William and Mary Law School

Timothy Zick Named Godwin Professor of Law

  • Godwin Professor of Law
    Godwin Professor of Law
    Timothy Zick holds the Godwin Professorship, which is named in honor of Mills E. Godwin, Jr., a 1934 graduate of the College of William & Mary and Virginia's 60th and 62nd governor.
    Photo by Gretchen Bedell

Timothy Zick, a member of the William & Mary Law School faculty and a highly regarded constitutional law scholar, has been named the Mills E. Godwin, Jr., Professor of Law.

Zick has written on a wide variety of constitutional issues, with a special focus on issues of free speech and federalism. His early work explored questions of vital interest to participatory democracy, such as public speech and demonstration issues, the history of social movements, and the use of public spaces as sites for contested exchange and expression. In a series of articles and a published book manuscript, Zick turned his attention to the global nature of expressive and religious liberties, examining how the First Amendment relates to international borders. He is currently working on a project examining the relationship between First Amendment expressive rights and other constitutional rights.

The author of nearly twenty articles and two books -- Speech Out of Doors: Preserving First Amendment Liberties in Public Places (Cambridge University Press 2009) and The Cosmopolitan First Amendment: Protecting Transborder Expressive and Religious Liberties (Cambridge University Press 2014) --  Zick has been a frequent commentator in local, national, and international media regarding public protests and other First Amendment concerns. In 2012, he testified before Congress on the Occupy Wall Street protests and rights of free speech, assembly, and petition. First Amendment scholar Rodney Smolla has described The Cosmopolitan First Amendment as "an elegant reflection and celebration of the global resonance of America's robust embrace of freedom of speech and religious liberty" and called Zick's writing "graceful and engaging."

"Professor Zick is a marvelous holder of the Godwin Professorship," said Davison M. Douglas, Dean and Hanson Professor of Law.  "In a relatively short time in academia, he has established himself as one of the country's leading voices on the question of how speech can and should be regulated in public spaces. His work explores issues that are fundamental to how we engage with one another and with our government on matters of public debate."

Zick graduated summa cum laude from Indiana University in 1989 and summa cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1992, where he received the Francis E. Lucey, S.J. Award for graduating first in his class. Following law school, he was an associate with the law firms of Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., where he assisted in the defense of congressional term limits before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Foley Hoag in Boston. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Levin H. Campbell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Zick also served as a Trial Attorney in the Federal Programs Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he defended the constitutionality and legality of a variety of federal programs and statutes.

He joined the William & Mary Law School faculty in 2008 from St. John's University School of Law in Jamaica, New York, where he began his academic career in 2002 and received a Professor of the Year award in 2006. Since his arrival at William & Mary, he has received two Plumeri Awards for Faculty Excellence and been named the Cabell Research Professor of Law (2011-2012) and the Robert and Elizabeth Scott Research Professor (2012-2014).

"I am honored to receive the appointment as the Mills E. Godwin, Jr., Professor," said Zick, "and am deeply grateful to those whose generosity made it possible. Governor Godwin had a remarkable political career. I will do my best to honor his name through my scholarship and other academic pursuits."

Godwin, the 60th and 62nd governor of Virginia, graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1934 and received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1938. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1948 to 1952, the State Senate from 1952 to 1960, and as lieutenant governor from 1962 to 1966. During his first term as governor, he became known as "Virginia's Education Governor" as a result of his efforts to improve public education in the Commonwealth. At his death in 1999, then-William & Mary President Timothy Sullivan called Godwin "our friend and favorite son of this College." Godwin received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the College in 1966.

Support for the Godwin Professorship comes from an endowment intended to memorialize the "sterling leadership which Mills Godwin gave the Commonwealth of Virginia and all its citizens in his two terms as Governor; to recognize his stance for honest, fiscally responsible and efficient government; and to salute the faithful and valuable service that he rendered the Commonwealth throughout his long and distinguished public career." Previous holders of the Godwin Professorship at the Law School include Glenn Coven (from 1992 to 1996) and Douglas Rendleman (from 1981 to 1991).

About William & Mary Law School

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.