William & Mary Law School to Honor Professor Vicki Been with Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize

Professor Vicki Been of NYU School of Law has been named the recipient of the 2021 Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize. Been will be honored during the William & Mary Law School Property Rights Project’s 18th annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference, which will be held on September 30-October 1, 2021.Professor Vicki Been

“Professor Been joins our past prize recipients who have contributed so greatly to our understanding of the civil right of ownership in private property,” said Andrew Prince Brigham, managing partner and owner of the Brigham Property Rights Law Firm, PLLC, in Jacksonville, Florida, and a member of the Brigham-Kanner Conference Coordination Committee. “Her work with Bob Ellickson and others has made basic land use concepts accessible to law students. Her collaborative casebooks continue to help shape property law by instructing future practitioners.”

The Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize is named in honor of the lifetime contributions to property rights of Toby Prince Brigham, founding partner of Brigham Moore, LLP, and Gideon Kanner, professor of law emeritus at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Brigham died earlier this month in Miami. A true legend in the law, he was esteemed by colleagues for the invaluable counsel, knowledge and skills he possessed and shared so generously. The prize is presented annually to a scholar, practitioner or jurist whose work affirms the fundamental importance of property rights.

Been is the Judge Edward Weinfeld Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, an Affiliated Professor of Public Policy of the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and Faculty Director of NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. Her scholarship focuses on the interplay of land use, urban policy and housing. She is currently on leave from NYU, serving as Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development for the City of New York. 

Among other topics, Been has examined inclusionary zoning, historic preservation, affordable housing, gentrification, mortgage foreclosure, racial and economic integration, community benefit agreements, and the effects of supportive housing developments on neighbors. She often uses the City of New York as her laboratory.

Been also writes about the Fifth Amendment prohibition against the taking of property without just compensation, environmental justice, and international protections for property owners. She is a co-author of a leading land use casebook, Land Use Controls.

Been is a 1983 graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar. She clerked for Judge Edward Weinfeld of the Southern District of New York and for Justice Harry Blackmun of the Supreme Court of the United States.

“Vicki Been’s scholarship has won universal esteem from her peers,” said Robert C. Ellickson, the Walter E. Meyer Professor Emeritus of Property and Urban Law and Professorial Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, and 2008 recipient of the Brigham-Kanner Prize. “She has long been a role model for empirical research in the field of property.”

In addition to her scholarship, Been has applied her expertise in the land use policy and regulatory arena. Recently, for example, she devoted three years to serving as Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development for the City of New York.

According to Carol M. Rose, the Gordon Bradford Tweedy Professor Emeritus of Law and Organization and Professorial Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, the Ashby Lohse Chair in Water and Natural Resources and Professor Emerita at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, and the 2010 recipient of the Brigham-Kanner Prize, Been “exemplifies what every young law professor dreams of becoming: a first rate scholar whose work makes a real difference in the world. Vicki’s scholarly works range over property, land use, urban housing and development, and environmental law, and many of her writings occupy central places in all those fields. Even pieces that she wrote long ago continue to be cited today—and no wonder, given the creativity, trenchant analysis, and careful research that characterizes all her work.”

Rose likewise praised Been’s leadership of the Furman Center at NYU Law, which “carries on this work and encourages other scholars to pursue fields central to urban governance.” She also applauded Been’s work as a public servant, “leading New York City’s housing and community development in new directions, with the same grace, intelligence, and effectiveness that we see in her scholarly work.”

“No one could be more deserving of the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights prize,” Rose concluded.

Been joins an esteemed list of Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize winners. Previous recipients include Frank I. Michelman (2004), Richard Epstein (2005), James W. Ely, Jr. (2006), Margaret Jane Radin (2007), Robert C. Ellickson (2008), Richard E. Pipes (2009), Carol Rose (2010), retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (2011), James E. Krier (2012), Thomas W. Merrill (2013), Michael M. Berger (2014), Joseph William Singer (2015), Hernando de Soto (2016), David L. Callies (2017), Stewart E. Sterk (2018), Steven J. Eagle (2019) and Henry Smith (2020).

About the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference
The Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference is renowned for its outstanding panel discussions and for bringing together members of the bench, bar and academia. Founded by William & Mary Law School alumnus Joseph T. Waldo ’78 in 2004, the conference is notable for its encouragement of active participation from the audience through its question and answer segments with each of the panels. Waldo served as conference co-chair from 2004-17, and in 2018, the Joseph T. Waldo Visiting Chair in Property Rights Law was named in his honor.

Sponsored by William & Mary Law School since its inception, the conference has taken on a larger international perspective as more and more countries deal with property rights issues. In 2011, the conference was held at Tsinghua Law School in Beijing, China, and in 2016 at the Grotius Center of International Legal Studies at the World Court in The Hague, Netherlands. Future international events are being planned.

To learn more about the William & Mary Property Rights Project and the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference, please visit our web page.

About William & Mary Law School
Legal education in a university setting began at William & Mary in 1779. 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.