National Court Nonprofit Honors Dean Douglas

  • National recognition
    National recognition  Davison M. Douglas, dean of the Law School, is the recipient of a 2010 Distinguished Service Award from the National Center for State Courts.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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Davison M. Douglas, dean of William & Mary Law School, is the recipient of a 2010 Distinguished Service Award from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). Mary C. McQueen, NCSC president, presented the award to Douglas on Aug. 2 during the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators Annual Conference in Atlanta, Ga.

"Dave Douglas' list of career accomplishments is long, but the list of those who have benefitted from his knowledge, his leadership, and his passion for law is longer," McQueen said. "The National Center is fortunate have a legal scholar of his caliber as a supporter and collaborator, and the judicial system is fortunate to have him as an advocate." 

The National Center presents six Distinguished Service Awards annually to those who have made significant contributions to the judicial or court administration fields and to the work of the National Center. The awards recognize one person from each of the following categories: current or former state appellate judge; current or former state trial judge; state-level court administrator or employee; trial-level court administrator or employee; attorney or other individual not employed by the courts; and current or former international judge or court executive. Douglas received the Distinguished Service Award given to an attorney or other individual not employed by the courts.

Douglas joined the faculty of William & Mary Law School in 1990 as an assistant professor of law, and became its dean in 2009. He also is an Arthur B. Hanson Professor of Law, and currently teaches selected topics in race and American legal history. Douglas has served as director of the law school's Institute of Bill of Rights Law and as faculty advisor for the William and Mary Law Review and the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal. He came to the law school after six years with the Raleigh and Greensboro, N.C., firm of Smith, Patterson, Follin, Curtis, James, Harkavy and Lawrence, where his practice focused on civil litigation.

Among his many contributions to the judiciary, Douglas helped found the Election Law Program, a joint venture of NCSC and the College of William & Mary, and served as its director from 2005-08. The program provides practical assistance to state court judges who are called upon to resolve difficult election law disputes. Under his leadership, the Election Law Program published a manual for judges that covers election law issues and outlines the judicial relief available for election law violations; organized educational programs for state Supreme Court justices; and produced a series of Web-based lectures designed to educate judges, journalists, and the general public about election law matters.

In addition to his service to William & Mary Law School, Douglas has been a visiting professor at the law schools of Cornell University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Auckland, Emory University, and the University of Iowa, and has authored, co-authored, or edited more than 40 books, articles, and essays. He earned his bachelor's degree from Princeton University, his Master of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School, a doctorate and two master's degrees from Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and his juris doctor from Yale Law School.

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation's state courts.