2009-2010 University Catalog 
    Mar 18, 2018  
2009-2010 University Catalog archived

The School of Law


The School of Law provides a legal education of nationally recognized excellence. Its broad and intellectually rigorous academic program actively engages students in a uniquely close-knit community committed to the highest professional values and to personal honor and civility. The program is sustained by a dedicated and highly regarded faculty of teachers/scholars who, through their work with students and participation in public legal discourse, prepare each student to assume an important role in the profession. The core values of the School of Law are as follow:

  • Faculty and student body of academic quality and diversity of background dedicated to excellence in teaching, learning and scholarship
  • A program using the liberal arts model of legal education emphasizing small classes, close student-faculty relations, and a special emphasis on critical thinking and writing
  • An emphasis on professional duty and responsibility
  • A commitment to personal honor, integrity, and civility.

The School of Law has been an integral part of the University since 1866. In that year Gen. Robert E. Lee, who had accepted the presidency of Washington College in 1865, invited Judge John White Brockenbrough to bring to the College his Lexington Law School, which he had  established in 1849, and to continue at its head as Professor of Law and Equity. Judge Brockenbrough was joined in 1870 by the distinguished John Randolph Tucker, who succeeded him in 1873 as senior Professor of Law. After serving 12 years as a member of Congress, Mr. Tucker resumed his professorship in 1887, and in 1893 became the first Dean of the Law School. Tucker Hall, which is named in his honor, was erected in 1935 to house the School of Law.

Over the years, however, the School outgrew this building, and a new law building, Sydney Lewis Hall, was completed and occupied in the fall of 1976. Lewis Hall contains some of the nation’s most sophisticated facilities for law study and legal research, including an office-type study area for each student. The building was made possible by a gift of $9 million from Frances and Sydney Lewis of Richmond, Virginia.

In December 1989, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., an alumnus of both the College (1929) and the School of Law (1931), announced his intention to leave his personal and professional papers to the Washington and Lee Law Library. To house this generous gift, and to keep pace with new demands for additional faculty offices and clinical space, an addition to Sydney Lewis Hall was completed in 1992. The archival facilities make available to researchers approximately 700 linear feet of Powell materials.

The law library contains more than 440,000 carefully selected volumes, microforms and audio/ video materials. The law library is far more than its physical collection, offering a comfortable environment for study and relaxation reading. Students and faculty from in the building or off campus can access a rich collection of Internet database resources, numerous legal and nonlegal periodical indexes, a vast array of full-text journals, Congressional documents and e-books. Where materials are not available on campus or online, the law library offers a fast and efficient interlibrary loan service. The law librarians are always happy to offer assistance with the research needs of its users.

The School of Law has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1920. The School also takes pride in the fact that it was one of the initial group of law schools rated as “Class A” by the Council on Legal Education of the American Bar Association in 1923.

The student body normally includes residents of most of the 50 states, many foreign countries and graduates of more than 190 colleges and universities.

The instructional program is designed to provide students with a legal education in the fullest sense—not only the technical tools needed for the practice of law, but also an understanding of how law operates in our society and a sensitivity to the ethical imperatives of the profession. The bold new third-year curriculum created in 2008 is “experiential,” comprised of law-practice simulations, real-client experiences, the development of professionalism, and development of law-practice skills. Students participate in a yearlong professionalism program and in practicum courses that involve practicing lawyers and judges, as well as in legal clinics and internships. The study of law is also valuable in preparing students for careers in government, politics, and business. The members of the law faculty are freely available to the students for consultation and advice in connection with their studies. The opportunity for close faculty-student relationships is one of the most valuable features of study at the School of Law.

The record of accomplishment of the School of Law is reflected in the achievements of its graduates, who have distinguished themselves in the private practice of law, as corporate counsel, in state and federal government service, and in business. In this connection, it is worthy of note that six alumni of the School of Law have held the office of President of the American Bar Association. The achievements of the law alumni reflect the high standards of professional training received in the School of Law and are, in equal or even greater measure, a reflection of that strength of character which is an attribute of Washington and Lee.

The separate Law Catalog contains information about the School of Law, together with details concerning admission, expenses and financial aid, degree requirements, and courses of study. For the Law Catalog and other information regarding admission, write to:

Office of Admissions, School of Law
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, Virginia 24450
or by e-mail: lawadm@wlu.edu


Kenneth Patrick Ruscio, Ph.D.
President of the University
June R. Aprille, Ph.D.
Rodney A. Smolla, J.D.
Dean of the School of Law
Robert T. Danforth, J.D.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the School of Law
Sidney S. Evans, J.D.
Associate Dean for Student Services of the School of Law
John G. Keyser, M.S.
Associate Dean for Administration and Technology of the School of Law
Mary Zanolli Natkin, J.D.
Assistant Dean for Clinical Education and Public Service of the School of Law



James Michael Phemister, J.D.
Professor of Law
Mark Howard Grunewald, J.D.
James P. Morefield Professor of Law
Denis Joly Brion, J.D.
Professor of Law
Doug Rendleman, M.A., J.D., LL.M.
Robert E. R. Huntley Professor of Law
Brian Cameron Murchison, J.D.
Charles S. Rowe Professor of Law and Law Alumni Association Fellow in Teaching Excellence
Samuel W. Calhoun, J.D.
Professor of Law
Lyman P. Q. Johnson, J.D.
Robert O. Bentley Professor of Law
Scott E. Sundby, J.D.
Sydney and Frances Lewis Professor of Law
Sarah Kirsten Wiant, M.L.S., J.D.
Professor of Law and Law Librarian
Joan M. Shaughnessy, J.D.
Professor of Law
David K. Millon, M.A., M.A., Ph.D., J.D.
J. B. Stombock Professor of Law
Ann M. Massie, M.A., J.D.
Professor of Law
Margaret Howard, J.D., M.S.W., LL.M.
Law Alumni Association Professor of Law
Timothy S. Jost, J.D.
Robert L. Willett Family Professor of Law and Ethan Allen Faculty Fellow
Mary Zanolli Natkin, J.D.
Clinical Professor of Law and John W. Elrod Law Alumni Fellow in Teaching Excellence
David I. Bruck, J.D.
Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse
Robert T. Danforth, J.D.
Professor of Law
Mark A. Drumbl, M.A., LL.B., LL.M., J.S.D.
Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law; Director, Transnational Law Institute; and Alumni Faculty Fellow
Adam F. Scales, J.D.
Associate Professor of Law
C. Elizabeth Belmont, J.D.
Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Community Legal Practice Center
Rodney A. Smolla, J.D.
Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. Professor of Law
Robin F. Wilson, J.D.
Professor of Law and Alumni Faculty Fellow
Lawton P. Cummings, J.D.
Assistant Professor of Law
Johanna Bond, J.D., M.A., LL.M.
Associate Professor of Law
Joshua A. T. Fairfield, J.D.
Associate Professor of Law
Susan D. Franck, J.D., LL.M.
Associate Professor of Law
Timothy C. MacDonnell, J.D., LL.M.,
Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
Russell A. Miller, J.D., M.A., LL.M.
Associate Professor of Law
Hari Michele Osofsky, J.D.
Associate Professor of Law
Sean B. Seymore, J.D., M.S., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Law
A. Benjamin Spencer, J.D., M.Sc.
Associate Professor of Law