Abraham, BeVier, Mahoney Named Harrison Professors
Three Law School professors have been named to some of the most prestigious chairs in legal academia. Kenneth S. Abraham, Lillian R. BeVier, and Paul G. Mahoney were appointed the new David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professors of Law by the Board of Visitors Sept. 29. Supported by an aggregate gift of more than $49.2 million, the professorships were the bequest of David A. Harrison III (’39, Law ’41) in 2002.
“The professorships signal to the world our commitment not only to remain in the very first rank of American legal education, but to challenge the nation’s leading private universities for the nation’s leading law professors,” said Law School Dean John C. Jeffries, Jr. “With these new appointments, we are making the phrase ‘Harrison Professor’ a brand name for the nation’s foremost academic chair in law.”
The Harrison chairs are reserved for senior teachers and scholars of national distinction. “All stand at the pinnacle of their fields, with long records of accomplishment and distinction and many years of service at the School of Law,” Jeffries said. The new appointees join Glen O. Robinson and G. Edward White as Harrison Professors.
Kenneth Abraham is one of the nation's leading scholars and teachers in the fields of tort and insurance law. His casebook, Insurance Law and Regulation, now in its fourth edition, has been used as the principal text in courses on insurance law in more than 100 American law schools. His torts treatise, The Forms and Functions of Tort Law (2d ed. 2002), has become a basic text for first-year law students across the country. In 2000 Abraham received the all-University of Virginia Outstanding Teacher Award, as well as the American Bar Association's Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award, given for outstanding contributions to tort and insurance law.
"I knew and respected David Harrison very much,” said Abraham. “He was a devoted alumnus of the Law School and the University, and his family has remained devoted. I am honored to have a position that bears the Harrison name."
Lillian BeVier has taught constitutional law (with special emphasis on First Amendment issues), intellectual property, real property, and torts since coming to Virginia in 1973. She is the author of two books, Is Free TV for Federal Candidates Constitutional? and Campaign Finance 'Reform' Proposals: A First Amendment Analysis, and numerous articles and book chapters. The University of Virginia Alumni Association gave BeVier its Distinguished Professor Award in 2006. Having been nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 2003, she is currently a member and vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation. She serves on the national Board of Visitors of the Federalist Society.
“I am incredibly honored to be a Harrison Professor, and—like all my colleagues—am grateful beyond measure for his generosity to the Law School,” she said.
"It is a great privilege to join the extraordinary scholars and teachers who occupy the Harrison chairs," added Paul Mahoney.
Mahoney is an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of corporate governance and securities regulation, contracts, and law and economic development. He has published widely in both legal and economics journals on topics including the history and economic effects of U.S. financial regulation, the lessons of game theory for theories of social norms, and the effect of legal system design on economic outcomes. He is a past recipient of a university-wide teaching award and the Law School’s Traynor Award for excellence in faculty scholarship. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, a former member of the board of directors of the American Law & Economics Association, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has also worked on legal reform projects in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Nepal.
A retired lawyer, investment banker, and farmer, the late David A. Harrison III of Hopewell, Virginia, died in 2002 at the age of 85. With his estate and a previously established trust, David Harrison and his late wife Mary contributed more than $150 million to the University.
Harrison admired the discipline and intellectual rigor of the law, and he considered professorships the best way to make a difference in education and to strengthen the University’s ability to impart knowledge. Over the years, Mary and David Harrison established a number of professorships in law, medicine, and archaeology. He strongly supported the expansion and renovation of the Law School’s facilities, which are named the David A. Harrison III Law Grounds in his honor. Four generations of his family have attended the Law School.
• Reported by Mary Wood