Four Recently Appointed Law Professors Bring Intellectual Diversity to Classroom and Community

After two successful hiring seasons, William & Mary Law School welcomed four new full-time professors to its ranks in 2010 and 2011. Sarah L. Stafford joined the law school as the Paul R. Verkuil Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, Economics and Law, a joint appointment between the Law School and the Department of Economics. Associate Professor Jason Solomon joined the law school from the University of Georgia. Assistant Professor Allison Orr Larsen also joined the law school faculty in the fall of 2010; Assistant Professor Tara L. Grove joins the faculty in the fall of 2011.

“William & Mary Law School is fortunate to have appointed four such stellar scholars and teachers,” says Law School Dean Davison M. Douglas. “Each of them brings a unique perspective and set of skills to our growing faculty. We welcome them to our community.”

Sarah StaffordSarah L. Stafford received her BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and her PhD in Economics from Johns Hopkins University. She joined the College of William & Mary faculty in 1998. Her teaching interests include law and economics, regulation, environmental economics and industrial organization. Stafford's research focuses on the effect of environmental regulations on firm and industry behavior.

“I always thought law was interesting, just not as interesting as economics, so I decided to get a PhD in economics rather than go to law school,” laughs Stafford. “When I first started teaching, I thought that two of my economics classes would be improved by a fuller understanding of the law, so I sat in on Professor Alan Meese's Antitrust class and his Economic Analysis of the Law class. Eventually I was asked if I'd like to teach in the law school and I jumped at the chance. I love teaching undergrads, but I was really excited about teaching law students -- the dialogue in my law classes is very different from that in my undergrad classes, and I love getting to teach both groups.”

In addition to her teaching and scholarship, Stafford says she enjoys rowing on the nearby Chickahominy River. “I never rowed in College, but always thought it would be fun to learn. About four years ago I took a ‘Learn to Row’ class and started sweep rowing with the local rowing club.  Two years later, I learned to scull and bought my first boat."  

Jason SolomonJason M. Solomon joined the William & Mary law faculty from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he taught since 2005. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and received his JD from Columbia Law School, where he was a James Kent Scholar and Notes Editor on the Columbia Law Review. Solomon clerked for Judge Chester Straub of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern District of New York. He served as Chief of Staff to the President of Harvard University and worked in the White House and U.S. Treasury Department. Solomon’s scholarship focuses on the theory and practice of civil justice; his research interests also include regulatory theory and policy.

“I like to think I can get along with different kinds of people,” says Solomon, “but this has occasionally gotten me into trouble as a sports fan. I'm from northern New Jersey and like both teams in every sport (Yankees and Mets, Giants and Jets, etc.) This is a rare position to take.  When the Yankees and Mets played in the World Series in 2000, I tried to maintain the position that I was just rooting for good baseball.  It didn't take a law professor to point out that this position was fairly unsustainable.”

Allison Orr LarsenAllison Orr Larsen received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from the College of William & Mary and then attended the University of Virginia School of Law, where she graduated first in her class and served on the Managing Board of the Virginia Law Review.  She clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and for Justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Prior to joining the William & Mary law faculty, Larsen practiced with the appellate litigation group of O'Melveny & Myers in Washington, DC, and was then a Visiting Assistant Professor with the Columbus Law School at Catholic University. Her research interests include administrative law, constitutional law, and the institutional and informational dynamics of legal decision-making.

“I have known I wanted to be a law professor since my first day in constitutional law at UVA,” says Larsen.  “I remember sitting in the classroom completely absorbed by the puzzles and tensions and contradictions. I clearly remember thinking, ‘I could sit in this chair forever.’  Even though I technically have to stand now, I would still say I have my dream job.”

Larsen says she is pleased to be back in Williamsburg, near the area of Virginia where she was born. “I used to participate in 4-H livestock competitions when I was a kid. In fact, I won a blue ribbon as a ten year old for a presentation I did on how to raise rabbits.  How hard can a constitutional law lecture be after that type of training?”

Tara GroveTara L. Grove received her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Duke University. She attended Harvard Law School, where she graduated magna cum laude and served as the Supreme Court Chair of the Harvard Law Review. She clerked for Judge Emilio Garza on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and then spent four years as an appellate attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to joining the William & Mary Law School faculty, Grove was Assistant Professor at Florida State University College of Law. She has published with such prestigious law journals as the Harvard Law Review, Columbia Law Review, and Cornell Law Review. Her research interests include federal courts, constitutional law, statutory interpretation, and bankruptcy.

“Although I love researching and writing scholarship, my true passion is teaching,” Grove says. “There is nothing more fun than talking to a law student about law.  More seasoned lawyers often get lulled into accepting, without question, legal rules and concepts that 'everybody' knows are 'well-settled.'  But law students come to each subject with fresh eyes and can point out that our allegedly settled assumptions may actually make no sense. That's one of many reasons that I look forward to every class with a sense of excitement and anticipation."