William and Mary Law School

Larry Palmer Retires from William & Mary Law School Faculty

  • Professor Larry Palmer
    Professor Larry Palmer
    Palmer will retire this year after a long and illustrious teaching career.
    Photo by Ami Dodson
  • Retirement Surprise
    Retirement Surprise
    Colleagues gathered outside of Professor Palmer's last class to wish him well.
    Photo by Ami Dodson
  • Professors Barnard, Dodson and Hamilton
    Professors Barnard, Dodson and Hamilton
    A small group of colleagues surprised Professor Palmer with applause and well-wishes after his last class at William & Mary Law School.
    Photo by Ami Dodson
  • Professors Hamilton, Heymann and Leong
    Professors Hamilton, Heymann and Leong
    Colleagues gathered outside Professor Palmer's last class to congratulate him on a long and illustrious career.
    Photo by Ami Dodson

Larry I. Palmer, Professor of Law and Research Professor for the Schroeder Center for Healthcare Policy, will retire this year.  He joined the William & Mary Law School faculty in 2008. 

“Larry Palmer brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Law School,” says Dean Davison M. Douglas.   “We were very fortunate to have him as a member of our faculty for the past three years.  We will miss his cheerful spirit.  We wish him well with his future endeavors.”

Palmer earned a B.A. from Harvard University and a L.L.B. from Yale Law School. He served four years as the Endowed Chair in Urban Health Policy at the University of Louisville and 27 years at Cornell University as law professor, vice president, and vice provost. He was also a visiting professor at Georgetown University and the University of Virginia before joining the faculty at William & Mary.  Among the courses he has taught at the Law School are Bioethics, Medical Ethics and the Law, and Health Law and Policy.

Widely recognized for his scholarship on law, medicine, and health policy, Palmer has written two books and more than 30 articles and book chapters. He is also the executive producer and author of the study guide of the prize-winning educational video “Susceptible to Kindness: Miss Evers’ Boys and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.” Palmer currently serves as director of the Virginia Commonwealth University and the College of William & Mary Health Policy and Law Initiative and holds appointments at VCU as Professor in the Department of Health Administration.

Palmer leaves behind a strong legacy of service at the law school. “Professor Palmer’s contributions to the law school are many, from being a superb and supportive colleague to an early architect of the Veterans Benefits Clinic partnership with VCU's Center for Psychological Services and Development,” says Patricia Roberts, Director of Clinical Programs and Clinical Assistant Professor of Law. “When Professor Palmer was exploring ways that William & Mary and VCU could join forces as part of the Health Policy and Law Initiative, he recognized early on that the veterans clinic would provide the perfect marriage between the two institutions.  He was instrumental in securing a significant grant from the Jesse Ball duPont Fund.  His intellect, wit and friendship will be sorely missed.” 

Palmer’s students appreciated his ability to challenge them in the classroom, and to encourage them to think about problems in a new light.  Elliot Neal ’11 took Palmer’s courses on Bioethics/Medical Ethics and Law as well as Health Law and Policy.  “As a teacher, Professor Palmer was one of the best that I have ever had. He thoroughly prepared for each class and lectured with focus and energy,” Neal says. “Professor Palmer’s open-ended questions forced me to consider the larger framework of the health care system and, more generally, made me more comfortable with the vagueness that accompanies many law and policy issues.” 

Palmer also directed Neal’s internship with the Interdisciplinary Health Policy Program. “During my internship Professor Palmer was supportive and available,” says Neal. “He often used the same open-ended questions to make us consider ideas we had previously neglected. I feel very fortunate to have had a teacher and mentor like Professor Palmer.”