LL.B., Yale Law School, 1951
B.A., Princeton University, 1948
Thomas Bergin served as William Minor Lile Professor of Law from 1971-92 at the Law School, where he taught courses in contracts, commercial law, future interests, law and economics, jurisprudence, property law, law and economics, law and philosophy, and law and morality.
Bergin was born in New Haven, Conn., in 1924 and attended Princeton as an undergraduate. While in law school at Yale he served on the editorial board of the Yale Law Journal. He is a member of the Order of the Coif. Before coming to Virginia he spent nine years in private practice, was assistant to the president at Sarah Lawrence College, and taught constitutional law in the political science department at Yale. He joined the Virginia faculty in 1963 as an associate professor.
During his time at the Law School, Bergin founded the joint-degree program in law and economics and taught in the School’s master’s degree program for appellate judges. Bergin has been a senior fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Sesquicentennial Associate of the University of Virginia, and a visiting fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at Oxford University.
Bergin is the author of two books, Virginia Water Law: An Economic Appraisal (1975) and Preface to Estates in Land and Future Interests (with P.G. Haskell) (1966, 1984), and has also published numerous articles. The announcement of his retirement in 1992 prompted the Virginia Law Weekly to devote the February 28, 1992 issue to him, titling it the Berginia Law Weekly. The Virginia Law Review also published a series of tributes to him in the May 1992 issue. A year after he retired some 300 of his friends and former students funded The Thomas F. Bergin Teaching Professorship, a chair that is awarded to an outstanding teacher. Mortimer M. Caplin ’40, who was a member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors establishing the chair, declared that “No one at the Law School is more beloved as a teacher and a scholar than Mr. Bergin.”