Two William & Mary faculty members received the state's highest honor for professors, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) announced today. Jeffrey Bellin of William & Mary Law School, and Rowan Lockwood of William & Mary’s Geology Department will receive the Commonwealth's Outstanding Faculty Awards.
The awards recognize the finest among Virginia's college faculty for their demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and public service.
“Jeff Bellin fits the bill perfectly for a SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award,” said Davison M. Douglas, Dean of the William & Mary Law School and John Stewart Bryan Professor of Jurisprudence. “He has excelled at every aspect of the job as a well-rounded scholar, teacher, and public citizen, and he has become an essential part of the William & Mary community.”
At William & Mary since 2012, Bellin teaches and writes in the areas of evidence and criminal justice. His legal writing is regularly cited in federal and state judicial opinions and scholarly commentary. Many of the nation’s leading legal journals feature his scholarship, including the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the New York University Law Review, and the Michigan Law Review. Bellin is also the author of a volume of the prestigious treatise, Federal Practice & Procedure; the volume analyzes “hearsay,” one of the most complex legal topics.
Numerous media have featured his legal perspective, including the Associated Press, ABC, CNN, NPR, USA Today, and the Washington Post. He has assisted federal courts in investigations of alleged judicial misconduct and is a member of the National Center for State Courts’ Research Advisory Council.
Bellin received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University, summa cum laude, and his law degree from Stanford Law School, where he was elected to Order of the Coif. Before beginning his academic career, he clerked for Judge Merrick Garland on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, served as a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and practiced in the San Diego office of Latham & Watkins.
Bellin’s numerous teaching awards attest to his effectiveness. In 2014, he was honored by the graduating law class with the Walter L. Williams, Jr., Memorial Teaching Award, and in 2015, the university recognized him with a Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence. In 2017, he was named a University Professor for Teaching Excellence for a three-year term by a university-wide faculty selection committee, and has held a Cabell Research Professorship for two academic terms (2015-16 and 2016-17). In May, 2018, he was honored with the McGlothlin Award for Exceptional Teaching during the Law School’s Diploma Ceremony.
“Professor Bellin is one of William & Mary’s treasures,” said Michael Halleran, Provost of William & Mary. “His extensive scholarship has influenced numerous courts and policymakers and thus helped to shape debates in areas significant for Virginia and the entire country. Not surprisingly, he is among the most sought-after media commentators from our faculty, frequently lending his expertise in a variety of outlets throughout Virginia and the entire nation, and thereby extending his influence.”
Students give Bellin rave reviews. He is known for integrating his legal practice experience into his lectures and commentary. His expertise makes complicated legal concepts understandable for future lawyers, other scholars and the public at large. One recent graduate remarked that “Professor Bellin is truly committed to ensuring that his students learn. He is down-to-earth and has a great sense of humor, which make him all the more accessible to students.”
Another recent alumnus explained that for “a first-generation law student [who] was simply trying to ‘learn the ropes’ of the law’ Professor Bellin was one of the most approachable and compassionate professors the law school had to offer. His expectations were high, but his willingness to help us wrestle with the issues, unrelenting.”
“The SCHEV award is an amazing honor,” Bellin said. “As always, I share any credit with our smart, thoughtful, engaged students who make teaching fun, my colleagues who continually inspire me, and William & Mary for preserving an atmosphere that allows dedicated teachers to thrive.”
Bellin is the fifth member of the law faculty to receive an Outstanding Faculty Award. Previous recipients include Allison Orr Larsen (2014), Paul Marcus (2010), Davison M. Douglas (2002), and Ingrid Hillinger (1987).
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.