William & Mary Law Faculty Recently Recognized for Excellence

Thomas McSweeney, Stacy Kern-Scheerer, Laura Heymann and Lynda Butler were honored during Commencement weekend, and Adam Gershowitz at the end of the semester

“The core of any good law school is its faculty, and William & Mary is blessed to have a tremendous faculty of both teachers and scholars,” said Dean Davison M. Douglas during William & Mary Law School’s Diploma Ceremony on Sunday, May 12. The Law School and university honored that excellence during Commencement Weekend with the following faculty awards.

Walter L. Williams, Jr., Teaching Award: Thomas McSweeneyThomas McSweeney and Alexandra Mays J.D. '19

Each year the third year class identifies a professor whose teaching they especially admire, and who is devoted to law and to students. This faculty member receives the Walter L. Williams, Jr., Memorial Teaching Award, named for a beloved former professor at the Law School from 1972 to 1991.

Thomas McSweeney is an Associate Professor of Law who joined the William & Mary faculty in 2013. His research focuses on the first 150 years of the common law, and his teaching includes property law and trusts and estates. His scholarship was supported with a Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence in 2018. When presenting him with the Williams Teaching Award during the Law School diploma ceremony, Alexandra Mays J.D. ’19 called him “an exceptional educator” who encourages curiosity and has “an amazing ability to break down complicated concepts in an accessible and digestible way.” Mays added that McSweeney “has a genuine interest in his students’ well-being and their future success, and actively seeks out opportunities to serve and assist them at every step of their career.”

McGlothlin Faculty Teaching Award: Stacy Kern-ScheererStacy Kern-Scheerer and Dean Douglas

The McGlothlin Faculty Teaching Award recognizes innovative, excellent educators who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to teaching. James W. McGlothlin ’62, J.D. ’64, LL.D. ’00 and Frances Gibson McGlothlin ’66 established the award in 2016 with a generous endowment to the Law School and the Mason School of Business.

Stacy Elizabeth Kern-Scheerer is the Kelly Professor of Teaching Excellence and Professor of the Practice of Law. She served as Assistant Counsel in the U.S. Senate Office of the Legislative Counsel prior to joining the William & Mary faculty in 2013 as a Professor of Practice. In addition to prior service as Assistant Director of the Legal Practice Program, she teaches courses in Legal Research & Writing, Food and Drug Law, and Health Law & Policy. Professor Kern-Scheerer will be starting the Law School’s new Immigration Clinic in the fall. She holds a J.D. and Master of Public Health from Boston University, and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Beloit College. She was awarded a “Golden Gavel” by the Honor Council in 2017 for her contribution to the Law School community and was chosen by the Class of 2017 as the recipient of the Walter Williams, Jr., Memorial Teaching Award.

John Marshall Award: Laura HeymannLaura Heymann and Dean Douglas

The John Marshall Award is given at graduation for deep devotion and outstanding service to the Law School. The recipient is a member of the Law School faculty, administration or staff who embodies the principles of John Marshall through traits of character, leadership and a spirit of selfless service to the Law School community.

Laura Heymann is Chancellor Professor of Law and served for four years as Vice Dean of the Law School. She is the founder of the Leadership Institute, which allows select first-year students to identify and develop their innate leadership skills, and is regularly called upon by William & Mary’s main campus to perform important roles for the university. She currently serves as the co-chair of the Law School’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, and is an important mentor to many students, particularly those who are first in their family to go to college. Heymann has received the Walter L. Williams, Jr., Teaching Award and is the only law faculty member to receive William & Mary’s Thomas Jefferson Teaching Prize. She is a creative scholar in the field of intellectual property law.

Thomas Ashley Graves, Jr. Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching: Lynda L. ButlerPresident Katherine Rowe and Lynda Butler

The Thomas Ashley Graves, Jr. Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching is named for William & Mary’s 23rd president, and recipients are selected annually by the president of the university from nominations submitted by each of the academic deans.

Lynda L. Butler, Chancellor Professor of Law, was honored with the Graves Award during William &Mary’s main commencement exercises on Saturday, May 11. She teaches and writes in the areas of land use, climate change and property law. During her four decades at William & Mary, she has taught thousands of future lawyers, many of whom rave about her knowledge and passion and inspiration as a nationally recognized expert on property law. Outside of the classroom, Butler has been a tireless servant of the Law School and of William & Mary. She has served as Interim Dean, Vice Dean, President of the Faculty Assembly, Co-chair of the William & Mary Committee on Sustainability and countless other positions.

1L Professor of the Year Award: Adam M. GershowitzKatheryn Maldonado J.D. '21 and Adam Gershowitz

At the end of spring semester, the Class of 2021 presented the second annual 1L Professor of the Year Award in recognition of a faculty member’s outstanding work with first-year students both inside and outside of the classroom.

Adam M. Gershowitz, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and Professor of Law, received the award from Katheryn Maldonado J.D. ’21 as he began his final class lecture of the spring semester. Gershowitz joined the William & Mary faculty in 2012 and was named the Herbert V. Kelly, Sr., Professor of Teaching Excellence for 2014-16. He has been awarded the Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence and has been honored with a number of teaching awards, including the Walter L. Williams, Jr., Teaching Award in 2015. He concludes his four-year service as Associate Dean this June.

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.