Past Events


 Dunn Speaker, Richard Lazarus

Professor Richard Lazarus of Harvard Law School visited William & Mary Law School on March 30, 2016. Earning a B.S. in chemistry and a B.A. in economics from the University of Illinois, Professor Lazarus later graduated from Harvard Law School where he is now the Howard and Katherine Aibel Professor of Law. Lazarus is known for his work in the field of environmental law and for arguing before the Supreme Court in a number of cases. While visiting William & Mary, Professor Lazarus spoke with students about the Supreme Court’s practice of editing opinions after the case is decided. After years of examining justice’s revisions, Professor Lazarus published his findings in the Harvard Law Review and brought the issue national attention when the New York Times picked up his story. Professor Lazarus applauded the Court for its commitment to getting opinions right. According to him, the practice of post-decision edits shows meticulous care for correcting mistakes. However, as Professor Lazarus explained to students, edits should be transparent. The Court should be open about its editing process, particularly when the edits are substantial. Professor Lazarus ended the lecture with a question and answer session about his research.

After Runnymede: Revising, Reissuing, and Reinterpreting Magna Carta in the Middle Ages

Friday, March 18th 2016

This year's BORJ Symposium explored the Magna Carta's legacy between its issuance in 1215 and its revival in the seventeenth century. Within three months of its issuance, the Magna Carta was dead letter. King John had repudiated it with the pope's blessing and was at war with his barons. The charter of liberties issued at Runnymede in 1215 only became significant to the development of individual liberties in the Anglo-American common law because it was reissued or confirmed no less than six times between 1215 and 1300 (1216, 1217, 1225, 1265, 1297, and 1300). Scholars have devoted book-length studies to the failed peace treaty of 1215 and on the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century revivals of the charter, but have largely ignored the reissues and revisions of the thirteenth century, the period when the charter took the shape it would have when in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The reissues are what transformed the charter of Runnymede into the document we know as Magna Carta, a foundational text of our political and constitutional tradition. The text changed physically between 1215 and 1300; during the first three reissues the text underwent major revisions and a second charter, called the Charter of the Forest, was added to it.
This symposium brought together some of the top scholars of medieval law from the U.K. and North America. Papers examined topics such as the political processes involved in reissuing the charter, reactions to the charter in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and the contemporary importance of the Forest Charter.

Annual William & Mary Law Review Symposium

Who has the final say as to the meaning of the United States Constitution?  Most judges, lawyers, and members of the general public, as well as many academics, accept “judicial supremacy”: the notion that the judiciary, and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court, is the authoritative interpreter of the Constitution.  But a growing number of scholars advocate “departmentalism”: the view that each branch of government—the legislature, the executive branch, and the judiciary—has an independent role in determining the meaning of the Constitution.  In fact, some scholars argue that each branch has a duty to independently interpret the Constitution and to act upon its own view of what the Constitution means.  This symposium, hosted by the William & Mary Law Review and held at the William & Mary Law School from February 19th-20th, 2016, explored the important issues raised by the ongoing debate over constitutional interpretive authority.


Kathryn Ashley J.D. '16, Symposium Editor, William & Mary Law Review; Rebecca Brown, University of Southern California Gould School of Law; Erwin Chemerinsky, University of California, Irvine, School of Law; Erin Delaney, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law; Neal Devins, William & Mary Law School; Mark Graber, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law; Tara Grove, William & Mary Law School; Laura A. Heymann, William & Mary Law School; Corinna Barrett Lain, University of Richmond School of Law; Allison Orr Larsen, William & Mary Law School; Sanford V. Levinson, University of Texas School of Law; Saikrishna Prakash, University of Virginia School of Law; Frederick Schauer, University of Virginia School of Law; Kevin C. Walsh, University of Richmond School of Law; Keith Whittington, Princeton University; Timothy Zick, William & Mary Law School

Dunn Speaker, Sanford Levinson 

On February 18, 2016, William & Mary Law School welcomed Professor Sanford Levinson to Williamsburg. Professor Levinson has been with the faculty of the University of Texas Law School since 1980. He has written six books and authored numerous articles. Professor Levinson was also the 2010 recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Law and Courts Section Lifetime Achievement Award.

Professor Levinson spoke to William & Mary Law students about the legacy of Justice Antonin Scalia. According to Professor Levinson, Justice Scalia crafted his fiery dissents to mobilize a conservative social movement. Less concerned with building a coalition on the bench, Justice Scalia wrote his opinions with a much broader audience in mind. Professor Levinson also participated in the Law Review Symposium during his visit. 

Dunn Speaker, Kathleen Sullivan

The Institute for Bill of Rights Law welcomed Kathleen Sullivan, of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, to the Law School on February 11th, 2016. Ms. Sullivan is the only woman name partner at an Am Law 100 law firm. She joined Quinn Emanuel in 2005 and now heads their appellate practice. Before Quinn Emanuel, Ms. Sullivan was the Dean of Stanford Law School and the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law, and, before Stanford Law, Ms. Sullivan was a professor at Harvard Law School.

Ms. Sullivan spoke to William & Mary Law students about her experiences in appellate litigation. She highlighted how litigation can bring about social change. In particular, by telling stories of how she represented Samsung in an intellectual property case against Apple, Ms. Sullivan described how private practice attorneys can actually create public policy. Her lecture was well attended and came a day after Ms. Sullivan received William & Mary’s Edmund Randolph Silver Tongue Award.