On Thursday, August 26, Judge John A. Gibney, Jr. received the 2021-22 St. George Tucker Adjunct Professorship Award during a reception at William & Mary Law School kicking off the 2021-22 school year. The annual award recognizes an outstanding member of the Law School’s adjunct faculty for service on behalf of students, and is selected by nomination from the Law School Community.
A judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, sitting in Richmond, Gibney currently teaches a four-credit Federal Courts course as an adjunct professor at William & Mary.
During the reception, Dean Spencer praised Gibney for his teaching skills and his willingness to hire William & Mary law graduates for his office.
Spencer also shared thoughts from some of Gibney’s students.
One student in last year’s Section 1983 Litigation class commented that Gibney “made sometimes difficult or dry topics lighter by his stories, humor, but also seriousness when the moment called for it.”
Another student praised him for knowing “how to leverage his experience to encourage and motivate all of us to be better lawyers and use our skills for the greater good—to be ‘citizen lawyers’ in the truest sense of the phrase.”
And another said, “getting taught directly by a distinguished federal judge just makes me more confident about my writing and critical reasoning skills that I have developed so far.”
Gibney grew up in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. He completed his undergraduate education at William & Mary and received a law degree from the University of Virginia.
Gibney went on to clerk for the Honorable Harry L. Carrico of the Supreme Court of Virginia; engaged in private practice in Richmond; served as Assistant Attorney General to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and as town attorney for Ashland, Virginia; and taught as an adjunct law professor at the University of Richmond before President Barack Obama nominated him to the federal bench.
St. George Tucker (1752-1827), the second professor of law at William & Mary, succeeded George Wythe on the faculty and was a pioneer in legal education. He drafted a formal description of the requirements for a law degree at the College, which included an exacting schedule of qualifying examinations in subjects such as history and government. Tucker’s course material was published in 1803 as the first American edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries. For much of the early 19th century, this volume was considered the leading authority on American law. Tucker was also a distinguished judge, serving on both the state and federal benches for more than 30 years.
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 first law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.