Professors Dwyer, Larsen, McSweeney and Stern Honored for Achievements in Teaching, Research, and Service

Professors James G. Dwyer, Allison Orr Larsen, Thomas McSweeney, and James Y. Stern are among 20 talented and trailblazing professors from William & Mary to receive the 2018 Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence, the university announced on April 27. 

The award was established in 2009 thanks to a generous gift from Joseph J. Plumeri II ’66, D.P.S. ’11. Read more about Mr. Plumeri and all of this year’s Plumeri Award recipients.

“For 10 years, the Plumeri Awards have rewarded many of our strongest faculty, who stand at the vanguard of academic inquiry, and recipients have invariably expressed their gratitude for this award that has made a huge difference in their teaching and research, “ said Provost Michael Halleran. “Whether professors are attending conferences, funding research for themselves and their students, or creating new initiatives with far-flung collaborators, the Plumeri Awards have made a lasting impact at William & Mary, in the commonwealth and in the world.”

Law School Honorees

The 2018 Plumeri Award recipients are:

James G. Dwyer
Arthur Briggs Hanson Professor of LawJames G. Dwyer

Dwyer joined the William & Mary faculty in 2000 after teaching law at the Chicago-Kent and University of Wyoming law schools. His scholarly output is extraordinary, with three university press books coming out in the next year and three recently published textbooks. Routledge Press will publish Professor Dwyer’s book, “Liberal Child Welfare Policy and Its Destruction of Black Lives,” in 2018. The book provides a child-centered perspective on multi-generational child poverty by combining social science information with sophisticated normative analysis to support novel reforms. Also due for publication in 2019 is the “Oxford Handbook of Children and the Law.” Oxford University Press asked Dwyer to serve as the sole editor for this volume. He frequently writes for scholarly journals on parental rights, homeschooling, same-sex marriage, adoption law, domestic violence and countless others. Although prolific on a variety of topics, his work has a unifying theme, consistently making the case for a more child-centric legal regime. His scholarly work provocatively challenges the current parent-centric thinking about child rearing. His outstanding work has been recognized with two earlier Plumeri Awards. He holds a doctorate in moral and political philosophy from Stanford University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Allison Orr Larsen ’99
Professor of Law

Larsen is a star of thAllison Orr Larsene William & Mary Law School faculty and her exceptional teaching has repeatedly been recognized by students and faculty. Since arriving at William & Mary in 2010, she has received the university’s Alumni Fellowship Award, the Walter L. Williams, Jr. Memorial Teaching Award, the McGlothlin Teaching Award and the SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award in the “Rising Star” category. Her scholarly production has been equally impressive, and she has published in top law journals. Her research interests include constitutional law and the institutional and informational dynamics of legal decision-making. Her work on judicial fact-finding has been cited by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and has also been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe and Wall Street Journal. In 2014, she was invited to discuss her scholarship on amicus briefs on “The Colbert Report.” Professor Larsen’s most recent article, “Constitutional Law in the Age of Alternative Facts,” will be published in the NYU Law Review in 2018. In fall 2018, she will be a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. She holds a J.D. from UVA Law School.

Thomas McSweeney ’02
Associate Professor of LawThomas McSweeney

McSweeney joined the William & Mary faculty in 2013. His research focuses on the first century and a half of the common law. Characterized as “a medieval legal historian whose work is accessible to lawyers who aren’t historians and historians who don’t work on law”, he tackles 13th century texts and makes them accessible to modern readers. His published articles explore the legal-literary culture that flourished throughout Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries. He is particularly interested in the production of legal treatises in 13th century England, and what those treatises can tell us about the professionalization of the judges and lawyers of the early common law. His recent publications include, “Creating a Literature for the King’s Court in the Later Thirteenth Century: Hengham Magna, Fet Asaver, and Bracton,” in the Journal of Legal History and “Salvation by Statute: Magna Carta, Legislation, and the King’s Soul” in the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal. His book, “Priests of the Law: Roman Law and the Making of the Common Law’s First Professionals,” is currently under review at Oxford University Press. It looks at a group of justices working in the English royal courts and their struggles to define themselves as legal professionals through their writing. He earned his J.D., LL.M. and Ph.D. from Cornell University.

James Y. Stern
Associate Professor of Law

Stern joinedJames Y. Stern the William & Mary Law School faculty in 2013 and has become a prolific scholar on topics as diverse as property law, intellectual property and the Fourth Amendment. Over the last five years, he has written seven major legal articles, as well as three book chapters. His articles have been published in the nation’s leading law journals, including the Harvard Law Review, Michigan Law Review, California Law Review and Virginia Law Review. Recently, his scholarship has been discussed by Supreme Court justices in oral arguments in two separate cases. This is an exceedingly rare occurrence and strongly suggests that the Supreme Court will cite his work in one or both of those cases, an accomplishment that is highly unusual in the legal academy. Students are likewise impressed with his broad knowledge and his ability to foster precise thinking, repeatedly commenting on his ability to inspire curiosity in the classroom and to keep them engaged with big ideas, intricate details and an easy sense of humor. Stern holds a J.D. from UVA Law School.

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.