William & Mary Law School Recognizes Darryl Cunningham for Service as Adjunct Professor

  • St. George Tucker Adjunct Professorship Award 2023
    St. George Tucker Adjunct Professorship Award 2023  Dean A. Benjamin Spencer presented attorney Darryl Cunningham with the 2023-24 St. George Tucker Adjunct Professorship Award during a reception in Penny Commons at William & Mary Law School.  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • St. George Tucker Adjunct Professorship Award 2023
    St. George Tucker Adjunct Professorship Award 2023  Darryl Cunningham spoke to William & Mary Law faculty, friends during the reception, which officially kicked off the school year at the Law School.  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • St. George Tucker Adjunct Professorship Award 2023
    St. George Tucker Adjunct Professorship Award 2023  The annual Tucker Adjunct Professorship event brings the William & Mary Law community together to officially launch the new academic year. L-R: Caleb Stone, Professor of the Practice of Law; Darryl Cunningham; The Honorable J R. Zepkin, Adjunct Professor of Law and former Tucker Award recipient; Iria Giuffrida, Assistant Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs; and Kami Chavis, Vice Dean.  Photo by David F. Morrill
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On Monday, August 21, attorney Darryl Cunningham received the 2023-24 St. George Tucker Adjunct Professorship Award during a reception at William & Mary Law School.

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 senior lawyer at the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia, Cunningham has worked with students and supervised the Law School’s Domestic Violence Clinic since 2008. In 2011, he joined the newly formed Legal Skills faculty and taught students interviewing, counseling, and negotiation skills. In 2012, he added yet another responsibility to his plate as Director of the Family Law Clinic.

During the reception, which officially kicks off the Law School’s academic year, Dean A. Benjamin Spencer praised Cunningham as a “fixture in our community” who truly makes a difference.

“When people are in trouble, Darryl has been there time and time again for members of our community,” Spencer said. “Whether it is family law, domestic violence situations, housing needs, or estate matters, Darryl solves problems and protects individuals’ rights.”

Spencer also praised Cunningham for his tireless dedication to his students and the Law School.

“Working as a Legal Aid lawyer demands a lot of time and can be emotionally taxing, so you might assume that Darryl would head home at the end of the day to relax and unwind,” Spencer said. “However, that assumption would be wrong; while others are winding down, Darryl arrives at the law school around six p.m. and dedicates himself to teaching, often multiple times a week.”

Spencer shared thoughts from some of Cunningham’s students over the last 15 years, many of whom have repeatedly used words such as “great,” “approachable,” “a wealth of knowledge,” and “passionate” to describe Cunningham’s teaching in course evaluations.

Spencer also shared testimonials from Cunningham’s faculty colleagues. Professor Stacy Kern-Scheerer, Director of Clinical Programs at the Law School, wrote that Cunningham’s “expertise and dedication in leading the Family Law Clinic and the Domestic Violence Clinic has inspired countless students to use their legal training to represent vulnerable populations in difficult circumstances. He is a true community advocate, modeling every day for our students what a difference a lawyer can make when combining skill, empathy, and experience.”

Professor Laura Killinger, Director of the Legal Practice Program, added that “Darryl has taught countless Legal Skills students with hands-on, inciteful and compassionate view of the law.  He brings the classroom alive with his extensive experience and he inspires students to use their law degree to make a difference in the world in the same way that he has.”

Cunningham graduated from Shippensburg University in 1981 with a B.S. in education. After teaching for four years, he attended the Dickinson School of Law (Penn State) in Carlisle, Pa., where he was awarded the Joseph Leyburn Kramer Award. After practicing law in Pennsylvania from 1988-2007, he left private practice to work for the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia in Williamsburg.

During his legal career, he has represented clients in domestic matters from abuse to custody; criminal matters from harassment to capital murder; bankruptcy; landlord-tenant issues; and civil litigation from small collections to medical malpractice.

Cunningham also taught Family Law and American Jurisprudence for a paralegal program and has been active in various community affairs. He was honored by the York County, Pennsylvania Bar Association for Pro Bono efforts. He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania (1988) and Virginia (2008) as well as federal courts.

Cunningham said he was a little overwhelmed when learning he was to receive the Tucker Award, but the long after-hours spent at the Law School are worth it.

“I love working with the students,” Cunningham said. “They come to my office, and I like that light bulb moment when things go off and they understand what’s going on. I like to see when they go to court and win cases that they were shaky about and scared about.”

“It’s very energizing,” he said. “It keeps me going.”


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.