Alumni Robert E. and Elizabeth S. Scott Create Legal Research Professorship

  • Scott Professorship
    Scott Professorship  Celebrating the creation of the Scott Professorship on Sept. 22 were, from left, Dean Davison M. Douglas, Professor Robert E. Scott, Scott Professor of Law Michael Steven Green, Professor Elizabeth S. Scott, and W&M President Taylor Reveley.  Photo by Skip Rowland
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Two alumni who are noted legal scholars - Board of Visitors member and William & Mary Law School graduate Robert E. Scott and his wife, Elizabeth S. Scott, a graduate of the College of William & Mary - were honored at a Sept. 22 reception in the Wren Building for their generosity in creating a new research chair in law.  During the celebration, Michael Steven Green was recognized as the first scholar to be designated as the Robert E. and Elizabeth S. Scott Research Professor of Law.

In his remarks, William & Mary President Taylor Reveley said that the Scotts' creation of the research professorship was especially meaningful since it was made by two "highly acclaimed law professors and scholars."  Robert Scott is the Alfred McCormack Professor at Columbia Law School, a former dean of the University of Virginia School of Law, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Elizabeth Scott is the Harold R. Medina Professor at Columbia Law School. She taught previously at the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was founder and co-director of the interdisciplinary Center for Children, Families and the Law.

Law School Dean Davison M. Douglas recalled that as a newly appointed dean he turned for advice to Robert Scott, who he considered one of the "great law school deans of the twentieth century ... and one of the great commercial law scholars in the United States."  Scott, he recalled, had shared with him the perspective that research chairs are essential to attract and to reward outstanding faculty and to advance "the scholarly mission of a law school." 

Green, the first member of the law faculty to be designated a Scott Research Professor, completed his undergraduate work at the University of California at Berkeley and then earned a J.D. and Ph.D. (Philosophy) at Yale University. Before entering the legal academy, he taught in the Philosophy Department at Tufts University and later practiced law at Paul Weiss in New York City.  A member of the law faculty since 2006, he is a noted Nietzsche scholar and also is widely published in areas such as legal philosophy and civil procedure.
Elizabeth Scott praised Green's selection as the first to hold the new research chair.  It was impressive, she said, "to look at [Green's] scholarly accomplishments in really such as relatively short career as a legal academic."

Robert Scott said he was confident that Green walked in the footsteps of another great law professor, Dudley Woodbridge, who taught law at William & Mary for 39 years.

"My first-year contracts class with Dean Woodbridge was, and remains to this day, the most intellectually stimulating and engaging experience of my entire life," Scott said. "His charismatic teaching and his rigorous scholarly devotion to the truth quite fundamentally and importantly changed my life forever. And so this research chair idea ... is specifically designed to nurture and support exemplars of just that sort of excellence. I know that there are students today in Michael Green's first-year civil procedure class whose lives and careers will be shaped for the better just as mine were some forty years ago."

Green, in addition to thanking the Scotts for their generosity, said that he had ample evidence that they are greatly esteemed by their colleagues and former students. Since adding the designation of Scott Research Professor to his email signature and publications, he said he has received many emails in which people have expressed their "love and admiration" for the couple.