Associate Professor Jeffrey Bellin may have only just completed his second year at William & Mary Law School, but he’s already made a huge impression.
As proof, the Class of 2014 presented him with the Walter L. Williams, Jr., Memorial Teaching Award at the Law School's Diploma Ceremony on Sunday, May 11. The award is given by each graduating class to a member of the faculty in recognition of outstanding teaching.
Cassandra Roeder J.D. '14, Editor-in-Chief of the William & Mary Law Review, presented the award on behalf of the class and recounted how Bellin has won the admiration and respect of his students and colleagues.
“He makes ... classes like Evidence and Criminal Procedure--often considered to be dry and unexciting--engaging and accessible to students,” Roeder said. “And he takes great pains to teach even the most difficult material carefully.”
Roeder went on to quote one of her classmates: “‘Although I couldn’t be happier to be graduating, there’s a part of me that’s a little jealous of everyone who gets to take Evidence with him this fall.’”
Walter L. Williams, Jr., was a member of the law faculty from 1972 to 1991. A scholar of international law, Williams taught with "enthusiasm, warmth and good humor," as noted in the resolution establishing the teaching award in his honor.
An expert in criminal procedure, criminal law, and evidence law, Bellin received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University, summa cum laude, and his law degree from Stanford Law School, where he was Order of the Coif. After graduating from law school, Bellin clerked for the Honorable Merrick B. Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Bellin then served as a prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., where he argued a number of significant cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and the D.C. Court of Appeals. He subsequently practiced with the San Diego office of Latham & Watkins, where he handled complex litigation matters, and served as a senior attorney for the California Courts of Appeal.
Prior to joining the faculty at William & Mary, Bellin was an Assistant Professor at the Southern Methodist University School of Law, where he was awarded the Don M. Smart Award for Excellence in Teaching by the 2012 graduating class. His legal commentary has been featured in numerous media outlets, including CNN.com, ABC News’ Nightline, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, and NPR.
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.