. Supreme Court. Since then, she has written articles concerning Supreme Court decision making that have been featured in such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal.

At W&M, Larsen teaches constitutional law, administrative law, and statutory interpretation courses to a "civic-minded, highly motivated, very smart and extremely polite" group of students. She admits her bias towards the College since she went here herself, but Larsen asserts, "there is something special about a William & Mary student." And it's not just the students that make teaching here enjoyable for Larsen, but also the "terrifically supportive faculty [she] works with at the Law School every day."

Larsen continues to focus her research on the "informational dynamics of legal decision making," or put simply, "how judges and juries are informed about the factors that influence their decisions." Her recently featured article, "Confronting Supreme Court Fact Finding" (SSRN), focuses on the new age of the Internet and its impact on information gathering at the Supreme Court. Larsen recognizes that the information age we live in changes the game of how our judicial system makes decisions and creates a dangerous, "unregulated 'inhouse'" system of finding information where mistakes can be made and false information can be used in decision making. She plans to continue research in this area to satisfy her fascination with "how law is changing and must change in order to adapt to the complete revolution in the way we all process information in the digital age." Her widely acclaimed research and outstanding teaching methods led the William & Mary Provost to recommend Larsen for an Alumni Fellowship Award in 2012.